and these are my thoughts on Avatar.

I was against watching Avatar in the beginning, because it seemed boring and I couldn’t help but to see racial undertones when ever the blue people were shown. I watched it awhile back and it was decent. My social peers have often referred to Avatar as Pocahontes with aliens. It’s very true…but you could also call it The Last Samurai or Dances with Wolves because we see a white often reluctant hero arrive and be integrated into the natives to ultimately be their savior. 

Now whether you see Native Americans or not you can not deny that the blue people above symbolic of race. It seem that when alien movies are done, in which the aliens aren’t bestial or monstrous, that in truth they are vehicles to portray race. As seen through privileged eyes. In an odd way movies like Avatar give us a chance to see through those eyes.

Avatar like many other sci fi films re-imagines troubling periods of history. Avatar specifically looks at the conquest of America by Anglo settlers. In the movie America is a planet called Pandora. The natives sit on top of vast resources of enormous potential wealth. Seeking glory and a ‘metaphorical gold’  soldiers and adventurous take to the new land. Likewise the Aliens sit on top a rare extremely valuable element and the planet is under conquest by armies and scientist eager for wealth and knowledge. 

The movie progresses and this is where we get the rare glimpse through the privilege eye. Unlike the actual conquest, in which genocide gets carried out, a champion arises. A white man, Jake Sully, who at first was trying to relocate the Na’vi people but then falls in love with the chiefs daughter.  He then becomes fully assimilated into the Na’vi culture and after the conquistadores march on the natives Jake becomes their champion. White guilt at its finest moment.

Somehow the cgi made the story of a white guy becoming champion for a ‘foreign’ culture, more watchable. To be frank though Avatar pales in comparison to District 9. In District 9 we again have a situation in which race drives the story. This time apartheid is the theme and the protagonist Wikus has been appointed to relocate the aliens to a concentration camp outside Johannesburg. The reason why I like this movie beyond other similar movies is because Wikus isn’t a hero.  He doesn’t adopt, assimilate, infiltrate, or becomes a champion. He is contaminated with a black fluid and begins to mutate into one of the aliens.  We then see the true horrors and opressions that the alien people as Wikus experiences their life. A mutant and discarded by his own, Wikus looks for help from one of the aliens and then betrays the alien. Always interested in his own survival it is only at the movies final moments when he takes a stand for the alien he’d been with. More in the line with Blood diamond. The white protagonist has no happy ending, he is not a true hero, in short he is a martyr. 

 So the spectrum of white savior fantasies range from becoming a champion to people of color or its martyr. The reason why they seek this dream? Guilt. After peeking pass the glass curtain and seeing the injustice they were part of, they switch alliances, assimilate and become a champion for the people they once look down on. White guilt in a nutshell. Wash away all the crimes committed against people of color, join their side because it is moral and just, and then be at the forefront and lead the people of color from within as one of its own…rather then from outside.

Avatar is just that. A white daydream about becoming another race but holding on to white privilege. In district 9 our protagonist unlike Jake has no choice about his transformation and can’t return to normal. He is forced to slum and eat cat food, and he is miserable. Adversely, District 9 is the nightmare of becoming a person of color in an oppressive system. When whites dream about becoming another race, they only do so because they ignore the truth of being an oppressed race. And that truth is that you are F-ing oppressed and chances of glory are slim. Heroism out the window but Martyrdom in range.

I don’t dislike Avatar. The truth is that it was a decent retelling of a classic arch type story. I just dislike the final message it sent to me. The conquistador still get to be the leaders of the natives. The only movie I have ever watched that was like this that I adored was The Road to El Dorado.


When are we going to see a fresh take on race in the realm of cinema? I think that Avatar would have been better without the Jake Sully character. Whose character progression fell flat for me. He was not needed. Unless that is that the audience actually needs someone to project themselves into…but then it becomes interesting no? Because people of color impress themselves upon the Na’vi while whites identify with Jake immediately…even before he realizes the error of his ways. I say its time to move beyond white savior and white guilt movies. Because in reality when you position a white character in the middle of another ethnic group all you truly accomplish is making what was supposed to be a story of that ethnic group into the white characters story. I.E Avatar was not about the Na’Vi but about Jake.

Well that was my piece…and yes I know that El Dorado has many mirrors to Avatar and accomplishes much about what I just ranted about…the characters are hard to not love okay! Besides that they don’t remain to lead to people of color. They leave just as quickly as they came. Anyway ciao!

…horror movies had a bad year in 2011

whether this year will be any better…well one can hope…but who knows. Last year we saw horror movie flops of epic proportions…The horror genre is in a constant state of flux. I was born in 1986 so I have come to be well experienced in the birth and demise of the original slasher flicks (Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street) and the genres resurrection in the late 2000s, the rise of the J-horror film (American remakes of Japanese imports), and the rise of the torture snuff film sub-genre. It pains me to see that while once horror was driven by atmosphere and the fear of the unknown now it has turned a new leaf into an aggressive in your face blood gore over statement of the obvious.

Viewers no longer are content with waiting for a pay off. No longer satisfied with Carpenter’s perfectly-simplified explanation of Michael Myers’ evil. Instead of the one line it needed in the 1978 Halloween, but in the Zombie 2007 reboot we see the entire film is an exploration of Michael’s evil. Film makers have lost the love for the mystery of the horror genre. Everything is on full view for the audience whether it be the innards of a victim or the evil that should tease us playfully with its fleeting presence.

2011 was a testament to that. Even Del Toro’s ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of the Dark’ fell bland on my horror pallet. There was not much else better then that, it  set the standard and it was a very low one. Also what the hell was up with all the monsters of 2010 being so darn cute?!   

