June 9, 2020

#4 Hereditary and Midsommar

by The Scaredy Cats Horror Show

Carmen Maria Machado returns for a double feature of Hereditary and Midsommar. (Spoilers abound, so watch the movies first!)

Where to Listen


PJ: Welcome to episode 4 of Scaredy Cats Horror Show, this week, we’re talking about Hereditary and Midsommar. Also, just trigger warning, these movies contain scenes of suicide and sexual violence, also, if you are a genuine scaredy cat, I feel like these movies are scary enough that just talking about them and hearing audio clips of them is somewhat scary. Anyway, buckle up.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Welcome to Scaredy Cats! Episode four. We have a returning guest, um she was here last week. Author of In the Dream House and Her Body and Other Parties. Uh Carmen Maria Machado. Carmen, thank you so much for coming back. 

CARMEN MARIA MACHADO: Thank you for having me. 

ALEX: This week, we are talking about the Ari Aster's movies uh Hereditary and Midsommar? Midsummer? How do you, how do we wanna do this? 

CARMEN: I'm gonna [PJ overlapping: Just just] say Midsommar because that's how I say it. I feel like it makes me an asshole. So feel free to say it however you want. 

PJ VOGT: It doesn't make you an asshole. My theory is that it probably is pronounced Midsommar. But Alex, there's no world where Alex is ever gonna say anything but midsummer. (Carmen: [laugh] Ok) So I think it's just like go whatever way feels comfortable for you. 


PJ: I've noticed as I've been talking about it, I switch in between. And I think it has something to do with like whether I'm more worried the person I'm talking to is gonna think I'm pretentious or dumb? [CARMEN and ALEX laughs]

CARMEN: So what will you say now? 

PJ: Well, I, the problem is that I'm worried that you'll think I'm dumb and I'm worried Alex will think I'm pretentious, so I have to switch in between. 

CARMEN: Oh, that's a real, that's a real sticky wicket there. [PJ laughing]

ALEX: Um so normally we have a set of rules which disallow PJ from watching during the day. Watching with the lights on. Using second screens. Having watching with anyone else. 

PJ: The Mantzoukas Rules. 

ALEX: The Mantzoukas Rules established in Episode one. These particular movies I thought were intense enough that I should watch the movies with him. And um I did. And it was a delight. I feel like he got to vocalize a little of his like. Internal monologue that that usually goes on with these movies more than just like, ohh oh my goddd. [Carmen laughs] Which is also a lot of what he was saying. 

PJ: Yeah that's, I can confirm that. 

ALEX: Um so I guess we should start with Hereditary and just sort of step through the movie. I'm trying to figure out-- in the other movies that felt like a very simple, simple, simple issue to try and explain a movie in two sentences. Hereditary feels harder to explain in two sentences. PJ, you. 

PJ: I feel like I can sum it up. 

ALEX: Go for it. 

PJ: Oh, shit. OK. It, I mean, just like, the plot synopsis? 

ALEX: Yeah. 

PJ: It's a movie... It's a movie about a family that is processing the recent death of the grandmother who was mean and no one liked. And uh what quickly happens is that the granddaughter of the family dies in a freak accident and the grandmother seems to be haunting them. Uhhh ehn? Ehn?

ALEX: I would say, kind of. 

CARMEN: Uh, yeah..

PJ: 60%? 

ALEX: I would say about 40%. 

PJ: Okay, go. You are you. What are you guys do better? 

ALEX: Um. 

CARMEN: No, I actually I must say, I do think your inability to sum up the movie concisely is actually a symptom of a problem the movie has. [Alex gasp] I will say. 

PJ: Which is.. 

CARMEN: Well, which is that Hereditary while, it has a lot of things going for it, is not cohesive in any meaningful way, which really gets in its own way, whereas like Midsomer to me feels like a very cohesive piece of art. Um

PJ: I strongly agree. Strong- I guess we'll get to both of those. But I strongly agree. 

CARMEN: I'm not saying that like not being able to sum it up is necessarily bad because there's lots of art that's like hard to sort of, you know, boil down into like a nugget of explanation. But I do feel like in this case, the movie is confused about what it's trying to do. And it makes it hard to explain what's actually going on. 

PJ: It starts out being this like combination of the dead grandmother of the family is haunting them. And you're gradually also realizing that this family itself is like pretty toxic and messed up. And then it kind of slides in to, oh, wait, this is all in service of some evil demon who, like, requires sacrifice and to find like a male host like it, it kind of goes from, like one kind of scary movie into like a different, sillier kind of scary movie. It's like a Crossfade. 

ALEX: Right. So the opening scene essentially is just the funeral of of the grandmother. 


And it's um Toni Collette is uh the the mom in the family. And she's giving a eulogy. And she's talking about how she doesn't recognize many of the people there and how her mom was very secretive and mean. 


Annie: It's heartening to see so many strange new faces here today. I know my mom would be very touched and probably a little suspicious 

ALEX: It's a weird eulogy. It's the eulogy of a person who did not like the person who has died.

PJ: Yeah. They do a good job of of accurately capturing what a funeral feels like when everyone knows the person who died is a dick. 

ANNIE: She had private rituals, private friends, private anxieties. It honestly feels like a betrayal standing here talking about her.

ALEX: And it's just like a big setup for the fact that she doesn't recognize anybody there because her mother was this secretive, weird cult leader. 

PJ: Ohhhh right, I did not, right, I did not realize that, right.

ALEX: So she does this eulogy and and it like sets up all of this stuff really quickly. First of all, it's like they have a a weird daughter who makes clicking sounds and draws during funerals. 

PJ: Oh yeah, she goes *click click click*. 

ALEX: They have a son, a son who seems a little little tuned out. And you quickly find out that their daughter's allergic to nuts, which will come into play later. And you also just see the way that this family interacts, which is like without much talking, not liking one another. Um i-i-it just seems like everybody is incredibly, incredibly distant. And, it's weird because later in the movie, you find out that the GRANDMOTHER was diagnosed with DID, with dissociative identity disorder. But they all seem so dissociated. Like they seem checked the fuck out. 

PJ: Well, it's, in the beginning of the movie for me, actually. I couldn't I couldn't tell if this was a family that was really dysfunctional or just a family that was grieving. And one of things I did like about the movie is like. I feel like usually when you watch a movie, you assume you're on the side of the characters, particularly like the heroes in a horror movie. And sort of, I didn't realize the extent of the family's dysfunction until they started processing the grief in more dysfunctional ways. Like at first, I was like, I don't know, this is the day after somebody's mom died. (Alex: Right.) You know?

