[Film: The Blob, Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., 1958]
A Repurposed Drive-in Delight:

Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.’s The Blob, and How a Horror Movie Becomes a Comedy

 

The Blob movie poster Almost everyone is familiar with some instance of the so-bad-it’s-good phenomenon of watching movies that are enjoyable because of how terrible they are. There is fame and fortune for anyone who sincerely tries and laughably fails to make a good movie. But today I want to talk about a subtly different phenomenon: movies which were good in their time, but which have aged into a different genre (usually comedy) or else not aged well. One such film which has undergone this comedic fermentation process is The BlobThe Blob, a short 1950s drive-in science-fiction movie.

A film loved by audiences in its time (if not by critics), The Blob still offers viewers a very enjoyable experience, but for very different reasons. What was once a semi-horror, science-fiction creature feature has become a schlocky, humorous melodrama.

Continue reading

[Film: The Blob, Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., 1958]
A Repurposed Drive-in Delight:

Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.’s The Blob, and How a Horror Movie Becomes a Comedy

was last modified: January 2nd, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski

[Work: The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood, 1985]
The Once and Future America:

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and the Consequences of (American) Society Yielding to Fear

 

One unfamiliar with the novel, or unfamiliar with Margaret Atwood, might be understandably mistaken about what sort of book lies behind the unassuming title The Handmaid’s TaleThe Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood. The name conjures up images of Victorian romance and understated drama which could not be further from the reality: a brutal piece of mid-1980s dystopian fiction about life in a theocratic America.

A decade and a half before Atwood won the Booker prize for The Blind Assassin, the Canadian author was nominated for the award (and a host of others) for this mid-80s work of considerable power and brilliance. Anyone who prizes the introduction of more traditional ideals into a country’s governance ought to equip an open mind and give this chilling tale a read.

Continue reading

[Work: The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood, 1985]
The Once and Future America:

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and the Consequences of (American) Society Yielding to Fear

was last modified: April 6th, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski

[Work: The Island of Dr. Moreau, H.G. Wells, 1896]
Coping with Scientific Understanding:

Discoveries that can Forever Alter Worldviews in H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau

 

Unlike the other most prominent early writer of science fiction, Jules Verne, who focused his fiction primarily on courageous adventure, scientific discovery, and multifaceted characters like Captain Nemo, H.G. Wells’ fiction often focused on dark themes, political allegory, and social commentary. For this reason, the most widely read of Wells’ fiction among modern audiences are those which allegorize situations or possibilities that seem most relevant today, such as The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, and The Invisible Man.

But my favorite work by the man, and one of my favorite books overall, is one which is more often regarded for its potential in the horror genre than for its literary content: The Island of Dr. MoreauThe Island of Dr. Moreau - H.G. Wells. A number of films have presented The Island of Dr. Moreau as horrorThe Island of Dr. Moreau - H.G. Wells or actionThe Island of Dr. Moreau - H.G. Wells, and it even had a segment in the The Simpsons‘ thirteenth “Treehouse of Horrors” episode. The film adaptations (all quite loose) are almost universally regarded as terrible, or else are enjoyable primarily for their B-movie charm and missteps. But the book is a truly remarkable one, and tugs at anxieties that many of us will understand far too well.

Continue reading

[Work: The Island of Dr. Moreau, H.G. Wells, 1896]
Coping with Scientific Understanding:

Discoveries that can Forever Alter Worldviews in H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau

was last modified: April 29th, 2016 by Daniel Podgorski