Author: Sean W. Fallon

Around the World in 12 Horror Movies: Part One

One of the great things about watching movies is seeing how other countries view a genre. What do the French find funny? Or what tickles the Germans? What constitutes romance in Korea or Peru? What scares people? What makes the people sitting in Thai cinemas hide behind their fingers or jump out of their skin? What movies do Mexican teenagers dare each other to watch at sleepovers? For this trilogy of articles I watched 12 horror movies from around the world. I explored different sub-genres within the horror genre and found some supernatural romance, found footage, torture porn, blood-soaked rom-coms, possession movies, slasher flicks, monster flicks, and discovered an unalterable fact about foreign horror films: When you need to read subtitles you can’t look away or hide behind the sofa.  PART ONE   Let the Right on In / Låt den Rätte Komma In (Sweden 2008) An almost sweet, occasionally horrific, coming of age movie in which one of the characters does not age. I tried to avoid movies that had had a Hollywood remake for this feature, in the hopes of giving the readers something they may not have any knowledge of. However, when I asked some friends (namely Mr Google and Ms IMDB…I’m so lonely) this movie kept coming back as a favourite foreign film for both fans and haters of horror. After watching it I understood...

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Wolfcop

Overview: Lou, an alcoholic cop, gets cursed to be a werewolf. That’s it. 2014; StudioCanal; Rated R; 79 mins Checklist: If you took a bunch of 16 year old boys, gave them cameras, a budget, a cast, and told them to make a movie about anything they wanted, this would be that movie.  I can imagine these boys making a checklist: Beautiful bartenders with big breasts who dress like Little Red Riding Hood? Check. Comic relief sidekick? Check. Souped-up muscle car with a giant W sprayed onto the hood? Check. a gang of crooks called The Piggies? Check. Puns?...

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The ABCs of Death 2

Overview: Anthologies are hard. ABCs of Death 2 has 26 separate stories. Some are good. Some are bad. Drafthouse Films/Magnet Releasing; 2014; Not Rated; 125 Minutes. The Good: The opening two films, A is for Amateur and B is for Badger, set a high bar for the rest of the films. They are both well-made, funny, gruesome, and clever. A puts a smile on my face just thinking about it, and B is basically Julian Barratt from The Mighty Boosh acting like a dickhead, so that’s pretty much aces with me. O is for Ochlocracy and Y is for...

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Overview: A man discovers humans are being replaced by identical aliens and must find a way to stop the invasion. United Artists; 1978; 115 Minutes. They’re Coming to Get You: Invasion of the Body Snatchers instills a sense of creeping dread throughout the entirety of the film. Scene after scene, background characters are running away from something audiences can’t see. Blank, expressionless characters stare at our protagonists as they walk around, unaware of this scrutiny. The director, Philip Kaufman, keeps it in the background for a while, but it can’t be held there for long. Donald Sutherland plays Matthew Bennell, a health inspector...

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An American Werewolf in London

Overview: Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists. Universal Pictures; 1981; Rated R; 97 Minutes. Beware the Moon: The opening of American Werewolf in London, in which Americans Jack and David enter The Slaughtered Lamb looking for some respite from the harsh Yorkshire cold, is seminal. The locals, all terrified of something on the moors but also suspicious and hostile to strangers, are quickly and richly defined. I would happily watch a prequel film just about those characters and the events leading up...

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Five Films to Start Your Australian Film Obsession

I recently emigrated from England to Australia with my Australian wife. Having an Aussie wife has opened me up to some of the high and low points of Australian culture (The Real Housewives of Melbourne should be classified as a war crime). My wife, who played sports in her youth because Australia has summers, is not the big film geek that I am, so it has been an interesting switcheroo to have her recommend movies to me that I haven’t seen instead of vice versa. For this list I have chosen five Australian movies from different genres: comedy, horror,...

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Pride

Overview: The true story of a group of U.K. gay activists who worked to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984. Finding the Comedy: I promised myself (and my editor) that this review would not descend into a political rant. But I will say as someone who grew up in Northern England during the 80’s, the miner’s strike was a big part of my education ofthe world. Seeing images of miners being attacked by police fostered in me a lasting distrust of authority and a hatred (though that word...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #6: Sightseers

Sightseers Director: Ben Wheatley Genre: Dark Comedy, StudioCanal/IFC Films Sightseers is a very English film. It is full of awkward silences, anger at littering, class disputes, yuppies, long country walks, beautifully shot landscapes, places to visit that sound incredibly boring, loud hen nights, guilt, store bought pasta sauces, conversations about injection molding for plastics, kitsch, frustration, discrimination against gingers, caravan park-based road rage, rain and knitting. It is essentially England: The Movie. The movie follows the first holiday of new couple (they recently met at a capoeira class) Tina and Chris. They have a rip-roaring country tour planned with stops at such breath-taking sites as the Cumberland Pencil Museum and the Ribblehead Viaduct. This may come across as me mocking it but I’ve actually been to the viaduct and it was amazing. They are a pair of sensible, boring people who has decided to engage in an ‘erotic odyssey’ in Chris’ caravan so that Chris can write his book (with Tina as an overenthusiastic and confused muse).  Tina hopes to escape her over-bearing mother who is still in mourning for the death of her beloved dog, Poppy. (Important Spoiler:  Poppy’s death scene should have won someone an Oscar. I don’t know whom, but someone). It is hard to write about this movie without giving away too much, but suffice to say the trip takes a dark turn and gradually...

