Werewolves have never really been the most popular monster; they’re usually second fiddle to vampires or zombies. I suppose there’s some sense to that. Vampires are sexy romantics and zombie hoards are harbingers of the apocalypse. Werewolves usually act alone, and, outside of Twilight and Teen Wolf, aren’t typically portrayed as having much sex appeal. In 1941, The Wolf Man became the first successful werewolf film. Our monster has a furry face, spreads his affliction through biting others, kills people, and is ultimately killed by his own silver walking stick. He’s monstrous, not sexy. We can understand why vampires and zombies scare us, too. Vampires might represent a powerful person draining us of our own power for personal gain. Zombies drawn on our fear of pandemics and the ignorant masses destroying those of us just trying to survive. But what about werewolves? The most common answer I find is that werewolves speak to the changes a teenager experiences during puberty. Pisces already explored how this dynamic works in Teen Wolf. But if that’s the case, then where are all the female werewolves?
Acts of true love are everywhere in our fiction. In many of these narratives, performing an act of true love—such as a kiss—has the magical ability to save someone from certain death brought about by a curse. In many older Disney films and fairy tale stories, true love is almost always portrayed as romantic. Recently, though, we’ve gotten a few new interpretations on the mythos. In the new Sleeping Beauty movie, Maleficent, a platonic kiss Maleficent gives Aurora saves her life. And in Once Upon A Time, Emma saves her son Henry with a motherly kiss on his forehead. Then there’s Frozen, which, between the sisters Anna and Elsa, gives us yet another interpretation of true love, one that I like far more.
For your Halloween pleasure, I am providing my Top 5 most terrifying female villains in geek TV shows. These are the women who you would not want to meet in a dark alley or in a brightly lit park, because no matter what, they’ll probably fucking kill you and laugh while they do it. Why only five? Well, sadly there aren’t as many female villains as there are male ones, especially in TV shows, and more often than not, they are shown to be just vain and petty rather than pure terrifying evil. For this list I chose ladies who seem to legitimately enjoy being evil and show little to no remorse for their actions. This does not necessarily mean that they have less depth or are less interesting; they are just the female characters you love to hate. I am also only sticking to one villainess per TV show. So with that in mind, let’s begin!
Today’s guest column comes via one of our longtime readers, Mikely Whiplash, a geeky agnostic who still identifies as Jewish. After you read this post, go visit him at his Tumblr!
HBO’s The Leftovers does not feel like other shows. It inherited Game of Thrones’s Sunday night timeslot, but where its predecessor insisted that everything can be explained by the manipulations of the powerful or power-hungry, The Leftovers explores the disquieting possibility that the most agonizing mysteries may not be explained at all.
Set three years after a Rapture-like event caused 2% of the world’s population to vanish in an instant (known as “the Departure” within the show), the first season ponders through a year in the lives of its characters as they cope with its aftermath. The same Big Question rumbles desperately below every scene: why did this happen to us? The characters drive through each explanation and come up dry. This could not be the ascension of a chosen few—look how many were cheats and liars. This could not be a divine judgment against the wicked—how could the missing children have sinned so deeply? The rain, as it were, falls on the just and unjust alike.
To have this divine act be so removed from any divine purpose is maddening, and the characters bear it unsteadily. Nora, a woman who lost her husband and children that day, hires prostitutes to shoot her while she wears a bulletproof vest. Charismatic prophets emerge, and promise relief. Cults rise so quickly and become so threatening that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms adds them to its title.
At the edge of the story stands Reverend Matthew Jamison. His suffering after the Departure feels particularly cruel: in its immediate aftermath, his wife was struck by a suddenly-driverless car. She lives, but comatose and paralyzed. The Episcopalian congregation he led before the Departure falls apart now that its answers feel hollow, and his church goes into foreclosure. A miraculous rescue attempt falls painfully short: Matt discovers a $20,000 gift from a lost friend the night before the church is to be sold, then turns it into $160,000 on four spins of a roulette wheel in Atlantic City. He overpowers a mugger in the casino’s parking lot who has noticed his new riches. Minutes away from the bank, he stops to disrupt a hate crime against members of a cult called the Guilty Remnant—the perpetrators are chased off, but knock Matt unconscious with a thrown rock. He wakes up in the hospital and resumes his mad dash to the bank—arriving moments before it closes, payment in hand, he’s told that he’s three days late. He was unconscious longer than he could have known. In a final insult, he discovers that the Guilty Remnant bought the church—and, ungrateful, they will keep it.
The hope that surges throughout that episode—a righteous man favored by fortune—pops like a balloon. Are we forsaken? The Big Question appears to have a cruel answer in this cold world.
Today’s guest column comes via longtime LGG&F reader Kathryn Hemmann. Kathryn teaches classes on Japanese literature and cinema by day and diligently trains to become a Pokémon Master by night. She posts reviews of Japanese fiction in translation along with occasional essays about pop culture on her blog, Contemporary Japanese Literature.
Readers should be advised that this essay contains frank references to adolescent sexuality.
Part 1: In Which the Protagonist Is Suddenly Male
One of my personal goals in 2014 was to finish Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. My friends pestered me to read it, my students asked me what I thought about it, and the internet at large can’t stop recommending it. Still, I’ve been putting off actually sitting down with the books for years. Pullman’s linguistic flair is impressive, but I still had to force myself to make it through a certain number of self-assigned chapters every day. It was a pleasure to re-read The Golden Compass, but the sudden shift to a male protagonist in The Subtle Knife was accompanied by a number of unsavory implications that are exacerbated in the last book of the series, The Amber Spyglass. If you’ve never encountered the His Dark Materials trilogy before, this entire essay is full of spoilers, so please proceed with caution.
It’s no secret that I enjoyed the first season of Sleepy Hollow , and so this summer, when I saw that Boom Comics was doing a four-issue Sleepy Hollow miniseries, I subscribed to it immediately. Four issues comes to about sixteen dollars, I figured, so if it was bad, I wasn’t paying any more for it than a reasonably priced meal, and if it was good I would definitely be getting my money’s worth. The first issue finally came out last week, and while it definitely shows promise, I’m hoping it improves as the series goes on, or I’m gonna regret not buying that dinner instead.
MadameAce: So for those of you who haven’t yet seen it in all its glory, there is now a Christian-safe version of Harry Potter that you can enjoy. Our author, proudhousewife, wanted her children to be able to read Harry Potter, without the fear that the story would turn them into Satanic witches. And let’s face it: this is a pretty legitimate fear. After I read the first couple books, I immediately bought myself a wand and ran around screaming “Avada Kedavra” at people. Clearly, the devil has taken hold of my soul.
If only there had been a Christian-friendly version of the books I could have read back then. One that preferably condescends to small children, teaches girls that being both beautiful and in the kitchen is what glorifies God, insinuates that non-Christians and Catholics are incapable of love and achieving salvation, and tells us that evolutionists are stupid.
Hagrid laughed wisely. “Evolution is a fairytale. You don’t really believe that, do you?”
“Yes, I do!” Aunt Petunia screeched.
“Well then prove it!”
Aunt Petunia could only stare at him; and her big mouth hung open dumbly. Here she thought she was so educated; and she always demanded that Christians prove what they believed in; but she couldn’t even prove her own religion. It was then that Harry knew who the smart one here was!
Oh, thank goodness. All these years, I believed in evolution. I now know how wrong I was!
I have no idea whether Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles )—yes, there is actually a half parentheses in its title for some reason—is a parody or genuine. I’m also not sure that I care. I have finally seen the light.