Anything interesting to say about annabelle cane?
Annabelle Cane has, by default, ended up as one of the most complex, layered, and interesting characters in the narrative--and I am pretty sure it was done completely by accident by the writer.
Now, why do I say this? Because, TMA is a story that from the very start invests in the theme of, well, the passage and preservation of information. Then, it makes Annabelle specifically the single character who has taken charge of how every single piece of information we get in the podcast is edited and framed.
And specifically, it is Annabelle, the individual, who edits and frames the show. Not the Web working through her. Why do I know this? Because when she is referring to herself as merely a part of the Web in the statement she writes in MAG 196, she uses "we"--
An opening into, we believe, other worlds than this tired old thing.
It was not wide enough to allow true passage, not yet, save for the odd accident. But it was wide enough for what we now intended…
--But when she talks about the decision to use tape recorders as opposed to a TV show, she uses "I."
Oh. Wonderful. I can’t wait to attend the Annabelle Cane Show.
Huh! You know, I did consider it once.
A TV show.
So Annabelle is--herself, as an individual--responsible for the medium through which we hear the story, and thus implicitly responsible for choosing what information gets kept and what information gets thrown out. This means that, although Annabelle only directly appears in a few episodes, we can read her schemes, aesthetic, and preferences into every single episode and every single cut.
For example--Melanie talks about multiple people telling her to "be fair to Jon." Logically speaking, she probably isn't lying or projecting. Martin, Daisy, Basira, and Georgie would likely have taken this stance against her at different points. Georgie canonically spoke up in Jon's favor to Melanie offscreen in the beginning, Basira was supportive to Jon's in s3, Daisy was supportive to Jon in s4, and Martin is Martin.
But we don't hear anyone say this to Melanie. Which means that Annabelle deliberately left out every single conversation where this happened.
Why? There are a lot of different possible answers--maybe because Jon listens to all the tapes, and Annabelle wanted to give him a certain perspective on his companions. Maybe because she's simply decided those conversations are unnecessary. But whatever the answer it is, it is about Annabelle and her specific choices/values/preferences.
That choice may very well be about manipulating the narrative Jon gets, how he sees the world around him--but if you look closely,not every choice is about that.
Another example: the s3 and s4 finales are clearly edited and spliced together from multiple tapes. Annabelle could have just recorded from multiple sets of tapes and then had them play one after another. But instead, scenes from entirely different locations are spliced together back to back. I can't think of a practical reason to do this, but I can think of artistic reasons. Annabelle doesn't just edit based on necessity and manipulation, it seems. She takes the material and cuts and puts parts of it together purely for the aesthetic value of it.
Annabelle is thus implicitly in every single episode of the show. Her taste and her choices are the very lens through which all of the information in the show is presented to us. Everything from three of Jon's stalking victims not being caught on tape before Jess Tyrell, to the tape recorders turning on and then off specifically to catch Jon saying fuck--it's her. It's all her.
And you know, there is a kind of poignancy to that. Annabelle, as I noticed in a previous post of mine, is utterly self effacing in her goals. She doesn't care if she lives or dies by Jon's hand. Only the continued survival of the Web matters. So Annabelle is a charming, funny, intensely creative, and highly theatrical woman whose individuality is deliberately disregarded. She interacts with almost no one over the course of a story that she's directing, seems to have no desires that are about herself, and no one ever expresses curiosity about her as an individual. But we see her individuality in her work. Her retro aesthetic, her sense of humor, her keen eye for manipulation and shaping a narrative.
I keep having an image of her sitting alone at Hill Top Road, splicing together tape after tape, cutting and listening and then cutting again. Indulging herself by leaving in those little moments of humor or drama or switching things on just to hear Jon swearing. Because she doesn't get to express her individuality any other way.
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The Silence of the Lambs: What was something that you used to be afraid of that you aren’t afraid of anymore?
It: What do you believe in?
The Nightmare on Elm Street: Have you ever had problems sleeping? Any nightmares?
Friday the Thirteenth: What would you do for those you love?
Psycho: What was your childhood like?
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: If you could go into the past and change anything, what would you change?
The Ring: What’s your favorite tv show? What do you think about the effect of media on people?
Saw: If you were given only one week to live, how would you spend it?
Scream: Are you excited for the future?
Jaws: How prepared are you for most of the situations you’re put in? How well can you handle situations that you’re put in, especially if they make you uncomfortable?
Dr. Giggles: If you had to lose a body part, which one would you choose and why?
The Amityville Horror: Why do you like your favorite book as much as you do?
Silent Hill: If you could go anywhere without worrying about money, where would you go? Where are some places that reality feels distorted for you?
The Conjuring: If you could learn any new skill, what would you learn?
Insidious: When you were a child, what job did you want when you got older? What job do you have now? Do you like it? Why or why not? If you could have any job, what would it be?
Cooties: How well do you protect against germs? Do you get sick often?
The Babadook: What is something keeping you from truly being happy?
Annabelle: What did you do for fun as a child?
Black Christmas: What’s your favorite holiday? Why is it your favorite? What are some good memories you have with it?
Hellraiser: Are some lives worth more than others?
Silent Night, Bloody Night: What’s your least favorite holiday? Why is it your least favorite?
Children of the Corn: Do you believe in a higher power?
Carrie: Have you ever been told something you didn’t want to be/gotten news you didn’t want to?
Cloverfield: If you were in the zombie apocalypse/alien invasion, would you hide, and if so, where would you hide? What group of people would you want with you through this?
Halloween: What is your favorite thing to wear (example: jacket, hat, gloves, a specific shirt)
The Haunting: Have you ever been convinced that your house is haunted or that a ghost or other villain was after you?
Paranormal Activity: Do you believe in the supernatural?
Evil Dead: Who is someone you look up to and why?
The Exorcist: What’s your relationship with your parents?
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