Now in 2020, the greatly anticipated sequel Doom Eternal has finally been pushed to consoles and let me tell you—the wait was worth it. As in 2016’s entry, Doom Eternal is light on plot, with the game’s primary plot focusing on killing three Hell Priests so that their continued harvesting of Earth’s energy will not lead to total decimation of the planet’s resources. It’s A to B to C, really, with your main goal being maiming, murdering, and massacring anything and everything that gets in your way. I get a thrill out of the way the DoomGuy (or Doom Slayer, as he is canonically known here) is revered as a hero to those who seek his help or feared by the innumerable demonic enemies that get in his way towards finishing his quest.
We could all use a good laugh right now. Several shorts in the SXSW programming did a remarkable job of cracking me up—like BASIC, for example—but few made me smile as much as DADDIO. A mixture of sorrow and silliness that is surreal but oddly grounded, the film packs a lot of emotion, truth, hilarity, and humanity into its short running time.
Radio, television, and film has a special place in my heart and is my connection to my past experiences and memories. When TOMMY BOY comes on, I remember that time my brother ripped my jacket running around the house as the fat man in a little coat. I remember my…
Andy Sidaris, now there’s a name to conjure with. Before he became the man who directed classics like HARD TICKET TO HAWAII and SAVAGE BEACH, Sidaris was an Emmy award-winning television director for ABC’s Wide World of Sports. According to Slate, Sidaris was the man who created the “honey shot” for that program. You know the one—where the camera focuses on an attractive woman, be it a cheerleader or a woman in the stands. Sidaris also “helped develop techniques that are standard today, including instant replay, slow-motion replay, and split-screen views.” Sports fans around the world owe a debt of gratitude and not just for his talents directing sporting events.
I loved making mixtapes. The excitement I felt when creating a unique playlist for another person’s optimum aural pleasure was palpable. The chance to channel my personality in the form of a playlist of favorite songs was an opportunity I relished, hoping the first song made a strong impression (always start with a loud, kick-out the-jams song (i.e. The Smugglers’ “Coffee, Tea or Me?”) and end with a quirky short song, often a hidden track (remember those on CDs?). I made mixtapes for friends and women I fancied, hoping the playlist would appease the former and convince the latter that I was worthy enough as a prospective suitor. To me, making a mixtape for a girlfriend was an ideal expression of love, a physical symbol for words I couldn’t articulate (which would explain my multitude of short-lived relationships).
Even though it is dabbling in the occult and supernatural, Cursed Films, comes from a very natural and normal starting point. Humans want things to make sense. It sounds like an obvious statement, but it’s a very specific drive that makes a huge impact on how people perceive and act in the world. Probably the most benign example is that of the montage in film: Eisenstein showed that if a film is edited with images/scenes next to each other, audiences will naturally preclude that they are related (somehow) and add it to their own accounting of the narrative (while possibly amping up their emotional response depending on the visuals).
Something that always dispirits me at film festivals is how often makers of shorts say that the next project they are working on is a “feature-length” version of the movie that was just screened. Of course, there have been many instances of short films successfully transforming into features by the original creators—DISTRICT 9, THE BABADOOK, WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, THE EVIL DEAD, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, THX-1138, WHIPLASH, LIGHTS OUT, MAMA, BOTTLE ROCKET, etc. And there are certainly ways to expand on these under-40 minutes stories, by worldbuilding or deeper character backstories, or other avenues that come about with more time, money, and other resources. But often this statement occurs after seeing a very strong short film that gets in, gets out, all killer no filler and works perfectly as is and it simply feels like either the safe choice or a matter of padding to go back to the well.
In 1987, when the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES animated series first aired, America was in a tumultuous situation. Ronald Reagan was more than halfway through his 2nd term as president on the United States, and was destroying the very fabric of what made this country great. Hope had nearly died out with middle class and working-class families.
Many comparisons will be made of Joseph Ellison’s skin-crawling psychological blow torch, DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE, with that of William Lustig’s more heralded MANIAC. After all both feature an unhinged, middle-aged white male who was raised on their mother’s abusive knee. Both dabble in waking nightmares in which the deceased mother torments from beyond the grave, and both unleash their nasty brutalities on women in unflinchingly torturous ways. Each revel in their own cruelties to the point of sobering disgust, bringing cinema teetering on the edge of stylized snuff; and it’s precisely why they symbolize a rather hard flex in the horror genre.
With the recent death of Stuart Gordon, we look back at his long legacy in the arts. Whether it was his work in theater in Wisconsin and Chicago (writing, directing, and/or producing all manner of plays including a lot of collaborations with David Mamet), his groundbreaking horror films, bizarre sci-fi movies, grim noir pieces, screenplays and stories for a variety of titles many aren’t even aware of (HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS, for example), and even a handful of TV episodes—he made a lasting impact on the arts for decades (and for decades more to come).
I’m a fan of The New Mutants—by which I mean the ’80s X-Men comic spinoff. I remember discovering them as a kid and being perplexed but utterly fascinated. Firstly, they were young…like me! Secondly, they had odd powers that didn’t make a ton of sense. (Magik was kidnapped and raised by a demon and has a soul sword? Cannonball turns halfway on fire and flies around while talking like a hayseed? Wolfsbane is…basically an Irish werewolf lady?)
