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The Female Perspective: The Last Blog

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


Hello Friends of the Blog!

As you can probably tell from the title, this  is going to be my last blog for the foreseeable future. I didn’t want to just disappear from the internet so I wanted to take a quick moment to do two things; first of all explain my leaving and second of all, say thank you.

Peace, love, acceptance.

So first off, why am I leaving The Female Perspective?

Well it’s just one thing too many in a busy schedule. I have gone back to school full-time, I work full-time and I am trying finish my fourth book, the sequel to my first book, The Last Daughter of Lilith. I’d like to have it out in May of this year and will hope to announce the official release date in the coming months. But as you can tell, that’s a lot of work and doesn’t leave me a lot of time for this blog. Or, at least, to write this blog with the quality I want it to have and that it deserves.

This leads me to my second point, the thank you.

I want to thank Chris for giving me the chance to write this blog these last couple years. He’s been awesome and always understanding and for that you have my hugest thanks. For all those who read and commented and shared, thank you as well. It’s been a blast and I love writing about crazy geek-dom every week. I hope to do it again one day.

In the meantime, make sure to check out the other blogs on the Great Stories site! There’s tons of cool stuff for sale as well!!! I’ll still be on the Trailer Snark blog as well each week.

Enjoy life friends, be kind to each other and read blogs to your hearts content! Thank you!

Thank-You

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The Female Perspective: Why Social Media Is Stressful

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


 These days social media is a challenging place for myself and many of my friends to be. A lot of my Facebook friends have bowed out of that particular site because it’s simply too negative, too political, too, whatever other word you want to use there. A part of me agree’s.

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Before I get too far into this, I want to say two things:

  1. I am on Facebook – though my presence is less and I took the FB app off my phone so I can’t check it constantly.
  2. This is in no way a condemnation or judgement of others on social media. I love social media. It’s a great way to connect with people all over the world.

So let’s move along, shall we?

My point in writing this blog is to chat about social media and how it can have such an impact on us emotionally, which seems like a strange thing because in essence, it’s an online forum. It’s not communicating with actual people face-to-face, it’s communicating via electronic means. So why then does it upset some people, anger others, and reassure still another group of people? What is it about social media that keeps us all so engaged, so active in it? According to one survey, in 2016, 78% of the US population was using social media.

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In 2012, Brand Dignity wrote an article asking why social media was so popular and listed some of the basic reasons why people use it, things such as social media is free to use, it’s a way for people to network and promote their businesses, it’s a way to meet new people, and social media sites are extremely user-friendly and easy to use. All these reasons are extremely valid, but leave out the cons of social media, stuff like bullying, trolling, stalking, and just people being able to say whatever they want behind the safety of a computer screen. Not to mention, it leaves the door open for a lack of social etiquette or person-to-person connection.

It’s a funny thing for those of us who grew up before social media and before computers. I thank the good Lord on a regular basis that we didn’t have smartphones or Twitter when I was a kid. No one could document my day-to-day stupidity and the bully’s couldn’t follow me home and harass me online. Kids today have it rough in a way I never did. But at the same time, are they also learning that because you’re “safe” behind a computer screen you can say whatever you want without any real consequences? Is kindness and proper grammar going out the window? Are we living in a world where you just abbreviate everything and it’s all about selfie’s and getting the most likes?

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These aren’t questions that I can even possibly answer on my own. I just know that seeing the things I see recently, what with the 2016 election, everything Trump does every, single day that horrifies most people I know, and the general negativity and shaming that goes on –I mean jeez, Lady Gaga got body shamed for her Superbowl performance – really? Because just anyone can flip over on wires and dance AND sing well in front of MILLIONS, but please, by all means, let’s mock her for her body. The world of social media is a strange place and I for one am taking a small break. I still check in once or twice a day, and I still post my blog there and when my new book comes out, I’ll post stuff then, but I can’t look at the fear-mongering posts, the angry posts, or even the happy posts all the time anymore. It’s just too much and I’d rather have human-to-human contact than the coldness of a computer screen.

What about you folks? Does social media ever stress you out? Does it effect you in any way? Why or why not? And if it doesn’t, how do you manage to say unattached? Share your tips, your tricks and your thoughts below!

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The Female Perspective: The Word of the Superbowl = Inclusivity

Welcome! This is a mostly weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


I’ll be honest, I haven’t watched the Superbowl in years. I went through a brief phase of loving football and I still like it, but I don’t sit down and watch a game anymore, too many blogs to write, cats to brush and chocolate to eat. This year though, I ended up watching it and while I didn’t care about the outcome one bit (I rooted for the Falcons, not ashamed. I love an underdog) I was surprised at the tenor of the commercials. Pleasantly surprised.

