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Author Topic: PseudoPod 747: Keeping House  (Read 510 times)

Bdoomed

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on: March 06, 2021, 07:14:22 AM
PseudoPod 747: Keeping House

Author: Sarah Day
Narrator: Kat Day
Host: Alasdair Stuart
Audio Producer: Chelsea Davis

PseudoPod 747: Keeping House is a PseudoPod original.



“Isn’t it cute?” Keishya, the realtor, spread her arms in the center of the kitchen like a starlet in center stage. “It’s a killer find.”

Lydia gingerly put her purse down on the counter. They’d seen three houses already today, all of them a bit too small or a bit too pricey or a bit too far from her work. Her feet hurt. 

This house was cute, she had to admit. It had high ceilings and buttery yellow walls, hardwood floors, lots of cabinet space, a study where Matt could work on his electronics projects, and, if the listing was to be believed, a full basement with washer and dryer for laundry. 

Keishya watched Matt poking his head into one of the bedrooms. She smiled at Lydia. “You two are a cute couple. Is this your first place together?”

“Yeah.” 

“Oooh, big step!” Keishya winked conspiratorially. “You gotta be careful, moving in with a man—make sure he pulls his weight around here.”

Lydia smiled shyly. 

“There’s a downstairs, right?” Matt asked from the bedroom.

“Sure is!” The toothpaste-advertisement smile on Keishya’s face tilted a little bit. “It’s… not as polished as the rest of the house, but let’s have a look.”




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Álex Souza

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Reply #1 on: March 06, 2021, 02:47:55 PM
I really liked this!

The haunted house trope has been through a lot, and, even so, I think that this story was able to use it wisely.

Stories like The Wizard of Oz, The Last House on the Left, slashers like Halloween and Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and more recent stories like The Blair Witch Project all depict people leaving their houses, doing immoral things, and being torn apart because of that. That’s why, in old horror movies, if you have sex you die—you disgusting degenerate! —and only the virgin, The Final Girl, survives. The home was your refuge, your sanctuary. Evil always came from outside, like in The Exorcist. Although we still see stories like this, like MA or the Wrong Turn reboot or Midsommar, this is not the rule anymore. After the 2008 Subprime crisis, and with the always-growing numbers of homeless people in America, the house is not a safe place anymore. On the contrary. Therefore, came the Paranormal Activity franchise, The Conjuring, Sinister, The Cabin in the Woods, Don’t Breathe, HUSH, The Lodge, Hereditary, Vivarium (which really looks like this story btw), His House, and You Should Have Left. Dorothy is not safe in Kansas anymore. She may very well just stay in Oz.

And this story does a great job capturing this zeitgeist. Like the aforementioned His House, that used the home trope to tell a story about war refugees in Europe, Keeping House uses the trope to talk about domestic violence.

I like how subtle it is. We never know if she’s delirious or not. Reminded me of The Turn of the Screw and The Others.

I do have some issues though.

In their first night there, after they eat pizza takeout, all the dishes of the house appear in the sink, and she thinks, “Have I used this? I don’t remember. I must be tired”. WOW! How tired can someone be? That should have raised red flags immediately. Used dishes in your sink like that can only mean two things: ghosts or someone secretly living in the ventilation system.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

And I just got nerdy again. :P :P :P

P.S.: Funny that the writer and the narrator have the same surname and (I think) are not related.
P.S. 2: In case you're wondering: yes, I watched/read all the stories mentioned above ;)

I just wanna go pro before AI takes over and the bot dogs from Boston Dynamics kill us all.


Marlboro

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Reply #2 on: March 06, 2021, 05:04:42 PM
That’s why, in old horror movies, if you have sex you die—you disgusting degenerate! —and only the virgin, The Final Girl, survives.


I have an alternate take on these tropes.

Trope 1 "Sex and death" The consensus is that horror movie makers were making some sort of Puritanical judgment by having wicked fornicating teenagers killed off. But consider these points:

1) Horror movie makers hardly seem the Puritan types
2) Sex scenes offer a chance to show nudity. A major selling point for your teenaged audience in the pre internet era
3) Sex and drug use gives a writer an easy way to set up your characters for the kill. Both activities (usually) take place away from prying eyes so it gives the killer an opportunity. The lure of sex (and drug use) also makes it more plausible for a character to let their guard down.
4) Vulnerability. There's never a good time to fight a guy with a chainsaw, but there can't possibly be any worse times than being bare assed naked and stoned out of your mind. Nudity = vulnerability. Vulnerability = fear. Take the shower scene in Psycho for example.



Trope 2 "Final Girl/Virginity" 

1) If I'm correct in my previous points, which character is the most likely to survive? A character who keeps their guard up, who doesn't get fucked up with their buds in a cemetery or who runs off to screw in the woods after they have just found a severed finger in their bowl of cornflakes.

2) Jamie Lee Curtis fighting Michael Myers is a horror movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger fighting a Predator is an action movie. See the difference? Most women are less physically imposing than a man so they appear to be more vulnerable. This is exactly what you are selling in a horror movie. You want to feel fear for the protagonist. Ideally you want to feel the same fear as the protagonist, but that's harder to pull off.


One major point about my theory: Once someone created the idea of that these tropes are about "morality" my theory stopped applying. Why? Because moviemakers intentionally started using the trope as if morality was really at the core all along. It's a self fulfilling prophecy of sorts.







Álex Souza

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Reply #3 on: March 07, 2021, 12:03:55 AM
Good arguments, but the specific part that you tackled is not the main point here.

I just wanna go pro before AI takes over and the bot dogs from Boston Dynamics kill us all.


brightneedle

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Reply #4 on: March 07, 2021, 04:43:25 PM
This episode's timing was superb for my own life as I'm in the process of buying a house and thinking about the move. Really chilling. I felt that for being a story about a haunted/haunting house, the story's horror was as much the second shift and gaslighting. Unsure precise best practices for spoiler tagging here yet, so tagging the rest...

Spoiler (click to show/hide)



domgodess

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Reply #5 on: April 07, 2021, 08:39:46 PM
     I have one main complaint about this story.  Why is the woman doing all the housework? It seems to be a given that she alone is responsible for taking care of the chores.  She doesn't seem to push back on Matt's suggestion that she take time off work to take care of the extra chores.  Where is his place in this?  There is no sense of partnership here.  It left me feeling annoyed at Lydia for not even asking Matt to pull his weight. 



Álex Souza

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Reply #6 on: April 07, 2021, 08:53:13 PM
     I have one main complaint about this story.  Why is the woman doing all the housework? It seems to be a given that she alone is responsible for taking care of the chores.  She doesn't seem to push back on Matt's suggestion that she take time off work to take care of the extra chores.  Where is his place in this?  There is no sense of partnership here.  It left me feeling annoyed at Lydia for not even asking Matt to pull his weight.

This is the story's social commentary, and I believe that Matt works a lot so she doesn't ask him to do chores.

I just wanna go pro before AI takes over and the bot dogs from Boston Dynamics kill us all.