No Werewolf But the Class Werewolf: Short movie reviews

The Anniversary: Bette Davis as hell-matriarch in red eyepatch shaped like a teardrop. Swings wildly from ultracamp to the sort of thing you'll instantly recognize if you or a friend had a narcissistic parent. An example of my thing* about how "'Realism' only works for people whose worldviews are already accepted as realistic. The rest of us must make do with genre"--the parent's narcissism distorts the whole family's sense of what is real, so the most outrageous acts and statements seem … [Read more...]

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“The Man Who Ate Liberty Valance”: I’m at AmCon

on Ravenous, a cannibal Western with a Looney Tunes win-by-losing climax--yes, I loved it: 1999′s Ravenous turns up on a lot of lists of underrated horror movies. It’s hard to get people to take you seriously when your plot is, “Guy Pearce eats people in the Old West.” But now that I’ve finally taken advantage of “Ravenous”‘s availability through Netflix streaming, I can tell you: This movie is criminally underrated. It’s not just a creepy, haunting cannibal Western from the producer of “Donnie … [Read more...]

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I Watch “Deliver Us from Evil”

for AmSpec. I've now read a couple other horror fans' reviews, and they have the same mix of "There's clearly something interesting here, yet the execution is off somehow--bland, reliant on cliche, SOMETHING's not right." This even though they pick out different and in some cases opposite elements to praise or criticize. My conclusion is that the specific bits of the movie you find powerful or frustrating may vary, but there's something lacking in it, something a bit paint-by-numbers and … [Read more...]

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“Carrie White Will Never Die”: I review the Carrie musical

at AmCon: Carrie is the only book I ever put down because I knew I was too young for it. It was the summer between fourth and fifth grade and I was staying with cousins, taking the opportunity to raid their bookshelves. I flipped idly through the book’s opening, got to the shower scene (“Plug it up! Plug it up!”), and–for once in my life–realized I was in over my head. The combination of nudity, menstruation, and sadism, all happening to kids just a few years older than I was, overwhelmed me. I’ … [Read more...]

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“He Doesn’t Care About the Demons”: Interview w/Filmmaker Scott Derrickson

at the National Catholic Register; lots of interesting material, but this was my favorite part and the part which makes me really look forward to Deliver Us from Evil: Where did Father Mendoza come from?I owe a lot to the actor, Edgar Ramirez, who played him, for that character. ...So I went after Edgar. He was the only person I went after for the role. And he read it, and he passed on the script. He said, “The movie could be great, but there’s not enough there.” So I said, “Well, let’s … [Read more...]

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My Vampire Spring Continues With 1987′s “Near Dark”

HOW HAVE I NEVER SEEN THIS MASTERPIECE BEFORE?It is just so successful at doing what it promises. Kathryn Bigelow's horror classic is dusty, full of gorgeous sunsets and terrific use of light, breathtakingly sleazy, and emotionally effective. You get dirtbag biker-type vampires ("How old are you?" "Let's just say, I fought for the South") and a vampire child who's ridiculously fun, then actually scary, and then immensely sad. My jaw dropped at the brutal fights.I liked the moral … [Read more...]

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My Best Fiend: “Let the Right One In”

It's only May and I've already watched three very different vampire movies. 2008 Swedish chiller Let the Right One In is the one which most thoroughly explores vampire imagery and lore; it's just as good as you've heard, achingly sad and genuinely awful and scary.A few notes which I hope won't constitute spoilers. But really, if you think you might like this movie and you haven't already seen it, what's keeping you? (In my case the answer was, "A Netflix queue which circles the earth like … [Read more...]

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