E23 -

Alissa Wilkinson and Ciara Wardlow join the show to talk about Jordan Peele’s genre‐​defying horror movies; Get Out & Us.

Landry Ayres
Senior Producer

Alissa Wilkinson is Vox’s film critic; she also reports on the movie industry and culture more generally. She’s been writing about film and culture since 2006, and her work has appeared at Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, Vulture, RogerE​bert​.com, The Atlantic, and others. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics, and was a 2017–18 Art of Nonfiction writing fellow with the Sundance Institute.

Alissa is also an associate professor of English and humanities at The King’s College in New York City, where she’s taught criticism, cinema studies, and cultural theory since 2009.

Ciara is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects.


Get Out cleverly uses common horror tropes to reveal truths about how damaging racism still is in our modern world. Us, as the title suggests, tells a story about how neglecting to come to grips with our past makes us our own worst enemies. Alissa Wilkinson and Ciara Wardlow help us unpack both thriller films.

Why is horror considered a primarily white genre? How did Jordan Peele connect with his audience through the combination of horror and comedy? What is the connection between comedy and horror?



0:00:03 Natalie Dowzicky: Welcome to Pop N Locke. I’m Natalie Dowzicky.

0:00:05 Landry Ayres: And I’m Landry Ayres.

0:00:07 Natalie Dowzicky: Jordan Peele stepped out of his Key and Peele comfort zone to bring us not one but two genre defying horror films. Get Out cleverly uses common horror tropes to reveal truths about how damaging racism still is in our modern world. Us, as the title suggests, tells a story about how neglecting to come to grips with our past makes us our own worst enemies. Joining us today for a deep thriller discussion is film critic and culture reporter at vox​.com, Alissa Wilkinson.

0:00:33 Alissa Wilkinson: Hey, it’s good to be here.

0:00:35 Natalie Dowzicky: And senior contributor at Film School Rejects Ciara Wardlow.

0:00:39 Ciara Wardlow: Hi, thanks for having me.

0:00:41 Landry Ayres: Now, Jordan Peele’s movies, Get out and Us, that we’ll be talking about today, his debuts in the horror genre as a film‐​maker both reinvigorated and shown a light on a genre that has been around for a long time but has not nearly been appreciated by a mass audience as it now has hopefully begun to be, and that is the genre of black horror. It even inspired a class, I believe, at UCLA that integrates Get Out into the curriculum, but it’s about the many films in cinema history in the genre of black horror. Why is it horror is considered a primarily white genre?

0:01:30 Ciara Wardlow: There have been black faces in horror for, basically, as long as horror has been a genre but they’ve been white stories. Horror is… There’s an assumption for what the audience is afraid of in a horror film or what’s going to terrify people, so you have to have that standard in mind of who your audience is and historically, in American horror film, it’s been a white audience. It’s been “What will scare this white middle class audience?” Has been the audience and the way that horror films have been created.

0:02:04 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah, I totally agree. I think it’s really reflective of the industry at large, which has basically assumed that for a century that the default viewer of a movie is a white person and thus tailored what’s scary to white people [chuckle] and disregarded what maybe was going on in society because we have to remember that horror is a genre that really captures our anxieties as people, both individuals living in bodies and also in a social manner. And then on top of it, there’s always been this presumption that white people don’t see movies that star black people. That’s been a really long‐​running presumption. Even in the face of obvious evidence in the other direction, it’s been a really long‐​running presumption in Hollywood. So those things really have contributed to what is an overwhelmingly white‐​centric genre and I think part of what was so brilliant about Get Out is that Jordan Peele easily is one of the better horror film makers that I’ve ever seen working but he also figured out how to evoke a feeling that maybe in the past, a Hollywood executive would have said, “Oh well, white people aren’t gonna go see that movie.”

0:03:31 Natalie Dowzicky: I also think that Peele has an exceptional ability to take snippets from all types of horror genres. And by that, I mean… And both Get Out and in Us, which I’m sure we’re gonna dive into both as we go on here, but he’ll take snippets from each type of horror, whether it’s intruder comes into the house or whether it’s dopplegangers and this idea of being fearful of yourself or what have you, but I think he does a really good job not only of using symbols throughout these two horror films but also taking interesting tidbits from other very famous movies within the genre.

0:04:11 Ciara Wardlow: I would agree with that. I think the thing is that he hits that sweet spot right between commercially viable and really commercially successful, and critically acclaimed and that there’s layers and there’s food for thought in his films, and I think the key to that is his way of incorporating the familiar because I think, fundamentally, we do like familiar stories but we want them to be new enough or different enough that we don’t feel like we’re watching the same thing over again, like it’s repetitive. And I think that a key thing that’s missed out in that, in many ways, still prevailing stereotype that, “Oh, white audiences aren’t gonna wanna watch a film with black leads with non‐​white principal roles,” is that showing diverse perspectives and having stories told by diverse creators is actually a great way to tell a very similar story but with that fresh perspective that makes it feel a little new and a little different and something that hits that sweet spot between being too out there and too familiar.

0:05:15 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah, I agree. And I also wanted to note that one of the genres he does really well is body horror, and that’s what Get Out really is, is a look at the bigger social… I don’t wanna use the word phenomenon. The social ill of racism but through the lens of body horror, which really gets at… That this is about the body you live in and the way you are presented to the world and also who’s looking at you and what they’re thinking, and what they want from you. Yeah, I felt like I was shivering by the time I got out of the first screening of Get Out because I felt it so much in my body, and that was a really phenomenal experience.

0:05:56 Ciara Wardlow: I was just gonna say that I agree that it’s a body horror, fundamentally, and talking about body invasion and someone taking over your body but one thing that really stuck out to me more rewatching the film… The first time you’re watching it, you’re still trying to figure out exactly what’s going on and what have you, but then rewatching it is the way that he uses dialogue ’cause I’m a big dialogue person and how words are being used and so much of the sense of discomfort or that something weird is going on when he’s talking to the other Black people who’ve already been brainwashed and occupied and become just bystanders within their own bodies is he goes to them as another Black person and he tries to interact with them as another Black person and they react like White people reacting to a Black person in the actual dialogue. I think there’s that one exchange where he says, “Oh, I didn’t mean to snitch on you,” and then she goes, “Oh, you mean tattletale?” I just think that there’s so much there that I really appreciated so much more the second time around and knowing where it was going.

