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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2018) #40!

It’s time for the latest Scannain podcast! A somewhat bumper edition this time.

This week, I join Grace Duffy, Luke Dunne from Film in Dublin and Phil Bagnall to discuss the week in film. As usual, we talk about the top ten and the new releases, as well as what we’ve watched this week. In this episode, we all debate Mandy, Grace discusses her rewatch of Arrival, Luke contemplates Bad Times at the El Royale and Phil ruminates upon Wonder Woman.

The bulk of this week’s news coverage is given over to Phil’s trip to the London Film Festival, and he discusses his highlights of the festival; his opinion on the headliners, his hidden gems and his disappointments. In other film news, we discuss the WANDA Feminist Film Festival in Belfast and the Galway Junior Film Fleadh.

The top ten:

  1. Kler (Clergy)
  2. Samson Et Dalila – Met Opera 2018 (Opera)
  3. Hunter Killer
  4. Venom
  5. First Man
  6. Johnny English Strikes Again
  7. Goosebumps II: Haunted Halloween
  8. Smallfoot
  9. Halloween
  10. A Star is Born

New releases:

  • Possum
  • The Guilty
  • Bad Reputation
  • An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn
  • The Hate You Give
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Katie

You can download the episode here, or listen to it below.

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Non-Review Review: Halloween (2018)

The Halloween franchise remains a strange beast, for a number of reasons.

Most notably, it is one of the relatively rare horror movie franchises that has actively and repeatedly refused the siren call of over-complication and entanglement. Michael Myers is an iconic horror character, on par with other seventies and eighties ghouls like the creature from Predator, the monster from Alien, Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th Franchise and even Freddie Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street. However, as the mythology of those characters has spiralled and intertwined, Michael Myers remains a very simple, straightforward concept.

The Shape of things to come.

The horror reboot is a fixture of the modern pop cultural landscape, and Michael Myers went through his own version of that. There’s an argument to be made that Myers came out much better than many of his contemporaries with Rob Zombie’s Halloween. However, even before that, the Halloween franchise seemed to emphasise its essential blankness. Halloween III did not feature Myers at all, which seems crazy in hindsight. Halloween: H20 effectively rewrote the franchise’s history so that only Halloween and Halloween II actually happened.

Of course, there were films in the series that indulged in all the standard horror movie tropes, which tried to develop and cultivate a mythology around the iconic masked killer. This is most obvious in the iterations of the franchise without Jamie Lee Curtis, particularly in the sixth film Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. However, it is telling that these sorts of complications and elaborations have frequently been brushed aside as detritus, understood in hindsight to diminish the power of the character and the franchise.

Facing up to him.

The latest iteration of Halloween understands that this inherent blankness, this resistance against the pull of over-complication or over-mythologisation, is the key to the franchise’s success. Like H20, Halloween is what might be termed a “deboot” in modern parlance, a direct reversal of an earlier change in direction. Indeed, it’s notable for the thoroughness of the debooting. In its opening five minutes, Halloween wipes away not only the Rob Zombie reboot, but also the earlier H20 deboot, and everything in the past forty years.

In the teaser, the audience is bluntly informed by a British true crime journalist that Michael Myers “for the past forty years, by all accounts, has not said a word.” That statement is more than just an important bit of continuity wrangling. It is an important statement of purpose for Halloween‘s understanding of its own franchise and its central character. Halloween very pointedly updates its storytelling mechanics and framework to reflect the forty years since the original film, but it also understands that part of the appeal of Michael Myers has always been his blankness.

Homecoming.

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Non-Review Review: Scream

Today, we’re reviewing the entire Scream trilogy. Sadly, I’ll have to wait to get a look at the latest instalment, but reviews of the first three will be going on-line throughout the day.

It’s hard to really look back at Scream in context these days. It was released in the mid-nineties, a period where the slasher movie had all but died off, after series after series produced weaker and weaker instalments. Audiences had been sort of numbed to the impact of the slasher film as a genre, expecting the bland stock scares, the stereotypical mumbo-jumbo, the teen angst, the sexual politics and even the unstoppable killer. It’s not too much of a stretch to believe that Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson intended the movie as something of an epilogue for the genre, a not-too-fond farewell to the type of films that had been churned out since the seventies, with never a hint of growth and development.

A dead line?

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What is the Fixation With Slasher Movies?

Seriously. John Carpenter pretty much invented the genre back in the 1970s, and it has been with us ever since. But why do we get so many really terrible variations on people doing bad and gruesome things to other people year-in and year-out. You’d magine that every possible object that exists for a killer to hide behind has been hidden behind and every possible note that could be reached by a high-pitched scream has been reached by a high-pitched scream. And yet here they are, again and again and again. What’s the dealio?

I'm not even sure he's the scariest Myers around...

I'm not even sure he's the scariest Myers around...

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