A Letter To My Fifteen Year Old Self

Hey,

It’s me, or rather, you, from the future. Put down the star trek fan fiction, we need to talk. I have good news and bad news.

The good news is, you having fuller lips won’t be as bad as you think. Sure, you get made fun of it for now, but in about ten years, it will be fashionable, and both men and women will pay tons of money for surgery and lip glosses that promise the plump pout you are currently embarrassed of. I mean, it will be favoured on white women over you, but it’s something.

Don’t bother fucking about with your eyebrows either, because it isn’t worth the effort. Thicker brows will be fashionable too, and let’s be real, you can’t handle pain, so waxing, plucking or threading really will never be an option for us. Now I’ve typed all that, I’m concerned that they may be out again. Luckily for you, you learn, over time, not to care anyway. They’re just eyebrows.

Onto some bad news, but with a hint of good news. You will never “grow into your nose”, and you won’t learn how to contour it away either. However, you will one day learn to accept that your face would completely change if it was different, and that is a reminder of your heritage, and you will realise the importance of keeping your past close to you, because it’s a lonely, fucked up world, and sometimes, all you will have is yourself, so it will be comforting to be able to remember where you came from. You are a concoction of so many different places and people, and that is something to be proud of, so don’t be ashamed that you look different, because that’s fine.

You’ve spent your whole life feeling like you didn’t fit in, and a lot of people around you contributed to that. A lot of kids picked on you, and called you weird or ugly. Some were even racist, which is fucked up and you’ll probably still think about it for a long time, but don’t hold onto your anger for them. It doesn’t help you, and it won’t change them. You are responsible for you. You can’t make everyone good. You survived, and that’s all that matters. Maybe they grew up to be better people by themselves, maybe they didn’t, I don’t know, because I’m busy doing my own thing, but I wish I (or you), had learned to do that sooner.

2017, which is where I am now, is going to be weird as fuck, and you should prepare for that as best you can. You’ve seen some pretty weird and fucked up things already, so I wish I didn’t have to tell you it gets worse, but I do, and I’m sorry about that. It turns out you were right about Tony Blair, but you were wrong about Kevin Spacey. You were very, very wrong about Kevin Spacey. You will discover that sometimes, evil can be hidden by nice things, and nice gestures, and a nice face, and you will never stop being astounded and disgusted by it. You will never really learn to be aloof or unsurprised by supposedly good people turning out to be awful, but maybe that’s a good thing. You were also wrong about Seamus Heaney, but he isn’t a sex offender like Kevin Spacey (probably should have mentioned that in more detail earlier, sorry), he’s just a better writer than your jealous teenage self was willing to acknowledge, and at some point, you will find it within yourself to admit that you only dislike him because he has a nobel prize, and you don’t (yet). There is still time for you, and you don’t have to dislike people because they have achieved things you haven’t, especially when you are literally still in school, and haven’t even finished your exams. He’s 53 years older than you, so it is to be expected that he will achieve things you want, before you do. Give yourself a chance to grow, and you’ll do all those things too. With this in mind, you can also stop hating about 45% of celebrities and public figures that you don’t like, because the same thing applies. You have plenty of time to collect trophies, sign books and perform.

On the bright side, there will be a new Star Trek series, with a black female lead, and a better chance of not being cancelled like enterprise, but to enjoy that, you first have to endure a Tory government, leaving the European Union, and an absolute bastard being the president of the US.

I probably should have done those one at a time, but it’s important that you understand something. Many of those things happened because of voter apathy, and I know that right now, you’re super hype for politics and desperate to vote, but in about three years, that enthusiasm will die, and one man is responsible. When you were (or are) eighteen, you will vote for the liberal democrats, because Nick Clegg makes a lot of promises. Nick Clegg will then form a coalition with the conservatives and the effects will be devastating to the country, and to you too. It will break your heart. You will lose complete faith in politicians, and it will take a long time to get it back. You get your groove back after seeing Nicola Sturgeon in a debate during the 2015 election, and will reluctantly return to the Labour roots you were raised on, because it’s the closest thing to the SNP in England (I mean, it isn’t really, but it’s the best you can do), so if we ever get a chance to do 2010 again, save yourself some heartache and just vote labour or green. It doesn’t actually matter how you vote really, in the bigger picture, because you’re registered to vote in a safe Tory seat, but it might make you personally feel better. The moral of that story is, people might let you down, specifically politicians, but not all of them are the same and many of them do want to help. Don’t give up and definitely use your vote, and encourage others to do the same, no matter how annoying it makes you feel, because people not voting led to most of 2017.

Speaking of men in 2010 who will break your heart, there will be a man that you meet on a tube train, on New Year’s Eve, he will make lots of promises and tell you so many nice things, but he will ruin your life for about two years, and to be completely honest, you’ll still be slightly broken in 2017, and maybe further on, I don’t know yet, so again, if we get the chance to do 2010 again, don’t talk to anyone on the tube. It’s frowned on anyway, regardless of how Northern your upbringing was. Keep your mouth shut and read a book in uncomfortable silence, like everyone else.

Back to how fucked up 2017 is. You will be devastated by the result of the EU referendum, and will briefly consider desperately attempting to get Spanish citizenship and leaving the UK forever. I don’t know if the UK will actually leave now, because it’s currently a bit of a clusterfuck, but whatever happens, you will be okay, and the UK isn’t so bad (at least, some parts of it, anyway). Please remember to speak English in public at all times, for your own safety, because some people will go nuts and be unrelentingly xenophobic after the referendum, but keep to yourself, and don’t talk to strangers, especially in Spanish, and you’ll probably be fine. You will have to stop pretending not to speak English to avoid gross men, as this could get you into way more trouble than before, and you may feel like this place isn’t your home anymore, but there are places where you will still feel like you belong, so hold onto that.