0:07:08 Landry Ayres: Yeah, and you can see, once you know the twist, the fact that there are these white personalities that have been transplanted into these Black people’s bodies and those personalities or at least vestiges of them are still locked inside in sunken place watching as observers of this entire scenario going around. Rewatching it, it takes on a whole new meaning of even when there’s not dialogue. For instance, when Georgina… When the tears began to come out of her eyes, there’s this moment of fighting going on where it’s like that last bit of personality that is still on the inside is almost pushing its way out, and then the flash which, to me, becomes very reminiscent of the camera motifs and lenses which bring to mind the meta‐​text of the movie being about horror films and what they mean and what they show, and that social context that it exists in. It tries to bring them out of that and really is emblematic of what the film is trying to do, not only in the plot of it but in the social context that it exists in. And I appreciated it and really enjoyed a lot of the plot and what it was saying on that surface level the first time I saw it but I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it on a second watch, ’cause I don’t watch a lot of horror movies generally on my own anyway.

0:08:51 Natalie Dowzicky: Scaredy cat.


0:08:53 Landry Ayres: A little bit. You’re not wrong. There’s a part of me that always is like, “Well, am I gonna enjoy it as much the next time?” Part of the initial thrill of it comes from being on the edge of your seat, not knowing what’s coming next, the subversion of expectations or playing with those, but it really does read even more deeply on a second and third watch through, which I really, really appreciated.

0:09:22 Natalie Dowzicky: I also think that the movie is so visceral in a sense, and what makes it such a ground‐​breaking horror film is that very fact, I think, that Landry just hinted at is that this is one of the few horror ones I can think of that I actually enjoy rewatching. A lot of horror films… I just saw Midsommar, I’ve seen Hereditary. A lot of those were shocking and very disturbing with the first watch and I came away the first watch being like, “Well, I never really need to see that again,” ’cause now I know everything that happened and it’s not… The context isn’t as deep. And because this movie is so visceral when you’re watching, it feels like you’re going through the experience, and that’s just a credit to not only Peele’s work but everyone who worked on the film.

0:10:09 Natalie Dowzicky: And I also think another thing that Landry brought up that I was hoping we could delve into more is this larger idea of sight. Landry brought up the camera flashing and how Chris is obviously a photographer. And in the end, what happens is the person, the white personality that wins the auction for Chris wants his eyes because he’s a blind artist. And it’s this whole idea that… I believe that… I’m not sure if this is the exact quote but the blind artist was like, “I don’t really need your body. What I want is I wanna see through your eyes, I wanna see the world the way you see it,” which was such a great… Well, it was also the climax of the movie but it was such a great line, and I definitely jumbled it, but what did you guys think of the symbols of sight and what do you think the larger meaning throughout the film… What do you think their larger meaning was?

0:11:18 Landry Ayres: Well, I also think it’s interesting, just in particular, is that he’s not necessarily even an artist himself, he is an art dealer and he even says at one point like, “I pitched to National Geographic 14 times before I realized I didn’t have the gift,” he calls it, but that he is a person that wants to take something from Chris to re‐​appropriate his gaze and then profit off of it as opposed to actually create something on his own, which is I think another commentary that could definitely be one.

0:11:52 Ciara Wardlow: The thing that’s interesting to me about that whole element of the story is, to me, it feels very reminiscent of a very classic but not very well‐​remembered novel called Trilby, which is where the term Svengali comes from, which is what its biggest lasting legacy and the character Svengali. It’s a bit of anti‐​Semitic stereotype but he’s this maestro but he can’t sing and there’s this woman who’s tone deaf but has this great voice, so he hypnotizes her to use her like a puppet or like an instrument. And that’s the whole story and it was huge. It was the biggest bestseller of its era. It died out but it’s… Again, to me, I think with Jordan Peele, there’s these threads and whether they’re conscious or just… It’s very possible for different writers and creatives to have the same or very similar ideas but either whether it’s a conscious reference or it’s just coming up with the same thing that’s echoing something else that’s been done already, it’s like it’s tapping into those historically very popular themes but putting a very different twist on them.

0:12:55 Ciara Wardlow: And I think as his perspective as a Black man who’s been working in the entertainment industry for a long time already at this point, I think there’s commentary specific to his experience in that too and it’s this mostly predominantly overwhelmingly white system that now sees a particular value in your perspective as a Black person but they still wanna use it for their own aims and use it as a tool. So I think there’s a lot there to that aspect of the story.

0:13:28 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah, this is very surface level. But it’s just funny to me. I recently watched Gremlins for the first time, which is another horror film, and that thing with the flashing camera comes up again in that film, and I was like, “Where have I seen this before?” And then I realized it was Get Out. I was like, “Oh, that is not the same thing.” Although maybe it is, I don’t know, there’s some kind of analysis to be done there. But I think to your point, Ciara, there’s this theme of eyes and sight and looking and the photography and the framing of an image is so much about who’s doing the looking and who’s being looked at, and this film is so much about that, and it’s making a larger point about the industry and who’s been allowed to do that, while also making… And we have to say this is a profoundly entertaining film, it’s very funny. It’s the last film I can remember in recent memory that managed to have kind of instant catchphrases in it. You know the line about voting for Obama the third time, not to mention the idea of being in the sunken place. As soon as I saw it, I was like, “Oh, there we go. That’s the meme.” But they actually mean something, right?

0:14:47 Alissa Wilkinson: But yeah, that kind of idea of who’s getting to do the looking and why, and also, like you’re saying, when the perspective changes and suddenly maybe something that would have normally been pushed off to the side of the screen is now in the middle of the screen, but then the question is, why is it in the middle of the screen? And that’s so much of what this movie gets at, and I think in particular, black filmmakers have been good at bringing that into the way that we think about film through actually making films about it, and it’s another way of challenging what we white people would expect when we go to the theater, and challenging it and saying, “Maybe you weren’t aware you were being centered, and we’re gonna make you aware of that.” And it’s good. It makes us uncomfortable, and then he manages to make us really uncomfortable, also scare us, and also make us laugh a lot.


0:15:50 Landry Ayres: As soon as you mentioned it, it sort of clicked with me. I don’t think that the Gremlins allusion… Actually, it may not be on accident. I think it could definitely be on purpose, because there is a great Key & Peele sketch, if you go back and watch an episode where Jordan Peele plays a consultant that is brought on to punch up the script for Gremlins 2, and they basically just…


0:16:17 Landry Ayres: They basically just pull out all of these things that are actually in Gremlins 2 and say like, “Ooh, what if we did this?” And it’s hilarious, and just sort of highlights the absurdity of that movie, so I would not be surprised if Jordan Peele is a big Gremlins fan and had to slide that in. But you bring up the idea of the intense level of comedy that is in the movie, and that’s one thing I really, really appreciate, and obviously Jordan Peele has a lot of experience with both of these genres that when you first think about them, you’re like, “How could they be… They’re two completely opposite sort of feelings.” But they do employ a lot of similar techniques and are about playing with expectations and surprising you and subverting you. What is do you find the purpose of the role of comedy in this movie, and in particular one that I’m curious about is, what do you think of the character Rod and what role does he play? Because he is just the traditional comic relief at first, but he very much serves an important story role, I think as well.

