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Posted on August 7, 2022

Representations of Women in The Wretched (2019)


Let me start this by saying that representations in film matter. The prelude to this statement was me watching the documentary series on Netflix about Woodstock ’99, Trainwreck (2022). One astute journalist pointed out that if you want to understand the collective ethos of the time, one need only look to the biggest box office hits in that historical moment. Rather than love and peace, the backdrop of Woodstock ’99 was brimming with male sexuality and angst in films such as American Pie (1999) and Fight Club (1999). Popular culture reflects what mainstream society chooses…wants and enjoys consuming. Let us temporarily peer into our collective id.

Horror films often reveal the fears of middle- to upper-class (often white) men. Which makes sense since that is mostly who writes, directs, and produces horror films.  While women producers, creators, and consumers are on the rise, the major audience continues to be predominately male. With that in mind, I hand you the 2019 Pierce Brothers film, The Wretched. Read more

Posted on April 11, 2020

Top 10 Horror Films to Watch on Easter


My most awe inspiring encounters with nefarious rabbits include the first time I laid eyes on the massive black costume of “Bunny” while at a rave with Rabbit in the Moon and the first time that my innocent anticipating eyes consumed the film Watership Down (1978). While both of these are definitively scary (and potentially traumatizing), they do not encompass the spirit of Easter. If your family is anything like mine, nothing spells holidays like some old fashioned repression and subsequent bursts of aggression (or passive aggressiveness in our house).  For all of you who can appreciate laughing at inappropriate times and poking fun at established traditions, then this list is for you!

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Posted on April 11, 2018

Viewer Participation and Decision Making in Would You Rather (2012)


The premise of Would You Rather is simple; eight guests meet at the home of Mr. Lambrick in hopes of becoming the next recipient of the Lambrick Foundation’s philanthropy. They meet under the guise of a dinner party, but what they don’t know is that there are no free handouts from this Foundation.

Would You Rather is broken down into two particularly interesting parts. Essentially these two parts consist of Iris’ (Brittany Snow) life outside of the game and her life inside the game. Outside of the game Iris is a young woman who moves home to care for her brother after her parents pass. Iris’ brother has leukemia and is in need of a costly bone marrow transplant. Prior to the game we see that Iris makes the conscious choice to become a caretaker by putting her life on hold to assist her brother. This same brother regularly makes comments about Iris’ sacrifice, “You can’t always be the hero, sometimes you gotta let go…Aren’t you sick of this, don’t you want a life?” Because of her inability to let go, Iris seeks out the money from Lambrick Foundation thus landing herself in the horrible game of would you rather.

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Posted on July 5, 2017

Don’t Hang Up: Teens and Social Media


2016  |  R  |  83 min  |  Directors: Damien Macé & Alexis Wajsbrot  |  Writer: Joe Johnson  |  UK

Grade:  A-

Don’t Hang Up scares some sense into social media obsessed teens.

Synopsis: A few millennial pranksters take crank calls to the next level while trying to achieve internet stardom. They soon find out the hard way that there are very real life repercussions for their actions.

Don’t Hang Up is a really good film. I was super excited to see a horror film that is rated “R” as that in itself has become as likely as finding a unicorn.  This film evokes many of the better elements of Wes Craven’s Scream (1996) as well as I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) combining pranks, poor choices, and a few selfish kids. Remember the opening scene in Scream when Casey Becker gets a prank phone call? Well, imagine that on crack and you have Don’t Hang Up.

Most thrilling about this film is the commentary on social media use. Don’t Hang Up tells a tale of a handful of teenage boys who video themselves making pretty vicious prank phone calls for the purpose of getting “likes” online.  When bad things happen, we could superficially assume that their horror-trope indiscretion was exploiting others for personal gain.  However, this film is actually much more complex than that. Social media and technology greatly enhance the cat-and-mouse component within this film.

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Posted on May 13, 2017

Top 13 Horrible Parents of Horror


Stranger Danger is a total crock. We all know that we are statistically more likely to be maimed or murdered by someone we know (and love). In honor of the looming Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, these films offer depictions of terrible parents who help us appreciate the moms and dads in our own lives.  Some of the most memorable performances in horror come from ghastly guardians who remind us that being a parent ain’t that easy. What follows is a chronological list of horror films whose parents make us think twice about “Home Sweet Home.” Thanks mom and dad for everything! (Especially, for not being skin-suit wearing psychopaths….or at least for hiding that side of things from us.)

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