The Burning (1981)

If you’re looking for an archetypal, non-franchise slasher, then look no further, because The Burning has it all.

In fact, Tony Maylam’s low-budget slice and dicer has all the prerequisites for a successful horror franchise: a horribly disfigured killer, an iconic weapon, and the kind of by-the-numbers revenge story that would provide the likes of Jason Voorhees with an entire decade of commercial decadence. Back before the movie industry became so regimented, producers were able to force their way into the industry with little more than a derivative screenplay and a cast of useless wannabees looking […]

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Ice Skating Uphill: A Blade Retrospective

Prior to Blade, Marvel’s track record in cinemas was impressively wretched. At a time when DC’s Superman and Batman were experiencing unprecedented levels of cinematic success, the characters of Marvel were getting lost in translation.

First up was George Lucas’ monumentally ill-judged mid-80s adaptation Howard the Duck, which tanked so hard at the box office that Lucas, who had bet on the film’s success to pay off outstanding debts he owed on Skywalker Ranch, was forced to sell his computer animation company to Apple buddy Steve Jobs […]

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Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Who is the Man in Black?

That was the question on most fan’s lips when the credits for Dominique Othenin-Girard’s Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers rolled. Not content with the body count aspirations of the movie’s predecessor, the director would make it his goal to avoid such trappings in spite of studio demands, aiming instead to “retain the structure of the original Halloween from Carpenter/Hill; a structure following the Hitchcock rules of suspense, not mixing the genres like the script they had given me.” Of course, that kind of filmmaking had not been seen in the genre for close to a decade, and with the likes of […]

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Phantasm II (1988)

I’m a stickler for order these days.

Even before the age of massive serialized movie properties like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where everything is connected and the movies just assume you’ve been keeping up, I felt weird about jumping into the middle of a series. I’m always afraid I’ll be missing out on cool in-jokes, vital backstory, or emotional beats. I can’t just walk into the latest Mission Impossible movie without knowing the full details of Ethan Hunt’s marital history. I need to understand the deep emotional subtext built into the Fast and the Furious franchise […]

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