Suburban Monsters: The Double Standards of Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs

They say familiarity breeds contempt, but in my experience the opposite is true.

In reality people tend to fear the unfamiliar, and the more distant a person is the more they have to hide, at least in the minds of those who have been ignored. This is never truer than when a somewhat reclusive neighbour moves into an established community. Before long, suspicions begin to breed and spread, and every little detail becomes a reason for condemnation […]

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Dreaming of a Red Christmas

Ah, Christmas, a wondrous season of love, peace, and harmony. A celebration of joy and kindness.  Why then, cinematically speaking, are we so fascinated by yuletide carnage?

With the exception of Halloween, no other holiday has racked up such a body count. And I’m not only talking about horror movies here. If we add in the death toll from all the action movies set during Christmas […]

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This Month in . . .1985 (December)

The first week of December would see a limited theatrical release for Golan-Globus thriller Runaway Train. Based on a screenplay by innovative Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, the movie is also notable for the debuts of Heat’s Danny Trejo and Tommy “Tiny” Lister, who would become a professional wrestler for a brief time in the late 1980’s after starring alongside Hulk Hogan in infamous WWF stinker No Holds Barred (1989). So badly received was the World Wrestling Federation’s first foray into the movie business that CEO Vince McMahon . . .

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Intestinal Fortitude: The Conceptual Magic of Innerspace

Innerspace is a buddy movie with a difference.

In an era of franchise reboots, prequels and sequels, watching this made me pine for a period when filmmakers were still free to be creative, when producers were less inclined to play it safe by exhausting the successes of others. The movie is directed by Joe Dante and presented by none other than Stephen Spielberg. The two had previously collaborated to promote another unique picture in Gremlins, and like that movie you could very much imagine Spielberg himself behind the camera […]

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Sleepwalkers (1992)

Back in the early ’90s the horror genre began to look decidedly second-rate.

Part of this was due to the increasing availability of CGI for low budget movie makers, its bargain basement lows becoming more widespread and accessible. Another, perhaps more telling part, was the plethora of made-for-TV Stephen King adaptions, their overabundance flooding VHS stores at a rate fast approaching that of his fiction […]

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