Tags: Golden age of horror

The golden age of horror: [REC] (2007)

Chris: Have you ever heard–rather than seen–a car accident happen? You’re outside and maybe a block away or more and you still pick up the sudden sound of a quick squeal of brakes and then there’s a sickening crunch. It’s hard to describe the sound of that impact. There’s a heaviness to it, a weight. You don’t just hear it, you feel it, even if it’s not close enough to be particularly loud. [REC] has a nerve-jangling scene early where sound plays a key role and it feels a lot like this. It puts us on notice that this movie is not going to be a slow burn.

After the jump, not your older brother’s found footage movie Continue reading →

The golden age of horror: The Call of Cthulhu (2005)

Chris: Conceived, written, and created by a group of H. P. Lovecraft enthusiasts, this film aims to bring the pulp horror author’s best known short story to the screen for the first time in a faithful adaptation. It’s a tremendously creative and ambitious idea, given the additional twist of creating the movie in the style of a 1920s silent film, which (except for the digital video used for shooting) will use only technologies available to filmmakers of that era.

After the jump, great gimmick or worthwhile movie? Continue reading →

The golden age of horror: Shutter (2004)

Bill: The amount of exhausting labor that goes into haunting people in horror films is ridiculous. Hurling furniture across a room, tossing people around like sacks of laundry, waking up at 3am to pull the bed sheets off…seriously, that’s just too much damn work. If I were ever to become a ghost, I assure you that I would do the absolute minimum to qualify as such. If the phone was left near the couch, you might see it float in the air for a second or two before dropping to the floor when I realized South Park was back on; or you might find your bookmarks moved to different pages in a book every now and again. But good lord, expecting me to float alongside a car going over 60 mph on a highway is a level of commitment I’m just not prepared for. So the ghost in Shutter does get my grudging respect for not being as lazy as I am.

After the Jump: I just wish it starred in a better film Continue reading →

The golden age of horror: A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Chris: A Tale Of Two Sisters is a movie about lies and deceit. It is about a dark and terrible secret two people share but dare not speak of, even to each other. We know that something terrible has happened to this family in the past, and seems to be happening to it in the present. That all this is happening inside a haunted country manor house only adds to the tension.

After the jump, ghosts always do complicate a reconciliation Continue reading →

The golden age of horror: 28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later (2003/2007)

Chris: I’ve found that folks love to talk about 28 Days Later and its sequel, 28 Weeks Later. That makes sense. Those two movies played a large part in helping put put zombie culture at the forefront of 21st century horror. They helped lever zombie everything into our current cultural lexicon. The problem I have with typical discussions of these films that I’ve been subjected to is that everyone seems to want to talk about the least-interesting thing about them.

After the jump, they’re zombies; deal with it Continue reading →

The golden age of horror: May (2003)

Bill: Lucky McKee’s solo directing debut is an odd little character study that slowly widens its lens over the course of 93 minutes to show the madness surrounding its main character. It’s often laugh out loud funny, sometimes even touching, but eventually ends on a bittersweet note that manages to be both sad and horrifying at the same time.

But one thing is perfectly clear after the first few minutes of this film: Angela Bettis is the biggest reason it succeeds.

After the jump: Why you should never trust a seamstress Continue reading →

The golden age of horror: Ju-on: the Grudge

Chris: Ghosts in western culture have always been a frightening but physically benign presence. They show up to simply scare, warn, or act as portents and omens. That’s not how they work in Japan, though. With an animist folklore as a basis, Japanese ghosts are more akin to what we categorize in western folklore as demons and evil spirits.. Which is to say, Japanese movie ghosts can kill and are dangerous not only to the mind but the body as well. Those dangerous spirits–and a whole lot of cat scares–are front and center here in Ju-on.