0:17:28 Natalie Dowzicky: He’s also everyone’s TSA agent. Come on!


0:17:32 Landry Ayres: He handles it.

0:17:33 Ciara Wardlow: Yeah, I mean, that’s the thing about Rod is in a way, he’s kind of a bit of a conspiracy theorist because he has some ideas that are crazy, but then in the end they also end up being true, so I think it’s this interesting sort of combination of being sort of the comic relief, but also the straight man in the sense of he’s the voice of reason ultimately, and the one who kind of saves the day. And I think, especially for black audiences, there can be parts where when Chris is still sticking around at the house, when all this stuff’s gone down, and he’s now just been like, “Oh no, I’m getting out of here,” that you could just get a bit fed up with him on that front of like, “Seriously my dude, you’re still there?” So then there’s Rod who you can identify with because he’s being the voice of reason, being like, “Something weird is going on and you need to leave.” So I think that that’s a very interesting character. I think it’s very important that his character is there.

0:18:33 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah, I remember reading too, that the initial ending of this was not going to end the way it did ’cause when you watch the movie, we sort of have this they’re crawling away from the house, everything’s gone down, and he’s finally made it out, we’re so happy for him, and then the sirens or the car pulls up, and we’re like, “Oh no!” [chuckle]

0:19:01 Natalie Dowzicky: He’s a goner.

0:19:02 Alissa Wilkinson: We know what happens when the cops show up, especially in this context. And I think it was a conscious choice. I don’t actually remember what Peele has said about this, but I know that this has come up several times in discussions of the film, that initially that was… Rod was not coming to save the day. It was going to sort of be like what might be a more realistic ending, unfortunately, and they punted that. I’m guessing it didn’t test very well with audiences, but it also is just kind of good to know when you’re watching that that soaring feeling of relief you have when he gets out of the car is not necessarily what the ending was intended to be.

0:19:41 Ciara Wardlow: I mean, I feel like that that was a pretty standard Hollywood story for what happens to an ending, though. There are other horror films that are similar where it’s like, it was gonna be this downbeat ending, but then they test with an audience they’re like, “No we can’t do that.” Like 28 days later had a similar thing happen, the protagonist was supposed to die, but then they’re like, “No, that’s… That… ” People were saying that tested to poorly. He lives now, and it’s like… It’s a bit of a weirdly upbeat ending, but I think, again, in the context of the history of horror films, there’s an interesting thing that this one dies. When Rod does come save the day at the end, when you see the flashing lights and you’re like, “Oh no, the cops. This is gonna go terribly,” and then instead it’s Rod there to save the day. It to me, feels like an inverse of what happens at the end of Night of the Living Dead, which is probably one of the first iconic starring Black lead roles in an iconic American horror film. And he thinks that rescue is coming and instead he gets shot and killed and that’s the end, and that was a huge twist ending. So I think there’s something interesting there in how the ending of Get Out almost feels like the inverse of that.

0:20:48 Natalie Dowzicky: So in preparation for this podcast, I was reading up on a… I think Alissa might have alluded to it, but I was reading up on it, I believe it was a GQ interview that Peele did about his choice of the ending. ‘Cause they actually had an alternate ending, like Alissa said, where Chris actually ends up going to jail and he… There’s a scene in it… I watched the alternate ending. There’s a scene in it that Chris is talking to Rod and Chris is in a orange jumpsuit, they’re in the… Where they’re talking through a telephone, but looking through each other through glass in person, and Chris is saying, “I got out of there. I got out of there. So, and to me, I won, there’s no reason for you to fight this case, I got out of there, so in my eyes, I won.” Peele had said in the interview that he… They really liked that ending and thought it was powerful, and it was a powerful scene, but by the time they had rolled around to when the movie was coming out with the political climate that the movie was released in, especially with police brutality and a lot of pessimism, that he thought America needed a more optimistic ending, and he thought the ending they created originally was kind of like a cop out.

0:22:06 Natalie Dowzicky: The words he used. But he wanted to leave a more optimistic ending because he knew everyone was gonna assume the ending, and he thought that… He said, “The difference between a good and great movie is that you can… There’ll still be twists, and the ending will still be able to make you think.” Whereas like… I know for me, for sure, the first thing I thought was, “Oh, cops pulled up, I could have predicted this ending 10 minutes ago.” And he did exactly opposite, which makes it a great ending. Not to mention, I love the character Rod, but you know. So, I just thought it was interesting that he actually admitted to looking at the climate in which the movie was being released in in terms of a political climate, and thought that they should change direction a little bit, which I think, again, speaks to what a great director he was for this film and for Us as well.


0:23:02 Natalie Dowzicky: What does the sunken place represent? Like Alissa was saying, it was an instant meme, and you see it kind of taken up in popular culture rather quickly, but what does it actually represent?

0:23:15 Ciara Wardlow: I mean, I think it’s one of those things, you know where I haven’t looked into… Obviously go with if Jordan Peele’s made a statement about what it’s supposed to mean, that’s kind of the word of God in this scenario, and that’s what you should go with. For me, it’s one of those things where I think it’s just tapping into a very sort of base fear of not being in control, of not having any say in anything, of just being at the mercy of other people, of not having agency. And not because of a lack of will or interest in it, but just because you don’t have any power and you don’t have any control. And so I think that there’s just sort of a very fundamental kind of fear that that taps into feeling like life is just something that you can’t control and feeling helpless. And I do think too, there’s a kind of… In the history of horror, a connection with the Haitian concept of zombie, which was brought to American audiences in the 30s with some very, like I Walked with a Zombie and White Zombie that are these very white‐​washed takes on that tradition. But again, it’s the idea of someone being able to… Your body still being active, but not your own, someone else having control over you.

0:24:37 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah, I think that’s really smart. And it is interesting to think about the zombie, history of the zombie in this respect to this film, but… Yeah, ’cause I was gonna say, I sort of thought of it as a living grave of a kind. Below level, that’s what a sunken place is, and it’s this idea like what happens to Lakeith Stanfield’s character where he clearly is alive, but he’s been stripped of everything that made him him, except for his actual physical body, and that’s a living death. And I think that reference certainly brings to mind death and coffins and things like that for me, and we see that in multiple characters, it’s not just the one. So yeah, that’s sort of what I had thought about, and I think that the living death is what a zombie is. And so there’s a strong connection there.

