Ari Aster is still horror’s least empathetic filmmaker

It's an exciting roadmap for a film, threading Scandinavian design fetishism, 'European roots', cynical sensitivity to cultural insensitivity (enlightened centrism), overexposed images dramatising the domination of the natural in both concept and order by linen and whitewashed halogen faces, and the pernicious conservatism of certain strains of bourgeois hippiedom. Staging the conflict between professionally polite… Continue reading Ari Aster is still horror’s least empathetic filmmaker

Hallmark horror and The Boogens

It is obvious that The Boogens is not about thrills, or even in lieu of that, dread, and that it struggles more than one would expect dealing with the fact that civilisation makes every site a graveyard, with horror (history) as its evidence. Its figure of guilt and warning is not a wasted shadow casting crooked fingers… Continue reading Hallmark horror and The Boogens

Hallmark horror and Dolls (1987)

Dolls expands horror's imagination of animism beyond antagonism to draw more eerie and enduring conclusions about action and memory within animate space. If it was made today it would be a sci-fi thing about pervasive computing and algorithmic selves outlasting the user, (which, sure, it also is) but without that surface vocabulary it reveals affect rather… Continue reading Hallmark horror and Dolls (1987)

Hallmark horror and Lake Placid

Never actually becomes the monster movie advertised — Lake Placid is singularly interested in human relationships as they are constituted through a shared goal within a shared location. Its tone is one of reminiscence, where individuals are drawn to a situation with the inevitable pull of a narrative in past tense. The lake is shot in afternoon… Continue reading Hallmark horror and Lake Placid

Class anxiety, memory, and the photographic image in Burnt Offerings

Clearly influential for The Shining, but Curtis works in the inverse mode, dragging that work's most productive thematics (the location-as-archive) to the surface of its form and telling. Where Kubrick dresses the location in the stifling virtuality of the photographic record, Curtis dramatises the photographic and memorial acts in present tense, in a process of becoming… Continue reading Class anxiety, memory, and the photographic image in Burnt Offerings

Rambo: Last Blood is an awful film but an interesting self-satire

Trump Land heroic bloodshed should have been so easy, but something in Last Blood keeps heroism's realisation at arm's length until it is revealed to be an impossibility. Mapped through Rambo every Mexican is either the devil (belonging to a cartel) or martyr saint (drugged and prostituted by the cartel), and the border is both a rickety… Continue reading Rambo: Last Blood is an awful film but an interesting self-satire

The enduring ennui of I Know What You Did Last Summer

The slasher film exists as a manifestation of the stories told within its own diegesis — imbricated in its telling are the specificities and subjectivities of the location in which the story is said to occur, and the variable blindspots and new additions within the language used in preserving and transmitting it. Where the post-Scream landscape… Continue reading The enduring ennui of I Know What You Did Last Summer

The crushing insignificance of Spider Man: Homecoming

Future audiences will enjoy comparing Watts' to Raimi's Spider-Man in order to tell of a shift in the 'everyperson' that occurs as the twentieth century recedes from view: in Raimi every plot-point is a conflict of competing private, public, interpersonal, romantic, familial desires and obligations, where in Watts, Peter Parker enjoys a dubious 'internship' at… Continue reading The crushing insignificance of Spider Man: Homecoming