Category: Retrospectives

A Double-Billing of ’80s Pop Horror: Welcome to Fright Night

Is there a better title for a horror movie like this? Not outright terrifying, just an all around crowd pleaser that just leaps off the screen. Fright Night. It has that special zing when you say it. Though vampires are stewards of the night eternal, it’s a harder task to keep them fresh. Fresher than a clove of garlic, anyway. One of the first films to play with meta genre conventions on a large scale, Fright Night doesn’t attempt to redefine the vampire mythos like Near Dark or The Lost Boys. It merely implements them with a coming of...

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Poetry of the Steak: Reinterpreting The Fly 30 Years Later

Originally published on August 14, 2016. When we think about David Cronenberg’s The Fly we think about the grotesque transformation of Seth Brundle that drives the film and weakens our stomachs. 30 years later and the artistry of Chris Walas and Stephan Dupuis on Seth Brundle’s six staged transformation into Brundlefly remain an unmatched feat in practical effects, paralleled only by Rob Bottin’s work on The Thing four years prior. Despite the effects wizardry that keeps audiences returning to Cronenberg’s film over and over again, The Fly’s memorable body horror and exploration of the flesh would be lessened if...

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Candyman Is A Rare Great Horror That Explains Why Great Horror is Rare

If the character Candyman never made an appearance in the first film that carries his name, Candyman would still be an overwhelming and fully functioning horror film. If the movie had excluded its villain and focused instead on Helen Lyle’s (Virginia Madsen) obsessive research and the Babadookian spiral of her sanity, pointing her fixation at a folklore concept without having the urban legend represented in corporeal form, we would still have an unsettling psychological horror film about obsession and class divide. Or, if the narrative lens had turned a few degrees to document Anne Marie McCoy’s (Vanessa Williams) perspective...

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The Uncanny Terror of Carnival of Souls

A young woman travels a bleak, lonely road at dusk. We don’t know much about her, but we know all we need: she’s fleeing a past suddenly defined by trauma. She lives in a world she no longer understands. She’s crossing the country to start again. As she drives, she peers around, as though monitoring her surroundings for the next calamity. When she turns back to the windshield, there’s a ghoulish man in the middle of a pitch-black highway (wait a minute, wasn’t it dusk a moment ago?) and as we zoom towards him—or he zooms towards us; it’s...

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Carrie White Burns in Hell: Carrie’s 40th Anniversary

Originally published on October 26, 2016. Carrie is now available on Hulu treaming. Forty years later, Carrie is still one of the most popular horror movies of its time. As is the case with any successful adaptation, it would be a disservice to neglect to consider the source material. 1976: In the middle of one of the hottest decades for horror, Stephen King’s first film adaptation was born. This would spark the beginning of a successful book to film career that took King from a job making $1.60 an hour in a laundry to where he is today as one...

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Scenes from a Marriage: The Genre Subversions of True Lies

James Cameron’s filmography is a series of attempts to revise the Hollywood landscape through excess. During press for True Lies, he told Entertainment Weekly, ”People are being conditioned to expect less and accept less from a movie these days. I’d rather push the other way. If I make a movie once every two years, I want it to be the best. More is more.” That was the second time James Cameron made the most expensive movie ever. It was 1994 and Arnold Schwarzenegger was cinema’s largest action star. He spent the previous decade filling his CV with films like...

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Seven: The Violence of a Cinematic Hellscape

Originally published September 22, 2015. There are less than 20 gunshots fired in David Fincher’s 1995 film Seven, each exchanged between David Mills and John Doe. If you don’t count Detective Somerset’s late face slap, there is only one wounding act of violence committed onscreen. It’s an oft-shared description offered by cinephiles and aspiring screenwriters and critics: Seven is, in the most basic sense, a non-violent film, even as watching it feels like a very violent viewing experience. For most of its run-time, Seven, which this week celebrates its 20th anniversary, is a noir- serial killer thriller built around...

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Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me 25 Years Later

Few films have ever deserved critical re-evaluation more than Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Released in 1992, just over a year after Twin Peaks, the TV series, left viewers on a horrific cliffhanger, Fire Walk With Me came to us at exactly the wrong time. The critical and cultural understanding of Twin Peaks at the time was far removed from more modern takes. We tend to view Twin Peaks now as a cult object, a series with alienating eccentricities. The first two seasons of Twin Peaks are remembered mainly for their strangest elements; backwards-talking men dancing around red-curtained rooms,...

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In Defense of Alien 3: Assembly Cut

Originally published on November 6, 2014. I’ve always enjoyed the Alien films. Yes, even Alien: Resurrection which is definitely not good, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Mostly as a guilty pleasure, I watched the theatrical release of Alien3 quite often as well because of the surprisingly high kill count (I loved slashers back then. Kill count/creativity was everything to me). The main characters from the previous film were all dead, minus Ripley, and characters set up to fall into traditional Alien franchise roles are almost instantly axed. That was something the film does well in both cuts. But I’ve...

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Ten Years Ago, Hot Rod Made Me Laugh So Hard I Can’t Even Explain It

There’s a running joke amongst a few of the staff and writers here at Audiences Everywhere about how I am magnetically attracted to sad films. I write best about cinematic tragedy, anxiety, fear, and despair. If you were judging by my writing, you would get a pretty clear impression that I’m a straight up humorless guy. And while a quick search through my last year’s history of posts would confirm that conclusion as the only logical conclusion to draw based on the evidence, I’d like to think the same perpetrators of that joke would agree that the evidence is...

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Still Believing with The Lost Boys 30 Years Later

It’s classic vampire storytelling for vampires to seduce their victims. Innocents are entranced by an inescapable aura, swept up in the vampire’s desire. There’s a formalist sense to vampire horror, that they’ll take the time to handle murders with class so as not to ruin their favorite suits. With Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys,  that formalist horror unfolds in an unbridled 1980s. Gritty punk aesthetics, rebellious teens and an inescapable sense of constant entertainment. Even during the day, there’s a feeling that the nightlife never truly stops in Santa Clara. Not while the underbelly of the beach-side town is...

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Death Becomes Her 25 Years Later

There was a time, if you came over to my house, when I forced you to watch Death Becomes Her. I taped it off television on an old VHS with a ripped label, my childhood print scrawling the title across. I took great pride in my perfect timing, nearly eliminating all traces of commercial breaks. The tape was almost ruined with my watches and re-watches and rewinding re-watches; it was my favourite movie, and I wanted everyone I knew to see it. My twelve-year-old brain posited that if they didn’t love it, they probably couldn’t love me. After all,...

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Air Force One Still Flies High 20 Years Later

Air Force One was released twenty years ago. It is a movie that I return to every few years to see if it still holds up and each time the answer is a resounding yes. The premise is one that I’m surprised no one tried before 1997: terrorists hijack Air Force One and the only person who can stop them and take back the plane is the President of the United States. It’s such a fun premise that could have been very easily mishandled but instead produced one of the best action movies of the ‘90s and, for me,...

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Apes Together Strong: Revisiting the Original Planet of the Apes Franchise

A man and woman, clad in the clothing of primitive humans, make their way across a beach on horseback. He smiles at her and she smiles back. They ride on. Eventually they come to stop and the man, Taylor, gets off the horse and stares agape at something we cannot yet see. The camera pulls back and we see the half-buried ruins of the Statue of Liberty. The man sinks to his knees. “Oh my God. I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was…We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God...

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