Donald Trump becomes president. This doesn’t directly effect you all that much, but you will hate it all the same. For a while, you will feel there is no good left in the world, but there is, I promise. You just have to look harder to find it, these days. Oh, and you will later discover that he, like many people in 2017, is the absolute fucking worst, and you will no longer feel guilty about your angry blog posts about him taking up space at Wrestlemania.

You won’t be a Broadway star, like you wanted, not in 2017 anyway, but weirdly enough, Broadway World, a website where you spent most of your childhood, writes an article about one of your books this year, so that’s a nice consolation prize. You will go to university, though, like you wanted, and you’ll be a writer, which you’re just getting interested in now as I remember. You also dip back into music, and a song you compose gets thousands of streams on Spotify. I’m aware you don’t know what that means yet, or what Spotify is, but basically, thousands of people hear your music, and that’s pretty fucking cool. It’s like music downloads, except you will get way less money in royalties, so we aren’t exactly living fancy yet, but I’m working on it.

You are currently sad. I remember it so well, and I wish I could tell you that everything magically gets better, but it doesn’t. You’ll later be diagnosed with depression, and you’ll be resistant as fuck to it, because you’re used to helping the people around you with their own stuff, and it will be hard to accept that you need help to, but take it, because it doesn’t make you weak.

Depression isn’t your only problem. I know this is all pretty bleak, and I’ll stick more goodness in this soon, but I’m just writing it as it comes. You will go through many things that will make you question who you are, and will make you feel like life isn’t worth it, this will of course not be helped by the depression you are not yet currently aware that you have, but even without depression, it’s a lot to go through. You survive. That’s all I can promise. I can’t tell you it won’t hurt, but I can tell you that you survive.

Your handwriting never gets any better, by the way, but you have a very impressive typing speed, so stop worrying about that. You will barely write by hand once you leave sixth form anyway, and you will have the convenient excuse of never writing by hand, because you want to save the planet from deforestation. To be real, though, I think people are aware that you’re just really bad at writing by hand, but many people you meet are too polite to say so.

Right now, you think you’re very smart and mature, because you listen to radio 4, and read the Guardian, but you still have lots to learn, and realistically, you’re a very young fifteen, at least emotionally. I really wish we got a second shot at 2010, or any of the years actually, because there is so much we could do differently. There is so much you didn’t know, and so much that I can’t protect you from, that still haunts me to this day, but realistically, I can’t. We can’t. All that we can do is be thankful that we made it this far, and keep going.

Your survival is all that matters. Things will be tough. Things will be devastating. You will get your heart broken (no bones though, so we still hold that record), you will be disappointed, you will feel like a failure, but you will live on and you will feel joy, and passion, and pride, and you will survive.

Whatever happens, keep fucking going. You may not get exactly what you want, and things might feel hopeless some days, but you survive, and that’s all you can do sometimes.

As I write this right now, you are happyish. Things are okay. You’re currently waiting for your new music video to process through editing software, and trying to pass the time, by saying hello to the girl you once were. You had a decent night of sleep last night, despite being caught in traffic for ages. You look a bit of a mess because you didn’t put on make up this morning, but you’re still cute, and most importantly, you are still fucking here.

Besos,

J x

PS. You don’t learn to swear less, and around 2012, you stop putting it on your new year’s resolution list, because it just isn’t fucking realistic. Sorry.


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Drowning In Us Trailer

Hola amigos,

I hope the cold weather isn’t too bad where you are.

As you know, for the last few years, I’ve been working on a very special project. It has been a long process and it has gone through a lot of changes, but I have some further details on it that I can share with you.

The project will be a story that is told through various mediums, and will include a book of short stories and poetry, an album of music inspired by the story, and a film.

You can check out the film trailer below, and I can’t wait for you to see more of the project next year!

I really hope that Marina and Grant’s love story will be something you enjoy.

Besos,

J x


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The best and worst of Horror on UK Netflix

Hola amigos!

As usual, I’ve been watching many diabolical things, in an attempt to discover something that frightens me more than the prospect of Brexit, and my streaming service of choice is Netflix. Netflix has a lot to offer, but tends to lack a lot of key horror titles, but I’m here to take you through some of the best horrors I could find, and some that you’re better off avoiding.


The Best

The Invitation

The_Invitation_(2015_film)_POSTER

A very convincing argument for never speaking to your ex again.

The Invitation is what I will show anyone that tries to convince me that my policy of completely erasing exes from my life is self destructive. Our hero, Will arrives at his gorgeous former home with his new girlfriend, for dinner with his ex wife. It is quickly revealed that the pain of their young son’s death caused Will and his wife to divorce.

Of course, people handle things in different ways, and at different paces, and to the rest of the world, Will’s ex wife Eden seems to be moving forward in her life, but underneath her smile and equally smiley husband (a sure sign that something is wrong in horror, would be an abundance of smiling) lies a very dark truth to how Eden has recovered so well.

Without spoiling too much (I know, I always do that!), The Invitation really looks at the idea of whether we as people are every truly capable of knowing each other, and knowing the true capabilities of those around us, as well as giving a definitive answer to whether the past really should remain in the past (brief spoiler alert, it definitely should).

Black Mirror

black mirror jennifer juan

The future is bright, but it scares the shit out of me.

Now, some wouldn’t consider Black Mirror to be horror, but I personally would. Perhaps not all of it is horrific (San Junipero says hello, and I’m crying all over again), but there are many horror aspects, and so one could argue it is a horror anthology, and, well, I am.

One of the most frightening parts of Black Mirror is coming face to face with how truly awful we have the potential to be. Why fear ghosts and creatures when monsters are walking past us every day, right? Charlie Brooker has succeeded in showing the reality of every day life and human nature, and how it can lead to chaos, destruction, and unfortunate pig related incidents.

