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 […]

Read Article →

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 […]

Read Article →

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 […]

Read Article →

Alone in the Dark (1982)

Every discussion of Alone in the Dark begins with the exact same disclaimer: no, not Uwe Boll’s 2005 catastrophic video game adaptation of the same name.

The Alone in the Dark we’re concerned with is director Jack Sholder’s 1982 slasher classic, a film that is decidedly more underseen than underappreciated. Besides a modest U.S. DVD release in 2005 (of which out of print used copies go for more than $70 on eBay), the film has languished on VHS, thereby remaining virtually inaccessible to the modern day horror fan. Which is unfortunate, as I would argue (and will) that Alone in the Dark is perhaps the best horror film no one has ever seen […]

Read Article →