Horror movies are beset with misconceptions, the greatest being: "How can you watch those things!? They're all fatuous violence and gratuitous boobs!" Which is kindof like saying, "How can you read those feminist blogs?! They're all alluvial deposits of man-hating penis envy!"
The truth is that the horror canon, like any other film group, contains a vast spectrum of work ranging from smack-somebody awfulness to transcendence. The only thread holding it all together is that every horror film DEMANDS something of you—that you abandon the safe, bucolic cognition of your daily reality and confront the darker aspects of being alive. Some movies do this by plopping a likable protagonist [...]
Whenever men have described to me what it's like to be male, it sounds friggin' awful—a nonstop blitzkrieg of Hobbesian brutality. Your life, as they depict it, is a war on two fronts: the front that wants to get laid, and will do whatever it takes to do so, and the front that must fight off other men. Both require totally different skill sets, and a loss on either shore is devastating. A friend told me that when he walks down the sidewalk, other (usually larger) men will step in his path to launch a game of Chicken, and they’ll slam into him unless he pulls away. (A guy did [...]
Scre4m’s task was never easy. Not only was it rebooting the first "self-aware horror franchise" and hauling the institutional weight of a generation, it was also selling its shtick to a new batch of teens so savvy they can plug their tongues directly into iPads to sync their brains. Remember the halcyon innocence of 1996? How tickled we were that a horror movie was listing slasher-flick rules and mocking Richard Gere? Yeah, kids now consider that about as edgy as a Nu Shooz reunion tour.
And sure enough, no one wanted to see it. Opening weekend was dismal, grossing a mere $18.7 million (which ain’t bad for a horror [...]
I hate to call atheism "cool" these days. "Cool" is a word for pork belly entrées or jeggings or "homemade artisanal spirits" (a.k.a., moonshine), not the ideological choice to disbelieve in a higher entity. Nonetheless, fully (and publicly) embracing religiosity and all its hymn-reading cross-loving righteousness is very distinctly uncool.
All of which presents an interesting backdrop for an exorcism film that takes place in the Vatican (The Rite, in theaters today). The built-in skepticism of the digital age sets up a hefty challenge before the first camera ever rolls: How the hell do you sell a movie about devout Catholics fighting hordes of tongues-speaking slime-spitting demon-hosts to [...]