Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

By 1973, the British horror film industry was collapsing. The smallest of the three main studios focusing genre films, Tigon, released its final film in that year; the largest, Hammer Films, very famously spent the first five years of the decade desperately trying every new idea they could scrounge up, which in 1973 meant a […]

When people speak of Amicus Productions, what they’re really speaking of, I think, is the set of films beginning with our present subject, 1971’s The House That Dripped Blood. Between 1962 and 1970, Amicus produced 15 films on a variety of subjects, and only six of them were horror films (a number that already has […]

So help me, I really do feel sorry for The New Mutants and the poor saps who made it. If all had gone according to plan, it would have slunk into theaters in April 2018, gotten bored reviews comparing it unfavorably to Logan as an example of trying to do a different genre than action-thriller […]

One is practically required by law to start any review of the 1999 version of The Haunting by negatively comparing it to the 1963 version of The Haunting, and how dare I do otherwise. The Haunting ’63 is one of horror’s all-time highest water marks, an immaculate piece of visual storytelling on top of being […]

There has been many a horror film to be completely saved through the intervention of nothing other than a really terrific, atmospheric location. You Should Have Left is not one of these. To be sure, the location is terrific, an ultramodern McMansion with razor-sharp clean lines, tastefully austere appointments, and a profoundly inorganic hostility to […]

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 […]

One of the first things to happen in The Turning is that Kurt Cobain dies.* This has nothing to do with anything that follows: Cobain never becomes a plot point, and there’s no Nirvana on the soundtrack (though there is some Courtney Love). But it does let us know, right away, that this story takes […]

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 […]