Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Shining: Eradicating the American Dream

It's October! My favourite month. Partly because of my birthday, partly because of Halloween. As you most of you already know, I'm a huge horror movie fanatic. Like, absolutely, totally, entirely. 

Anyway, I was talking to the bestie the other day (speaking of which, she's an artistic maven and everyone should look at her instagram)  and trying to brainstorm some stuff to do for the month of October and she got super excited and suggested I dedicate a month to horror on the blog! It made perfect sense. Soooo anyway I figured, why not ramble on about some horror classics, some contemporary gems, and maybe even throw in a Halloweeny-inspired fashion post here and there too? Sounds like a dream.

Cue The Shining! This was such a good excuse to watch one of my all-time favourite horror classics. Kubrick is a God and does wonders. From creating a sense of isolation in a massive hotel, to his fluid use of a Steadicam, this movie is a complete masterpiece. The music is painstakingly scored to be absolutely menacing, and the set work is beautiful and beyond unsettling.

Moving along, as I'm sure most people know, the movie centers around a writer (Jack Nicholson) and his lil' family who all agree to watch over a hotel in its winter down season while it is empty. The catch? The hotel is probably (definitely) haunted and the last groundskeeper went nutso and axed his whole family. LOVELY. 

Obviously, Jack goes mental, giving way to historic one-liners, but there's so much more to this film. Nothing Kubrick does is by chance, and there are so many theories out there for what it's truly about. Some say it's a metaphor for Danny (the son) being abused by Jack. Others say it's a metaphor for the American treatment of Indians. With so many different theories and contradictions, it's really up to the viewer to interpret it how they will, and honestly, after seeing this movie countless times, there's always a different thing I pick up on as well.

After watching it this time..I thought I noticed something clever, and it really stuck with me. It was a sort of downfall of Americana,and the perfect American dream. So many things about this are anti "white picket fence." From things like Danny's Apollo pullover (after it gets shredded, suggesting a symbol of a torn-apart American icon), to the obvious breakdown of Jack shouting the classic, "Honey, I'm home"-esque line, "here's Johnny!", this movie is riddled with little clues. 

The colour palette throughout the entire movie is the good ol' American red, white, and blue. The frustration with the american dream and family runs so deep, it's nuts. Right off the bat, you can tell Jack isn't happy with his family. Doesn't get on with his wife too much, takes a sneaky peek at the rumps of two lovely ladies as he enters the hotel. Driving to the hotel you notice he's short with his boy. Irked by his questioning, he only lights up when Danny tells him he's learned about cannibalism on TV. TV after all, is the driving force of a structured family life. With his "here's Johhny" breakdown near the end, it's essentially a quote from popular TV culture, and in a way, the breakdown of the nuclear family. 

Jack's run-ins with the ghosts as well are jabs at American culture. Dealing with racism and class, all these elements are quintessentially a part of American history and the slow deterioration of society. When he's talking to the old caretaker of the hotel, and he brings up Jack's son intermingling with a coloured man, this whole scene takes place in a red and white bathroom, with Jack standing in the middle, in his working class blue jeans. Coincidence? 

Even more so, when we see the Grady girls murdered in the hall, it's interesting to see that they're both dressed in blue, doused in blood (red), with the blue and white walls surrounding them. Kubrick, you're a legend.

With all these sprinkled little clues, the most obvious one, is the fact that Jack in fact out to kill his family, just how the groundskeeper did before him. If that's not an attack on the quintessential nuclear family, I don't know what is. 

The Shining is unforgettable. It's beautiful, it's terrifying, and it's spun to such perfection, it shows that horror films don't have to rely on cheap scares to leave its audience transfixed. It's a timeless film, and truly shows Kubrick at his absolute best.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Okay, first things first. I am so so so sorry for my absence for the past month! It's been a really hectic time of year for work and I've been doing my share of travelling and trade shows, etc etc. I've really missed doing a weekly little write up on something so I thought I'd take the time today between another work trip I'm taking to write about this rad website I recently discovered!

I was hunting for some nice summer sandals since I've been living in my chucks and Nikes for the past three months and ended up on this sweet little website called

I was quite impressed with how quickly both pairs of sandals came (equally not impressed with the awful weather however, meaning I can't wear them for much longer!) The quality was also a really pleasant surprise, as I was nervous that maybe it wouldn't be great considering the price was too good to be true! I was in touch with customer service throughout the whole experience as I can get a bit paranoid with my online shopping, and everyone was so sweet. 

All in all, really positive feedback and I'll definitely be ordering from Sammydress again! From what I can tell, they get new styles almost regularly so you're always bound to find something. Happy hunting! 

