Jacob’s Ladder

The Sixth Sense

There’s something a little funny about them that you can’t quite put your finger on — because you physically can’t put a finger on them. They’re always cold to the touch. They can’t seem to keep their appointments and keep forgetting where they have to be most of the time, because they wind up back at home anyway. They wear the same outfit almost every day, which is weird, but hey, who’s judging? And, oh my god, they’ve been dead the whole time. For many a horror character, and for some in dramas in between, the reveal that they’ve actually been dead the entire movie is a frightening prospect. There were plans! Lives to be lived! But nope, it’s eternity chained to whatever sweater you were wearing when it went down and constantly chatting with Haley Joel Osment instead. It’s a boundless trope with excellent examples, and of course, spoilers. As a bonus, we’ll look at how the trailers played with the twist.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #108): “Death Ship” (airdate 2/7/63) The Plot: A spaceship and her crew land on a new planet and make a startling discovery when they find the crashed remains of an identical ship… and the deceased remains of an identical crew. The Goods: It’s 1997, the future, and a three-man crew has been sent to a newly discovered planet to confirm conditions and bring back samples. If the results are as promising as they hope the people of Earth will have a new place to call home and then plunder beyond recognition. As the spaceship flies over the planet’s terrain one of the men notices something reflective on the surface, and while he’s excited at the prospect of alien life his commander is far less enthused. Still, they head down and land on the planet to investigate. The object in question is an exact duplicate of their own ship, exact aside from the severe structural damage it undertook during an apparent crash. The three men head inside and discover three dead bodies. Their dead bodies. I think we all know where this occurrence at Alpha Centauri bridge is heading.

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Criterion Files

Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula. Island of Lost Souls. The Most Dangerous Game. The Night of the Hunter. The Blob. For a company perhaps best known for releasing pristine editions of international arthouse classics, The Criterion Collection certainly has a healthy amount of cult films in its repertoire. Cult cinema is often a difficult beast to recognize, for such films avoid the roads best travelled in their journey towards recognition and renown. Unlike seminal films in the collection including The 400 Blows, 8 ½, or Rashomon, cult films aren’t typically met with immediate cultural or institutional recognition upon release, aren’t made by internationally-recognized talent, and don’t always have an immediately traceable history of influence. That is, however, what makes cult films so interesting and so valuable: they emerge without expectation or pretense and signal the most populist and anti-elite means by which a film can gain recognition, pointing to the fact that there are always valuable films potentially overlooked between the pages of history. Herk Harvey’s low-budget drive through horror masterpiece Carnival of Souls (1962), like many cult films, emerged into the top tier of film culture in some of the unlikeliest of ways. Harvey was an industrial and educational filmmaker; the $33,000 Carnival was his only feature work. The film had ten minutes lobbed off of it for its drivethru run to fit more screenings, and was largely a non-event when it first graced American screens. Carnival’s success is owed mostly to genre film festivals, late-night television […]

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Hell is one of those things that’s up for individual interpretation. Some people believe it’s a real place full of fire and brimstone, or it’s all made up, or it’s a state of mind. Some people think it’s a Shia LaBeouf marathon from which you can never turn away. So, with Hell as a setting, Hollywood basically has a blank slate. They can go the Old Testament route, or they can get more existential with it, or something in-between. (Even Hollywood can’t do the Shia LaBeouf marathon option. No studio would fund that.) As such, here are seven films and their take on the place bad folks go when they die. (Obviously, this contains spoilers for the films listed.)

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This Week in Blu-ray

Surprise, surprise. It’s time for the return of that weekly column you didn’t realize was gone for several weeks. It’s also time for me to write my first article on this fair site since… August, I believe. It has been a long month of moving, shaking and bribing local officials, I have come back to life and returned to that which I am passionate about most: ripping the latest Blu-ray releases a new disc-hole with my not-so-eloquent prose. This Week in Blu-ray, we take a look at several classics, all from different eras, presented with great care and consideration by their respective studios, several new releases that don’t fail to attain mediocre status, and a big list of titles that I wasn’t able to review — perhaps because many home video publicists were under the impression that I had died recently. Damn that Cole Abaius, he’s always starting nasty rumors.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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