Sermon: Halloween Is Back, And It’s About Time

Anyone who’s known me for five minutes knows the Halloween franchise is my favorite movie series of all time. The 1978 original is the purest and simplest “good versus evil story” I can think of, with not one but two heroic characters you can really root for (Laurie Strode and Dr. Sam Loomis), plus a truly frightening villain (Michael Myers or “the Shape”) who is every bit as iconic as Darth Vader or the Joker. Many of Halloween‘s sequels, “requels,” and other spin-offs have built upon this original premise to produce a mythos that is much richer than most others of its ilk, and many of us fans were worried the newest film from 2018 would not live up to this heritage. After giving myself a year to re-watch David Gordon Green’s Halloween (2018) several times, I think I’m ready to pass my final verdict on this latest offering.

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CNN: Bebe Rexha claps back at ‘male music executive’ who said she’s ‘too old to be sexy’

This isn’t exactly what I’d call “Headline News,” but I feel it warrants attention nevertheless. While I am not a fan of Bebe Rexha’s music myself, she is right to push back against the (male) music executives who have been age-shaming her. For crying out loud, the lady is only 29 years old, she’s younger than I am. And Jamie Lee Curtis proved last year that you can be a “gun-toting granny” and still be sexy as hell, so Bebe has a whole 60+ years to enjoy her youth. Besides, men will pay attention to a nice pair of legs no matter how old they might be. There’s a 70-something-year-old lady I pass on my way to work everyday, and she is absolutely irresistable to behold. She always turns my head and grabs my attention, even though society says she’s “too old” to be desirable. So take it from me Bebe, you’re never too old to be sexy; just keep being yourself, and the men in your audience will continue to drool accordingly.

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The Michigan Daily: Two Columns by Dana Pierangeli

A Setian’s autonomy is sacred. Do NOT touch me without permission, do NOT tell me how to live my life, and do NOT take from me what is rightfully mine. This includes not only my property, but also my body, my mind, and my very soul. The same rule applies equally to both male and female Setians. Even the gods themselves must respect human autonomy if we are to show them any respect in return. We are neither their possessions nor their property, and whenever they forget this, we have every right to remind them by smashing their images and burning their altars to the ground! And if I am willing to defy a god for my autonomy (and I have!), you’d better believe I will defy any human being for my autonomy as well—even if it’s a blood relative. My old man once beat the shit out of me for not renouncing Set and pretending to be a good little Christian boy. I remember how fucking crazy he looked while he was smacking me around that day, too. But none of his threats or blows ever worked, because Set is mighty, and so am I!

But it’s only been a few years since I learned how much harder it actually is for women to protect their autonomy than it is for men. I’ve been railing against the patriarchy for years, but it wasn’t until I reached my 30s that I learned how some women will pack knives or even guns while they’re out jogging at night, or how some will jog in groups to avoid being attacked or raped. Simply because of my genitalia, I’ve never had to think about carrying a weapon whenever I leave my home, and this fact disgusts me. If I had been born with a vagina instead, would I even be alive today? Somehow I am not so sure I would be, given the sheer amount of violence against women that is perpetrated across this earth with every passing moment.

The following two articles are by Dana Pierangeli of the Michigan Daily, the official University of Michigan newsletter. They are quite disturbing to read, but extremely informative. If you have yourself an XY chromosome like I do, you need to read what this woman has to say. I’m absolutely positive the women in your life will appreciate it.

The Michigan Daily: To the Boys Who Tell Us They Live in Fear
The Michigan Daily: It’s Taxing To Be a Girl

USA Today: Televangelist Pat Robertson—Alabama Abortion Law ‘Has Gone Too Far,’ is ‘Ill-Considered’

Well fuck me gently with a chainsaw. I never thought I’d see the day when I could say, “Even Pat Robertson thinks the current campaign against abortion has gone too far.” Mind you, this doesn’t mean ol’ Pat has finally come round to being pro-choice. He’s still as anti-woman as he ever was; but while the intent behind this current attack on female autonomy is to get Roe v. Wade overturned at the federal level, Mr. Robertson seems to think this will only backfire on conservatives.

