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I seen the book being used for Eng-113 (The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing) the other day and I found a copy of the 2002 copyright on Amazon for fifty cents.

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Jennifer’s Body: Themes For a New Generation?

After watching Jennifer’s Body (finally), I must say that I am impressed.  No, not because Megan Fox is in the movie, but because I felt it does something that most horror movies does not: Jennifer’s Body went full circle with the plot.  I would give Jennifer’s Body four out of five stars, and deem it as  a cult classic that crosses genres.  Though it may be horror, it has a unique and original myth for contemporary culture.  Not only did the plot come full circle, the film explores themes that are important for a new generation of teens, creating a new myth for contemporary audiences.

I had held off watching this movie for months believing it to be just another campy teen flick.  I was right, and completely wrong.  The movie tells the story of Jennifer Check (Megan Fox).  Jennifer is your typical stereotyped high school cheerleader, which most guys don’t stand a chance, who is better than most, has looks of gold, but with one exception that breaks this stereo typical cliché, Needy.  Nerdy Needy (Amanda Seyfried) is Jennifer’s BFF, the narrator of the tale, and an unlikely heroine.

Not only is the story about Jennifer, but Jennifer becomes the antagonist.  Writer, and Producer, Diablo Cody (Juno) highlights such themes as never get into a car (in this case a van) with a stranger, let alone five strangers who are part of an indie rock band wanting to make a deal with the devil to make it “big”.  They just make take you over to Devil’s Falls and sacrifice you as a virgin to Satan, which is what happens to Jennifer.  However, the band messed up and chose a girl who is not even a “backdoor virgin”.   According to the movie when a girl is sacrificed is not a virgin, a Succubus possesses her body.  A Succubus is a female demon that eats the souls of men by the way.  However, Jennifer ends up eating the organs of other boys to keep her beautiful appearance; if not, she grows ugly and her hair falls out. 

The movie is brilliantly sexy, and focuses on the theme of teen sex by not discouraging it, but rather promotes safe sex by using Jennifer and Needy as a metaphors.   During one scene, the movie switches back in forth between Needy and her boyfriend’s first sexual encounter and Jennifer, who lures a guy to his death by leading him to believe that he will be arriving at her house to have sex.  In Needy’s encounter it is, well, not innocent, but it is thought out.  The boyfriend supplies condoms for their four-minute encounter, which he has problems putting on because they are, at least he is, a virgin.   Jennifer encounter is brief, as she uses her attractiveness to corner the young boy before brutally killing him.  Her casual, murderous encounter exposes in this cautionary example that hot girls and casual sex kills, though usually in the form of the more real demons, like hepatitis and AIDS.   

Friendship is another theme in Jennifer’s Body.  While Needy and her boyfriend are having sex, she begins to envision everything that Jennifer has done, or is doing at the time.   Any good friend knows when something is up with their BFF, or as Needy relates, her and Jennifer are “Biifs”.  Jennifer and Needy’s friendship goes back to when they are little girls.  Jennifer at times uses Needy to boost her self-esteem, yet Jennifer commits the greatest sin a girl can do to another girl by tempting Needy’s boyfriend into having sex with her, and then killing him.  Even though Jennifer has promised not to harm her, only after this does Needy realize that either Jennifer has never really been her friend, or that this is not her friend at all.  Needy finally accepts the change she has tried to avoid throughout the movie by becoming the enraged badass heroine and saves her friend from the demonic possession she that has enslaved her body.

Needy’s friendship, her love for Jennifer is perhaps the greatest theme in the movie.  She is the narrator of the story and from isolation at a psychiatric ward, she tells the story of Jennifer, but after Jennifer is slain, it becomes Needy’s story.  Needy gains some of the demon’s powers by killing it, and in an unexpected turn she redeems the murder of her friend by breaking out of the mental ward, tracking down the band, and killing them as savagely as they killed Jennifer, thus bringing the plot full circle.

