‘Joker’ Doesn’t Seem as Scary After Coronavirus
Remember when Joker was considered a serious threat to public safety and well-being, possibly triggering mass chaos? What does COVID-19 have to say on that?
I’ll mention coronavirus in a bit, so don’t worry. First, though…
Way, way back in 2019, Todd Phillips was threatening to unleash a movie about the Joker on us. This resulted in what may be called “Joker madness.” Yes, stories started popping up everywhere about it being a dangerous movie. The United States Army warned us that Incels might latch onto the Joker, who might start shooting people over not being able to get laid.
(Never mind that the military is capable of violence of its own — it’s a Batman villain that’s going to wreak havoc on the world stage!). The Telegraph even asked Joaquin Phoenix if Joker would trigger mass shootings, which initially caused him to leave the interview.
The Joke Was On Us
Interestingly, though, there was no mass shooting. Or, if there was one at the time, it sure didn’t generate headlines. Let’s face it, though: It would have been the #1 story in America, had it actually happened. The mainstream media seemed to almost salivate at the prospect of some killer clown-inspired psychopath shooting up another movie theater, like what happened during The Dark Knight Rises premiere in Aurora, Colorado, back in 2012.
However, this movie produced no James Holmes (who, coincidentally, didn’t even dye his hair the right color to look like the Joker…the dufus). While the Aurora theater somewhat understandably didn’t show Joker, it almost sends the wrong message that they didn’t. You see, the world needs to understand something: Movies, TV shows, books, songs, etc., do not create violence by themselves. Heath Ledger didn’t try to make Holmes into a maniac. Ozzy Osbourne didn’t truly make any kids kill themselves, etc.
There’s something deeper going on when such a thing happens, and this whole moral panic was a reflection of the world surrounding films like Joker, as opposed to an all-encompassing reflection of anything in the film (which, if you asked me, sought to explain what might drive someone to violence).
How Come Joker Didn’t Drive Me Crazy?
I can personally attest to this, as I saw the movie in question twice in the theater. Neither time did I feel particularly inspired to go on a shooting rampage, or even shoot or stab a single person. In fact, the movie actually had me tear up in a few spots, which doesn’t happen every day. Why was that? Was I becoming an Incel? Probably not. I just think the movie was capable of triggering an emotional response. However, there’s a difference between that and having it completely alter me, Manchurian Candidate-style, into a maniac. If anything, the movie probably made me less likely to be violent.
Coronavirus Beats the Joker
Coronavirus has come close to shutting the world down. The movie theaters we saw Joker in have been ordered closed. As people do their social distancing thing, it seems like everybody is a potential threat, even if they don’t mean. How scary is Joker now during this pandemic? Be honest: When’s the last time the media gave that scary, scary clown man even a sideways glance? The menace has been all but forgotten. In fact, even crime in general has taken a backseat to this crisis. So many things we were urged to fear have become less significant. Joker? Pennywise? How about even something like ISIS, which actually merits fear?
These issues are largely generating crickets right now, and there’s a reason for that aside from the scope of COVID-19: The media is sensationalistic, driven by emotion, and it largely wants you to be that way, too. Don’t think things through and come up with a nuanced understanding. Something is either good or evil. That is what happened with Joker, by and large, and you can just tell it was done partly to generate clicks and ad revenue. It’s time for the media to just be honest about this.
They wanted to portray a superhero villain character study movie as something highly dangerous, as serious issues went severely underreported. Elements of our dysfunctional, often violent, global political/economic system went largely unaddressed, all to save room for fear-mongering over a fictional, homicidal clown. Way to go!
This reminds me of something else, too: Recently I watched an old MST3K episode featuring the movie I Accuse My Parents. an abysmally lame movie where a young guy named Jimmy (Robert Lowell ) makes a series of bad decisions for which he blames his neglectful parents. The funny thing is, his parents were average, not villainous at all. Basically, Jimmy blames his descent into near-criminal Hell on his dad being distant and his mom being a lush.
Jimmy is a very gullible guy looking for a convenient excuse for his own bad choices. Well, what does that remind you of? So, society, please don’t be like Jimmy or Arthur Fleck. Instead of descending into criminality, madness or blame-game identity politics, maybe try leading by solid, positive example. You may get as many clicks on your articles, but you might have an easier time seeing at yourself in the mirror.
