Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The cumulative directorial career of New Zealand-born Tony Williams consists, near as I can tell, of one short film, seven made-for-TV documentary shorts, two narrative features, and (thirty years later than the rest), three documentary features. Of that entire list, the second feature, 1982’s Next of Kin, is the only thing that is even remotely […]

Given the way I’m framing this summer’s marathon of horror movies, it’s hard to resist the temptation to speculate about the “Australianness” of these films, how their peculiarities reveal something about the cultural character of that continent and its film production. The fact that I don’t really know all that much about Australian culture puts […]

With the new version of Black Christmas, directed and co-written (with April Wolfe) by Sophia Takal, I believe we have crossed an exciting new threshhold: the first classic slasher movie to receive a second remake. The first Black Christmas, from 1974, is one of the most unassailable classics of ’70s horror, beating both The Texas […]

Sequels that are really more like unrelated entries in an anthology series are nothing new at all, especially in the horror & thriller genres, so the fact that 47 Meters Down: Uncaged has absolutely not one blessed thing to do with 47 Meters Down, the banal shark film from 2017, is not surprising. That it […]

Remakes of 1980s horror movies have had something like a 0% success rate. If that’s not enough to give somebody pause before green-lighting a remake of the 1988 paranormal slasher movie Child’s Play, there are plenty of other red flags waving themselves. For one thing, the 31-year-old franchise is still going strong: series creator and […]

Making one PG-13 slasher film that’s actually enjoyable to watch is impressive enough. Making two of them would probably require divine intervention. So it’s surely the right decision that, in crafting a follow-up to 2017’s startlingly fun and effective Happy Death Day, returning writer-director Christopher Landon would elect to use the slasher form more as […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Strangers! Now that was a real corker of a horror-thriller, a film that I would have happily predicted at the time – the time was 2008 – was going to establish itself as a small classic of the genre. This does not seem to have happened, and yet ten years later, the film did […]

There was a time once, and not so very long ago either, when a chainsaw-wielding psychopath in a Madea film would have been Madea herself, as was so memorably, dispiritingly seen in the character’s very first big-screen appearance, 2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman. But times change, and with Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, […]

On paper, almost nothing is actually good about Happy Death Day. And yet, almost certainly, it gave me more pleasure to watch it than any other 2017 horror movie. On such paradoxes is a love of art founded. Although I’m being a bit dismissive. While most everything about Happy Death Day can be accurately predicted […]