If you want links to my awesome finds, see below:

Romper : 8th & Main
Shoes : Sammydress
Bag : Louis Vuitton  


Friday, July 8, 2016

The Neon Demon

Oh, what's this? A review on a recent and relevant film? Could it be? 

Yesterday I decided to go watch the new Nicolas Winding Refn movie, The Neon Demon (this is the same mastermind that brought you the neon neo-noir masterpiece, Drive). Needless to say, I adored it. Now, I should start by mentioning that this is not a movie for everyone. In fact, most audiences will probably loathe it. It's gritty, gory, and absolutely outrageous.There are scenes involving necrophilia, cannibalism,  and extreme violence. It makes you feel uncomfortable, leaves you absolutely stunned, and you're briefly left wondering what it is you just watched. Unlike Drive, which had genuine mass appeal, there's a reason The Neon Demon doesn't have showings all over town. However, that being said, I found all of it surprisingly tasteful. A proper art-house flick that's wrapped in a beautiful and luxurious sensory overload for your eyes. 

The plot should seem quite easy to follow, a doe-eyed runaway teenager comes to LA with dreams of becoming a model. Kind of like how he did with
Drive, Refn leaves us wondering about the main character, not telling us anything about where she came from or what her previous life was like. Along the way she encounters a catty group of older models who will stop at nothing to get to her rising level of success. I really hate spoiling films or over-explaining them, so this is all I'm saying.

 I do want to point out that being such an out-of-the-box movie, it's extremely open to interpretation. I was looking at some reviews prior to watching it, and everyone described Jesse (the lead, played by Elle Fanning) as coming across as extremely innocent when we first see her. After watching the movie, I really didn't find that to be the case. Right off the bat she says some pretty unsettling things, I would even say that early on she comes across as extremely narcissistic (which I suppose one can also chalk up to being really young and inexperienced). Honestly, I was okay with that. I liked that she was a character that I couldn't decide whether or not I hated. I wouldn't say I liked her, something about her made her very offputting. At the same time though, in a weird way you're rooting for her too. I always love films like this since you're left analyzing them later, and torn with your emotions. 

Refn is such a genius in my opinion, and the symbolism and motifs littered throughout are a delight to dwell upon after. There's a scene in the movie which I guess you could look at as Jesse's full "transformation" where she sheds whatever childlike qualities she has left. She's in a prestigious fashion show and just before she walks, Refn cuts to an entirely different angle; we're now watching the show from Jesse's perspective. Nowhere do you see her walking down a runway, but instead she's facing two other versions of herself in a triangle, kissing her reflection. The triangle is a constant symbol in the movie, and reading into that one could say that it's a symbol of power. 

Along with the symbolism, the movie is just gorgeous. It truly feels like you're watching a piece of art.The long, panning camera shots, the dark and neon landscapes, even the dull daytime shots all contribute to this nasty and cold world. The colour palette is a constant red and blue with a couple of scenes including strobe lights that leave you feeling like you're in a trance. Next to the cinematography you're looking at also probably the best score in a movie heard in a while. Cliff Martinez totally kills it, making the whole package come together. 

I also think its worthwhile to note the very cool homages Refn makes. The camera pans slowly like it would in
The Shining, while the colour palette, art-house vibes, and female cast are a direct comparison to Argento's '70s horror masterpiece, Suspiria. Some have even drawn similarities to Lynch's Mulholland Drive, and all of this rings true. It's a movie for the intellectual movie buff.

I thought The Neon Demon was phenomenal. The whole thing is a raw and disturbing metaphor about our constant pursuit of beauty (as stated in the film, "beauty is not everything, it's the only thing") and the violent depths we'll go to achieve it, either through terrorizing others or ourselves. And even that explanation? That's just scratching at the surface of an absolutely hypnotic and provocative film.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Deadbeat Summer

crop top ; Forever21
bra ; Calvin Klein 
shorts ; thrifted
shoes ; 8th & Main 

I love, love, loooove vibrant reds like the one on this top. In combination with the blue it's kind of giving me like a sort of '70s vibe that I'm really digging. 

I wore this little number on a day trip to an
antique mall a few towns over. If you live in the Vancouver area, I highly recommend checking it out. I definitely should have taken photos but I was too busy squealing over all the '50s, '60s, and '70s memorabilia (naturally) and wondering about whether or not I need certain things, like a cat clock, or a Pepsi neon sign. 

I could totally spend all day browsing through antiques or going through yard sales picking at junk. I'll have to do a post showcasing some of my best antique finds since I'm very proud of them and and definitely want to show off a little bit. Ooops?

