I apologize for the mini VAY KAY my mind seems to be on and the movies have been piling up on my queue (a good hundred, two hundred hours worth easy). I even just cancelled my free trial with Fandor, despite wishing to check out some classic and cult horror flicks (except for Alice Sweet Alice, which featured Brooke Shields in her first, brief role) but I just couldn't do it right now.
As you all know the news has been especially dark and I won't go into the details we've all been overwhelmed with on every type of social media. That's not part of my excuse, but it has gotten me thinking about unreasonable hatred, stereotyping (Really? Everybody runs from the explosion but the one person running that looks - different is the one not escaping, but guilty?) and man's general inhumanity to man. But then I got to reading about people who, in their pasts have hated either for religious, cultural or other reasons who have changed their lives around and I tell you it really does help to see that even the most extreme examples of people who hate can change their lives.
One good documentary I highly recommend is of a former racist who was so extreme, his hate was literally tattooed all over his face, neck and body. His heart changed but because of the marks on his face especially, he had an impossible time trying to provide for his new family because no one would hire such an extreme looking individual. This man, for his family and his new convictions, went through over a year of excruciating pain to have the tattoos on his face and hands removed by laser surgery.
The documentary is called Erasing Hate (2011) and it was just excellent. The man went through so much and loves his family and his new friends - never write anyone off, no matter how much you may think they cannot change. His wife used to believe the same way and even taught her young children hate (her father was a racist also who, again, was able to change) and shudders about what her kids absorbed - but now it is love. I'm sure it's still not easy for any of them, but they do it and that is a hope to hold onto.
I've seen other documentaries not-so-nice but again worth a look. Carl Panzram: The Spirit Of Hatred (2011) who inexplicably also has a Facebook page was nevertheless engrossing about how a man can be shaped by his environment. He was a serial killer from boyhood and it was a learned lifestyle which is a help only to those studying whether serial killers are born or made. The only contribution he made to the world was writing his autobiography, unheard of at the time (born 1891 - executed 1930) but he wrote honestly, plainly and thoroughly why he felt he was a horrid man and that if they didn't kill him, he'd just keep killing because he felt no one deserved to live.
I also had a (slight) interest in the tale of the Westboro Baptist Church, who have been making royal asses of themselves preaching hatred and doing horrid things like picketing the funerals of soldiers and holding signs up like 'Thank God for 9/11' - the only thing I picked up from that experience is that there is a reason for so much Atheism and/or hatred of God in the world - people look at this kind of behavior and somehow blame God for it. God is perfect - in love, in justice, in wisdom, in peace. With evil he cannot be tried. Only men commit evil. 'Nuff said.
Then somehow I wandered around some TV series I haven't seen for a while (although I am ashamed to say I haven't even finished the second season of An American Horror Story: Asylum OR the third season of The Walking Dead. Watching the first season of AAHS back to back was much better than week to week - and I hadn't realized how many people from the first season are also in the second. But the beginning, showing the old pictures of babies, post mortem got me on another tangent...
In the 1800's people rarely had family photos. Photos took a long time, cost more than a lot could afford and just weren't done that often. It was also the time of primitive medical conditions and horrid diseases that could wipe out entire families in a heartbeat. It was the time of what was known as 'post-mortem photography'.
That sound incredibly horrid and morbid and yeah, I guess it was. However, if you had a child, never photographed, lost that child and faced a lifetime of never seeing it again, I guess this kind of thing might appeal to you. Not now of course. But for those back then, when death was commonplace I think I understand the reasons.
It was mostly children, and it wasn't uncommon for the dead child to be posed along the living for the photo - or a whole family, dead, alive or both to be posed together. I was just dinking around looking at different ones and someone asked a good question - how do you know if a photo is a post mortem photo? Simple. In those days you had to hold very still for a good period of time for the photo to be taken. Children by nature have a hell of a time doing that. It is very very common for blurred hands, feet, whatever. These photos are crystal clear - nothing is ever going to move in these photos.
In other words, my mind has been wandering all over the place and not able to focus on the simplest of movies and I apologize. I still am taking requests however and will get back on the back movie trail as soon as I can. Cheers.