Never in all my years have I imagined that I would ever say anything like this; but I pray to Set that Pat Robertson is proven right on this one.

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Sermon: Ishtar’s Final Conflict With “The Man”

The Final Conflict (1981)—which was re-christened Omen III: The Final Conflict for its DVD release in the early 2000s—is the second sequel to Richard Donner’s 1976 masterpiece, The Omen. I enjoy the original Omen trilogy in its entirety, but The Final Conflict is the one installment thereof that’s made the largest impression on me. This film also makes me think about the Akkadian goddess Ishtar, who is one of Set’s many romantic partners and the second-most important deity to me personally.

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David Gordon Green’s Halloween (2018) is a Treat, Not a Trick

On Saturday evening, the Missus and I went to go see David Gordon Green’s new Halloween movie (2018). We were not disappointed in the slightest. I had much the same emotional reaction from seeing this flick that many Star Wars fans got from seeing Episode VII: The Force Awakens back in 2015. It was like seeing an old-fashioned Halloween movie again. Watching Jamie Lee Curtis beat the living shit out of Michael Myers is just about my favorite thing to see.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the film—I’ll wait a few months before I give this movie a proper review and really dissect it for everyone. But I did notice that a certain film critic at CNN named Brian Lowry has accused the film of being little more than your average slasher fare. He also accuses it of sabotaging its own message of female empowerment by having so many “women who wind up on the chopping block.” First, I’d like to point out that Lowry’s tone betrays his prejudice against slasher movies in general. While it is true that slasher movies of the early 1980s were particularly questionable in the ways they portrayed their female characters, this is most certainly not true of the original Halloween from 1978 (or even most of its sequels and spin-offs). We might also point out that slasher movies have generally become much more woman-friendly since the 1990s (as in Wes Craven’s Scream from 1996 and Jim Gillespie’s I Know What You Did Last Summer from 1997). So I think Mr. Lowry’s insistence on judging this new Halloween movie based on “common knowledge” of slasher films is ill advised.

But perhaps my biggest beef with Lowry here is that he doesn’t appear to have watched the same film I watched at all. He describes it as a “fairly by-the-numbers slasher movie” in which the gruesome deaths are “mostly involving [teenagers],” and then he makes a joke about not getting attached to anyone who isn’t old enough to drink legally. (In many early 1980s slasher films, the characters are usually teenagers who go to an isolated spot so they can drink, smoke, and have sex without any parental interference; as they are picked off by the killer, it often seems to film critics as though the characters are being “punished” for violating White Anglo-Saxon Protestant values.) Lowry’s comments are ironic given that most of the victims in Green’s Halloween (2018) are not teenagers, but adults. Roughly half of them are male, and the men suffer the most grueling deaths by far. (No spoilers, but it does not pay to be a cop in Haddonfield, Illinois.)

More importantly, Lowry seems to have missed the entire character arc of Laurie Strode, her daughter Karen, and her granddaughter Allyson. Again, I’m not going to discuss any spoilers, but this movie grapples with issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma, and grief. It shows us that the things that happen in these movies can have real consequences that continue to effect people for decades after they’ve already happened. It even explores the idea of a female survivor’s story not being believed, not only by men, but by other women as well. My wife put it best when we were leaving the theater: This is not just a “by-the-numbers slasher movie,” but a Halloween movie for the #MeToo era, which is very lovely thing to see.

Apart from saying that I think this is literally the best Halloween film to have been produced since 1988, I can’t recommend this movie highly enough. If you dig horror movies, do yourself a favor and go see this flick. And if you’re worried at all about this film being misogynist or anti-woman, let me put your fears to rest. If we had a daughter, my wife and I would take her to see this movie because we both think Laurie Strode is a fantastic role model for young women everywhere.

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