Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Alena’ and ‘Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle’

‘ALENA’ (AMAZON, OVIDTV, SHUDDER) Things aren’t right in a private boarding school for girls, but when are they ever? In this Swedish film, a disadvantaged girl arrives to find animosity among the existing student body, and her already damaged existence becomes further pummeled by elitist bullies. But there might be something else going on as [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Ministry of Evil’ and ‘The Nightmare’

‘MINISTRY OF EVIL: THE TWISTED CULT OF TONY ALAMO’ (SUNDANCE) We live in a golden age of documentaries about cults and one of the unavoidable thoughts to have once you’ve seen a bunch of them is to wonder when people are going to learn their lesson. Even if the circumstances of the cults are signposts [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Leila’ and ‘Sarah Plays a Werewolf’

‘LEILA’ (NETFLIX) This dystopian series from India has been compared to “The Handmaid’s Tale” and though on first glance that seems fair, a closer look suggests that might simplify both series. And, at the very least, “Leila” takes less than half of the time of “The Handmaid’s Tale” to get its point across, while remaining [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Woman At War’ and ‘Black Lake’

‘WOMAN AT WAR’ (APPLE, GOOGLE PLAY, YOUTUBE) Talk about unexpected achievements, “Woman At War” manages the near-impossible by offering up a feel-good movie about climate change, but perhaps that’s what you can expect from a film product of Iceland. Never a country to wallow in problems, the Icelandic outlook of “Woman At War” suggests that [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The Forest’ and ’Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil’

‘THE FOREST’ (NETFLIX) At some point recently, European television makers realized they had a lot of lovely, evocative forests that made for excellent crime settings, while also doing the work of creating thematic spaces for hidden secrets that could be utilized in a mystery about isolated areas. No longer are crime shows relegated to the [...]

Arthur Yorinks

With its depiction of destiny and decay and undertones of debauchery, “The Fall of the House of Usher” is Edgar Allan Poe’s hallucinatory fever dream of a short story. For Arthur Yorinks, the story has been not quite an albatross around his neck, but certainly part of a decades-long mission. Yorinks is well-known for his [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Ghoul’ and ‘The Ritual’

‘GHOUL’ (NETFLIX) It’s not a typical combination — dystopian fiction and supernatural horror — but this three-episode series from India manages to put them together with a lot of skill, thrills and chills and achieves the unlikely victory of having each element built off each other to admirable effect. Nida Rahim (Radhika Apte) is an eager advocate of the [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘A Very English Scandal’ and ‘Calibre’

‘A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL’ (AMAZON) Much more than the sum of its parts — and boasting parts that are considerable indeed — the three-part “A Very English Scandal” recollects true crime and political corruption in England to tell a much more important tale about repression and hate, and how these two aspects of society crush down on real human [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Money Heist’ and ‘The Terror’

‘MONEY HEIST’ (NETFLIX) This rollicking, absurd and utterly absorbing Spanish heist thriller is apparently the most-watched foreign language series on Netflix and it’s not hard to see why. The more you suspend your disbelief, the more you are rewarded for doing so. The more you give yourself to the series, the more satisfied you are [...]

From The Archive: The Movie Bastard

(Back in the 1990s when everyone was creating their own zine, I set about — inspired by everything from Psychotronic to Leonard Maltin — to create my own movie guide in zine form. I called it The Movie Bastard. At the time we were working on a comic called Very Vicky and didn’t have a lot of money, especially [...]

Viewer Discretion: ‘Ghostwatch’ and ‘Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America’

“Ghostwatch” (Shudder) This 1992 TV movie is legendary in England, remembered as the British version of Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” broadcast and shown only once on the BBC. It is routinely credited as the inspiration for the found footage horror genre — the makers of the “Blair Witch Project” say it’s a major influence. And [...]

Musical Thingarium 05.11.17

Folk Horror Spectacular! 1 Demon In A Glass Case by Paul Roland 2 Lost Villages of Holderness by Sproatly Smith 3 I Saw The Dead by Becky Unthank and Martin Green 4 Dictamen by Les Secrets Des Morphee 5 Witchdrone by The Heartwood Institute 6 Walpurgisnacht by Faun 7 Hugh of Lincoln by The Owl [...]

Forgotten TV: The Nightmare Man

The structure of this series — four 30 minute episodes — makes it tempting to say that this is really a film split up into parts, but that’s not really the case. In fact, it’s the splitting that partly gives it charm, and partly to mash it together would only work to expose its flaws. There was a time [...]