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32 Films That Begin With Leaving a Mental Institution

"Crazy" movies for crazy times. These 32 films make the case for the recently-escaped-or-released-mental-patient narrative as its own subgenre, replete with a language of recurring themes, plot devices, and character archetypes.

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Film

The Darkness Within: 13 Films That Burrow into Our Psyches

These 13 films help us understand horror as an important mode of cultural expression, as a means to explore the dark inner recesses of ourselves and our society.

Books

Populism as High Art: Getting to the Heart of Ishiro Honda

A new biography of the groundbreaking -- yet unassuming -- film director explores his multifaceted life and work.

Film

Sci-fi Cowboys in 'Escape from New York' and 'Escape from L.A.'

Both films are the story of a lone, jaded gunslinger in a lawless wasteland, but instead of being set in the rurally nostalgic heartland, they're set in the dilapidated coastlines of an empire in decline.

Music

John Carpenter: Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998

Anthology includes a lot of interesting, really good pieces. But the ones that aren't call direct attention to Carpenter's limitations as a musician.

Music

Zombi: Shape Shift

Synth-driven duo returns with a stellar example of why the world still needs post rock.

Film

The Narrative of the 'Halloween' Saga Gets Confused Over Time

The message of John Carpenter's Halloween is simple: "Evil is here!" To expect any sequel to enhance that idea is to miss the point.

Music

John Carpenter: Lost Themes

John Carpenter's non-soundtrack album is engrossing and dark, bringing to mind images from his best works both audio and visual.

Reviews

John Carpenter and His Works, in Still Life

Gazing upon this vast collection of images with an abundance of rare and previously unseen stills, one cannot help but feel that Gottlieb-Walker captures the films' ontological identity.

Reviews

Welcome to the Jungle: 'Assault on Precinct 13'

John Carpenter's classic siege thriller isn't quite the old Hollywood throwback it's reputed to be, but it offers a striking reworking of genre mechanics and imagery to make up for its unsentimental atmosphere.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Books

'Reel Terror' Is Quite the Hatchet Job

I picked up this book with tears of joy streaming down my face, thanking the cosmos that someone finally wrote an exhaustive book for horror fans. But my tears of joy turned to tears of anguish, my fists clenched strands of hair wrenched from my head.

Film

Building the Perfect Star Beast: The Antecedents of 'Alien'

The impact of Alien is undeniable, and with Prometheus breathing new, terrifying and artistic life into the saga, Alien's legacy could go anywhere. However, Alien didn't spring, fully-formed onto movie screens as the near-perfect Star Beast that it is.

Film

The Thing (2011): Bringing Quiet Tones and Space Vaginas Back from the '80s

Matthijs van Heinjningen Jr.'s prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing summons the chilly vibe and the cinema-sexual psychoanalytic undertone of the best of '80s genre cinema. It's only the generic modern "female empowerment" story that seems dated.

Books

'They Live': A Polemic Ripe with Ambiguities

John Carpenter’s They Live is “probably the stupidest film ever to take ideology as its explicit subject”, at least according to author Jonathan Lethem. He’s probably right, but that doesn’t meant that the film’s coded messages are as black and white as…well, the film’s diegetic coded messages

Film

Watch the Skies!: Top 10 Alien Invasion Films

Ten examples of evil cosmic conquerors and their eventual mash-up with mankind.

Games

How Does One Beat the Heat? Try Descending Into Icy Madness

To cope with the heat wave, advisories suggest visiting 'cooling centers' or public pools. To achieve a truly chilled-out state of mind, however, why not open the door to your mind and let the iceman cometh inside?

Film

Cinema Qua Non - Indispensable DVDs: Part 1

Day One - A trip back to the classic days of studio system Hollywood, complete with great musicals, amazing adventure yarns, and a couple of post-modern freak outs, just to keep things controversial and lively.

Reviews

Bloodsucking Cinema

Surely there has to be more interesting things to say about vampires than that they're "cool" and "scary"?

Film

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Carpenter refuses to reduce the violence to a sideshow of blood squibs or special effects pyrotechnics.

David Sanjek
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