Phenomena (1985)

There’s something about Dario Argento’s work that seems to transcend time and place.

Some of this has to do with location and setting, as well as an absence of modern cultural trends, but it is mostly due to the director’s visual style, movies such as Inferno and Suspiria sending us spiralling down a rabbit hole of fantastical terror. Along with Goblin’s nerve-shattering accompaniments, those movies work on a purely visceral level. They startle and excite in equal measures, a series of elaborate murders drenched in the grisly palette of deathly expressionism […]

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Burning Hearts and Iron Curtains: Rocky IV and Cold War Propaganda

The appeal of Rocky Balboa is his status as a flawed everyman.

Back in 1976, director John G. Avildsen gave us the perfect underdog story. Backed up by an Oscar-winning screenplay by Stallone, Rocky was about community and togetherness, shining a sympathetic light on the poor and downtrodden and reminding us that, given the right attitude and determination, anything is possible. It also spoke of family values and the importance of perspective. Stallone was a revelation as the movie’s titular hero, a reluctant thug-for-high whose friendship with an insular store clerk set him on the path to self-discovery […]

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Seeing Red: Swords, Sorcery and Sexism in Red Sonja.

The eighties were awash with fantasy films.

Some were excellent (Conan The Barbarian, The Princess Bride), some were flawed but entertaining, (Krull, Willow), while others were just boring or just downright awful (Hawk The Slayer, Conan The Destroyer). It was a glorious time for swords and sorcery fans, and though the quality may have been wildly variable, as a budding Tolkien fan obsessed with anything with even a passing resemblance to the fantastical that featured weird creatures […]

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Approaching Adolescence: Or How Paperboy Spoke to my 12-Year-Old Self

Spring of 1985 was a dark time for video games.

The Nintendo Entertainment System was still 6 months from seeing the light of day in the United States. Atari mania and Pac-Man fever felt like ages ago thanks to the shift away from home console gaming towards computer gaming. But arcades were still active as THE place to play games that could still wow and astonish gamers hungry for the next big thing […]

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