I’d personally say that my favourite episodes were “National Anthem” and “Playtest” but I’ve never finished an episode and felt unsatisfied, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy them all.

Shutter

Shutter08poster jennifer juan

More trouble with exes..

Now, I’ve been very vocal about how disappointing western remakes of eastern horror can be (Death Note, I’m looking at you), but Shutter is definitely one of the better ones.

As Ben and his new wife Jane travel to Tokyo to start their new life as a married couple, they think nothing could go wrong. This is a horror movie, and so, of course, they are wrong. The trouble begins when Jane hits a girl with their car, and the girl vanishes without a trace.

They try, as people in horror movies often do, to forget about the situation and move on with their lives, but of course, that just isn’t going to happen, as Ben’s photographs begin to show signs of spirit photography, leading Jane to begin unravelling the mystery of Megumi Tanaka, and the horrific truth of her connection to the newlyweds.

As mentioned, it is one of the better adaptations of an eastern horror, and will certainly deliver more scares with less lazy crossover writing than some of it’s peers.

The Mist

The_Mist_title_card jennifer juan

Dreams, after all, are insubstantial things, like mist itself.

With the recent release of It, many of us will be looking for something Stephen King related to continue the scares after watching, and The Mist is the perfect option. The movie adaptation is a favourite among many horror fans, for it’s terrifying visuals, and breathtakingly bleak ending, and the television series does a great job of continuing the universe of King’s original story.

I must admit, I was hesitant to begin watching the show, as The Mist genuinely troubled me when I watched it, many years ago, on Sky Movies, when my mum was out of the house and couldn’t stop me, but I’m very glad that I put my self inflicted childhood trauma aside and gave it a chance.

With an impressive cast, and the opportunity to delve further into the story than the movie adaptation, it is definitely an enjoyable show for fans of Stephen King, and honestly, anybody else.


The Worst

Unfriended

Unfriended_2015_teaser_poster jennifer juan

Please, little girl, take this lollipop…

Unfriended was an ambitious idea, and so I will give them credit for that. Focusing the entire audience perspective on social media is certainly original, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was the right step. I applaud the originality but I feel the movie relied on that gimmick too much, and didn’t give proper attention to character development.

One of the key things with horror, is creating characters that people care about. If you I don’t care about the characters, why should I care when they die, or get damned to hell, or eaten, or whatever you’re doing to them. One of the curses of modern horror is reliance on jump scares or quirky gimmicks, to cover up that a story doesn’t make sense, or the characters are poorly developed, and Unfriended is definitely guilty of that.

I suppose the message of “Don’t cyber bully” is nice to see in a mainstream movie, but I couldn’t really get past how weak the writing was, and so the message was lost, for me.

The Green Inferno

The_Green_Inferno_poster jennifer juan

We get it, Eli, you’re really edgy.

If you’re ready for more poorly developed, unlikable characters, then you may enjoy The Green Inferno.

Now, as many of you may know, I am not the biggest fan of Eli Roth (although, I did think Hostel was great), and so perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, but honestly, for someone who is hailed as one of the brightest stars in the horror genre, I expect better, and The Green Inferno was a massive disappointment.

I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the most annoying parts of The Green Inferno, for me, was the mess of messages for the audience. It was so difficult to pin down who I was supposed to sympathise with, or if I was even supposed to care at all. A lot of the time, it felt like it tried to emulate the message of Cannibal Holocaust (We think that indigenous people are savages, but WE are the savages), but they also shoved a whole bunch of 4chan worthy shit on top that it was lost. We get it, Eli, you’re really edgy. We get it.

One of my problems with The Green Inferno was that, while admittedly it was a homage to Italian cannibal movies, and so would naturally have similarities to many existing ones, including Roth’s blatant main muse, Cannibal Holocaust, it didn’t feel like Roth did anything new with the genre, or the resources available to him. It felt like the kind of thing kids would make on windows movie maker, for a GCSE media class, but with a bigger budget, rather than feeling like a movie made in tribute, but with original thoughts and ideas behind it, so the whole thing just came off as lazy.

The only interesting or slightly likeable characters turned out to be the tribe, and so I wasn’t too bothered as they picked off most of the characters I was meant to be rooting for.

Roth also got overly defensive, when accused by Survival International of continuing to give a platform to negative stereotypes about indigenous people, saying “The idea that a fictional movie about a fictional tribe could somehow hurt indigenous people when gas companies are tearing these villages apart on a daily basis is simply absurd.”

I get defending things you create, to a point, but this seems like a case of a creative never having had to face major criticism before, maybe because the entire genre they dominate keeps telling them how clever they are, and how special they are, and then getting defensive when confronted with genuine criticism, because it hurts their ego.

He went on to say “The fear that somehow a movie would give them ammunition to destroy a tribe all sounds like misdirected anger and frustration that the corporations are the ones controlling the fates of these uncontacted tribes.”

The fact is, dehumanisation of marginalised people is what keeps them marginalised, and this is partly done by the media and entertainment industry, so, yes, while the movie didn’t drive the whole world to attack uncontacted tribes, it is part of the fabric of their dehumanisation, and to say that these things don’t influence or vindicate prejudiced people, who kill people who stand in the way of profit, is naive at best, and ignorant at worst, because they are only able to kill those people, because they have been so dehumanised that they no longer see them as people. Attacks on indigenous people are still a reality and while I wouldn’t say writers and film makers should never touch on subjects like this, they should at least try and be responsible, and not act like people being offended by their bad treatment of sensitive topics is unfair.

Eli Roth is a grown man, a grown man of 45 fucking years old. If he’s grown enough to make his little cannibal movie, he should be grown enough to defend it without shouting down people’s opinions, and throwing a tantrum because people don’t “get” him, and actually confront his work with criticism.


Besos,

J x

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Let’s Go To The Movies

Hola Amigos!

