Super Bad Seed: Brightburn

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Bear with me as I misremember and possibly misattribute a quote.

“At the rate our technology and understanding of genetics is progressing, some day, the first superhuman will rise forth from a tank. What are we going to put in this being’s hands to read? The New York Times? Atlas Shrugged? Or an issue of Superman?”

The quote, not at all verbatim, possibly was from the beautiful Chaos magician and comic book legend Grant Morrison (unless it was from Mark Millar?), a man who has made an exceptional career from superheroes, and who has positioned Superman as a Sun God and as our highest, noblest ideal. I recommend his work very strongly, particularly All-Star Superman, and also his book “Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human.”

Morrison makes the credible argument that a superhero comic is the very best thing we could give someone that has a lot of power to read.

And now, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has given us a vision of a Superman who could well have read … Twitter. Or 4Chan. Or whatever putrid corner of the Internet amplifies the worst thoughts and impulses of America’s boys. Continue reading

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Miss Rose of Summerisle

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[NOTE: This post was originally published on my version of this blog at the now-defunct Open Salon, on October 8th, 2011, one day after Diane Cilento’s passing. I’m including the original comments to my blog post, because why not?]

Let’s kick off the weekend with a short tribute to the late Diane Cilento, who passed away yesterday at the age of 78.  The beautiful Ms. Cilento was both a Tony (Tiger at the Gates) and an Oscar (Tom Jones) nominee, and was also known for being Sean Connery’s ex-wife.  Sadly, to this last point, there are uncomfortable accounts of his abominably abusive behavior towards her.

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Bad Kiddies and Kitties: Pet Sematary (2019)

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Photo by Chillerpop

I come as cold as a corpse to the story of Pet Sematary. It’s a part of the Stephen King canon I have yet to read, I never did get around to seeing its 1989 predecessor, and it’s far from my favorite song by The Ramones. I had no expectations here. All I knew is that it involved family grief, an Indian burial ground (never my favorite horror trope), and that the great Fred Gwynne was in the movie. Continue reading

The Rabbits Have Come Home to Roost: Us (2019)

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WARNING: THIS BLOG POST WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS for US

“…a big part of this for me was feeling like some of my favorite offerings in the horror genre work allegorically. Which, Get Out was not, really. It wasn’t an allegory. Get Out was about what it was about. It was about race. But horror that pops tends to do so because there’s a bigger picture behind the images.”

This comment was by Us writer and director Jordan Peele in an interview with Gizmodo. I love horror that codes for larger social anxieties. The more cryptic, the better. I love knowing that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre could be about the loss of the American dream and/or the gas crisis of the 1970’s, and that The Exorcist could be about the breakdown of the American nuclear family in the shadow of 1960’s counterculture.

Peele is someone that wants to give us the gift of entertaining, well-made and important horror films. And with Us, his average remains at 100%. Continue reading

Haute Cthure: H.P. Lovecraft’s “Nyarlathotep”

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Note: this post was originally written March 3, 2010 when I started this blog on the now-defunct platform, Open Salon. It was my second post ever. It’s a badly written piece but I’m interested in how I saw all the resentment and paranoia against President Obama mirrored in Lovecraft’s tales. There are certainly now in 2019 more dire parallels. 

MARCH 3, 2010 8:41AM

Haute Cthure: H.P. Lovecraft’s “Nyarlathotep”

“The general tension was horrible.  To a season of political and social upheaval was added a strange and brooding apprehension of hideous physical danger; a danger widespread and all-embracing, such a danger as may be imagined in only the most terrible phantasms of the night.”

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Sundance 2019: Sweetheart

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Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Director JD Dillard premiered his fairly cool monster movie, Sweetheart, at Sundance this year. This was a sophomore effort produced by Blumhouse, which recently announced its interest in reviving the ‘Dark Universe’ concept to make films about the Universal Monster stable of creatures. Sweetheart could well be The Creature From the Black Lagoon, minus any kind of inter-species love story.

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Your Weekend Frankenstein, Oct 27-29

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This weekend, please enjoy 1971’s Lady Frankenstein. It’s a shlocky Hammer-derivative production with some interesting twists. Pseudo-erotica horror featuring the beautiful, strangely psychopathic daughter of Victor Frankenstein: Tania, a pioneering female surgeon who shares her dad’s tendencies to push ethics and boundaries of pursuing scientific knowledge and achievement. In its own weird, pervy way, it somehow honors Shelley’s mother’s brand of proto-feminism. And the Monster behaves exactly as most modern horror villains do, punishing beautiful women and horny men for having sex.
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