And now: the final installment in our quirky and bizarre month-long review of the horrorful.
Horror movies are great at illustrating just how awful most human beings are. And not the killers, I mean the victims: whether they be valuing self-preservation over everything (and everyone) else, ignoring the obvious presence of a supernatural menace or marching bravely and directly at seven-foot-tall men with giant machetes. And if you take the daft lack of self-awareness inherent in horror characters (barring our Mike), mix it with the cringe-inducing lack of self-awareness of John Hughes characters and add a huge amount of pretense, what do you have? Art school students. [...]
Horror movies are rarely beautiful. The gore can be impressive, the atmosphere can be expertly created, the cinematography but the movies are rarely allowed to be beautiful. Dust Devil is beautiful. And not just because they shot it in a desert. It's a great piece of horror, a great western and a great piece of cinematic achievement all at once. Not bad for a demon in a cowboy hat.
There's nothing funny about Deathdream. Most horror films, when given the right context, can be made fun of in some way. Show The Exorcist to a room full of drunk people in daylight and it's the funniest movie ever made. And as for torture porn? Well, there's a difference between undeniable dread and undeniable nausea. But Deathdream—because of what it's topic, the quality of performances and the subtle way it creates unease—is an unshakably grave movie. It also happens to be one of the best movies about the after-effects of the Vietnam War.