Around the World in 31 Days: Belgium

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The Devil’s Nightmare (1971) is credited as an Italian/Belgian production. Italy has a legendary horror movie tradition so I’ll give this one to Belgium.
Now, I don’t know what if anything The Devil’s Nightmare had to say about the Belgian national character in 1971 (definitely some post-war Nazi anxiety there), but it was an absolute delight. At times I could have sworn I was watching a precursor to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, what with tourists trapped in a spooky castle and creepy pale skulkers a la Richard O’Brien’s Riff Raff (Daniel Emilfork as the devil himself.)

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Lumbering Doofus or Ninja? (Frankenstein, Chapters 22-24)

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Cover of Tor Books edition of Frankenstein by fantasy art master Boris Vallejo

In the home stretch, and here are my takeaways on the end of the novel! Of course, I don’t really have much more to say, not about Vic all of a sudden becoming a self-righteous avenger of justice, dramatically appealing to “spirits” etc etc.  What a drama queen! I don’t have much to say about the showdown in the Arctic, either, except that Vic kills a lot of huskies trying to chase the Monster. Nope, not a whole lotta sympathy from me, gotta tell ya. It also looks like Captain Walton is developing a man-crush or more on Vic. Find another thing, Walton. Continue reading

Milton, Geo-politics and Romantic Procrastination in Scotland! (Frankenstein, Chapters 15-21)

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Here is one of the most fascinating segments of Shelley’s novel, where the Monster, far from the image of the lumbering idiot that Universal Studios imprinted upon popular culture, eloquently relates his tale and reveals a depth of thought and soul that is heartbreaking. Actually, this all began at around Chapter 10 – where the Monster stalks, helps, learns from and is rejected by a poor and virtuous family, the De Laceys-  but I will address it here.

My takeaways: 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

Am I Perfection? (The Chillerpop Exorcist Retrospective, Part 5)

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Perhaps not, but you’re fascinating and worthy of the Exorcist legacy. Continue reading