A Dark Song

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October 18, 2017 – This film is going to be talked about for quite some time. It’s intense, original, and defies many, many expectations. It will probably get backlash, mostly by virtue of having to be packaged and marketed alongside Saw 12, Curse of Chucky or Paranormal Activity 45. I hate to summon the dreaded “post-horror” category, but A Dark Song could be comfortably placed there. I don’t care over-much, but you can call it “horror” in the same way that a quiet ghost story like The Haunting or The Others is horror. Continue reading

Being A Witch Ain’t One

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October 17, 2017 – Do we have a witch problem in recent horror cinema? Or are some filmmakers taking a mirror to something around us? I’m referencing three semi-recent films that look to me like a brutal, radical trifecta of witchcraft. Are they more Malleus Maleficarum, or more like a horror movie Valerie Solanas might have cared to make? Continue reading

Druid Rage!

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October 16, 2017(originally published October 4, 2012) Tree hugging peaceful pagan hippies, you say?  Perhaps, perhaps…but the horror genre hasn’t always seen it that way.  Given their association with the Celtic S’amhain, our Halloween, it’s only natural that the ancient Celtic priest class would find their way into our tawdry terror tales without any sort of critical eye. Continue reading

Satan’s School for Girls – The Public Domains of Terror!

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October 14-15, 2017

Do you need any other reason to take in this film beyond the terrifically sleazy title? Did you not catch this psychotronic beauty on your local TV channels before the days of streaming and the Internet, when ANY horror movie would do, no matter how bad?

If either of the above is the case, let me inform you that this 1973 film is highly notable for being an Aaron Spelling production and for featuring not one but two Angels – yes, angels and not devils – Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd!   Continue reading

Five Modern Exorcism Films to Watch

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source: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498519090/Possessed-Women-Haunted-States-Cultural-Tensions-in-Exorcism-Cinema

October 13, 2017 – When I first stumbled onto the blog It’s Playing, But With Research, I was jealous. Jealous! With envy as green as the pea soup streaming out of Regan’s mouth! Academics CarrieLynn D. Reinhard and Christopher J. Olson not only studied exorcism cinema for a living, but they compiled a comprehensive list movies featuring an exorcism (the list is continually revised).

What?! Someone has watched more exorcism cinema than me?? Impossible – I wasn’t having it! So I went on a bender thanks to their list, and we began a correspondence that ended with me having a credit on their book Possessed Women, Haunted States. What a lovely honor. I urge you to read the book (which analyzes the tropes of exorcism cinema and puts them in sociological context), check out their blog and listen to their podcast, Pop Culture Lens. Continue reading

Six Trash Movies From the Satanic Panic Era!

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PamDawberMuffinOctober 12, 2017 – As I’ve chronicled on a prior version of this blog, satanic panic is de rigeur in recent horror cinema. From the possession and exorcism genre revived by The Exorcism of Emily Rose to retro satanic cult thrillers like House of the Devil. From the franchising of Ed & Lorraine Warren’s infamous devil-busting “true stories” to the conflation of witchcraft with devil-worship (Lords of Salem, The VVitch). From flirtations with affirming the 1980s moral panic of Satanic Ritual Abuse (HBO’s True Detective) to challenging it (Regression).

My suspicion is that current filmmakers are as fascinated as I am with it, some of them having studied its history and some of them having lived it. But I also suspect it’s failing to strike any basic nerve or chord with today’s audiences, except perhaps in the more insane conspiracy theory circles out there.

So I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight six made for TV movies made straight out of the Satanic Panic era! I chose these primarily because they earnestly traffic in the lurid prurient headlines of the times with zero irony and Lifetime TV Production panache. Some have very high profile actors involved, which makes them simultaneously awful and delightful. Continue reading

That Sow Could Still Be Mine (The Chillerpop Exorcist Retrospective, Part 6)

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ETSOctober 11, 2017 – This will be a short one, and please be warned that there are heavy SPOILERS for Exorcist The Series. Season 2 has already begun airing on Fox.  I started an “Exorcist Retrospective” on this blog and I’ll take this opportunity of the 31 Days of Halloween to catch up by covering last year’s Season 1. Continue reading