Category Archives: Blog

Episode 75. Crime Spree: Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) and Zodiac (2007)

This month, Andrea and Alex pull back the veil on narrative cinema and the true-crime phenomena. From John McNaughton’s nightmarish debut to David Fincher’s gumshoe epic, the answers to our response and responsibility to real-life events is almost always more complex than they appear on the surface.

Class of 2019 T-shirts are available now at Twisted Ts! 

Salem Horror Fest – Tickets to our live show on October 5th are on sale now! The Fack Dispatch – Subscribe to our BRAND NEW monthly newsletter!

REQUIRED READING

Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer. Dir. John McNaughton, 1986.

Zodiac. Dir. David Fincher, 2007.

EXTRA CREDIT

Violence Incorporated: John McNaughton’s “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” and the Uses of Gratuitous Violence in Popular Narrative. Steffen Hantke’s in-depth examination of violence in the film.

Regarding the Pain of Others. Susan Sontag’s follow up to On Photography.
 
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. Michelle McNamara’s search for the Golden State Killer.
 
The Ethical Dilemma of Highbrow True Crime. Alice Bolin discusses how true crime went from guilty pleasure to pop culture phenomenon.

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Episode 73. Freddy Inc: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Master (1988), A Nightmare on Elm Street:The Dream Child (1989), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), New Nightmare (1994), Freddy vs Jason (2013)

Andrea and Alex hit the hay one last time to discuss how Freddy became a marketing legend, a cultural sensation and an arbiter of taste. Transitioning from installments in the late ’80s to the ’90s to the early aughts, Freddy illustrates how slashers have evolved (or devolved) to become cultural icons.

Class of 2019 T-shirts are available now at Twisted Ts!

 Salem Horror Fest – Tickets to our live show on October 5th are on sale now!

REQUIRED READING

A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Master. Dir. Renny Harlin, 1988.
A Nightmare on Elm Street:The Dream Child. Dir. Stephen Hopkins, 1989.
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. Dir. Rachel Talalay, 1991.
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Dir. Wes Craven, 1994.
Freddy vs Jason. Dir. Ronny Yu, 2013.

EXTRA CREDIT

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy. The four hour documentary that delves into the nooks and crannies of the Elm Street franchise.

How MTV changed the world with its industry of cool. A look at MTV from it’s birth to the height of its popularity.

Welcome to His ‘Nightmare’: How Freddy Krueger Became a Pop Icon. Rolling Stone examines how Freddy went from child murderer to teen sensation.

Slash of the Titans: The Road to Freddy vs Jason. Dustin McNeill’s exhaustive look at the production history and scripts that led to Freddy vs Jason.

Hockey Masks, Machetes and Razor Fingers: The Writers Behind ‘Freddy Vs. Jason’ Tell All! Trace Thurman’s interview with Freddy vs Jason screenwriters Mark Swift and Damian Shannon.

Bloody Disgusting. Larry Zerner explains the messy Friday the 13th lawsuit.

MTV’s Freddy Krueger Hour clips. All the MTV segments featuring Freddy Krueger promoting NoES 4.

Metacinema: A Modern Necessity. A guide and explanation of “metacinema” from its beginnings.

The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Lyotard’s critique of cultural metanarratives.

The Bogeyman of Your Nightmares: Freddy Krueger’s Folkloric Roots. A cultural history of figures like Freddy, and how the original and remake compare.

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Episode 69: The Fack Lives!: 2018 Year in Review

Andrea and Alex return for their annual year in review episode. From their favourite films of 2018 to FAQs and bloopers, few stones are left unturned… and those are probably haunted anyway.

EXTRA CREDIT

Alex’s Favourite Films of 2018:
Suspiria
Pyewacket
Annihilation
Assassination Nation
Cam

 

Andrea’s Favourite Films of 2018:
Suspiria
Hereditary
Assassination Nation
Tigers are Not Afraid
Summer of ’84

 

Alex’s Horror-Adjacent Film Faves:
Border
Sorry to Bother You
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

 

Books mentions:
Be sure to check out the Faculty of Horror Reading List!
Different Seasons by Stephen King
The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum
The Troop by Nick Cutter
Bird Box by Josh Malerman

 

Other sources mentioned:
In Conversation with Paul Schrader – An interview from New York Magazine’s Vulture about the state of the film industry and how players like Netflix and Hulu are mining our algorithms.

