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Showing posts from September, 2019

Quick Takes: Tigers Are Not Afraid, High Life, Head Count

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Tigers Are Not Afraid is devastating. The horror across the border in Mexico is very real and this fantasia captures the spirit of children left to defend themselves against monsters in all forms. Director Issa Lopez has a remarkable vision, imagination, and restraint that narrows the focus to a pinpoint of pain and sorrow, and her incredible young actors fulfill the mission. This a masterpiece. Currently on Shudder. High Life is a quietly bleak, psychosexual, sci-fi anomaly that tackles themes of isolation, redemption and the inevitable surrender to the horror of deep space. It will be challenging for some audiences with its strangely assertive sexual overtones and undefined ending but it stands alongside some of Stanley Kubrick's best work. Robert Pattinson’s stellar performance embodies the weary lost soul and the results are a transcendental meditation on hope. Head Count is deviously clever & creepy, making you second guess what you’ve seen. The

Ghoulish Garden Blooms at Target

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Target stores are dropping their Halloween goods this week, and by far my favorite items are the Ghoulish Garden monster plants. They are all teeth, tongues, and eyeballs and so darn eerie and delightful. They remind me somewhat of the singing flowers in the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland, or Audrey II from The Little Shop of Horrors.  Sadly, they are all out stock around my stores and online so not sure if I'll get one this season but my stems are crossed and rooting for good luck.

IT Chapter Two Is A Completely Different Monster

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IT Chapter Two leaves the optimism & scary wonder of youth behind to focus on downbeat adult trauma. This tonal shift is necessary for the story of the adult Losers Club to fully come full circle but like the book, it becomes less enjoyable, more tedious. It meanders more often than it amuses and takes full advantage of its long running time to flesh out lots of details. So we’re left with a brilliant cast who are suddenly but sporadically thrust into fantastical set pieces. There’s truly no lack of horror, and when it happens it’s bizarre & unsettling movie magic! Yet all this drama also strangely also upstages Pennywise – and Bill Skarsgard – who seems to have a really small role. When the clown does show up, it's in the form of some larger than life but clearly CGI creature. Enhanced practical effects would have helped sell some of these moments. Greater emphasis still is given to the monster's Deadlights, three glowing orbs that are possibly its truest form, th

Charred Tree Lamp

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Since as long as I can remember, or at least since watching Poltergeist , I've been infatuated with spooky trees. If I'm driving somewhere and see the perfectly haunted tree, I must stop and take a picture. It's as annoying as it sounds. Last year, there was a devastating and deadly wildfire that wiped Paradise, CA off the map (where my parents-in-law used to live–they have since relocated). Houses completely disappeared leaving behind only foundation slabs, yet strangely, charred remains of blackened trees remained standing. the visuals were all so eerie and sad. This stuck in my mind for a long time, and I'd been looking for a project to expunge it and create something good from it. So I made a lamp as a kind of remembrance piece. 1.  I first traced an existing lamp onto paper and then sketched what I would build over the existing structure. I wasn't sure how intricate I could get with my chosen materials. My friend Britta reminded me that I should use a lamp

Terrified (2017) Film Explained

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Terrified (Aterrados) premiered quietly on Shudder and landed on many top 10 lists for 2018 (including mine!). Since then it has evolved a small cult following with many scratching their heads. It's a truly scary film that deserves wider acclaim and to that end, I have watched it repeatedly and have the following explanation of the confusing film. Obviously, the following is filled with MAJOR SPOILERS , so watch the movie then come back here. THE STRUCTURE The film has an oddly non-linear first half and a linear second half. The plot jumps around in time and is missing some interstitial scenes to pave a clear path. There's also many characters with minimal development and locations to keep track off. Two characters even have a similar appearance: tall, tousled hair, dark deep-set eyes, and beards. And there's a steady, non-stop pace that doesn't give you periods of rest to reflect. All this causes disorientation and unease, on top of the mounting dread and