This is not a political blog in any way and I apologize if it sounds like it is kind of right now, you come here for entertainment and gosh dang it, I try to give you what you want, but I simply couldn’t walk by this one. What I noticed was that there were quite a few commercials that stressed inclusivity this year. And I loved it.

A couple of my faves were the Audi spot that stressed equal pay for women and just basically that women are awesome. How can I not love that? It was surprising and really well done. From the perspective of a father wondering what he should tell his daughter about who she should aspire to be. And the answer to that? Anything she dang well wants to be.

Check it out here: Audi Commercial – Superbowl 2017

Then there was this great one by Kia with the always wonderful Melissa McCarthy. It’s n to easy being a hero, but if anyone can do it with grace, er, well a smile on her face anyway, it’s McCarthy. Can this woman possibly do wrong? I think not!

Check it out here: Kia Commercial – Superbowl 2017

Finally, I list my two favorites of the night. They stressed inclusivity, they stressed that we are all from somewhere else and we deserve our chance to live our dreams. They said a giant, collective, F-You to anyone who thinks that America shouldn’t be the land of opportunity for everyone.

Budweiser Superbowl 2017

Lumber 84 Superbowl 2017

There are plenty of people out there that say both these spots are “liberal propaganda” and that is totally their right to believe so. I (a crazy progressive liberal) believe that both of these spots demonstrate that, once again, America should be for all people. And yes, that means I believe we deserve to be safe, but you know what? There are ways to do it that don’t shut out genuine, hardworking people that just want a chance. Let’s all practice inclusivity in our lives. Let’s all accept each other. Let’s all find peace.

Peace, love, acceptance.
Peace, love, acceptance.

Thanks for reading.

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The Female Perspective: What The Heck “Westworld”

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!


Are you watching Westworld? You are? Are you confused, are you searching for your “cornerstone” because you think you might be a robot?

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Are you wondering:

  • What’s real?Is this real? Is life real? Is this world real?
  • AM I A ROBOT???

Good. Then we’re on the same page.

Again, SPOILERS will happen so if you aren’t caught up, don’t read this.

I have to say that Westworld is hands down one of the best sci-fi shows I have seen in AGES. Well done HBO. Well. Fricking. Done.

If you haven’t watched the show then why are you reading this? Go, get yourself some access to HBO and WATCH IT. For reals.

Okay. Now that’s all taken care of.

OH MY GOD. Bernard is a robot! He’s Arnold! He’s dead! WTF?

I loved him and didn’t love him and loved him again and now he’s gone? Oooooh Westworld, you tricky beast. You are diabolical like Game of Thrones. You keep us on our toes, we literally have no idea what’s coming and then you tell us and then BAM dead people, uh robots, and well people too I guess. It’s a violent place.

I was introduced to Westworld via the 1973 movie. It’s a great flick, written by the amazing Michael Crichton and well worth your time. It poses the same questions as the TV show in that you sit there and wonder, is this okay? Is it moral to have a “theme park” that’s humanoid robots that act, talk and die like humans, but that humans can mess with, murder, rape, etc, with impunity.

In the Westworld of the film, it’s so much more than just the Western concept, there’s a Greek concept world and others, the scope of it is truly amazing and I wonder if eventually they’ll bring that into the show. I sure hope so.

What’s similar about both the TV show and the movie is this idea that people in the future go on vacation to a place where they can literally do whatever they want to other “people” (aka, hosts as they’re called on the show). That means that people go there and have sex with whoever they want, however they want. They murder people at will, they rob, pillage … You get the idea. The worst of people comes out when they’re given free reign with zero consequences or guilt.

Honestly, It turns my stomach a bit, especially in this current world climate of anger and chaos. I don’t think I could ever hurt someone for “fun”, robot or not. It makes you truly wonder about the people who frequent the park. I mean sure, there are plenty of folks who go just to have a good time, to immerse themselves in the old West. To drink, play cards, act like a cowboy or cowgirl and have fun. No murdering or other nefarious adventures. But then there are those that go to do not so nice stuff. Who go because they have never killed and want to do so without the fear of jail time or their own death. They go because they enjoy having power over others, because they see the hosts as less than human, as below them and therefore, they see the hosts as their playthings.

Again, it’s a bit stomach-turning when you start to think of it that way.

That being said, what I love about the show is that the women are given equal, if not more, power than men. There are multiple story lines evolving, and almost all include a powerful, smart, savvy woman taking control and getting stuff done. Rachel Evan Wood, who plays Dolores, (and who is always enchanting to watch) is discovering her true self by going on a mission to discover her past,  a past which she realizes is much more awful than she imagined. After all, she has wonderful, informative chats with Arnold, only to discover that she killed him.