ALEX: But like they they live in this gigantic house in the middle of nowhere. And basically as soon as the mother dies, people start seeing basically apparitions. Charlie, the daughter, sees a woman in a field with fire around her. Um and then there's this scene where Toni Collette's character sees her mother in the darkness? 

PJ: Yes, I remember that. It was so scary. 

CARMEN: I have to say, all of the, there's like a few moment moments in the movie where there are presences in dark corners. I think it's like the most, effective, sort of visual scares of the movie. like, I remember the first time I saw Hereditary and there's the part where the mom is floating up in the corner and I didn't see it. Like the son is like rubbing his eyes in bed and has just gotten up. And then some point you realize that, like, Toni Collette is like up in the corner like a spider. 

PJ: Oh, yeah. I totally saw that, it was super freaky. 

CARMEN: But it's like in the movie theater, I remember sitting there and I didn't notice it. And then I was and then I heard somebody gasp like like a few rows away from me. (PJ laughs) And I was like, what are they gasping at? It's just there's this guy like rubbing his face or whatever. And then I realized that she was like, up the corner. I was like, Oh Jesus like. 

CARMEN: I mean, visually, I think the scares are like really well done in this movie. 

ALEX: I actually recorded PJ while we watched together… you know the scene where Toni Toni Collette gets up and is like wandering around the house. And it's one of her dream sequences. But PJ is, PJ yelling at Toni Collette is very funny. I would love to play it. (Carmen: Please do) PJ, I'm sure you'd love to hear it. 

PJ: Yeah, I'd love it please. 

PJ: Oh Toni Collette. Go back to bed (CARMEN react laughing). 

TONI. (Alex react laughing: TONI!)

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. 


Fuck off! Fuck off. No, no, no. 

ALEX: That's it. Um (Carmen laughs)

PJ: They really feel like how it feels to be alone in a house late at night. And you think you see something, but you're sure your brain made it up like they're very good at that in a way that I've never seen in a movie before. Like, you're just like. I think there's something in the corner. Oh, God. There's something in the corner. And then it's gone. 

CARMEN: Yeah. Mhm.

ALEX: one of the things I enjoyed so much about it is just that even when you don't, there aren't people in the corner scaring you like it fe- you constantly feel like they're there. They basically make you not trust your eyes because the movie's so dark that you're sort of uh sort of filling in all these ideas. 

Like there’s this scene where Charlie the daughter, she’s sitting in her classroom


And just out of nowhere...


This bird slams into the window and...


PJ: They're setting you up to think that Charlie and the grandmother have some spooky connection and Charlie's going to do evil stuff in the house is like what it seems like the movie's saying. 

ALEX: And and and it does that pretty overtly by having her cut a pigeon's head off right af- the pigeon that ru-runs into the into the window- by cutting its head off with a pair of scissors 

(SNIPPING sounds)

and putting it in her pocket? PJ, you were very upset about that. 

PJ: I hated that. I hated that. 

ALEX: What in particular about that upset you? 

PJ: I uh I don't know how to explain to you that it's upsetting to watch a child cut the head off a bird. [laughing] (Carmen laughing) 

ALEX: (laughs) I don't know. As I said when we were watching it, you know, didn't you ever burn uh ants with a magnifying glass? 

PJ: No.. 

ALEX: You didn't?

PJ: No. There's a lot of ways in which I don't have the early childhood traits of serial killers. 

CARMEN: I mean, the bird was dead. (Alex: the bird was dead) I think it wouldn- it's it's not quite the same as burning ants because the bird it was already dead and she just cut the head off. I mean, it reminded me of, like, one time I found I walked past a bird that had died and the ants were swarming all over it and had only taken the head, had only eaten down the head. So the head was like a skull, (PJ: ughhh) like the rest of the bird's body was like perfectly intact. (PJ: ugh) And I took like so many photos and the only thing that stopped me from picking it up and, like, try to do something with it was the fact that I was not at home. I was like in another state and (PJ laughing) there would've been no way to bring it home. (PJ: Jesus Christ) like san- in a sanitized way. 

ALEX: Yeah. Who's the sociopath now, PJ? You're the only here who hasn't killed animals (Carmen: I just) or picked up corpses. 

CARMEN: My office is full of dead things. Like I've literally got like a dead snake in here. Like, I don't know,. 

PJ: I'm the other kind of person from you guys. (CARMEN and ALEX laugh)

PJ: I hate dead things. I hate being around bodies that have decayed and corpses and stuff like that, I hate it. 

ALEX: I mean. That's why I don't work in a morgue. But I mean, I'm not scared of like a squirrel carcass. 

PJ: OK. I don't know who, what you're bragging about right now. 

ALEX: I'm not bragging, (CARMEN laughing). I'm just like, I just don't understand it. 

ALEX: So uh it is setting up the daughter, Charlie, to be the weirdo cause like then she goes home and like glues- hot glue it to a bunch of garbage she has laying around. She's like making little figurines with it. And it does, it does make it seem like she's gonna be the evil kid. Not only that, but all that marketing for the movie was like Toni Collette and this kid, that was like. 

PJ: Well and the kid has like a really interesting looking face and you said that they had sort of made her up more for the movie. But she she she seems like the strange thing in the movie. And like to me the the one of the things that I I hated watching it but appreciated it about the movie is they have-- I like generally in stories when they successfully, you know, swerve in a direction I didn't expect and so like, with her… there's this scene where her brother is forced to take her along to a party. He's like trying to like, smoke weed and hook up with some girl. And so he leaves her alone. Oh, it's so unpleasant... She eats chocolate cake. That walnuts are in, you've like, you see somebody chopping walnuts earlier, which I was watching, I was like, oh, they're making magic mushrooms and Alex was like it's walnuts, and I was like aw shit. And then uh she had, she- she's allergic so she goes into like anaphylactic shock and her throat is closing. And he tries to rush her to the hospital. He's speeding down the highway. 


[sound of car speeding down the highway and Charlie gasping for breath]

Peter: It’s ok Charlie, we’re almost to the hospital okay?

He sees like what I think like a dead deer in the road? 

CARMEN: I think it's a deer. I had to slow down and look at it cause I actually didn't remember what it was. But yeah it's a dead deer. 

PJ: But she's leaning out the window to get air. And when he swerves out of the way of the corpse, he. Sh-sh-she's decapitated by a telephone pole. 



[sound of car swerving, Charlie gasping for breath, decapitation, and car braking]

Uh and that's the. That's it for her. It's horrifying. And then they like jump. They also do this thing is so awful where they go to the house like they immediately jump to the house. And you just see, you know, Toni Collette like wild with grief. And my brain at least was like, oh, at least this this movie seemed like a movie that would show more gore than that. It's nice that they abstained. (Alex laughs) And then 30 seconds later, they go to her decapitated head after it's been in the sun for a day and bugs are eating it. 

