Beyond the Cabin in the Woods: The Witch

I’m a guest on the latest Beyond the Cabin in the Woods. We discussed Robert Eggers 2015 instant classic The Witch.

If you’d like to make this episode a drinking game, drink every time I say, “productive ambiguity.”

Listen here!

First Love is Snatch with Sword Fights [Blu-Ray Review]

Early on in First Love, the main character, Leo (Masataka Kubota), is in a boxing match. When he punches his opponent in the face, there’s a quick cut to a decapitated head bouncing out of an alley. The edit and the timing are done in a way that implies that the force of punch literally knocked the head off of Leo’s opponent. Like the film, that cut was amazing.

The decapitation introduces the main conflict of First Love. As detective Fu (Nao Ōmori) puts it, “The smell of war is in the air.” A Chinese gang has moved onto the territory of a Japanese one. A low-level Japanese gangster, Kase (Shôta Sometani), and Fu Fihave a plan to steal a big ole’ bag of meth. After, they’ll frame Monica (Sakurako Konishi), a young woman whose father sold into sex work to pay off his debts. Fu will sell the drugs. Kase will get into a fight with a civilian and spend two or three years in jail. When he comes out, the war will be over. Fu will give him his half and Kase will be a rich man.

What could go wrong?

Find out at Wicked Horror!

VFW Director Joe Begos “Wants You to Have Feelings When You’re Looking at an Image” [Interview]

Joe Begos is having a breakthrough. Last year’s Bliss was a tour de force, taking viewers into Dezzy’s (Dora Madison) world while she struggles to figure out if she’s turning into a vampire or tripping too hard. It earned a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and good reviews here from Joey Keogh and me.

The success helped him get his next film, VFW produced by Fangoria Films. VFW tells the story of seven veterans—played by genre stalwarts Stephen Lang, Martin Kove, William Sadler, David Patrick Kelly, George Wendt, Fred Williamson, and newcomer Tom Williamson—getting mixed up with “mutant” drug addicts next door. The two factions wage war against one another. It’s brutal and excellent.

We caught up with Begos to talk about it ahead of its Valentine’s Day release.

Read the interview at Wicked Horror!

The Butcher of Paris #3: The Law of the Jungle [Comic Review]

True crime succeeds or fails based on how well it avoids exploiting the real life murders it portrays. The best true crime tends to empathize with the victims or the investigators, while analyzing the killer with a sort of detachment. The killer is, and always will be, the most engrossing part because readers/listeners/viewers want to know what went wrong. The audience is asking primordial questions: How do I spot that kind of person? How do I make sure I’m not next? There needs to be a balance between the victims, the killers, and the investigators, which is where The Butcher of Paris #3 “Law of the Jungle” falls short.

The third installment of the Dark Horse comic series focuses on the same two major plotlines the series has been focusing on: the father and son investigation team and the Nazi investigation. The two are at odds, with the window to catch Petiot quickly closing as Allied Forces creep closer to Paris.

Continue reading at Wicked Horror!

Remember One of the Greats with Wes Craven: Interviews [Book Review]

Wes Craven was a quiet, kind man who made violently transgressive films. The writers he chatted with pointed out the seeming conundrum frequently in the new compilation, Wes Craven: Interviews. Tony Williams wrote, “Unlike his films, Wes Craven is a quiet, retiring youthful forty-year old” while Tom Seligson noted, “He’s so pleasant-looking, good-natured, and soft-spoken, it’s hard to imagine Craven as the director of two of the most violent films ever made.” It’s one of many recurring points in the book. The other, which is both noted by interviewers and apparent in his own words, is Craven’s brilliance.

He comments on being kind while creating violent films, explaining where his first hit, the downright nasty The Last House on the Left, came from. In 2009, he told the AV Club that, “I was very much influenced—and I think the whole country was kind of in a state of shock—for the first time seeing the horror and cruelty of war. Recently shot 16mm footage was coming back [from Vietnam] and appearing on television immediately.” His contention was that rather than inventing violence, he was channeling it from the outside world.

Continue reading at Wicked Horrror!