Oh Dolores, what did you do???
Oh Dolores, what did you do???

Dear God, what? Dolores killed Arnold???? No, say it isn’t so! But I can’t say I’m surprised, we all knew that Dolores had a dark side, we just didn’t know how dark it could actually be.

Then we have Maeve, wonderful, brutal, brilliant Maeve played with a wonderfully sinister ease by Thandie Newton. She has a nervous, unseasoned tech wrapped around her beautiful finger and I cannot wait for the finale on Sunday to see if she gets her wish, to be free of Westworld altogether. Though we know that that may be impossible, and may even kill her if/when she tries to leave.

The thing is, these women are as brutal the world around them. They are products of their environment. They are products of their past stories that they are remembering with horror. They remember the rapes, the murders, the brutality brought upon them in their other storylines and they want out. They were created by Westworld and therefore, they are cruel, they are battered and they are ready to be something more than just a plaything for humans.

She's a wiley one, that Maeve.
She’s a wiley one, that Maeve.

They want freedom, or do they? Dolores makes the point in this past Sunday’s episode that the men all assume she wants out so that begs the question, what does Dolores want?

I think it’s very simple: they want to be able to decide their own future.

They want choices.

AH! It’s fantastic! I absolutely love this show and I look forward to the finale, while also being sad that my weekly bouts of, “Huh?” and “Holy cow!” are going to be over until Season Two premiers. I also live in fear as to who is next to die. Is it Maeve? Dolores? Ford (played with perfect level of menace and sadness by Anthony Hopkins)? Oh my gosh, it’s almost too much!

How about you? What do you enjoy most about Westworld? What do you hope the finale shows us? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: The Walking Dead – Here’s Negan!

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


We waited for season 7 and we were not disappointed...Well most of us anyway.
We waited for season 7 and we were not disappointed…Well most of us anyway.

This post isn’t so much about feminism in The Walking Dead because I have touched on that before, but more it’s about me being a total nerd for this show and I wanted to chat a bit about the Season 7 premiere that happened last Sunday and the reaction thus far.

Do you watch The Walking Dead? Did you see it yet? No? Then stop reading, there be SPOILERS AHEAD! Why are you reading a blog instead of watching the show? Yeesh, go, go now!

Okay. Onward and upward.

If you watch the show then you  know that season 6 left us all in a quandary. We had just met Negan (if you didn’t read the comics you had been hearing about him ad naseum for quite a while I assume) and I can say that for me, I had a hard time remember to breathe the entire episode as we waited the big reveal and what it meant for our hearty band of survivors.

If you read the comics, then you know that someone is about to die, and Negan is going to be the one who does it. With Lucille, his vampire bat.

I started watching Walking Dead before I read the comics and I instantly loved the show and very quickly thereafter began to devour the comics as well. I am now currently caught up with the comics but won’t spoil those here.  Sufficed it to say, Negan is still alive and kicking and he is still a very, very, VERY bad man. Can you be a man when you’re a horrible monster in a world of horrible monsters?

Many people knew that someone was about to die, we didn’t know who and season 6 was not about to end telling us who dies, they left us all wondering, as the screen went black and the horrific crunching of bat on head echoed all around us. We waited and we guessed and we worried, and finally, we know. It wasn’t just one character, it was two. TWO! Walking Dead you’re getting greedy now.

Winner of best facial hair on "The Walking Dead" has to be Abraham.
Winner of best facial hair on “The Walking Dead” has to be Abraham.

It was a brutal episode, first Abraham got killed, but not before he got in one last, “Such my b—s” as he collapsed. It was a death worthy of the character and it was sad to see. It was actually really grotesque, but this is a show full of grotesque imagery, I mean, for pete’s sake, the dead and decaying are walking around la-dee-dah like. It’s pretty gross.

What came next was a surprise and a pretty good shock, Daryl gets a good, solid punch in on Negan’s handsome face and voila! We have our second death of the evening, Glenn. Poor Glenn, he got it via Lucille in the comics so he’s who I had my money on to be murdered on the episode. I admit to jumping and yelling when it happened. I admit to crying a tear or two when he finally cries out to Maggie and tells her he’ll find her.

Ugh.

It’s a brutal episode. Not only do we see characters we love get butchered in front of our faces, we see some pretty gnarly zombie death as well. But besides all of that is the emotional toll the show took. We watch as Negan beats Rick down emotionally, brutally, gleefully. After so many years with these characters, it’s hard to see someone as strong, as capable, as kind of cuckoo-pants crazy, as Rick get beaten down to the point of weeping and begging.

I say it again, it was a brutal episode.

