Favorite films

  • Angel Heart
  • Dawn of the Dead
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • The Beyond

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  • China Gate

    ★★

  • Backwoods

  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

  • Transformations

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  • Pray for Death

    Pray for Death

    ★★★★

    My older daughter, who is in first grade, brought home some ninja artwork she had done with her friend. It was a murder diagram with a bunch of little ninjas in different positions, including a ninja shooting a bow and arrow at a bad guy. There was a large silhouette of a black-garbed ninja with the words "darkest grandfather" written below it. Turns out her friend claims his grandfather is a ninja who once fought a robot on top of…

  • Night of the Demon

    Night of the Demon

    ★★★★

    I have a pretty uncomplicated relationship with death metal. I like how it sounds.

    Death metal is not about technical skill, really. It's not about the lyrical content, either, because I can't understand what they're saying. There are death metal artists whose artistry is undeniable, like the late Chuck Schuldiner, and there is lyrical content that I just find too fucked up and objectionable, like some of Cannibal Corpse's records, where it's right there in the song title. In general…

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  • China Gate

    China Gate

    ★★

    I literally had to force myself to finish watching this.

    Maybe it's time to admit to myself that I just don't like Samuel Fuller that much. When I was coming up in the 1980s, all the older film fans and critics revered Fuller, and talked about him the same way people talk about Quentin Tarantino now. Fuller had a uniquely personal style, tackling racism and other social issues with blunt force. But even in his best films, like The Steel…

  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

    The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

    Haven’t seen this since I was a kid. It was creepy then and it’s creepy now.

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  • Black Christmas

    Black Christmas

    ★★★★★

    Black Christmas is one of the few movies that really, truly scared me as an adult, and continues to scare me. If you’re a horror fan, you know that Black Christmas is the first North American movie that can properly be called a “slasher movie,” and that it established the template that movies like Halloween and Friday the 13th would follow. Black Christmas is arguably the greatest slasher movie of all time, as well as the greatest Yuletide-themed horror movie.…

  • Where the Sidewalk Ends

    Where the Sidewalk Ends

    ★★★★½

    What a difference six years makes. Where the Sidewalk Ends reunited Otto Preminger, the director of Laura (1944), with Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney, the two stars of Laura.

    This reunion between director and actors was nothing earthshaking. In the years between Laura and Where the Sidewalk Ends, Preminger had worked with both Andrews and Tierney again separately, and Tierney and Andrews had appeared together in the film The Iron Curtain (1948), which Preminger didn't direct.

    But comparing Laura with…