Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

In space, maybe, nobody can hear you scream, but in High Life, space is marked out primarily by the thick omnipresence of sounds. The lucky 13th feature film by director Claire Denis – and her first in English, a leap she navigates with a force and confidence that equals any other great director’s forays into […]

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 […]

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; […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: the true story of how infamous war criminal Adolf Eichmann was captured by the Mossad is related in Operation […]

From among the Video Nasties I’m not sure whether what is most impressive about Night of the Bloody Apes is a positive (there’s so much wacky bullshit going on here that it saves the film from that meanest of fates, being boring) or a negative (it’s so boring that I lost interest halfway through even […]

In the film Rampage, in the office of its over-the-top villains, there is a copy of the 1986 arcade game Rampage, and this cute gesture raises ontological questions that the film is unprepared to address. Does Rampage exist within the universe of Rampage? Do the characters in the movie in fact realise that they are […]

On 10 April, 1966, Embassy Pictures released one of the most amazingly ludicrous double features in the history of crappy movies: not one but two horror/Western hybrids directed by William Beaudine, among the most prolific directors in the history of the medium. Alphabetically (I don’t know which was the A-picture and which the B-picture – […]

When horror came back to American cinema in a big way in the 1950s, it was after receiving a face-lift: gone were creaky Mitteleuropean castles and villages, banished were old dark houses, and even the outright lifts of Expressionist aesthetic techniques were mostly snuffed out (though a genre that gets so much mileage from a […]

The most reductive version of the Entire History of American Horror Filmmaking is that it all began as Hollywood’s narrative and stylistic response to German Expressionism, which was, with the odd exception here or there, the only place you could go between about 1910 and 1930 to find anything paranormal in the movies. And this […]

To begin with, define “horror” in a way that makes everybody happy; then solve the intractable mysteries of cinema history prior to 1920. And once you have done these two things, you can authoritatively state, “this is the first American horror film”. But until we reach that point of pure intellectual fulfillment, the best we […]

There’s little more frustrating, in terms of filmed entertainment, than watching a movie waste the talents of a gifted actor, and The Lazarus Effect burns through no fewer than three people who absolutely shouldn’t have gotten themselves stuck in such a ropey low-budget horror film: Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, and Donald Glover. And we might […]

The important part first: BioGoji, the Godzilla suit featured in Godzilla vs. Biollante, is my all-time favorite design of the iconic creature. It’s not flawless – like all of the VS Series Godzillas, it has chunky thighs that suggest that too much devouring nuclear sites and not enough time jogging is taking its toll (but […]