Hausu is an absurd, winking and blood-drenched high-wire act, the sort of movie you’d get if Quentin Tarantino had directed The Rocky Horror Picture Show using only the sets of Pee Wee’s Playhouse. It might be a masterpiece, but no one has ever been able to tell: the movie won’t stop jumping around long enough for anyone to get a good look at it. It’s stuffed to the gills with visual gags, verbal non-sequiturs,  zany Technicolor in-jokes and baffling shifts in tone, style and music.

It has a plot, sort of: a pack of giggling Japanese schoolgirls are out on summer break.  One of the girls impulsively writes to her mysterious aunt, asking if she and her schoolmates can visit her old house in the country.  Soon a reply comes through the mail: all the girls are welcome. Once the girls arrive we quickly discern that the aunt likes them the way a spider likes flies; and in short order the house begins picking off the sailor-suited unfortunates in various horrible, demented and darkly comic ways.

But the plot doesn’t really matter; sitting through Hausu is an act of visual gluttony that makes you feel like you had a hundred Japanese game shows and a thousand episodes of Sailor Moon mainlined into your cerebral cortex. Watch the trailer below: doesn’t it look like fun?  Yes, it does. And it is. It’s become a Halloween tradition at the Trylon. You don’t want to miss out, do you? – Michael Popham



 Hausu screens Friday and Saturday, October 31 and November 1 at 7:00, 8:45 and 10:30; and Sunday, November 2 at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:30 at the Trylon.  Purchase advance tickets here.




Review by Trylon volunteer Patrick Vehling

In the Parisian suburbs lit by a dusk sun, a woman stands by the side of the road. A semi-trailer drives by slowly; the driver locks eyes with the tussle-haired woman, a woman he perceives to be a hooker. He parks, gets out and proceeds to her aged and dented van. Cut to night scene: A man on a motorcycle approaches and notices the van and slows down, walks into a field and sees the woman – the woman is covered and blood and passionately chewing on flesh. The man approaches.


In this coldy crafted film by the brilliant French director Claire Denis (Chocolat, Beau travail), characters are introduced slowly and tenderly with minimal dialogue to allow the atmosphere to be revealed on a different sense than expected: the sort of sparse air watching a tree blow in the wind on a cool fall day.


The man (Alex Descas) approaching the woman (Béatrice Dalle) is as mysterious as the concept of walking up to someone chewing on a dead human body. He is a doctor who worked in the Guyanese jungle experimenting with unsavory subjects, seemingly for the benefit of the woman, with whom he worked and partnered with. His devotion to her feeds his love and inability to deal with her breakdown.


The film takes on an almost postcard-like feel as the young couple Shane (Vincent Gallo) and June (Tricia Vessey) arrive in Paris for their honeymoon, to do touristy Parisian things a couple in love would do. From the beginning, this couple, though recently married and physically close, have a sort of distance – an emotional dissonance that the actors gracefully and tenderly explore in a way non-actors being filmed would. That tenderness and absolute emotional weakness is captured perfectly by Gallo, who is no stranger to those types of roles.


Trouble Every Day came out a few years before Gallo’s controversial The Brown Bunny (2003). The similarities between the two characters Gallo plays are striking in their loss of control, mental breakdown, and vacancy – something many more experienced actors can’t seem to get down without approaching over-dramaticism. Despite Gallo’s off-screen persona as a homophobic, racist asshole who offers his sperm to any non-Jewish white woman for one million dollars – it’s hard to actually confirm or deny if that is merely just a shtick for celebrity or if he really is a prick – he certainly has cornered the market on the weak and distraught male lead.

This film is a horrific and devastating look at love, sexual tension and the emotional veracity and weakness involved in sharing life, or as the Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky puts it, “like a symptom of the hopelessness of trying to grasp what is boundless, or unite what cannot be joined; a reminder of how finite, how curtailed our experience on earth must be.” — Patrick Vehling


Trouble Every Day screens Monday and Tuesday, October 27 and 28 at the Trylon.  Showtimes are 7:00 and 9:00, and you can purchase advance tickets here.



