Andy is a contributing writer, occasional interviewer, surrogate Schnaars, and co-host of the Sophisticult podcast. He might not be as funny as Joe, rich as Jon, strong as Casey, adorable as Mark, or surly as Eric, but damn does he give great hugs.
“Body Horror” is often discussed as a distinct type or subgenre of Horror proper. The term implies an object that takes for its focus explicit representations of a body’s fragility or its mutability. “Body Horror” is used to describeTusk. It describes the Human Centipede franchise. It describes Cronenberg, Carpenter, or any other number of horror auteurs working in the plastic 80s when practical effects were king. It’s Society. It’s The Stuff. It’s Slither!
Those sunny chaps over at Head Trauma Productions have premiered their latest short film, Pity. Coming off the wicked and nuanced feature Dead Weight director and writer John Pata's film earned Best Noir Short at the PollyGrind Film Festival and multiple nominations from the Diabolique International Film Festival, FilmQuest, and the New Orleans Horror Film Festival.
The problem of animals in film is the persistent problem of representation and meaning in film. A dog, is a dog, is a dog, but it’s also, you know, a dog. Jonathan Burt has written extensively on animals as propaganda tools, detailing the complex ways people respond to depictions of animals opposed to depictions of humans. The problem intensifies when moving to cinematic representation as the animal has the capacity to be nearly anything within such a framework. Burt’s analysis of Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” lays out these concerns with great clarity.
Reviewing something like What We Do in the Shadows is a bit like reliving the first time you saw a This is Spinal Tap and The Blair Witch Project double feature. It’s not that Co-Directors and Co-Writers Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi have reinvented some of cinema and television’s favorite popular styles. Rather, “What We Do in the Shadows” does the very important work of reminding its audience that just because something is tired, doesn’t mean it can’t still be reawakened given a new voice…and some strapping ascots.
Willa Paskin recently wrote a piece cataloging a shift in media consumption from casual social occurrence to an incremental yet intensely ravenous adoration. As I’m writing this the United States Government has all but made official the involvement of North Korea in the Sony Pictures Entertainment hacking scandal and the subsequent threats of violence should “The Interview” be released.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a “Cool” movie. Directed and written by Ana Lily Amirpour, the film’s tagline states: “The first Iranian Vampire Western.” The pretense of being the first of its kind before you’re even in the seats proves at once irritatingly brazen and enticing. It’s the kind of attitude that makes the “I-liked-this-before-anyone” feel maddeningly solipsistic but also somewhat vindicating when, you know, you can be the one to say it.
Starry Eyes offers yet another version of the Faustian narrative exploring the dangerous repercussions of unchecked ambition. Sara (Alex Essoe) is an aspiring ingénue struggling with some masochistic tendencies. After a series of failed auditions, and some not too subtle, petty emotional abuse from her cohort, Sarah successfully lands a few callbacks for a new horror film from a once renowned movie studio.
To pitch something as post-apocalyptic is beginning to carry the weight of moody adolescent poetry. When AMC and the CW, along with the occasional network TV programming, start running grim, “gritty” dystopian survivalist shows its safe to posit mainstream culture is transfixed on the demise of Western society, bordering on some mass auto-erotic asphyxiation that pushes us to the edge of destruction before final catharsis.
Though being accused by some around these parts as being in love with his own smells, I tend to completely buy Ti West’s filmmaking, finding confidence and strategy where some find pretension. Now tackling the western in his upcoming “In a Valley of Violence” West, like Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, is on a gradual move outside horror proper.