3 items from 2017
Ben Robins with a beginner’s guide to Phantasm…
One of cult fandom’s most dearly loved horror franchises has finally been given the blu-ray upgrade it deserves this year, off the back of not just a brand new sequel, but also a J.J. Abrams-backed 4K restoration of the original. Spanning five movies, countless casting back and forths, and nearly 40 years of production woes and seriously devoted fan conventions, the Phantasm series has finally, at long last, pulled to a close.
And whilst it might not be quite as expansive (or as widely known) as a lot of the genre’s other heavy-hitters like Friday the 13th, Halloween or A Nightmare on Elm Street, Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm movies hold a special place in horror lore, as not just one of the only long-running franchises to be consistently owned and controlled by the same person, but also as one »
- Ben Robins
The grotesque appeal of carnivals, their inherent and attractive darkness, are long-established motifs of horror. Sideshow acts are full of the lurid and uncanny—humans whose appearances or movements aren’t “normal,” showcased behind heavy curtains or glass as objects of hideous wonder. Few can capture this fascination better than Ray Bradbury, who, along with Tod Browning and Diane Arbus, has solidified these images into our public consciousness. His fiction is shadowy, nebulous and exploitative, like these carnivals, and he evokes their qualities with the highest art.
Many of his plots center around an uncanny or supernatural force wreaking havoc in a mundane environment—an everyman who realizes his skeleton is trying to kill him, the arrival of a strange and deadly circus in Something Wicked This Way Comes, or a fantastic environment that is explored through recognizable, everyday emotions. The Martian Chronicles is otherworldly in setting, but its characters are preoccupied with grief, »
- Ben Larned
Screen horror gets a fun-ride boost with the adventures of a trio of home-alone kids squaring off against demons from, ‘right in their own back yard.’ Creative, expertly daring special effects heighten a perfect spook thriller for young kids, that’s has more and better ‘Boo’ moments than most of the hardcore genre classics of its decade.
Lionsgate / Vestron Video
1987 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 85 min. / Street Date February 28, 2017 / 39.97
Cinematography: Thomas Vámos
Film Editor :Rit Wallis
Speical Visual Effects Designer and Supervisor: Randall William Cook
Special Makeup: Craig Reardon
Written by: Michael Nankin
Produced by: John Kemeny
Directed by: Tibor Takács
Horror enthusiasts of a different generation than mine speak highly of the theatrical shockers of the 1980s that set their nerves on edge. »
- Glenn Erickson
3 items from 2017
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