Author: Zac Fanni

David; or, The Modern Frankenstein: A Romantic Analysis of Alien: Covenant

Originally published on April 25, 2017; republished in celebration of Director Ridley Scott’s 80th birthday. And now this spell was snapt: once more I viewed the ocean green, And looked far forth, yet little saw Of what had else been seen— Like one, that on a lonesome road Doth walk in fear and dread, And having once turned round walks on, And turns no more his head; Because he knows, a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread. (442-451) Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Dread is the fear that lingers, the fear that condenses into...

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Gives Fate the Middle Finger

In John Michael McDonagh’s film Calvary, a doctor approaches a priest in a bar. Suffering from knowledge of his own impending murder, the priest is in no mood for what follows: the doctor’s story of a young boy who suddenly became deaf, dumb, blind and paralyzed from a routine operation. The doctor implores the priest: Think of it! Think when that little boy first regained consciousness. In the dark. You’d be frightened, wouldn’t you? You’d be frightened in the kind of a way that you know the fear is going to end. Has to. Must. Your parents couldn’t be...

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The Shape of Water Reminds Us Why Folklore Matters

Sometimes we remember them when we sleep: the monster-men that lurk under treasured idylls, the regal women who suffer unjust curses and tribulations, the unsung commoners picked by fate and tested by adventure, and the matter-of-fact virtues that persist through every threat posed by nihilism and death. These are the stories that guide us into the world, tales refracted by our lives and choices, shimmering softly in the corners of our thoughts and dreams. And in our own pasts, in the bedrooms and blanket forts where we encountered our first heroes and chimeras, we see a reflection of humanity...

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Good Time and the Cure for Urban Alienation

Like most other millennials, entering the workforce violently rearranged my priorities. You likely know the story firsthand: endless contract work, a lack of health coverage, and insubstantial wages all push your aspirations to an untraversable distance as you strive to keeps the nuts and bolts of your body in place. It’s hard to really care about self-actualization when you are just trying to get rid of your tooth pain and fix your eyesight. That’s why I was overjoyed when my provincial government recently introduced legislation to raise our minimum wage from $11.60 an hour to $15 an hour by...

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Spider-Man: Homecoming and the Nadir of Marvel’s Formula

Let me get this out of the way: I hate seeming like that guy. The guy who is driven to despise every broadly appealing thing in pop culture, snarkily contradicting ‘proletariat’ tastes just to affirm the value of his own selective, finicky (and ultimately insecure) palate. Movies should not be the means to signal any kind of cultural refinement—like many of us who take them seriously, they are a way of life for me. They are companions that comfort, challenge and grow with you. I can watch Baby Driver and The Big Sick, wholly distinct and different films, and...

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Video Essay: Romantic Literature and Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant continues the brave legacy of Prometheus. It refuses to regurgitate the conventions its franchise established, relying instead on the android to deliver its moments of horror. By focusing on David the android, Covenant becomes a part of the Romantic literary tradition of pushing against the boundaries of our understanding, twisting and permeating the boundaries between life and death (I wrote about this here). Like the quintessential Romantic novel Frankenstein, Alien: Covenant centers its characters around a search for an answer to our deepest existential questions: is there a meaning to life? Can our existence be explained entirely by...

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