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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 Video! “Halloween Kills is a Bloody (and Ambitious) Mess – Review”

I’m thrilled to be launching movie reviews on The Escapist. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’m honoured to contribute a three-minute film review of Halloween Kills, which released theatrically and on Peacock this weekend.

New Escapist Column! On the Contemporary Resonance of John Carpenter’s “Apocalypse” Trilogy…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With Halloween approaching, the column is going to take a little bit of a detour into some spooky stuff, and I’m very excited.

John Carpenter remains one of my favourite horror movie directors. A large part of that is just down to simple craft. Carpenter can make a cheap movie look great. More than that, though, Carpenter’s unique brand of horror has aged very well. This is particularly true of Carpenter’s “Apocalypse” trilogy – The Thing, Prince of Darkness, In The Mouth of Madness. Carpenter imagines the end of the world not with a bang, with the slow and unsettling collapse of the invisible forces holding it together. The world unravels and unspools, and chaos breaks through

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

New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “Three Overlooked Horror Movies You Should Watch”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and Bob Chipman for the sixth episode. Because it was a slow week for film news, and because this is officially October, we decided that we’d take the chance to look at three horror movies that are perhaps under-appreciated and well worth your time: Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantum (2020), John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness (1995) and Steve Miner’s House (1986).

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

50. The Thing – Halloween 2017 (#165)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, 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.

This time, a Halloween treat. John Carpenter’s The Thing.

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Non-Review Review: Let Us Prey

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2015.

Let Us Prey marks the feature film debut of director Brian O’Malley.

O’Malley certainly knows his stuff. Let Us Prey is visually striking and very well-directed. It is rich and memorable, perfectly capturing the eighties exploitation vibe that O’Malley is striving for. It isn’t too difficult to imagine Let Us Prey as a lost horror film from the eighties, with its synth-heavy soundtrack and vague paranormal underpinnings. O’Malley draws from a wealth of sources, but Let Us Prey feels most obviously indebted to the work of John Carpenter, feeling like a curious blend between Prince of Darkness and Assault on Precinct 13.

letusprey1

Unfortunately, O’Malley confident direction can do little to conceal the obvious flaws in a clumsy script. While Let Us Prey has an obvious affection for classic schlock-fest horror films, the script feels more than a little lazy and generic. Horror films generally trade in tastelessness or tackiness – that’s a huge part of the fun – but there is no sense of technique in how Let Us Prey parades its own depravity. The “shock” elements feel cheap and half-hearted.

O’Malley is very much a director to watch, but Let Us Prey is saddled with a script that is far more horrifying than anything O’Malley can actually put on screen.

letusprey

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My 12 for ’14: The Guest and a Halloween Christmas Movie…

With 2014 coming to a close, we’re counting down our top twelve films of the year. Check back daily for the latest featured film.

2014 was a spectacular year for genre work. Perhaps emboldened by the success of genre fare (shared universes! talking apes! killer racoons!) in the summer movie season over the past number of years, it seemed like both major and minor studios were more willing to play with concepts that could easily seem absurd or throwaway.

’71 blended its historical real-world setting with the claustrophobia one might expect to find in horror thriller – a zombie movie set in seventies Belfast. The Babadook is a awards-caliber study of disillusioned parenthood that just happens to use the language of a supernatural horror. Birdman is a blistering Hollywood satire and character study driven by imagery and iconography more traditionally associated with fantasy. There has always been genre overlap, but it seemed particularly pronounced this year.

theguest

The Guest revels in its pulpy nature, offering a gleefully absurd intersection of a classic slasher movie with a more traditional holiday fare. The story of a mysterious visitor who moves in with the family of a deceased soldier, The Guest is wry and quick-witted, subversive and cheeky in equal measure. Anchored by a script from Simon Barrett that refuses to pull any punches, razor-sharp direction from Adam Wingard and a superb central performance from Dan Stevens, The Guest is a pure pulpy pleasure.

In many respects, The Guest feels like what would happen if you asked John Carpenter to make a Christmas movie. Only set at Halloween.

Flying the flag...

Flying the flag…

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Non-Review Review: The Guest

The Guest is a pulpy delight. It’s a glorious throwback to classic seventies horror, with writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingart perfectly channeling the mood and feel of classic seventies exploitation films. It’s affectionate and unapologetic. It is gleeful and grim. It is darkly hilarious and also brutally pulpy. The Guest is a film that knows exactly what it wants to be, and accomplishes that with great skill.

Seeing red...

Seeing red…

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Non-Review Review: Citadel

Citadel marks a promising feature-length directorial début from Ciaran Foy. It’s a very grimy and gritty horror, evoking the sort of trashy horror aesthetic of the seventies or eighties video scene. It’s unpleasant and nasty stuff, which is exactly what you’d expect from a horror film. On the other hand, it occasionally seems too nasty. Horror films, by virtue of their genre, often wind up feeling a little reactionary. Citadel is an urban horror film, reflecting the concerns and the nightmares of inner-city living, turning happy-slapping hoodies with ASBOs into literal monsters.

I got you, babe...

I got you, babe…

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