As usual, I’ve been spending copious amounts of time watching simulated murder on a huge screen, while eating popcorn, like the scumbag that I am, and I’m here to let you know what I’ve thought. Yes, this is exactly like THAT League Of Gentlemen sketch.

Contains Spoilers for The Belko Experiment and Raw.

Continue reading

Dating, and new writing

Hola amigos,

I hope you’ve been well. I’ve been very busy, going on quite a few dates… with myself. I’ve been single for a while, to be honest, I’d like to be for a bit longer, but I missed things like going to dinner, or seeing a movie, and initially, I thought it would be lonely to do it by myself, but actually, there are a lot of benefits.

For a start, I’m paying for everything myself, so there is no pressure to give anything back (financially or otherwise)for the drinks or the dinner, and I can also wear what I want without there being a sense of entitlement from someone else, because I’m the only one there!

I can also get an ice blast at the cinema, and nobody can tell me that adults shouldn’t have them, because I’m the only one there and I don’t care.

I’ve been on quite a few cinema trips lately, and rediscovered how enjoyable it can be just to sit, and be absorbed by the universe of someone else’s creation. I normally watch movies alone, but I’m big on multi tasking, so I’ll be writing while watching, which can be a little distracting. A major upside to watching a movie alone, and without distractions is that I can see whatever I want. I spent a lot of time when in relationships having to compromise, because most people aren’t interested in horror movies, and mentioning subtitles would send most of my exes running for the hills, so it’s nice to be able to watch things I’m actually interested in.

In other news, below is some new work I’ve finished. I hope you enjoy it!

Besos,

J x


baby steps jennifer juan

No Idea Why

£19.92

Follow

The Two I’s

Damien’s Lament

Baby Steps

Before You

Told You

Freak

White Cliffs Of Dover

Straw

Yearbook

-x-

No Idea Why

I looked up, back down.

I’m fascinated by the fear that frequents our moments together.

No idea why.

I took a step, silent, ran back.

No.

I’m cornered by my curiosity, for the way that you could love me.

I’ve no idea why.

You shy away, just like me, though our hearts have done marathons.

One wrong move from a nervous mouth can ruin a good thing I suppose.

No idea why.

-x-

£19.92

Kicks away the blankets,

still covered with the prints of her producers,

her days are caught in crying,

because she belongs to the songs she sold her soul for,

the melodies are mocking,

and though the crowds sustain her day to day,

she is only alive,

at the edge of death.

-x-

Follow

Anything to be with you.

I’ll go where the trail of your heart desires,

melting at my core,

on an endless exploration.

Anything to burn with you.

Show me the jaw of the jungle,

let me sleep in it’s swallow,

axed by the acid that awaits me.

I’m not afraid,

to die for our journey,

lost to your longing for the universe.

Anything to breathe with you.

Take me to the highest point,

to the ends of the earth,

and into the sun,

to burn up,

at the very thought of you.

-x-

The Two I’s 

My hands are dead,

done with drawing deeds we never did,

and my heart is hardened,

from hearing what it cannot have.

I’m saved by my sanity,

until it leaves,

through the same door she did,

then I’m helpless to myself.

She said I was intelligent,

until I was “insane”.

I’m insane enough to wait my life for her,

and intelligent enough to make it art.

-x-

Damien’s Lament

She’s sleeping.

I watch her toss and turn,

my stomach does the same.

I’m sure her eyelids are a work of art,

and her fingertips are fondant fancies,

french tips, fit for my lips.

Her face is lonely,

without my eyes to keep it company,

the wonder of her waking,

is worth the risk of arrest.

-x-

Baby Steps

She stumbles behind us,

running to keep up.

We need to lose her,

so we can lose ourselves.

Nobody knows,

I’m not even sure I do,

but maybe we’ll know,

alone at the lake,

learning to kiss,

and learning to cry.

-x-

Before You

I’ve given up on giving you everything I had.

I’m picking up the pieces that I put on display,

you never understood them,

and you wouldn’t take a step into my gallery.

I glue the girl back together,

though she fights the skirts you sneered at,

and the pink lip you said wasn’t to your taste.

I place it on her mouth,

to decorate the long howls,

and dress her in all she has left.

I still paint by your numbers,

they add up to fuck all,

I have more troubles,

than your approval,

but I seek it,

every second.

I’m busy rebuilding the girl you left behind,

and the girl she was,

before you.

-x-

Told You

I told you I’m a liar,

but you didn’t believe a word I said.

You told me I was the only one for you,

and I told you I wasn’t for anybody.

Just say it if you want to,

and maybe I’ll figure it out along the way.

Spell it out, say syllables,

because I never learned to read.

Love me if you want to,

I won’t think any less.

I don’t really think at all,

but maybe that could change.

-x-

Freak

She’s uneasy on her feet,

and harsh on the world.

Her head is in the past,

that stabs and stands above,

no matter where she runs.

Would you believe her,

if she said a heart,

was fighting,

under that freak in teal?

-x-

The White Cliffs Of Dover

I’m on a cliff,

and on the sea floor,

in a moment,

if I want it.

I don’t hear Vera,

or love, or laughter,

just waves and wind,

and the rushing of my stillness.

Erode me to the air,

or save me from myself,

right now, it doesn’t matter,

and neither does what led me here.

-x-

Straw

He pulls on my hair,

he pulls on my nerves.

He presses his lips to the straw in his hand,

and all over again, I’m envious of inanimate objects.

My heels removed,

I’m a girl again.

I am blushy, I am mushy,

and I’m disgusted by my desire for him.

He’s drinking again,

as I drink him in.

I’m euphoric, and pathetic,

and I know that he loves it.

He touches my heart,

my hands and my lashes.

The world has stopped,

and only he can make it start again.

-x-

Yearbook

Voted most likely

to steal your elderly husband,

in my high school yearbook,

‘Cause I’m a vampire for vintage,

and I need that stale sweet blood.

