Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Given the preposterously degraded state of the demonic possession movie, it doesn’t take much at all for The Possession of Hannah Grace to distinguish itself. And to be fair, it doesn’t do much at all, but it does it right at the start, and in so doing got on my good side so immediately that […]

Categories: exorcising, horror, thrillers

The new film directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by David Kajganich under the title of Suspiria is a remake of the 1977 Dario Argento film also titled Suspiria. It’s official, in the credits and everything, and they share the same plot: an American girl named Susie Bannion (“Suzy” in the original) travels to Germany […]

For a company that has spent 90 years now insistently bathing itself in sweetness and light, there’s always been a certain love of dark, spooky shit driving Walt Disney Productions. In 1929, not even a full year after Mickey Mouse made his incredibly successful debut, Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks oversaw the creation of the […]

We must now ask ourselves: at what point does a studio become merely a brand name? Let’s not even make it a hypothetical: if we have something called Hammer Film Productions, and it’s all legal and aboveboard and there’s a clear line of ownership justifying that name, but also James and Michael Carreras are both […]

To the Devil… a Daughter was one of the biggest hits Hammer Film Productions had enjoyed in years at the time of its 1976 release. Paradoxically, it’s also more or less the film that finally killed Hammer off. The studio hung around in a tattered way for a few years before disappearing: it managed to […]

Hammer Film Productions made its reputation on a series of violent (by the standards of the time) horror movies set in the latter half of the 19th Century. And while only a handful of them took place anywhere in the British Isles, they were all suffused with a certain distinctive Englishness. That would all make […]

The film itself isn’t nearly important enough to earn this, but you could do a lot worse than holding up 1970’s The Horror of Frankenstein as a summary of all the things going terribly wrong with Hammer Film Productions at the dawn of the ’70s. The studio’s reign across the anglosphere as the premiere home […]

There is probably no major franchise with a more gnarled line of continuity than the Halloween slasher movies, which despite the apparent cleanliness of their numbered progression, have no fewer than four different, irreconcilable universes, and that’s without bringing in Rob Zombie’s standalone remakes in the 2000s to muck it up. 1978’s Halloween begat one […]

The Plague of the Zombies certainly isn’t the best horror film made by Hammer Film Productions: the climax features some really dodgy effects work, the sound mix needed another pass, there’s a hellaciously bad day-for-“night” sequence, and frankly only a very young person would have a terribly hard time getting out in front of the […]

Over the course of its horror-film heyday (1957-1974), Hammer Film Productions made four mummy films, seven Frankenstein films, two Jekyll & Hyde adaptations, three movies about evil cults, and a whopping 17 vampire pictures, nine of them involving Count Dracula. That covers most of the classic movie monsters, except for one: the werewolf. And as […]

Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde presents a unique challenge to the filmmaking team that wants to adapt it for the big screen. It’s hugely well-known by the standards of 19th Century (i.e., public domain) genre fiction, so clearly not adapting it is no kind of option; […]

Hell Fest isn’t much as a movie, but there’s one thing I like about it: it’s a good excuse to do some theorising about horror cinema. You know, that thing we all like to do in our spare time. I’ll get to the specifics of what I have in mind in a little bit, but […]