Sadness...RIP Glenn Rhee.
Sadness…RIP Glenn Rhee.

So why am I so surprised that people are mad? We live in an age where people can accept gratuitous sex and foul language as par for the course, but violence on a show known for being gory and violent shocks us. People cry out, “My kids were watching!” And I ask, “What the heck were you doing let kids watch this show?” People cry out, “It’s too much,” and I ask, “So why doesn’t the violence on the news get you this upset? Why are half naked women okay, but violence is not?”

To me it’s a mark of a show doing something right. If people have such a strong and emotional reaction that they vow to stop watching the show, then the writers, the actors, everyone is doing something right. It means it’s effecting people (either positively or negatively) and that is what any entertainer wants to do. As a writer, I would LOVE to effect people with my words so much so that they have an emotional reaction so strong as to be angry, sad, happy, etc.

Is the show too violent? I don’t think so, not in the context of everything else that surrounds us. Not to mention the show is on at 9 AND has multiple warnings about violent content. They’ve done their job in warning people, if parents are letting their kids watch the show and the kids have nightmares, that’s on them. I’m sorry, but it’s true. It’s not AMC or The Walking Dead’s responsibility to censor itself because parents don’t make good decisions. I also think that if you don’t read the comics, then this weekends premier was probably a shocker for you, I get that. For those of us who have seen it, we know that Negan is horrible, violent and sadistic. We know what he does. If it was a surprise how violent things got and you are angry, that’s okay, but take a breather and think about the show you’re watching. It’s a show where the dead walk. Where people have been killing each other, sometimes there’s cannibals, always there’s death, and you’re surprised it got violent?

I do agree though that it was still brutal. And brilliant. That was some of the finest TV I’ve seen in awhile. Not because it was violent, but for the quiet moments after the violence was past us. When Rick and Negan are having alone time, when Rick is going through what’s just happened again and again. When we see the look on Daryl’s face when Glenn is killed. It’s those little moments that make it brilliant. The violence is just wrapped into that, it’s the catalyst for those little moments of true brilliance.

I personally cannot wait to see where Season 7 goes. If it’s anything like the comic book, we are in for quite the horrifically brutal treat.

Oh Negan...
Oh Negan…

What did you think of the premier? Too violent? Are you going to keep watching the show?
Yes or no?
Why or why not?
Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Horrific Halloween Entertainment

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


First off I want to say this post will be less about feminism and more about the fun of the month of October and all the movies you can watch and scare yourself silly (or laugh yourself silly). I need something fun to write and hopefully you need something fun to read that has nothing to do with movements or politics or any of the current nonsense in the world. Maybe that’s burying my head in the sand, but I’ll bury it for the hour or so it takes to write this up and then continue to slog through all the insanity being spouted in the media.

That being said, let’s talk Halloween movies, do you have a favorite that you watch every October? Are you looking for a few new offerings to add to your already stellar collection of frightening fare? Here are some of my favorites! They may not be terrifying, but they are a lot of fun.

Tried and True Tales

Trick ‘r’ Treat

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One of my favorite go-to Halloween movies has to be Trick ‘r’ Treat. If you haven’t seen this treasure you should totally watch it this year. It’s a 2007 American-Canadian horror anthology film written and directed by Michael Dougherty. The stories are all a bit creepy, a big icky, and very clever. They all take place in a small fictional town in Ohio.

One common element that ties the stories together is the presence of Sam, a mysterious child trick-or-treater wearing shabby orange pajamas with a burlap sack over his head, that makes an appearance in all the stories whenever someone breaks Halloween traditions. – Wikipedia 

Trick ‘r’ Treat has gotten quite the cult following and finally, in 2013, it was announced that a sequel would one day come our way, fingers crossed!

The Descent

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A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators. ~IMDB

This 2005 horror gem scared the pants off of me when I first saw it. I have a thing about being underground, and trapped, and squeezed into teeny, tiny spaces while being hunted by blood thirsty creatures that can see in the dark.  So yeah, this one hit my buttons in a lot of ways. It took me awhile to re-watch it, but when I did I wasn’t quite as scared, but totally enamored of this all-girl tale of horror underneath the ground. Great visuals, nice jump scares and plenty of tension make this a must watch Halloween flick!

Poltergeist

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No, I am not talking about the remake. When I listen Poltergeist on a list of movies, I am talking about the 1982 original and I am also making sure that all the lights are on and it’s totally daylight. Ever since I saw this as a kid, it has scared me to death. As a 37 year old woman, it still scares the holy bejesus out of me. I realize the effects are outdated but damn if when that guy’s face peels off if I don’t get totally grossed out. Something about being attacked in your own home by demonic forces really terrifies me. It also doesn’t help that there’s an attack clown, I am 90% certain that the reason I hate clowns is because of this movie.

