As the Lenten season hits the halfway mark, we are given the opportunity to reflect upon the decisions we’ve made and what we’ve given up. Per my normal sacrifice, I gave up meat, meaning no beef, pork, or poultry for 40 days. With a diet consisting of primarily grains and vegetables, it often becomes difficult to not think about giving into my body’s innate desire for proteins only animal-based products can fulfill. That being said, I thought about how wildly appropriate it would be to showcase a film about forbidden gluttony in this week’s edition of Fear Needs No Translation.
French director and writer, Julia Ducournau, dives head first into the horror industry with what may be considered one of the most warped and dark tales of the 21st century thus far. Prior to the release of Raw, her cinematic portfolio was almost nonexistent, being made up of a handful of writing jobs, as well as her short film, Junior. Her first feature length film isn’t the standard coming of age story. Drawing inspiration from both Dracula (1931) and Carrie (1976), Ducounrau has crafted a tale whose message is relatable while still catering to the horror aficionado.
I am super excited to be talking about the awesome collaboration song from NE-HI and Jamila Woods called “The Times I’m Not There,” which came out last year and I cannot get enough of. NE-HI is an indie rock band from Chicago that definitely deserves a spot up there next to Whitney and Twin Peaks as a band that’s on the move toward making it big. On the other hand, a Chicago native, Jamila Woods, is an activist, poet, and R&B singer-songwriter. I would never have expected the two of them to make music together, but “The Times I’m Not There” is honestly a fantastic song.
It’s not really something that I’m used to hearing, since I can’t name that many songs that are truly collaborations between two separate musicians as opposed to one artist who is featuring the other. Although, the more I listen to the song, the more I it feels Jamila should be the permanent lead singer of the band. The five of them together have excellent chemistry judging by this song. However, I am thanking the indie rock gods for allowing NE-HI to connect with her and make this amazing song together.
While it has been a sort of slow week for music, that could never stop the Jukebox from guaranteeing another 20 awesome songs!
Some news, though, can be found in the announcement of the entire Pitchfork Chicago lineup. Like I said last week, I will definitely be there for the Friday sets, but Saturday and Sunday’s artists have left me hoping for more.
As for the here and now, on our own lineup of tracks in the playlist, we have songs from Vince Staples, Lorde, Taylor Swift, and James Bay. And as always, there’s another 16 artists for you to try out as well!
Just about every year, a new horror film is unrealistically touted as being “the scariest movie ever made.” While they typically never live up to such hype, many can still contain positive results — 2015’s entry in the battle for horror’s throne, The Witch, immediately comes to mind. This year’s model is Paco Plaza’s Spanish possession horror, Veronica, which flourishes with some nice camerawork and interesting visuals, as well as the added benefit of being (loosely) based on a supposedly “true” story. It’s rather unfortunate, however, that Veronica ultimately lacks a unique enough premise and compelling narrative, while absolutely struggling to produce any real scares. I’m left honestly confused by the high praise and viral sensation surrounding its recent addition to Netflix’s constantly expanding lineup.
Set in Madrid circa 1991, Veronica centers around a 15-year-old girl — can you guess what her name is? Following the sudden death of her father, Veronica (Sandra Escacena) is left to take on the role of caretaker for her three young siblings, Antoñito, Lucia, and Irene, as her single mother works her days away in order to support them. One day, as her classmates and teachers at the Catholic school she attends are viewing a solar eclipse from the school’s roof, Veronica and a couple friends take the opportunity to hastily perform a seance via Ouija board, away from the watchful eye of authority figures. Veronica hopes to contact her father, but the entity that answers her call is something much more sinister.
Are you a fan of music and live in or near Chicago? Then maybe the Pitchfork Music Festival is for you! The Union Park festival has been slowly updating its set-list of acts that are scheduled to perform over the three-day weekend from July 20-22 — and so far so good! Friday features Tame Impala, Syd, and Courtney Barnett among others, so you can definitely catch me there on that day.
In other music news, there hasn’t been many huge releases over the last few weeks, but March looks good going forward. And still, even with a lesser amount of new singles and albums, Jake and I have scrounged together 10 recent tracks that we feel good about. On the playlist this week, you’ll find Superorganism, Twin Shadow, and Soccer Mommy, as well as 17 others.
Also, while you’re here and we’re talking about music, please be sure to watch this outstanding music video that Apple produced with director Spike Jonze, which debuts Anderson Paak’s groovy single, “‘Til It’s Over.”
Surprise! Welcome to an additional Meet the Editors post for this semester, where we are introducing our new Foreign Horror Film Blogger, Justin Fortes.
Justin is a senior majoring in physics at Lewis University, with a minor in mathematics. He is a Resident Assistant at St. Charles Borromeo, as well as co-director for the a capella group, Harmonic Uprising. Back home, he works part-time as a pharmacy technician at Jewel-Osco. In his leisure time, Fortes enjoys sitting around the table with friends fighting against ogres and saving fair maidens in the fantasy world of Dungeons and Dragons. Fortes also enjoys listening to a variety of media (political podcasts, metal radio, and DIY home improvement videos just to name a few).
His selection of literature varies and is consistently expanding. He has read a handful of books from his favorite physicists, authors, and playwrights including Stephen Hawkings’ A Brief History of Time, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain. Fortes is always searching for the next big scare in the international horror scene. He hopes to one day travel the world to experience what it has to offer, as well as gain better insight into the fear each culture faces and to better understand what it is that inspires each unique style of horror film.
I cannot think of another name in American horror that has the stature of the late, great Wes Craven. Craven, who sadly passed in 2015, is a name that many of you are likely aware of, perhaps subconsciously, even if you don’t necessarily recognize it in passing. To refresh the memories of those who are scratching their heads at my previous statement, Craven was responsible for some of the greatest and most well-known horror films and franchises ever made, including 80s mega-hit A Nightmare on Elm Street (that’s Freddy, for the less informed), his 70s midnight movie darlings The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes, as well as some more obscure hits you may recognize like the Rachel McAdams-led and highly underrated Red Eye and, well, whatever the hell The People Under the Stairs is (has anyone seen that movie, by the way? It’s weird).
But I digress.
What I’ve written about here is what may be Craven’s ultimate masterpiece in my eyes, the 1996 phenomenon that is Scream. Scream is a film that single-handedly rewrote the canon of the slasher film. Scream satirized the many clichés that had made the subgenre as popular as it was in the 80s, while also bringing it forward into uncharted, postmodern territory, ultimately becoming the most successful slasher flick ever at the box office and paving the way for a resurgence in the genre in the following decade. This is where we would see eventually the releases of imitators such as Final Destination, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and yes, even Scary Movie.