Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)
Written by Ed Graczyk
Directed by Robert Altman
Self-delusion is one of the scariest things you can experience. It’s a pretty big problem in our culture and has been for a long time. People become terrified of what they would have to do if they acknowledged reality, so they construct false realities that are more emotionally comforting. There is rarely a consideration of the harm these lies can have on the believer and the people around them; if someone is lost in their happiness, then we accept to some point that it’s okay. Media and the concept of celebrity have led to some particular types of self-delusion with fans becoming stalkers and some times even wishing violence on a figure they once adored. If a star dies tragically and/or young, they can elicit an even more fanatical response from admirers.
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The Children’s Hour (1961)
Written by Lillian Hellman and John Michael Hayes
Directed by William Wyler
The Bad Seed is an iconic film that established the trope of the evil child with actress Patty McCormack delivering a stunning performance. I have to believe this movie was the inspiration to bring The Children’s Hour to the big screen. Originally a stage play first performed in the late 1930s, The Children’s Hour is a melodrama with witch-hunt elements. But the catalyst for all the conflict is an evil little girl, a truly despicable young lady who I’m sure you will grow to hate as much as I did.
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Day of the Locust (1975)
Written by Waldo Salt
Directed by John Schlesinger
There’s an exhausting sunbaked feeling surrounding Day of the Locust. The music and the soft lighting make conflicting claims, but if you pay close attention, you notice the rotten smell wafting up from underneath. You see it in the cracks in Tod Hackett’s apartment, hidden by a framed quote claiming the presence of God is protecting the people within. This is shown as the landlady tells Tod about the earthquake of 1932, where she and her tenants were spared while others died across the city. Tod ends up covering the crack with his artwork, slowly building a fresco of Hollywood in flames, hollow, empty faces screaming out.
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