Gang of Five

Future Supernatural Trends

by Jess Alice , December 11, 2013Leave a comment

goosebumps

Vampires have well and truly been done. They’ve been done so much that they have glittery skin and drive sports cars and I hate it when vampires drive sports cars. Zombies are feeling pretty passé, especially when every zombie-apocalypse narrative turns into a weird voyeuristic rapey survivalist drama. Werewolves are like the beta-vamps no one really likes that much and don’t look very cool even with the wonders of CGI—that said, I haven’t seen Wolfman yet so maybe Benicio made it hot. The following are my half-serious top five picks for the next Big Bad in the world of supernatural trends.

Evil WiFi

It’s in your house, it’s in your local café, it’s in your library. Evil WiFi knows everything about you and wants to make your life a living hell. It knows what kind of porn you like and all your credit card information so you’re pretty much screwed. It’s sort of like Carrie but less tangible. Evil WiFi waits as you stream your favourite BBC comedy, and just as the climax is about to occur, BAM! It Rickrolls you to the end of Ready Steady Cook. It’s that evil. It takes your log-in details and creates a fake Fairfax account to frame you as a serial commenter of articles about things you hate. There is nowhere to hide from Evil WiFi except offline. And who would want to live there?

the blob

The Blob (1988)

Blobs

Sticky stuff. Gross. What is a blob? I don’t know! The blob could potentially be a shapeshifter as much as it remains shapeless, it could be the T-1000 from The Terminator, an Alex Mack-esque puddle or it could roll around without awareness like a rogue ball of Playdough. Blobs consume all they blob over, and I imagine being inside a blob is like being digested by the sarlacc from Star Wars, which is to say very unpleasant. Sure, Flubber was cute and fun loving but imagine it shaking its booty maliciously, only to draw you in to consume you. The blobs greatest strength is its apparent harmlessness and its ability to move unnoticed at small sizes.

catladysimpsons

The Simpsons’ Eleanor ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ Abernathy

Literal cat ladies

Taking the tired stereotype and making it grotesque, the literal cat lady is so enamoured with her pet cats that she has become one (or is in the process of becoming one). This is no sexy Cat Woman situation—the literal cat lady has cat-food breath and cat-food-tin-sharp claws. She’s probably pretty misandrist too, and wants to get back at everyone who ever used ‘cat lady’ in the pejorative sense. With all the cunning and dexterity of human brains and thumbs, and the balance, agility and ferociousness of a cat, the literal cat lady could be a relative of the werewolf. But instead of representing the repressed carnal drives of man, the literal cat lady is decidedly out for revenge on a sexist world that undervalues ladies’ love for their cats. 

roombacat

Still from the YouTube video ‘Cat In A Shark Costume Chases A Duck While Riding A Roomba’

Robot vacuum cleaners 

As someone who has been chased by a duck many times, the scare-factor of a robot vacuum cleaner appeals to me. Vacuum cleaners, like ducks, are not inherently scary, but when they chase after you at a walking-pace and nip at your heels for a prolonged period of time things can get a bit intense. The robot vacuum cleaner is so scary because of its familiarity in our homes. We put our cats on them! It’s so funny! Makes life so easy! Wrong. Once the robot vacuum cleaner becomes self-aware you had better watch out—it knows your house inside and out and can hide under the bed. It also probably has lasers.

Anything out of Goosebumps

Dummies, mummies and masks have all been done before, but to be honest I don’t know why an originality-bereft Hollywood movie industry and major publishers aren’t just ripping off every scary thing that ever appeared in R.L. Stine’s beloved series. What about those huge blue Koala beasts? Instant classic. Oh, and there was a blob in Goosebumps, too. And what about bugs—it’s been so long since The Fly and lately all the insect movies are cutesy allegories for complex sociopolitical issues. Cuddle bears, lawn gnomes and CHOCOLATE CAKE have all been monsters in Goosebumps for goodness sake. Why on earth are we still bothering with zombies?

Jessica Alice is the Online Editorial Assistant for Kill Your Darlings and the Literature and Books Editor for Lip magazine. She is Radio Adelaide Breakfast’s Feminist Insider and produces Women On The Line for 3CR radio in Melbourne. She tweets @jessica_alice_




marilyn-ulysses

Reading Marilyn reading Ulysses: when celebrities are photographed with books

In 1955, photographer Eve Arnold snapped a now-iconic image of American actress Marilyn Monroe, in her bathers on a Long Island playground, reading James Joyce’s Ulysses. In the sixty years since, the photo has prompted continual suspicion in those who see literature and celebrity as mutually exclusive – was she really reading it? Read more »

capote-dog

The Outsiders: The early stories of Truman Capote

The recent publication of The Early Stories of Truman Capote – a collection of newly-discovered short stories from the archives of the New York Public Library – reveals the preoccupations of the adolescent Capote, drawn to drifters, exiles, and others living on society’s fringes. Read more »

CAROL

You Could Burn a House Down: Todd Haynes’s Carol

For many years, lesbians in fiction were punished for their social transgressions, condemned to a life of solitude, insanity, feigned heterosexuality and/or suicide. Radically, Carol portrays a lesbian love that doesn’t destroy or diminish its subjects, but enables them to transform, to grow and to be free. Read more »

21EMMYJP6-master675

Killings Columnists Pick Their Best of 2015

As 2015 concludes, we also farewell our fabulous 2015 Killings columnists. They’ve entertained and delighted us all year with fortnightly columns on culture, politics and society, and now they offer us a wrap up of their highlights for 2015 across their respective fields. Read more »

