First of all, the poster for this movie is perfection. It captures the hopelessness of the couple adrift in the deep dark sea, while god-only-knows is approaching them, unseen, from the inky depths. So many shark movies have ludicrous or misleading posters, but this one fucking nails it. Look at it, folks. Just look at it, damn you!!Continue reading Open Water: Picking the Scab of Despair
Not to take anything away from the powerful influence Jaws had on my life, but nothing can compare to Blue Water, White Death. Released five years before Jaws, this documentary feature film really sealed the deal for me in my obsession and subsequent decision to study these magnificent beasts. I wasn’t even born when this band of scientists, photographers, and all around nut jobs sailed around the world on the Terrier XIII in the quest to capture the Great White Shark on film … and introduce an unsuspecting audience to the beauty and grace of the ocean’s apex predator.Continue reading Blue Water, White Death: The Greatest Adventure
I’d like to introduce Guest Blogger Carmilla Voiez who is going to talk about something pretty important to me as a horror critic… bad stereotypes. Indeed, my most cutting criticism of horror is when it takes harmful tropes and perpetuates them ad nauseam.Continue reading Writing Horror While Trying to Avoid Stereotypes
It can be easy to dismiss big-budget movie franchises as bereft of artistic merit. I’ve seen words like “bloated” and “formulaic” tossed around, and such disparagement is not always undeserved (although the most egregious entries in franchises tend to be presented with tongue quite obviously in cheek). Still, there’s something to be said for an imaginary world capable of sustaining 40 years of multimillion dollar investments as a sort of artistic achievement in its own right – particularly when that imaginary world has been crafted with an aesthetic that is immediately identified as its “trademark.”Continue reading An Ode to Ellen Ripley, Complicated Badass
n a previous post here, I wrote about the connection between cosmic horror and stories of deep-ocean terror. I focused on films like Underwater, Sea Fever, and The Beach House. These are films that use the depths of the ocean as a stand-in for the vastness of the cosmos when executing the time-worn Lovecraftian trope of “a terror from beyond.” The antagonists in these films remain either diffuse and (at least partially) metaphorical, as in Sea Fever and The Beach House, or seldom-glimpsed (Underwater). The stories are less creature features than they are tales about the human response to a threat that is, in some sense, incomprehensible or unknowable.Continue reading From the Cosmos to the Depths: Close Encounters
I must start by telling you there is no way I’m typing that title a dozen times in this blog. Seriously, I don’t want the carpal tunnel. So let’s establish the shortcut of PACS.Continue reading Post Apocalyptic Commando Shark: A Snort Laugh or Two, Guaranteed!
There are no Makos in this movie. None. Why not just call it Jaws of Death? I mean, they went out of their way to put Mako in the title and then provided no Mako. They Mako teased me.Continue reading Mako: The Jaws of Death
(Content warning: discussion of sexual violence. In Part 1 of this two-part examination of werewolf movies and the 1980s, I touched on the ability of werewolf stories to express social anxieties over the years, and on the unusually large number of these stories that 1980s horror cinema produced.)Continue reading Wolves of the 1980s: It’s a Jungle Out There (Part 2)