There’s one more thing. A terrible presence is in there with her. So much rage, so much betrayal, I’ve never sensed anything like it. I don’t know what hovers over this house, but it was strong enough to punch a hole into this world and take your daughter away from you. It keeps Carol Anne very close to it and away from the spectral light. It LIES to her, it tells her things only a child could understand. It has been using her to restrain the others. To her, it simply IS another child. To us, it is the BEAST. Now, let’s go get your daughter. ~IMDB

Yeah, I get all chills and fear when I think, talk or read about this movie. It’s the one that really triggers my childhood fears, but that’s also what makes it so amazing, all these years later.

*Also, looking up a picture to put in this blog scared the holy Hell out of me. I hate this movie, why am I talking about it?

Are You In The Mood For Something Italian?

Now onto something completely different! A few years ago my friend introduced me to the Italian genre of horror films. These movies aren’t so much scary as they are amazingly funny, goofy, and just plain gross. Not to mention they are completely the antithesis of my feminist ideals, but I can suspend that a bit to watch a movie.

Zombie 

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Directed by Lucio Fulci, Zombie was one of the first Italian horror films I ever saw, and I have to say, it is probably my favorite. 

A zombie is found aboard a boat off the New York coast which belongs to do a famous scientist. Peter West, a journalist, travels to the Antilles with Ann, the daughter of the scientist. On the way, they meet with with Brian, a ethnologist, and Susan. When they arrive at Matul Island, they find Dr. Menard, and discover a terrifying disease which is turning the islanders into horrifying zombies which devour human flesh and seem indestructible. ~IMDB

That’s it, a nice, simple premise but what’s amazing about pretty much all of the Italian films I’ve seen, the dubbing, the dialogue, all of it is totally ridiculous. The blood saturation is high and gruesome and some of the kills are just plain disgusting, but it’s worth a viewing if you are into horror films and just how ridiculous they can be.

Cat In The Brain

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I’ve only seen this gem once so my memory of it is a big foggy, but know that the first 5 minutes are probably the best thing ever, so ridiculous you just have to see it because mere words cannot do it justice.

Also directed by Fulci, this one stars our beloved director, Fulci himself, wondering if his work is finally making him mad and tries to get help, but unfortunately, things don’t quite work out for him like he hopes …

Dr. Lucio Fulci is a director of splatterfilms. He stages a gestapo-orgy like it was any other movie scene. But he is influenced by these things more than he likes. He is hunted by bloody visions day by day. Is Fulci still normal? He asks a psychatrist. He doesn’t know that the psychatrist has much bigger problems than Fulci himself. The psychatrist uses Fulci’s visions for brutal murders in real life. ~IMDB

The film is mostly incoherent madness, with a few laughs, a lot of blood and a whole lot of ridiculousness thrown in. It’s a good watch when you need something lighter than the usual Halloween fare, or even as the backdrop of a Halloween party. Its a great bit of cinematic, nonsense fun.

And Now, For Something Really Gross…

ICK.
ICK.

For my last film, I’m going to a dark place people, a creepy place, a place that I personally will probably never go again (but never say never). That’s right, I am talking about The Human Centipede. One of the most horrifying movies I think I’ve ever seen. Truly I watched it with a blanket over my face while I yelled at the TV. I felt disturbed by it for days afterward and even though I have since watched the 2, yes TWO, sequels (which were horrible, the 3rd one was unwatchable) I have to say that the original is still the best.

The first Human Centipede is a horror, torture film interspersed with a suspense that I normally love.

A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a trio of tourists in order to reassemble them into a human centipede, created by stitching their mouths to each others’ rectums. ~IMDB

It’s a pretty simple (and gruesome) idea, but the mad doctor, played to perfection by Dieter Laser, really makes this movie what it is. His madness is nearly unmatched and the scene where he describes his medical plan to his unsuspecting victims is probably the most terrifying part of the movie, not the grossest, that comes later, but it is truly horrific as he lays out his plan with total scientific glee.

There you have it folks, a few (but defiantly not all) of my favorite Halloween films, what are yours? Sound off in the comments and maybe I’ll talk about them in an upcoming blog!

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The Female Perspective: The Women of the Marvel Netflix Universe

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for superhero films and TV shows. I, like so many others, have been enjoying everything Marvel, including their foray into the world of binge watching on Netflix. Recently my boyfriend and I sat down and watched Luke Cage and I have to say, it was phenomenal. It also got me thinking, how come Marvel, and by extension, Netflix, can get this stuff so right and so many others get it so, so wrong?

The awesome women on "Luke Cage" on Netflix now!
The awesome women on “Luke Cage” on Netflix now!

