Horror has had a rather surprising but respectable return to the highs of the box office in recent years, both commercially and critically. 2017’s Get Out was met with universal acclaim, winning Best Original Screenplay at the 2018 Oscars for its smart, thought-provoking and thrilling debut direction from Jordan Peele; whilst 2018’s A Quiet Place stunned audiences with an overwhelming atmosphere of suspense through its original story of an oh-so-quiet supernatural horror flick. Even the stories of The Conjuring and Annabelle have genuine moments of exquisite horrifying moments—exciting enough to keep audiences coming back, and scary enough for production company Blumhouse to create an interwoven universe between the two franchises (Annabelle 3 and The Conjuring 3 are both set for a 2019/2020 release). With multiple horror triumphs under Blumhouse’s belt that keep smashing the box-office (including Sinister, The Purge, Insidious), Blumhouse took another stab in the dark in October, with the release of Halloween—a direct continual sequel to John Carpenter’s original slasher way back in 1978. With the film’s honour to Carpenter’s original cinematic vision and the return of Michael Myers scarier than he’s ever been before, the film has become the highest grossing slasher film of all time, raking in a whopping $126 million from its $10 million budget since the worldwide release on October 19th. With audiences and critics alike praising the film for its return to form for the tired franchise of Halloween, surely this means the movies of the slasher genre are well and truly back from the dead?
2018 is a year of re-emerging ABBA Mania. After the commercial success of 2008 film version for the smash Broadway show Mamma Mia!, fans in July were rewarded once again with sequel Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! bringing back the fantastic original ensemble cast, but this time inviting disco queen Cher along to the party too. In September, Cher continued this celebration of ABBA’s extraordinary musicality by producing a cover album Dancing Queen to showcase some of their greatest hits with her one of a kind vocal talent. What’s more, December sees the quartet reuniting for a BBC and NBC broadcast of a special hologram performance of themselves in a digitalised ‘avatar’ form. And if this goes to plan, a tour dubbed the ‘Abbartar Tour’ will see these holograms perform in an international showcase of their hits to the world once again; Bjorn has even teased the release of a newly written track "I Still Have Faith in You," a whole 35 years since their last single "Thank You for the Music" was released. With all these ABBA celebrations happening, 2018 has summoned a special gratitude for the group, sending them a message of thank you for your music.
Amid reports in August, The Oscars announced a new category of ‘Best Popular Film’ to its line-up of honors for the 91st Academy Awards. The response to the announcement was a loud uproar of negativity suggesting that the new category is pandering to mainstream demands and tarnishing the purpose of the ‘Best Picture’ Category itself. Earlier this month the Academy postponed the initiation of the ‘Popular Film’ category into the Oscar ceremony, and the future of this award remains indefinite.
This is not a review of Ariana Grande's fourth studio album. Instead, this is simply a look of admiration at the musical expression she has articulated in the last year, a period of time when certainly no one had any expectations for the 25-year-old to release material for us to hear. But nonetheless, Grande has given us Sweetener, a bright, delicate, and colourful album that conjures up a special sense of healing for both herself and her fans.