William Friedkin: Interview Peeks into Director’s Mind [Book Review]

William Friedkin was one of the biggest directors of the 1970s. He struck it big in 1971 with the crime thriller The French Connection and had other hits throughout his fifty year career in film. Undoubtedly, horror fans will know him from his 1973 genre-defining film The Exorcist.

Along with the University Press of Mississippi, who also published an excellent book of interviews with horror luminary Wes Craven, Christopher Lane has compiled fifteen interviews with Friedkin, spanning from the height of his success in 1974 all the way until the release of his latest film, The Devil and Father Amorth, which Friedkin was promoting in 2018.

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Infection is a Science Heavy Zombie Flick [DVD Review]

The ending of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is iconic. Ben, as brilliantly played by Duane Jones, goes to the window while an all-white militia is sweeping toward the farmhouse, head-shotting as many zombies as they can. One of them spots Ben, a black man, in the window and shoots him. It’s never clear whether they mistook Ben for a zombie or they saw an opportunity to kill a black man and took it. Romero never intended that moment to be read in this way, and Venezuelan writer-director Flavio Pedota finds himself in a similar situation with his zombie flick Infection.

In Romero’s introduction to the collection of zombie short fiction, Nights of the Living Dead: An Anthology, he admitted, Jones got the part because he was “hands down, the best, within our puny budget, to play it” (xvi). I quoted that same line in my review of Day of the Dead: Bloodline, and I still believe, “The thing with allegories and politics in film: They’re there whether the creators intended them or not.” Pedota, unlike Bloodline director Hèctor Hernández Vicens, lucked into the best part of his film.

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The Other Lamb is a Righteous Takedown of Christian Cults [Review]

My parents sent me to a Catholic all boys high school to “avoid distractions.” What “distractions” means, if you haven’t been indoctrinated into the bizarre sexist code of America, is “healthy relationships with women.” At that Catholic all boys high school, I was taught that when Eve ate the apple she committed the “Original Sin.” All of humanity would be punished, but women especially. They would have to have periods every month and painfully birth children. (Forgive me if I’m fuzzy on the details. It’s been ten years.) Malgorzata Szumowska’s first English language feature, The Other Lamb, demonstrates the way the concept of “Original Sin” has been and can be used to other and denigrate women.

The main character, Selah (Raffey Cassidy from The Killing of a Sacred Deer), is born into a Christian cult. The leader, known only as Shepherd (Game of Throne’s Michiel Huisman) for most of the film, is her father. In fact, he’s the father of many of the other young women in this cult. The rest of the women are his wives. There are no other men. “Only one ram in a flock, child,” Sarah (Denise Gough) explains to Selah late in the film.

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