18-gilmore-girls.w1200.h630

Tim McGuire

Progressive to a Point: Homophobia and Gilmore Girls

You can’t watch a TV show over and over again without picking up on a couple of its flaws, much as you might prefer not to see them. In the case of Gilmore Girls, the hamartia I didn’t want to find was a troubling and weirdly homophobic one, layered over with pithy dialogue, pop culture nods, and the small town charm that made the show’s seven seasons such a success. Read more »

ROSEANNE - On set in New York - 10/16/93 
Sara Gilbert (Darlene) on the ABC Television Network comedy "Roseanne". "Roseanne" is the story of a working class family struggling with life's essential problems.
(AMERICAN BROADCASTING COMPANIES, INC.)
SARA GILBERT

Rebecca Shaw

Out of the Imaginary Closet: Fictional characters who should have been gay

When you are part of a group that isn’t portrayed in the same way (or only negatively, or not at all) you become desperate for that glimmer of recognition. Here are several characters that I loved as a young person, who became stand-ins for the openly lesbian characters I wanted to see so much. Read more »

SPEAR_0014_Edward_Mulvihill copy 2

Lauren Carroll Harris

Eyes Open Dreaming: Spear and the potential for an Australian art cinema

Commercial success has long been prized as Australian cinema’s salve, and the values of that commerce-based vision of success have deeply permeated the national conversation. Spear sets this conversation aside entirely, raising in its stead the possibility of an art cinema in Australia. Read more »

CAROL

You Could Burn a House Down: Todd Haynes’s Carol

For many years, lesbians in fiction were punished for their social transgressions, condemned to a life of solitude, insanity, feigned heterosexuality and/or suicide. Radically, Carol portrays a lesbian love that doesn’t destroy or diminish its subjects, but enables them to transform, to grow and to be free. Read more »

Bowie - The Image  1

The Art of Immortality: David Bowie and The Image

With the news this week of David Bowie’s death at the age of 69 from a long battle with cancer, watching The Image is an oddly reassuring experience: the shared, mass hope that it can’t be true, that he’s not really gone, is played out in this grainy, almost haunted relic now almost 50 years old. Read more »

21EMMYJP6-master675

Killings Columnists Pick Their Best of 2015

As 2015 concludes, we also farewell our fabulous 2015 Killings columnists. They’ve entertained and delighted us all year with fortnightly columns on culture, politics and society, and now they offer us a wrap up of their highlights for 2015 across their respective fields. Read more »

18-gilmore-girls.w1200.h630

Tim McGuire

Progressive to a Point: Homophobia and Gilmore Girls

You can’t watch a TV show over and over again without picking up on a couple of its flaws, much as you might prefer not to see them. In the case of Gilmore Girls, the hamartia I didn’t want to find was a troubling and weirdly homophobic one, layered over with pithy dialogue, pop culture nods, and the small town charm that made the show’s seven seasons such a success. Read more »

PLM

Matilda Dixon-Smith

Family Matters: Please Like Me and the Aussie TV family

In a recent episode of Josh Thomas’s Please Like Me, the bouncy titles run over three little scenarios: Josh cooks dinner for his mate Tom and his boyfriend Arnold; his Mum cooks for her new housemate Hannah; and his Dad cooks for his wife, Mae. The three of them stir, sip wine and dance daggily around their kitchens in a neat metaphor for this season’s fantastic, cohesive new trajectory. Read more »

ss_8df8236403f5aad45eeedd33d2bd545e45435b39.1920x1080

Katie Williams

The More Things Change: Choice and consequence in Life is Strange

You can either be a benevolent hero or a monster, but few games deal with the multitudes contained by actual people. And what does it matter, anyway? There’s no such thing as regret when it comes to in-game decision-making – not when you can so easily restart the game to see what outcome will result from choosing Option B instead. Read more »

svfw crop

Katie Williams

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?: Fashion, technology, and wearability

Last week saw the inaugural Silicon Valley Fashion Week? (yes, with a question mark) unfold in San Francisco. The show promised ‘drones, robots, and mad inventions’, and tickets sold out swiftly; attendees were clearly eager to see more inventive clothing in this heartland of nerds. Read more »

AnimalCrossing copy

Katie Williams

Digging For Meaning in Utopia: Storytelling in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is a series of games in which – as my partner once remarked incredulously – ‘nothing ever happens.’ In its latest incarnation, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you become the unwitting mayor of a town populated by anthropomorphic, bipedal animals. Read more »

Sydney - January 20, 2016: This Is How We Die perfomed during the 2016 Sydney Festival (photo by Jamie Williams/Sydney Festival)

Impossible Futures: Tomorrow’s Parties and This is How We Die

These two shows ask: how hard do we need to listen? In each, minutiae can be discarded, at least in slivers of time. Tomorrow’s Parties and This is How We Die each allow your brain to detach for a moment: to spin off into the different worlds they create, before returning once again, as best you can, to the work at hand. Read more »

Tom Conroy and Colin Friels in Mortido. Photo credit: Shane Reid

Jane Howard

A Shining Nightmare: Mortido‘s Sydney

Sydney is a city of shine and reflective surfaces. The glint of the harbour follows through to city high-rises clad in polished glass, bouncing off the wide windows of the mansions hugging the undulating land before it gives way to the impossibly deep and wide water. But this beauty that can betray the darkness of the city and its people. Read more »

_85072354_hamlet3-pa

Angela Meyer

Outrageous Fortune: Seeing Hamlet as a Cumberbitch

Jazz swells, hushing the audience, and the solid black gate of the theatre curtain opens. It reveals the lounging figure of Hamlet, playing a record, sniffing his father’s old jumper. But what I see first is not Hamlet: it is Benedict Cumberbatch. Read more »