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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

Resident Evil (2002)

I so clearly remember watching this crammed on a futon with at least five other students from our dorm floor and I was so excited to have made friends. I didn't even mind the jackass mansplaining the movie to me the whole time. "OH WATCH THIS" came a full second before every jump scare and... dude. But still I loved it so much that I took my red prom dress, shoved a bunch of it into some bike shorts and went as Alice for my very first State Street Halloween.


[PHOTO NOT FOUND]


I've been wanting to watch this one since I started the project but waited patiently and, can I tell you? It's not as much stupid fun as I remembered. It's still fun. Just not the hoot I was hoping for. It's 100 minutes long and as it started, I told Ben that and added, "it's still probably 13 minutes too long." I was correct. Just odd pacing.


I wonder what it was that so appealed to me the first time. I think it was mostly a sense of community (horror movies are always better with friends) but also the viewpoint of this woman who was initially so helpless who then magically tapped into badassery. Isn't that what we all hope for? To come into whatever (sub)world, totally naive and then BAM! Mystically perfect at untold skills and abilities. We long to rise to the occasion without getting in our own way. The Zombie Apocalypse of Magical Thinking.


We also, at 18, wish we'd wake up married to James Purefoy, who magically keeps his pants on in this movie. As an aside, this was my first* introduction to Mr. Purefoy and I love him so much. Not because I particularly love seeing his ass whenever he's on screen but because he's like a nasty sexy Jason Statham. In my mind, any time a director calls cut on a take, Purefoy yells out, "WAIT! I can do it sluttier." And the director shrugs and away they go. And 90% of the time, it's what the role calls for. (*what a liar I am - I remembered later that, of course, A Knight's Tale, was my first intro to JP but I kept the statement in because it was my gut reaction to seeing this and that seems arbitrarily important, somehow.)


Though for me this movie belongs to Michelle "Blow Me" Rodriguez. What a queen. What glower power. What pink lipstick.


Yes, Michelle, I do. I cannot find a gif of you saying, "Blow me." (I keep referencing that moment. It's so perfectly ridiculous. A terrific blend of showing and telling your audience who this character is. And the way the camera moves in on her? *chef's kiss*)


During the final scene, as Alice stands in the streets of Raccoon City, I tried to remember if I'd been scared of this movie ever. Then the Marilyn Manson (ugh) score kicked in and I got a nostalgic rush of fear and thought, oh, yeah, this scared the poo out of me. But I remember so much of that first semester being all about me challenging myself with fear. I don't think anyone was looking at me and saying, "if this girl can stand to be even more afraid, she's *in*" but boy did I behave as though that were the case. That I could terrify myself into making a positive impression and friends. [smash cut to freshman Shannon reading House of Leaves under a table in the dorm den, torn between falling asleep and having nightmares or continuing to read and never sleeping again]


Polymer clay, plastic, paint, pastels, glue and kleenex(!)




Takeaways:

-Golly this one was a rollercoaster. I was an unwilling passenger on the Struggle Bus in general this week and I made things much harder on myself by vacillating wildly between ideas. First, I was going to paint the angel in the hallway. Then embroider it. Then embroider Michelle Rodriguez holding her bleeding hand out over a horde of zombies (bead blood! honestly, I will still probably do this one. You know. When I have time! *rimshot*). Then sculpt this. Then blood embroidery again. Then I finally came back to this. Which, can I tell you, quickly became one of my favorite recent pieces.

-One of the joys of this project has been trying out stuff. Just seeing where it goes. And looking back at the last couple months, I got away from that. Selling things was always at the back of my mind and boy did it get in the way. I stumbled back into the delight of "just trying it" when I started sculpting Thursday(!?) night and took a break to contemplate how I was going to do the plastic sheeting. I toyed with the idea of actual plastic but knew I could get neither the drape nor the stability I wanted. (I tried out a few different plastics and a heat gun and I was disappointed by both the lack of success and the lack of hilarious failure.) So I tried fabric but didn't have anything that would drape to scale. It's funny but draped fabric and water are so tough to do in any kind of small scale because their properties don't scale the way we think they would. On a lark, I tried a fancy (dollar tree) napkin over a cow figure I have. First, I wet it and then coated it in ModPodge Gloss. Terrific results, if not as translucent as I had hoped. So I brought home the industrially cheap kleenex we have at work and, without time for more experiments, put it on the angel. There are some opaque/white spots I don't love but for a buzzer shot experiment? Pretty damn chuffed.

-I also tried coloring polymer clay with dry pastel for the first time and I LOVED the results. When I showed Ben he said, "do you have to cover it with plastic now?" and I kept thinking of the line from Death Becomes Her: "almost a shame to bury her." (I was spending so much time putting detail into this damn angel and had to constantly remind myself she would be mostly covered. I finally got it through my head the third or fourth time I dropped her squarely on her face.)

-I also tried a marbling technique I saw on YouTube and it went POORLY. But I salvaged it. It cracked in a radial way while drying and I kind of love it.

-Many thanks to Cate Blanchett for my new rallying cry of "do it like no one will see it." Incredibly freeing.


Next week, catharsis on Archer Avenue: The Royal Tenenbaums has finally come up. A movie that exemplifies my therapist's observation that I like to pick at my emotional wounds (disappointing father! former gifted child woes! a third thing probably!).


I hope this week finds you tapping into power you forgot you had. I hope you are confident in the knowledge that you will do well in the zombie apocalypse and will be smart enough to quickly take care of the infected in your party.

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