CARMEN: Well, you also, I feel like kind of maybe skipped over like between Toni Collette screaming with grief and her being decapitated is like that in- that horrifying long sequence where 

Movie sound start

the brother is just like trying to look back behind him and then he, like, doesn't. And then it's just like him driving home, getting out of the car, going into the house, getting into his bed, lying down, his eyes are open, day comes. You hear Toni Collette like making coffee and being like, I'm going to get some balsa wood and like going out to the car 


and like the whole time it's like fixed on his face, which I feel like is, I mean that scene. I mean, obviously, the decapitation is really shocking and when I saw it the theater, I did like I was probably the most shocked I've been at a movie like just in terms of like I was not expecting it to do that, and I was very surprised. But like, honestly, that whole sequence afterwards. What I think is so good about it is that it's like it's like so nightmarish. Like it feels like a night like you're watching someone's nightmare happening.

Music fade out

PJ: Yeah, also just like that feeling of uh like drowning in grief. Like when something terrible happens and you're totally paralyzed and like you can't like the. Yeah, just that they'd successfully give you the feeling of, like, shocked grief like that (CARMEN: totally) he's not reacting and not telling her. And then the moment where the wave crashes, you're on you and it's real. 


ALEX: Can I can I play you your reaction to the car scene, PJ? 

PJ: Oh, I would love nothing more than to listen to that. 

ALEX: Okay, here we go. 

PJ: Oh, shit. Oh, shit. Oh, fuck. 

PJ: Fuck.

PJ: Jesus Christ. Jesus fucking Christ. 

PJ: Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Fuuuuuck that. (CARMEN laughing)

PJ: Oh, fuck that. (Alex laugh) Oh, euhh. Oh, fuck that. 

ALEX: You okay?

PJ: That's really awful. That's awful. 

ALEX: Um yeah, that was just a taste. 

PJ: I feel like I forgot how much I hated that scene until I heard that, I really, I hated this movie. 

CARMEN: But I feel like that's an appropriate emotional response to that scene. (PJ LAUGHING) Um Yeah, I really feel like that's that's. Yeah, that feels appropriate to me. 

PJ: It's well it's just like. It's also just like, oh, we're in the category of story that kills children. Like, that's a that's a different kind of story. And you don't you think you're in the category of story that's evil child. But like we will decapitate the youngest like at that point. It's also like, anything bad can happen in this movie now like there's not the last line's already been crossed and we're like half an hour in. 

ALEX: it's not just that the kid dies. It's that the kid dies. Then the mother discovers it. Then you get to see her sobbing in the in the funeral. And then you get to see her sobbing over the grave. And then you get to just like watch a family unravel, like, of their own accord, which is to ignore entirely like the supernatural element of the movie that is pushing them toward oblivion. 

CARMEN: Well, I think that also, like one of the strongest parts of the movie is the sort of elements that you could that you could just call like a family drama. Right? Which is, yeah, like how a family like a family like that processes grief like and I think that that (Alex: right) works really well, which is what makes the stuff that doesn't work feel so like extraneous and stressful for no reason. Because I feel like the family drama elements are really strong. 

PJ: And it's honestly like that's what watching it I mean, talking about it now, I kind of realize like. If part of what's interesting about horror is you get to understand what you are most afraid of. Like, the thing I'm most afraid of genuinely in life is I don't know like I've had years where I've had a lot of years where I've been super lucky and nothing bad has happened. And then I've had a string of years where it was almost like something had I mean, the way this year feels globally. But I've personally had years where all the sudden, like somebody is like, oh, you're like you're behind on your trauma payments and just like boom, boom, boom, boom, and you're just plunged into grief world and like the feeling that, like, grief doesn't necessarily ennoble anybody or bring out the best in anybody and that it doesn't strengthen connections between people and like it can turn everybody in a worse version himself at the same time. 

Like that is what I actually walk around afraid of. And so, like those parts of the movie to me was almost a relief when the movie started to get more like supernatural and weird, because that's that stuff is not I'm way more scared of something sudden and bad happening to my little sister than I am like a demon king trying to claim me. 

ALEX: Well, that's part of actually what I thought you might find interesting about this movie, is that I don't want to air your dirty laundry, but your family has some complicated relationships I've known you for a long fucking time. (PJ: Yeah.) Uh I there thi- what you guys were just referring to is after as they sort of continue not talking to each other and things start getting steadily weirder, um there's a a huge there's a scene in which Toni Collette's character uh Annie has a huge blow up at their son Peter saying, like, I can't forgive you because you didn't even apologize. And, you know, like a normal family would like they could get something out of this, like something like something might change. It might bring us closer together. And just here we fucking are. We don't even talk to each other. We hate each other. (sigh) I have definitely. My dad, it, toward the end of my teens, was dating a woman who I really didn't like and who really didn't like me and wanted nothing to do with me. And it was like a thing where I was like, I had one foot out the door. I was practically not living there anymore. 

But I remember, like, these slow simmering tension of living with a person who didn't like me. (PJ: yeah) And I also remember having the explosion, basically, where she threw all of my clothes out on the front lawn and was like, get the fuck out of here. You're not welcome here anymore. And my dad was like, dude, and my dad, who, like, I went- look to support me in the same way that um that Stev- or that Steve, the dad, is supposed to support him, just kind of didn't do anything. He just kind of didn't say anything. So I had to ca- I had to like, basically call a friend and stuff all my stuff in his hatchback and go find someplace to live. 

And it fuckin sucked. And it was deeply scarring and that I when I watch that scene, I was like, oh, this this is so fucking real independent of all of the (CARMEN: yeah) apparitions stuff. 

PJ: Oh totally. Yeah. I don't know what a normal family is (laughs) but like, nothing, and like I, you know, I grew up with parents who really loved me and there's a lot of really great stuff, but like, I didn't see those conversations and think like these characters at a movie are being-- like I've definitely been in familial conversations where people have said Hall of Fame painful uh that, you know, that that that just got engraved into me stuff like an-and like in moments like that, like my my family is not um...... 

I (Alex laughing) I know my mom's been listening to these episodes. (ALEX laughing) I- she's gonna feel so bad. 

I love my mom. My mom loves me very much. I love my dad. My dad loves me very much. They had a brutally bad divorce (laughs) like I know that feeling of just like failure mode and like. 

ALEX: Without any, without revealing anything, as the child of divorced parents, it seems like PJ had kind of a Hall of Fame, bad divorce. 

