Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Tuesday, Nov 11, 2014
Not every cinematic bomb remains forgettable. Sometimes, a failure is just a gemstone in disguise that will only reveal itself well past the release date.

Movies usually bomb because they are bad. Uber bad. Can’t be redeemed by acting, directing, or scripting terrible. In those cases, the write-off is obvious. As the medium moves on, the truly awful fall by the wayside, brought up only when discussions of the worst of the worst are warranted.


Sometimes, however, a film failure isn’t. Instead, it’s a victim of circumstances; the culture of the moment, the counterintuitive perspective of the final product, the star/director choices. And then there are those cases where a movie is literally ahead of its time, unable to be enjoyed in its own temporal moment but, once removed, is revitalized and reevaluated. Some may argue that this is a current phenomenon, home video and the internet allowing for such reassessment. In reality, as long as there have been film critics, there has been such scholarship.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Tuesday, Nov 4, 2014
There are only 364 days left until next Halloween, so get prepared to face the real horrors of the world with these ten titles.

It’s officially over. We’re done for another year. No more witches and warlocks, no more ghosts and goblins, o more zombies, werewolves, vampires, axe murders, hockey masked psychos, chainsaw wielding cannibals,  and other pop culture novelties. (Which reminds me that there’ll be no Frozen costumes—thank goodness.) Yes, another 31 October has come and gone, and with it, the desire for fright fans to indulge in all things menacing and macabre. For most, it’s a one shot deal, a night out in costume, a chance to have a few relatively safe scares and, maybe, to pull a few pranks.


For others, it’s a lifestyle, a 354-day-a-year struggle that only the last day in the tenth month can cure. All over social media and the blogsphere, those taken with terror post their Best and Worst Of lists. But once the bats have returned to the belfry, what then? How can someone celebrate the season of scares without having to go back to the Voorhees and the Myers, the Romeros and the Carpenters?


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Tuesday, Oct 28, 2014
James Wan and Leigh Whannell didn't start off the Saw series with a focus on the gory "games", but these 10 examples of Jigsaw's various traps explain the franchise's enduring fear factors.

It didn’t start out as torture porn. In fact, the first Saw film only contains a single sequence that could conceivably be labeled as such. But with its success came a slew of sequels, each one focusing on the splatterific ways the main villain—a dying man named Jigsaw—would pick off his preselected victims. Thus the new horror subgenre, and in part, the last legacy of James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s celebrated Sundance hit, Saw.


Coming out of nowhere to take the fright film society by storm, the efforts of these two talented Australians (with further developmental help from Parts Two through Four guide Darren Lynn Bouseman) became the benchmark for fear over the last 10 years. Dozens of movies, made in conjunction with the real gorno purveyor - Eli Roth’s Hostel -took inspiration from this taut, post-modern thriller and, soon, the masked slasher made way for a clever criminal, his (or her) disembodied voice, and a series of cruel, brutal games.


Tagged as: horror, james wan, saw
Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014
Not all scary movies are horrifying. Sometimes, they're downright deranged. Watch these and you'll never look at your furniture, your appliances, your parents or anything the same way again.

Horror movies, by their very nature, are odd. They are an entertainment that people participate in, the purpose of which is to feel fear. It’s fictional, it’s often non-reality based, but it’s fear nonetheless. It’s often stated that this otherwise unusual desire is directly related to the need for catharsis. When done right, when measured out in suspense or splatter, the feeling of intense dread is built up, layer upon layer, until all of a sudden—BAM!—death knocks down the door and turns the off the terror with a knife blade or a chainsaw. The set-up and pay-off predicate our response, leading to a likeable (albeit, hardly “enjoyable” experience). It’s the thrill of the ride that we seek in such films, not unlike a rock concert or an actual roller coaster.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014
They are the contemporary voices of an ages old ideal, the new fear masters in a genre sometimes stunted by its own lack of (critical) legitimacy.

Some horror legends are still around—Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter, George Romero, Dario Argento—and every once in a while they happenstance into something that adds to (instead of detracting from) their already regal reputation. They are the current Masters of Horror, creepshow kings extraordinaire. Then there are the near-misses, the Michele Soavis and Bernard Roses who made massive initial impressions (Dellamorte Dellamore and Paperhouse, respectively) before slinking off into scary movie exile.


Indeed, thanks to the rise in technology, the bankability of fear, and the unbridled fandom which fuels many homemade horror movies, there are very few maestros left in the macabre, man or woman. In fact, it’s safe to say that many of the moviemakers today, your Marcus Nispels and your Bryan Bertinos, seem more interested in moving beyond dread, to play with the “real” artists of the cinema, so to speak.


Tagged as: horror
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.