0:25:44 Landry Ayres: One thing that got brought up before was the idea that Rod is sort of a conspiracy theorist, but one thing that… It also sort of parallels an idea that gets hinted at in the other movie that we wanted to talk about, which is Us, where spoiler alert in case you haven’t seen the movie, by the end, we find out that the Tethered, which is this mirrored quasi‐​zombie doppleganger‐​esque group of people that represents basically the other half of humanity that was created by the government to control them, but that went wrong. Which in and of itself sounds like a conspiracy theory, but the fact that the daughter in the family then at one point brings up like, “Well, you know, the government puts fluoride in our water so they can control our minds.” And everyone sort of brushes her off, but then in the end, there is a government conspiracy to control people’s minds with something that they’ve created. So what does that sort of flip of the switch and making that, like you said, the comic relief turn into the straight man in this type of scenario, what does that do for Jordan Peele’s movies?

0:27:12 Ciara Wardlow: Yeah, I think that’s a difficult one, just because there’s the fun [0:27:16] ____ side, but there’s also I think a dark side to that. Again, looking at it from the black perspective is there is a distrust of a lot of institutions that comes from a very historically valid place. You look at something like the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, and other things where there have been these institutions that have done these outrageous and forced sterilizations of women of color, where there is a very valid distrust of institutions, but then it can also backfire because then that also leads to things of not seeking out other forms of aid that then also leads to further problems, but you can understand why they distrust.

0:28:04 Ciara Wardlow: Like I live in Harlem, and I was walking down the street the other day, and there was a man handing out some sort of leaflet about why not to trust any vaccines, and other sorts of conspiracy theories, and you can understand why you have that higher level of distrust, because there is this historical precedent and there’s been studies even done that in particular communities that had these things happen to them, the distrust stays higher. So it’s a very relevant commentary to have a figure like Rod. You know people like him, and that he becomes like kind of the truth teller in these sorts of stories. Again, historically, it makes sense in a way, but then also there’s a part of you that’s like, “Uh!” It’s just that’s a kind of a hard one. And I think, again, that’s why it is so effective, because it’s funny, but there’s also this darker side to it that gives it that further depth, and really makes it an interesting character.

0:29:07 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah. I was listening to something recently and someone was pointing out that the kind of bonkers thing about some of the conspiracy theories that run amok these days is that it is true that there are conspiracies against people, it’s just that the ones that actually turn out to be true are never the ones that people get obsessed with in the period of time. But yeah, people have been stalked by the FBI, people have been essentially poisoned, people have been disappeared. These things happen. But if we’re on Facebook looking at conspiracies right now, a lot of those, sure, they might manifest anxieties people have, but they’re disconnected from the real historical facts, and sometimes they fly in opposition to the idea of the real historical facts that have actually happened, that were actual conspiracies being conducted in plain sight against, or at least plain sight of some people, historically.

0:30:13 Alissa Wilkinson: And I think that’s an interesting way to think about it. It sort of makes me think like if people are talking about the conspiracy theory, that’s probably not real, but if they’re not talking about it [chuckle] then that’s the one you should go looking for. Yeah, I think you’re totally right. And so I think having the… And I do also think that having the guy who’s saying the wacky things turn out to be the right one is really indicative of this feeling where you’re like, “Am I crazy or is this real?” And then you find out it is real, and it’s this kind of relief. And I think about that a lot, ’cause it pops up also in a lot of pop culture about cults these days, where you’ll actually see stories where the cult seems nuts and then it turns out that that cult actually was right all along, and I think it speaks to people’s just at times feeling totally adrift from… Anything could be true. [chuckle] We don’t even know anymore, and that is a difficult place to live in.

0:31:18 Natalie Dowzicky: I think also with conspiracy theories and the idea of mistrust of institutions, or let’s call it mistrust of the state or however you wanna phrase it, is pretty evident but subtle in some of these Peele films. So for the police, for instance, I think… Actually, yeah, they’re mentioned in both films. I’m thinking about it in Us, where when they first see their dopplegangers in the driveway and they’re in the red jumpsuits, and they try to call the police and the police are like, “Oh, it’s gonna be 20 minutes.” And then to me, and I forget what the response was… It was a witty line the dad and the family had said. But then even later in the film when after the gory scene where the white family that they are vacationing with is murdered by their own dopplegangers and then Peele brilliantly puts in the Alexa turns on, or whatever, the Google Home turns on and starts playing NWA’s “Eff tha Police,” which I thought… We can talk about this in length of Peele’s excellent scores and the timing of his music, which is huge in horror films, because like…

0:32:36 Natalie Dowzicky: A lot of the emotions evoked throughout horror films have to do with the sound and the music and the music that calms you and then jolts you and… But he has some very subtle messages, I think, specifically about the police and we can call that an institution maybe that you can mistrust in this scenario that I think are subtle enough that it’s not like in your face, but it’s there, if that makes sense.

0:33:08 Ciara Wardlow: For me, I think it just he’s coming from the story, from the perspective of a black man in America. I think that’s the thing is if someone is making a story intent on having this message about distrust of the police, it’s gonna feel very prominent and probably quite on the nose, whereas I think in his films, it’s not like he’s trying to make a statement about that. It’s just his perspective as a storyteller, that’s a part of his experience so it’s going to show in what he writes. I think that’s why it’s there subtly, but consistently because it’s just part of his perspective that’s coming into play in the stories that he tells.

0:33:47 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah, it’s always humming underneath the surface just because it’s real. Yeah, I think those are all really good points. And I want to also second that his music selections are just top‐​notch from the start. I have a very clear memory of seeing Get Out because I was like, “Oh, I loved Key & Peele. I’m gonna go see this press screening of this movie,” but I was expecting it to be a little more like Keanu, which was the movie they had made that’s kind of like a stoner flick with a cat. And it got started and the first scene has Lakeith Stanfield getting basically shoved into a car trunk and the car drives away. I was like, “What is this?” And then it’s when the needle dropped and the Photographs started. I could feel the room come alive where people were like, “This is something different than we were expecting and this is gonna be great.” Kudos to Jordan Peele’s music supervisor and or Jordan himself.

0:34:48 Landry Ayres: I was just gonna say it has that very much a sort of classic, I would say like 1980s horror movie feel where it got away from the horror movies and gore and the slashers gone to the extreme, just like the disturbing horror of the Saw movies and things that got really popular in the 2000s and 2010s and bounced back to the invader in the house monster type style horror movies of the 1980s where the scores are really, really incredible, but it still has a Jordan Peele flavor to it with the beats behind them as well as the high‐​pitched violins and stuff like that, that you would also hear in classic movies like The Stepford Wives or a more modern horror movie. It’s that perfect blend. He really is an auteur I think. And even though he didn’t do the score himself, his stamp is certainly on it.

