Musings in the Dark: October 2021


Horror 103: Iconography--Queen Akasha

I will end this year’s Halloween celebration by featuring the One True Queen…Akasha. The gorgeous Aaliyah Haughton (may she rest in power) plays the titular Queen of the Damned. Akasha is the oldest of all the vampires. She is brought back to life by Lestat and has a hunger that cannot be sated.

Akasha is not the one for sugar and spice and everything nice. She sees humans as nothing more than sustenance. In the scene that takes place after she is first intimate with Lestat, there are hundreds of dead bodies everywhere, and she wants more...including Lestat as her king.

Sidebar: If I may...Sis, wtf you want his pasty ass for?  You can do a LOT BETTER than him. *cue massive eyeroll*


I’m not a fan of this movie. Stuart Townsend’s take as rock star Lestat missed me entirely. But I am a fan of the Queen. It’s bad enough that Akasha’s only in the movie for maybe 30 minutes (and that's being generous), but what’s worse is how she dies. I did not like how she met her end at the hands of her pale progeny. I felt that a character as badass as Queen Akasha should have been able to survive anything, even exsanguination.

I present my case:

Anyway, this concludes my Halloween celebration for 2021.  Join me in March for the second annual celebration of my favorite science fiction works. HAPPY HALLOWEEN, Dark Dilettantes!!!


Horror 103: Iconography--Red/Adelaide

Us caught me from the left. Lupita Nyong'o plays two characters: Adelaide Wilson and her doppelganger Red, and she eats both roles.  As a child, Adelaide had a scare in a Santa Cruz funhouse and lost the use of her voice for a period of time.  As an adult, Adelaide is happily married and the mother of two children. While on vacation at their lake house in Santa Cruz, the Wilson family is terrorized by the arrival of their red-suited doppelgangers called the Tethered and the remainder of the movie revolves around this conflict. Adelaide goes head up with her doppelganger Red, who speaks in a raspy voice, and eventually kills her.

Later we learn that the woman we knew as Adelaide was actually Red the doppelganger and Red the doppelganger was the real Adelaide. When she was a little girl messing around in the funhouse, Adelaide ran into her “evil” twin, Red and Red promptly choked her out, damaging her windpipe and vocal cords. Red dragged Adelaide to the underground location where the Tethered lived and took over Adelaide’s life.  

I went into Us without any idea what it was about and came out of the theater feeling like I’d been hit over the head. It messed with my brain for a day or two and I spent the next week thinking about the ideas and themes present in the movie. Such a good film; an excellent sophomore effort from Jordan Peele. It makes me want to see Lady Lupita play a full-on villain, and somebody needs to make this happen.


Horror 103: Iconography--Michonne Hawthorne

Danai Gurira plays the badass B-with-a-Blade Michonne Hawthorne in television's The Walking Dead. I used to be a die-hard fan of TWD, but lost interest sometime around season seven. Michonne makes her official appearance in S3, wielding a katana and leading two pet walkers whom we learn are her ex-boyfriend and his best friend. Michonne befriends Andrea and they end up in Woodbury.  

However, Michonne's Spidey senses lead her to leave Woodbury because she doesn't trust The Governor (and rightfully so), and eventually finds her way to Rick Grimes and his group of survivors.  Michonne and Rick initially do not trust each other, but as time passes, she becomes Rick's right-hand woman and eventually his lover, while also becoming a stepmom to Rick's kids.

Michonne's weapon of choice is a katana and she's a surgeon with it. Her body count is 23 (Source). Major props to Danai for bringing this boss chick to life.


Horror 103: Iconography--Jeryline

Jeryline, played by Jada Pinkett Smith before her marriage to Big Willie, is one of the protagonists in Tales From the Crypt’s Demon Knight.  She’s on work release and works for the local shitbag motel when the movie begins. At first, it seemed that Jeryline’s role would be stereotypical, but thankfully it does not devolve.

She’s identified by the male protagonist Brayker as someone worthy. Crazy shit starts happening and Jeryline works with Brayker to protect everyone from the monsters and The Collector--more on his fine ass in a moment--and proves her worth.

Jeryline is a badass and the Final Girl, having learned from Brayker that she will be the one to protect the Key after his death. She is hesitant to accept this for obvious reasons, but Brayker assures her that she has all of the necessary traits to be the Keeper of the Key and she will be fine.

Jeryline demonstrates this by going head-up with The Collector--played by His Hotness Billy Zane--and comes out victorious by spitting the Key’s sacred blood in his face. The movie ends with Jeryline on the road, the Key in her possession, and a new Collector hot on her heels.

And then there's this part...

You guys already know which way my heart swings, so it should be NO surprise that I wished she'd considered his request. Like sis, hear him out at least...


Horror 103: Iconography--Selena

In 28 Days Later, Selena is a badass survivor of the Rage Virus. Her husband gets infected and she ends up having to kill him.  Her parents and brother also died at her hands once they became infected. When you have to murder your entire family just to (1) protect yourself, and (2) allow them to have peace, it hardens you. 

Selena gets her hands on a machete and teams up with others.  She is determined to survive and adopts an attitude of self-preservation. Later, Selena does change her mind on her kill-or-be-killed mental state.  But honestly, in that situation, we can’t blame her for putting herself first. And it pays off. Even though she forms alliances with others in order to survive, Selena is one of the last ones standing when the movie ends.


Horror 103: Iconography—Katrina

 This entry will be brief.  

There’s only one reason to watch Vamp: Grace Muthafuckin Jones. Like I don’t even remember what the movie is about—turns out to be about strip club vampires (and I had to look that up).  All I remember—and all I care about—-is Theee Grace Jones as Katrina, a stunning vampire stripper.  She's only in the movie for a matter of minutes, which is probably why I don't remember anything else about Vamp.

