England, The Dark Ages. A massive Saxon horde lays siege upon a pitiful British army. Desperate knights plea to their king, a man named Arthur (Liam Garrigan, who also plays King Arthur on Once Upon a Time), but he insists they must hold the line and wait for help from their sorcerer. They are running out of time. Cut to: Merlin (Stanley Tucci, not reprising his role from Age of Extinction) a goofy charlatan giving a jokey speech into a massive mechanical structure. A transformer emerges, gives Merlin a staff, then turns into a dragon and murders the Saxons. We’re back.
Shocktober Day 30: Personal Shopper
So we’ve finally caught up with ourselves, not just with a film that came out this year (in the U.S.), but also one that was released by Criterion about a week ago. Personal Shopper was one of those Shocktober films that I wasn’t really expecting to be much of a horror movie, since it comes from a contemporary artsy French director, Olivier Assayas, who I’d heard of, but never knew to be much of a genre director. Surprisingly, Personal Shopper does have its share of thrills and shrills, but while also retaining the air of a contemplative character study. Continue reading
Shocktober Day 29: The Lure
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a “Polish Horror Musical” turns out that’s a very accurate description. The Lure or “The Daughters of Dance Party” is the story of two mermaids who join a small-time electronic pop band only to find themselves disenchanted by the selfish desires of mankind. It also has rock and roll sing-a-longs and the devouring of human flesh. It’s a well-rounded film.
Shocktober Day 28: Antichrist
When I studied film in college there were certain films that would come up more than others. Memento and Inception, Fight Club (of course), and for whatever reason, Antichrist. Maybe it was only once or twice but you don’t forget an Antichrist conversation. On one hand, it’s a film lover’s wet dream with rich visuals, deep earthly colors and even deeper themes. On the other hand, its a nightmare porn film ravaged by sorrow and misery. Either way, it’s not a fun time, but is it a rewarding experience?
Shocktober Day 27: Pan’s Labyrinth
Pan’s Labyrinth is known for being the best-reviewed movie of the 2000s, which sets it apart from the rest of the more low key famous films we’ve covered about this month. It’s director, Guillermo del Toro, is also well-celebrated on this blog and everywhere except in Hollywood executive offices. My point is that I don’t have a lot to add at this point, especially in comparison to other insightful critics who actually made the time to watch this film more than once. So instead I’ll share one of those, check it out after the jump.
Shocktober Day 26: Dead Ringers
Yes, that’s right. Another Cronenberg movie. Though I suppose Dead Ringers is a natural conclusion to the string of films directed by David Cronenberg that we’ve reviewed. Because even though I already professed to being far from an expert on the director’s work, from what I can tell, this is about the point where Cronenberg started to stray from the horror genre entirely. And at this point, it’s probably safe to say that he doesn’t seem intent on returning to the genre he made his name on any time soon. Continue reading
Shocktober Day 25: The Vanishing
A lot of the times, both in the movies and in life, you find that the scariest things out there aren’t bogeymen or Frankensteins or guys dressed in masks, but just normal dudes. The Vanishing explores this idea – the idea of an ordinary guy with a heart of darkness lurking underneath, and how that darkness can manifest in disturbingly inhumane ways. It also explores how one reacts to a moment in time that seems fleeting at the time, but will come to haunt you for years to come. But most of all, its defined by its peculiar structure, and the way it’s used to wring tension out of a very real kind of horror. Continue reading