0:35:54 Ciara Wardlow: Yeah, I would say, I think a lot of classic horror films when you think of music, a lot of times it is more of that original scoring like Jaws. Everyone knows the theme of Jaws. But for his films, the sound design overall is very effective, but what really sticks out is his views of these existing songs and then the needle drops and the particular timing of it where I think that also connects to, as we’ve discussed already, how good he is at working in references and playing with ideas or homages to a lot of existing popular culture. I think this is a further extension of that in how brilliant he is throughout both of his features that he’s directed at using music.

0:36:41 Landry Ayres: Yeah, when Good Vibrations is playing and Elisabeth Moss is crawling across the floor, that sort of conflict that goes on is so visceral that it’s that also really stuck out at me.

0:36:58 Ciara Wardlow: Or the I Got 5 On It with the family. It’s like you know what’s happening. It’s just right.



0:37:09 Natalie Dowzicky: Well, I also think in terms of, not only for music, but again, bringing back all these references and symbols that Peele just kind of drops into both the movies, in Us in particular, we get a ton of Hands Across America references. Not only do we get the gosh, the very beginning scene where you get the 1980 style TV. You get the ad for Hands Across America. The little girl, she’s wearing a Hands Across America t‐​shirt and then the whole idea of all the doppelgangers lining up holding hands at the end of the film, I was wondering how that added to the film. Why is that referenced there?

0:37:50 Ciara Wardlow: I think for me, if you look at again, we’ve talked about the connection between comedy and horror and Peele’s perspective as someone who really rose to success through his incredible sense of humor and excellence as a comedic actor is there’s a certain humor in this aspect of his horror because it’s really kind of lampooning or lambasting performative allyship and other such things in a way like what you’d see in the character of Rose especially in Get Out and then here, where it’s like, “What was having everyone hold hands across America supposed to do for anybody?”

0:38:27 Natalie Dowzicky: It was fighting hunger, apparently.

0:38:27 Ciara Wardlow: It’s a media… Yeah, right. It’s like it’s a media spectacle, but like, “Okay, people are hungry so feed them.” It’s like, “No, we’re gonna all hold hands and form a great human chain. It’s gonna show how together and whatever we are.” I mean, it’s that sort of stuff where it’s like, yes, he’s doing it through horror, but it is kind of a similar sensibility of like, “This is ridiculous.” I feel like that’s kind of going on underneath it.

0:38:52 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah. I didn’t remember. I was three when Hands Across America happened. I went back and dug into it and discovered that they raised $34 million, but they only distributed $15 million.

0:39:06 Natalie Dowzicky: Right, ’cause the cost of the event was so high.

0:39:10 Alissa Wilkinson: Right. It’s like you spent more money putting on this very visible event that frankly doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Anyhow, I can imagine context in which holding hands across America makes sense as a stunt, but this just smacks of every performative stunt to try and say how we’re helping people. And so that to me made perfect sense. As soon as I saw that, I was like, “Okay, so in fact, less than half this money actually went to the people it was supposed to benefit. Other people got to see themselves as participating in something bigger than themselves, and as being woke, and then we’ve got this movie that’s about how here’s half the people living their lives totally oblivious to the fact that there’s the rest of them essentially living in this incredible, horrible situation.”

0:40:15 Natalie Dowzicky: Right, and it speaks to the larger narrative in Us, I think, too, this idea that we gloss over or we like to… We’re quick to forget some of the horrors or some of the more egregious things we’ve done in our past, and we go and lock it away in the underground tunnels as in Us, but that it still lives in all of us. It’s still there, even if we continue to suppress it, and I think that’s obviously part of the Hands Across America reference as well, just because it’s this idea that it’s self‐​serving, so the Hands Across America, I think it was like six million people participated and they were like, “Oh yeah, this is for a good cause, and we donated $10 to reserve my spot in line in New Mexico,” but it’s like this idea that it’s very self‐​serving and you feel like they felt like they made a difference, and $15 million donated to starvation is really just a drop in the bucket and doesn’t…

0:41:18 Natalie Dowzicky: I mean, yes, it’s a good thing and it’s a good cause, but it’s one of those things that you think like, “Okay, now that I did this, I held Hands Across America, and I donated all this money, now that I did this, that I can move on,” or that, “I’ve done my justice in this issue area, so now I need to help this issue area,” where it’s not all that helpful as we’ve hinted at. And I also think Us in general is a larger narrative about the struggle to remember and take care of forgotten people, so the people that fall between the cracks, and I think part of me, I enjoyed Get Out as a film, as an entertainment and a film better, but I think Us is a little bit more lofty.

0:42:14 Landry Ayres: I don’t know if it’s lofty for me or if it was more like… It just was like a much more broadly metaphoric thing.

0:42:24 Natalie Dowzicky: Right.

0:42:24 Landry Ayres: There was not as clearly a one‐​to‐​one comparison like, “Oh, it’s very clear that this is made to represent this and that there’s all… ” There are references to horror movie tropes and things like that, but the message to me seems to be a lot more universal about history, and sort of learning from hubris and things like that. I didn’t have the clear sense of, “Oh my gosh, I can see all of these tiny little things in real life” as clearly as I did in Get Out, but it also feels much more like a sort of classic style horror movie in that aspect, so having not… I watched Us for the first time today for this podcast and was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it ’cause I normally don’t like horror, like I said earlier. I wonder what I would think about it, watching a second time because I enjoyed Get Out even more than I thought I would on the second watch through it, and I wonder if Us would have the same effect.

0:43:30 Ciara Wardlow: I think Us is a very effective horror film. I do think it suffers for a little bit of second film syndrome, where…

0:43:36 Natalie Dowzicky: Absolutely.

0:43:37 Ciara Wardlow: It’s so hard oftentimes to get your first feature made, but on the other side of that is you go through so many drafts and revisions in order to get the funding a lot of times. Even if like Jordan Peele, you’re already successful in another area, it’s hard to do. Whereas I think in this one, you know, Get Out was so tremendously successful, that’s basically like a bit of a golden ticket into the like, “Yes, do what you wanna do next. We want to make another movie with you.” So it does feel very much like that development process was much faster in this one, so I think sometimes part of the lack of the little details, having those through lines in the same way, just comes from I think that this was probably put together much faster and didn’t have to jump through as many hoops. So on that front, I still think it’s a very effective film. I still think he’s a very great filmmaker, and I’m really excited to see what he keeps on doing going forward, but I wasn’t on that front quite as impressed with this one. I think the big ideas were great. I think some of the details weren’t quite as impressive.