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Before There Was Red on Their Shirts: Spaced

Overview: Before Shaun fought the Dead, the Fuzz was Hot, and the End of the World, there was Spaced. Spaced, written by and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes, feels like a prototype to the Cornetto Trilogy (an easy sensation to explain when you take into account Edgar Wright directed every episode). There are similarities throughout and some parts, e.g. the zombie dream sequence in Episode 3: Art, could be viewed as a practice run for the feature films. Stories about Mates: The Cornetto Trilogy, by my reading of it, shares two major themes: friendship and growing up. Shaun needs...

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Tracks

Overview: The true story of Robyn Davidson’s quest to cross Australia on foot. 2014; Transmission films;Rated Pg-13; 112 Minutes. Getting Away From it All: These days we are more connected than ever and sometimes it can be maddening trying to find a little peace and quiet and time to ourselves. Of course there’s a big difference between disconnecting your Facebook for a few weeks and deciding that you want to travel 2,700KM across barren Australia with four camels and a dog. This is what Robyn Davidson (played by Mia Wasikowska) decides to do when she wants to be alone....

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The Guest

Look like th’ innocent flower, But be the serpent under ’t.                         Lady Macbeth Overview:  A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family as a friend of their deceased son, but being welcomed into their home, a series of questionable deaths unfold. 2014; Icon Films; Rated R; 99 Minutes. You Need to Lock That Tone Down: The Guest has no idea what it wants to be. Tonally, it’s all over the place. Plotwise, it can be a bit schizophrenic. It veers between being a horror film, a romantic comedy, a feel good drama, a slasher movie, a Jason Bourne knock-off, a...

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20,000 Days on Earth

Overview: Writer and musician Nick Cave marks his 20,000th day on the planet Earth. 2014; Drafthouse Films; Rated R; 98 Minutes Into the Archive: I love Nick Cave (The Australian David Bowie? Discuss) and I was lucky enough to see this movie a few months ago at an Istanbul film festival in a screening full of Cave fans. 20,000 Days on Earth is a documentary with fictional elements, or a fiction movie with documentary elements, that tells the story of Nick Cave’s 20,000th Day of Earth.  Cave spends a part of the movie in his own archive looking at baby...

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Raiders of the Lost Ark

Overview: Archaeologist Indiana Jones races Nazis to discover the Ark of the Covenant. 1981; Lucasfilm/Paramount; Rated PG/PG-13; 115 Minutes Is There Such a Thing as A Perfect Movie? The short answer is no. The slightly less short answer is yes, and that movie is Raiders of the Lost Ark. Raiders has been a staple in the Fallon household for as long as I can remember. In terms of building cinematic obsession, for me, it’s up there with the Star Wars Trilogy (the first movie I saw on the cinema was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which my parents...

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Five Films to Start Your Korean Movie Obsession

I recently lived in South Korea for two and a half years. When I left I had developed a love for two things: K-Pop and Korean cinema. The love of K-Pop waned somewhat (not entirely, Big Bang are still my jam) but the love of the cinema remained. My enjoyment of Korean cinema is based upon the fact that the Korean movies I have watched and enjoyed have shared two main characteristics, confidence and unpredictability. I feel like Korean directors are more willing to test their audience and zig when we expect a zag, making for a movie experience...

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The Exorcist

The following review of The Exorcist, written by Sean Fallon, first appeared on the wonderful film site Writer Loves Movies… An Homage To Our Love For Cinema, where film critic Natalie Stendall is hosting guest contributors in a search to determine why we love the movies we love.   — I love procedural movies. Anything that takes you through the nitty-gritty of a murder investigation or a well-planned heist is like catnip to me. A big reason why I love The Exorcist is because it isn’t the film that we think it is. People who have never watched it assume it’s a gory, jumpy, fast-paced horror film about a possessed girl doing crazy things for two hours. All of the marketing and all of the iconic images of the film focus upon Regan’s transformation from sweet little girl into foul-mouthed monster. If someone quotes a line from The Exorcist to you it will probably come from Regan (or it will simply be “The power of Christ compels you!”). In reality the movie is actually very slow and almost boring at times as it painstakingly shows, on one side, the agony of a mother helplessly watching her daughter succumb to some kind of illness/madness and on the other, the torments of a priest experiencing a crisis of faith following the death of his mother. The Exorcist was directed by William...

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