About Me

Sean Woodard is an English PhD student at University of Texas at Arlington. He also serves as the Film Editor for Drunk MonkeysHis fiction, poetry, film criticism, and other writing have been featured in Los Angeles Review of Books, PLNU's Viewpoint, Screenshot Lit, Black Poppy Review, South Broadway Ghost Society, NonBinary ReviewHorrorbuzz, Cultured Vultures, and Los Angeles Magazine, among other publications.

Film Columns and Essays

IT'S GOOD ACTUALLY / Fired Up / Sean Woodard

Fired Up! remains one of my favorite films from when I was in high school. Most people who know me might shake their heads in confusion as to why I love this movie. The film follows two philandering high school football jocks named Nick and Shawn (Eric Christian Olsen and Nicholas D’Agosto, both pushing 30), who ditch football camp for cheer camp to hook up with girls. Along the way, they learn the meaning of friendship, teamwork, love, and how to become better people.

FILM / Finding the Sacred Among the Profane: Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday / Sean Woodard

I’m back everybody! I apologize for being absent for months and not posting regular monthly columns. But COVID-19 has affected everyone differently. With this being the last issue of the year, I thought I should throw something together and end on an even note (publishing an equal number of “Once Upon a Time in Film Scoring” and “Finding the Sacred Among the Profane” columns this year). For this month’s column, I thought we’d have a bit of fun. While it’s firmly planted in the horror genre, there are enough sci-fi/fantasy elements in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) to thematically fit in with this special issue of Drunk Monkeys.

NOIRANTINE

The onset of the COVID-19 quarantine left me with two things: too much time on my hands and a plethora of books and films to (re)discover. I found myself delving into crime fiction with James Ellroy’s “L.A. Quartet” (The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L. A. Confidential, White Jazz), graphic novels (Hit: 1955, The Fade-Out), and my film noir collection on Blu-Ray. When Frida Programming Director Trevor Dillon asked us to pitch blog post ideas, I automatically came up with the title: NOIRANTINE.

FILM / Once Upon a Time in Film Scoring / The Omen / Sean Woodard

Richard Donner’s The Omen (1976) remains one of the seminal religious-themed horror films to have been released in the wake of Rosemary’s Baby (Polanski 1968) and The Exorcist (Friedkin 1973), cashing in on the socio-political and religious hysteria of the 1970s. [Reprinted October 8, 2019 on the Frida Cinema Blog: https://thefridacinema.org/film-criticism/film-scoring-the-omen/]

Fiction | Poetry | Screenplays

Licrish by Sean Woodard

Mrs. Whittier ELA 4th Grade Writing Prompt #5 02/18/2022 For your homework assignment, write about your family and some special memories you’ve had with them. Length: Five paragraphs minimum, 5-7 sentences each. Use your five senses: see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. Pay attention to spelling and grammar. Charlie Helm Mrs. Whittier ELA Febry 21, 2022 My Grandaddy takes care of me. Aint gotta Daddy. Granddaddy says he run off with a hor. I dunno know what a hor is. My Momma she real nice but she gone. Once Granddaddy slapped her when they fight bout feedin me right. I liked her chickn dinos. I aint sposed to talk bout her. Grandaddy likes licrish. He makes his own in the shed out back the house. I aint loud inside. Says it’s outta bounds like in freeze tag. One time he go to town to sell licrish. I snuck in. Inside wuv a table. An buckits with what look like molassus. The licrish wuz inside a fridge. I tried one. It wuz chewy an tasted yucky an sticky an lumpy. It stand my fingers red an black. Like when I cut my hands at recess.

Dingle Bay, Summer 2012 | Sean Woodard

Along the cliffs of Ceann Sibéal herds of sheep graze, weighed down by crimped fleece. Rough-hewn Celtic crosses, slathered in dust and moss, peek out from brittle underbrush. A boat slices through still bay waters, inboard motor stirring up foam as the throttle is revved. A gray dorsal fin approaches the vessel. With a barrel roll and flick of his flukes, Fungie the bottlenose dolphin launches into the air, slips back under the surface, and reemerges to nuzzle starboard and port sides with his rostrum. The Ring of Kerry is bathed in gold as Dingle’s red and white lighthouse guides Fungie back to the bosom of the Atlantic Ocean.

