THEM on Amazon Prime
My dearest ghost cats:
It’s April 15 and if you’re in California, YOU ARE NOW ELIGIBLE FOR A VACCINE. I don’t want to tell you how to live your life (lol I do), but please get this shit so I can take my mask off and go to a fucking bar already. How can I travel the four corners of the haunted Earth and report back to you if I can’t drink Chardonnay and eat Chex Mix in Economy Plus???? Get that fucking jab and let’s get on with our lives.
BUT WHILE YOU’RE HOME - I need you to carve out a week to watch this amazing new series from MY FRIEND Little Marvin (many of you on this list know him!!!). It’s called THEM and it’s on Amazon Prime - which means it’s free! It’s SO GOOD and SO SCARY and SO INFURIATING. It’s horror at its best: cinematic terror that tells the story of true horror and trauma.
The show has gotten a lot of great reviews, but I want to tell you what I think about it, because ONCE UPON A TIME I did a year of film school and I’LL NEVER LET YOU FORGET IT. The story is about a Black family who moves to California from North Carolina during the Great Migration. You get a peek at the violence they are leaving behind, but while conditions in California were different, they were NOT BETTER.
THEM uses redlining and racially restrictive covenants to demonstrate how racism and white supremacy were/are codified and enforced by the state. The overall feeling of the movie is that there is no protection or safety for Black people -- anywhere. Nowhere to run. Imagine thinking things would be better in the West only to encounter neighbors who burn your lawn, kill your dog, and hunt your kids? What you see in the show is the inescapable terror becoming internalized - the minds of the characters start to turn against them. This is a classic horror trope, but it’s also a real experience for Black folks in America who live with fear and generational trauma. The show takes place in the 1950’s but it’s about today.
If you like horror, you are going to love this series. There are jump scares, times when you will yell OH MY GOD out loud, cover your eyes, and just sit there with your mouth hanging open. The acting is incredible and the visuals are stunning. The 1950’s aesthetics are gorgeous but also very, very creepy. I feel like I could write a whole dissertation on the use of wallpaper in this show and MAYBE SOMEDAY I WILL.
NYT reports that a second season is planned and I cannot wait to see what Little Marvin comes up with. So go watch some horror then take a walk in the sunshine and take some time to think about the real history of the United States, where we are going, and how you can be on the right side of that.
Here’s a great documentary about Black horror movies you might want to stream on Amazon: Horror Noire »