Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

If (as I proposed at the end of my review) 2005’s Wolf Creek is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre of 21st Century Australian horror – aggressively nihilistic, full of pointless violence without catharsis – I guess it would have to be the case that Wolf Creek 2 would therefore be the Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 of […]

One should be careful in going overboard with praise for director Stuart Gordon, who was a fallible mortal like the rest of us – I have seen both Robot Jox and Fortress, I am well aware that the man could fuck up. But still, listen to this fun fact and tell me the man wasn’t […]

Adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft are, all things considered, pretty rare; good adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft barely exist at all. So it’s maybe more inevitable than surprising that the two best Lovecraft-derived films come from precisely the same filmmaking team: director Stuart Gordon, producer Brian Yuzna, co-writer Dennis Paoli, working under the aegis of Charles Band’s […]

Also check out my review of the Italian cut It is a common observation and an accurate one that independent Pittsburgh-based director George A. Romero invented the modern zombie film more or less entirely out of thin air with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead. But I think the reason that the zombie film turned […]

To claim that Re-Animator, a faultless hybrid of no-holds-barred splatterpunk horror and pitch-black comedy from 1985, is the best movie ever drawn from the writing of H.P. Lovecraft is to merely claim the offensively obvious. It doesn’t take very much at all to be one of the best Lovecraft adaptations (he’s a good candidate for […]

The torture porn fad of the mid-’00s was one of the dreariest developments in the history of horror cinema: take the imaginative gore effects of the early slasher films, strip away the merry exploitation hucksterism, and replace it with bitterness and a fascination with the human capacity for cruelty. I have seen at least a […]

Undead was the first feature film directed by TV commercial veterans and visual effects artists Michael & Peter Spierig, twins who go professionally by The Spierig Brothers. And when I say “the first feature”, I am not at all communicating how much of a first feature it is: the kind of first feature in which […]

The 1983 animated feature Barefoot Gen has the bad luck to suffer from being overshadowed from two different directions. First, it’s an adaptation of one of the most important manga of the 1970s, Nakazawa Keiji’s very loosely autobiographical story about a six-year-old boy living in Hiroshima at the time that residents of that city became […]

Author’s note: I’m going to be treating this like you already know the story, and after a quarter of a century, you really ought to. Still, probably best to hold off on reading this if you haven’t seen the film – and also, I strongly urge you to see the film. There are so many […]

As we all know (and like many of the things we all know, it’s only partially true), Japanese animation got through its “this is just for kids” phase much earlier than the animation industries of every other country. And once it got out of its “this is just for kids” phase, it very quickly arrived […]

Regrettably, this is not the space for a condensed history of the entire Australian film industry prior to 1970. Suffice it to say that the country was a major producer of films through about 1913, including The Story of the Kelly Gang in 1906, generally agreed to be the first feature-length film. After this point, […]

I will say this for 2009’s Anacondas: Trail of Blood – it’s not much, but I’ll say it – it’s surprising that a film made directly back-to-back with Anaconda 3: Offspring isn’t much worse. Comparing the two films, there’s absolutely no contest: the fourth movie in the Anaconda franchise (and the last one, barring a […]