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

How Did Ca Plane Pour Moi End Up in So Many Movies?
How did a 1977 song in French by the Belgian singer Plastic Bertrand become a go-to for 21st century American movie soundtracks, from big studio films to quirky indies? "Ça Plane Pour Moi" has appeared in Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" and last week's "We'll Never Have Paris," from

posted 3:40:03pm Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

The Kitten Bowl 2015: You Can Win A Set of Kitten Cards
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5sO4NoaF89Y?rel=0" frameborder="0"] The most-anticipated sporting event of the weekend -- in some circles anyway, is this year's Kitten Bowl, Su-Purr Sunday, February 1 (12/11c) only on Hallmark Channel! [caption id="attachment_3263

posted 12:00:45pm Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Una Gran Noticia! Disney's First Latina Princess
The Disney princesses have their first Latina member! Princess Elena of Avalor will make her debut in the Disney Channel series "Sofia the First" before starring in her own series on the Disney channel.

posted 9:19:37am Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Black or White
Writer-director Mike Binder sure likes to get Kevin Costner drunk. As in his uneven but impressive "The Upside of Anger," Binder once again has Costner playing a man who is a little lost and usually

posted 5:58:45pm Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Black Sea
Two comments made by characters in this film summarize what it is that makes submarine stories so instantly compelling. "Outside is just dark, cold, and death," says one. "We all live together or

posted 3:51:06pm Jan. 29, 2015 | 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.