I need some seasoned love,

because tomorrow’s man,

doesn’t factor into my future.

I want a face and heart,

with character,

and an earth of experience,

to impact upon my sun.

-x-


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Thought Provoking stories in your horror movies? It’s more likely than you’d think!

I know, I know. I’m late with my Get Out thinkpiece, but to be fair, it was released later here in the UK, and also this isn’t so much a Get Out thinkpiece, as a plea for the real world to stop treating horror movies as the annoying little sibling who doesn’t deserve to sit at the grown up table. Let us begin.

I thought Get Out was phenomenal (please don’t ask me how many times I had to type that word to get rid of the dreaded red line, I am not the best speller..), and one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in 2017 so far. Daniel Kaluuya has always been an actor I’ve enjoyed watching, since I first saw him on BBC’s eclectic horror comedy series, Psychoville. He continued to impress over the years, and really gave a stellar showing in Get Out, as the hero, Chris. The writing was clever and engaging, and the entire film was a blood soaked joy to watch, which is exactly what I want in a horror film.

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Daniel Kaluuya, star of Jordan Peele’s Get Out.

As a child of an interracial relationship, and a participant in a few (well, considering I’m literally a mixture of two races, I think, biologically speaking, any relationship I have will be interracial, but I’m being pedantic), I am well aware of not only how great they can be, but also the sobering difficulties that interracial couples can face, outside of their own loved up bubble. It isn’t just obvious prejudice, but subtle “well meaning” issues. Of course, someone threatening to burn your house down, or kill you for being in a relationship outside of your race is noticeable, but there are acts of prejudice that will sometimes fly under the radar, and this film expertly and fearlessly exposes racist microagressions and opens up discussion of the full scope of racism, including the well meaning allies who still, however accidental play a part in racism, and of course, the “I’m not racist, but…” crowd.

It achieves this without being patronising to those who may want to help break down barriers and use their privilege to help people, in a way that The Green Inferno, Eli Roth’s cannibal holocaust edge lord, try hard rip off tribute attempted to do, but didn’t quite manage. The message was much clearer, didn’t sound condescending, and the conspiracy theories were at least well explained, related to the topic at hand and not just yelled out by a caged hipster. That makes a lot more sense if you’ve seen The Green Inferno, and if you have a few hours to spare, it’s on amazon prime, and while a bit crap, it’s kind of a laugh, even if it’s just for how seriously it takes itself.

Get Out is by no means the first horror movie to confront real world issues, but it’s massive success has opened up potential new viewers to all the great things horror as a genre has to offer, including but not limited to “woke” horror (and by that I don’t mean Nightmare On Elm Street), and sent a clear message to the bigger studios that not only is horror worth investing in outside of October releases, but that mindless horror isn’t the only profitable option.

Horror is, in my opinion a great genre to explore and discuss the harsh realities of life, because is there really any more realistic a picture of humanity than one of humanity in peril? The truth of who we are and why we are that way is easily exposed under the threat of death, whether it’s from zombies, ghosts, cannibals, or your unfriendly neighbourhood racist.

Zombie movies, as overexposed as they might have been in recent years are a great example of privilege in action. Working class people are normally the first victims in the apocalypse, because, well, they’re at work, surrounded by people, some of which may be zombies, and they don’t have helicopters, huge cars or boats to get away from the carnage. I can tell you right now, the second Z Day comes, I will be one of the first to go. I don’t drive, I don’t have a cool method of escape, and it takes me at least two hours of commuting on public transport to get home of an evening. I’ll be eaten before I make it past Bluewater. Meanwhile, those richer than me will have better means of escaping. Whether they’ll be anything left to escape to at the end of the day is anyone’s guess, but they’ll have a better chance than me. Is this fair? No. Is it the way life currently is for me? Yes.

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The Rezort, one of the most recent Zombie movies to shine a light on the true price of not being able to afford safety in a disaster.

This is of course reminiscent of real life natural disasters, in which money can go a long way to preserving your safety, while the underprivileged don’t have the resources to have safeguards in place, or any way to help themselves when disaster strikes. While zombies might be a fantasy, the fact that in a crisis, large parts of the world’s population will be fucked over because they are from a lower economical standing and don’t have access to things that will help them is not.

The recent debate over women’s rights to their own bodies has also been covered numerous times in horror. Classic film Rosemary’s Baby is a harrowing look at the lack of autonomy women hold over their bodies. Not only is Rosemary sexually assaulted by a demon, her husband casually lies and states that he had sex with her when she was unconscious, to cover the fact that she was sexually assaulted by a demonic presence. During her pregnancy, her concerns are silenced and she is eventually forced to mother the Antichrist.

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One of the most iconic Mother’s in cinema history was the most unwilling.

While I’m not aware of cases of women being raped by demons, or forced to carry the Antichrist to full term, I am aware of cases of women being raped in the real world, and having their fears and concerns silenced, I am aware of women in the real world who are denied a choice on carrying a child to full term, and the fact that these realities are not just playing out on a screen, and are, in some sense real, should terrify us, but like many of the characters in Rosemary’s Baby, people will find ways to justify women being treated this way, or will just ignore it.

While many see Saw as a yearly money raising exercise for Lionsgate, the Saw series did contain a hard dose of reality along with it’s gore. There are people who think like John Kramer, and believe they have a right to play God because they are unhappy with people’s attitudes, there are corrupt police officers like Mark Hoffman who will use the power entrusted to them by their communities to commit crimes, and they’ll try and justify them too. There are people like Amanda Young, who are vulnerable, and can form great bonds with those that abuse them, whether it’s the one who enabled her drug habit, or the one who stuck a bear trap on her head and forced her to disembowel a man. These people may never see themselves as abusers, they may see themselves as saving their victim, but the reality is, Amanda Young was a victim of abuse, those that abused her, especially John Kramer insisted that it was her own fault. He insisted that he “fixed” her, he brainwashed her until she believed it. In the real world, this is called victim blaming, and while John suffered for it, many in the real world do not.

