Film Features

Who’s Really Haunting America? Deconstructing the Indian Burial Ground Trope

Ghosts are metaphors for things that unsettle us, and if the racial violence protests of the past few months have shown us anything, it's that America is a land of unsettling things

Ghostland by Colin Dickey

Native Americans have been foundational casualties in cinema since the dawn of American filmography, when Westerns built their brands off dramatic confrontations between heroic gun-slinging cowboys and Native "savages."

Just as the frontier myth was fundamental to the establishment of America's growth and eventual (ever-more-catastrophic) hegemony, the violent exploitation and murder of people simply living in their homelands has long been Hollywood gold.

By painting Native Americans as supernatural, monolithic entities that torment innocent white families, many classic horror movies play into white delusions of ownership, entitlement, and victimization. They also recenter the idea that whiteness as a "standard" that is disrupted or haunted by otherness.

This "other" can and has been queer (shoutout to the Babadook), female (Salem, anyone?), migratory, neurodivergent, Black, poor, mentally ill, or really part of any category that threatens the nuclear white ideal (for lack of a better term). Like the trope of the dark, scary woods, the "other" is a deep forest that—under the colonial imagination—must be paved over—but perhaps it's time we actually look at what's underneath.

Gay Babadook Gay BabadookBBC

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Beyoncé in "Black Is King"

Beyoncé has released Black Is King, and as usual, her work is subtly shifting the world and inspiring millions.

The musical film dropped today on Disney+. It's a visual companion to 2019's The Lion King: The Gift, an album inspired by last year's remake of The Lion King, in which Beyoncé starred as Nala. The moment it released at 12AM PT, fans lost it with excitement.


Black Is King is rooted in Black history. "History is your future," Beyoncé says prophetically toward the beginning. "One day you will meet yourself back where you started, but stronger." The film is studded with references to African history, portraying the lives of African royalty.


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TV

Could an At-Home Show Be a Turning Point for the Emmys?

'Watchmen' and 'Schitt's Creek' won big, but some snubs left fans feeling burned.

Emmys Nominations 2020

Last year, the Emmys logged its lowest viewer count ever.

Flash forward a year and the world has completely changed. A pandemic has shut down lingering dreams of a red carpet spectacle, and months of protests have re-terraformed the public dialogue about racial justice.

For many people, television has been a balm and a source of life during lockdown. Because of that, this year's Emmys could potentially be a turning point for the awards show, which—like many other awards shows—has felt increasingly out of touch over the past few years.


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