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.

Exclusive ‘Possum’ Clip Foreshadows Something Creepy and Crawly

Bloody Disgusting has an exclusive clip from the UK horror film Possum (read our review) which stars Sean Harris of Prometheus fame. The film is written and directed by Matthew Holness, creator of the comedy series “Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace”, and will release on VOD November 2, 2018, via Dark Sky Films.

The story is about a disgraced children’s puppeteer who returns to his childhood home and is forced to confront his wicked stepfather and the secrets that have tortured him his entire life.

The clip foreshadows something horrific – something creepy and crawly…a giant spider, maybe?

FILM REVIEW: POSSUM (TELLURIDE HORROR SHOW)

On the flip side to the coin of making a diamond-in-the-rough film festival discovery (see our review for THE HEAD), there’s also the danger a finding a lump of coal. Such was the case with the “puppet-horror” head-scratcher POSSUM, playing as a part of the 9th annual Telluride Horror Show (THS). This was a film that had been hyped up all weekend, with one festival programmer claiming it was the highlight of his festival picks this year. With only one showing on Sunday, I had to be there to see what the hype was about. I am sad to report that the film was a disappointment for this writer on nearly every level, and possibly the worst film I’ve seen in all my years attending THS.

I know that I’m not alone here, since I witnessed at least four people fall asleep during this 3pm screening. One gentleman fell asleep so hard, his snoring woke him up and he promptly exited the theatre. The real horror here is that this happened within the first 30 minutes of the films 87 minute run time. I was definitely squirming but not in the right ways. I felt compelled to write this review, since most of the other reviews I’ve read have been extremely positive (the film currently sits at a 7.4 on IMDB)…so, what did I miss? I argue that I didn’t miss a thing! I have a theory that sometimes the more “intellectual” film critics are terrified to admit that they didn’t understand a film. Therefore, it must have been a deep and provocative journey in to the heart of artistic creativity…right? I reject that theory, and proudly raise my hand to say “what the fuck did I just watch?” and “can I have my 87 minutes back?” To say that I did not like the film is an understatement…Allow me to elaborate.

The film comes to us from Matthew Holness who is the creator of something called GARTH MARENGHI’S DARKPLACE, which admittedly I’m unfamiliar with. During the intro, he received applause for the creation of that property, but I can only critique what I was presented with. The film tells the story of a troubled man named Philip played by Sean Harris (most recently of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE fame) living with his creepy uncle Maurice played by Alun Armstrong. Let me be very clear and state that both of these men turn in wonderful performances considering the material they were presented with. My issue is with the narrative and not the performers.

Philip is obsessed with a disturbing spider puppet with a human looking head. The design of the puppet was also terrific and quite unsettling. The puppet lives in a brown leather bag that Philip can’t seem to get rid of, no matter how hard he tries. 80% of the film is literally Philip walking from place to place, trying to ditch the bag, before trying to recover it in a sheer panic. I remember one particular sequence where I counted no less than three…long…drawn out edits… of him walking. It was painful to watch. It seems that this puppet has some kind of hold over Philip. In addition to the puppet, his Uncle seems to have something over him in the form of a locked door in the house they share.

As the film progresses, Philip continually gets closer and closer to the door without actually opening it. His opening of the door seems contingent on his Uncle not being there, which he always is. “You going in?” Maurice would ask, and Philip would panic and leave the house for more walkabouts. Early on in the film, Philip encounters young schoolboy on a train and the two have an awkward exchange. Throughout the film it’s revealed that this boy has gone missing and the assailant matches Philip’s description. This is as close to a through-line narrative as I can give you. The film culminates with the ultimate reveal of the boy’s fate, in a brisk and assaulting final finale, which occurs once Philip finally opens the locked door. However, the brief 3 minutes of action/conclusion didn’t make up for the other 84 minutes it took to get there. The programmer described it as a slow burn that just explodes…I would argue it’s a slow burn with a wick that fizzles out into a puddle of sadness and disappointment.

The film has a wonderful aesthetic, good actors, really cool puppets, and a lot of artistic symbolism. It just flat out went NOWHERE. One of my festival buddies said that this would have made a terrific short film and I have to 100% agree (thanks Brianna!). This story was just nowhere close to filling out a near 90-minute feature runtime. I get no pleasure from taking down a film I didn’t enjoy, but I simply can’t abide these overwhelmingly positive reviews. I will always be honest with you, my little darlings, and this one was a firm pass in my book. I hope to see more from this director, as it’s obvious that he has talent. I just have no clue what I was supposed to take away from this thing, other than the sense that I chose the wrong 3pm screening on Sunday.

 

“A slow burn with a wick that fizzles out into a puddle of sadness and disappointment.”

1 Tombstone out of 5…. For aesthetics and acting alone

 

‘Possum’ Trailer Confronted By a Horrific Spider Puppet

Here’s the creepy trailer for the UK horror film Possum which stars Sean Harris of Prometheus fame. The film is written and directed by Matthew Holness, creator of the comedy series “Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace”, and will release on VOD November 2, 2018, via Dark Sky Films.

The story is about a disgraced children’s puppeteer who returns to his childhood home and is forced to confront his wicked stepfather and the secrets that have tortured him his entire life.

Possum is a supernatural horror combining the stark psycho-drama of George Romero’s Martin with the uncanny terror of Dead of Night,” Holness enthusiastically described the movie to ScreenDaily when originally announced. “The film draws on the dark nightmares of silent expressionist horror, British classics such as The Innocents and Don’t Look Now, as well as the claustrophobic suburban gothic of Pete Walker’s FrightmarePossum will terrify in the best tradition of classic horror cinema, evoking an atmosphere of supernatural dread and creeping horror.”