What am I talking about? Not the content necessarily, though they nail that, but more specifically I’m talking about the women. The female characters are well thought out, they’re developed in fascinating and engaging ways and they walk around fully clothed and act like the grown ups they are.  It particularly struck me during Luke Cage as something that is a pleasure to see. Women who are powerful and smart, not just sex objects.

Take Rosario Dawson’s character for example, Claire, she its he connecting character between Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage and in all the shows she’s tough, she’s no-nonsense and she’s brave as all get out, especially when surrounded by larger than life enhanced people. She doesn’t wuss out when things get tough, she grabs the closest weapon she can find and she fights, or she used her words, which she’s more than capable of stringing into full sentences and fights that way. The women of the Netflix Marvel Universe are so much more than just women, they’re partners to the crime fighters they stand by. They’re equals. 

"Jessica Jones" on Netflix.
“Jessica Jones” on Netflix.

Of course, it’s not just in the Netflix programming either, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is equally as impressive in its female roles. No quiet wallflowers here, they’re all out to protect those that they love, keep themselves safe and fight toe-to-toe with some of Earth’s greatest hero’s. It’s something that strikes me as at odds in today’s world of angry anti-feminist rhetoric. It’s amazing when you look at the toy lines and the fight that it’s been to get the female characters represented alongside the male characters. How can Marvel and the studios get it so right on the screen, but so wrong in other places?

Now I can’t pretend to be knowledgeable about comic books since I haven’t read most of the ones that are the basis of these shows, but the comics I have read have struggled with representing women as equals to their male counterparts. I will never, ever understand why someone thinks it makes sense to draw a woman who is in a life or death fight as wearing a strapless top and a skirt. I know comics aren’t meant to be realistic and I love being sunk into  fantasy world of super hero’s and super villains, but still, I want my super ladies to wear pants, is that so much of a stretch? And shirts with sleeves and stuff would be good too, but one thing at at time. Pants would be great.

Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in "Daredevil" season 2.
Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in “Daredevil” season 2.

Anyway … What do you think? Have you watched any of these shows? What do you think about the portrayal of women in the Marvel universe? Sound off in the comments! Tell me what you think!

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The Female Perspective: Halloween Costumes Gone MAD!

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


It’s that time of year again, when I get to look over the Halloween costumes selection and find joy in how ridiculous the designers get with what they deem a “sexy” costume. I found some good ones this year folks!

Hey honey, we should go as rotary dial phones for Halloween. Doesn't that sound fun?
Hey honey, we should go as rotary dial phones for Halloween. Doesn’t that sound fun?

To begin, I want to say that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to wear a sexy costume. This list is all in good fun because honestly, has anyone ever thought, “Gee whiz, I want to be a sexy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle this year”? There are plenty of the traditional sexy costumes like Harley Quinn, Egyptian Goddess, Witch or Milk Maid, but there are also some very, very silly options that I like to highlight here.

Read on, and if you pick one of these, please, for the love all things holy and fun, post a pic!

Women’s Sexy In a Galaxy Far, Far Away Costume

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Are you looking to be a sexy version of Princess Leia without all those pesky layers of white robe? Well, have I got the solution for YOU! Behold the Sexy In a Galaxy Far, Far Away costume. Not only does it not bother to cover your legs with something as silly as a skirt or pants (Eee gads, not PANTS!) it even comes with a HOOD. So if you get cold you can just curl up into the smallest ball humanly possible and get into that hood of yours.

Sexy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

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Sure, you like turtles, you even like ninja turtles, but are they sexy? I suppose to other turtles they might be … Hmm … Anyway, I came across this picture at random and had a good chuckle at the idea of trying to make the TMNT gang sexy. Or really, trying to make any ninjas sexy seems slightly ridiculous since ninja’s at their core, are meant to fly under the radar, not jump up on a table for all the attention. Perhaps I’m getting too literal? Regardless, whatever way you go with your turtle love, make sure you can at least eat pizza while in your costume, otherwise, what’s the point of even being a TMNT?

Sexy Optimus Prime (yes, you read that right)

Autobots! Roll Out!
Autobots! Roll Out!

Now, I can’t be alone in saying that the big OP has a sexy voice (for a talking Mack Truck) and he does some heroic stuff (“You got the power!”), but sexy? I did not think it could possibly get any sillier than a sexy TMNT ensemble, but I was wrong. This one gave me quite the chuckle, I mean it’s adorable, but if you’re a true Transformers fan, there is no way that this is going to be your costume. At least, I have never seen a woman in such an outfit at any of the Comic Con’s I’ve been to. Typically if you dress as a Transformer, you wear something blocky and bulky, the total opposite of sexy.