Jennifer’s Body has many great themes.  Some are cliché, such beauty is only skin-deep, and looks are not everything.   The ones chosen are the themes that seemed relevant for a new generation that needs a median that deals with real teen issues.  Diablo Cody, by far, has become one of the best in the industry for writing scripts that deal with contemporary issues that this new generation can relate too.  Check out Juno and decide for yourself.  The theme of friendship that Jennifer’s Body explores, the integral idealization of the redemption of the friend, is the most prevalent and important.  Movies and mythology of the past have dealt with what Joseph Campbell termed redemption of the father.  The best example of this is in Star Wars, as Luke Skywalker must either liberate his father, Darth Vader, from the “Dark Side”, or fail, following his father’s example.   The change in the mythos that makes Jennifer’s Body different, and compelling, is for Needy to Redeem Jennifer she was doomed to fall to the dark side.

Sources

Cody, Diablo.  Jennifer’s Body.  Fox Atomic: 2009.

Campbell, Joseph.  Hero with a Thousand Faces.  Princeton University Press: 1973

Stephan King’s “It”

  In recent years I have came to dislike the works of Stephan King, and have felt in recent years his work has became stale, and boring.  Still the comtempory world of Horror writers owe so much to this man, and that is something that I will never deny.

The first book I read was It.  My mother, whom was a big fan, introduced me when I was about eleven years old to the mammoth tome.  It took the better part of year to read, but left me fascinated by the killer alien from outer space who fed, let alone on children, every thirty years.  I remember how much this book made me want to be a writer, and shaped my imagination. 

This is one of King’s best tales and is horror at its finest.  When I want to read Stephen King, It is the kind of book I want to read.

Same Old Horror?

Does anybody feel that when they pic up a horror story, or any story, it feels like you are reading the same thing, same themes, plots, and characters over and over until you are like, “I am so tired of reading”?  

I have been searching small pubs through amazon and search engines in hopes of finding new and innovative works by little known, or unheard authors.  I have came across a couple I’d like too share. 

The first two are presses that specialize in publishing 19th century Gothic Romance and early 20th century Horror.  I extremely love these two and that is why they are first. 

Zittaw Press: “Purveyors of the Gothic Trade” is a small press managed by Dr. Franz J. Potter and Associates.  Zittaw’s speacialization is Gothic literature which has been out of circulation for more than a century.  Such books as Vendetta by Marie Corelli, The Horrors of Oakendale Abby by Mrs. Carver, and Verney the Vampire  by James Malcolm Rymer are not only examples the 19th century Victorian Gothic novel and that the weird, morbid imagination is just not a 21st century creation, but are just as good now as they were then.    For more info on these books check out Zittaw.com.

Another great publisher that is producing rare and hard to find reads is Valencourt Books.  Though Valencourt doesn’t seem to manage and control works as rare as Zittaws, they have published the eight most horrific reads  listed in Jane Austin’s Northanger Abbey.   Valencourt also has a larger liberary of precious jewels.

A modern publisher I found was Permuted Press.  Permuted Press publishes apocolyptic end-of-the-world speculative fiction.  Some of the titles under there banner that seemed interesting to me were; Cthulhu Unbound I & II, a collection of spinoff tales based on H. P. Lovecrafts famous creation;  Drop Dead Gorgeous by Wayne Simons; and Dying to Live: Life Sentence by Kim Paffenroth, which synopsis I found interested because Paffenroth’s zombies have begun to retain their human consciousness and are trying to become human once more. 

There is so much work out there that sounds decent, and is probably great, but doesn’t touch the shelves of a major or indie bookstores.  I am not saying that all of it is great, but I hear a lot of people wanting, needing, a change.  Some have even asked me where pulp fiction has gone.  The truth is…it is here on earth, right now, rotting away, waiting for someone to take the time to find it.  So the question really is, are you willing to look?