Happy Monday (and 4th of July to my American friends)! 



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Belladonna of Sadness

I found I had a really tough time deciding how to start this post. How does one even explain Belladonna of Sadness? Pardon my French, but it's fucking bizarre. Produced by Osamu Tezuka and directed by Eiichi Yamamoto in 1973, this Japanese animated gem is striking; equal parts erotic, beautiful, and disturbing. K
eep in mind this was made by the same director who did KIMBA THE WHITE LION. A Japanese children's show that Disney later used as the basis (or carbon copy) to the Lion King. Excuse me? It's totally baffling these two things came from the same director. Can we all pause and appreciate what a curveball that is?

Right so, let's talk about this the best we can since there's a lot going on and you just kind of gape at the screen for an hour and thirty three minutes. In summation, a young woman and her fiance are totally in love and on their wedding night she gets raped by the town lord. Lots of tears and trauma ensue (naturally), and she decides to make a pact with a rather phallic devil in order to take revenge. When I say "rather" I mean things are pretty obvious. "You're so small!" She exclaims as she holds him in her hands. A couple rubs later and whaddya know, he's grown. In fact, this whole movie is basically a psychedelic sexual romp. It's rather interesting and beautiful to watch, a mixture of watercolours and stills and very vivid imagery. 

A plethora of colours, oddly enough I left the movie thinking, "well, that was rather depressing." It's a story about a woman extensively repressed and exploited by a feudal society. Her name is Jeanne, and her fate is eerily similar to that of Joan of Arc's. Coincidence
? Hmm. The film also walks a very dangerous line between being over-the-top pornographic and beautifully animated. This is supposed to be uncomfortable. This is supposed make you feel uneasy. It's avant-garde and I like it.

Jeanne is also GORGEOUS. Oddly enough I don't think I've ever been so attracted to an animated being. A long and slender frame with big eyes and voluminous
 hair that I can only dream of having, Jeanne is perfection. Especially after she gets her revenge on the town lord and a little bit, ahem, riled up, does she become even more interesting. For whatever reason her hair changes colour in every scene too. Go figure. 

Also to note, THE MUSIC. A crazy psychedelic rock score produced by Masahiko Satoh, in combination with the practically seizure inducing scenes, is such an obvious '70s delight. As I'm typing this I'm coyly smiling too since everyone knows exactly what I'm talking about and it's actually pretty cool to watch. Even go see it just for that.

I was lucky enough to view this for the first time since it was released to North American audiences a few weeks ago. I can see how this may not sit well with a modern-day crowd as it's really weird in some of the scenes not to mention with flashing colours making it look like a massive acid trip. Besides all that though, it's a film that really speaks to the merging of Western and Eastern influences. A
s if one applied watercolours to the illustrative genius of Beardsley mixed with the producer being an anime legend, this movie is like nothing I've seen before. Tragically, shortly after the release of this movie, the production house that created it, Mushi, went bankrupt. It's nice to see it's finally getting it's spot in the in the limelight, even if it's at least from the die-hard movie buffs out there.

Are you going to like Belladonna of Sadness? I'm really not sure. Honestly, I don't even know if I liked it. I respect it for what it is, and I think it's a landmark of Japanese cinema. It's something that I definitely believe should be watched, if anything for the cultural significance it has. 


Friday, June 17, 2016

'90s Vibin'

I really adore looser-fitting midi/maxi dresses for those almost-summer days where you're growing impatient and definitely don't want to wear pants anymore but it's still too cold to prance around in shorts or mini-skirts. This little gem I found at House of Vintage (instagram) a few weeks ago in Portland and I love the cute little '90s printed floral! I totally wanna wear it as a 90s throwback with a white tee layered under, am I right? 

House of Vintage was beyond rad. They have over 60 dealers within 13,000 square feet of the store. It's jam-packed with vintage pieces from the 20s to the 90s and houseware and knickknacks everywhere. It's the loveliest goldmine I've ever been to.

In other news it's that time again for my early summer cold to kick in. It's like my body's telling me, "oh you really want to get a head start on summer while it's still cold out? Okay no problem, it's your funeral." Aaaaand now I'm left with a sore throat and feeling insanely congested. Vancouver always does this, the cheeky minx. A bit of a tantalizing tease with the warm weather and sun and then bam, back to rain for a month. What gives?

Anyone have their own go-to pre-summer outfit?

Dress ; Thrifted (Portland - House of Vintage)
Shoes ; Converse
Jacket ; Aritzia 
Glasses ; H&M
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