PJ: I. Okay, here's what here. Here's one thing that is maybe like illustrative. I one time, because this is just about I one time was trying. I was like basically my my the way. Oh God. This is what the podcast we’re now. The the the I was in this I was in this big family like I have three little sisters, I'm the oldest brother. Um and when my family kind of fell apart in my teenage years, I also like had personal trauma stuff going on that was like seperate from that. And like the way I process everything was to be like I'm going to be the surge protector. Like, if if there's a bad mood that I can see is going to go from my sister to my other sister, that's gonna piss off my parents, that's gonna make them fight. If it hits me, I'll just like, hold it all inside. Um I remember one conversation with my mom, where she, like, kept talking about something that was really painful, kind of insistently to us kids. I remember the way I ended the conversation was I was like, if you say that thing again, I'm gonna punch my hand through this glass and you're going to like a glass window and you're gonna have to explain to the EMTs why I did it. And I had to say that twice. And that was like not the worst day of that month. 

Like, that's where we were. 

So the the family stuff was recognizable to me. 

ALEX: I mean you reacted more strongly to the spooks and scares. So, I mean, I'm surprised to hear you. 

I mean, I guess you don't go like, oh, my God, when someone says, like, I never wanted to have you, but. 

PJ: I mean it it to me it made it. Uh...what I wa-(sigh) and I I actually don't know the answer to like did I like this movie or not, but I like the parts of the movie. The family didn't feel cartoonishly toxic. They felt like. They felt like a family that and like honestly, like I had friends I grew up in like Philadelphia suburbs, I had friends who had parents that really were as like angry and hurt and unloving as Toni Collette, like that stuff felt, I I the parts of the movie that felt a movie to me that I was watching, that documented life that I have been in and around was like all that family stuff like that was like mainline Philadelphia like has a lot of Hereditary families, a lot of Hereditary families. 

ALEX: But I would say that pretty much after that scene in which, which there's that big dinner blow up, it kind of pitches in the direction of, of of supernatural. 

PJ: Well, basically. Yeah. So she she goes to like a grief support group. She mysteriously meets Ann Dowd in the parking lot. (ALEX: Joan) Ann Dowd is... you're like, ok, Ann Dowd's playing a creepy bad guy cuz she's Ann Dowd like I know what she did in The Leftovers, (Carmen laughs) I know what she does in movies, like I know what Ann Dowd is up to, you don't cast her to be a supportive friend. (Carmen laughs) And then, like, you, Ann Dowd's like, oh, you should definitely do this seance thing I learned that brought my kid back, it's really nice. And like that is when the movie becomes, I think, the other movie, which is like King Paimon, an ancient demon, (Alex: PAY-mon) is, PAY-mon (Alex: pay-MEN). I'm sorry, Pay-men. Uh. 

ALEX: Are you. I'm sorry? Who are you calling Paimon? 

PJ: Hail Paimon. Uhh is is trying to like possess the youngest child but first has to like kind of murder everybody in the family in extremely grotesque ways. Right? 

CARMEN: Well. Well, the demon can't be in a female body. at some point very early on, the granddaughter is like Grandma always want to me to be a boy. And then Toni Collette starts talking to her about being a tomboy. And you think it was like this throwaway detail that's like. But then when you find out later is that Paimon or whatever has to be in a male body. 

ALEX: So she goes to the seance, it's like a chalkboard that that says like, I love you, mom. And. 

PJ: This is Ann Dowd's character showing her the nice version of the seance where her kid's like, hey, I'm over here in the afterlife, I love you. 

ALEX: I'm happy. And then she does it and she, it seems like, gets possessed by the daughter Charlie. 


ANNIE: [hissing noise] Hello? Mom? Mom?

PETER: Dad, I don’t like this

ANNIE: What’s happening?

PETER: Please stop.

ANNIE: What’s going on? Mom!

PETER: Please… please stop.

ANNIE: What’s happening? Why is everyone scared? WHY ARE YOU SCARING ME?


ANNIE: [screaming]


PETER: [crying]

ANNIE: [gasp]

And then um the husband is basically like, uh hey, I want nothing to do with this, I think you're having a psychotic break. And at the same time, Annie goes through her mom's old possessions and finds a photo album which basically has like a bunch of pictures of of her mom and Ann Dowd's character. They're like good pals. And this has been kept from her. You were very mad that she did not go through her her mom's photo album first PJ. 

PJ: Well, also because one of the first things that happens in the movie, I think, is she's going through her mom's stuff. And I'm like, I made a joke to you. I was like, there's gonna be a book called Like How to Be a Ghost. 

And there basically is. It's like your guide to spiritually journeying through the plains or whatever. 

CARMEN: Ari Aster like really loves some exposition, some On-Screen exposition. And like I feel like not again not to like jump to Midsommar. But I feel like in Midsommar it's deployed almost perfectly. And I feel like in Hereditary it's like so cluttered like I kept pausing every time I saw-- there was like a moment of exposition like that, where it was just like a book that you had to read or like 

ALEX: You mentioned the part about the female host-- that that literally happens on a page. It's like a highlighted (CARMEN: yeah yeah yeah like I only) paragraph on a page except... 

CARMEN: it's like you wouldn't miss it if you didn't realize if you weren't like, reading. (ALEX: Yeah I-I-). if you didn't like pause the screen and read the page. 

ALEX: And same goes for earlier in the movie when she's at the support group and she's like, they're like they're like so do you want to talk. And she's like, well what is there to say-- my dad hung himself. 

PJ: I guess I'll just give you some backstory. (CARMEN: yeah)

ALEX: But but what she says is like her she says like, my brother hung himself when he was 16 because my mom, he thought my mom was trying to put people in him. And at the time, you're like, oh, whatever. And you just like, forget about it. And then reflecting on it, you're like, oh, she was trying to possess. Yeah. She was trying to put Paimon in her son. 

PJ: It reminded me now that you guys are pointing this out of a videogame where you're constantly like, the way they unveil story in video games, it's like every, every single dead character kept a detailed journal that ended the moment they died and explained everything that was happening. like

CARMEN: And again, that can be deployed really well, like a game like, I don't know, Gone Ho- if you've ever played like Gone Gome, like is an exa-, like it's an example of that being I think, it deployed really well.

PJ: And it's also just like it's my favorite joke to myself in the world. But it's like you really believe in a world where anybody reliably keeps a diary, including like every guard at like Evil Corp. (CARMEN laughing) just like

CARMEN: Yeah, yup.

ALEX: Uh yeah I've never kept a diary, uh (PJ laugh) so.. that's my contribution to that. (CARMEN laugh) uhhh

ALEX: So she figures out what's going on. There's a demon that's is going to inhabit a male host. She thinks that she starts sort of freaking out and her her son is getting sort of successively weirder and weirder. Like he accidently he, like, has the sort of break in school where he hits his head on the desk. 

