“Stephen King’s Doubt”: I review “Revival”

for AmCon: There’s a cheap rhetorical move you see a lot in religious debate, where the God-pusher retorts, “But don’t you ever doubt your doubt?” The hero of Revival, Stephen King’s 2014 novel of loss and obsession, could reply in tones of trembling horror: “All the time. God help me, I doubt my doubt all the time.”King has always loved to wring horror from Americana: the bad hot dog, the classic car, the prom. In Revival he takes on the Methodist Youth Fellowship, where, back in the mid-’6 … [Read more...]

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Kissing Covens: I watch “The Sisterhood of Night”

Despite the title, spooky cover, and synopsis (ARE OUR TEENS IN A WITCH SEX CULT? HAVE GAYS BURGLED BRITAIN'S SWANS?) this is not a horror film. It isn't an update of The Craft, although in some ways its atmosphere is reminiscent of that movie. It's a modern riff on The Crucible--the Deadly Doll called it "The Teencible"--based on a short story by notable male mammal and odd duck Stephen Millhauser.And it's also the closest fictional depiction I can think of to what it was like to be in Riot … [Read more...]

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A Friend in Need: “Creep”

Shortly after I submitted my 2015 horror round-up aka every Halloween is self-parody Halloween, I found myself thinking, You know, maybe I only think contemporary indie horror doesn't do enough male vulnerability because I still haven't seen Creep.Now I've seen Creep and boy howdy, I was right.This is a truly skin-crawly, high-tension film about the increasingly uncomfortable relationship between Josef and the younger man, Aaron, whom he hires to film him for a day. We know the title of … [Read more...]

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“Last Year’s Horror Cornucopia: Suffering in Style”: I’m at First Things

every Halloween is self-parody Halloween: Last night I watched The Final Girls, Todd Strauss-Schulson's 2015 slasher parody about mourning. It's charming, touching, and mostly successful—and a great example of the reasons 2015 specifically and the '10s generally have been such great years for horror fans. 2015 was just a cornucopia of bloody fruit: the lush Gothic fantasy of Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak, David Cronenberg's nihilistic satire/poignant ghost story Maps to the Stars, and J … [Read more...]

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“Jingle All the Way to Hell”: I revirew “Krampus”

for AmCon: With 2007’s “Trick ‘r Treat,” horror fans hailed director Michael Dougherty for reviving both the horror anthology and the Halloween flick. Now he hopes to do the same for Christmas horror with “Krampus.” I liked but didn’t love “Trick ‘r Treat” and I wish I didn’t have to say the same thing about this new movie, since its ideas are fresh–but the execution, so to speak, leaves a few things to be desired. more (and see my Christmas-horror list here) … [Read more...]

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Beyond “Die Hard”: Some Christmas Flicks for the Cold and Creepy Child Within

A few years back I started noticing how many bleak, cheerless, or just unexpected films are set during tinsel season. That penitential stretch from just-before-Thanksgiving to just-after-New-Year's can be really hard for people. Meta-emotions are at an all-time high (It's the most! wonderful!! time of the year!) and you're intensely reminded of all your financial and familial stresses. A couple of the daytime workers at the pregnancy center agreed with me that we've been getting an unusual … [Read more...]

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In the Basement of the Doll Hospital: Short movie reviews, mostly women in horror

I continue to believe that since November is the month when Catholics especially remember our dead, I get to watch lots of horror flicks. DON'T JUDGE MY SPIRITUALITY.Also, I couldn't help but notice that the first four of these movies include a scene with a woman peeing. They're all doing slightly different things with it, but is Ladies Pee Too the signature of '10s indie horror? If so, can we get a different signature?Contracted: A new-fledged lesbian with a history of drug addiction … [Read more...]

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