February 2012

From Beyond

Semi-Lovecraftian Horror

The definitive HP Lovecraft horror movie has never been made, and possibly never will be. Lovecraft's vision was unique and unrepeatable, as proven by the failure of any other writer to create truly convincing Cthulhu Mythos stories without completely changing his approach from that of Lovecraft.

Cronenberg and Body Horror

Why computers will never be able to replicate prop-based viscera

I get really disappointed whenever I see a project like A Dangerous Method come out with David Cronenberg's name attached to it because it means the man is spending his time trying to make Keira Knightley's Russian accent sound passable instead of constructing new nightmares with which to blow my brains out. Sure, some of his straight drama is pretty good--Eastern Promises wasn't at all bad, and I've heard good things about A History of Violence--but if you're the type of director whose visual work within the horror sphere is matched only by John Carpenter and a few other freaks, why would you do any other kind of movie?

The Blair Witch Project

Influential, Innovative, and... Realistic?

“The Blair Witch Project:”- people either love it or they hate it. I can understand why. The shaky cam style really bugs some people visually, and the characters demonstrate such an extraordinary lack of common sense that something would surely have killed them pretty soon even if the witch did not. Here's a tip for you in case you ever find yourself lost in a witch-infested forest because some idiot threw your map away- water always runs downhill toward larger bodies of water, and people tend to live near bodies of water. So if you see a stream, just follow it. It might lead to a swamp, but it will probably lead to a pond, a lake or a river, on any of which there will definitely be houses. Houses without any witches in them.

The Woman in Black

Radcliffe’s newest movie isn’t Oscar-worthy, but it’s a wonderfully fun scare.

Recent months have found me at war with my own sudden post-Harry Potter crush on Daniel Radcliffe. “At least he’s legal,” my logical brain reminds me, while the rest of me whines back, “But he’s Harry-effin’-Potter! You can’t crush on Harry Potter!” Aside from that, though, I have always thought that Radcliff was a pretty stellar actor, and I look forward to his work now that the Hogworts-era films of his youth are complete.

Yesterday I went to see The Woman in Black with six friends, and I cannot fully report on its scariness since most of the women present—okay, yours truly included—were acting like idiots, giggling and joking about the Hogwarts Express every time they saw a train in order to diffuse the film’s terror. That said, I can tell you that while it isn’t the best film ever made—or even the best scary film ever made—it’s definitely one of my favorite scary movies, and it was a lot of fun to watch and jump with.

Cloverfield

Modern Creature Feature

Judging a creature feature by the standards of an ordinary movie is just plain silly, because creature features are usually entertaining for completely different reasons. The whole essence of a creature feature is that it's a spectacle. That's why it's generally the only kind of movie you can count on Hollywood to do reasonably well with. Hollywood's primary skill-set is defined by the spectacle, and they get better at it every time the technology improves. That's why it makes a lot of sense to remake a movie like “King Kong” every time a new set of bigger and better special effects becomes available, even though it makes no sense at all to remake a classic like “Psycho.”

The Fly

The Horror of Empathy

Considered from the standpoint of biology, physics or even simple common sense, “The Fly” could be the most implausible horror sci-fi film ever made. But I won't go into the details of why nothing in this movie could possibly happen, because it doesn't really matter- “The Fly” is still a superior example of the genre. If you can ignore or even just set aside your ability to rationally analyze a fictional story, every other element of this film is above the average for the time and the type of movie.