PJ: And he raises his hand in a really weird backwards way.

ALEX: he raises his hand in this weird way. 

PJ: Very scary. 

ALEX: Um and Annie decides that the only way to do to to stop this from happening is by getting her husband, Steve, to burn a sketchbook of Charlie's the daughters that is like magically being written, magically being drawn in. And that is sort of the the uh link for whatever spirit is there to the world. But when she- and this is sort of the way the movie ends, she- she throw- She throws the book into the fire and it causes her husband to burst into flames. 

PJ: No, no, no. First she tries to set it on fire and it causes her arm to go up in flames. And she's like, god, that's not good. And then she gives it to her husband. She's like, throw it in the fire. He won't do it since she douses it in the accelerate and dumps in the fire. And then he fully goes up in flames. 

ALEX: Right. 

PJ: Like She thinks she's sacrificing herself but she sacrifices him. 

ALEX: And then Peter wakes up. 

Movie sound 

He finds his dad's body. 

He does not see his mom floating floating above him. It-it sort of like moving silently across the roof, the ceiling of the room. 

THUMP noise, movie music

Um she then chases him into the attic. And. 

ALEX: So Peter goes up there, finds his uh his grandmother's dead body. Also his-his mother gets up there. And there are also cult members sort of hiding in the shadows everywhere all of a sudden, which are part of the cult that her grandmother was in. He looks up and you can hear sort of like a  gross slashing sound. 

Movie slashing sound

She's floating in the air at the top of the attic (PJ whispers: sawing her head off) and she's sawing her head off with a wire. 

CARMEN: Oh, isn't that like a. She's garroting her own. 

ALEX: Yes. She's garroting her own. (PJ: she's garroting her own)

CARMEN: her own Neck, which is like horrifying. 

ALEX: And and (PJ: horrifying). 

PJ: I mean it's like this weird mechanical like jerking back and forth. like it's not even

ALEX: She she's not screaming or anything. She's just sort of got wide eyes and a closed mouth and she's staring directly at Peter. 

And this is, this was your response right about this moment, PJ. I'm just gonna play it for you. 

PJ: Sure. 

PJ: Fucking shit. Fuck this shit. Fuuuuck, I hate this. 

You like this. (CARMEN react laughs), I don't. 

ALEX: But I feel like you could. 

PJ: Nope. 

CARMEN and ALEX: laughing. 

ALEX: Um so to escape his mother and to escape the cultists that are sort of surrounding his house, he smashes through a window. um And it appears that he dies and the spirit of Paimon goes into his body um he sees his mother's decapitated corpse floating into the the the tree house that's on their property and he goes up in the treehouse and there are a bunch of people worshiping him. A lot of whom appear earlier in the movie, one of whom I think is one of his friends who he smokes pot with. Another one of whom (PJ: oh I didn't notice that) is one of his teachers. and Ann Dowd is there. And she's now sort of like a high priestess of this cult. And she's like, congratulations, you're Paimon now, you've become a-a demon. That's the end of the, that’s the end of the movie. 

PJ: and then they put a Weird crown on his head. 

ALEX: Yeah. And then puts a weird crown on his head and that's the end of it. 

Um so, PJ, what'd do you think? (CARMEN laugh)

PJ: It's definitely the scariest thing we've seen. Like, it's definitely scarier than the other stuff. Like, I think this is like I don't know, I can never remember number scale, definitely the scariest uhh

And then as far as like. Just like lingering and sticking around, like, I had three nightmares. (CARMEN: wow) The night I watched this thing. Like

ALEX: I want to tell you, like PJ, that uh even though I I have given you a lot of shit about uh your inability to watch these horror movies. I very much had a nightmare about a supernatural cult that killed me and Sarah, my wife, by sticking a hot poker into my mouth. 

PJ: Ooof. 

ALEX: A-after I watched that movie the night after I watched it and I was. (PJ: Yeah.) And then, but I mean, afterward I actually became some like a supernatural undead demon character who had to find other people to kill, which was kind of cool. But like up until that point, it was very scary dream. Um

PJ: Yeah. I just had a dream where lots of heads got cut off. (ALEX: um) It was not fun. 

ALEX: But I have to say, like to me like that the movie is just about families in grief. I mean, it is about demons, but it's about it's about families in grief. It's about sadness. And it's about inability to talk to one another. And I really enjoyed it because it was ambitious and it took a lot of tropes. (Carmen: Oh totally). And yeah, even where it doesn't succeed, it it takes a lot of horror tropes and kind of twists them in weird ways. And um it it is artsy fartsy in some ways, but it's also really fucking scary. 

CARMEN: Yeah, I agree. And I love a scary movie. I love an ambitious movie. And I think also for me I liked Hereditary better before I had seen Midsommar which is when I actually got to see, I think Ari Aster like kind of like land, land the whole movie in this way that felt so satisfying. But then for me, threw Hereditary into like a different kind of relief, if that makes any sense. 

ALEX: Let's get into it. (Carmen laughs)

PJ: Let's talk about yes, Midsummer Midsommer. 



ALEX: Alright. Welcome back to Scaredy Cats. Uh ok, Midsommar... midsummer... 

PJ: You, no, it's midsummer to you, you know it's midsummer. 

CARMEN: (overlapping) Just say what you wanna say. 

ALEX: Uh hello. 

ALEX: Midsummer is a movie about a woman named Dani who is in a relationship with a guy named Christian. Not the best relationship. 

CARMEN: [laughing] 

PJ: It's such a good portrait of like a certain kind of shitty partner. It's really good. I mean, shitty boyfriend, honestly. 

ALEX: Um and early in the movie, her her sister commits suicide. And in the process, kills her parents. 

PJ: I mean, it not in the pro- that makes it sound like it's. 

ALEX: It was a murder- murder suicide. Where she kills her parents and also kills herself. um And and Dani is desperately um sort of lonely and helpless and uh is constantly leaning on her boyfriend, who doesn't seem to really enjoy being leaned on and um together with three of their friends.? They- Four of their friends- They go to Sweden to go to one of their friends' sort of like agrarian northern Swedish community. The Harga is what they're called. 

PJ: I was. OK. Yeah. They're a cult. They're a cult. And they kill everybody one by one. 

CARMEN: Well, I think that I guess the question of what makes a cult. But they they in the beginning they seem like an intentional community, like a commune. And then, yeah, they're they're cults that. 

PJ: I feel like once you're wearing skins. 