While Queen Grace’s dance is G-rated by today’s standards, she is still a standout. You don’t even have to watch the movie; some generous soul on YouTube uploaded Katrina’s dance and you can check it out below.


Horror 103: Iconography—Kia Waterson

Kia Waterson (Kelly Rowland) plays a stereotypical Black girl in Freddy vs. Jason with ONE major exception: she survives until the end. Hence me showing her just a little bit of love.

Everything about Kia’s characterization is typical: she’s the sassy Black best friend of the lead character, who is White, of course. Kia is obsessed with her nose; for some reason that is never expounded upon, she wants to get a nose job.

Kia does more than her fair share in terms of heavy lifting, including distracting Freddy from the protagonist. This loyalty ultimately costs Kia her life; while she’s shading Freddy, comparing him to Jason, Jason comes up behind her and kills her. But at least Kia made it to the end; she’s the last human to die. We don’t get many opportunities where this happens.


Horror 103: Iconography--Alexa Woods

Sanaa Lathan is Alexa “Lex” Woods, a badass ice climber and environmentalist.  She is recruited by Charles Bishop Weyland to lead his crew to Bouvet Island and investigate something one of his satellites found under the Antarctic ice. Lex is reluctant to lead the crew because they haven’t had the requisite training to survive on the ice.  However, she ends up doing it. Shit goes left, as it tends to when people don’t listen or follow instructions, and the crew is taken out by either an Alien or a Predator.  

Lex is the lone survivor, the Final Girl, and she allies with Scar, the last of the Predator teenagers who came to Bouvet Island for an alien hunt.  Scar watches as Lex kills an Alien using his combi stick and makes her a shield and combi stick using the alien’s head and tail, respectively. They end up blowing up the pyramid, as it has become infested with Aliens. Scar uses alien acid to mark Lex’s cheek to show that she is a warrior and has killed an Alien.

Lex and Scar make it to the surface to do battle with the Alien Queen, who is highly and righteously pissed at the death of her children.  Together they work and take the Queen out.  Scar dies from wounds at the hands of the Queen and Lex is left to watch the Predator ship uncloak and a team of Predators come and retrieve Scar’s body. Lex receives the Elder Predator’s badass combi stick when he sees the scar on her cheek and makes her way to one of the ice tractors to go back to Weyland’s ship.

Sanaa Lathan is my #womancrush and she did her thing in AVP.  A lot of people don’t like this movie, but I love it so much.  Lex wasn’t with the shits; she deadass told Scar he wasn’t about to leave her behind, and she could handle herself.  I don’t see nearly enough sistahs in roles like this and I’ve already made my feelings clear on that in a previous post. 


Horror 103: Iconography--Rita Veder

Angela Bassett plays Rita Veder, a NYC detective haunted by memories and visions of her insane mother and murder.  She falls under the spell of Maximilian, a seductive vampire played by the incomparable Eddie Murphy.  Rita and her partner Justice investigate the murders caused by Maximilian, but she soon finds herself drawn to him.  Rita is a dhampir; the daughter of a vampire father and a human mother.  She is unaware of her heritage.

We learn that Rita’s father was murdered by vampire hunters and that was what drove her mother (a paranormal researcher) insane.  Prior to his death, Rita’s father sent Maximilian to find her and that is why he is in New York. Max has to claim her before the next full moon or he will die. Maximilian bites Rita and tries to convince her to embrace her vampire heritage and be with him.  But Rita doesn’t want any part of that lifestyle (to my utter chagrin) and kills Max.

I love this movie simply because it gave my horror heart something I’d never really seen before: a Black vampire.  I don’t have any memories of watching Blacula, so Eddie Murphy’s turn as Maximilian really did something to me. This was three years before Blade dropped.  And having The Goddess Angela Bassett as his romantic lead made me so happy.  They had great chemistry and I really, really, really wanted Rita to embrace her whole self and become Maximilian’s queen.  I could have watched—and still can—a whole series with them traveling the world doing evil vamp shit.


Horror 103: Iconography...Temptation

Written by, directed by, produced by, and starring James Bond
Def By Temptation tells the story of a young preacher who crosses paths with a beautiful succubus.

Cynthia Bond (no relation) plays the gorgeous Temptation, and she lures men to vicious, violent deaths with the promise of magnificent sex.  She has no shortage of victims, as the men she encounters at the bar she hangs out at never question how easy it is to take her home. Dumbasses.

This movie dropped in 1990 and I remember it being the thing everybody (at least in my world) wanted to see. I hadn't seen many films with a succubus as a protagonist and definitely not one with a sistah in the role. Needless to say, Temptation made her mark. Check her out. Sis was a straight savage.


Horror 103: Iconography

It’s October and you know what that means!  Time for me to do my annual celebration of all things horror.  

This past summer, I was finally able to watch Horror Noire on Shudder. It’s a documentary about Black folks in horror; actors, directors, authors, screenwriters, etc. It begins with a statement of fact, “We love horror, but horror doesn’t love us…” and delves into our collective history in and with horror. If you have Shudder, it is definitely worth a watch.

After watching the documentary, I was inspired. I’d been dancing around potential topics for this year and couldn’t make a decision until I watched Horror Noire. I was going to have a list of Black horror icons; five female and five male, until in my research I discovered that Screen Rant already covered the males I’d put on my list.  After venting to Noob, I decided to modify my original plan and focus on Black female horror icons. 

So over the next 30 days, celebrate with me and let's give these Horror Queens their due.