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New Escapist Column! In the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” Franchise…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist earlier this week. With the release of Texas Chainsaw Massacre on Netflix, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at the larger franchise spawned from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one of the defining horror movies of the seventies, an innovative and influential low-budget indie that demonstrated what was possible outside the mainstream production machine. However, few horror classics have been as poorly served by the sequels that followed as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. While most other major horror franchises can boast a genuine (or even just cult) classic among their sequels, the sequels to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre have been a slow and brutal slog into generic horror nonsense. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is just the latest stop on that journey.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On What Makes “Yellowjackets” the Buzziest Show of the Moment…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. The first season of Yellowjackets wrapped up this week, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a look at what has become the buzziest show on television.

Yellowjackets has a premise very similar to Lost, featuring a time-shifted narrative following a bunch of plane-crash survivors trapped in the wilderness as potentially supernatural events unfold around them. However, Yellowjackets follows the survivors after their return to civilisation rather than before the crash. Yellowjackets is essentially a paranoid survival horror, and one that resonates with these divided and chaotic times. It’s a show about the horrors of what happens when civilisation collapses and when people turn to monstrous belief in sheer desperation, but also about what it’s like to live with that.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On How “Scream” is a Cutting Commentary on the Noise Around the “Star Wars” Sequels…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Scream this weekend, it seemed like a good opportunity to delve into the latest entry in the beloved horror franchise.

What is most interesting about the latest Scream is the extent to which it feels largely divorced and separated from the horror genre, particularly compared to the earlier films in the franchise. Instead, Scream seems much more engaged with the modern Star Wars films, borrowing key plot points and background lore from recent entries in the franchise. More than that, it’s a film that is very aggressively engaged with the fandom discussion around those films.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On How the “Chucky” Franchise Is About Being Both Mass Produced and Remaining One of a Kind…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. I’ve been watching the Child’s Play and Chucky franchise, and so it seemed like a good opportunity to delve into one of the more distinctive major horror franchises.

There’s an interesting tension to the Chucky franchise, one that plays out across the various entries. This is a horror series about a mass-produced piece of children’s entertainment, controlled by the demented soul of a monstrous serial killer. Much of the franchise is about the contrast between those two ideas: the factory-assembled doll and the distinctive spirit inside of it. It works well as a metaphor for the larger Chucky franchise as a whole, which has changed form repeatedly across its various incarnations, but somehow managed to retain a unique and consistent identity.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

260. El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) (#146)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, with special guest Jack Packard, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, Guillermo Del Toro’s El laberinto del fauno.

In the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, a young girl named Ofelia moves to her new stepfather’s house. As Captain Vidal ruthlessly hunts down the remaining rebels, Ofelia discovers that there is something enchanted lurking in the nearby woods. A mysterious faun promises to secret Ofelia away to a magical realm, if she can complete three tasks. As Ofelia finds herself caught between fantasy and reality, she discovers the sometimes the worst monsters are the human kind.

At time of recording, it was ranked 146th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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257. Manos: The Hands of Fate – Halloween 2021 (-#3)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Doctor Bernice Murphy and Joey Keogh, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

So this week, a Halloween treat: Hal Warren’s Manos: The Hands of Fate.

A young family gets lost while taking a roadtrip through Texas. They end up driving down a dead-end road when they discover a strange lodge, maintained by an even stranger figure. Ignoring this mysterious guardian’s advice, the family decides to spend the night at this remote house. They have no idea what awaits them.

At time of recording, it was ranked 3rd on the list of the worst movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Video! On the Enduring Appeal of Michael Myers…

So, as I have mentioned before, I am launching a new video series as a companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch with every second Monday’s article, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel the following week. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

With the release of Halloween Kills, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at the larger Halloween franchise. In particular, the enduring and lasting appeal of Michael Myers as a character. What is it that makes Michael Myers such an icon of horror cinema?

New Escapist Column! On The Enduring Appeal of Michael Myers…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Halloween Kills, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the larger Halloween franchise.

What is it that makes Michael Myers such an enduring and unsettling figure? Why has the character remained so popular and iconic across four decades? Why are audiences constantly drawn to the serial killer, who is remarkably straightforward in many ways? Indeed, it seems like the relative simplicity of Michael Myers is part of the appeal. Myers is somewhat uncomplicated as far as slasher movie antagonists go. However, he is also fundamentally unknowable, and all the more effective for that.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On How “Candyman” is About Art About Trauma…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Nia DaCosta’s Candyman this weekend, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the film and the larger franchise.

Much has been written in recent years about the recent explosion of African American horror, and the relationship between that horror and the very real trauma experienced by that community. What’s particularly interesting about Candyman is that the movie is very much engaged with that debate. In an era where so many movies and television shows purport to be “about trauma”, Candyman is explicitly a movie about art about horror, and the thorny questions that stem from that relationship.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

247. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – Indiana Summer 2021 (#—)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn, Tony Black and Darren Mooney, with special guest Alex Towers, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, continuing our Indiana Summer, Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Escaping a botched deal in Hong Kong, intrepid explorer Indiana Jones finds himself in India with two unlikely partners. Jones is quickly drawn into a mystery involving stolen artifacts and a village of missing children, which offers the adventurer the opportunity for “fortune and glory.” However, dark secrets are buried beneath Pankot Palace, and it may take an archeologist to unearth them.

At time of recording, it was not ranked on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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