The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection [Blu-Ray Review]

Alfred Hitchcock was a true master of suspense. He started directing films in the medium’s silent infancy, and continued through the addition of sound, and creating some of his best work after color was added. Through the evolving technology and a variety of genres, what made Hitchcock’s work so compelling was his ability to craft dramatic scenes with ever-escalating tensions. Not everything always came together, but, to paraphrase the man himself, he played audiences like a piano. When he was on his game, his viewers needed to know what came next.

Four of his best — Rear WindowVertigoPsycho, and The Birds — are collected and restored in this new, gorgeous Ultra HD/Blu-Ray Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection.

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Kingfisher’s The Hollow Places takes Algernon Blackwood into the Future

Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows” is one of the best pieces of horror fiction ever written. In Blackwood’s story, two travelers get lost on a canoe trip along the Danube. They land on an island where the titular willows are everywhere. The travelers soon realize that the plants are reading their minds. The more they think about the extradimensional willows, the more powerful the willows become. (You can read the story at Project Gutenberg for free). It’s terrifying in the story, and equally terrifying in T. Kingfisher’s The Hollow Places, which riffs on Blackwood’s concept. 

Kingfisher’s main character, Carrot (Kara with red hair who never shook her childhood nickname), is running her Uncle Earl’s “Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities and Taxidermy” while he has knee surgery. It’s smooth sailing until she finds a hole in the wall. She convinces Simon, the proprietor of the coffee shop next door, to help her patch it. But when they find that the hole leads to a hallway, they decide to explore. Á la House of Leaves, this hall is impossibly long, going past where the coffee shop should start and where the building should end on the outside. 

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Evil Boy is a Cringey Exploitation of Feral Children [DVD Review]

Feral children are lost or abandoned, left to fend for their own, often in wilderness. Many are adapted by animals. Reintegration into their respective societies is difficult if and when they are discovered. These feral children need to relearn everything, starting with language. One of them is the object of objectionable horror in Olga Gorodetskaya’s feature-length debut, Evil Boy

The story starts with Igor (Vladimir Vdovichenkov) identifying the body of a child that may be his son. The coroner says, “I have to warn you, the body is mutilated” before Igor flashes back to the last time he saw his son, Vanya (Yan Runov) alive. In that aside, Vanya asks, “Daddy, please, can I go out by myself?” Mother/wife Polina (Elena Lyadova) says no, but Igor gives Vanya his heirloom watch and instructions to be back by 6. Vanya never returns. The flashback ends, and Igor says the body isn’t Vanya. 

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