CARMEN: Once you're wearing (laugh) sorry, once you're wearing skins I guess it's a cult yeah

ALEX: Uh, the movie starts with like a lot of character building. We meet uh we meet Dani. We get to hear her on the phone with her boyfriend, nervous about a sort of unsettling text message she gets from her sister 


DANI: I’ve emailed her three times and still no responses, so I’m getting a little bit nervous 

CHRISTIAN: I’m sure it’s fine

DANI: Yeah, probably.

CHRISTIAN: She does this every other day, Dani. Only because you let her.

DANI: Well I don’t let her. She is bipolar. So..

CHRISTIAN: Yeah. I know, but you do thought, babe. You go straight to crisis mode.

DANI: Well she’s my sister and you said that this email seemed different

CHRISTIAN: Yeah, right, but.. is it though? Really? 

And after that, you also see her on the phone with a friend, fretting over the potential for her boyfriend to break up with her. 

ALEX: And um in those two phone calls, you get like a very, very clear picture of their relationship um, which is that he just feels sort of like perpetually aggrieved by having to put up with her. 

PJ: Oh he-he's so per- He's like the it's a perfect like a, a little description of like a kind of negligent partner where it's like. He's it's not like he's like, fuck off. Like he he goes through just enough of the motions that like if you had a transcript of their conversation you'd be like Well, he said a supportive thing, but where clearly he like wants to get off the phone, doesn't want to help her. Like, it's like ah yeah, your sister did pretty clearly threaten to harm herself, but like she does that all the time, like he's so, it's such a, god. It's so it's like everyone I feel like either you been in that relationship or you've tried to talk a friend into leaving that relationship or 

ALEX: Or you've been that person. 

PJ: Yeah. I asked Alex and I was like, have you been this boyfriend? He was like, yes, I've been this boyfriend. 

CARMEN: Ooo… I feel like what also makes that opening sequence-- I feel like what makes it work, it's not only just like Dani, her phone call with him, then her phone call with her friend, but then also that, like, cut scene to the bar. 

PJ: Yeah. 

CARMEN: And I feel like it's this is a good movie this is a movie that's indulging in that sort of horror trope of like all you're sort of they're establishing all the sins that these characters are going to commit that's going to earn them their deaths. Right? 

PJ: Yes. 

CARMEN: Um Those are the one fucking the guy's vaping all the time... (PJ laughing) What's his name, that actor. He's such a fucking douchebag. And like. 

PJ: The guy with the high eyebrows? 

CARMEN: Yeah. And he's like the guy who's. 

PJ: He's such a good schmuck. 

CARMEN: he's great at that role and he's just like you gotta find yourself a girl who likes to have sex like

PJ: Also Ari Aster. His idea of what sort of like men talking about sex alone sounds like is so weird, like in Hereditary, somebody tells a kid like don't forget to bring your dick (ALEX overlapping: bring your dick) to the party like men are constantly forgetting their dicks? Like aw shit, it's just terrible. 

CARMEN: I don't know how men talk about sex with- I wouldn't know. 

PJ: He says, no, they have a whole extended riff about like, oh, we're going to go to Sweden, get all these girls pregnant,


CHRISTIAN’S FRIEND: See, you could be getting that girl pregnant right now. 

CHRISTIAN’S FRIEND #2: And don’t forget about all the Swedish women you can impregnate in June. 

CHRISTIAN: Ok, guys.

CHRISTIAN’S FRIEND: Don’t forget about all the Swedish milkmaids.

[Cell phone buzz sound]

PJ: Men who want to have a casual, like sort of misogynous sex aren't like about like they don't want to get people pregnant. I don’t think.

CARMEN: Well, what’s ironic is he later does get someone pregnant. Right? That's the whole point of that ending. (PJ whispers: oh right) So, like, (PJ: okay, there's a reason) so that actually feels very like a deliberate sort of turn. Right? 

ALEX: But but what we've missed is, again, we're still like five minutes into the movie. And you get this incredibly anxiety inducing, slow motion, single shot 


CARMEN: Wait Sorry. I feel like it's important to say that, like it's that they're having this, like, kind of banter and then he's like, they're like, don't pick up the phone. She's calling him and she's like, don't pick up the phone. Don't do it. He's like, I gotta do it, guys. And like, gets up.


DANI: [wailing] No no no no no no [crying]


And then she just, that scream. I guess Ari Aster loves like a white woman delirious with grief. 


Like it's like a like a visual, like a visual that he really loves or like a like a sound because also like that's like Toni Collette does that does that in (PJ: That's (indistinguishable)... Yeah) Hereditary too where it's like just this insane.. I mean it's very effective, it's incredibly unnerving, but it's like that insane scream of like pure like grief where you can't comprehend what's happening. 

PJ: I remember when my grandfather died, I remember my mom talking me about how when my grandmother died, she made that sound and she was like, I had to look it up like it's called keening? 

CARMEN: Oh yeah. 

PJ: But it's just like that totally like wordless screaming grief and that place like that sound is the thing that I'm like. I don't know. You get time away from it and eventually you have to go back to it. And when you go back to it, it feels like the only thing in the world.

CARMEN: Yeah. 

ALEX: Um so it's a slow motion shot of- the firemen walk up the stairs, then they see hoses attached to the exhaust of a car that our one one goes into the parents room and the parents are laying dead in their bed. And the other is like basically duct taped to the mouth of Dani's sister. (PJ: Yeah.)

ALEX: Then it cuts to a few months later, and she she finds out that her boyfriend is planning a trip to their friend. What is their friend's name? Yeah, it's like Pele or Peli. She finds out that they are planning on taking a trip to his the the celebration, the midsummer celebration in the commune that he lives on in in Sweden. And they have like the most. 

PJ: And she's totally invited if she wants to come but they would be fine if she didn’t. 

ALEX: They Have the most recognizable shitty relationship fight


Christian: I told you I wanted to go to Sweden. 

Dani: No, you said it would be cool to go.  

Christian: Yeah. And then I got the opportunity and I decided to do it. 

Dani: Look, I don't mind you going. I just wish you would've told me. That's all.  

Christian: Well, I just apologized, Dani.  

Dani: You didn’t apologize, you said sorry which sounds more like too bad.

Christian: I mean I shouldn’t go.

Dani: What? No. No. I’m just trying to understand.

Christian: And I’m trying to apologize.

Dani: And I don’t need an apology. I don’t. I just wanna...

ALEX: I've never seen it nailed it quite that way in a movie before. 

