Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Ask a horror fan what draws them to the genre, and you’ll get any number of possible answers. Ask that question of, say, a twelve-year-old horror fan, and I suspect that the range of answers will be at least somewhat narrowed down: and high on that list would be gross corpses with lots of gore […]

As the late 1950s faded into the early 1960s, perhaps the two most interesting things happening anywhere in horror cinema (change “perhaps” to “absolutely” if we limit the conversation to the English-speaking world) were the heavy shift over to Gothic horror pictures made by Britain’s Hammer Film Productions, and the brief but intense and unbelievably […]

It seems to me that to make good, effective children’s horror must have one of the highest degrees of difficulty out there. You have to thread the tiniest of needles to find something that’s sufficiently terrifying and otherworldly on the one hand that it’s actually scary, the kind that worms its way into your bones; […]

“The blood of Christ.” “Holy shit!” “The holiest.” -An actual exchange of dialogue written by an actual professional screenwriter for an actual movie Rigorous honesty compels me to admit that the new horror picture The Nun is not actively good, and may in fact even be bad. At least, it has terrible dialogue and hugely […]

First, the bad news: Hereditary isn’t by any means as all-time “scary” as the hype would have it (with the proviso, as usual, that one person’s “scary” is another person’s “silly” is another person’s “boring” and so on). What it is, and it’s almost as good, is distressing – a film that so persistently depicts […]

The elephant in the room first: a schlocky haunted house movie with Helen Mirren is peculiar; a schlocky haunted house movie with Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke is so peculiar that it goes back around to promising. Because maybe one of them just made a bad choice for a paycheck, but both of them, simultaneously? […]

The crowd with whom I saw Insidious: The Last Key included at least three disconnected groups of apparently high-school aged viewers (5 or 6 per group) who spent too much of the movie talking in stage whispers. This is going somewhere, I promise. It matters that they were all stage whispering because I could hear […]

The 2010s have produced only a scant number of horror movies more top-to-bottom objectionable than 2014’s Annabelle, the flagrantly unnecessary prequel about an absurdly overdesigned haunted doll first seen in 2013’s The Conjuring. And given the repeated threats in the last couple of years that production companies Atomic Monster and New Line Cinema want to […]

One must be careful about using words like “nadir” to discuss a series when one has not seen all of the entries yet – especially when the series spent as much time in micro-budget direct-to-video hell as the loose-knit Amityville pictures have – but my God, if The Amityville Playhouse, AKA The Amityville Theater, isn’t […]

Not that The Amityville Asylum set out to prove that you can make a bunch of clichΓ©s seem marginally less tired if you blend them with a bunch of other clichΓ©s, but that’s kind of the net effect. The second in the suffocating wave of direct-to-video Amityville films that was inaugurated by The Amityville Haunting […]

The recap first: before we can know where we are, we must be very certain to know where we’ve been. Now, the notion that there is a thing called the “Amityville series” is a tricky, difficult claim to defend on the merits, but it’s at least the case that there are certain behind-the-scenes maneuverings that […]

Once upon a time, Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, and Andrew Form co-founded a production company called Platinum Dunes, whose purpose was to remake old horror films, but shinier and worse. I mean, presumably the “worse” part wasn’t in the corporate statement of principles, and it just worked out that way. I think it’s entirely fair […]