Born Again

A Star Is Born (1954) / A Star Is Born (2018)

If this was a more well-researched piece, I would’ve gone to the trouble of seeing both the 1937 and 1976 versions of A Star Is Born, but I only have so much time. Also, from what I’ve gathered, the 1954 version is the most acclaimed version of this classic Hollywood folk tale. Well, perhaps except for the Bradley Cooper-directed version that’s currently in theaters, which seems to already be an Oscar frontrunner. I’m not sure that this latest version bests the version starring Judy Garland and James Mason, but I think it does manage to tap into why this is such a durable story, and why it has been applied to such different eras of Hollywood filmmaking. Continue reading

Shocktober Horrorble: Day of the Dead: Bloodline

Day of the Dead: Bloodline (2018)

It wasn’t intentional, but Bub the zombie has been the mascot of this year’s Shocktober. He was the face of our draft and, out of this whole month of movie madness, Day of the Dead is the only film we all three watched together. So I thought it would be appropriate to bring everything to a close by introducing everyone to Bub’s twisted nephew, Max. He sucks and I hate him, but he’s about the best thing the 2018 remake of Day of the Dead, subtitled “Bloodline,” has going for it.

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Shocktober Day 30: Revenge

Revenge (2017)

Here we are, my final post for Shocktober 2018 aka “Shuddertober”. I can’t think of a better way to end this dive into Shudder’s extensive horror catalog then with one of their most critically acclaimed exclusives. Revenge has been hailed as a visceral, badass, feminist exploitation flick. It’s been called one of the goriest and intense films of the year. So should you believe the hype?

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Shocktober Day 29: Found Footage 3D

Found Footage 3D (2016)

I’ve been a defender of found footage for years. Where many filmgoers have written off this subgenre as a cheap gimmick, I believe it has been and can still be a unique way to tell a story. I won’t deny there’s been a lot of filmmakers and studios that have exploited the lower production costs of found footage. Like, did anyone who worked on The Gallows actually give a shit about the end product? And don’t get me started on The Devil Inside. What a lot of found footage detractors overlook is that a great found footage movie is great because it finds a way in which it would only ever work as a found footage film.

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Shocktober Day 28: WolfCop

WolfCop (2014)

In my review of Prom Night, I mentioned that I put pretty much zero thought into choosing to review it for Shocktober. I’m sure I put in even less thought into WolfCop, since my selection was based primarily on the film’s title and that I assumed it would have a kind of shlocky fun ’80s vibe. I think I would say that I did have fun watching WolfCop, though for some reason the fun rang a little hallow. Still, you have to give the film some credit for the amount of bloody gusto it throws at the screen even on what appears to be a fairly modest budget. Continue reading

Shocktober Day 27: Take Shelter

Take Shelter (2011)

Most of the time when I watch a movie for the second time, I have an agenda. I’ve made up my mind based on the experience I had in my prior viewing and so the second time I’m looking for evidence that supports my stance. Oftentimes, that means a comedy movie seems funnier or a action movie more exciting. Horror, thriller, and mystery movies suffer under this level of scrutiny, most of the time, because those genres all rely on exploiting the unknown. But truly great cinema can rise above that – I’ve always said that if a spoiler can ruin a movie, it probably wasn’t that good anyway – and Take Shelter is one such film. Because I remembered vividly how it ended, and when I got to that last shot again, I still couldn’t make up my mind 100% about what it means.

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Shocktober Day 26: Beyond the Black Rainbow

Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010)

Last month I reviewed Mandy the sophomore effort from Italian/Canadian filmmaker Panos Cosmatos. For those who don’t know, is a blood crazed arthouse trance movie where Nicolas Cage screams in his underwear and has a chainsaw duel with a hippie. Beyond the Black Rainbow is a lot like that but minus most of the stuff I just said. Both films are nightmarish fever dreams bathed in red lights and surreal settings. Both films are slow with simple narratives but complex visuals. And though I’m not always 100% on what I’m looking at in this film. I’m always intrigued to look further.

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