One of the wonderful aspects of film is its ability to represent people that are far too often sidelined in other societal ways. A pair of short films—FIGURANT and RUNON—give a voice to those rarely heard whilst still managing to capture a wide range of emotions within their central characters without uttering a word.
Shorts ‘STILL WYLDE’ and ‘MIZUKO’ Explore Similar Liminal Spaces in Very Different Styles [SXSW 2020]
In my previous reviews of shorts that would’ve played at SXSW 2020, there was the thematic link of social media but told through the lens of two very different tones and genres. In this pairing of short films, both STILL WYLDE and MIZUKO deal with pregnancies that don’t happen, but…
When I woke up Wednesday morning to the news that Stuart Gordon had passed away, I was shocked. I obviously knew that he was not a young man, but his films had retained such a subversive energy, I suppose I always thought of him as—at oldest—around my age. It was…
ONCE UPON A TIME IN UGANDA, directed by Cathryne Czubek with co-director Hugo Perez, follows the birth and progression of Wakaliwood and Ramon Productions, a unique Ugandan homespun group of filmmakers led by Nabwana I.G.G. (aka Nabwana Isaac Godfrey Geoffrey) who have produced 40 films in less than 15 years. This inspiring documentary shines a light on the cinematic innovation borne out of a slum neighborhood Wakaliga devoid of resources the Western world takes for granted, like electricity and plumbing. Nabwana shared a trailer for his feature film, WHO KILLED CAPTAIN ALEX on Youtube and caught the unlikely eye of Alan Hofmanis and inspired the native New York film programmer to upturn his life and head to Uganda.
Watching CARGO, it becomes apparent that consistency in tone is a hard element to quantify in films. Often times reviews (including those written by this particular critic) will point out tonal inconsistencies or a lack of coherence. But many of the best movies ever made are a combination of tones—from…
Way back when before the world was turned upside down (you know, like a month ago), I was scrolling through the movies scheduled to play at SXSW this year. Under the documentary section was the film MY DARLING VIVIAN. I didn’t have a clue what it was about, I just saw the image of Johnny Cash with a woman I didn’t recognize. The synopsis said the woman was Cash’s first wife. Wait, Johnny Cash had a first wife? Yes, he did and I had no idea. I didn’t know that Cash’s four daughters—Rosanne, Cindy, Kathy, and Tara—weren’t the daughters of Cash and June Carter Cash. And this, ladies and gentlemen, was the reason Cash’s daughters wanted to make this documentary. The Cash machine had effectively erased Vivian Liberto Cash from existence.
It’s annoying how often people talk about the ways that social media has completely changed our lives. But…it’s still true. For good and ill, websites and apps that connect people with others through their words, photos, and more have made a tremendous impact that is very hard to overestimate. News cycles move faster because of social media, political decisions are made based on to it, friendships and romances are started, destroyed, and rekindled through it, and mental health issues are created and helped and worsened through it.
Growing up in Southern California in the 1970s, there wasn’t a day that went by when you didn’t hear a band that was part of the Laurel Canyon scene. I was a young child back then but I had my own little transistor radio set to some AM station that would emit tinny version of songs by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, The Doors, or The Byrds. The music from that scene was ever present and it was a part of the soundtrack to my childhood.
I love genre cinema. I will always have a soft spot for horror, action, sci-fi, and all the subgenres that exist inside those larger categories. What I have never felt any real connection to are those films that exist in the realm of pure sleaze. You know the ones: the…
Throughout his career, Stephen King has confronted the most horrific human impulse—the abuse of children—by couching them in the stuff of supernaturally-tinged scary stories. Quite often, he’s explicitly dwelled on the abuse of young women, starting with Carrie White’s harrowing childhood at the hands of her fundamentalist mother. Beverly Marsh’s encounter with It unfolded in the shadow of her father’s abuse, which would recur in her eventual marriage to the tyrannical Tom Rogan. For all his wild imagination, King routinely recognizes the real-world horrors inflicted upon women. Sometimes he cuts right to the grim chase by dropping the typical macabre window-dressing for something like DOLORES CLAIBORNE—a grounded and believable tale whose release conveniently dovetailed with Hollywood’s growing realization that there was more to King than his Grand Guignol efforts.
“I find a space that no one else occupies, and it becomes mine.” That’s legendary musician Bobbye Hall referring to her work in one of the many songs she recorded with Bill Withers, but it also becomes the thesis for TOMBOY, which was scheduled to premiere at 2020’s South By Southwest festival and compete in the 24 Beats Per Second category.
SXSW 2020 may not have transpired in the same fashion as previous years but fortunately for Daily Grindhouse, we were given access to a multitude of content in the form of a virtual online library. While trying to get over my forlorn fantasies of brisket and tacos that will never…
When I first saw LAKE MUNGO, I had almost no idea what to expect. I had added it to my Netflix DVD queue and got it in the mail a few days later, excited to watch something I saw suggested on Bloody Disgusting. I was a relatively young horror fan…