Gary Knows Best

Kayla had barely tied on her apron when Pierre, the maître’ d, hurriedly pulled her aside. He pointed to the corner booth. A balding man in a pinstripe suit sat across from a woman in a burgundy dress. Kayla cringed. “Oh God, Gary’s back. Who’s he wining and dining this time?” Pierre shrugged. “All I know is that it’s his third date in two weeks, each with a different person.” He cleared his throat. “Sorry to do this, but they’re your table tonight.” “You can’t be serious. He always requests Helen.” Pierre shoved two menus into her hands. “Helen’s out with the flu. Just appease him. Besides,” he said with a wink. “Gary knows best.”

1888 Center | The Cost of Paper Vol. 4 | Crossroads

Cassie stood on the top of the overpass scanning the desolation before her. Yellowed grass and dust and cracked asphalt—the same in every direction. The wind picked up, rustled her short-cropped hair. Dust blew in her face, making her clear blue eyes water. She squinted to see in the failing light. The intersection of highway and overpass created a crossroads, but from what she could see, there was nothing in either direction.

POLAROID #102

Checking herself in the mirror. Valerie straightened her dress—it was two-years-old, but still practical for the rare social occasion. Exhausted from work and running errands, she hadn’t had much time to change but she tried to look the best she could. Roy had called two days ago. He was flying in for business and wanted to take her out for a night on the town. This afternoon she had made arrangements. Her hotel manager allowed her to book a room for the night at a discount price. She got it ju

Film Reviews

100 WORD FILM REVIEWS / Possessor

Possessor embodies the definition of a mind fuck movie. It thoroughly dismantles preconceived notions about genre and eradicates the boundary between “low” and “high” art. Andrea Riseborough (Mandy) plays an agent who inhabits people’s bodies via brain-implant technology to commit assassinations. However, the longer she stays in a host increases her risk of permanent brain damage. Comparisons to his father’s work is inevitable, particularly eXistenZ, but Brandon Cronenberg’s vision is equally original and assured in execution. The film is layered with meaning and contains visually arresting in-camera practical effects. Not for the squeamish, Possessor is a transgressive work of art.

Home with a View of the Monster, Intellectual Horror

Alex and Todd Greenlee’s Home with a View of the Monster keeps audiences on their toes. A trippy exercise in the horror of the bizarre, the film’s visuals and fragmented narrative begs for multiple viewings to unpack all of the script’s layers. Broken into five chapters, a stylistic choice that is reminiscent of the structure of a Tarantino film, the narrative unfolds in a disjointed fashion and explores the psyches of its central characters.

TOGETHER Mashed Multiple Genres to Great Effect

Ryan Oksenberg (Damage Control) returns with Together, a genre thriller that is one-part horror, one-part comedy, one-part family drama, and 100 percent fun. Who would have thought a zombie film template would so seamlessly combine with a narrative about biohazard removal? Following a prologue of a man (David Otten) attacking a couple in the woods, the attention shifts to Julia (Arielle Hader), a young woman who runs a small biohazard cleaning service and lives in a trailer park. Julia is haunted by childhood memories of her father’s alleged suicide, a trauma that is exacerbated as she takes care of her ailing mother (Karin Collison).

BACURAU an Exercise in Sustained Tension

Director Kleber Mendonça Filho’s (Aquarias) latest film (co-directed with Juliano Dornellos) is a meditation on the socio-political state in Brazil, the importance of community, and the effects of violence. Shortlisted for Brazil’s official entry for best foreign language film for the 2020 Academy Awards, Bacurau has garnered acclaim from audiences and critics alike since its premiere at Cannes, where it tied for a Jury Prize.