0:44:40 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah, and the layeredness of Get Out is what contributes to its watchability in that every time you watch it, you’re seeing something new, and I’ll actually say, only because it was referenced earlier, is that I’ve seen Midsommar four times, not because I particularly love it, although I do, but because of work, and I actually think that movie yields up some of the similar thing, although that one’s very much about insane white people, but it’s very much like what it does, and I think this is a helpful lens for looking at these two films, is that it’s about something that’s visceral and something that’s intuitive, and it’s also very visual.

0:45:27 Alissa Wilkinson: There’s a lot going on on the screen that tells you things about what’s going on in the film, and I think we talked about that a bit with Get Out, and I feel like one thing that Midsommar taught me was that I have to always be looking at everything on the screen, which of course is something that a film critic is supposed to know, but sometimes you forget because people like to talk about story, and I feel like Get Out gives us that, and Us has a bit less of that, although I would like to watch it several more times and just pay attention to what’s going on in the background. But it also has that amazing Lupita Nyong’o performance.

0:46:05 Natalie Dowzicky: Great cast.

0:46:05 Alissa Wilkinson: Everyone’s good in it, but, oh my gosh, just unreal, I think, and that goes a long way. And I also think Us for me was a bit of a helpful way to think about how to talk to people about what it means, as we said, to grapple with history and to not ignore it, and also to say, even if I didn’t personally participate in the history that leads people to be living like these Tethered or leads towards that state in a country, that I still participate in it. And I feel like that’s been a really hard thing to talk to people about sometimes and this gave me a way of thinking about that.

0:46:50 Ciara Wardlow: I think what’s really interesting to me about Us is I feel like it has a very different philosophy to it than a lot of American horror films in particular. I think that there’s that element of tabula rasa to it, to the storyline, to the twist where it’s the idea that Adelaide was the kind of person in a jumpsuit and then they switched when they were kids. And so she grew into being one of the people in the daylight and stuff like that so that it’s kind of the twist is there to emphasize that the people, that these creepy, scary doppelgangers are us and they could have been us, but they were in the dark. And so that turned them into what they are, that they started off with the same potential. And that I think looking at the horror genre historically is kind of it’s greatest sin or why it’s been most problematic is the idea of how it’s used to emphasize or manipulate or play into existing racism, into other biases and prejudices where it’s like, “Oh yes, they are scary.” And just using that in order to increase ticket sales and to be effective. And it’s kind of a bit of a cheap way to get scares and it’s… But it’s very common. And so I think, Us is very interesting because it’s instead of othering, it’s about these others are us and that’s kind of the fundamental message of it, which I think is very interesting because it is so different from what is standard horror.

0:48:30 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah, and we can’t also miss the fact that the title Us is also the initials U-S. And so I don’t know if that counts as subtle or unsubtle, but it’s certainly there and it’s hard to escape and that’s good.

0:48:45 Natalie Dowzicky: Well, I also think, I think I saw in Landry’s notes he had mentioned this, but this very… I believe it’s the scene when all four of the family’s doppelgangers are in the living room. It’s Adelaide’s doppelganger who’s also name is Red doesn’t say, “We are them.” She says, “We are Americans.” That was very intentional, but I don’t know if that’s just because he was playing towards the audience or if that was because he or Peele thinks Americans have a higher tendency to do things like we’ve been hinting at, glossing over the past, not coming to grips with what has happened or falling into this trap of this idea that everyone starts at the same place, but then there’s the falling into this trap of othering. I think it probably plays to the audience, but I don’t know, Landry, do you think there’s a larger meaning to that or do you think he’s just trying to play to the audience to make them, to open their eyes?

0:49:48 Landry Ayres: To me, when I first was watching it, it stood out to me. And the more and more that I read about it and thought about the movie in the past few hours and especially throughout this conversation, I do think it is a lot more pointed than I had originally it sort of had hit me as. And I think it’s because the way it’s played out and the way it’s placed in the movie, you don’t get the full significance of what the film is trying to do until pretty much the very end. I was really curious. I was like, “What are the Tethered? Why are they motivated to do this? What are the rules for the world and how it’s working?” And then after it was all done and you get to the very end and you learn about this whole extra life that these people that have been forgotten about and locked away are living, it makes a lot more sense. And I think that broad metaphor really comes to fruition. And I think then it becomes much more… I understood that choice in hindsight a lot more than when I had first watched it and it didn’t have a huge impact on me. At first I was like, that seems kind of odd. It could have been like, “We are you or we are us or we are… ” Something like that. In the moment, I thought they could have said that and it would have made more sense to me, but in hindsight, I do think it is much more pointed.

0:51:22 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah, I have no doubt that Jordan Peele is being very specifically American in what he’s doing and what he’s evoking. And one reason I think I kind of know that is that one of his influences for his filmmaking generally, well, right after Get Out came out, he curated a series of films at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which is near where I live, that were social horror films. And it included one of my favorite films which is Rosemary’s Baby, but of course, it included Night of the Living Dead. And Night of the Living Dead is such a specifically American film about specifically American anxieties about foreign invasion and it was made during the Cold War, all of that stuff. Even though George Romero claims that he didn’t have that in mind, it’s sort of obvious that it was at minimum unconsciously there when he made that film. And I think Jordan Peele’s work is powerful because it’s specific. I think one of the failures that horror and more broadly Hollywood films can fall into is trying to say something to everybody and the more specific they are, especially when it’s commentary, social commentary, the more it’s actually good. The more we can actually watch it and take something away from it. And so I love that he does this and I love that his films do function as kind of a short hand for us to then talk about things among ourselves that might have been harder to put language to in the past or might have been harder to…

0:53:07 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah, I guess to put language to, because it is hard to talk about what it is to live in my body. Especially between people who have lived lives as white people and people who have lived lives as non‐​white people in America. It’s really just difficult even if you’re trying to empathize with what’s going on, it can be hard to understand. And there is something very special that film can do, and this is why I miss theater so much, there’s something that they can… It can really do to make us feel an experience, dwarfed by a screen in a surround sound screaming with other people, that can’t maybe come across when you’re just reading an article. And so, I love that he’s doing this, and artists have been doing this for a long, long time, it’s just that… Something about the cinema and the fact that it’s made for a popular audience and that he’s made films that are so incredibly entertaining while also really kind of socking you right in the gut, that’s what makes him such an important filmmaker, and I’m guessing when we look back on this period in history, he will be one of the, if not the preeminent American filmmaker of social matters.

