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...]

“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...]

“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...]

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...]

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...]

“Snow White, Blood Red”: I review “Crimson Peak”

for AmCon: Twenty minutes into “Crimson Peak” I was thinking, “Okay, I’ll just turn my brain off and look at the pretty dresses, this’ll be fun if I let it.” That was right before it turned from a kind of dumb, semi-political ghost tale into a terrifically compelling horror-romance swoonfest. Once the movie makes its swerve into full Gothic it is phenomenal, the kind of thing you’ll rewatch if you like your comfort food red and dripping.Director Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”, “The De … [Read more...]

What Was Going On Inside: I Watch “Goodnight Mommy”

for AmCon: An Austrian television personality comes home to her remote, eerie house to recuperate from extensive plastic surgery. Swathed in bandages, she confronts her twin sons—and they don’t recognize her. She can’t persuade the boys that she’s their real mother, and her inability to remember basic information about her own life doesn’t help. She seems to scapegoat one of the boys as the troublemaker; she sometimes refuses to talk to him or even set a place for him at the table. The boys deci … [Read more...]