Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

You couldn’t order a more perfect first generation horror movie knock-off than The Vampire Bat. The 1933 effort by Majestic Pictures (which had no other meaningfully long-lived productions before it was absorbed into Republic Pictures at the end of the ’30s) is very close to the platonic ideal of a cheap-ass attempt to simultaneously copy […]

I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of pleasure to be had in watching a real movie-movie. The kind that’s totally drunk on the expressive potential of cinema and does not give a shit about what it’s saying, as long as it says it with visual fervor. That’s the spirit that animated the French New […]

There was not ever going to be a good reason to tell the secret tragic backstory of how Count Dracula, one of English culture’s all-time best unrelentingly wicked bad guys, was actually motivated by love of his family and country. Let’s be totally clear about that part. Secret tragic backstories for the Wicked Witch of […]

In Gamera vs. Gyaos, Daiei Film’s third film in as many years featuring the fire-breathing, flying, giant tortoise Gamera, the formula of a “Gamera film” was nailed down in its final form, while his most iconic and beloved opponent was introduced. A certain Gyaos by name, because whatever else is true of daikaiju eiga they […]

I have on three different occasions now described Only Lovers Left Alive as Vampires Who Write for Pitchfork: The Movie, and I still don’t have the damnedest idea if I mean that in a disparaging or highly complimentary way. It’s that kind of movie, where the singular weirdness of it more than trumps judgments that […]

Part of the Italian Horror Blogathon at Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies I don’t imagine that Black Sunday – to give the film its standard English title, though strictly speaking that name only appears on the version released by American International Pictures in the 1960s, now thoroughly superseded – needs any help from me in getting […]

October’s such a busy month: here I am, looking to pack away the Chicago International Film Festival and get to work on Kevin Olson’s Italian Horror Blogathon, and wouldn’t you know it, but I was given an absolutely perfect, gift-wrapped transition from one to the other in the form of Dracula 3D, the latest film […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/11 & 10/16World premiere: 7 July, 2013, Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival Short version: heterosexual sex turns a lesbian into a leprous vampire. I have no idea in which direction the over-the-top alarmism faces in writer-director Eric England’s Contracted, but it’s hilarious either way, and that’s even without the incredibly shallow attempt […]

For the first beat of his first theatrical feature, Tony Scott made no little choices. When the little brother of Blade Runner and Alien mastermind Ridley Scott made the leap from television commercials to cinema with 1983’s The Hunger, he opened that film with one of the most in-your-face gestures of uncut style to be […]

The found footage horror movie, birthed by 1999’s The Blair Witch Project and thrust into the big time by 2008’s Cloverfield, burned itself out rather quickly, as will happen to a genre so cheap that you need neither a good idea nor talent to whip together something which enough damn fools will trudge out to […]

Our long national nightmare is over: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 has come out, and brought an end to the beloved teen paranormal love triangle franchise that began four achingly long years ago with Twilight, in which an insipid young woman falls in love with a shiny vampire who embodies all of […]

Though Isle of the Dead was the second horror film released by Val Lewton’s RKO production unit in 1945, it was the first one started; it was beset by backstage difficulties, and The Body Snatcher was made during a gap in production as Isle‘s cast was impossible to gather back together. It was also the […]