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‘SUSPIRIA’ Remake a Horrifyingly Inauspicious Chore

A pretentious bore posing as high art, Suspiria is a stuffy dance horror melodrama that manages to make a murderous coven of ballet witches boring as sin. At two-and-a-half grueling hours, the film from Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name) is the most masturbatory of remakes, one that painfully tacks a superfluous hour of runtime onto the original without any added content. By the time Suspiria finally reaches its blood-soaked conclusion, I stood at such an emotional distance, with a countenance of such bored apathy, as to not even enjoy its macabre platter of dark ritual and liberal gore.  Read More

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10 Best Horror Movies of the Decade (2010-Now)

Halloween is just around the corner so I decided to torture myself with doing a little listicling for all you wannabe scared-to-go-to-sleepers out there. And Sweet Satan was this process painstaking! Like poking flaming needles in my eyes while my ankles were hobbled by a split ax. Or something like that. I flipped, back-flipped, see-sawed, hemmed and hawed.. etc. As a horror movie aficionado, whittling an entire decade of my favorite genre down to a mere two-hands-worth of selections was Sophie’s Choice after Sophie’s Choice. With no Meryl Streep to help! Which is probably why the last time I did this, I ended up with 13 entries. And though some of these may seem like obvious entries or redundancies that you’ve seen before, I really haven’t seen anyone nail the best of the decade, so this is me putting my feet to the fire and throwing the cards out there. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘HALLOWEEN’

The slasher subculture saw its heyday in the 1980s, with franchises like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street accruing scores of harebrained sequels, spawning a pattern of rinse-repeat horror franchises that rarely held a candle to the greats in terms of turnover quality. Jason eventually went to outer space. Freddy Kruger broke the fourth wall. Michael Myers was revisioned as a force for utilitarian good, destined to kill all of Laurie’s family in order to save all of civilization. To say that these sequels haven’t always been so hot is quite the understatement. In 2018, director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) – of all people – has taken the governing principles of the slasher and given it new life through a winning combination of tasteful updates, tactful homage, and gleeful bloodletting and in doing so, he may have just perfected the slasher movie.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS’ 

Kids meet Eli Roth. Eli Roth, kids. The horror auteur, infamous for torture porn cornerstone Hostel and – to a lesser degree – gooey meta-slasher Cabin Fever, takes to Amblin-produced PG material with surprising poise. Roth, who up to this point has strictly directed hard-R films, adapts the first of John Bellairs’ twelve-part children’s novels from the 1970s, The House With a Clock in its Walls, proffering a mostly family-friendly vision of dark witchcraft, haunted houses, and misfittery. The tale of woebegone wizardry may never fully clicks into place like the magical clock in its title but this Halloween-tinged creeper should fulfill paperback preteens looking for an age-appropriate spook. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘MANDY’

If you’ve ever asked yourself “What the fuck did I just watch?” just wait until you get a load of Mandy. The avant-garde metal midnighter from Italian director Panos Cosmatos yields a phantasmagoric descent into hell itself, where none other than Nicholas Cage (in all his unhinged glory) plays a logger named Red Miller who hunts down an LSD-fueled Christian cult and a literal biker gang from hell to avenge the love of his life (Andrea Riseborough, rocking a heavy metal Shelley Duvall look) . Turns out, hell hath no fury like a Nicolas Cage scorned. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THE NUN’ 

‘The Nun’ (a.k.a. ‘Bad Habit’)  is a handsome twinkle of a horror movie that’s never developed into a full-bodied anything. It’s a movie that dangles on the precipice of actually being half-decent for quite some time without ever making the effort to, you know, actually be good. Its mid-century Romanian setting is certainly atmospheric, a nod to the far-flung haunts of golden-age horror; it contains some decent acting, both Taissa Farmiga and Demián Bichir are solid enough to headline, if only they were privy to some superior written material; and some of the visual flourishes and cinematography suggest a horror movie well above the average pay-grade. And yet, it’s all pretty much for nothing as The Nun  never gels into something of any discernible substance.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB’ 

The internet is dark and full of terrors. From the Nazi memes of 4Chan to Live Leaks, a website where you can literally watch people get murdered, jet-black corners of the web lurk in waiting. To imagine that there lay a second layer of the internet beyond the scum and villainy readily apparent, a sector where one can purchase illegal drugs, elicit prostitution, even hire paid assassins, is an unsettling reality but a reality none the less; and this is where Unfriended: Dark Web strikes. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THE FIRST PURGE’ 

There’s a moment in The First Purge where Isiah (Joivan Wade), a young African American teetering on the brink of breaking bad, wanders down an alleyway. His eyes are illuminated a ghastly blue, irises cloaked in live-stream contact lens there to capture the experimental first night of legalized murder. Any newsworthy POV footage documented for mass distribution is met with “financial compensation”, as is remaining in the kill zone. As Isiah hunts a leaky junkie by the name of Skeletor (a crazed and wildly watchable Rotimi Paul), a multitude of different colored lens peer at him, stalking his moves.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘HEREDITARY’ 

Every once in a blue moon, there comes a horror movie that’s legitimately capital-T terrifying. One that’ll cause your eyes to dart around the dark stillness of the theater at the smallest creak. One that’ll hitchhike a ride home with you to invade your dreams; an unabortable mental pregnancy. One whose delirious imagery will burn into your cranium as if doused in paint thinner and struck by a match. I am happy to report that A24’s Hereditary, dear readers, is just that kind of movie. It’ll take your damn head off. Read More

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SIFF ’18 Capsule Review: ‘TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID’

Not even children are spared in this gritty Mexican fantasy-thriller from writer/director Issa López. Both grounded in dark realities and anchored by larger-than-life fantastical elements, Tigers Are Not Afraid shares DNA with Guillermo del Toro’s Spanish-language horrors movies (think Devil’s Backbone), which smuggle pervasive social commentary in with spooky, mythic thrills. A 10-year old girl joins up with a similarly orphaned child gang, roaming the streets and eluding ill-intentioned adults in this unsettling fable about loss and criminality. Moody and uncompromising, Tigers marks López as a blooming talent to keep a close eye on. (B-) Read More