What do you think about Joker vs. Coronavirus? Who would win in a fight? Let us know in the comments!
Crashin’ in Roswell NM: Road Trippin’ with Jennifer Weigel
So on my recent road trip to Miami AZ USA for my menstruation art installation, we decided to detour to Roswell NM en route home. To be honest, this was one of the best decisions of my life, up there with road trippin’ from Arizona to San Francisco along CA-Highway 1, and I will go into the details of why here soon.
Roswell NM USA has totally embraced its alien history of the UFO crash in the late 1940s and subsequent government cover up. The whole town is alien-happy with beautiful hand carved wood totems, murals and statues everywhere celebrating otherworldly denizens of all types, though predominantly the gray aliens of the crash (and their green counterparts). Even the city logo features a flying saucer as the center of the letter “R”. It really is kind of incredible.
One of the biggest draws is the International UFO Museum and Research Center, housed in the wonderful old theater building. This museum details the crash history as well as celebrating aliens in movies and media and examining newer alien sightings and abductions. It is very thorough and includes maquettes, statues, written accounts and an extensive research library, as well as an interesting art collection of various items.
And there are TONS of fun alien themed curiosity shops. I will give a shout out to the newer Invasion Station north on Main Street where there had once been an old car dealership. I love the quirky nature of this particular store as well as their strong desire to promote local artists. Most of their wares are hand-painted in NM and feature designs by prominent local artists including one of the lead muralists in town (I bought a magnet of his). They also feature really alternative kitsch like KISS and Ace Frehley alien bobbleheads, marijuana and anal references, and such. All in all, our own Haunted MTL’s kinda folks…
And the city is a huge tourist draw internationally, so you can meet some amazing and interesting folks from all walks of life who have caught the alien bug or at least want to check out all the hype. As a result of the tourism, the residents seem really laid back and accommodating (kind of like Hawaii but not quite as much) and there is a thriving art scene. And it’s totally my kind of art – weird and a little creepy. Anyway, I feel like I’ve finally found my peeps and am eager to return someday.
American Horror Story Season 12, Delicate
Killer Queens, I wasn’t expecting to be back so soon with American Horror Story info. But yesterday we were blessed with a teaser for the intro of Season 12, which we believe will be titled Delicate.
We are looking at a Summer release for season twelve, but won’t know for sure until June, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Here’s what we know right now.
First, yes Kim Kardashian is starring alongside Emma Roberts in a role that was written specifically for her.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that AHS favorites will also be involved. According to IMBD, Charlie Carver, Rebecca Dayan, Cody Fern, Leslie Grossman, Billie Lourd, and Denis O’Hare will be included this season.
AHS Delicate is different from other seasons in many other ways. It’s the first season to ever be written by just one writer, Halley Feiffer. This isn’t a writer most of us as horror fans will be familiar with. She’s written episodes of shows like Kidding, SMILF, and American Crime Story. The last one can at least be seen as a sister show to AHS.
As far as I have found, Feiffer has never written horror content. She is now the sole writer for an entire season of the most popular horror show in America. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It’s just not what I would have expected. Most AHS writers are staff writers, actors from the show, or at least people I’ve heard of. So as we don’t have any former work to look at, we can only wait to see how she does.
We also know what the source material is for this season. It’s a book called Delicate Condition, by Danielle Valentine. This book will be released in August of this year. Which also seemed strange to me. Normally a book would be, you know, published before it inspires additional work.
Even so, Delicate Condition seems like a fascinating story. According to Goodreads, it’s the story of a woman named Anna. Anna is trying to get pregnant but starts to believe that something dark is working against her. Her doctors don’t believe her. Her husband doesn’t believe her. Is she losing her mind?
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t deeply interested in this book. And I have to assume that Feiffer and Murphy already have hands on it, to jump to this sort of decision.
By the way, Valentine at least is not an untested writer. Her first novel, How To Survive Your Murder, also made it right on my TBR pile. With a rating of 3.7 out of 4 on Goodreads, I think we can assume Valentine knows what she’s doing with the written word.
