Candyman

Hellraiser Cenobites

In 1986, Stephen King staged a challenge to the many respected directors who had envisioned his famous books as films: he posited that a horror writer could best any horror director given their supposedly unique relationship to the subject matter. The result of this challenge was the insanely entertaining but not at all scary Maximum Overdrive, a fascinating but notable failure of a creator’s attempt to move from one medium to another. A year later, another horror writer tried his hand at filmmaking to considerably different results. Clive Barker, who King famously christened “the future of horror,” made himself known as a force to be reckoned with in cinematic fear with Hellraiser. Barker is perhaps better known in many circles for his novels, plays and video games than his feature films, as he has only helmed three, with his most recent released almost twenty years ago. But Barker’s imagination has had a serious influence on horror cinema, producing images of violence and monstrosity that have resonated, as evidenced by the strong legacy of his work as well as his notable influence on other filmmakers like Guillermo del Toro. So here is some free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from an artist who has made a career out of raising a bit of hell.

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Halloween_MichaelMyers

Where would horror cinema be without gothic fiction? The careers of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, James Whale, Roger Corman and many a German expressionist owe a great deal to the storied architecture that characterized the settings of 18th and 19th century literary classics. Moreover, from The Uninvited and Rebecca in the 1940s to the modern takes of the early 1960s (The Haunting and The Innocents, just to name a couple), the grand haunted house has proven to be a mainstay in horror, whether as a foreboding living space harboring dark secrets, a site for challenging and torturing tourists and skeptics, or an active site of dark experiments. The notion that houses – namely, large estates – contain histories which resonate beyond mortal bodies that inhabited them has vastly defined and influenced not only the terms of a cinematic genre, but what we find scary in general. But as postwar suburbanization came to redefine the relation between people and the places they reside, the horror genre had to redefine itself away from an increasingly archaic experience of housing. But haunting the suburbs has proven to possess its own unique set of problems: how does a place that has minimal history become haunted by spirits of the past?

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Candyman

Speaking as someone who has been on this earth since the early 1970s, I can attest to the fact that some movies often behave like wine. They may be novel when they first come out, but after a few years they become bland. However, if you let them age long enough, they become good again, often times embodying a nostalgia factor that makes their imperfections seem endearing. This process takes about 20 years for the effects to be initially felt, which is why nostalgia often runs in 20 year cycles, which coincide with a person in his or her 20s looking back fondly at what they watched as a child, and major movie studios remaking beloved titles old enough to drink. Because of this, the films of the 90s are starting to look more and more vintage. Yeah, there’s that bump in the middle of the decade with really bad CGI that will always hamper films like Spawn and Species, but the movies from the earlier part of that decade seemed to have escaped that. Such is the case with the 1992 horror film Candyman. Candyman took on the subject of urban legends when they were gaining popularity, and it started its own legends about the now iconic monster. Case in point, I saw it as a college preview back in 1992, and I knew plenty of people who immediately went home and said the name five times in the mirror. (My sister, who was often affected like this from […]

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I Know What You Did Last Summer

No one has any lingering affection for I Know What You Did Last Summer, right? No? Great. Just making sure no one’s feelings will be crushed by the announcement that Sony has an IKWYDLS reboot fast-tracked for 2016. The following details come by way of Deadline: Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard (Oculus) will script the reboot, which will “again” take its inspiration from the 1973 novel by Lois Duncan. “Again” should really be up for debate, because it’s not like the original film was a slavish page-to-screen update. The book saw a group of teens kill a kid in a hit-and-run and then be haunted by a mysterious figure with a spooky connection to the killing. The movie saw a group of teens kill a scary hobo. Then they were slashed apart by a scary hobo. Still, it’s not like anyone’s thought of IKWYDLS in years. It made a boatload of cash in 1997, churned out a sequel in 1998 and was promptly forgotten, but for a direct-to-DVD threequel in 2006 that turned the hook-wielding killer into a magic zombie with teleportation powers. Long-dead franchise that was originally a hundred-million-dollar hit? That’s prime reboot real estate. It’s also a sign of the times — as a society, we’re above continually remaking the slashers of the ’80s. Because it’s now been 20 years since the ’90s, and whatever weird cultural embargo everyone was following is up, it’s open season on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air-era serial killers. Hollywood is already dipping its toes into ’90s slasher rebootdom, […]

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Rin Takanashi in Like Someone in Love

Another month has passed, which means that another batch of movies has been added to or added back to Netflix’s Watch Instantly streaming service. Looking for a few that will be worth spending your time on? Obviously. And you’ve come to the right place, because we’ve got mad recommendations for good movies on Netflix this month. As always, click on the films’ titles to be taken to their Netflix page so that you can add them to your My List. Pick of the Month:  Like Someone in Love (2012) Seeing as Like Someone in Love didn’t get its (very) limited US release until 2013, technically we can call it one of the best movies of last year. Which we should, because it is, quite simply, one of the very best movies that came out in this country last year, and there are still far too many film fans that haven’t gotten a chance to see it. Hopefully that’s going to change now that it’s streaming on Netflix. Providing easy access to independent and foreign cinema, even to those of us living in the middle of the country, is one of the coolest side-effects of this digital age we’re living in. What do you get when you let Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami (Certified Copy) shoot in Tokyo? This gorgeous movie, which uses the lights and windows of the city to create a layered, enveloping world that looks like the one we live in, but maybe from a different angle than we’ve ever […]

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The American remake of District B13 that we’ve all been clamoring for may be one step closer to reality. Per Deadline Jump River, Paul Walker is in talks to join the remake currently titled Brick Mansions. The script, co-written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen (Taken), sticks fairly close to the source material with a nuclear device falling into the hands of a notorious gangster/drug dealer in a dangerous part of inner city Chicago. An undercover detective (Walker) teams up with a local (David Belle) to infiltrate the neighborhood and deactivate the bomb. Parkour ensues. We won’t bother listing the varied reasons why this is a bad idea, well, except for one. I’m no Walker hater. The guy is fine for what he is, but one short rooftop chase in Fast Five doesn’t really automatically qualify him for a parkour film. Granted Belle, who co-starred in both of the French District B13 films, will be the one doing the majority of the stunts, but you know they’re going to have Walker join in the fun… which ultimately means stunt doubles and green screen. If the film does well I think I speak for all of us when I say the sequel should head to Chicago’s Cabrini Green where the parkour boys are called in to neutralize Candyman.

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Tony Todd in Candyman

The horror film reunion continues and it looks like Candyman wants in, but Tony Todd won’t be showing up?

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+


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