Nun Is the Loneliest Number: “Black Narcissus”

Last week I saw 1947's Powell & Pressburger convent fever dream Black Narcissus. It's set in the high, windswept mountain peaks of India (with requisite "half devil and half child" native caricatures, so just know that going in--I really liked the blunt old lady though), where an iron-spined young Anglican nun played by Deborah Kerr tries to run a convent in a former house of concubines. It's stunning to look at, of course, and I am not kidding about the "fever" aspect of this dream: It … [Read more...]

Cherry Blossoms of the Dead: Springtime Horror?

All the other seasons get a good supply of horror flicks. Summer has Sleepaway Camp and the other summer camp slashers, Stand by Me and the other "loneliness of childhood" films, and all the end-of-school flicks from Prom Night to The Boys Next Door. Fall has the Halloween movies, of course--if you want an entry into that field which may be new to you, check out the "Hallowe'en Party" episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot, which is quite dark and has incredible, spooky Halloween atmosphere. And … [Read more...]

Papa Was a Rollin’ Dracula

I finally watched Dracula's Daughter, sometimes called the first lesbian vampire movie. It's... a mixed bag. All scenes in which the aforementioned Daughter are offscreen are slow and boring, and the jealous-woman subplot is painful. The gowns are awesome! Also the furs.I thought the sapphic subtext was more blatant than Final Girl did (and yes, I basically stole my post title idea from her). I do agree with this: "Gloria Holden is appropriately mesmerizing as the Countess--her reluctance to … [Read more...]

Ferris Bueller’s Day of Spree Killing

I watched The Boys Next Door because I read the following words in Kindertrauma's review: 1985, Penelope Spheeris, Netflix streaming. Stopped reading right there. I wasn't disappointed--although I will say that this isn't a movie I'd recommend to most of my readers, even those who do like a lot of horror flicks. The Boys Next Door is sleazy and free of redeeming social value. As Kindertrauma notes, there's a ton of in-character racism and homophobia and misogyny, and it's ugly but also … [Read more...]

Dead Simple

Just finished watching The Devil's Backbone, a powerful film which may have left me unsatisfied because I was expecting it to be something it didn't want to be. The movie, by Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), is set during the Spanish Civil War at an orphanage run by Communists. A young boy, Carlos, is brought to the orphanage. He's beset by the local bully, and also begins to see a ghost, "the one who whispers," a young boy like himself. The rest of the film plays out the mystery of the … [Read more...]

“A New Story, In the Field of Abortion-Haunted Horror”

I review 2012's The Frozen, at AmCon. Spoilerous! … [Read more...]

“Same again?”

Last night I watched Grabbers, an Irish sf/horror/comedy screened at AFI as part of their annual European Union Film Festival. It's a fun little confection with a lot of truly sublime shots of the Irish coast. The basic story: A young, uptight lady Garda comes to a remote isle, where she begins a "you're hideous, I love you" thing with the local ultra-dissipated cop. Meanwhile alien critters are breeding and killing. Their weakness is that they're allergic to alcohol, so the alcoholic cop must … [Read more...]