I will, however, admit that this one might be my favorite, the skirt is actually adorable.

Sexy Chucky Costume 

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There are literally no words.

What About The Dudes?

You might be wondering, why are all these costumes for women? Well, I wondered that myself and decided to do a quick search of sexy men’s Halloween costumes. You know what I found? Stuff I can’t put in this blog for one (too risqué) and then it’s boring stuff like a guy in a suit, dressed as a Scottish Highlander (with pants under his kilt, so wrong) and other stuff like that, carpenters, firemen, etc. Nothing at all to the level of the women (see Sexy Chucky above). Though I did find this one and if anyone can tell me what the heck it is, I’ll send you a lollipop.

*sigh*
*sigh*

It seems sad that men can’t get in on the super sexy costume game like women do, but then i realized oh wait, it’s not that they don’t want to, it’s that they don’t feel as if they have to. Not to take this blog to a serious place but the fact is, we live in a patriarchal society where women are groomed to think they always have to be sexy or attractive and god forbid if they do something else. The other side of that is that the tide is changing, many women are choosing costumes that reflect who they are and not what society expects them to be. Not to mention, on Halloween it’s all about being someone else and sometimes that means getting a wee bit sexy. As I said before, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s on your terms and not something you feel you have to do in order to please someone.

What are YOU going as for Halloween? Let us know in the comments!

 

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The Female Perspective: What I’m Reading, the “American Gods” Edition

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


“All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.”
~Neil GaimanAmerican Gods

By Neil Gaiman
By Neil Gaiman

I am just about finished with my 2nd read of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, his take on the old Gods, the new Gods and what a man caught in the middle does when he learns their secrets. I read this book a couple years ago and I’ll admit, I wasn’t a huge fan. I had heard so many good things about it, but I wasn’t ravenously inspired by the story nor did I quite understand why it was such a popular novel. I decided to give it a 2nd read because I am excited about the upcoming show and I thought, “Let me give this bad boy another chance to impress me.”

The 2nd read has done it folks. I am loving this book now. I totally get it. This book is fantastic. Maybe not in my top 5 favorite books, but definitely in my top 10 without question.

I admit also that I’m not a huge Neil Gaiman fan. I thought the Stardust movie was better than the book and while I enjoyed what I’ve read of the Sandman series, I’m not so overcome with love for Gaiman that I have to devour every book he puts out. I think I’ll be giving his catalog of books a 2nd chance though because I like how he writes. He’s like Stephen King, but with a strange, twisted in a non-horrific way that I totally dig.

**SPOILERS AHEAD!**

If you have not read the book, stop here if you don’t want to know anything about it.

Take the main character in American Gods, Shadow, first off, great name. Secondly, you kind of fall in love with him immediately. He’s down on his luck, in prison for a crime and sure, he’s a criminal, but you immediately sense that there is more to this guy than just doing something wrong and going to jail for it. Besides, he just got out of prison early because his wife is dead. He seems lost, out of sorts, unsure of what to do in the free world.

Then he meets a mysterious man and things get seriously weird.

“People believe, thought Shadow. It’s what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief, that makes things happen.”  ~Neil Gaiman, American Gods

We start to suss out the story, there are Gods on Earth. Old Gods and the New, more annoying, Gods. We have Gods of the media, of electronics, of our pop culture that reflect back at us our own failings, our own systemic-self indulgence. We (as the reader) look at the new Gods and we scoff at them, thinking, I don’t believe in a God of TV. But the fact is, we do– In our own way– worship the boob tube and we will continue to do so until our dying day. We think, the old Gods are so much cooler than the new Gods. But then the story is over and we realize that the old Gods are just as messed up and flawed as the new ones and they are lead by liars and cheats.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiV6ra6ro_PAhVB6iYKHUhzB1AQjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chrisbuzelli.com%2Famerican-gods%2F&psig=AFQjCNHMyJz4N9N0NYezfMXRRmICHMCEsA&ust=1473959816157065
“American Gods”, art by Chris Buzelli

American Gods is a story about worship, about the culture we live in, about lies and truth. Belief and disbelief. Shadow is trying to make sense of this world he’s stumbled into and it continually zigs and zags away from him, become more confused and convoluted with each God we meet. And we meet some good ones, Odin, Loki, Horus, Gods from Hindu mythology and Gods I have no idea where they came from. In the midst of it all, a storm is coming, a war is imminent and we think we know which side is the “right” side, but by the end that’s all flipped and maybe we realize there is no right or wrong side. There’s just the side that wants blood and the side that doesn’t.

