Ladies and germs… Saturdays are for the boys.
Another week in Hell World USA means another week of AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS episodes, folks! This week sees the re-release of two of the podcast’s most formative episodes: the absolute obliteration of Nicolas Winding Refn’s DRIVE and the way-too-real terrors of John Carpenter’s THE THING.
Edgar Wright really said “Hootie hoo!” when he went around all 2017 putting THE DRIVER on blast, thus revealing Refn’s magic trick of “we’re gonna copy a semi-obscure film and bask in the praise of creating a revolution.” DRIVE is paltry pastiche in a dully imagined Los Angeles, where the men are distance-gazing knights and the women (white; only if they’re white and chaste) are protected objects. A staid motion picture that demands its place in the counterculture while constantly curling its Prada cufflinks. Get this shit the fuck out of here and find us some actual outsider art, not this Great Dane’s picture-perfect proof that he spent a lot of his youth watching bootlegs; thank god the culture shifted in a way that you are now the loser if you dislike FAST AND FUROUS, because this superiority pocket in the early 2010s was just insufferable.
On this episode of AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS, the duo dove into Aya’s very first viewing of DRIVE, with observations on men in the arts constantly framing infatuation as love, whether this is the most influential film of the 2010s, and debating just how badly they want to suck Gosling’s co-
Ok. Took a deep breath. Let’s talk about THE THING.
Peep the way we enter the corridors of this arctic base and how they mirror the final moments of HALLOWEEN, these eerily voyeuristic tableaus of once-secure, now-cursed domestic spaces. These invasions comprise the first act of Carpenter’s sly reimagining of the Hawks-produced classic, but at least Michael Myers’ bated breath signaled the presence of a beast lurking in the shadows. The base crew is made aware of THE THING’s alien by pure luck. Carpenter establishes the spaces of the base camp so we attain a false state of familiarity: we’re never given specific geography. Who lives next to who? Does that hallway lead to another? Where are the exits? One foot in security, the other in chaos. Stuck inside, the walls look alike, the small windows just show a showering blitz into a white, empty ether. This is it. Every reaction is one of horrified stupor. The proper response to when your co-worker’s decapitated head sprouts spindly crab legs wasn’t in the training manual—how do you logistically or emotionally digest an identity-consuming pandemic? And how the fuck do you do it with a crumbling chain-of-command with leaders who know either the same as you, even *less* than you, or, chillingly, know more and care not to divulge life-changing secrets. To know nothing drives us mad, but to learn the exact far-reaching stakes of an outbreak drives us further to the brink. Nothing left but a sense of emotion-numbing duty driving a suicide mission to preserve all Earthly life from unfathomable demise—the isolation is wearing, and all I can do is expend what little productive energy I have left to ensure my own survival. If I can save myself, then, technically, that means I’ve saved others.
On this episode of AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS, Aya and Kevin dive into Aya’s very first viewing of John Carpenter’s THE THING, with observations on a sex/gender divide in reactions to body horror, the dreadful feeling of watching a movie about quarantine during a quarantine, and debating just how badly they want to suck Kurt Russell’s co-