Indie Books

  There are more and more writers choosing to publish their own works out of pocket.  However, some readers have this stigma that if it’s not published by Bantam, ROC, TOR, or another one of those large publishing companies that the work cannot be that good.  To the contrary some of the best works are currently being found in Indie Books Stores.  This is because every year only two percent of literature written is published.  I encourage each and everyone to go to their local bookstore and ask to view works by local and Indie published authors and give them a chance.  You may be suprised! 

And as always, try to read one book per month.

Hello, and welcome to my blog: thus, may I fancy all your fears, and answer all your inquiries.  For my first post I could not decide for the life of me what I wanted write about first.  There is just so much going on in that big old world that sparks my interest. Most of it boils my blood right out of my skin, and frightens the living daylights out of me.  I find good news a rare jewel in today’s world

So when deciding what to publish as my first post I proposed this questioned to myself: What do I have to say that my reader will want to hear?  What does a blog titled Mind Flayers, Zombies and Ghouls say about what type of material the reader will be reading?  Will this blog be about the horrifying things that are happening around the world; the polar ice caps are melting because we keep polluting the atmosphere with poisonous ozone gases, or maybe the Iraq war?  Maybe Mind Flayers will talk about the next apocalypse.  That December 21, 2012 day, the one the Mayans calculated a millennia ago as the end because their three calendars just sort of end on that day.  What about that asteroid Apophis, you know the one that has hurling toward Earth and may possibly make a big splash in the Pacific Ocean in the year 2029.  What about the increase in earthquakes, solar flares, and crime, would that make a good first impression

Maybe something more subtle then, like fiction.  Horror to be more exact, and what is it.  I thought that I could talk about literature, and how the internet is radically evolving, allowing new ways for writers to publish there works.  How about: Does Free Pay?  Question after questions ate at my soul driving me to this one conclusion, a proper introduction.

Yes, my blog will deal with all of these matters at some point in time, or another.  I will talk both about the literal world, but mainly, this will be a literary blog; which will deal with promoting myself as legitimate author in this new era.  A dynamic era, were what I talk about today will have evolved tomorrow, or have become non-existent. 

 So, H. D. Sharpe is my name and writing is my game.  I have dreamed of becoming one of those NY Times bestselling authors since I was ten years old, but then high school came and like every other boy I became obsessed with girls, alcohol, and joining the Army.  Shortly after the Army discharged me over six years ago, I became obsessed with reading and writing, coveting every book in sight and writing everything that I thought of.

I have since became an English major, and enrolled at an undisclosed university, diligently working to obtain my B.A. in English with a minor in creative writing.  I know that trying to become a published author in today’s world is very competitive, so I will work to achieve my dream.

Following this dream has taught me many things.  Most of all perseverance, but as well, dedication is an absolute and finding time everyday to master the craft is the only way to get my fingers in that slimy publishing market that all writers dream of grabbing and holding on too.

I have came to realize that being in the NY Times Top 10 is nice, but if I would be happy with only a handful of fans who enjoy and appreciate my work.  To me, it’s all about the reader and I want to give them new, innovative stories, while having fun at the same time.

Horror and Dark Fiction, matted with a tinge of tasteful erotica is my medium.  Some techniques I love to employ are stream of consciousness, multiple plot twist, and making the work seem literary and then adding shock value by doing something completely unconventional, and unexpected.  I hope to find revolutionize the industry and hope to push the envelope without being to controversial that I lose my audience.

Another thing I wish to do with Mind Flayers is to give back to my fans and friends by allowing them to post poetry, comments, and blah in an appropriate manner within a section of my blog called “Zombies and Ghouls”. 

There is a lot of past, a lot of future, many interests, and a lot of stuff going on in the world right not that scares the be-Jesus back into me; I have a lot of passion and a lot to share.  So therefore, I wish to foreworn you; prepare you for the madness I am getting ready to unleash upon the world.

Hello world!

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