Not surprisingly, I’m super stoked when basically any new horror flick hits theaters. That said, there are some films that inevitably provoke more anticipation than others. As I’ve insinuated on this site before, dangle an eerie ghost movie in front of me, and I’ll likely become more excited than I am for a murder mystery or similar fare. For that reason – and because The Purge: Anarchy was a little drawn out and monotonous – I didn’t have super high expectations headed into The Purge: Election Year. I mean, I was pumped, but I was experiencing a milder, more contained version of exhilaration, premised off the supposition that Election Year could get really damn boring by mid-movie. Alas, I was surprised! The Purge: Election Year is a film that delivers. It’s easily better than The Purge: Anarchy, and may be better than the original Purge. With a plot that grows increasingly more speculative of human nature and more critical of the purge, and the most likable cast to boot, The Purge: Election Year is almost certain to satiate the ardent horror enthusiast. Continue reading “The Purge: Election Year: A Thoughtful Study in Human Irrationality”
Problematic Presumptions in The Purge
Ahhhh, election year. This year, Americans get to see an irascible, iridescent orange man with floppy straw hair standing behind a podium spewing vitriol and grandiosity while waving (rumor has it) little sausage fingers. And his harlequin fantasies of “having them” build a wall to “protect” our border (somehow, “we’re not gonna build it, they’re gonna build it,” he asserts) and banning over one billion members of a major, 1,406-year-old religion from entering our country, while punishing women who seek abortions, might make some wonder, what will he think of next? There are myriad possibilities. While I don’t think what I’m about to suggest would actually happen, policy ideas like his make me imagine, wildly, that anything could happen. Perhaps he would legalize one night a year for murder, to let resentful Americans release their stores of seething hatred. And if that were to happen, we’ll have Ethan Hawke and The Purge series to thank, a semi-dystopian horror series about what would happen if all crime was legal for one night of the year, including the big “Red Rum.” Continue reading “Problematic Presumptions in The Purge”
Shades of Grey: Seeking Justice in “Valdivia”
What is justice? What makes right actions right? Is it ever right, under any circumstances, to take a life? How do we treat the folksy mantra, “an eye for an eye?” These are all questions that Eli Roth’s short story “Valdivia” raised when I finished it, a story from Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Book of Nightmares.
My “relationship” with Eli Roth’s work is an interesting one. I find myself fascinated by his films and the uncomfortable ground he’s willing to tread, though I’m often prone to critiquing seemingly problematic elements of his work. At least, such was the case after I saw The Green Inferno, and then again when I saw Knock Knock. I can’t really see myself being best buds with him but I’m always excited to see what he’ll do next. Even if my thinking tends to differ from his, he has an alluringly creative mind. From the vantage point of a horror fan, the dude’s seriously twisted, but in a good way. Which is why when I opened The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares last night I was immediately attracted to Roth’s name, next to the title of a 15-page short story called “Valdivia.” Continue reading “Shades of Grey: Seeking Justice in “Valdivia””