Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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 […]

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 […]