‘Halloween’: Laurie Strode Strikes Back

Ruby: Let me just start off by saying that it’s a pretty bad idea to see a horror film with Varun. Varun: Watching a horror movie is, for me, an act of pure masochism. RQ: Yeah, but honestly it’s not even scary. VB: If you’ve seen enough slashers it’s probably not that scary since the film dogmatically clings to the tropes of that genre. But I think there’s enough jump scares in the film to make all but the most hardcore horror fans sweat a little.

Jesus Freaks: Mandy Is a Bloody Good Time

Ruby: Man, that was wild. It’s going to be hard to get that image of the demon with a knife where his dick is supposed to be out of my head. What do you think the movie is about, though? To me it seems like there’s not much depth to it, since the revenge story has been told too many times. Varun: I love revenge films. I don’t think they get old.

I Can’t Stay Quiet About A Quiet Place

Less is more. That seems to be the spirit behind A Quiet Place. Directed by John Krasinski, with a story by Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, the film sticks with a simple premise. It keeps a tiny cast of characters and, as is usual for horror, a relatively small budget of $17 million. It’s a lean pool of resources.

After Seven Years, Does Jigsaw Pick Up the Halloween Tradition?

“If it’s Halloween, it must be Saw.”

It’s been seven years since that tagline has been heard in cinemas. In 2004, Saw hit theaters and created a whole new subgenre of horror. It became an annual tradition. Every Halloween brought more death traps, more mystery and an ever growing web of mythos. For seven years, Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures harvested huge profits from these low-budget, box office hits.

What I Got Out of Get Out

Get Out is allegedly a horror film, but it’s not very scary. It’s a satire, written and directed by beloved comedian Jordan Peele, but most of the jokes don’t land. It’s pretty bland, but that’s not unforgivable — after all, the production company is Blumhouse, known largely for dreary, drab cheapies that deliver a bare minimum of sensation and make their money back. But what makes Get Out downright disappointing is its failure as a social allegory. Sold largely on addressing racial tensions, the actual allegorical commentary in Get Out is broad, underwhelming, and falls on its face under scrutiny.

CHAZAN | Remembering God’s Cartoonist: The Case for Jack T. Chick, 1924 — 2016

The phrase “Chick tract” may not immediately conjure up an image for all of you, but I’m sure most of you know what they are — like much quintessential Americana, the sight of a Chick tract conjures up strong associations regardless of our prior knowledge. Chick tracts are short, punchy religious comics in a rectangular format, notable for their vitriol and hardline stance on the power of conversion. These little pamphlets are the physical embodiment of American evangelical movements, audaciously insisting the reader will burn in hell unless they accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior, presented with jittery, vividly literal cartoon imagery. Targets of the Chick tract’s scorn have ranged over the years from homosexuality to Catholics to climate change to Dungeons and Dragons, harsh invectives inconspicuously left on park benches and bus seats by believers. Over the years, these comic tracts have attracted mockery and sarcastic disdain from the skeptical readers (i.e. most of us), so it’s understandable that the recent death of Jack T. Chick, the writer, frequent artist and publisher of the tracts, has generally not been treated as the loss of a great artist.

ALUR | Black Mirror and the Propagation of Paranoia

I rarely expose myself to anything in the horror genre. Unless there are computerized ghouls emerging from subway tracks, only to be blasted away by comedic goddesses (I see you, Ghostbusters 2), I have very little interest in deliberately scaring myself. I’m more energized by the possibility of a good laugh or cry than the spine-curling, hair-raising horror shows and films out there. Despite this, over the summer, like many, I endeavored to watch Stranger Things. The show gripped me without necessarily “scaring” me in the conventional sense.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

After surviving attempts to destroy all copies of this film due to copyright infringement (they never got the rights to the material), this adaptation of Stoker’s Dracula (1897) was brought before a packed audience in Sage Chapel. For those who don’t know, Nosferatu is a 1922 silent, expressionist, German film. This means lots of beautiful stylized acting may be in store, which is my favorite part of any silent film. Since silent films can only use intertitles for dialogue, the plot has to be conveyed via the characters’ actions. The actors are over the top in their gestures, and their eyes bulge farther than I think should be physically possible.

Chevalier: Naming the Most Modern Prometheus

Athina Rachel Tsangari’s film Chevalier, showing at Cornell Cinema this Friday, understates its oddities and creates a hauntingly realistic picture of humanity. The film draws from various and strange inspirations which result in a Frankenstein-esque human species. But, it remains non-committal. Just like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein directly condemns neither the monster nor his creation, Tsangari only subtly questions specific behaviors, habits and desires. Chevalier disguises itself as the story of six friends on a luxury fishing trip.