The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 8 Highlights “Teenage” and “Witch” in Equal Measure

by Drew Baumgartner

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 8

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Teenagers are exhausting to argue with. The reasons for this are both biological (an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex soaking in teenage hormones isn’t the best recipe for critical reasoning) and psychological (the complex mix of rebellion and conformity that makes up the teenage psyche makes acquiescing to even the most persuasive argument difficult), but anyone who has ever had to tell a teen “no” will have a much more practical understanding. Lacking the perspective of a longer, more worldly life, teens tend to be over-invested in everything from romantic relationships to whether or not they can borrow the family car, so everything feels like the end of the world. That means teens don’t have a lot of headroom for when something is actually a big deal, so can come off as almost blasé on matters of life and death even as they might throw a tantrum about having to mow the lawn. This is exactly the situation in which Hilda and Zelda find themselves in this issue as they try (and fail) to make a love-drunk Sabrina see just how reckless she’s being. Continue reading

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 5

Alternating Currents: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 5, Drew and Ryan M.

Today, Drew and Ryan M. are discussing The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 5, originally released May 18, 2016.

…he says that it was a spree, you know? A drifter or “gang of drifters.” You know, like it’s 1942. Like, uh, drifters are a national threat…

Deputy Molly Solverson, Fargo

Drew: That quote isn’t going to make a ton of sense to folks who haven’t seen season 1 of Fargo, but for me, it perfectly illustrates the tension between genre and setting that I’ve come to absolutely love about that series. David Lynch is the undisputed master of this kind of tension, exploiting it to idiosynchratic heights in Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet, but for me, Fargo twists the knife a little further by making the characters explicitly aware of this incongruity. It’s not just about the seedy crime underworld of the seemingly innocent midwest, it’s about how nobody within that setting could conceive of something so dark happening there — they basically believe they’re living in a caricature of 1942.

Archie Comics is notorious for representing a similar caricature of mid-20th-century high-school, which is exactly what writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has played against in Archie’s horror line. That tension carries Afterlife With Archie, which largely plays its genre straight, but is complicated much more in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which freely mixes its 1960s teen comic setting with its modern horror sensibilities, playing those elements off each other in unexpected ways. It’s both genres and neither of those genres, giving it an unpredictability that may just be more vital than anything Lynch or the Coen brothers could cook up. Continue reading