“Summer of ’90: ‘The Witches’”: Slant Magazine

on the last great children's nightmare factory of the 1980s: Children's movies are traditionally designed to comfort. There's an unspoken contract between parent and filmmaker: "For the next 90 minutes, your child will be entertained, but not threatened. No need to worry about your little darlings waking up at three in the morning, bawling in terror. This movie is guaranteed not to trouble anyone's mind. Most people are inherently good. The bad guys don't win."Children's movies, for the … [Read more...]

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Girls Like Violence: Short Movie Reviews

First up, a couple horror flicks; then a WWII documentary covertly filmed behind Fascist lines in Italy; then a satire/adventure tale from the first Gulf War. Don't say I don't have range.Stonehearst Asylum: A new asylum movie from the guy who brought us Session 9? Sure, I'll eat it! And Stonehearst is a really solid horror flick, twisty and heartfelt and saddening.It's a period piece, set between Christmas 1899 and New Year's 1900, at a remote asylum in... England? Scotland? Hogwarts? … [Read more...]

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An Actual Zombie Jamboree! And Other Movie Notes

What I've been watching.The Gallows. Out now. To call it "bog standard" would be an insult to God's honest bog. This is a haunted-school/revenge-of-the-past flick. Lead actor is handsome and appears able to act. The sets for the school play are terrific, very spooky and effective. Otherwise this feels padded at an hour and a half. Tons of yipping exposition and repetitive arguments from shrill teens; the girls are damsels in distress. Found-footage, which at this point, if you're just going … [Read more...]

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Men, Women, Children and Humans: Some short movie reviews

What I've been watching.Mr Skeffington: Two and a half hours of epic Bette Davis. We start in the 1910s, with Davis as a Scarlett-like belle of the ball who ends up turning down all her suitors to marry the Jewish financier Job Skeffington. She married him only in order to save her beloved wastrel brother from ruin, so although Mr. Skeffington demonstrates his patience and loyalty to her and she does try to please him and work up some fondness for him, things rapidly go downhill for the … [Read more...]

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More on “The Taking of Deborah Logan”

Briefly: The Deadly Doll's House looks at The Taking of Deborah Logan. It's a spoilerous review, but the Doll has a much more precise diagnosis of the movie's flaws than I managed: "[T]he shame is that, while The Taking of Deborah Logan is a good film, the horror story it tells can simply not come close to the terror it creates simply by documenting [Alzheimer's]. ...The shame of The Taking of Deborah Logan is that, as you might suspect, the ultimate plot is just nowhere as interesting as its … [Read more...]

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“Dracula’s Tango”: Toto Coelo

I'M A SUCKER FOR YOUR LOVEvia Kindertrauma … [Read more...]

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Video Killed the Video Star: Short Movie Reviews

Blonde Venus: This is a severely odd movie. Dir. Josef von Sternberg. Cabaret star Marlene Dietrich is wooed, won, and whisked off to America by Herbert Marshall... but when she has to return to her nightclub job and Cary Grant starts tiptoeing around, all bets are off. Going in I only knew this as "the one where Dietrich sings in a gorilla suit" but maybe the most memorable part of it is the extended passage in which she tries to avoid losing custody of her child due to homelessness. The ending … [Read more...]

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