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Showing posts from July, 2019

Body Building Scandal: Problems with the Accused, and Bias against Women

I wanted to say something in extension to my recent video response to how forgiving bodybuilding fans are of their role models—how they circumvent accusation by making the prosecution and the victims appear fickle, unsound or vindictive. Shawn Roden, Jeremy Buendia and Larry Wheels have all been accused over the following weeks of various crimes. Roden, of rape; Buendia, of domestic abuse; and Larry Wheels of domestic abuse and infidelity.

Since being accused, all three men have come forward to state their side of things; or rather, they've stated their innocence—to the public, but also their fans. While a plea of "not guilty" is perfectly acceptable, it helps to avoid blanket rebuttals unless this can be proven according to the prosecution's evidence. Even if they are acquitted, there are problems their cases demonstrate in society at large. I wish to outline these regarding the defendants, but also their fans.


In Roden's case, he denies being innocent of the ac…

Sigma's Origin Story and Its Gothic Depiction of Mental Illness

This article analyzes the origin story for Blizzard's new Overwatch (2016) character, Sigma. It also critiques the umbrage critics have taken with Sigma's bare feet.

I enjoyed Blizzard's Sigma origin video for many reasons. It's creepy and grandiose in way most Overwatch videos aren't. It has actual pathos, and tells much of its "story" through grim emotional appeals. Sigma seeks to harness a power beyond his control and pays the price. Like Schrodinger's infamous cat, curiosity is not fatal, but a jail sentence. This prison is poorly defined. Instead of a concrete box, Sigma's tomb is an unhappy place between total lucidity and pure annihilation. And we're right there with him.

Sigma's head thrashes about, much like the demons from Jacob's Ladder(1990). 
Reversing the video continues the story (and the prison). Played forwards, Sigma gradually becomes mad, the destroyer revealed at the end; played backward, the Good Doctor is slowly red…

"Alien: Ore" (2019) Q & A, Leonty Music, part three

As part of my ongoing Q & A series on "Alien: Ore" (2019), here is part three of my three-part interview with the film's composers, Rose Hastreiter and Gerry Plant of Leonty Music

Recording (cont.)
Nick: Horner recorded his score to Aliens (1986) in four days. How long was your recording process for "Alien: Ore" by comparison? 
Rose: Approximately two months, from auditioning to the final mix. Composition, recording and tracking were all happening at the same time, in our case. We didn't have any luxury of budget towards a live orchestra. So, we were resourceful in our design of sounds. Everything was arranged and produced in our studios.

Gerry and Rose each have their own studio, and the two communicated back and forth constantly during the score's production.
Nick: When recording, did you try to recreate any "alien" sounds for your own score? If so, how analog-driven was your approach? For example, in Forbidden Planet (1956), Bebe and Louis…

A Mixed Bag: The Shortfalls and Saving Graces of Stranger Things 3 (Spoilers)

This article covers some of my problems with Stranger Things 3 (2019) and one of my favorite moments. Spoilers!

Stranger Things 3 is uneven. In short, episodes one, two and three are solid horror. After that, it's a mixed bag. There's much to appreciate, and much to criticize. I'll start with the latter...

Invulnerability Clauses
Season three continues many problems I've had with the show to this point. For one, its cast is a bit too large for its own good, and contractual obligations make it impossible to kill any of main players. Hopper's "death" is frustratingly noncommittal. Off-screen, the maker's hide it behind the splattering of so many disposable Russian scientists.

The only main player to bite the dust is Bill, a casualty from episode one who spends more time off-screen than on—so much so that his development occurs entirely by Eleven invading his mind. There, we get a mess of smokey images. Whenever he's in a scene, Bill is largely mute, …

Dissecting Stranger Things 3, Episode 3's Subplots

This article is part of a series meant to review Stranger Things 3 (2019), per episode. Here is my review of episode three: "The Case of the Missing Lifeguard" It's a bit longer, and analyzes season 3's web of subplots and Gothic content thus far. Spoilers!

Before going in, I automatically wondered "Shouldn't 'Lifeguard' be plural?" Bill disappears, but so does the Linda Barrett lookalike (currently anonymous). Both of them were lifeguards.

I digress. The episode starts at Hopper's place, where Max and Eleven are fantasizing about other boys (including a centerfold of the Karate Kid, himself, Ralph Macchio). Max continues to liberate Eleven, encouraging her that Mike will come crawling back (as Lucas often does). Apparently she'd kill to see "their stupid faces," so Eleven blindfolds up.


In this case, the normally unsettling "dark space" is a site for comedy. Eleven peers in on the hare-brained theories of emotionally…

"Alien: Ore" (2019) Q & A, Leonty Music, part two

As part of my ongoing Q & A series on "Alien: Ore" (2019), here is part two of my three-part interview with the film's composers, Rose Hastreiter and Gerry Plant of Leonty Music

In case you missed it, read part one.
On the Directors

Nick: What are Kailey and Sam like as directors?
Rose: By far some of the best I've had a chance to work with. They understand the power of music in telling the emotional story—the story that is not in dialogue and exposition. Therefore, their creative direction and our creative discussions are always in-depth; they helped direct us, much like you’d expect them to direct actors: towards revealing the emotional quotient of a scene. They challenged me as a composer to help uncover more [emotional] depth, and I particularly like how they provide genuine constructive feedback throughout our process.
I think by this stage, we've created a safe communication space, through which we [can] remove ego and serve the story the best. So when I …

Stranger Things 3, episode 2

This article is part of a series meant to review Stranger Things 3 (2019), per episode. Here is my review of episode two: "The Mall Rats." Spoilers!

Episode one ended with Bill ostensibly being dragged to his death. Episode two picks up where it left off, suggesting some kind of impregnation before letting Bill go. In short, he's the new spy, but he's already at odds with the Party and completely ignorant to what they've been through—the perfect host for this alien threat. On-screen, he drives to a phone booth, only to have the call interrupted by a sudden storm. Presaged by magenta lightning and roiling thunderheads, Bill comes face-to-face with a clone of himself. Pretty Gothic!


I wish we'd get a whole episode of this, like how "The Lost Sister" was self-contained. Alas, post-credits, we jump to Eleven, who's waiting for Mike; Mike, under Hopper's power, has to lie about his grandmother being sick. It goes over about as well as it did with…