Grasping the Fever Dream: Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm

Horror movies can mess up a young, impressionable mind, mostly in good ways.

I’ve written about how movie related childhood trauma can mutate from terror into curiosity into obsession, but it doesn’t have to be such a psyche bruising experience. As a wee tyke, I vividly remember flipping through the TV dial, alone in the den, and finding something wholly inappropriate on HBO. Now, this was the same channel that left me curled into […]

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Battle of the Bitches: Gender and Duality in Ridley Scott’s Alien

Before Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, mainstream heroines were a different breed entirely.

Sure, they were heroic in a more conventional way, but long before feminism became fashionable, Ripley emerged from the shadow of her male (and robotic) counterparts by overcoming perhaps the fiercest creation in all of cinema. I’m talking, of course, about the Xenomorph, H.R. Giger’s monstrously phallic creation. This article’s title refers to Alien’s marquee attraction as a Bitch, a name Ripley uses for the Xenomorph queen in James Cameron’s high-octane sequel Aliens, a movie […]

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We’re ‘Cohen’ to the Movies: King Cohen and the Story of a True Maverick

I’ve been thinking – when was the last time one of Larry Cohen’s films was screened on terrestrial TV?

I’m not counting Phone Booth, the brilliantly simple and super-tense Joel Schumacher thriller from 2002 that he wrote. No, I mean a proper, legit Larry Cohen-directed film. There are more than a few out there. Blimey, was it really around twenty or so years ago, when Channel 5, in its infant years, screened Q: The Winged Serpent on a Saturday night? It might be. I remember […]

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The Brood and Hollywood’s Bastard Child

It’s hard to imagine how audiences would have received The Brood back in 1979.

Fascinated with the metaphysical, filmmaker David Cronenberg was some way ahead of his time conceptually, and his interest in what would become known as ‘body horror’ was something moviegoers were distinctly unprepared for. Even now, almost four decades later, the film is quite the experience, a bleak oddity as strangely engrossing as it is distressing. The film would also mark the debut of three-time Academy Award winning composer Howard Shore, his wretched, nerve-jangling score helping to establish an almost ceaseless sense of alarm with its Psycho-esque strings and patient foreboding […]

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