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paranormal activity

Posted on January 26, 2018

10 Horror Films about Sleep Disorders

Dawn Keetley

Sleep is becoming one of the crisis points of late modernity, as the steady encroachment of the “24/7” plugged-in world only intensifies sleep’s already uncanny nature.[i] To sleep is to slip into a realm of darkness, irrationality, and the supernatural. This realm is not only profoundly opposed to the contemporary illuminated world, but it has always lain uncomfortably close to death. Indeed, the Western way of sleeping has been described as a “lie down and die” model.[ii] To walk or talk while sleeping, moreover, is to act in ways divorced from the world of light and reason, to act without volition and the consent of the mind. The body that acts becomes something other than the person it appears to be; it generates uncanny doubles and evokes the profoundly uncanny uncertainty as to whether, as philosopher Dylan Trigg puts it, “‘I’ am truly identifiable with my body itself.”[iii] Horror films in the twenty-first century in particular have turned to sleep to exploit its inherently uncanny nature and the way it suggests that we are not always in control of who we are and what we do.

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Posted on October 23, 2015

9 Questions Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension Must Answer

Dawn Keetley

The sixth and possibly final installment of the Paranormal Activity series (2007 – 2015), Ghost Dimension, is due out today (Friday October 23)—in limited release—and the word is it will answer all fans’ questions about the franchise.

So, what questions do we have? As it turns out, I, at least, have plenty.

-1. Most pressingly, what do the witches (and Toby) want?

Hints about what the witches and their demonic leader, Toby, want have been slowly doled out across all five films, but they are still not at all clear. They seem mostly to be after boys. In PA2, Kristi’s step-daughter Ali reads something online about how people have been known to make a demonic pact by which they get power or wealth in exchange for offering up the first-born male in their family. The suggestion is that Kristi and Katie’s grandmother (Lois), who is part of a coven of witches, made such a pact and so Toby now wants Kristi’s son, Hunter.

The coven clearly pre-dates Lois, though, since, in PA3, Dennis shows Kristi and Katie’s mother, Julie, a photograph of a witch coven from the 1930s and reads from a book about a ceremony by which the witches would take the sons of pregnant girls, brainwashing them (it’s not clear if they brainwash the boys or the girls) so they remember nothing.

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Posted on April 25, 2015

Who is Katie? Paranormal Activity and Problems of Selfhood

Dawn Keetley

After a brief hiatus, the next installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise will be returning in October 2015. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension will apparently turn back to Katie (Katie Featherston) and, according to producer Jason Blum, will explain everything.[i] One thing I wonder if the film will explain is the photograph of Katie (with her boyfriend Micah) in the first installment, Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli, 2007), that quite clearly is not a photograph of Katie.
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