“There’s never been a true war that wasn’t fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.”
~Neil Gaiman, American Gods

American Gods is a great tale to read today, with our insane politics and just in general in the midst of a world obsessed with selfies and Instagram and Snapchat. We’ve created new Gods even in the time since Gaiman wrote this. Gods of Facebook, Gods of Twitter. It’s amazing how the tides of worship flit from one to another, creating a God and then abandoning it to flounder and starve when it is ignored, unloved. It’s a fascinating idea, to think that belief in a thing can make it into something “real”, something with ideas and feelings, and it’s even more fascinating to think that once the tide of belief has turned to something else, that God that’s been created is left in a world that no longer cares as it desperately attempts to become relevant again.

American Gods is a mix of fantasy and mythology. It’s also a love story, a story about a man trying to find his way in a world that’s forgotten him and a story about belief. It’s so much more than I thought it was when I first read it and if you’ve read it and didn’t love it, I suggest you give it a 2nd read because you might just see more than you thought was there. You might begin to believe.

“Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.”  ~Neil Gaiman, American Gods

Super excited for the upcoming STARZ TV version of "American Gods'!
Super excited for the upcoming STARZ TV version of “American Gods’!

What are YOU reading? Have you read American Gods yet? Are you planning on watching the TV show? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Harley Quinn v. Wonder Woman

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


I’ll preface this blog by saying I have not read any comics with Harley Quinn. I’ve done some looking into her backstory and watched a Justice League movie awhile back, but I am by no means a HQ expert, so I ask those that are experts to be kind and offer up some corrections if I do get anything incorrect here. This blog is entirely based on my opinions, nothing more. I don’t presume to be spouting facts!

That being said…

Like many folks, I am looking forward to the Suicide Squad movie with baited breath. Unlike many, I have enjoyed the Superman movies that have come out as late so my expectations are not as low for Suicide Squad as many others. I think this looks fun and I don’t give one great big hoot about the reviews that have come out stating otherwise, I don’t trust reviewers and like to experience a movie for myself.

GalleryChar_1920x1080_Harley-Quinn-#1_54b9c3a0058de1.57883431

I have heard of a few of the characters and one in particular, Harley Quinn, is one I’ve seen in cosplay form a lot at various cons.  She’s a popular one, in all her various iterations and I’ve always wondered why. From the research I’ve done and from what I’ve seen, I am not overly impressed with her character. She’s in love with The Joker (we’ve all made bad choices in love, so that I am okay with) and eventually goes crazy from that and becomes a villain, and eventually more of an anti-hero. All right, all of that I can deal with. What I don’t like and what really irritates the holy heck out of me is the weird, totally dysfunctional and abusive relationship she has with The Joker. He shoved her in a vat of acid and yet, she still loves him. There is literally nothing he can do that would make her not love him. It bothers me, and I thought about the reasons why it bothers me. It’s just a comic book right? It’s not real life. But the fact is, young girls do look up to these heroes and villains, they do emulate them and I have seen many young women wearing Harley Quinn costumes and I think, why her? What is it about her that makes you want to be her in some way? I may have to ask a few HQ’s at the next con I attend because I am honestly curious.

wonder-woman-435

I’ve always been a huge fan of Wonder Woman. Her strength, beauty and smarts are compelling and inspiring. While she may have fallen in love from time to time, it never seemed to be the thing that defined her as a character. She was defined by her power, her mission and her fairness. Of course, she’s the polar opposite of HQ because one is a hero and the other a villain, so of course they’re going to have different stories. I know this and yet, I do not get why anyone would want to be HQ. She’s abused, she’s mis-treated and she’s debased by The Joker time and time again and yet, she comes back for more.

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I think for me, her backstory rubs me the wrong way because I’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship so watching anyone (fictional or otherwise) go through that pushes my buttons.  It’s a personal thing, sure it is, but isn’t that the beauty of good art? It triggers you (for good or bad), it makes you feel one way or the other. I guess the creators of HQ did a good job with her if I feel so strongly anti-Harley Quinn and so very pro-Wonder Woman. As I said on the outset, I don’t presume to know everything about Harley Quinn so if I’m off the mark, let me know, please. I’d love to learn what makes her so popular!

For me WW represents everything I wanted to be as a kid. Not a super hero so much as a woman with integrity, morals, bravery and strength. For me, watching HQ just makes me feel ill-at-ease. I want her to shove the Joker in a vat of acid and walk away, never to speak to or think about him again. I want her to be emotionally stronger than she seems to be. I guess what I’m saying is I want her to be a hero.  Which I realize may be a ridiculous wish to have for a comic book character.

HARLEY-QUINN-WONDER-WOMAN

What do you think? Who’s your favorite between the two?

Wonder Woman or Harley Quinn? Or is it someone else?

Why? Sound off in the comments!