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Showing posts from June, 2016

Cult Classics: Howling II

The Howling is one of the best horror films of the 1980s and, alongside An American Werewolf in London, set an extremely high bar for the werewolf genre, one that's rarely been met since. It was directed by an energetic and creative filmmaker with an encyclopedic knowledge of horror and genre films, Joe Dante, and its script was rewritten and improved by a young John Sayles. The Howling has a fine pedigree. It's sequel, 1985's Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf, is another story altogether. It's a hot mess, composed of poorly executed horror, atrocious acting (with one notable exception), and utterly forgettable werewolf effects. It lacks the original's intelligence, humor, and a willingness to poke fun at horror genre tropes and conventions. However, while The Howling will always be one of my favorite horror films, there is something so endearing about the sequel's steadfast pursuit of ineptitude that it'll always hold a place in my heart too. It's …

Has it really been a year?

I just came to the realization that this blog started one year ago next month. In that year, our kids have grown from six to eighteen months old. While raising the Wonder Twins, my wife and I have grown a year older, but likely not any wiser, just more exhausted, frazzled, and incoherent. That and the header image remind me: anyone want to babysit for us so I can see Suicide Squad this summer? Anyway, in the last year I've also started writing for a website, Sequart, which has been terrifically fulfilling and fun. I fear it's taken what little time I have to write away from this blog, though, and for that I'm sorry. I had intended to fill this space with a mixture of things that mattered to me: the occasional personal reflection on my life, my family, and even my struggles and anxieties, along with more lighthearted pieces on pop culture and it's influence and impact on us. Well, the latter subject matter has kind of taken over this blog, mostly because it's on my…

Algorithms can't compete with cultural obsessives

I just read Shaun Brady's article over at the AV Club celebrating the eclectic sensibilities of the 1990s show Night Flight, which mashed together a series of music, movie, and assorted other pop culture clips during its Friday and Saturday eight-hour late-night programming blocks. It was sort of like MTV but far more hip and scattershot; as Brady says, "The show might bliss out on a feedback-squalling performance from Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps for 20 minutes, smash cut to a re-voiced black-and-white film clip for 2, then settle down for a politically focused discussion with Wendy O. Williams for 10."

It's a fascinating piece, exploring what made Night Flight so entertaining and how, while we've since gained the awesomeness of the internet with everything we could ever possibly want just a few clicks away, we've lost some of the curated weirdness that shows like Night Flight allowed for back in the '80s and '90s. Night Flight and similar shows r…

Zoe Lund

I've recently been thinking about the films of Abel Ferrera again, for the first time in quite a while. Ferrera's films, especially Bad Lieutenant, King of New York, The Funeral, and Ms. 45, were important to me when I was in college and throughout my twenties. Part of the attraction was clearly because his films were left of center, about characters living on the edge (of both society and a nervous breakdown), and above all else they had a realism that I craved in my movies back then. I still do, but as with most things as I age, that burning desire to see films about tortured people living tortured existences fades some. It's also partly because I immersed myself in that kind of cinema for a good long stretch back then, and I may have had my fill for a lifetime. That said, I still remember what made those films so transformative, and I can access that same feeling when I view them again all these years later. I'm hoping to write more at length about Ferrera and his f…