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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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 […]

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Sleepaway Camp (1983)

There have been many unexpected twists in the slasher canon; in fact, a shock finale is pretty much a prerequisite for a sub-genre that relies so heavily on jump scares and gross-out shock factor.

Also known as Nightmare Vacation, Sleepaway Camp is a very different animal—different in the sense that it not only relies on its twist, it lives and dies by it. It is because of that twist—one of the most shocking and unexpected in all of cinema—that the movie would go on to spawn several increasingly shitty sequels, achieving the kind of cult status that most low-budget schlock can only dream of. So monumental was the movie’s shock reveal that […]

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Blood Rage (1987)

Blood Rage is a goofy little number which peddles horror the way Head and Shoulders peddles shampoo. 

Originally titled Shadow at Nightmare Woods, the movie’s 1983 theatrical release coincided with the censorship crusade of the early 1980s, and was therefore stripped of its gruesome embellishments until Prism Entertainment rescued it from the MPAA’s pitiless expurgation. By 1987—the year of its largely uncut home video release—the slasher genre had undergone the kind of metamorphosis that turned a cynical vacuum of vivisection into a sparkling wink of self-knowing […]

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