Calendar of Blood: “Holidays”

So since I'm me, I took the time during this Octave of Christmas to watch "Holidays," a horror anthology in which every tale takes place on some sort of celebratory day. It's surprisingly good!The thing that makes the movie so powerful (esp its first half), I think, is that most of the directors/writers took the time to ask what each holiday is actually about. What are the underlying emotions called up by each day--the longings, beliefs, fears, dreams to which each holiday responds? And then … [Read more...]

“Spirits, What Have You to Say?”: I watch “Ouija: Origin of Evil”

If you're interested in present-day portrayals of Vatican II-era Catholicism, it's pretty fascinating. If you're interested in haunted Ouija boards, not so much: I watched Ouija: Origin of Evil last night, and it was a pretty good flick. But I’m still a little confused about the Ouija board’s motivation.I watched the movie because of this article about Blumhouse, a horror-centered production company making “nuanced dramas about families, class, and morality — but instead of divorce or dysfun … [Read more...]

The Long Halloween: Some quick movie reviews

The House at the End of Time: Twisty Venezuelan family/haunted-house horror about an older woman coming out of prison and sorting through what happened on the fateful night when her husband died and her son disappeared. A compassionate priest assigned to visit her (she's sort of in house arrest in the haunted house) helps her unravel the mystery--and the final twist about the priest's own history is genuinely moving. This is an emotionally-sincere, spooky film, and its climax is an extended … [Read more...]

“Escape from Detroit”: I watch “Don’t Breathe”

for AmCon, and end up ranting about the sacred Victim, obviously: Don’t Breathe, the new horror flick from director Fede Alvarez, opens with the flapping of wings and far-off sirens. Dawn is breaking on a deserted street, which we slowly approach from the sky. A man is dragging a blonde body through a city where everyone else seems to have vanished. more (also apparently I badly misremembered Wait Until Dark so apologies for that...) … [Read more...]

A Long Summer: Movie notes

In the order I saw them. Saving the best for last.Hush: Home-invasion horror centering on a deaf woman. This is very suspenseful--really effective--and I loved that three of the four characters were noticeably, extremely quick-witted and resourceful. Absolutely worth watching if this is the sort of thing you like. Quite bloody. The ending has some degree of ambiguity; I'm choosing the grimmer interpretation because I think the movie has already given you plenty of reasons to consider even … [Read more...]

The Only Song in the World: Short movie notes

In order of when I saw them, so this will get whiplashy.Me Without You: Brutally disappointing. The bait: Two girls forge a best friendship (YES) in the late '70s/early '80s (YES) complete with druggie punk adventures (YES!) and talking about finding their "soulmate" while using their feet to share a cigarette (YES!!!!). One of them is even Jewish!!The switch: Joke's on you, gen-X lesbian, their friendship is holding them back and it falls apart in the face of the obvious imperatives of … [Read more...]

The Cathedral-Builders: Movie notes

In chronological order of when I saw them. The cathedrals are toward the end.Vic and Flo Saw a Bear: Formally-daring suspense flick about a lesbian returning home from prison; and yet somehow this didn't grab me. Victor Morton loved it and argues that it is, in a subtle way, about patriarchy. I can see that, and the subtlety of that is really powerful: The "main villain" is not a man, but men lurk on the edges of the narrative, wielding power. To me the film often lacked tension and I didn't … [Read more...]