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On a night too cold to go anywhere, we waddled to the local theater for love of Guillermo Del Toro.  A sign on the ticket window informed us that half the movies were in theaters that had no heat. Fortunately, Mama wasn’t one of them so in we go only to be disappointed that they don’t sell coffee. But we have White Castle burgers! I imagine this line pleases half the people who hear it, but it should never be twisted to compensate for no coffee on a 4 degree night.

Mama movie

Mama movie

The theatre showing Mama was about the size of my living room and no stadium seating. It did have a giant chair, which I greedily snagged until my bf claimed that it was actually a love seat, e.g. made for two people not one who enjoys collapsing with her feet up. You see a love seat. I see a big chair for me, she sighed, scooting over.

It’s not quite as disturbing as Pan’s Labyrinth, but Del Toro directed that one himself. He produced Mama, a deceptively simple ghost story that starts with a bang and never let’s up. But it’s also quiet, moody and puts you in the uncomfortable position of empathizing with a murderous ghost. You get to watch Jaime Lannister be the hero uncle for half a second before Jessica Chastain steals the show. She should probably be in every movie Del Toror does for now on, wouldn’t you say?

I don’t want to give away any of the cheap scares or glorious moment of heart break and horror. If you like scary movies and you’re not into Saw-like gore, this one’s for you.

I started this post wanting to tell you about this neat little book I discovered, The Shining, you probably haven’t heard of it. Then I proceeded to tell you about Mama because that is what brain fog will do to you. It may also make you think of Richard Hell. Shortly after inhaling Please Kill Me a few years ago, I went to hear him read poems at St. Marks church.

Which reminds me: Io9 had a funny post snarking on some woman who wrote an opinion piece on why writers shouldn’t read their own work. Her points are all moot. Does anybody really go to readings to enjoy a performance? Seeing a writer, especially an unpolished one, read his work in front of an audience is absolute vulnerability. My attention always drifts when actors speak their lines as though I’m not there. Spoken word puts me to sleep. I like when the voice sounds thin and nervous. Many writers are introverts stepping out of their comfort zone- they know you’re there. They’re doing that for you and that’s why you go. Reciprocity.

Anyway, Hell was a great reader, but the line that stuck with me remains fuzzy to this day. I think I heard:

I can’t see through this frog

And I love that line. It’s honest and universally true and unexpected, but still sad because he wants to see through this frog and cannot. However, in hindsight I think he really said:

I can’t see through this fog

Context is always helpful, but I don’t remember what the poem was about. I don’t remember what I had for breakfast. The Sandman left town. No sleep for you, but we have White Castle and big chairs.

Um. The takeaway here is that Mama is worth a trek to the theater and frogs are indeed impossible to see through.

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