FILM REVIEW 45 Years

Watching Andrew Haigh’s sublime 45 Years felt like viewing a film from the late Ingmar Bergman. The film shares the same probing psychological examination and tense emotional drama with a majority of the Swedish director’s works, but Haigh’s picture departs through its sensitivity to its subject and characters, as well as its distinct visual style. Centered on the week leading up to Kate and Geoffrey Mercer’s (Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay) 45th wedding anniversary, the narrative focuses

FILM REVIEW Son of Saul

A contender for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, László Nemes’ debut feature, Son of Saul, is a harrowing philosophical tale that reminds us that the horrors of the past are still ever present. Photographed entirely with a 40mm lens in the Academy ratio (1.37:1), the film opens with an out-of-focus long shot; after a few moments, blurry people approach the camera and the long-shot becomes an extreme close-up. This method has been done before in a different manner by the late Sergio Leone fo

Interviews

FILM All the Colors of Giallo Cinema: An Interview with Mikel J. Koven

Drunk Monkeys staff writer Sean Woodard had the opportunity to speak with horror film and folklore expert Mikel J. Koven to coincide with Sean’s film column on Lucio Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling. Mikel J. Koven is senior lecturer on Film Studies at the University of Worcester in the U.K. and author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film and Film, Folklore, and Urban Legends. Join us as we delve into the macabre territory of the Italian Giallo genre.

Book & Music Reviews

SEE! HEAR! CUT! KILL! EXPERIENCING FRIDAY THE 13TH Is A Treasure Trove Of Information For Readers & Scholars

Can you think of a more iconic American horror villain than Jason Voorhees? Released this past October by University Press of Mississippi to coincide with Friday the 13th’s 40th anniversary, Wickham Clayton’s See! Hear! Cut! Kill! Experiencing Friday the 13th provides readers with 238 pages of generous overview and detailed analysis on the popular horror franchise.

MASK OF THE SENTINELS Sweeps You up and Carries You Along for the Ride

It’s rare when I find a fantasy that impresses me and in which I can fully invest. Ricky and Toby Franklin have produced such a volume with their debut graphic novel, Mask of the Sentinels. Full of adventure, horror, social commentary, and well-developed characters, the narrative sweeps you up and carries you along for the ride. Personally, I felt the same wonder and excitement I had as a kid when I read Emily Rodda’s Deltora Quest children’s fantasy book series.

FEAR: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF DARIO ARGENTO is Simultaneously Fascinating and Frustrating

Overall, Fear: The Autobiography of Dario Argento is a satisfying read. Structured chronologically, the book is full of anecdotes, personal reflections, and candid observations on cinema. Although some memories or particulars of film productions may be familiar to people who have listened to some of his interviews or viewed documentaries about the production of certain films, the amount of detail Argento incorporates in the book help flesh these areas out.

Fighting Trump, the Early Years

Jeffrey C. Isaac, professor of Indiana University, Bloomington, and former editor of Perspectives on Politics, has a series of essays and opinion pieces called #AgainstTrump: Notes from Year One. In one respect, the American public have heard many of his arguments elsewhere. But as an artifact of its time, perhaps readers can see how journalists like himself who were labeled “enemies of the people” used their resources and writing abilities to document this important era of American history.

MUSIC / Unwrapping Jim Croce’s Christmas Song, “It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way” / Sean Woodard

But amid all the covers of classics your mother should know, there are a few musical gifts hidden deep within the Christmas tree boughs if anyone wishes to search for them. One of those songs is Jim Croce’s “It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way.” It remains one of my favorite songs he composed. Recorded in 1973, the song serves as the closing track of Croce’s Life and Times album. The record, which also contained the No. 1 U.S. Billboard Hot 100 hit “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” proved to be one of the singer-songwriter’s most commercially successful.

American Resistance, Explained

Biggers does an exemplary job of unpacking concepts and historical events and presenting them in an easily digestible way for the general reader. But I was still confounded by his intended audience. While the tone of the book is fairly objective — especially when presenting historical events or influential figures — its overall slant would most likely appeal to those who are more of a politically and socially liberal persuasion.

Postcards from the Edge: The Voices of Hard Times in Today’s United States

MY MATERNAL GRANDFATHER, whom I call Tata, tells me stories about his days as a fruit picker on a crew with Japanese, Mexicans, Filipinos, and displaced Oklahomans from the Dust Bowl who labored from sunup to sundown. Tata would get blisters on his hands from planting acres of small trees and hoeing crop lines, and he’d get paid six cents per box of oranges picked. With the money earned, he’d go to the picture show to watch a Western double feature. When I hear these stories, I feel as if Tata’

Podcast Appearances & Interviews

Filters & Sorting

SCENE SELECTIONS Episode 23: Best of 2021

“KTFC: Scene Selections” is a series of conversations between Anthony McKelroy, Miquela Davis, and a rotating cast of friends of The Frida Cinema. Tune in as we dissect shot compositions, overanalyze subtext, and wait for our coronavirus boosters. Anthony & Miquela contact previous guests from the podcast to discuss the best films of 2021. We also talk about some of the films we’re looking forward to most in 2022.