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Episode 57. Hard Bodies: American Psycho (2000)

In our first-ever live episode recorded at Salem Horror Fest in Salem, Massachusetts, Andrea and Alex delve into the dark and depraved world of Patrick Bateman and Bret Easton Ellis to discover what is real and what can be bought with a platinum American Express credit card. From the rise of the yuppie to contemporary parallels, American Psycho is a gift that keeps on giving and never goes out of style.

REQUIRED READING

American Psycho. Dir. Mary Harron, 2000.

EXTRA CREDIT

Salem Horror Fest! Thank you for having us!

American Psycho Author Bret Easton Ellis Tells Us Where Patrick Bateman Would Be Today – An overview of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel American Psycho, which scandalized the literary world and brought a storm of controversy with it.

‘American Psycho’ at 25: Bret Easton Ellis on Patrick Bateman’s Legacy – The author speaks candidly on Bateman’s legacy and serial killer chic.

Documenting Trump’s Abuse of Women – The New Yorker article documenting Donald Trump’s misogyny and vanity.

Lunar Park – Easton Ellis’ 2006 novel that documents the return of Patrick Bateman.
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Alex’s 31 Days of Halloween Horror 2017 (October 16 – 31)

 

Alright, it’s mid-October. Are you tired yet? Thought not. Onwards!

October 16: Scream 2 (1997). Scream is a classic, but Scream 2 is a classic sequel. The original dynamics of my favourite Scooby gang (Sidney, Gale and Dewey) are at play and Wes Craven’s direction easily guides their story forward for a fun and violent late 90s romp. Also, Courteney Cox deserves all the praise for rocking those chunky highlights with minimal embarrassment.

October 17: The Omen (1976). It’s all for you Damien! Watch adults get whipped up into a tizzy over the son of the Devil that ends with one of cinema’s most chilling endings.

October 18: The Eyes of My Mother (2016) I want to talk about this movie to EVERYONE! But the less you know going into it, the better. So all I will say is, give it a watch.

October 19: I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016) Another recent film I’m shocked I haven’t heard more people talk about. I Am Not a Serial Killer is beautiful, gruesomely nostalgic and chilling, highly recommended. Again, the less you know going in – the better.

October 20: The Hills Have Eyes (2006) I prefer Aja’s remake for its visceral, unflinching violence that escalates in every screen. Aja and his team created images that are still seared in my brain.

October 21: The Strangers (2008) Quiet terror perfected, crush on Scott Speedman confirmed.

October 22: Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace (2004) A Faculty of Horror listener turned me on to this series (thanks Allen!) and since it’s all on YouTube you don’t have an excuse not to watch this joyfully bonkers cult-British series.

October 23: The House on Haunted Hill (1959) Speaking of joyfully bonkers, have you accepted our Lord and Saviour Vincent Price?

October 24: Under the Shadow (2016) I wanted desperately to love The Babadook, thankfully there’s Under the Shadow which is everything I wanted for my parent/child terror dynamic.

October 25: Cat People (1942) Classics are classics for a reason. Jacques Tourneur’s film holds up with elements of campy horror and female psychological dread. The film has gone on to influence a litter of other films because of its beautiful and stylistic simplicity. If you’re interested, here’s a longer piece I wrote about the film.

October 26: The Fog (1980) The film responsible for my lifelong dream of owning a lighthouse.

October 27: Prevenge (2016) Part horror comedy, part gore-stravaganza, part meditation on impending motherhood, all awesome.

October 28: Orphan (2009). One of the great contemporary camp classics held up with great performances all around.

October 29: Beware the Slenderman (2016). Sorry, were we having too much fun? Check out HBO’s documentary which examines the sociology of internet phenomenons and a chilling true crime case.

October 30: Black Swan (2010). I love Vincent Cassel. It also captures the competitive mania that artistic communities can breed with horrific accuracy.

October 31: Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982). Happy, happy Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. Happy, happy Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, SILVER SHAMROCK!

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Andrea’s 31 Days of Halloween Horror 2017 (Oct 1 – 15)

Pumpkin spice everything? Check. Weekly trips to home furnishing stores to pick up housewares that they consider “seasonal”? Check. Premature pumpkins that will likely rot before Halloween day? Check, checkity-check! You’re ready, I’m ready, let’s do this.

October 1: Death Note (2017). I’ll be first to admit, this Netflix-exclusive feature had “bad idea” written all over it, in spite of director Adam Wingard’s obvious talent and credentials. Wingard defended the film, saying he’d take a unique spin on the source material and I found myself able to get on board. Bonus points for another ’80s-inspired synth-drenched prom scene.

