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 [...]
What do you say about the first Israeli horror film… besides the fact that it's the first Israeli horror film? And that, with that distinction comes a frenetic array of cultural, religious and political associations that may as well serve as a Rorschach test for anyone watching it? Israel as the setting for a horror film (Rabies, or Kalevet in Hebrew, which just debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival) is a manifesto in and of itself—particularly when the directors, Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, have been touting the movie as an allegory on the state of Israel (though honestly, they have plenty of incentive to spew jargon like [...]
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 [...]
Those of us who were moviegoers in 1987 have a very soft spot in our heart for Predator, the magnificent dual-governor-to-be casted scifi-horror-monster flick. Today, two Predator fans take a look at the sequel, the imaginatively titled Predators. First up, horror connoisseur Melissa Lafsky.
There's a danger inherent in getting too close to something you love. In the background lurks a brutal threat, where the joy can be vacuumed from the object of your affection, and the empty space filled with a boiling cynical goo. Think figure skating-get too involved in the sport, and the unfiltered awe of grace and human artistry can erode away, till you're [...]
It's time to add a new type of bad movie to the ever-growing list: The aggressively bad movie. There's no ironic badness or nudge-nudge wink-ery here-it's more like "screw you, you were sucker enough to see this movie and now we will do our best to make bile shoot straight up your esophagus and launch out your nostrils" bad. Our prime example: The Human Centipede (in theaters-or maybe just one theater, IFC). "Wait," you say, "isn't that the 'ass-to-mouth' movie?" Yes. Yes it is. In every literal and figurative sense.
As a horror icon, the Wolfman gets no respect. In theory, he's the embodiment of a great horror concept-the literal manifestation of the Beast within, who busts out every other fortnight to rip the shit out of Victorian aristocrats or horny teens in Oldsmobiles-and yet in American cinema he's given the strict Michael J. Fox treatment. In order to get a werewolf taken in any way seriously, American directors have to send them to various catacombs and ossuaries in London or Paris, and even then, they're just not scary. In fact, the scariest werewolf movie to come out in the last 15 years was about a heavily ax-wounded [...]