My life revolves around horror and film.
6 Documentaries That Will Change the Way You Think
1. Children of Shame (2014) ‘Children of Shame’ is a fairly short film which succinctly documents the Tuam scandal in Ireland, in which it was discovered that a mass grave of 800 infants were discovered on the site of an old nunnery. With Ireland’s political foundations being irrevocably intertwined with the Catholic Church, this film, with testimony from the institution’s victims, voices a tragic assessment of the trauma brought to Ireland by this discovery. However, most important is the ability of this said national trauma to question the practices of the Church in the 20th Century.
PAUSE: An Return to George Sluizer's 'The Vanishing' (1988)
'Spoorloos' opens with a young Dutch couple driving to Paris for a holiday. While passing through the tunnel, the car stops and Saskia (Johanna ter Steege) voices a dream she has. She describes how she envisioned two golden eggs colliding in a bizarre twist of fate. The whole scene containing Saskia's monologue is dripping with tension and a goosebump-inducing air of foreshadowing. The couple drive on.
The Unrealized Potential of 'The Last Exorcism' (2010)
Daniel Stamm's 'The Last Exorcism' is one of those films that makes me want to tear my hair out, scream at the sky and pelt Reese's Pieces butter cup wrappers at my TV screen. And not in the nail-biting suspense sense one gets when watching a film by David Fincher or Christopher Nolan. Watching 'The Last Exorcism' filled me with sheer unbridled anguish and exasperation with the way an initially promising movie had sabotaged itself.
The Religious Terror of 'Alice, Sweet Alice' (1976)
Written following the excommunication of its director Alfred Sole from his local diocese for making and releasing an adult film, 'Alice, Sweet Alice' has been lampooned by critics for being strongly anti-Catholic in sentiment. Its alternative titles are 'Holy Terror' and 'Communion', and there is no denying the stark suggestions of hypocrisy existing among Catholic doctrine. However, to diminish the film for its take on a single religion would be wholly unfair, since it is a fictional depiction of the extreme forms religious dogma can take. More importantly, the film purports a campy, theatrical vibe in which the suggestion of the toll religiosity can have on the psyche is intermingled, as well as suggestions of its ability to twist, justify and manipulate one's actions.
PAUSE: Under the Mask of 'The Face of Another' (1966)
In a vein similar to French cinema's haunting horror masterpiece 'Eyes Without a Face', Hiroshi Teshigahara's seedy psychological study taken from the novel by Kōbō Abe, unflinchingly explores the loss of identity in the most extreme ways possible. Sadly, the film has not received as much recognition as its French counterpart, but it is renowned instead as something of a hidden gem in Japanese cinema. In the age when Kurosawa was delivering hit after hit with Mifune at the helm, it was easy for a film like 'The Face of Another' to become lost in the misty haze of the samurai epics. This film is in dire need of wider recognition. With exquisite cinematography, phenomenal acting and insidiously arresting moral conundrums, this article takes a deep dive into the film in the hopes of bringing wider recognition to Teshigahara's forgotten masterpiece.
'Goth is White': Racism in the Gothic Subculture
Goth culture has been, since its birth in the late 1970's, a form of rebellion. This can only be expected from the offshoot lovechild of the punk scene. To be 'goth' is considered bizarre, unusual, alternative. Goths, since the dawn of their creation, have garnered strange looks from people on the street due to their wild hair, dark clothes and often extravagant accessories.
PAUSE: A Returning Look at 'Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer' (1986)
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is one of those movies that is outwardly deceiving. At first glance, one would assume that this is little more than a low-budget '80s B-Movie slasher, with little substance or purpose other than to shock. However, as you move deeper into the film this misconception melts away into one of absorbed horror; almost like watching a train crash. It's a brutal, uneasy watch but one with truly frightening implications. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, despite its mediocre production value, does the very best with what it has at hand.
The Best of Peter O'Toole
Nominated for no less than eight Academy Awards without winning a single one, it is undoubted that O'Toole stands alongside the ilk of actors wrongly snubbed for a lifetime of outstanding performances. Like Burton, Harris and Sharif, O'Toole set the bar in the 1960s for the next generation of actors.
10 of Brad Pitt's Best Roles
Anyone who knows me knows I am a massively unashamed Brad Pitt fan. Not only because he's something of an Adonis, but also because he is a strikingly good actor. Don't get it twisted: he's not just a beautiful face. In fact, he recently collected his first acting Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in February of this year, an accolade which was, admittedly, long overdue. Having followed Pitt's career since my early teens, I wanted to celebrate his win by compiling a list of ten of his best roles, from 'Kalifornia' to 'Ad Astra'.
PAUSE: Unearthing 'The Blood on Satan's Claw' (1971)
Set during the uncertain times of pastoral early eighteenth century England, this period piece is folk horror at its finest. Often grouped in the same vein as 'The Wicker Man' (1973) and 'Witchfinder General' (1968), 'The Blood on Satan's Claw' packs a particularly memorable punch for those who have seen it. And its seeds of eeriness have been sewn in recent horror creations, such as 'A Field in England' (2013) and 'The VVitch' (2015). Despite this, 'The Blood on Satan's Claw' exists primarily these days as a movie dwelling mostly in cult status, with few testaments to its hidden brilliance. This is unfortunate, because, against the unfavourable odds of its low budget and aging special effects, 'TBOSC' is one of the few horror films to have truly unnerved me as of late.
PAUSE: A Look Back at Andrzej Zulawski's 'Possession' (1981)
Mimicked just a few years ago by Massive Attack in their video for 'Voodoo in my Blood', which starred a brilliant but frantic Rosamund Pike undergoing a Satanic attack in a subway, 'Possession' is a film that exists without a great buzz. This is a shame, because it is as deserving of as much praise as any blockbuster horror we've grown to revere nowadays, and contains one of the greatest onscreen performances, I personally, have ever witnessed.
The Best of Laura Dern
It's safe to say that 2019 was a year in the film industry that belonged to Laura Dern. Starring in two of the most highly-praised films of the year, Dern proved to the world why she continues to be a titan in the acting business and schooling the children in how best to represent strong female characters onscreen. Winning an Oscar on her birthday for her portrayal of no-bullshit lawyer Nora Fanshaw in Noah Baumbach's moving flick 'Marriage Story', Dern's academy award success was deserved, but long overdue.