Hurricane Aaron is Howelling Through

CW: Incest, assault, abuse.

Hurricane Aaron is a film about brothers in tragedy. J.R. Howell’s first feature film takes viewers on a series of twists and turns that may leave some queasy, but thoroughly intrigued about the psyche, and rage, of its main characters, Aaron and Cory. There is more than just horror that lurks under the skin of this film. GenderTerror had a chance to interview the director, writer, and score creator, J.R. Howell about his psychosexual thriller and other upcoming projects.

GenderTerror: Why horror, especially queer horror?

J.R. Howell: My first horror movie ever was A Nightmare On Elm Street, which I saw when I was five years old. I love the thrill that horror movies provide. As I grew older, I similarly fell in love with the science fiction genre. One of the things so attractive about science fiction is the social commentary it provides through allegory or speculation. Truly great science fiction can be mind-blowing in that way. Lately, mainstream science fiction feels like it’s lost its soul and offers up action movies in space with tacky tech without really having any deeper meaning. Films like this seem to be evolving cinema to a medium without narrative. Yet, at the same time, horror is picking up the slack. Over the last few years, we’re seeing films marketing as “high concept horror.” Of course the truth is almost all horror is in some way “high concept.” Nevertheless, some horror films have taken a more overt approach to directly assert their attempt at social commentary, which is an astonishing effort when you think about it. Many criticisms of mega budget films that go on to tremendous financial success is that they’re too devoid of meaning so as to appeal to the widest audience as possible across countries and cultures. Yet, there’s a subgenre of horror that’s openly asserting that its making social critiques, come what may. I absolutely love that courage. So for these reasons I wanted to take on the social issues referred to in the film using horror.

Continue reading “Hurricane Aaron is Howelling Through”

Going Home

Alexander heard one word inside himself over all the pain and guilt and uncertainty. One simple word, a name he’d since forgotten. Joshua.

There was nothing left aside from the void of absolute nothingness. It had all faded away to black. The rust, the blood, tears and muck, had all slid away like sewage down a storm drain. It was all gone save for Alexander, left alone on the frigid floor to question and cry foul for the rest of what may as well become eternity. What happened to it all? To the quiet evil and lumbering oppressive heat all around him, the murky blackness taken tangible form. What brought him to this moment of utter and definitive nothingness?

Nowhere as a concept always comes across in an abstract or even in most cases strictly metaphorical way, and yet that’s where he was. The physical space no better described than the simple noun of ”Nowhere.” Darkness stretches out in every visible direction with no foreseeable end to its emptiness, not that Alexander was going anywhere. His body felt heavy, weighed down by the hopelessness of sitting in the middle of expansive nothingness. He couldn’t even remember how long he’d been sitting there in the dark, if there even was a before making this supposed afterward. The only thing remaining inside him beyond the hopelessness was a virulent feeling of guilt, the knowledge of doing wrong without recalling what it was. It was at constant odds with the hopelessness within, trying to push him out of utter apathy and into self loathing bitterness. His mind felt split in two pulling itself perpetually back and forth.

Then the light came. The nothingness was purged by its introduction, swiftly whisked away in an unbridled fury. Alexander thought he felt the weight lifting off of his being, but it was still there burrowing deeper inside as he was carried up by the light into its brilliance. There was no safety nor security in this brilliance, just uncertainty. It became it’s own brand of nothingness stretching upward instead of outward, pulling him into the light. He wondered if this was his absolution at last, a merciful hand outstretched freeing him from the pain of uncertain guilt and hopeless apathy. He was wrong.

The light disappeared as swiftly as it came, taking Alexander’s newfound hope with it. He laid outstretched on a cold surface akin to the one he sat on before, his appendages bound and secured by an unseen force beyond his recognition or understanding. He had found yet another nothingness filling him with the toxic uncertainty, only left to obsess over his equally uncertain guilt. Alexander feared this new nothingness, but this fear was short-lived and replaced with pain. The pain began and never ceased. Every nerve ending of every corner of every section of every part of his body screamed, never in unison but at countless unpredictable intervals. There was no more apathy nor uncertainty, only the pain. The pain and the guilt buried within, clawing at his insides as furiously as the pain did his outsides. At what seemed like the peak of it all, the culmination of physical and metaphorical pains twisting his body and mind beyond their respective limits, he had an epiphany. Alexander heard one word inside himself over all the pain and guilt and uncertainty. One simple word, a name he’d since forgotten. Joshua.

And with that remembrance came his true absolution, Alexander’s liberation from this hellish nothingness of pain. Fury, his only weapon and only option. Pulling himself free from his invisible restraints, Alexander makes out blurred grey figures swarming around him. The figures shout and converse in a seemingly unintelligible way, as if they all spoke a language he did not. Instead he heard the name chanting in his head, Joshua, Joshua, Joshua, Joshua. He raised his fist to the air as his true weapon manifested. His guilt and pain processed into physical form, an unyielding slab born of his hopelessness. Alexander swung the slab without effort, cleaving through the small varied figures, their chattering replaced with sounds of terror. More and more figures came and more and more were cut down by Alexander’s newfound fury. Still he heard the name in his head, louder and louder the more it repeated.

Then the light returned, pushing and pulling against him. He struggled to maintain his footing as he slashed and swung wildly all around him, figures now scattering in attempts at escape. Within the light around him came a hole, a hole to something else. Something that felt strangely familiar. Before long he felt himself being pulled towards the hole with incredible force, his footing swept out from beneath him. He resigned himself to this force, no longer holding onto the fear of hopeless uncertainty, barreling toward whatever laid beyond. A manic smile spread across his face.

The hole passed and Alexander continued forward, a burning sensation building all over his body. The flames felt like pin pricks compared to the pain of the table, only spurring him forward towards familiarity. As the flames grew his remaining uncertain worry waned, releasing him from all that held him back. The pulling force turned to plummeting as Alexander realized what this familiarity was. He wasn’t just being drawn back through the hole, he was falling back to the depths he once sat in. The frozen floor replaced with scalding steel surface, the blackness given way to the oppressive heat once again. He collided with the surface leaving a scar in the space of his re-entry. The blood and rust had returned filling Alexander with the heat of his newfound purpose. He screamed toward whence he came the name he had so fervently chanted inside his mind.

Alexander pulled himself up within the smoking crater, emerging from the scar reborn. Steam hissed and gears groaned as he marched forward, dragging the ferocious slab behind him as he went. To most it would sound as tho nails were scraping against steel but to him it was clarity given audibility. With this and the myriad of other sounds following and guiding him as he marched he felt more and more sure of his newfound purpose. No longer shackled metaphorically nor physically, Alexander found joy in it, this purpose.

The way he saw it, They did this to them. It was They who cast them aside as if they were trash. It was They who tried to erase him, to purge him and those who mattered. It was only right They suffer as well, and who better to deliver said suffering other than he?

So onward he marched, jubilant and focused. Ready to inflict on Them every monstrous act he had endured. He had found bliss in this state, this twisted notion of right born from unparalleled abuse at the hands of the monstrous.

Alexander was home.

***

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Blaine is a 25 y.o. Non-Binary/Trans Gender-Fluid writer who loves all kinds of media, especially video games and cartoons.

 

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