Vogue Writer Slams Horror: “Where Have All the Good Horror Movies Gone?”

Remember when horror was good?” asks Vogue writer Taylor Antrim, who proclaims 2018 void of any good horror movies in an article published this week, yet still works in mentions of Hereditary and A Quiet Place – the latter of which he calls a “thriller”. Sigh.

We didn’t even get a decent shark movie this year,” he bolsters like that’s some kind of quantifiable statistic over the past 100 years of cinema. (The funny thing is, the fact that we even did get a mega budget shark blockbuster with The Meg actually shows how huge horror is right now.)

The writer then slams Halloween, before he comically tells readers to watch Revenge, which, I hate to break it to him, came out this year. Remember when horror was good? Like, you mean right now? In this very moment we’re living inside of?

Then, Suspiria is removed from the equation. “Suspiria is not forgettable. Nor is it, I hasten to say, much of a horror film, despite being a remake of one.” He suggests that a horror movie isn’t a horror movie unless it has “an element of fun, of dark delight,” and excludes Suspiria because it wasn’t fun nor did he understand the finale. Must be a “thriller,” eh?

Typical for pieces of this sort, the article has no clear point and builds up to nothing; mostly, it’s supported by the writer’s viewing of WinchesterThe Nun and Slender Man, three not-so-great films that offer only a fraction of horror that was put on display this year. Of course, as most horror fans are aware, the good has far outweighed the bad in 2018.

(And even the baddest, it’s worth pointing out, have proven quite successful.)

But I digress. This feels like yet another mainstream hit piece, one that perhaps it’s best to give no attention to at all. But it’s hard not to. After all, this is exactly the kind of bullshit we horror fans constantly have to deal with. You see, when horror is having a down year, they’ll write, “Horror is dead.” When it’s hot, like it has been for the past few years, they quantify it and remove films to fit their narrative. We’re low class to them. There’s no way a horror film could be so good that it deserves awards… right?

You just watch… when Toni Collette gets nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Hereditary, and Ari Aster gets nominated for “Best Director” and “Best Original Screenplay”, the mainstream media will start the narrative that Hereditary is not a horror movie. Buckle your seatbelts, cause it’s going to happen. Hell, it already has.

Digressing yet again, I don’t understand how one of the biggest magazines on the planet can allow someone to write a horror hit piece having just seen a small handful of horror films?

Outside of the aforementioned Hereditary, A Quiet Place (a monster movie that’s without question a *horror* movie), Revenge and Suspiria (that’s a lot of great horror right there, no?), there have been dozens of phenomenal genre films released in 2018. So much so that I’m having a difficult time narrowing down the best of the year. While you may debate me on the merits of The Predator or this weekend’s Overlord (both extremely fun genre films), I offer you the following counter: Annihilation, Mandy, The Ritual, The Night Comes For Us, One Cut of the Dead, Thoroughbreds, Before I Wake, Ghost Stories, Blue My Mind, What Keeps You Alive, Tumbbad, Lowlife, Possum, Let the Corpses Tan, Terrified, and The Witch In the Window.

I’m sure there’s even more, but let’s not pretend we’re not in the middle of a major horror renaissance. We are. We absolutely are. And true fans of the genre see that clear as day.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

FILM REVIEW: LET THE CORPSES TAN

Coming to US theatres on August 31 is the French language, Belgian crime thriller LET THE CORPSES TAN. The film drew me in on the brilliant title alone. It has been and continues to be played extensively at film festivals around the globe and I have been hearing about it constantly. Whether you enjoy the film or not, it definitely won’t leave your head. Co-directed by married couple Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, it is so refreshing that a film can be such a love letter to a bygone era of film yet still be so unique.

After robbing an armoured truck of enough gold bars to significantly weigh down their car, Rhino (Stéphane Ferrara) and his gang hide out in some sun drenched ruins off the Mediterranean coast. With them is the enigmatic and sultry Madame Luce (Elina Löwensohn), along with an assorted crew of ragtag characters.  When two cops ride in to investigate, a 24 hour long shoot out ensues, filled with double-crossing, raining bullets and mysterious golden women.

Cattet and Forzani have expertly recreated a European crime thriller from the 70’s. Everything about the film harkens back to the original gangster exploitation films along with a bit of Western in there for good measure.  LET THE CORPSES TAN gives off a very Tarantino vibe. The film could be described as the baby of RESERVOIR DOGS and A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS. With vintage music cues from Ennio Morricone (THE HATEFUL EIGHT, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY) and an original soundtrack, if you were to hear the score without seeing the film you would be certain LET THE CORPSES TAN  was an old spaghetti western.  Not only with the music but also with camera techniques; for example, I loved the close ups of faces and the panning from one character to the next. The way it was shot really held tension within the film and made the whole thing feel like one long Mexican standoff.

Sound design was a prominent part of what makes LET THE CORPSES TAN so visceral. We hear every single sound: the squeak of leather as the police officers move, the squelch as meat is torn from the bone, the end of a cigarette burning, and of course the shooting. Sometimes the sounds were so crisp and loud it was unnerving. A fantastically subtle way of getting to your audience emotionally.

The film is not as straightforward as I’ve described; mixed into the story are slices of abstract, dreamlike sequences that don’t entirely make sense, but they are beautiful. LET THE CORPSES TAN is filled with enough action to be a Hollywood blockbuster, but it is definitely an arthouse film. The directing duo’s previous works are highly stylized, Giallo inspired thrillers and while LET THE CORPSES TAN  is a new direction for them, the use of colour especially red, blue and gold remain. While these scenes are mainly about colour and music they do add an element of mystery to the story. They won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and at times I was pretty confused and waiting for the plot to go somewhere. Sometimes it felt like the film was concentrating so much on being a perfect pastiche that other aspects of the film suffered as a result.

Cinephiles and fans of unique film experiences are going to eat this film up. That being said, the is a lot to be adored in LET THE CORPSES TAN for the more mainstream film fan as well. It’s an exciting thriller which keeps the awesome spirit of  70’s shoot ‘em-ups alive.

 

“Cattet and Forzani have expertly recreated a European crime thriller from the 70’s.”

3 out of 5 tombstones