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Amanda Young, one of the many abuse victims who was blamed by her abuser for her own trauma.

I could go on about the horrific but quite realistic aspects of the long and winding Saw saga, but I don’t have all the time in the world, and the fact is, it may have handled some of them in a clumsy manner, but the series confronts many of the world’s injustices, and tells the story of many oppressed people through it’s long and bloody journey.

I’ve barely scratched the surface, and horror is a genre full of excellent commentary on the state of humanity, and what complacency to the issues of your fellow man can bring you, and while it is unfortunate that a lot of it is written off due to the storytelling devices used, it is my hope that in the future, horror will be taken as seriously as other genres, and the messages it contains will be given as much attention as other genres.

Besos,

J x



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Get To Know Me :)

Hola amigos,

Today, I’m going to be doing the “Get To Know Me” tag, which I saw being done here. Hope you enjoy finding out a little bit more about me!

Besos,

J x


 

What is your middle name?: Louise, my mum has the same middle name, interestingly enough.

What was favorite subject at school?: Drama and English Language, because I loved to create characters and cool backstories for them.

What is your favorite drink?: Strawberry ribena.

What is your favorite song at the moment?: Kokomo By The Beach Boys is my favourite song ever, no matter when you ask me, it is always that.

What is your favorite food?: I think about Yorkshire Puddings every single day. If I could eat them every day, I’d be the happiest person alive.

What is the last thing you bought?: I got a bottle of Sunny D this morning.

Favorite book of all time?: Forever by Judy Blume. I think Judy Blume is such an outstanding writer, and it’s a shame that a lot of people disregard her as “just a children’s author” because firstly, children’s authors are just as valid as any other kind of writer, and secondly, Blume’s books can be enjoyed at any age because she is amazing.

Favorite Color?: Purple and Pink.

Do you have any pets?: No. I’d like to have a pet, but I don’t think I’d have time to give it the proper love and care it would need, so I won’t for now.

Favorite Perfume?: Forever by Mariah Carey. That’s also my favourite song by her.

Favorite Holiday?: I actually don’t like going on holiday because I get stressed about all the things at home so I can’t enjoy it at all.

Are you married?: No, and I doubt I ever will be because I’m the actual worst.

Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times?: Yes to Spain, but Brexit is coming up, so I guess I’ll just be staying here and hoping Europe forgives me.

Do you speak any other language?: English, and Spanish, and I’m learning Welsh.

How many siblings do you have?: Two brothers and one sister.

What is your favorite shop?: Superdrug, because I like how much cool stuff is there, and that they still occasionally play Europop on the radio.

Favorite restaurant?: You all know this was coming… Nando’s!

When was the last time you cried?: This morning. I watched the MAC Viva Glam episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and when Ongina cried, I cried, but I didn’t have the weird vaseline filter lighting to keep me looking cute…

Favorite Blog?: Jess! Jess is a wonderful person and her blog is both beautiful and informative.

Favorite Movie?: Back To The Future Part One, Battle Royale, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, The Big Sleep, Selena, La Bamba and Ringu.

Favorite TV shows?: The Thick Of It, Star Trek Voyager, Bates Motel and Jane The Virgin.

PC or Mac?: PC, because I find Macs confusing.

What phone do you have?: iPhone 6S in rose gold.

How tall are you?: 5″11

Can you cook?: Yes, but I can only cook the five or six meals I actually like, so if you’re hoping for something fun and interesting, I’m not the girl to call.


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Things About Rings.

rings-poster

As a long time fan of the many adventures of Samara Morgan and her Japanese inspiration Sadako, I was incredibly excited to see Rings, and here are some thoughts on the latest addition to the series. I mean, I could call it a review, but it’s more fangirl whining, I don’t know.

It will contain spoilers for the entire series, so it is under a read more 🙂

Besos,

J

x

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The Road To Halloween continues…

Halloween is getting closer, and my favourite thing to do on the road to Halloween is to dim the lights and watch something frightening, in preparation for what should be the most frightening day of the year.

Gone are the days of me having to sort through my DVD collection (and previously VHS collection) to find something frightening, because Netflix has it covered, and they even have things organised by genre, which is already a step above my DVD collection (and yes, previously VHS collection).

I have already watched quite a few movies, so will include some of the best, and some of the worst on Netflix, to give you my thoughts.

This post may contain spoilers for the following movies:

February (The Blackcoat’s Daughter) (2015)

The Presence (2014)

#Horror (2015)

The Green Inferno (2013)

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Jen’s Spooky Soundtrack

October is here, and with it comes one of my favourite holidays, Halloween. I have always loved Halloween, because it brings together so many of my favourite things. Dressing up, scary movies, and of course, door to door free stuff, although, sadly, I’m now a little too old for trick or treating…

Today, I’m going to share with you a little of my Halloween playlist, that I use all through October, to keep me in a creepy, spooky mood.

Eve Was Weak – Betty Buckley and Linzi Hateley (From Carrie The Musical)

You may not even know that a musical based around the classic Stephen King book Carrie exists, sadly, the original production didn’t do so well, but it became a cult favourite among fans of both Broadway and the original book, and is now enjoying a revival, which honestly, would be what poor Carrie would want. Eve Was Weak is a stunningly spooky duet between Carrie White, and her terrifying mother, as Carrie pleads for comfort after a traumatising ordeal at school. The instrumentation is sinister, with lyrics describing fears that don’t just come out at Halloween, and giving a fresh perspective on the horrors Carrie faced outside of School, and building a perfect introduction to the tragic monster she would become, and the tragic monster that waited for her at home.

