Although Todd Phillips clearly believes that his brand of comedy wouldn’t fly in this day and age, it’s not like JOKER has been free from controversy either. The upcoming film prompted a response from the family members of those killed during the Aurora, Colorado shooting in 2012 during a screening of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, as they fear that JOKER might influence some dangerous individuals. Both director Todd Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix have addressed the controversy with speaking with IGN, with Phoenix saying, “I think that, for most of us, you’re able to tell the difference between right and wrong. And those that aren’t are capable of interpreting anything in the way that they may want to. People misinterpret lyrics from songs. They misinterpret passages from books. So I don’t think it’s the responsibility of a filmmaker to teach the audience morality or the difference between right or wrong. I mean, to me, I think that that’s obvious… I think if you have somebody that has that level of emotional disturbance, they can find fuel anywhere. I just don’t think that you can function that way.” Phillips added, “To me, art can be complicated and oftentimes art is meant to be complicated. If you want uncomplicated art, you might want to take up calligraphy, but filmmaking will always be a complicated art.“
Black Horror, Film, genre, Horror, movie, response
It’s interesting how horror works as a genre when combined with Black characters. Of course Black characters matter in terms of representing the population on a surface level, but presenting Black characters in horror stories, amidst our already horrific past, elicits a much deeper sense of dread when played out on screens. Horror by itself is already rooted in reality somewhat—everyone has seen a creepy doll like Annabelle or been spooked by the cemeteries that appear in several horror stories. I think what separates, and perhaps elevates, Black horror from general, superficially scary stories is the deep knowledge that the things typically depicted in Black horror were once (and still are) very, very real.
Eve’s Bayou (1997) dir. Kasi Lemmons
What made me think about this, in particular, was Terence Taylor’s “Wet Pain”, which may not even be ‘typical’ horror with evil spirits and possession, depending on one’s interpretation of…
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