Because it’s Halloween, a little Poe seemed apropos. To be honest, I was looking for a short number that I could read and write about quickly before enjoying the public viewing of Psycho accompanied by the Erie Orchestra’s rendition of the original score. And, my boyfriend, Michael, and I want to go out to dinner before the movie. So here’s something quick to chew on for Halloween: Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” heightens the terrifyingly unknown nature of death by sticking death in what we can essentially call a “non-place” and inverting biblical references. Continue reading “A Room for Dying: Space and Place in “The Masque of the Red Death””
Guest Writer – Michael J. Miller
In 2007 Will Smith starred as Robert Neville in I Am Legend, the second cinematic adaptation of Richard Matheson’s 1954 short story of the same name (the first being 1971’s The Omega Man). I Am Legend is the story of one man left alone in a world of vampires. The 2007 film received a fair bit of criticism for significantly departing from the plot of the novel, especially in regard to the ending. However, personally, I think the changes were necessary (and quite brilliant). We have three very different endings with three very specific challenges to the nature of our humanity. Continue reading “What’s in an Ending? – A Look at I Am Legend”
In the spirit of Halloween, I’ve decided to list and explain my 10 favorite horror movies of all time. I claim no authority with this list; I’m not a film critic. These explanations are only rankings and scribblings by a sincere fan of the genre. Disagree? I’d love to hear about it. Continue reading “A Halloween Horror Top Ten”
The local cinema was showing a Turner Classic Movie Dracula double feature: Tod Browning’s 1931, black and white version of Dracula, and the 1931 Spanish version of Dracula. Of course there was no question; I was going to attend the event. I’ll be honest: I brought my trusty notepad with me, and I tried to scribble some comments in the pitch black theater while I was watching Bella Lugosi prey on the necks of fair young maidens. Now I love a good black and white movie, if done well. The 1963 version of The Haunting is one of my favorite horror movies, and I’ve been dying to see The Innocents. But I’m hesitant to say that I’m a huge Dracula fan. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy seeing Bella Lugosi arch his eyebrows – but something about the film seemed incomplete. The script was catchy, with quotable lines, but Browning’s film lacked the character development I find central to a truly well-made film.
So far this blog – dedicated to all that is slightly to majorly terrifying – has focused on contemporary T.V. shows and movies. But I have a broader objective. I want to explore all facets of horror in its myriad manifestations. I was browsing Barnes and Noble one idle Friday evening, seeking good horror between two covers. Michael, my significant other – who has an uncanny knack for sniffing out quality reads – found a decorative, hard-cover, 800 page Barnes and Noble collector’s edition entitled Classic Horror Stories, with a red ribbon bookmark and gold-trimmed pages, on the bargain shelf for $20. The book contains a lot of greats – Poe, unsurprisingly, Henry James, Bram Stoker, and Ambrose Bierce – but I thought I’d sample a lesser-known author, so I flipped to Algernon Blackwood’s telling of “The Wendigo.” Because Blackwood lived from 1869-1951, I estimate that it was written at the end of the 19th or the beginning of the 20th century. Though “The Wendigo” doesn’t float in the realm of “absolutely terrifying,” this relatively brief 40-page story is sufficiently creepy, with an undercurrent of dread pervading its well-established mood. Continue reading “Go for the Wendigo: What’s Appealing About this Classic Horror Story”
Mary Lambert is no Stanley Kubrick. At least, that’s the contrast that comes to mind when pitting the film against another classic: it seems natural to compare two of Stephen King’s terrifying film adaptations, Pet Sematary and The Shining. While Stephen King reportedly didn’t like Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining, the movie received broad acclaim and has been frequently canonized as a horror film classic. Just as frequently, Pet Sematary is excoriated as a poorly pieced together film with sub-par acting. To an extent, I agree; The Shining is a better film than Pet Sematary. But I don’t mean this as a shot at Pet Sematary. Few directors can compete with Stanley Kubrick. And frankly, while I like the acting in The Shining better, I think Pet Sematary is the scarier movie. Which brings me to my goal in this post: I intend to defend Pet Sematary against its detractors, and obviously the defense will contain massive spoilers. While, true, the acting in the film could be better, the film contains enough darkness and terror to satiate the most jaded horror fan.
We’ve all been attracted to someone without the ability to explain the attraction’s origin. You know that person you used to work with who you just couldn’t stop thinking about? A person you met at a party who allured you? Sometimes we’re just drawn to people without knowing why. Like, sure, the person is attractive, but what is it about this particular person that is so enticing? I think we’ve all been there: we’ve fallen victim to the unexplained crush. Well, It Follows is my inexplicable horror movie crush. When It Follows came to the theaters, my boyfriend, Michael, and I saw the movie four times. Michael doesn’t feel the same affection for horror that I do, but even he was gripped by the film. It’s such a delicate, subtle little film that’s doing so many things, but four times? Why did we see it four times? What is it about It Follows that makes it such fantastic cinema? I’m writing this piece to figure out what it is I love so much about this movie. Continue reading “What Is It about It Follows?”
Yesterday I watched The Shining for maybe the 20th time in my life. The first time I saw it, I was in middle school, and I was completely mortified when Jack investigated room 237. Twenty years later, I’m still tempted to close my eyes during that scene. (Okay, fine, sometimes I’m not just “tempted.” Sometimes I do close my eyes during that scene). I watched with a pen and notepad in my hand. I was determined to figure out what it was I liked so much about this movie. Four and a half notebook pages later, I have a conglomeration of messily scribbled answers. Suffice it to say, not all of those answers are below. Here are 10 reasons why The Shining is a phenomenal film. Stay tuned for another installment of this project: Continue reading “10 Great Things About The Shining:”
The local theater was showing a Thursday night preview of Crimson Peak two nights ago, before the actual release date on Friday. With no hesitation, I was there. Without question, my favorite subgenre of horror is the ghost story, and Crimson Peak primed us to expect some phenomenally creepy ghosts through its ghoulish previews – previous that show portions of skeletal apparitions grasping arms or swaying across the floor. Vampires are fun, witches are cool, and stories about the devil can be pretty scary, but nothing, absolutely nothing, compares to a good old-fashioned ghost story. And Crimson Peak taps into a horror film phenomenon that never fails to dispense fear in generous, indulgent doses: the phenomenon of the female ghost.
Alert: This article contains spoilers. It would be best to read this when you’re done with the movie.
Who doesn’t like a good M. Night twist? In that respect, The Visit surely delivers. Now here’s my dilemma: You see, on the one hand, I like the movie. The film sits comfortably in the realm of what I call “horror with heart”: genuinely scary movies that also have warm moments and likable characters. My boyfriend, who tracks the nightmares he gets after watching horror movies with me, didn’t lose any sleep – or experience any tumultuous sleep – over this one. Continue reading “Unsavory Stigmas in The Visit”