It’s with some surprise but great pleasure that I report Ash Vs. Evil Dead not only works, but works well, maintaining the spirit of the original films while still succeeding as a stand-alone treat. …Read More
Walking Dead, who? The new trailer for Starz’s Ash vs. Evil Dead is ridiculous and ridiculously gory — and we wouldn’t want it any other way. The film franchise was …Read More
Let us begin with three seemingly unrelated entertainment news items.
1. Starz Television has announced a new, ten-episode series titled Ash vs. Evil Dead. Director/producer Sam Raimi and star Bruce Campbell will reunite for the series, which is a spin-off/continuation of their long-dormant original iteration of the Evil Dead movie series.
There are four kinds of adults on Halloween night: the ones who take their kids trick-or-treating; the ones who stay home to give those kids candy; the ones who go out to parties dressed as sexy Ebola nurses or whatever; and the ones who shut off their lights, pretend they’re not home, and binge on horror movies. If you’re in the latter category, this post is for you. Earlier this month, our fringe horror expert Alison Nastasi offered up a few off-the-beaten path Netflix picks. If you’re still looking, here are a few more conventional picks, along with a couple of recent faves and some choices from other streaming services as …Read More
There are all sorts of reasons to see Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats The Soul (debuting this week on Blu-ray, via The Criterion Collection), but here’s the one that finally clinched it for me: when they go see it in Middle of Nowhere. By inserting the earlier film into a later one, Nowhere’s director, Ava DuVernay, isn’t just telling us something about the kind of people who inhabit her story; she’s also savvily commenting on the kind of story she’s telling. And she’s not the only filmmaker to employ this very clever trick.
The movie tie-in McDonald’s Happy Meal is one of our most venerable cultural barometers, a big “get” for family movies hoping to market directly to their most vocal consumers. Starting with Star Trek: The Motion Picture back in 1979 (the same year the Happy Meal rolled out), Disney hits, superhero smashes, and other family favorites have used the cardboard panels of the Happy Meal and the toy inside to hawk their cinematic wares. But what if Happy Meals were used to market slightly more adult fare? This is the question asked by Pinterest artist Newt Clements, who’s made an extensive collection of imaginary Happy Meals that we really, really wish existed.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but after spending a total of 665 minutes with him, in five movies over the course of a decade, I think it’s safe to say that I know all I need to know about Spider-Man. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is out in theaters Friday, and it will certainly make a bazillion dollars, but after you sit through it — all 142 fucking minutes of it — it’s very hard to work up a compelling reason that it needed to exist, aside from the aforementioned bazillion dollars. It’s not just that it’s clumsily executed, aggressively stupid, and excruciatingly overlong (did I mention the 142 minutes?). It’s that, five films in, they’re still giving us — I’m not making this up — an origin story. Attention, Hollywood: We get it. Shy kid, fights crime, flies around, shoots the webs. We don’t need a Russian novel’s worth of backstory on this character; at this point, I know more about Peter Parker’s youth than the childhoods of people I share a bloodline with.
Horror films channel the fears and fervor of modernity, acting as reflectors turned against their viewers. They’re the most epochal form of escapism of the last century. Take, for example, James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein, which uses monsters and madmen to depict the internal torment of repressed sexual orientation at a time when homophobia was the norm, or Psycho and Peeping Tom, which explore the identity suppression and psycho-sexual struggle of the McCarthy era (to which The Wicker Man would provide a gleefully perverse epilogue in 1973). John Carpenter’s Halloween presents suburban banality and parental tyranny — no pot, no premarital sex, be home by nine — personified as a living urban legend in Michael Meyers. David Cronenberg’s skin-tighteningly creepy Shivers, and later his remake of The Fly, capture the fear of disease and bodily disintegration. The fear of communism permeates Invasion of the Body Snatchers (both of them), while Carpenter, always happy to usurp the conservative norm, portrays the fear and paranoia of communism, rather than communism itself, sinisterly in The Thing.