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Showing posts from March, 2019

US is Tense, Baffling Fun

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Jordan Peele’s sophomore movie Us  is well crafted American horror mixing home invasion, apocalypse, and sci-fi conspiracy themes. Prolonged stretches of sinister tension, relatable humor, and harrowing performances mostly sell this baffling, layered love letter to horror fans. Don’t expect Get Out ’s succinct storytelling, political leanings, or intimate setting. The breakneck speed of the plot doesn’t let you contemplate the meanings of seemingly trivial clues Peele tucks into the film. These clues along with encyclopedic knowledge of faith, science, history, and lore may be needed to fully decipher the film (at a later time). Plus, there is an ambitious narrative in the undertow occurring mostly offscreen and on a grand scale. None of the loftier aspirations ruin the fun of the initial screening. As with most dense films, repeated viewings (and DVD commentaries) may further confirm theories and speculations. It is a notable accomplishment that Peele has brought back a sense of i

Quick Takes: Await Further Instructions, Beast, Let's Scare Jessica to Death

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Await Further Instructions is a mystery, sci-fi/horror, yuletide-set gem with grand ambitions that defies its low production values. It’s a cautionary tale of toxic masculinity, tepid statement about the telly, and goes downright mental into stop-motion practical effects. Beast takes the beauty to ferociously dark depths in this surprising, enigmatic, & confident debut thriller. It defies genre, keeps you off kilter, & the intoxicating lead actors keep you intrigued to the bitter, haunting end that lingers like a sea mist. (From Stray Bear Films available exclusively on SHUDDER .) Let’s Scare Jessica to Death offers a glimpse of hippy life in the 70s. Care-free, free love, and accidentally falling victim to dark forces when living off the grid. It happens. And in this film, it happens really slowly and aimlessly. I liked the crazy lead’s internal monologue that tried to convince her how non-crazy people should act.

Halloween Postage Stamps Coming This Year!

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Sure, no one mails anything nowadays, but as a person who used pens to write with my hands and then put letters in a magical box, I find the retro charm of stamps delightful. The US Postal Service is issuing the "Spooky Silhouettes" series created by illustrator Tyler Lang (see more of his work at AlwaysWithHonor.com ) later this year. Thanks to Miranda at SpookyLittleHalloween.com for breaking this news to the Twitterverse! A pox on you if you are not following Miranda, the ruling Queen of Halloween. She is everything.

Department 56 Does Dia de Los Muertos

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Department 56 unveiled the line up for this year's Halloween Village offerings. Included in the mix is a new series of Dia de los Muertos-themed buildings and accessories. They are available to pre-order now from Country N More Gifts (my favorite shop to buy village pieces) and are expected to be available later this summer.

Quick Takes: Overload, Anna and the Apocalypse, Hole in the Ground, Slender Man

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Hole In The Ground is an artfully shot Irish tale with a dread & tension-filled first half anchored by fine performances. It gives up the ghost early on then gets derailed by plot holes & generic tropes revealing an underdeveloped script. It's a near miss more than a fail. Overlord is an uncomplicated wartime feature that nosedives into Nazi horror territory. It opens with booming vigor but settles into a dull lull with little character development or storytelling. Then suddenly it reanimates for a fun, gory, action-packed, B-movie finish. Anna And The Apocalypse pushes genres first gleefully then absurdly like a modern Rocky Horror. The pop songs are catchy, carnage is crunchy, and then there's a breakneck tonal shift. It’s zombie horror after all! An utterly unique pastiche and an instant yuletide classic. Slender Man was quite a feat: first film to be conceived entirely by web bots, filmed in complete darkness (screw you lightbulb

Fangoria's 2019 Chainsaw Awards

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FANGORIA , the preeminent horror movie magazine, rose from the dead last year and wasted no time in issuing their 2019 Chainsaw Awards this week. These awards are selected by the people who know horror the best: The Fans. Earlier this year the ballot (below) was distributed via social media channels. Ballots have been counted and here is the official list of winners. Thank you FANGORIA for recognizing the best horror of the year. The Oscars can go sit on a chainsaw. Best Actress: Toni Collette , Hereditary Best Actor: Nicolas Cage , Mandy Best Supporting Actor: Alex Wolff , Hereditary Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton , Suspiria Best Director: Ari Aster , Hereditary Best Screenplay: Ari Aster , Hereditary Best Foreign Language Movie: Terrified Best Series: The Haunting of Hill House Best Score: Johan Johannson , Mandy Best Make-Up Effects: Mark Coulier , Suspiria Best Wide Release Movie: Hereditary Best Limited Release Movie: Mandy Best Creature Effe