After the jump, lost in translation? Continue reading →

The golden age of horror: The Ring (2002)

Chris: I need to give you all something, so we’ll talk about this movie in just a moment. Let me find it…here we go. This dog-eared thing with the peeling lamination? Yeah, it’s my horror movie credibility card. I’m afraid I have to hand that in. You see, the rational part of my brain recognizes fully that this Americanized version of the 1997 Japanese film Ringu is far too long. I’m quite aware that the movie depends on events that require buying into the painful stupidity of otherwise smart characters. There are scenes that someone with real cred would describe as completely out of place. Despite all that, I’m drawn to this thing like a moth to flame. Or fly to CRT screen. You get the point.

After the jump, student films, urban legends, and a whole lot of blue. Continue reading →

The golden age of horror: Frailty (2002)

Chris: Frailty is a movie that feels as if it will be a stark and rather brutal rumination on faith. What do you believe? How much do you believe it? What are you willing (or unwilling) to do as part of that? As the movie’s star and first-time director Bill Paxton layer in the tension (in no small part due to Matthew McConaughey trying out his Rust Cohle persona as the narrator), we wonder–how close to a twisted Abraham and Isaac scenario will this go movie go?

After the jump, and then M. Night Shyamalan shows up Continue reading →

The golden age of horror: Session 9 (2001)

Chris: Many effective horror films reside on fears that are as old as western civilization. Our stories of ghosts, vampires, and other supernatural beasties are rooted at the very beginnings of our collective history and folklore. Session 9, however, creates horror from fears both more primal and yet also more rooted in modern culture. It is a movie fueled by being afraid of not being a good provider for family at home. In many ways I was reminded of the same neuroses that fuel the plot of Glengarry Glen Ross when watching this. Both are films in which the main characters do bad things because the pressure of work and home have caught up to them.

After the jump, Jack Lemmon never had a sharp putty knife Continue reading →

The golden age of horror: Ginger Snaps (2001)

Chris: During our horror movie gab-fest last year, it’s entirely possible that either Tom or I or both of us mentioned that American Werewolf in London was the last non-awful werewolf movie ever made. Some readers took us to task in the comments section, with more than a few folks pointing out that this film from future Orphan Black co-creator John Fawcett proved us wrong and was completely worth seeing. Yeah right. A Canadian werewolf movie about outcast high school goth girls. That sounds…well, actually, that sounds like it could be pretty damned good.

After the jump, Michael J. Fox and Jason Bateman need not apply. Continue reading →

The golden age of horror: Audition (2000)

Bill: The first thing anyone new to the films of Japanese director Takashi Miike should do is visit his entry on IMDB. Just look at that headshot. He doesn’t look terribly interested in pleasing anyone, does he? Checking out his bio we find quotes that support that cursory observation. Miike says things like “I don’t think about the audience, I don’t think about what makes them happy, because there’s no way for me to know.”, and “I don’t make rules myself. I didn’t study enough to be able to make them. I’m too stupid.” This is a director who created an episode for a series called The Masters of Horror on Showtime that was deemed too graphically disturbing to air. The year prior to that he worked on the revival of the classic Japanese children’s show, Ultraman.

I guess what I’m saying is that when you sit down for a Miike film, you really don’t know what to expect from the man.

After the jump: Yup, not what I expected. Continue reading →

The golden age of horror: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Chris: You can see it in Mike’s eyes the morning after. They fully register that something weird happened outside the group’s tent that night. Not so with Heather, who we’ve come to realize is Ahab and this documentary her white whale. She’s driven to make her movie more than anything else and is upset she got nothing on film. For his part, Josh seems bemused. Smirking, he reminds everyone about what happened in Deliverance. Mike is different though. His eyes are wide and dancing. The disturbance the night before freaked him out. He can’t understand why the others aren’t more scared.

It’s a key moment for The Blair Witch Project, as much a turning point in the movie as the unexplained noises the night before. We begin to realize that this film won’t pull punches or wink at the audience. This is a different sort of horror movie. It is a film about very real, mounting fear.

After the jump, literally scared to death Continue reading →