Friday, February 10, 2017

Women in Horror Podcasts: Best of Faculty of Horror and The Girls in the Back Row

Since it's Women in Horror Month, I want to feature two podcast I have already offically reviewed: Faculty of Horror and The Girls in the Back Row. These two podcasts are at the top of my must listen list because of their detailed analyses of film, their behind the scenes information, and their entertaining conversations. Here are some of my favorite episodes that you can start with in case you haven't listened to them yet.

* Faculty of Horror Episode 9: Eating Disorders in Black Swan (2010) and Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Alex and Andrea reveal the importance of eating disorders, which are peripheral, in the the two focus films. This is interesting in itself, but they also take it a step further. They show how Black Swan and The Wrestler, two Aranofsky films, are related. Both deal with toxic expectations of their main characters based on gender and how their bodies are harmed as a result. Nina's struggle is internal and she has to have a facade of perfection while Randy's is external because of the violence of his career. Their discussion on Drag Me to Hell is also illuminating in that Christine had to me less emotional and more masculine to get ahead in her workplace, but then became cursed as a result. Men in insurance are expected to do this all the time, but a woman dares to rise to their level and is sorely punished.

* Faculty of Horror Episode 42: French Kiss: Calvaire (2004) and Martyrs (2008)

Alex and Andrea cover two films that I didn't necessary love and have a very different view than I expected. Calvaire shows how broken society can get when it's only comprised of one gender. This one functions as a bizarre hive mind that does everything together. They clued me into to more comedic elements which I might have missed. Their view of Martyrs is interesting. They mention the typical criticisms directly and show their own view. Martyrs is an intense, memorable film, but the excuse for the torture still feels hollow to me. This episode makes me want to read Alex's book Fillms of the New French Extremity because she adds context for both films about the history and current events of Belgium or France that the films may be reacting to.

* The Girls in the Back Row Episode 16: Audition

Takashi Miike's shock class Audition is already very memorable. However, Kate and Tab's discussion about it and placing it within the context of Japanese society makes it even more awesome. To me, the film and book are problematic because the whole thing starts as men appraising women's worth on superficial things and specific attributes that they deem desirable. This is a critique of Japanese society, which is why it ends up going so wrong. Tab also compares the movie to the book which gives more context and adds more details that give events more meaning. They also point out smaller details that I missed because the first two thirds of the film can be so dull.

* The Girls in the Back Row Episode 18: Tokyo Gore Police

Tokyo Gore Police is one of the most over the top and gory films I've ever seen. When I watched it, I didn't give much thought to anything going on underneath the surface. Kate and Tab share that the splatterpunk subgenre that influenced many Japanese filmmakers had female protagonists that were portrayed in a much more powerful way, atypical at the time. On the other hand, these films (like Meat Ball Machine, Frankenstein Girl vs. Vampire Girl, etc.) don't feel completely feminist because of the fetish aspect with the women in school girl outfits and being viewed as a sex object while they kick ass and act as the hero of the film. This is also the first film that Kate and Tab disagree on and it's interesting to see their differing perspectives.

These are only a couple, so listen to an episode or two to see if it's something you'd like!

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