Showing posts from June, 2020

MAY 24 - The Amityville Horror

            Oh, Amityville. When The Conjuring was just a glimmer on the cinema horizon and the Warrens just a footnote in a based-on-a-true-story, here you came to clean up at the box office and inspire deep resentment in the good people of Amityville, a very real place, for generations to come. And what gifts you brought with you, all the bounty of the ‘70s horror film – dysfunctional heterosexual marriage, vague mumblings about cursed Indian land, economic anxiety, a murderous spouse, Margot Kidder, priests. It’s all here, a veritable ‘70s buffet.             It’s the classic haunted house tale, distilled to its core components. Kathy Lutz, a good Catholic girl with three kids, and her brand-new husband George, buy a house, cheap thanks to the very nasty murders that took place there a year before. Before long, Kathy’s daughter is playing with a creepy imaginary friend, and the house is making its evil known in the pettiest of ways. It slams doors, drops windows on innocent

MAY 23 - The Lords of Salem

            In the fall of 2016, just as we were about to go to a presidential debate watch party, my sweet summer child of a roommate realized he’d thrown his retainer in a garbage can at the top of East Rock, a popular park in New Haven. “Fuck,” he said, the first and only time I’ve ever heard him swear. We put our liquor in a duffel bag and called an Uber, with a plan to retrieve the garbage retainer before going to the party. Our Uber drive was named John. Despite being larger than the two of us put together, when John realized we were going to essentially the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night, worried that we were planning to do him harm. I reassured him that we were not, but agreed that nature is much scarier than any town or city at night, and mentioned how many horror movies are set in the woods. That’s how we got talking about horror. John was very eager to endorse the films of one Rob Zombie. I told him I’d check them out. He also offered to sell us ecstasy;

MAY 22 - Knives and Skin

            I had a pretty dude-heavy lineup this week so it was a relief to arrive at grrrls day and Knives and Skin , Jennifer Reeder’s haunting 2019 thriller. The film begins with the disappearance of teenage Carolyn, marching band member and daughter of the choir director and, follows the aftermath as search parties are conducted, her mother dissolves with grief and, most of all, life goes on.             It’s not a mystery film; unusually, it begins with the circumstances of Carolyn’s disappearance, plain as day. It is not interested in giving its viewers a puzzle to solve. Instead, we see how the impact of Carolyn’s loss spirals outward, and as her peers lives continue, fucked up as always. The film takes on an ensemble feel, with a special focus on Carolyn’s grieving mother and three of her peers, various degrees removed from her and Andy, the boy who left her for dead. Joanna, daughter of an addict mother, sells underwear to pervs and dreams of escape. Laurel, Andy’s c

MAY 21 - Ravenous

            Does anyone else have a thing where if your sleep schedule gets disrupted then so does your appetite? Cause yesterday morning, when I was planning on watching this movie, I woke up like an hour and a half earlier than I usually do and was super hungry all day. I don’t think I was actually hungry, because eating didn’t change anything. It was just the allusion of hunger, my body’s rhythms all screwed up. All this is to say, it was a weird mood in which to watch Ravenous.             Ravenous , the 1999 feature by English director Antonia Bird, tells the story of Lieutenant John Boyd, who accidentally becomes a war hero during the Mexican-American War. He’s punished for his cowardice-turned-heroism with a shitty promotion to a backwater post in the California wilderness with a crew of military weirdos and misfits. Just when we have all the makings of a workplace comedy, a man named Calqhoun arrives, survivor of a group of westward travelers who got lost and turned to

MAY 20 - The Wailing

            It’s sheer coincidence that I put The Wailing , a secret possession film but also so much more, on my schedule right after The Exorcist III . Like that movie, it also starts a police procedural investigating a series of bizarre crimes that all seem to have different perpetrators. And like Train to Busan , another Korean film from the same year that I watched for the first International Horror Wednesday , it follows a father’s desperate struggle to save his daughter. But that’s where the similarities end. The Wailing is a singular film, unlike any film I’ve watched in this lineup and maybe any other film I’ve seen, despite its surface similarities to other horror flicks.             In the charming Korean village of Gokseong, a rash of horrible crimes have been taking place. Ordinary members of the community go berserk and kill their families, and are found at the scene in hideous condition. The local police are doing their very best to take it in stride. Police off