I have been watching HBO’s The Outsider with cautious optimism. Because while the series is gloriously dark, moody, often chilling, and garnering praise as 2020’s first great TV show, frankly we’ve been here before. Last year’s True Detective Season 3 kicked off 2019 to a similarly strong start before it went out with a solid, if otherwise slow conclusion. The Outsider has nothing to prove as a debut miniseries boasting impressive viewership. But with one episode left in the chamber, can The Outsider succeed where True Detective S3 did not? (Light spoilers below.) Continue reading
There used to be a time when I craved the summer movie. The fun, the sun, the pure escapism. I hate to say it, but I’ve grown increasingly underwhelmed by the recent summer movie crop. I’m wondering if this is a consequence of a superhero landscape that turns months like February, March, even November into prime blockbuster slates, or if this is indicative of a booming streaming culture where most of us are apt to skip the theater altogether. It might even be a case of poorly chosen IPs recycled to cash-in on existing fanbases.
To renew my faith, I’d like to reflect on a cherished theater-going staple by cobbling together a list of my absolute favorite summer movies, ones I had the privilege of seeing while the going was spectacular. Whether summer movie season is at an end or suffering through a morally bankrupt slump, I’d like to key in on the films that made the whole craze worthwhile. Continue reading
Sunday’s “The Long Night” was BY FAR the most stressful 80-minutes of television I have ever experienced. I’m going to lead with that, because, whatever complaints people may have over certain prophecies “unfulfilled,” or improper flexes of the term “Mary Sue,” or overall body count; Game of Thrones’ latest is still a breathtaking exercise in medieval survival horror. So fine-tune those TV presets (turn OFF motion smoothing/auto-motion plus AND set your sharpness to 0; you’re welcome) and let us begin. Continue reading
Fear is a funny thing. When it’s coursing through your veins, the sudden creak of an open door becomes your worst nightmare. You tell yourself it’s nothing. It’s just the wind. But you can’t know for sure. So you go towards it, hoping to prove you were right all along. And slowly, you venture into the unknown, unaware that there are forces at work beyond your control. The Conjuring is one of the rare horror films that actually understands fear and the things we do because of it. So while you may be screaming inside your head, “Don’t do it! The witch is there! She wants you to go into the cellar!” you have to remember that these characters don’t want to believe it as much as they know it might be true. Before we see something, it’s still an unknown. Whether something is truly there all depends on you seeing it for yourself. Unfortunately, the Perron family are never let off the hook. Not only do they experience the horror, they also endure the psychological trauma that follows. “Hey, do you wanna play?” a voice asks, lurking in the dark. Carolyn Perron reaches for a match, desperately trying to prove that nothing’s there. A small fire burns away the shadows. All seems well. Then, a pair of clapping hands comes forth to engulf her in darkness. Fear is such a cruel thing.
If the point of a horror movie is to instill fear in the audience, then you better not hold back. Otherwise, you’re doing a huge disservice to yourself while robbing the fans of the movie they came to see. And horror fans know exactly what they want. Evil Dead acknowledges the sick, twisted fantasies of its viewers and then proceeds to vomit as much blood in their face as they can stomach. But the violence doesn’t stop there. Not even close. Evil Dead has much and more to offer, and by the gallons. This isn’t your typical horror flick of the week; it’s a gleefully gruesome gore-fest that tests our tolerance as an audience, but never our patience. And while it doesn’t quite live up to its bold tagline, there is something fiendishly promising about this remake that makes it a terrifying experience all on its own.