magicalmartha: (Citiscape)
[personal profile] magicalmartha
I am a complete failure at internetting this year - after the decent success I had last year of keeping up with my book and movie blogs, and setting and keeping the goals I had, I started in January with such lofty resolutions.  I would see two movies a month in the theater, and write about them.  I would read more nonfiction and historical fiction (I'm most mad at myself about that one, because I should know by now that what I read next is largely driven by what's handy, and if I plan ahead enough to go to the library then I can keep on track like that - but usually it's just "this exists on my shelf and I haven't read it, guess what's coming on the train with me."  So.)  I would write other posts about movies and books in general.  I would be prolific and attract readers and continue strengthening my web presence.

And then I did NONE OF THOSE THINGS.

I don't even KNOW how long it's been since I wrote in my livejournal, which I guess is one of the reasons I'm writing this on DreamWidth and crossposting to LJ.  I WANT to be journaling, but for some reason I have found it incredibly difficult to find the motivation to do so.

Gotta start somewhere, I guess.

THESE ARE THE THINGS I WANT TO TALK ABOUT

- I've been reading A LOT of comics lately, and it's AWESOME.  When DC started their New 52 line, I tried a couple things but have really latched on to Batgirl and Suicide Squad (and Batman, of course), and I'm REALLY in love with Batgirl.  I just want to be Barbara Gordon when I grow up, you guys.  I love that she's smart, and capable, and wears pants.  Best.  Marvel 1602, which is the first time Daredevil has been interesting to me, ever (it's a really fascinating take on the Marvel universe set in Elizabethan England and written by Neil Gaiman.  I know there are more 1602 books, which is good, because I could read Elizabethan X-Men every day from now until forever).  Also, Locke & Key, which is just.  Exciting and weird and creepy, and I have been really into horror lately - it pushes that button without being over-the-top skin crawly awful, which is good, because I got a little over-saturated by that.

I have said for YEARS that I'm not a horror fan, and as my boyfriend pointed out, I really have to stop saying that because at this point it is just a bald-faced lie.  What started a long time ago as a preoccupation with the weird and creepy (I read The Hot Zone when I was 12 and IT when I was 13, is all I'm saying) has bloomed into a full-on fascination with the macabre.  I even paid to see a horror movie in the theater this year.  (It was Mama, if you're interested, and it was surprisingly enjoyable, even if I did watch some of the more blatant ghostly bits with my hands over my eyes.)  I've been spending a lot of time on the Nightmare Fuel page of tvtropes.org, certain portions of which have been pretty illuminating as far as my fascination with the weird is concerned (let's just say that I read Animorphs obsessively during my formative years, which may inform this whole enterprise for you.  That shit got gross.), and certain portions of which have inspired some of my more recent reading projects. 

Let me tall you about Uzumaki and Franken Fran.  You'll never be the same.

I think it started on the Body Horror page, which I was reading because Reasons.  When I'm on tvtropes, I like reading about things I've already seen or read, because it's more interesting to me to think about stuff I'm familiar with through this specific lens than to look up things I haven't experienced yet - having that point of reference is what makes it fun, I guess.  And I like looking through the Anime and Manga examples, because there is some weird shit there, stuff that's never occurred to me as weird before.  And when I skip around from the titles I recognize, I will occasionally see things like this:

"Everything by the manga artist Junji Ito.  He is especially well-known for Uzumaki, a three-volume manga about a town that is "infested by the spiral," which manifests itself in various horrific ways.  You will never look at a cinnamon roll the same way again."

WELL.  That sounds like a CHALLENGE, is all that is.  "Three volumes isn't that long, I bet I can find that on the internet somewhere."

And indeed, lo did I go forth and read Uzumaki on the internet, and it was weird as shit.  I'm throwing the word "weird" around a lot here, but...there's really no other way to describe it?  A little town in Japan is suddenly beset by spirals, starting with a man becoming preternaturally obsessed with the shape (his obsession destroys his family and leads to his gruesome demise) and ending in a fairly world-ending kind of way.  On the way, there's body horror galore, including people turning into snails and body parts spontaneously Mr. Fantastic-ing into elastic curls.  Some bits get a little comical, and the overall effect was almost too over-the-top - I got distracted by the fact that all these horrific things were happening in this one town and no one actually leaves.  Like, if I saw one of my classmates slowly morph into a snail over the course of a week?  I'd be on the next train the fuck out of Dodge.  It would have worked better for me as a series of episodes not necessarily about the same group of people, is what I'm saying.  Although, then you wouldn't have the cumulative effect of impending apocalypse, so...I don't know.  If you like bizarre Japanese body horror (there's no ghosts here) you will probably have fun with Uzumaki.

I hesitate to recommend Franken Fran, because...well, think of the grossest thing you can.  Now multiply it by cockroach skin, divide by pupating babies, and add people grafted on to other people (because it SAVES LIVES), and you come kind of close to Franken Fran.  Here's what tvtropes has to say about it:

"The manga Franken Fran exists solely for this trope.  In an early example, Fran is asked by a cop to look into a rash of severed limbs.  She finds they're all from the same person, which seems impossible given there are far more than two arms and two legs in the pile...and then she tracks them to the source."  

Without giving anything away, that's one of the chapters with a HAPPY ending.  It's all about this stitched-together girl who's a medical genius, and will save your life at ANY cost.  Most of the story involves a very "Be careful what you wish for, because what you wish for may culminate in multiple mutated penises" kind of end moral.  I was fascinated by it in the same way someone might be fascinated by a gladiatorial event.

It's amazing that my dreams haven't been more fucked up, I guess is what I'm saying.

I have additional thoughts on NBC's new (awesome) (fabulous) (amazing) show Hannibal, and also on some movies I've seen recently, but I think I'll leave this here for now.  Breaking the blogging ice, as it were.
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