A Brief History of Evil Children in Horror Movies

Rich Juzwiak · 10/30/15 11:52AM

In celebration of Halloween, we took a shallow dive into the horror subgenre of evil-child horror movies. Weird-kid cinema stretches back at least to 1956’s The Bad Seed, and has experienced a resurgence recently via movies like The Babadook, Goodnight Mommy, and Cooties. You could look at this trend as a natural extension of the focus on domesticity seen in horror via the wave of haunted-house movies that 2009’s Paranormal Activity helped usher in. Or maybe we’re just wizening up as a culture and realizing that children are evil and that film is a great way to warn people of this truth.

Deconstructing the Horror Genre One Grieving Heart at a Time: The Final Girls

Rich Juzwiak · 10/09/15 03:26PM

Superficially, Todd Strauss-Schulson’s The Final Girls looks like what would happen if Friday the 13th got the Wes Craven’s New Nightmare treatment: It’s a self-referential exploration of tropes (it takes its title from scholar Carol J. Clover’s brilliant analysis of horror cinema), a genre-excavation using a movie-within-a-movie conceit. (Note that the film-within-the-film is not Friday the 13th exactly, but the very similar fictional ‘80s horror hack-’em-up Camp Bloodbath). The action follows Max (Taissa Farmiga) and some of her friends, who get sucked into the slasher flick Max’s mom Amanda (played by Malin Åkerman) starred in during the ‘80s. When they figure out what’s going on, they realize they have to rely on their knowledge of the genre to find their way out.

Holy Shit, M. Night Shyamalan Finally Made a Movie Worth Watching: The Visit

Rich Juzwiak · 09/11/15 10:05AM

All is forgiven, M. Night Shyamalan. If we had to endure the director’s last decade of cinematic abortions—which ranged from the hilariously bad (The Happening) to the utterly unwatchable (After Earth)—to get something as hilarious, weird, surprising, and nonstop entertaining as The Visit, it was well worth it. Not only is Shyamalan’s latest movie his best since The Sixth Sense, it’s an adrenalin shot to the creatively comatose subgenre of POV horror. Even more exciting is that it’s one of at least four solid horror movies opening this month (the others include Goodnight Mommy, Cooties, and Eli Roth’s ode to Italian cannibal movies, The Green Inferno). One moment, the horror genre seems deader than the bodies it piles up on screen, staler than the air in the haunted houses it’s been fixated on for the past few years; the next, we’re treated to an embarrassment of riches. (I would love to know if there ever in the history of modern horror have been four solid entries into the genre released in one month. I doubt it. That it’s happening in 2015 blows my mind.) We should probably stop laughing at Shyamalan when his name pops onscreen during the trailers for his upcoming movies. Instead, we should be thanking the man.

"It's Good To Be Confronted With Death": A Conversation With the Directors of the Horrifying Goodnight Mommy

Rich Juzwiak · 09/10/15 01:35PM

One of the biggest stories about horror cinema in 2015 is actually the story of a trailer: When the American preview for the Austrian film Goodnight Mommy dropped in late July, it immediately went viral inspiring a rash of reaction videos and copy deeming it the “scariest trailer of all time.” (At this point, the view count on the trailer is just under 6 million.)

"I Don't Like Human Beings": A Chat with The Human Centipede's Tom Six

Rich Juzwiak · 05/21/15 12:40PM

When I posted the trailer for The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) earlier this month, I jokingly wrote in the headline that the trailer “proposes a solution to prison overcrowding.” It turns out that maybe that’s not a joke—Dutch writer/director/producer of the franchise’s three films Tom Six told me earlier this week by phone that he thinks that “crime rates will drop like pants in a whorehouse” if the film’s “human prison centipede” system, in which inmates are attached mouth-to-anus in a removable manner, is implemented.

A Conversation About It Follows, 2015's First Must-See Horror Movie

Rich Juzwiak · 03/13/15 09:23AM

David Robert Mitchell's It Follows is like nothing we've seen before, and yet it owes so much to what came before it. A cross-breeding of tropes from the past 40 years of horror cinema, the movie is gorgeously shot, vividly told, and full of teen characters that have an unusual amount of compassion for each other. At its center is Jay (played by The Guest's Maika Monroe) who contracts an STD that makes her see visions of ghosts following her. The only way to avert death is to pass on the bug.

John Carpenter Makes Music, Likes Taylor Swift, Wants To Be King

Rich Juzwiak · 01/30/15 03:45PM

He's best known for dabbling in the macabre, but when I talked to the 67-year-old director/musician John Carpenter by phone earlier this week, he told me he was "just delighted." We were discussing his new (and first) album John Carpenter's Lost Themes and the glowing reception it has received thus far. Carpenter is best known for directing horror movies like Halloween and 1982's The Thing, as well as gritty action fare like Escape from New York, but all the while he's been composing music (in fact, he has scored most of this movies, including all of the aforementioned).