This is all that we know about American Horror Story Delicate so far. What follows are my thoughts and opinions only.
My first thought is that this season is going to be dealing heavily with women’s reproductive rights. This is a topic a lot of us are concerned about right now, as it feels like every day women lose more and more rights to our bodies.
(By the way, if you want to help fight the good fight for body autonomy and get some spooky stories, we have an anthology for that. I have a story in it, as does the horrifyingly talented Jennifer Weigel. All proceeds go to support organizations that help women make their own health decisions.)
American Horror Story has handled important political issues before. Last season, AHS NYC discussed the AIDs epidemic that went largely ignored in the 80s and killed hundreds of young gay men. They did this in the best way possible, in what this critic believes to be the only way fiction should handle heavy topics. They rooted the issue in a good story. A story that was pure fiction, but also true.
However, this season has a lot of red flags. Never before have I seen the guest star be the main focus so early. Never have I seen any franchise bank so much faith in an all but untested writer, basing work on a book that isn’t even published. And frankly, I’ve never been much of a fan of Kim K, or anyone else who’s famous seemingly just for being famous.
I’m not rooting for this season to fail just because I don’t like the guest star. If Kardashian is good at this, I’ll be thrilled. I’ll be the first one singing her praises. But when everything we know so far is added up, I’m a lot more concerned about AHS Delicate than I am excited.
The Last Drive-In Season 5 Premiering April 21st Exclusively on Shudder!
They say good things come to those who wait, and boy have we been patient. It has been close to a year since our eyes have indulged a full season of ‘The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs’, in fact, the season 4 finale premiered on Shudder July 1st, 2022. Since then, we have been able to satisfy our appetites with festive holiday specials sprinkled throughout the past year. Specials such as ‘Joe Bob’s Halloween Hangout’ guest starring horror’s favorite Mistress of the Dark, Elvira (played by the legendary Cassandra Peterson) and ‘Joe Bob’s Ghoultide Get-Together’. Last month was a treat in itself, as we were able to witness Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl (Diana Prince) marry one lucky couple for the first time on the show with ‘Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine‘ special.
While the current changes in staff at Shudder have left fans questioning whether we will receive a new season of the popular series, I can happily say mutant family, we need not worry. In fact, to our wonderous surprise, Joe Bob Briggs has officially announced via Twitter, season 5 of ‘The Last Drive-In‘ will be premiering April 21st, exclusively on Shudder! One thing that is noteworthy, is unlike previous seasons, it has been reported by 1428Elm that season 5 will be broken up into two parts of five double-feature blood-curdling episodes. Though we have not been provided the official release schedule for the second block of season 5, here is a sneak peek of what we can expect for the first half of the season:
April 21: Season 5 Launch Party!
April 28: Walpurgisnacht Part 2!
May 5: Cinco de Fucking Mayo!
May 12: Mama’s Day!
May 19: Dysfunctional Family Jubilee!
Unfortunately, we do not have an official list of the brand-new double feature films for the first half of season 5 but, with amusing episode titles such as these, one can only imagine what grindhouse-classics will be joining ‘The Last Drive-In’s’ already eclectic list of sloshy goodness. For those impatient mutants eagerly waiting for more hilarious Joe Bob rant-filled commentaries, or those newcomers who’ve yet to experience the magic that is ‘The Last Drive-In‘, all previous four seasons, including past holiday specials are currently available to stream now on Shudder.
If you are just as big of fans of ‘The Last Drive-In‘ as we here at HauntedMTL are, please be sure to follow us on Twitter @HauntedMTL and join us April 21st as we tweet along with Joe Bob and Darcy the Mail Girl for the season premier. As is tradition, we will be hosting live watch parties every Friday with each new episode, including fresh holiday specials. The road to season 5 is upon us…let the countdown begin!
April 21: Season 5 Launch Party!
April 28: Walpurgisnacht Part 2!
May 5: Cinco de Fucking Mayo!
May 12: Mama's Day!
May 19: Dysfunctional Family Jubilee!
. . . and that's only the beginning.#TheLastDriveIn pic.twitter.com/WfeTx0shNa— Joe Bob Briggs (@therealjoebob) March 16, 2023