Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Fandor’s Primer on Horror

posted by Nell Minow

Fandor, the terrific new site for watching “essential films instantly” has a great primer on horror by Dennis Harvey, which reminded me of the superb exhibit on the history of horror film I saw at the EMP Museum in Seattle earlier this year.  I’m not a fan of watching horror but I do enjoy the theories and history of the genre and Harvey’s essay on “bringing the uncanny to celluloid life” is lively, insightful, and a lot of fun to read.  He puts the films of each era in the context of their time and describes luminaries like Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, and Boris Karloff, along with the monster films of the atomic/drive-in era. psychological thrillers like “Psycho,” slasher films, vampires, and zombies.

Advertisement

More horror films are produced each year today than probably ever before. From major studio releases to the most shoestring direct-to-download fan project, a majority are clock-punching exercises that recycle familiar ideas without much inspiration—and sometimes without much competence, either. Still, there have been encouraging signs, like the deployment of horror tropes in critically lauded, genre-defying films from around the world like del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, Lars von Trier’s Antichrist and Chan-wook Park’s Thirst.

Then there are the number of talented rising directors who’ve emerged from indie roots and so far managed to avoid being homogenized by their variable degrees of commercial success. That would include Brits Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday), James Watkins (Eden LakeWoman in Black) and Christopher Smith (SeveranceBlack Death). Yanks worth watching include Ti West (House of the DevilThe Innkeepers), Adam Wingard (Pop SkullYou’re Next) and the three writer-directors behind The Signal (David Bruckner, Dan Bush, Jacob Gentry). Farther afield, Australia’s Sean Byrne and Mexico’s Jorge Michel Grau have made such promising first features—The Loved Ones and We Are What We Are, respectively)—that one can hardly wait to see what they do next.

Advertisement

Cinematic history has seen a few once-invincible genres fade from favor, like the musical and western. Yet it seems safe to say that horror will endure as long as the medium itself exists. At the very least, it offers the comfort of schadenfreude in bleak times: No matter how bad the environment, economy, political landscape and whatnot gets, there will always be celluloid monsters and madmen to reassure us that things could indeed be even worse.

 

  • Bella Clips

    Today, horror thrives not on special effects but on the scare factor. Like the sounds and the manner of how the character thrill youl

Previous Posts

Interview: David Gordon Green, Director of "Manglehorn"
David Gordon Green has directed intimate, natural dramas ("George Washington," "All the Real Girls") and wild comedies ("Pineapple Express," ...

posted 3:32:29pm Jul. 07, 2015 | read full post »

New on DVD: Poldark
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A0U6kQNCN0[/youtube] Winston Graham's Poldark novels about a dashing Revolutionary war veteran inspired a very successful 1977 PBS series, now remade with "Hobbit" star Aiden Turner in the title role. ...

posted 12:00:58pm Jul. 07, 2015 | read full post »

Behind the Scenes: Ant-Man
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbc88Z7IfCw[/youtube] ...

posted 8:00:18am Jul. 07, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Dana Nachman of "Batkid Begins"
Dana Nachman is the director of the heartwarming documentary "Batkid Begins." She talked to me about how one five-year-old cancer ...

posted 3:37:56pm Jul. 06, 2015 | read full post »

Inside "Inside Out" -- Takes on Pixar's Hit Movie About Feelings
"Inside Out" is not just one of the best movies of the year (animated and live action). It is also one of the most psychologically profound and astute films about emotions and the mind ever made. It set the all-time box office opening weekend ...

posted 3:35:36pm Jul. 06, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.