I’d Buy that for a Dollar: Robocop and the Pursuit of the American Dream

Robocop was something of a baptism of fire for filmmaker Paul Verhoeven.

Before making the switch to Hollywood in search of The American Dream, the Dutch director was known for arthouse projects that were very much grounded in reality, and in many ways his debut US production is the very antithesis of all that went before. That’s not surprising given the fact that the movie’s protagonist is a half man, half machine with a spectacularly gaudy 80s costume design, but the overtly comic tone was somewhat determined by outside forces […]

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A Rebel’s Lens: John Carpenter’s Escape From New York

Snake Plissken is one of the great American antiheroes.

Everything about Kurt Russel’s most memorable character screams iconic. From his pirate eye-patch and cowboy snarl to his sneering distrust of all things authoritarian. Snake—who would become the inspiration for the first truly cinematic video game in Metal Gear Solid—is an amalgamation of heroic archetypes, a caricature who appeals to our basest fantasies and who approaches his valiance with an outward unwilling that speaks to our cynicism for authority, while also questioning the very definition of heroism in a political context […]

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Deadly Friend: Krueger and the Near-Demise of Wes Craven

Wes Craven was never one to rest on his laurels.

A creative force who twice redefined the slasher genre, he would make his name as a horror movie director thanks to a series of low-budget films that would win him a generation of loyal fans. After making waves with grungy efforts The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes, he would finally burst onto the mainstream with 1984’s A Nightmare On Elm Street, his most famous character Fred Krueger spawning the kind of franchise that turned faltering production company New Line Cinema into a surging goldmine […]

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Night Of The Creeps (1986)

How my childhood would have fared without Fred Dekker-penned genre classics such as Night of The Creeps is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain: it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as colourful.

Night of The Creeps starts in a spaceship and detours to 1950’s America where an axe-wielding killer is terrorising rock ‘n’ roll kids. Subsequently, the viewer is hurtled, via an alien parasite and monochrome axe murder, to the bad pop eighties of a college campus full of frat packers, where shortly after a pledge prank gone awry weird stuff begins to happen and folks begin to die […]

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Into the Jungle: The Story of John McTiernan’s Predator

Back in his action heyday, director John McTiernan was something of an artiste.

For many, he is probably most remembered for genre high point Die Hard, but a year earlier he gave us another action vehicle with a crowd-pleasing twist. A genre crossover which lured us into the safety of Hollywood’s most dependable biceps, Predator would plunge us into a jungle of stifling uncertainty, adopting the form of a stalk-and-slash horror and keeping us very much in the dark […]

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