Like it or not, we are living in the grief-and-trauma-as-horror era. It’s the basis of a bulk of popular horror films such as Hereditary (and every other Ari Aster film), The Babadook and even It (you’ll never guess what the scary clown is a metaphor for!). There’s a reason horror creators and fans are so obsessed with these themes: Grief and trauma can often feel much more menacing, more grotesque than any oozing monster.
One of the most recent, most conspicuous entries into this subgenre, From Black, follows Cora (Anna Camp), a recovering drug addict grieving the sudden disappearance of her small child, Noah (Eduardo Campirano). Things start to look up for Cora when the leader of her grief counseling group, Abel (John Ales), tells her that he knows a way to bring Noah back. All she has to do is stand, chained to the ground in the middle of a ring of salt, while he recites mysterious verses in another language. What could go wrong?
Read more in Paste.
As soon as you say They/Them out loud for the first time, you’ll realize that it’s a wickedly clever play on words. Unfortunately, that’s the last time the horror film displays any behind-the-scenes wit or gumption.
They/Them takes place almost entirely at Whistler Camp, a gay conversion program comprising of creaky and foreboding lakefront cabins straight out of Friday the 13th. The leader of the organization is Owen Whistler (Kevin Bacon), a soft-spoken sap straight out of your childhood Sunday youth group who immediately spouts several too-good-to-be-true remarks like “Gay people are A-OK with me.” Shockingly, by night two, it comes to light that Owen was fibbing about his values just a tad in his welcome speech. He quickly becomes irate when he learns that Alexandra (Quei Tann), is trans, and later callously subjects half the campers to a treacherous camping expedition.
Read more in Paste.
On the thirtieth anniversary of his popular kids' horror novel series, Goosebumps, author R.L. Stine disclosed the one line he refuses to cross in his writing.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Stine explained, "I have one rule for Goosebumps and that is the kids have to know that it couldn't happen. They have to know that it's a fantasy. If I establish that the plot is so absurd – it [can] never happen in any lifetime – then I can go pretty far with the scares."
Read more in CBR.
Found footage horror has been around since at least the 1980s, and since then, filmmakers have searched high and low for ways to innovate the subgenre and maximize its potential for terror. This doesn’t come without its own set of issues, though. How can one make a found footage film terrifying and plausible at the same time? While films like Cloverfield and Quarantine aren’t exactly lacking in the scary department, it does eventually become a little difficult to believe, for example, that if someone was being chased through New York by a giant bloodthirsty lizard, they wouldn’t ever be inclined to put their camera down. Deadstream solves that problem by getting creative with it—taking the found footage horror genre to the height of its powers.
Read more at Paste Magazine.
One of the most affecting methods of horror is a subversion of the ordinary. The idea that something you’re accustomed to is just… off. It could be that a family member isn’t acting quite right. Maybe there’s someone in your house who isn’t supposed to be there. Or, perhaps, there’s something up with your food.
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