Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday


It’s not every week I include a villain in Women Who Wow Wednesday. However, given how the character Kathryn Merteuil is outstanding in that capacity, I thought it best to introduce you to this manipulative bitch the best way I know how—to show you of her cruelty.

Kathryn Merteuil
Kathryn Merteuil

Now, if you haven’t seen Cruel Intentions (1999), this post contains spoilers. You might want to jump to the last paragraph to find out why I’d chosen Kathryn for my weekly tribute to strong women.

Suggested by the novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos De Laclos, the film Cruel Intentions is a character study revolving around two step siblings, Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillippe). Kathryn wagers Sebastian that he can’t deflower Annette Hargrove (Reese Witherspoon), the daughter of the new headmaster at their prep school, before the beginning of the school year. Kathryn hatches the insidious plot in an attempt to win Sebastian’s 1956 Jaguar roadster. The catch? If she loses, Sebastian will have the right to do with Kathryn whatever he pleases, including taking her to bed.

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Kathryn
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Kathryn

When we meet Kathryn for the first time, she’s actually quite nice. Chatting with a perspective student for new enrollment, she’s warm, friendly, honest and candid about the school. I know I’d trust her with my daughter. Asked from where she draws her strength, she pulls a two-inch gold cross from around her neck and mentions she has all the strength she needs as she holds the item tightly in her hand.

But once alone with Sebastian, the real Kathryn emerges. The cross she sports is a repository for cocaine, making Kathryn nothing more than a drug addict. Next, she reveals she has a thing for carrying grudges. She wants revenge against the guy who dumped her over Fourth of July weekend. Her plan? To have Sebastian take her former boyfriend’s girlfriend Cecile Caldwell (Selma Blair) and mold her into the school tramp. The boy won’t know what hit him since there won’t be a direct connection to Kathryn. After all, she wears a mask as the school’s radiant example of virtue. As the student body class president, she admits, “Everybody loves me, and I intend to keep it that way.”

What’s more? Kathryn’s a practiced liar. In order to corrupt Cecile, she befriends her with the supposed intention of helping her write love letters to a boy Cecile likes. In so doing, Kathryn wins Cecile’s trust. Cecile then declares they are best friends. What Kathryn doesn’t mention, however, is how she wants to get her dirty paws on the letters already written between Cecile and the boy, so she can use them for her own nefarious purposes.

It takes a special kind of evil to accomplish such a feat of deception. To lie and not feel empathy for others. To play passive aggressive games without a sense of moral direction. Kathryn may deceive everyone into believing she is this larger-than-life example of good stewardship, but she will always be the shallow slut, sucking victims into the vortex of her self-absorbed drama pit.

After having written all this, why would I even consider including Kathryn Merteuil in my Wednesday weekly post? Simply put, to show you how a woman who has everything going for her could remain corrupt despite the time she has at her disposal to change and do good. Let me make it plain, she is a strong, determined woman, and if she’d only use her talent for good, she’d be a hero instead of a villain. But a long time ago, something in her caused her to become a narcissist. She’s broken inside. Completely broken. Darkness follows her. She’s not happy until she spreads that darkness to others in her scope of existence.

For that, I’m including her, not because of her dedication to corrupt the good, but because of her ability to foster change in people even if it is for malicious intents.


If you’ve seen it, what did you like/hate about Cruel Intentions? Which character could you identify with most? What do you think of Kathryn Merteuil?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombies and Mental Illness

Zombies are undead eating machines. They kill, consume and hunt for victims. They have an insatiable appetite. Their goals are simple. Kill and eat. Is it a wonder zombies have a reputation of being one of the most feared creatures in Horror?

The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead

Monday Mayhem has always been about the other side of madness. It will always be about zombies, aliens and the craziness attached to an apocalypse or invasion. In short, Monday Mayhem is more about humanity’s reaction to perceived threats than anything else is that may prompt discussion.

In that vein, let’s discuss the similarities between zombie behaviors and known mental illnesses.

First off, let’s get one thing out of the way. I’m not saying those with mental illness are zombies or represent the undead. I’m simply outlining traits I’ve noticed in zombies that also appear in those suffering from mental illness. I have the highest respect for those stricken in such a terrible fashion, and I wish nothing but the best support and aid for their full recovery.

Schizophrenia—Definition from Wikipedia:

“Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown in thinking and poor emotional responses. Common symptoms include delusions, such as paranoia; hearing voices or noises that are not there; disorganized thinking; a lack of emotion and a lack of motivation.”

Zombies tend to roam around aimlessly for long periods without accomplishing much. They need an external stimulus such as a human scent for them to press forward with a goal. They lack emotion when wandering about in their dormant state.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)—Definition from Wikipedia:

Narcissus by Caravaggio. Gazing at his own reflection.
Narcissus by Caravaggio. Gazing at his own reflection.

“Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and to others in the process.”

Zombies are self-centered monsters with nothing on their mind other than themselves. They can’t see the destruction they cause when they’re on the hunt for victims to satiate their selfish appetite. Once they find a victim, they’ll consume them until there’s nothing left of their soul.

Major depressive disorder (MDD)—Definition from Wikipedia:

“Major depressive disorder (MDD) (also known as clinical depression, major depression, unipolar depression, or unipolar disorder; or as recurrent depression in the case of repeated episodes) is a mental disorder characterized by a pervasive and persistent low mood that is accompanied by low self-esteem and by a loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities.”

Zombies by nature are dark. Their mood ranges from gloomy to brooding. They’re dead inside. They’re a shell of their former selves. In spite of frequent kills, when they don’t have what they want, they withdraw into themselves. They lack joy.

Bipolar disorder—Definition from Wikipedia:

“Bipolar disorder (also known as bipolar affective disorder, manic-depressive disorder, or manic depression) is a mental illness typically classified as a mood disorder. It is characterized by episodes of an elevated or agitated mood known as mania, usually alternating with episodes of depression. These episodes can impair the individual’s ability to function in ordinary life.”

Zombies have wild mood swings. Their highs originate from the thrill of chasing and catching their victims. Once they lack a victim to destroy, they shut down into a state of moaning. They lack balance in their lives.

These mental illnesses immediately caught my attention in regards to similar behavior patterns in zombies. I could have also listed Avoidant personality disorder, Perfectionism, and Münchausen syndrome, but for lack of space and time, I did not.

I feel sorry for the zombies because they have no control over how they act or feel. One minute they’re quiet and the next they’re out to destroy anyone getting in their way. In their world, they’re the only ones that matter.


Can you think of other mental illnesses that correlate with behaviors zombies exhibit?