SCENE SELECTIONS Episode 20: Soviet September

“KTFC: Scene Selections” is a series of conversations between Anthony McKelroy, Miquela Davis, and a rotating cast of friends of The Frida Cinema. Tune in as we dissect shot compositions, overanalyze subtext, and wait for our coronavirus vaccines. Scene Selections is honored to welcome Dr. Kevin O’Brien to the show to discuss the best of Soviet Cinema. Dr. O’Brien has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley and also studied at St. Petersburg University in Russia. He teaches course topics on 19th and 20th century Russian literature, poetry, and the 20th Century Russian avant-garde.

SCENE SELECTIONS Episode 16: The Paranoid Seduction of Paul Verhoeven

“KTFC: Scene Selections” is a series of conversations between Anthony McKelroy, Miquela Davis, and a rotating cast of friends of The Frida Cinema. Tune in as we dissect shot compositions, overanalyze subtext, and wait for our coronavirus vaccines. With Paul Verhoeven’s newest film Benedetta premiering at the Cannes Film Festival this year, The Frida Cinema brings his most iconic works back to the big screen! Anthony & Miquela welcome Blog Writer Sean Woodard to the show for his first appearance as we discuss the best scenes of Robocop, Showgirls, and more!

Journalism

Rick Eisleben '69 Returns to Find Chapman Radio's Bold Spirit Still Thriving

The first two days had been a breeze, but lack of sleep eventually started catching up with Rick Eisleben as in spring 1969 he continuously spun vinyl in the broadcast booth of what was then called Radio Chapman. Somehow he made it through almost another full day as friends and colleagues “encouraged” him to stay awake — in one case by hovering over him with a Coke bottle full of water.

Catch This Flick: Oscar-Nominated "Cutie and the Boxer"

Noriko Shinohara could have done anything when she arrived in New York City as a 19-year-old art student. She chose to devote her life to avant-garde artist Ushio Shinohara, 22 years her senior and famous for his “boxing” paintings. Their 40-year marriage, plagued by alcoholism, an unstable lifestyle, and the sacrifices required to create their art, is chronicled in the Oscar-nominated documentary Cutie and the Boxer.

Johnny Carson Never Left; He Just Took a Broadcast Vacation

Where would we be without the wit of Johnny Carson on late-night television? The legendary chat show host visited America’s living room from 1962 to 1992, amusing the masses and keeping their eyes on the screen. Tonight, Turner Classic Movies launches Carson on TCM, a series dedicated to the best celebrity interviews Carson conducted. Each hour-long segment, which will debut on Monday nights in July, contains five interviews and will be followed by a feature film of the last interviewed actor.

The Vinyl Weighs a Ton but the Movie is Only 90 Minutes Long

To describe the music released by Los Angeles label Stones Throw Records as “eclectic” or “left-of-center” is an understatement on par with saying Kanye West has an ego. The diamond in the rough of indie record companies, Stones Throw was founded by Chris Manak (aka DJ Peanut Butter Wolf) in 1996 and has put its weight behind hip-hop, world music, and modern funk—to name just a few genres. The influential homegrown music label gets its due in Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton (This is Stones Throw Records).

"MacArthur Park" Comes to MacArthur Park. Finally!

“MacArthur Park” has been recorded and performed by everyone from Donna Summers to Richard Harris; it even inspired a Weird Al Yankovic parody. But until now the sprawling, seven-and-a-half minute song has never been performed at its namesake venue, MacArthur Park. In honor of its 45th anniversary the tune’s composer, Grammy award-winner Jimmy Webb, will play “Macarthur Park” when he opens the Levitt Pavilion‘s free summer concert series on June 15th.

Content Writing