0:54:25 Ciara Wardlow: I would very much agree with that. I think he is so good at simultaneously having that critical… Those layers and being very commercially appealing and I think, again, it’s the specific, when it is done really well and in a particular way, becomes more universal because it’s the specificity of those details that make it real. And so even if your experience is different, there is a universal, or maybe not universal, but a shared human experience where there’s… There are gonna be similarities, so if you are true to your experience, and then other people can connect to it because it’s real. And I think that he does a very great job of that in his films that he’s done thus far. And so yeah, I think that that’s a really important role as a filmmaker, and I think the thing is, again, is that he’s making these stories from his perspective, but I don’t think he’s really trying too hard to hit the nail on the head, ’cause I think sometimes there’s filmmakers where you see that, where they’re really trying to get a message across, so they’re shoving it down your throat and it doesn’t go so well. So I think he is a very important filmmaker, and I think that’s one of his strongest qualities as a filmmaker.


0:55:44 Landry Ayres: And now for the time in the show where we get to share all of the other wonderful pieces of media that we’ve been enjoying while we’ve been stuck inside. This is Locked In. So Alissa, Ciara, what else have you been enjoying in your time locked in, during the pandemic?

0:56:02 Alissa Wilkinson: I’ve watched a lot of movies obviously. I mean, there’s a lot of movies coming out. So that’s one reason, but also obviously, it’s been really good to have things to watch, and chew on, and think about. I will say one movie that’s just coming out now that I missed back at Sundance in January that is gonna be on Netflix is the 40‐​Year‐​Old Version, V-E-R-S-I-O-N.


0:56:36 Alissa Wilkinson: Which has a name that I think is indicative of what it’s doing. So it’s…


0:56:40 Natalie Dowzicky: That’s funny.

0:56:41 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah, so it’s written, directed by and starring playwright Radha Blank, who won, I believe, a breakthrough award for the film at Sundance, and she plays what is obviously a version of herself, which is a 40 year old, a woman who’s 39 on the cusp of 40, who was a playwright, who had been on a 30 under 30 list in the past, but has had trouble landing a play in the theater since then, and she’s in an existential crisis about this, she’s also teaching high school, so… In Harlem, so there’s this whole interesting group of students around her, and she… It’s a really fun… I use that word very specifically. It’s a really fun takedown of the White male theater establishment and also of the kinds of things… A little bit like what we’ve been talking about, that pass for diversity, quote unquote, in theater. There’s a little bit at the beginning, and this is so early that this is not a spoiler, but there’s a little bit at the beginning where there’s these two White ladies who are very… Clearly very well‐​intentioned, but they’re excitedly talking with each other about how they’re really excited to have invested in a revival… A multi‐​ethnic revival of Fences, August Wilson’s play, which is so funny to say.


0:58:10 Alissa Wilkinson: Probably the pre‐​eminent kind of Black playwright of Broadway. So, anyhow, it’s a very funny film. It’s very delightful. It’s also very insightful. Radha Blank is fantastic in it, and she wrote a fantastic movie, which is no surprise. So that one hits Netflix on October ninth. It’ll be in theaters, limited theaters as well. So I’ve really been loving that. And then I’ll just also throw in that for a project I’m working on, I went back and watched the 2014 film Hannah Arendt, which is basically just a film about Hannah Arendt right in the period when she’s writing Eichmann in Jerusalem, and was delighted to find out it’s a really engaging film, a very accurate film, and it also covers two things that come up a lot these days, which are the banality of evil and cancel culture, interestingly enough, ’cause of course, she took a huge amount of flack for writing Eichmann in Jerusalem, and for naming Eichmann who had been a chief architect of the final solution as a mediocre man who was following rules. And she meant very… Something very specific by that. But re‐​watching it, I was thinking about how you say things and then people put them in a context other than what you meant, and then there’s a big fall out from that.

0:59:34 Alissa Wilkinson: So that film’s on Amazon Prime, I think, with like a Fandor subscription, but it’s totally worth it.

0:59:42 Ciara Wardlow: I think, again, an issue with theaters not being out is I watch a combination of stuff, if you’re doing festival screenings that you don’t know when it’s coming out exactly, or it’s not coming out for a while, and stuff that’s pretty old at this point.

0:59:54 Alissa Wilkinson: Yeah. [chuckle]

0:59:55 Ciara Wardlow: So my roommate and I just finished watching On Becoming a God in Central Florida, which we’re about a year late to the party, but that was enjoyable. Yeah, Kirsten Dunst is always good. I’m trying to think anything else that I’ve seen recently. Oh, Unpregnant on HBO Max is one that I found surprisingly fun and enjoyable. I think Haley Richardson is always great. And then book‐​wise, I feel like it’s probably several months old at this point, but I read The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and that was a brilliant book. I think HBO bought the rights to develop it to something, so I’m curious to see what they do with that. I think it’s a great book. I remember reading it and being like, “Oh yeah, no, someone’s gonna wanna make this into a movie or a limited series,” and it looks like they are, so curious to see how that plays out.

1:00:46 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah, I heard really, really good things about that book. I just put it on my Goodreads list.

1:00:50 Ciara Wardlow: Okay, yes. Yes, no, no. I would definitely recommend it. I’m curious now, I think the author has written one other book before, so now I’m curious to see her first book because I thought it was very well done.

1:01:02 Natalie Dowzicky: On the front for me, I just finished the… I guess yeah, it was just a one season of Away that came out on Netflix. I know it was… I think it was trending in the US for… Or still is. I thought it was pretty good. It’s with astronauts, they’re gonna be the first group to land on Mars, and it’s like a joint initiative between a bunch of five different countries, and it’s basically the whole time they spend on the ship and they go through all these trials and tribulations. It was a pretty good show. I haven’t… Oh, I wanna start Lovecraft Country. I’m kind of late to the game on that because I know I think the first season is almost already done, if not already… Yeah, so hopefully I can binge watch that at some point. I was recently hiking in Zion National Park, so I haven’t been watching all that much TV. I’ve been trying to get outside.

1:02:00 Natalie Dowzicky: And then on the book front, I am about 300 pages into Stephen King’s The Institute. It’s very, very good. It’s about these young children from all over the US who have been kidnapped by The Institute, and they are trying to figure out what all these tests The Institute is running on them are for, and why they have certain special powers, I will not spoil. But it’s very good, it’s very Stephen King, but it’s good so far, so… And I haven’t done much on the game front since last time. I know last time I mentioned Quiddler, but I haven’t played anything besides What Do You Mean since then, so there are not a lot of table games or card games going on as much as there was back in like let’s say April.


1:02:51 Landry Ayres: Well, I have been seeing things that have recently come out that have either been adapted or are being adapted, and instead of waiting for them to come out or watching them, I usually end up going to the other thing.


