The Jersey Devil

Edgar Allan Poe wrote in his essay on interior design and specifically about American ideals of aesthetic good “[A] man of large purse has usually a very little soul which he keeps in it.” While Poe may be speaking of a lack of culture and taste, specifically represented in Republican manners, this description is particularly... Continue Reading →

A Clown Without Pity

Dismissing a work as repellent is easily done. Content is important especially in our culture where we are much more aware of sexism, violence, and other elements that can reduce and marginalize. Terrifier is a work repellent enough to be dismissed outright. A low-budget slasher, what it lacks in clever plotting it makes up in... Continue Reading →

The Never-ending Story

Moving on is hard to do. After all what does it mean to leave? What does life look like without us. Many zombie movies ask that question, how do we survive when the soul evaporates and the essential grotesque proportion of flesh and blood are left as our only signifier. Every movie about supernatural forces... Continue Reading →

Heredity or A Dog’s Life

The fate of animals in any horror movies is a prickly subject. What does it mean for animals to die in horror movies? Most of the time the audience knows that the furry bell weathers are often the first to go. Films like Halloween or the Friday the 13th franchise occasionally play with the audiences... Continue Reading →

The Raw and the Cooked

There’s an interesting moment in the French cannibalism movie Julia Ducournau’s Raw when the main character Justine (Garance Marillier), opines to her friends that eating meat is cruel because animals have emotions. The moment is particularly compelling because the action of the film takes place at a veterinary school where students are being trained to... Continue Reading →

Sophia’s Choice

The old horror cliche is that the one who invariably needs to be revenged is the monster, the killer. The one who has been wronged in some kind of moral sense, even if that occasions has to do some fuzzy math to get the equation right. Looking at something like Jigsaw, in the Saw franchise... Continue Reading →

(Lake) Mungo, pawn in game of life

Stanley Kubrick mentioned to Stephen King that a ghost story was hopeful because it assumed there was life after death.  In Kubrick’s case, he was speaking about The Shining, but hope is a strange thing to envision in Joel Anderson’s faux docudrama Lake Mungo. In the film, a family deals with the facts in the... Continue Reading →

Witch Finder

Found footage with its anti-aesthetic filmmaking offers an interesting type of the horrific, one conceptualized not only by horrific material, but bound with how the audience experiences time. Although The Blair Witch Project was far from the first found footage horror film, it’s wide dispersal in the culture makes it a touchstone. Looking back at... Continue Reading →

All in the Family

Possession movies are sleight of hand. While questions of good versus evil, the devil versus god, seem to be what their narratives are about, what they really posit are the things that imperil a society. For William Friedkin's The Exorcist, what’s at stake is the body of a rich white girl, a representation of purity... Continue Reading →

Death Becomes Her

  Toni Morrison in her book Playing in the Dark:Whiteness in the Literary Imagination offers an interesting instructional guide to readers of early american fiction with its cursory depiction of characters of color. She stresses reading not just the caricature or absence of characters of color, but in fact to analyze what the color-coded notion... Continue Reading →

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