This thing is so cute, like a pet monkey…with evil eyes.

The rock spiders in Apollo 18 reminded me of pokemon…like geodude spiders.

speaking of pokemon…the aliens from “Darkest Hour” looked like black mews…fail.

and these are my top werewolf movies.

To my awesome readers I don’t know if anyone of you may be a horror movie fan but just so you all know I am lol. But they are all so bad? That is where you are wrong. There are plenty of great horror movies. The sad truth is that the bad outnumbers the good but the good are always an awesome treat…true story. I’d like to point some of the non believers and some of the fans to the following list of what I consider to be the top ten best Werewolf movies.

1. “Dog Soldiers” (2002)

Most of you might have seen the descent…one of the best horror movies in the last five years, 2006. However, this movie right here outweighs the descent in glory…that’s right this movie is awesome. The story: Typical soldiers in Scotland battle with werewolves in some farm. The result: as dumb as it sounds I promise you this movie will be the best werewolf movie you’ll ever see.

2. “Bad Moon” (1996)

This movie is worth watching just for the scenes in which the dog pees on the werewolf’s home and when the werewolf returns the favor. Seriously, this undeservingly underrated film from Eric Red, writer of The Hitcher and Near Dark, presents a comic and tense story of a man (Michael Paré) who moves into his sisters home (or parks behind it) after returning from a trip. The families German Shepherd soon discovers that the uncle is a werewolf, and the dog’s loyalty and unwavering dedication to his family makes lassie look like crap lol.

3. “An American Werewolf in London” (1981)

An American traveler (David Naughton) and his bro (Griffin Dunne) encounter a werewolf after leaving one of those odd England bars where locals talk in cryptic talk of their curses. One of the bros turns out to be be puppy chow and then ghost/zombie bro while the other runs around naked and chills with wolves. Blood and guts, this John Landis classic is filled with dark humor and has a hauntingly amazing transformation seen — thanks to the makeup genius Rick Baker.

4. “Ginger Snaps” (2000)

Even before the werewolf comes into play these sisters are dark and moody. Afterward tho Ginger is down right freaky. She goes from outcast to animalistic charged vixen. Her transformation is slow and it seems to be permanent when complete so that was a nice change to the werewolf mythology in film…tho I could do without the tail? Anyway by far the best high school werewolf film ever made…yea up yours Michael Jay Fox and your teenwolf.

audieb.jpg picture by The_Vampire_Marik

5. “Audie and the Wolf” (2008)

This indie flick never made it to theaters, yet it wowed werewolf buffs at the 2009 Another Hole in the Head film festival in San Francisco. The movie is a nice gory story, filled with dark humor, and a love story between a punk-rocker girl (Audie) and a unlucky werewolf, who tries do do right…wonderful story that brings to mind american werewolf in london for our generation.

6. “The Company of Wolves” (1984)

Neil Jordan’s twisted, and wonderfully dark, take on the “Little Red Riding Hood” fable is a mind grenade of twisted visions and sexuality. Granny (Angela Lansbury) scars the bejeezus out of her grand daughter by telling her Grimm stories about beastly things hiding out in the dark side of the woods. This trance-like film is a must watch.

7. “Wolf Man” (2009 and 1941)

Now the old movie tho a classic is a little cheesy and stale…true story. Geez hate me if you want lol. The remake though a little predictable stayed true to the classic and added its own twists and turns. Not to mention that our modern FX really helped. The movie plot? A brother returns home to seek his brother…a werewolf bites him…he goes all howl at the moon in no time…tragic ending.

8. “Silver Bullet” (1985)

In the rich tapestry of Stephen King films, to some this film is a nick nack to be forgotten. But bros’…and sis’…this movie is a treasure. Also check out the book that inspired the movie “Cycle of the Werewolf,” which is filled with incredible art by the one-and-only Bernie Wrightson.

9. “An American Werewolf in Paris” (1997)

While it pales in compared to its predecessor — mostly because the crappy CGI effects — An American Werewolf in Paris continues with An American Werewolf in London’s sense of humor and has a much more complex story line. Plus the love between the main two is far more believeable.

10. “The Brotherhood of the Wolf” (2002)

Crazed, dark and — wait for it — wonderfully fun, this French film is a must for horror buffs seeking a werewolf film that thinks outside the box. Partly based on a historical fact…yes it is.. the french really had a wollf like creature that was huge and murderous and this films uses that to create its mythos. Kind of long and not really a werewolf movie if not it would have been higher on the list but the movie is so awesome that you just forget the time is ticking away.

Honorable Mentions

Wolfen 1981

at the height of the werewolf 80’s era. It follows a detective (Albert Finney) investigating a series of murders in which the victims have been seemingly killed by an animal (poor animals always being blamed…). Wonderful use of POV perspective through the eyes of the predator and the Native American aspect made me smile.

The Howling (1981)

The effects in are awesome, the transformation scene is downright chilling and CGI free. Karen White, a respected news reporter, is scarred after an encounter with a killer almost costs her life. Karen then visits a respected psychologist who tells her to attend a retreat called “the colony” … but while there her nightmare gets worse, still able toi give scares even by todays standards but the story lacks…at least to me…

“WOLF” (1994)

This movie is worth watching just like “Bad Moon” just for the scene where Nicholson pisses all over a James Spader’s shoes. In all seriousness, Mike Nichols (The Graduate) lends his awesomely dark technique to this movie - the result is a solemn, classic tone of psychological drama. Theres is great balance in this film. True story. From the well written humor to the slow mo action sequences…this movie does not fail.

Till next time! Marky “Epic” Marc XD