Though it is relentlessly grim and terrifying, The House That Jack Built is still an important work of art, since neither grimness nor terror disqualifies a movie from being art. It is a well-made horror movie by Lars von Trier about a serial killer and, ultimately, a morality tale. Von Trier depicts the murders the killer commits in clinical, detached detail and they are chilling to watch. Hitler and Mussolini are the killer’s icons, so be prepared to be unsettled. Think American Psycho without the satire.
I saw Halloween. A nasty, brutal little horror movie. A worthy successor to John Carpenter’s original. Excellent. Even the music is good. If you like horror, go see this movie. I saw it at an AMC Dolby theater, which enhanced the movie’s intensity. I’m becoming a big fan of the Dolby theater.
I saw Ghost Stories. I found some of the stories spooky, even though they don’t seem to come to anything. Toward the end of the movie, things get really weird, and I wondered what was going on. I don’t want to ruin the movie by giving away the ending, so my lips are sealed.
The movie reminds me of those old Amicus horror anthologies like Torture Garden and Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, both directed by Freddie Francis. I really enjoy these two Amicus movies, and there are several more British movies in this format that I like. They ought to make more anthology movies like this. How about some more Hollywood movies like Dan Curtis’s Trilogy of Terror with that Zuni fetish doll that menaces Karen Black? That thing really gave me the creeps when I was growing up.
I have mixed feelings about Steven Soderbergh’s latest thriller Unsane. I liked the way he worked his trademark indictment of the health insurance industry into the film’s story, which made it seem more realistic. On the other hand, the whole movie was shot on an iPhone, and the results are a blurry, dreary movie, especially when the scenes are shot inside the insane asylum. Everything seems to fade into the background. I found the movie suspenseful, but not scary.
It turns out to be an unpleasant movie about an unpleasant woman who is being stalked, or is she losing her mind? Whatever’s happening to her, she isn’t sympathetic thanks to her offensive personality.
Maybe if Soderbergh uses a newer-model iPhone next time, his movie won’t look so blurry.
Soderbergh is a good match for horror movies, because he has a realistic approach to them, which makes them more believable.
I’ll recommend Unsane, but with reservations.
Dario Argento is criminally underrated as a horror movie director. Deep Red, Suspiria, and Tenebre are all classics of the genre, and Bird with the Crystal Plumage is classic giallo, a type of mystery-horror-thriller popular in Italy in the sixties and seventies. Despite his impressive oeuvre, none of his films ever seem to get a wide release in the US. Because of this massive neglect, I don’t think he’s even working on a film at the current time.
The French horror film Raw is a well-crafted movie, but I didn’t find it scary. It made me nauseous in parts, but I never felt scared. It was interesting to watch, mostly because of the actress Garance Marillier, who is quite intriguing. She always seems to dominate the screen. If you’re looking for scares, I wouldn’t suggest this film. It’s more of a coming-of-age story with disgusting scenes in it. As such, it is well done.
I saw Alien: Covenant. I really like it. How does Ridley Scott sleep at night dreaming this stuff up? Any horror movie that has Wagner’s Entrance of the Gods to Valhalla on its soundtrack has got to be good. And did I mention that thing called Alien? Plenty of grisly Alien attacks, some terrifying silvery dust, and a new white mutant Alien that looks almost human. I’m not going to tell you how this creature came about. Suffice it to say, it all fits in with the plot and that cave they go into. I don’t want to give anything away.
I enjoyed the intriguing ending, too, which keeps you guessing until . . .
No director alive does horror better than Ridley.