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.

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.

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

Is This the End of Television?
Last week both cable giant HBO and broadcast giant CBS made announcements that signal the end of television as we know it.  Both responded to the clear message of the market and said that they would make their content available in the form and via the delivery system consumers prefer -- the interne

posted 3:24:08pm Oct. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Dylan Baker on Directing for the First Time in the Fact-Based High School Football Movie "23 Blast"
Dylan Baker is probably best remembered for playing some of the most horrific villains imaginable ("The Good Wife," "Happiness").  But his extensive career has included wild comedies ("Planes, Trains, and Automobiles," "Anchorman 2"), historical drama (he was Robert McNamara in "13 Days"), and even

posted 8:00:11am Oct. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Best Movies About Writers
Flavorwire has put together a great list of the 50 best movies about writers. It's always tricky to make a writer interesting on film. On one hand, you have the advantage of a character who is likely to be witty and eloquent. Movies are written by writers, so they have some insight and appreciatio

posted 3:37:07pm Oct. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Great News About Now You See Me 2
You didn't think Arthur Tressler was going to let them get away with it, did you? I am very happy that one of the most entertaining films of 2013, Now You See Me is getting a sequel and the stars, including Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, and Woody Harrelson, are back, alo

posted 8:00:59am Oct. 21, 2014 | read full post »

In the Footsteps of St. Peter
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4c7qh9hMVY[/youtube] David Suchet (PBS' Hercule Poirot) is the host of In the Footsteps of St. Peter, out tomorrow on DVD.

posted 3:55:57pm Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.