But eventually, even though he assumes she's actually not going to come, she does end up going um. And they fly to this commune--  it's like Midnight Sun is it's like sort of it's the summer solstice, which means that, like in northern Sweden, it basically never gets dark. So the whole movie, which is the exact opposite of Hereditary, which was a movie that was all about things in the darkness that you couldn't see, this whole movie is just like bathed in like a blinding sunlight. It it looks like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music the whole fucking time. 

PJ: It's such a weird choice for a scary movie. Also, it goes for such a long time. I mean, like there's like a solid hour where it's kind of mostly just a movie about some people visiting a cult in Sweden, learning about their traditions and their rites and then like gradually after an hour, it starts to be actual horror. 

ALEX: Christian’s friends, one of whom is Chidi from The Good Place, one of whom is that rat-faced guy who plays an asshole in everything, they get picked off

CARMEN: One of them looks at the secret book, the other one urinates on like the ancestor tree

PJ: But then the other one oh my god, so he wants to take pictures of the holy book, he sneaks into this dark sanctum, turning the pages one by one, and then he sees a shadow, he looks up, and for a second you think it’s the other disappeared friend, but it’s a naked cult member wearing the face of his friend. 


PJ: Which is pretty creepy. 

ALEX: So um it it gets to this point where Dani and Christian are sort of the last two people uh alive of the Americans or of the outsiders. And they both are once again tripping on um on crazy Harga juice and um Dani is it is part of the the this dance contest where the last person standing gets crowned the May Queen. And basically what it is, is they have to dance around the maypole. And people are getting dizzy and falling over and running into each other. And anybody who does that gets gets gets taken out. And the last person standing is the May Queen. And Christian. Well, Christian (CARMEN laugh) I feel so weird describing this, feels inappropriate to describe. Christian is basically seduced by a member of the Harga. 

CARMEN: That's an interesting word to use for it. 

PJ: Yes. Seduced is an interesting word. 

CARMEN: I would not have used that word. Seduced. 

ALEX: What word would you use? 

CARMEN: I feel like I feel like you could argue that's a rape scene. 

I also feel like this is a moment of like humor. Not that what I'm saying now, but like we're like she's dancing and she's so like she's so happy. Like with all these women, she's dressed like the Harga. Like she's in this. 

ALEX: Right. And she's smiling. She's smiling, smile and laugh. 

CARMEN: And then it keeps cutting to like the group watching. And he's just it's like dour like he's just sitting there, like, super fucked up and like really he's actually kind of dark among all the Harga because they're all these like beautiful white gowns. And he's just sitting there kind of like weird, sort of scruffy. And then they this whole time we also don't talk about this this whole time this one girl with, like, long red hair who like has been like pursuing him throughout the film. Like, she's clearly taken an interest in him during an earlier scene she had he found her pubic hair in his in his meat pie and her mens-, her menstrual blood is in his drink, um. they bring him into this like barn 


where, like, this woman is like lying like nubile on this like bed of plant matter, surrounded by nude women from the community of all ages um. 

ALEX: PJ said it looked like salad. 

CARMEN: (laughing) Like salad. Yeah. And then, like, he comes in and she like opens her legs and it's like, hey, like. And then. Yeah. So then he like proceeds to depending on how you watch it. Like have sex with her. But like he's tripping balls and is like clearly really upset. Like, like I, I mean I guess. Yeah. 

PJ: That's interesting. I hadn't, it hadn't occurred to me to view it as a rape scene I think because I'm just like I'm in a horror movie. He's coded as the shitty boyfriend, the shitty boyfriend is gonna cheat on the girlfriend. But you're right. He's like, totally fucked up on drugs. 

CARMEN: Yeah, like he's not. Yeah. So, I mean, again I feel like but I view it as like a scene of. Sex sexual assault of a kind um though, Dani, obviously views it as cheating, right? Because then when she would when she sees it through the keyhole, her response is just like this. It's like this final shattering of like her, her grief. 

And I feel like what makes it so interesting in this film is that it's the thing that causes for her that final rupture. But it's the it's a thing that he's actually not that responsible for.

Like, all the other characters are sort of like vio-. They're given a boundary. They violate the boundary. They're punished for violating the boundary. But Christian. Yeah, it's like he's walking toward the boundary the whole time. And it's just ironic that he gets shoved over the boundary at the very end. Do you know what I mean? 

PJ: And it feels more like it feels it feels I think one of the things it's doing is it like you don't want everything to map one to one. 

CARMEN: Totally. Right. Exactly. 

PJ: Like You just want to, like, muddy the line the way real life does, like the way that things don't like it would feel too tidy or something. (Carmen: Yeah)

ALEX: Um so she finds out that he's cheating by looking through a keyhole. She's directed over there by some of the Harga. 

CARMEN: No, they tried to stop her. Remember? (ALEX: ohh) cuz she hears the sounds. And they're like, no, that's not for us. They keep saying, that's not for us. That's not for us. Sorry. Do you mind if I describe this? Is that okay? 

PJ: Go for it. 

CARMEN: So, like, yeah. So she comes back from this cere-, from this like ritual where they like bury some meat in the ground or whatever for the harvest. She hears the sound. They're like, no, don't go over there. And she's like, what's happening? And she goes over and they try to stop her and she runs, looks in the keyhole, sees what's happening. 

Movie sound

And then she runs out and runs into like the barn where they've been staying. And is like having like a complete, like, panic attack, meltdown freak out. And there's that scene, which I guess at this point is a pretty iconic scene of Hereditary, 

which is like the women like surround her and she's like screaming and they're screaming with her. Like it's like it's like she's screaming this sound that like you haven't heard since the beginning of the film when she lost her entire family. And like, she's screaming and they're all holding her as this like net and like as and then they're like trying to get her to breathe and she calms down a little bit and then she just starts screaming and then they scream with her and it's the first moment in the film where anyone has has empathized with her. 

ALEX: That is the moment where like, oh, where like something clicked for me in this movie, which is which is yes, this is a breakup movie. But this also feels like a movie about like chosen families. 

CARMEN: One hundred one hundred thousand percent. Absolutely. And it's like, yeah. And which I mean, again, like this is why I thought it was interesting to watch Hereditary and them together because I feel like this movie is a successful execution of ideas that Hereditary was chewing on but didn't quite figure out or didn't quite swallow. And this because, yeah, it is about like it's like this moment in which like the family that you had is gone or insufficient. And like you were realizing that, like, you are alone and then you realize you're not alone right? 

ALEX: Right. But I mean, part of the reason I feel like Dani stays in this village for so long is because, like, yes, she sees this horrifying thing of these people jumping off of a cliff and killing themselves. But in that moment when the guy is sort of writhing in, one of them does not die on the fall and he's writhing in agony. Everyone else starts writhing in agony with him. And it's like this culture that is so diametrically opposed to the UNempathetic group of people she surrounded herself with that are like the most empathetic. (Carmen: Yeah). 

