Joe back with the “ghouls…” talking “Blair Witch Project” & digital terror

Joe was super pumped to be invited back to the Jersey Ghouls podcast to talk with Marissa and Jacki about whether or not “The Blair Witch Project” and its sequel are modern classics.

SPOILER ALERT: The original IS; the sequel is not. The podcast explored issues of media-induced horror and whether or not you can still “get lost” in Trump’s America.

Daddy Film School #9: Rear Window

We’ve become a race of peeping toms. What people oughta do is get outside their own house and look in for a change.

Stella

The Hitchcock name, the legend of the Psycho House, and “that guy from the George Bailey thing” drove the kids’ interest in this 1954 classic. I worried it was too “talky” for them. I was wrong.

When the film starts, I am struck by how antiquated the concept feels. Not only the idea of looking out one’s window, but also the concept of a community so closely laid out that such a thing is even possible.

I try to quickly liken it to my own upbringing just outside Manhattan. But even in my densely populated, inner-city hometown–even stacked upon each other as we were–there was never this level of voyeurism possible. From my bedroom window, I could probably see into the homes of over 15 separate living units, but never with this level of intimacy.

Still, the themes of the movie hold up remarkably well. With very little prodding, the kids make the leap to see how the window-watching is very much like social media today. Jeffrey’s obsessive turns made perfect sense to young people who have to force themselves to put down Instagram as afternoons turn to evenings turn to midnight of days spent trapped inside the house.

In the COVID-19 world, the whole country has a broken leg.

And I’m sick of watching them all on Twitter.

When Stewart asks himself, “I wonder if it’s ethical to watch a man with binoculars and a long focus lens.” I realize just how powerful a zoom exists on the camera each of my kids hold in their pockets. I ask my 15 year old if he ever felt that way on Tik Tok, and he responds only with a wry smile, not unlike Jeffrey’s.

TALLULAH (9) watched through her fingers. The suspense works so well. It was like a song in my heart to hear them scream as Grace Kelly finds herself trapped in the killer’s apartment. I am overjoyed by the success of this film, and everyone is chatty and happy after, expending the pent-up nervous energy that a good thrill always produces.

Less timely was the “marriage cat & mouse” between Stewart & Grace Kelly (yes, yes, she is the DFS leading lady of choice it would seem). The kids are baffled why she’d want to marry “this guy so bad.”

And when Kelly emerges from the bathroom in what is supposed to be 50s sexy lingerie, FINN (12) exclaims, “it’s a ghost!”

Joe is a 2019 Pushcart Prize Nominee

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So proud of this story. Hear me read it here.

Huge thanks to the amazing editors at Glassworks Magazine. My entire experience with that publication has been top-notch. Check them out today!

More on the Pushcart Prize here.

Come Spend a Long Weekend with your writing

Join me at the best writing workshop in the nation!!! Murphy Writing of Stockton University presents its annual Winter Prose + Poetry Getaway.

January 17 – 20th, Seaview Hotel, Galloway, NJ

I will be teaching the Creative Writing Sampler with Mimi Schwartz and Laura McCullough.

Special Guests: Pulitzer Prize Winner Yusef Komunyakaa and Guggenheim Fellow Denise Duhamel. You can choose from workshops in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, memoir and more. Small workshop sizes: most limited to just 10 participants. 200+ writers from across the country participate each year presented by Murphy Writing of Stockton University. Celebrating its 26th year–founded in 1994 by Peter Murphy.

Check out a video here.