Main Titles – Charlie Clouser (From Dead Silence)


Charlie Clouser has become a well known name among horror fans, having composed some of the themes to many recent staples of the genre, such as Saw, American Horror Story, The Stepfather, and of course Dead Silence.

The theme from Dead Silence has always given me a Phantasm vibe, due to the similar use of the piano in the build up to the stunning crescendo that a villain like Mary Shaw deserves.
The Well – Hans Zimmer and Henning Lohner(From The Ring)


While Hollywood does have a tendency to tone down the scares when remaking foreign horror movies (I’m looking at you, John Erick Dowdle, Quarantine was a mess) Gore Verbinski’s remake of Hideo Nakata’s Ring was a refreshing take on the American – Foreign remake. While there were some plot changes, the intelligence and sheer dread of Ring was retained, and this was definitely helped, by the utilisation of a soundtrack by legendary composers Hans Zimmer, Henning Lohner and Martin Tillman. The Well is probably the song you hear when thinking of the movie, containing elements of the chilling antagonist, Samara Morgan, and a familiar melody that follows you throughout the movie, The Well will have you checking under your bed, and fearing any kind of water.
Ave Satani – Jerry Goldsmith (From The Omen)

The Omen is an iconic horror movie, and one of the defining moments of the genre, that demonstrated how truly masterful horror can be, when in the right hands. It’s Academy Award Winning soundtrack certainly doesn’t disappoint, with the satanic hymn Ave Satani being one of the major highlights. Paying tribute to everybody’s favourite bad boy, Satan, the lyrics are a clever inversion on traditional latin prayers and chants, creating the ultimate ode to the Anti Christ. I’m reaching for my rosary as I type…


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May Faves ❤️

mayfaves jennifer juan

Someone suggested this type of post to me recently, and it made a lot of sense. I’m the kind of person who is always looking out for new things, and then getting excited and obsessed with said new things, enough to warrant a blog post (but normally just resulting in me bothering my friends and relatives with inarticulate ramblings), and so, without further ado, here are some cool things I found in May.

Hush Jennifer Juan

Hush

Hush first came to my attention when Netflix sent me a notification about it being released. I love horror movies, but I have to admit, over the years, I’ve grown tired of the home invasion subgenre. A lot of recent efforts have too many similarities, which makes for good drinking games, but not for good movies. You can only watch a family that you haven’t learned all that much about, run around a house you aren’t familiar with, while screaming “Why are you doing this?” to a villain who will inevitably say, in the voice of Christian Bale’s Batman “Because I can.” before aiming something at their head so many times, before you start to wonder why you didn’t just stick with zombies. Zombies can be samey too, but at least there is occasional variety in the origin of the infection, and the gory ways in which it can be spread.

With all that in mind, the cover of Hush, a standard masked man behind a frightened woman did make me want to click away from the description and search for something else, however, a quick glance at the description renewed my interest. The lead character, Maddie, was a writer. She was also deaf.

Writers in horror isn’t all that rare, but deafness in horror movies is these days. It would seem that murderers, zombies and ghosts are only interested in attacking those without hearing impairments.. or, the more likely option, most film makers don’t consider that deaf people exist and could be in horror movies, because diversity is something that horror does seem to be a bit far behind in, hence why the minorities tend to die first, if they get to be in the movie at all.

Still, new film makers are emerging every day, and with them, come new ideas, new characters and new possibilities, that are championing a diverse list of heroes to battle against the monsters of the universe and save the day.

Unfortunately, I have the longest netflix watchlist known to man, but I got to Hush eventually, and I’m very glad I did.

The opening of the movie did a great job of letting you get to know Maddie, without distractions, a drawn out title sequence or a massive amount of conflict. Due to the movie not being overpopulated, you are able to form an attachment with the lead character and immediately root for her.

Every part of Hush seemed necessary. It was about building a connection between Maddie, and the audience, and then sending them both on a one way trip to thrillsville (I know that is the lamest thing anyone has ever typed). I found myself with Maddie, in every moment. Her horror, became my horror. The horror of the movie lies in the reality of Maddie’s situation. Anyone can find themselves at the mercy of a bloodthirsty killer who decides today is your last day. A lot of horror comes with conditions. You MUST move into a haunted house to encounter a ghost or demon that will mess with your life. You MUST watch this video tape to activate the scary ghost lady (or little ghost girl depending on which version you watch). You MUST mess around with this spirit board like a moron and then spend several days hiding under your bed from the consequences. Hush, like most home invasions moves away from that and examines how horror can enter the lives of people who didn’t go looking for it. Maddie didn’t do anything wrong. She didn’t ignore a warning on the television about an escaped convict, she didn’t go to an abandoned hospital to play Bloody Mary, she didn’t upset a self righteous terminally ill man with far too many traps just lying around to snare her with. All Maddie did was stay home and try to finish her novel. I do that all the time. Literally, tonight, when I’m in my jammies, snuggled up and trying to finish the bastard thing, a killer could just turn up at my door and decide he was going to terrorise me for the night. I genuinely don’t know what I would do if that happened, so please nobody do it.

One of the best parts of the movie is the commitment to not victimising Maddie due to her deafness. It is made very clear that this situation could be experienced by anybody else, and it is also made clear that Maddie can handle the situation like anybody else. If I was to guess at why deaf characters (or disabled characters in general) do not appear in horror very often, it could be that directors are not sure of how a deaf person would handle something like a home invasion, or a zombie apocalypse, or their child being possessed by a demon. The simple answer, as shown in Hush, is that they, like everyone else, would just do what they had to do to get through it. To see a disabled character, especially one that isn’t written off straight away as a burden or cast as the villain, purely because of their disability is such a huge step for modern horror, and can only bring more diversity to horror movie characters in the future.

