Revisiting . . . Jaws (1975)

Some films have such an influence on you it can feel like there was never a time in your life that you hadn’t seen it; you’d been born knowing its nuances and meanings, almost like a parent in the way it helped to form your beliefs.

I’m sure I’m not the only one for whom Jaws was their first experience in true terror. After its release, a whole generation of kids were suddenly petrified of going into the sea and an entire species was vilified, but as well as bringing horror into the family home, Jaws gave birth to the modern blockbuster […]

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Revisiting . . . The Shining (1980)

There is a sense of inevitability about The Shining that grabs you by the throat and never lets go.

The movie is a grandiose exercise in terror which favours stark imagery and subliminal horror over traditional storytelling. It is an experience that possesses you from the very beginning, and from the seemingly innocuous overhead shots of Glacier National Park, Montana, you are saturated with a sense of inescapable doom […]

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Revisiting . . . Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future is about change, about fate and destiny and the possibility of a second chance.

Those sentiments may smack of mawkish wish-fulfilment, and Robert Zemeckis’ cultural phenomenon is nothing if not idealistic, but there are ways to promote such romanticisms without descending into the sickly slush of blueprint Hollywood, and in December of 1985 Back to the Future showed us just how creative you can be […]

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Revisiting . . . National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

Long before The Simpsons made their mark on American culture, Warner Brothers gave us the Griswolds.

Sure, there had been dysfunctional families before, but as a symbol of America’s faltering moral climate Clark and his band of three proved something of a landmark in outlining the reality of the time-honoured cross-country road trip in all of its failed glory. Time may have diluted the movie’s irreverence, and events may border on the caricaturistic at times, but these are very real and relatable characters caught in an all-too-familiar environment of outdated sentiments and eternal disappointment […]

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Revisiting . . . Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Some movies are a victim of their time.

Whatever one may think of Charles E. Sellier’s exploitative festive slasher Silent Night Deadly Night, one thing is for certain: it has found a rather prominent place in horror movie history.

Back in the winter of 1984, the movie was pulled from theatres a week after its release due to widespread protests regarding an advertising campaign which depicted jolly old Saint Nick as a bloodthirsty killer. Incredulously, those ads ran on prime time television, which led to an almost medieval outrage from PTA members who had left their children watching Little House on the Prairie, only to […]

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Revisiting . . . Lethal Weapon (1987)

Lethal Weapon is the pinnacle of the buddy cop picture.

It is also one of the finest action movies ever put to celluloid, and is perhaps the only production to rival Die Hard as the genre’s high point. The two films have many elements in common. Both movies feature black and white partners, both are set during the Christmas period, and both feature heroes who are much more relatable than characters who have appeared in the vast majority of action vehicles. It is this relatability that is key to both movies […]

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Revisiting . . . Suspiria (1977)

For some, Dario Argento’s first venture into the realms of the supernatural is an exercise in style-over-substance.

For one thing, there is no real plot to speak of, and the action seems peripheral at times, while the makeshift manner in which the film’s music stops and starts seems loose to the extent where you may find yourself questioning the editing. But that is precisely the point. Suspiria’s aim is not to provide us with some kind of familiar narrative; quite the opposite, in fact […]

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