A fan of all things Cormac McCarthy and RuPaul's Drag Race, you can typically find Craig in the kitchen pursuing his dream of becoming a head chef, or researching for his M.A. in Film Studies at Chapman University.
The late Roger Ebert, perhaps, best describes Herk Harvey’s low-budget, surrealist nightmare, Carnival of Souls, as possessing “an intriguing power.” One can see, as Ebert did, how Carnival predated masterpieces from Lynch and Romero: its eerie mood and atmosphere coats an oblique and minimalist story, led by sterile (otherwise detached) characters who – like the audience – understand little of what happens to them.
There are three basic don’ts every player, viewer, and creator of the Saw franchise should know eight movies deep. Don’t: (1) break the rules of Jigsaw’s games, (2) mention Betsy Russell or her character Jill Tuck…ever, and (3) rely on an illogical plot twist that breaks the rules of the universe.
Sometimes with a little scream you need some laughs. Blumhouse’s latest, Happy Death Day, commendably nods to slashers and satires like Scream and The Cabin in the Woods. Though not quite as groundbreaking as those titles, the film certainly delivers on chuckles by poking fun at well-established (and relatively dormant genre) slasher tropes. What makes it engaging, however, is its choice to zero-in on clever characters and precise plotting to deliver an exceedingly good time.
Should vampire films hold sway in theaters once more, let’s hope that they’re like The Transfiguration. Michael O’Shea’s directorial debut is quiet and disturbing – embracing what it so reverently admires, but keenly aware that it cannot tread previous ground.
Darren Aronofsky isn’t afraid to take you to hell and back. Nor does he care whether you enjoyed the ride or not.
The already polarized reception mother! has received illuminates the perceived differences between art-house and mainstream audiences. Whereas one side is claimed to revel in philosophical mush, the other prefers explosive and expositive studio slop. Leave it to Aronofsky to embrace polarization and release a film that abides by each of these stereotypes and expertly demonstrates that neither audience is absolute.
From Cronos to Hellboy and Crimson Peak, writer/director Guillermo del Toro has consistently demonstrated his transformative brand of storytelling. His gothic imagery oozes deep shadows from the frame, capturing his characters and audiences in a world that although displaced from reality, feels at their greatest moments intimate, familiar, and warm. The 2006 horror/dark fantasy Pan’s Labyrinth is for many del Toro's finest hour, blending magical realism with the most balanced touch of upending humanity’s favorite conflict: good vs. evil.
Kubrick once purportedly said, “Everything has already been done. Every story has been told every scene has been shot. It’s our job to do it one better.” Such variety is at work in nearly every major studio franchise today, and successfully so. In the indie scene, however, standing apart from say – your inspirations – is a heftier task if one wishes to break any new bounds and gain recognition.
The Godfather Part II. Aliens. Terminator II: Judgment Day. John Wick II. Christmas Vacation. All films easily – and arguably – better than their predecessors. Annabelle: Creation is such a case. But that doesn’t mean you should see it.
David Lowery’s A Ghost Story is unlike a great deal of films you’ve seen. It’s also hauntingly familiar, something that plays greatly into either your connection or distain for the material. Coincidentally, it’s one of the finest examples of pure cinema, and this decade’s first great entry into the pantheon of almost silent films; yet, one of the most convoluted and indulgent endeavors in film history for its deliberate stylizations.