October 2: Maniac (2012). I often cite this film as the last one to scare the shit out of me at the cinema, to the point that I needed an escort home and slept with the lights on that night. It’s not because Franck Khalfoun’s remake of William Lustig’s 1980 sleazebath is particularly scary, it’s because it remains the first and only slasher flick I’ve ever seen where the killer’s victims and scenarios felt like they’d been pulled right out of my life. Maniac hits too close to home, but in a good way, and the POV cinematography and unsettling soundtrack don’t hurt either.

October 3: A Dark Song (2016). Imagine being so desperate to communicate with the other side that you commission the services of a creepy occultist and agree to do whatever he says to make that happen. I’d be remiss not to mention that A Dark Song falters in its ending, but the tension and ick factor that permeate throughout more than makes up for it.

October 4: The Fly (1986). Cronenberg’s take on The Fly is my go-to for horror fans who don’t yet know that they’re horror fans. Less scary than it is gut-wrenchingly tragic, the film stars then real-life couple Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum and their onscreen chemistry is so palpable, it upset me to discover that they broke up for real in 1990. Considered by many to be body horror’s crown jewel, share it with someone special.

October 5: Sunshine (2007). Also known in my personal catalog as “the Danny Boyle movie that nobody talks about for some reason”, Sunshine evaded me until earlier this fall and I’ll preach its gospel to anyone who will listen. It’s a clever riff on Event Horizon sets a group of astronauts on a mission to save humanity by reigniting the sun with a bomb.

October 6: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016). The Cloverfield franchise is as known for the quality of its films as it is for its brilliant viral marketing techniques and 10 Cloverfield Lane is no exception. John Goodman’s Howard Stambler gives Misery‘s Annie Wilkes a run for her money as horror’s most terrifying turnkey.

October 7: Spoorloos (1988). Young couple Rex and Saskia are on holiday when Saskia suddenly disappears at a truck stop, sending Rex on a cat-and-mouse chase with her kidnapper who toys with him for three years before revealing her grim fate. Known as The Vanishing in English (but not to be confused with the 1993 remake) Spoorloos’ ending is a kick to the gut that you’ll feel until Christmas.

October 8: The Evil Within (2017). Created over the course of 15 years, we’re lucky that the late Andrew Getty’s labour of love ever saw the light of day. Concerning a mentally challenged man who develops a strange relationship with his reflection in an antique mirror, The Evil Within should be forgiven its plot holes in favour of its disturbing visuals and unforgettable tableaus.

October 9: Let the Right One In (2008). Think vampires are played out? Think again. While most bloodsuckery in film concerns teens or adults who are tempted into immortality without fully considering its terrible price, this moving Swedish film about lonely, bullied 12-year-old Oskar is so full of heart, you’ll forget where to put your stake.

October 10: The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007). Ok, that’s enough sweetness: let’s get to the fucked-up shit. This lesser-known faux-documentary that pretends to be pulled from the tapes of a serial killer who tortured his victims in an old, abandoned house never saw a theatrical release and languished in the land of bootlegs for ten years until Shout Factory released it on DVD and Blu-ray… TODAY! Harrowing and frankly pretty friggin’ ugly, it’s a must-see for fans of found footage and cinéma vérité.

October 11: Train to Busan (2016). Zombies ain’t dead! Well, they are – I meant the subgenre. Last year’s Korean breakout Train to Busan blew festival audiences away with a frenetic energy that breathes new life into the  overplayed topic.

October 12: The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2009). Rob Zombie rouses my ire when he takes himself too seriously, but this full-length animated feature is a bit of silly fun for a Friday night; packed with solid horror references and voice work from an all-star cast, including Rosario Dawson, Paul Giamatti, Ken Foree, Dee Wallace and (of course), Sherri Moon Zombie.

October 13: The Belko Experiment (2017) It’s Friday the 13th, but you don’t have to ch-ch-ch that ka-ka-ka just because. It’s the end of the work week and maybe you’ve daydreamed about murdering your co-workers. Sublimate that fantasy with this Battle Royale-meets-Office-Space setup, directed by Wolf Creek‘s Greg McLean.

October 14: Pumpkinhead (1988). You know Pet Sematary. You love Pet Sematary. Pumpkinhead is Pet Sematary‘s red-headed stepbrother, starring the always-fantastic Lance Henrikson.

October 15: Night of the Living Dead (1990). Wait – check that year again. That’s right, this is Tom Savini’s weird and sort of unnecessary but still strangely endearing remake of George A Romero’s original classic.

Onto Alex’s picks! Happy Halloween, everyone!

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