1:03:07 Landry Ayres: Just looking at my list of things that I have before me, I was like, “Oh, a lot of these have been adapted, but I’m not looking at the adaptation or in reverse.” So for instance, I am about halfway through Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, which was made into a movie with Keira Knightley but I don’t actually…

1:03:28 Ciara Wardlow: Natalie Portman. It was not Keira Knightley. [chuckle] She was not in that.

1:03:30 Landry Ayres: Oh, pardon me. Pardon me. Natalie Portman.

[overlapping conversation]

1:03:33 Alissa Wilkinson: That would be a different movie.


1:03:37 Ciara Wardlow: It would be.

1:03:39 Landry Ayres: Natalie Portman. Excuse me. Sorry. I had Keira Knightley on the brain ’cause we said it earlier.

1:03:44 Ciara Wardlow: No worries, no worries. I just literally tweeted about Keira Knightley the other day and someone responded with Annihilation, and I was like, “That is not a Keira Knightley movie.”


1:03:51 Ciara Wardlow: See you’re not alone.

1:03:53 Landry Ayres: Yes, with Natalie Portman. And I actually, I don’t know if the movie did super well. I know it got pretty good reviews, but in sales, I don’t think it did super well.

1:04:04 Ciara Wardlow: It didn’t. Yeah.

1:04:04 Landry Ayres: The book, I can say, is very good so far. It was odd at first. It was just a little slow for the first, I don’t know, 20 pages, and then it really, really ramped up and is simple and sparse, but very, very interesting, and I still have a lot of questions about it, so I’m looking forward to finishing that.

1:04:27 Ciara Wardlow: I recommend the movie. I personally loved the movie. Not everyone did but I did.

1:04:30 Landry Ayres: Okay, well, that’s good to know. I liked everything that I saw from the promotional material, so I’ll have to give it a chance.

1:04:37 Ciara Wardlow: Oh, okay, that might be an issue though ’cause I think that was the issue with the movie is that the promotional materials and the movie are two very different things. I don’t think they knew how to promote the movie, but it’s also like 28 Days Later and Ex Machina and I think it’s really great, but…

1:04:51 Natalie Dowzicky: It’s a great movie.

1:04:52 Ciara Wardlow: It is.

1:04:52 Landry Ayres: I do like Ex Machina, and I like the book so far, so hopefully they’ll kind of meet in the middle and I’ll be able to find something I really like about it. With Natalie Portman, not Keira Knightley.


1:05:05 Landry Ayres: I’m also reading, or am going to start right after that, The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin, which is a really, really amazing and well‐​reviewed fantasy novel. I believe it’s the first of a trilogy as well. I’ve read the first chapter of it and then had to put it down. For some reason, I got really distracted, but I’m very excited to do that, and it’s about basically a world that is very commonly undergoing crazy climate change phenomena that takes the form of these massive apocalypse‐​like scenarios. A podcast I would recommend is One Way to Make an Emoji by Alex Schmidt.


1:05:44 Natalie Dowzicky: Where do you find these?


1:05:46 Landry Ayres: I know, right? It is literally about a man who I believe is like a Jeopardy winner at one point, but he proposed to Unicode the bison emoji and they accepted it, and he does a four‐​part mini‐​series about the history of the American bison and why there needs to be an emoji for it.

1:06:08 Natalie Dowzicky: I love it.

1:06:09 Landry Ayres: And it is… By the time you get to the end, I don’t wanna spoil it for you, it is not what you think, and it will tug at your heart strings and be…

1:06:18 Natalie Dowzicky: What?

1:06:19 Landry Ayres: It’s very real, it’s very odd.

1:06:22 Landry Ayres: What…

1:06:22 Ciara Wardlow: I am so intrigued.

1:06:22 Landry Ayres: But I highly recommend.

1:06:24 Ciara Wardlow: I’m so intrigued.

1:06:26 Landry Ayres: Yes. 1 Way To Make an Emoji by Alex Schmidt. You can find it wherever you get your podcasts. And Song Exploder I’ve been re‐​listening to, especially because Hrishikesh Hirway just announced that it is now going to be, I believe, at the end of this week as of we’re recording, on Netflix as a documentary series with people like Alicia Keys and Lin‐​Manuel Miranda. If you’re interested in music production and writing and that type of thing, you can find an episode for any type of genre, and chances are if it’s a pretty big artist then there’s a good chance that they’ve done an episode and been interviewed and have gone through their creative process and I highly recommend it.

1:07:14 Landry Ayres: And I also just finished watching the documentary I’ll be Gone in the Dark, which is the story of Michelle McNamara, who was a great true crime author and her work was really influential in the… Helping to catch the Golden State Killer…

1:07:35 Natalie Dowzicky: Oh yes.

1:07:37 Landry Ayres: Who also went by Original Night Stalker and East Area Rapist in the Sacramento area many, many years ago. A lot of people know her as Patent Oswald’s ex‐​wife, but she’s an amazing writer in her own sense, and I think as someone who doesn’t really like true crime and can see it as gawking in a lot of ways, they do a very, very good job of making it about the people that were victims of this heinous thing, without being intrusive and disrespectful to them because that was a very big part of the way that she wrote the book that they ended up publishing that the documentary is then based on. So I highly recommend I’ll be Gone in the Dark.

1:08:25 Ciara Wardlow: I would second that recommendation ’cause I do go through true crime binges…

1:08:31 Alissa Wilkinson: Oh yeah, me too.

1:08:31 Ciara Wardlow: But that is a good one. Yeah, I was unsure how they were gonna approach that story ’cause there is always that kind of is it really, is it too gawking when it’s true crime, but that one was ultimately a very well done docu‐​series.

1:08:42 Landry Ayres: It was odd to watch that and then I was like, “Oh well I’ll just watch The Jinx” ’cause I had HBO open and then I watched Robert Durst and I was like, “Oh, this is very different.” [chuckle]

1:08:53 Ciara Wardlow: It is very different. I’ve watched both of those too. I have HBO Max and I went on a true crime kick a while back and so yes, those are very, very different.


1:09:04 Natalie Dowzicky: Thanks for listening. As a result of Jordan Peele’s horror comedies, we as an audience have been able to have deeper conversations about self‐​identity and what it means to come to grips with our troubled past. As always, be sure to follow us on Twitter at Pop N Locke Pod. That’s Pop, the letter N, Locke with an E, Pod. Make sure to subscribe to us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you listen. We look forward to unraveling your favorite show or movie next time. Pop N Locke is produced by Landry Ayres as a project of Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org. To learn more, visit us on the web at www​.Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org.