Funny Games Will Resensetize You to Violence [Blu-ray Review]

Funny Games is structured around a series of escalating, violent games. On the way to their lake home, Anna (Susanne Lothar) and Georg (Ulrich Mühe) try to guess the opera song the other plays on the car’s stereo. Peter (Frank Giering) joins the games after they arrive, knocking on the door while Georg and Georg Jr. (Stefan Clapczynski) are setting up the boat. When Anna answers, he asks her for eggs. When she gives them, he drops them and asks for four more. He drops those four when the dog, Rolfi, jumps at him and his newly arriving friend Paul (Arno Frisch). They insist that Anna give them four more eggs — the last of her stock. When she refuses, they get violent. The games only get worse from there, eventually reaching a fevered German version of “eenie meenie miney mo” where the loser is executed.

The trick is, though, that Peter and Paul only get violent as part of a game or when a rule is broken. They do define the parameters some of smaller games they play later on, but they never explain the overarching game. When asked why they’re doing this, Paul rattles off different possible explanations, saying that maybe they are drug addicts, or maybe they’re bored rich kids, or maybe they were abused as children. After each, he laughs and admits it was another lie. It’s something that Heath Ledger and Christopher Nolan borrowed for their Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight.

Keep reading at Wicked Horror!

Advertisements

She Could Fly: The Lost Pilot #3 [Review]

She Could Fly: The Lost Pilot #3 takes the reader and Luna into new territory: a first date. What started shakily last issue has developed into a fledgling relationship. Luna has a boyfriend. She and Gary go to see Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries. True to the series, Luna describes the film by saying, “Everything in this feels like soft cotton.”

Unfortunately, the date doesn’t go well. Luna’s having intrusive thoughts (“YOU SAY THE WRONG THING EVERY TIME”; “HE DOESN’T LIKE YOU. YOU’RE CRAZY”) during the movie. Her anxiety escalates when Gary convinces her to drive them home in his car. She’s had a recurring fear of killing someone while driving (one I share) and when she bumps the curb, she has a panic attack.

Keep reading at Wicked Horror!

In Head Count, The Thing Meets Candyman [Review]

At a sleepover in fifth grade, my friends and I goaded each other to go into the bathroom at midnight, close the door, and spin three times chanting, “Bloody Mary.” If the urban legend was true, Mary herself would’ve come out of the mirror and killed the speaker. We were terrified. Elle Callahan’s feature length directorial debut Head Count taps into that folk fear with an original, shapeshifting monster.

Evan (Isaac Jay) is visiting his brother Peyton (Cooper Rowe) in Joshua Tree National Park over Spring Break when he meets Zoe (Ashleigh Morghan) and her hard-partying group of friends. He ditches Peyton for them, not knowing what he’s getting into. He has no idea what he’s doing when they start reading each other scary stories from “anonymousnightmares.com” and he reads, the incantation to summon the Hisji.

Continue reading at Wicked Horror!

Beasts of Burden: The Presence of Others #2 [Review]

Beasts of Burden: The Presence of Others #2 opens with the monster. It’s not clear what the monster is exactly, but it’s clearly terrifying. It seems as though it’s some kind of spirit, inhabiting the corpse of a dead woman. The monster’s rising from the Mausoleum that Paul was breaking into when he was knocked unconscious last issue. While it resurrects, it spews pseudo-spiritual spooky sh*t like, “Those who believe in me.. Who die for me… likewise shall be restored.”

From there, the issue slows down, giving our hero pets and their new human acquaintances time to talk about what’s been happening. Beasts of Burden: The Presence of Others #2 spends too long in that quiet space, losing its forward momentum. In keeping with the series, there’s a monster attack that disturbs that peace. After Paul starts doing things that don’t quite match with his character.

Keep reading at Wicked Horror!

Editor of the Season: Donna Leahey

Donna Leahey and I had been friends for a little over a year when we were both on the Write On panel at the Hardesty Library. Jack, the current president of Nevermore Edits, and Mac, the former president, were presenting with us. As we chatted about writing, Leahey said, “I’m a raw girl power kind of writer.”

It resonated with me so much that I still think about it when I pick up any of Leahey’s writing even three months later. Whether she was trying to or not, Leahey had perfectly captured her own essence, what drives her aesthetic. It’s one of the things she was looking for as she edited A Murder of Storytellers’s new anthology: Sorry, We’re Closed (Full disclosure: My short story “Safe at Home” is included in the anthology.)

Continue reading in The Corvidae Courier!

Don’t See Don’t Look [Review]

Jamie Lee Curtis could scream. Whether you’re a fan of Halloween, Prom NightThe Fog, or any other horror project she’s graced with her presence, we can all admit Curtis’ shrieks were bloodcurdling. They made her films better, more believable. In her directorial debutDon’t Look,  Luciana Faulhaber casts herself as a character who screams repeatedly, but she doesn’t have the abandon to be believable. Faulhaber sounds as though she’s constantly holding back, breaking the illusion of the film, but consistently puts herself in positions where she’s screaming again and again.

Don’t Look boasts that it is a “slasher throwback,” though it feels more mid-90s than 80s heyday. The premise sees five friends traveling to a remote cabin that belongs to Nicole (Lindsay DiFulvio, now Lindsay Eshelman) for Thanksgiving. Her parents were shot to death in this very cabin, as we see in an orange-tinted flashback that kicks off the movie. About halfway through, a killer that hasn’t been previously hinted at starts picking them, and two other rustic tenants, off one by one.

Continue reading at Wicked Horror!

 

She Could Fly: The Lost Pilot #2 (Comic Review)

She Could Fly: The Lost Pilot #2 opens with Luna peeling paper off the wall to eat with Joan of Arc. Joan tells Luna that, “St. Michael is HAWT, but I’m super into the Duke of Alençon.” Luna bursts into flames, realizing that Joan was schizophrenic and she may be too before vomiting eyeballs and waking up. If that sounds exactly like your s***, it’s definitely mine, then you’re going to love this issue. The series is built on Luna’s imagination, which artist Martìn Morazzo brings beautifully to life with his art.

Writer Christopher Cantwell brings a lot to the table as well. His writing in She Could Fly: The Lost Pilot lets its characters carry the weight of the first arc, meaning that Luna isn’t the only one suffering after the bloodbath in She Could Fly #4. Her mother, a la Lady Macbeth (or Edgar Allen Poe depending on your preference) scrubs at a clean floor saying, ““OhmygodIamheartilysorryforhavingoffendedthee…” I can’t stress enough how much it matters. Violence leads to trauma, and this series shows exactly what that looks like. The lasting effects add heft to every panel.

Continue reading at Wicked Horror!