Also Stephen King likes it, and that is a guy who knows his horror.

mua velvet lip jennifer juan

Halcyon

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m not a makeup expert (duh). I don’t even really know much about it. For a long time, I wore the exact same products all the time. I would purchase the exact same brown lip gloss and gold eye shadow, and that was about it. Someone once told me my lashes were too long for mascara, and I was too afraid of getting foundation wrong that I just didn’t even bother having a go.

However, after seeing make up tutorials (which I find weirdly relaxing) I figured I could branch out and maybe give some new things a shot. I thought it best to stick to some things I had a little knowledge of, and first started with lip products.

I don’t really follow trends and fashions (hence why I dress like an old woman cosplaying a toddler), but after some research, I discovered that Matte is in for lips. I meant to buy a matte lipstick (more on that later) but I ended up buying lip lacquer instead. I had actually mistakenly purchased a lip lacquer years before, when attempting to buy my usual lip gloss, and hated it, because it was incredibly drying on the lips, but this one doesn’t have the same effect. It has staying power, without making my lips feel like a desert, but dries quickly to leave long lasting colour, without sacrificing comfort, which is perfect for newbies like myself who may have been put off by fear of the unknown.

fancy fawn jennifer juan

Fancy Fawn

As previously mentioned, I am by no means a makeup expert. I wouldn’t even call myself competent at it, but I have a vague idea of colours that look cool with me. As mentioned previously, I used to stick to browns and nudes, and so I decided not to deviate too far from that when getting a lipstick. I went with Matte again, because they look cool, and also because after wearing glittery lip gloss exclusively for years, I thought it might be time to go for something a little more grown up.

Like the above lip lacquer, this lipstick boasts long lasting colour, along with staying power, but does take a little longer to dry, so you may wish to use a lipstick sealant with it. Again, it doesn’t dry out the lips too much, but I have taken the very helpful advice on the review section of their website to moisturise and prime my lips before application to avoid drying entirely. Application is simple, and quick, with beautiful, long lasting results.

mua undressed jennifer juan

Undressed

Well. I wasn’t going to give up glitter completely, was I? Admittedly, I am again a novice at eye makeup, it may not always look great, but I have a lot of fun with it.

Undressed includes a glittery gold shade (lion) that I’ve used variations of for years, so I can recreate my signature (I’m laughing as I type this) simple look, of you know, just putting some around my eyes and hoping for the best. It also includes several beautiful and subtly shimmering shades (come on, you guys know how much I love alliteration) that I can experiment with, and try to find something that is a little less “toddler who got into mummy’s make up box” and more “actual grown up with a handle on things”.

To get so many eyeshadows for such a small price was great too, as I’ve often thought makeup to be super expensive, and maybe for some brands it is, but this satisfies my needs for now, and didn’t reduce my bank account to tears, so it’s a win win sitch.

zoella sweet inspirations jennifer juan

Sweet Inspirations

I think the vast majority of us have a vague idea of who Zoe Sugg is. If you haven’t seen her YouTube videos, you may have read one of her books, or tried one of her products, or even seen her on Bake Off a while back. For those who have done none of those things, Zoe Sugg is a blogger who makes videos, writes books, has a beauty line, and also has a dog. I may have left something out there, but I’m sure you can forgive me, for Zoe has her (I’m sure well manicured) fingers in a lot of (probably home made) pies.

Zoe’s latest range of beauty products is the Sweet Inspirations collection. I’ve never tried one of her products before, so I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, but I had heard a lot about them, and about her, so when I saw them in the shops, I decided to jump on the bandwagon headed for…. no, I won’t add “ville” to another word. I just won’t. You know what I mean.

I’m very set in my ways about a lot of things (as you would have seen above) and I am trying to get out there and do more new things, but bath products isn’t something I’m ready to experiment with too much, so while I did stick with my standard Johnson’s Baby Bath in terms of that, I did decide to pick up the fragranced body mist.

It was quite an interesting experience, because I was surrounded by Zoe’s fans as I approached the display, all of which were very excited as the range had apparently been put out in stores earlier than expected. In all honesty, I haven’t been excited by new products from my favourite ranges for quite some time. Primarily because I literally buy the same things over and over, but also because my time is taken up by work, writing, and my own terrified ramblings about what the hell I’m going to do with my life, that I don’t stop to actually take a moment to get excited about something new. For a moment, even though I’m not a Zoella superfan, I took that moment, and I got excited about treating myself to something new.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that it didn’t come in a fancy box. The packaging design of the entire collection is very elegant, and there was definitely potential for fancy box with fancy box art for a fragrance, but on the upside, it is more eco friendly to not have a box for a body mist. In the grand scheme of things, it was a good decision to go boxless.

There is a good amount in the bottle for the price, and the fragrance is long lasting. I put some on this morning, and it’s now mid afternoon, and it’s still here. It is macaron themed, as is the entire range, and is sweet without being overwhelming or sickly.

My grandma also loves it. I don’t know if this carries the same weight as Stephen King liking Hush, but she knows her fragrances as well as he does his horror, so you can probably trust her opinion.

jelly belly sours jennifer juan

Sours

Who doesn’t love a good jelly bean? I love jelly beans. I also love sour things, so naturally, sour jelly beans were exactly what I needed in my life.

Perfect for sharing, or for your own little jelly bean party (is that a thing? I’m making it a thing), these are delicious. My favourites are the sour cherry (the red ones), but they also contain sour apple, sour peach, sour grape, and sour lemon, so have something for most tastes. They are also gluten free, gelatine free, fat free and peanut free, if you wondered. I only know what two of those terms means, but I love a good list, so I enjoyed that little factoid on the back of the packet.


Well, that concludes that post. I hope you enjoyed it, and I’ll see you soon!

Besos,

J x

Find The Products Mentioned Above

Hush
Halcyon 
Fancy Fawn
Sweet Inspirations
Undressed
Sours

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