And the thing that we have not said about this sex scene that they that they have. (Carmen: Oh, yeah, right). They are surrounded by naked women who are also emulating the sort of sex noises that the woman is is is emitting. It's all 

CARMEN: At some point she like reaches up behind. This was, I thought, a funny moment, which is like she reaches up and Christian like grabs her hand like. Oh, yeah. And then but then she's not reaching for him. She's reaching for the women behind her. (Alex: Right. Yeah. But it's like this) Yeah it's like she's trying to- It's like this group of people that's so connected and like everything happens as one. Like there's no individual. It's just like yeah this group. 

ALEX: So. So she has this moment of agony and she and she she is become the May Queen at this point. And sort of the last responsibility, as the May Queen, is that as part of their midsummer festival, this cult has had to sacrifice nine people, they’ve already sacrificed eight and uh Dani is told to choose between the last surviving new new blood, which is um her boyfriend, Christian. (PJ: ex at this point.) Or just a random guy. 

And I think it will come as a surprise to no one who hasn't seen this movie that she chooses her boyfriend, whom they have

PJ: Stitched into a bear suit and put in like. (ALEX: Well, they they) a burning house.

ALEX: they take him. they basically gut a bear, sew him into the bear's carcass, (clears throat) put him in this ceremonial temple with the rest of the sacrifices (clears throat) and then set the building on fire. 

And as the May queen at this point, she has this just like dour, horrified expression. She's constantly she's like has this puffy face from like sobbing because she's like absolutely lost her mind. And she is wrapped in this insane cocoon of flowers. 

PJ: It's so many. Flowers. (CARMEN: Wait)

ALEX: It's impossible to explain. She looks like Snuffleupagus. she looks like a flower snuffleupagus. 

CARMEN: I think that's a good I always think of it as like a slug of grief, because I feel like then when she's, like, (Alex laughs) Trying to walk in it. And I read that it was so heavy that they had to sew a a stool for her underneath so she could sit because she like (PJ: Jesus) it was so heavy that like to take breaks between takes like she had to sit, but they couldn't get her on anything. So they had to put a stool like sewn in (ALEX: oh my god) underneath somehow. (laughing)

The idea of being smothered with beauty, it's like at the end of this movie, it's like her grief, her anguish... the way she's like struggling across the landscape as like the building is burning like it's soooo... it just worked so well. And I feel like it was an example of, like, the horror element. Everything just came together so perfectly. 

And then her smiling, right? Like that sort of final closeup of her face where she's like grieving and then she, like, has that kind of insane smile, as the building is burning is like the final shot (PJ: It's so good.) It's so good. 

ALEX: It's her coming home. Like it's her (Carmen: yeah exactly) that her realizing she's home. It's the nicest moment. (Carmen: It's so beau- right) and it's like catharsis for her. And and at that moment I was like I was like I was watching the movie as like a horror movie where I was like the Harga are the people to be escaped. I sure hope they get away. 

And at that moment I was like the Harga are the heroes!!!!!! (PJ and Carmen laughing)

CARMEN: Exactly. 

PJ: She like goes on a journey like she starts a movie losing her family and she ends the movie like having a family (Carmen overlapping: getting a family). It's just everything that happens in between is horrifying. 

CARMEN: Yeah. 

PJ: Well, for me, the confusing thing is I enjoyed the movie. (laughing) Like I enjoyed the movie, I think I experienced the fear more the way you guys experience it normally, which is like. Definitely scared me. And, you know, I felt dread in anticipation of being afraid, but I didn't feel like I was, like, crushed underneath it. I don't think I would watch this movie again. But, like, I just I thought was a good movie that I liked as a movie. That I felt things. 

ALEX: Did you enjoy it in spite of the horror aspects or or did the horror aspects add to your enjoyment of it? 

PJ: Add to my, I don't think. I don't think- I think I needed like I think. I don't think you could not have those. 

PJ: God, I can't believe I've seen and enjoyed a scary movie. 

CARMEN: I'm so proud of you. 

ALEX: Not only a scary amount of it, like one one that is notorious for being, for being intense, maybe not like horrifying, but like for being a tough watch. 

PJ: Yeah, I think I have a working theory now, which is like I don't like movies that are about women being murdered one by one or slowly over time. I think that's not my cup of tea (carmen: sure). Ummm And I like movies that feel like they're at least trying to be about something. 

ALEX: Umm.. god it makes me want to want to show you so many more movies. 

CARMEN: I know I'm also sitting here in my seat being like, oh my god. I have so many movies I wanna show you (laughing) (PJ laughing). It's making me feel really twitchy.


ALEX: Ok, so, PJ. The next and final episode of The Scaredy Cats Horrow Show, is the main event, the reason why we’re all here, is we are going to watch Get Out. I will say that that that Hereditary and Midsommar are sort of like varsity level horror movies and like in terms of scares, in terms of like how intense they are, and Us and Get Out, which are another two two movies that were the the reason behind making this this podcast in the first place. Are are way less scary. You're gonna be fine. 

CARMEN: I think. Yeah. (PJ: Really?) I would argue. I think that Get Out is probably intense, like it’s not as intense for non-black folks in a specific sort of way because it’s not necessarily for them or at them, but certainly, in terms of the scares, yeah like the dread, if you can get through Hereditary I think you can probably get through Get Out.

PJ: Ok, I’m excited to finally watch this. Also I feel like maybe I should just try to watch some more scary movies? Like, it's kind of like exercise where it's like if I don't go to the gym for a while, I get really scared of the gym. Like, I think I need to see some stuff so that I don't just think it was a fluke that this was OK. 

ALEX: Huh. Interesting. All right. Well, I guess. 

CARMEN: That makes sense to me. 

ALEX: I guess Carmen and I have to make you a list, but I'll watch 'em with ya. 

PJ: I know you will. 

CARMEN: Well, I don't know much about most things and certainly nothing about tech. But if you ever wanna talk about horror movies again, I am here. 

Carmen Maria Machado is the author of In the Dream House and Her Body and Other Parties.

Scaredy Cats is hosted by PJ Vogt & me, Alex Goldman. This episode was produced by Lisa Wang and edited by Sruthi Pinnamaneni. We’re mixed by Sam Bear. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Special thanks to Jon Gabrus. Our theme song is by Mariana Romano, and our closing theme is by Alex Goldman. Our cover art was made by Olly Moss. Don’t forget to watch GET OUT in advance of the next episode. You can catch new episodes early on Spotify on Tuesdays, and then wherever else you get your podcasts on Fridays. Thanks for listening.