Trauma At Twelve! The Chillerpop Exorcist Retrospective, Part 1

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My first viewing of The Exorcist was at age twelve, which, coincidentally, was Regan McNeil’s age when her possession occurred.

My older sister told me the plot of the film, minus of course the really ugly shocking bits such as the crucifix rape scene.  My sister was great at relating horror movie plots – she gave me a fascinating rundown of Halloween as well.  And she’ll tell you she hates horror movies! I’m not even sure that she had seen it – she may have just been recounting what she heard from others who saw it.  At that point it didn’t sound like something I couldn’t handle.

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Black Mass (2015) (Chillerpop at Telluride)

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Growing up in the Northeast, the figure of the tough Boston “Southie” loomed large, although New York City was closer in influence and distance.  The accent, the crassness, the hotheaded willingness to fight over everything, were always intimidating, even if that culture gave us The New Kids on the Block and Marky Mark.

I had never heard of Whitey Bulger or his crimes until I previewed Black Mass (based on the book Black Mass: Whitey Bulger, The FBI and a Devil’s Deal) this weekend at the Telluride Film Festival.  I can’t do a recap or full critique, but I can tell you that it’s excellent, and bloody brutal.  Performances to watch here include Benedict Cumberbatch as Whitey’s brother, former state senator Billy Bulger and Joel Edgerton as Whitey’s childhood friend and corrupt FBI agent John Connolly.

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Taj Mahal (2015) (Chillerpop at Telluride)

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(Source: Telluride Film Festival 2015 guide)

Writer-director Nicolas Saada offers an incisive, innovative perspective on the November 2008 Islamic terrorist attack on the luxury Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. He focuses on Louise (Stacy Martin, fresh from Von Trier’s NYMPHOMANIAC), a pretty 18-year-old French girl separated from her expat parents (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing and Gina McKee) and trapped in her room in the hotel’s fourth floor, unable to get even the slightest perspective on events, coping with the sudden incomprehensible fact of violence and the likelihood of her imminent death.

-Excerpt from the Telluride Film Festival 2015 guide

I just attended a screening of Taj Mahal  at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival. I’m terrible at plot recaps and I let the blurb above do my work for me. That said, I can’t let it do all the work.  Innovative? Perhaps. Incisive? No.

Taj Mahal was technically well-made, memorable and harrowing.  Yet I somehow ended up frustrated.  On the whole, it was not a meaningful film about the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

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