By Trylon volunteer Dave Berglund


There is a moment in The Cabin in the Woods that aptly fulfills what the late, great Alfred Hitchcock referred to as “refrigerator logic.” Refrigerator logic is, essentially, something nonsensical a filmmaker attempts to slip by viewers in the heat of their viewing experience. They are the things you only become puzzled by long after a viewing, usually when opening the refrigerator for a late night snack. They are what solicit the response, “Wait a minute…”


Such logic usually manifests itself in small moments that help the plot progress – someone peripheral to the plot happening volunteer a vital piece of information, a hero serendipitously arriving without reason, or countless other deus-ex-machinas.


Usually for these moments to work, viewers must be so engaged in a film to be distracted enough not to question. In truth, there is likely no better place for refrigerator logic than a good horror movie – who can really think all that deeply when held in frightened suspense?


I believe that with The Cabin in the Woods, director Drew Goddard and writer Joss Whedon knew this full well, for their ballsy bit of refrigerator logic is not only placed at the height of the film’s suspense, but fulfills the most basic desire of any horror movie buff – utter chaos. It is both so clearly ridiculous and so deftly placed that most people do not notice it, likely because most do not wish to question it.


(Okay, so now is the moment when I talk about the moment itself – if you are averse to spoilers, you should likely stop reading, buy tickets, and see the film. Trust me, it will be well worth it.)


The moment I reference is when our determined heroes have their backs against the wall, waiting to die, only to find a “Purge” button which unleashes their tormentors against their captors – countless villains, ghouls, and monsters from every walk of horror you can imagine. It is poetic justice, and it makes no sense. Why in the world would any organization that has imprisoned unimaginable evil have a button that would release them at all into their own complex?


In the world of the film, there is no answer to this, but in the world of the filmmakers, there is a simple one – because, hell yeah. We want to see that, and for any horror movie buff, this moment and its aftermath are pure bliss. I, for one, am glad the “Purge” button exists – only once in a rare while does a film present an opportunity to fulfill our silliest entertainment desires, and I am happy Goddard and Whedon recognize this. I didn’t question the “Purge” button when I saw the film, and I don’t question it in retrospect – it is simply too awesome to not exist. — Dave Berglund


The Cabin In the Woods screens at the Trylon Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25 at 7:00 and 9:00, and Sunday, October 26 at 5:00 and 7:00.  Get your tickets here!




By Trylon volunteer Dave Berglund

There is a sense in which Diabolique feels built for modern audiences. It is a film that has aged well in many respects – its verisimilitude is high, its performances are understated, and its suspense is taut. There is not an ounce of Hollywood camp here, though it would not feel out of place with the film’s many times implausible plotting. Thematically, it is perhaps more relevant in our contemporary western social context than when it first screened. The film benefits greatly from an increased awareness and vigilance about gender inequalities.


Indeed, the film’s exposition feels as if it has such a modern audience in mind, giving us oppressed women supporting one another in the pursuit of justice against the horrid man who has jointly abused them. It does not matter that the means by which they seek justice is murderous – what matters is that this guy is going to get what is coming to him. These are not femme fatales seeking to ruin a good man, but damaged women teaming up to right the world.


Which makes the whole film, including its sucker-punch conclusion, a wrenching experience. Audiences today applaud Hollywood’s promiscuous teenagers being slashed by inhuman villains, but here, we desire a clean getaway and identify with the film’s schemers. Well, maybe we don’t want a wholly clean getaway, but one that preserves justice in any case. What we are given, however, is a Job-like study in existential confusion – why can’t justice ever win?


Which, in the end, is what makes this film special. It sticks with you, as it dangles a prize just out of reach and leaves you grasping. It is a rather nasty trick, really, but you have to give credit where it is due. This is a smart piece of filmmaking which thrives equally on our instincts for survival and justice, and builds complex structures to give us neither. This is not a film of cheap thrills, but one that evokes deep desire and plays it like a fiddle. It is a film that doesn’t allow you to dismiss or forget it, but equally leaves you speechless. Like only the best thrillers can do, it evokes a simple, “Whoa,” and nothing more. — Dave Berglund


Diabolique screens Monday and Tuesday, October 20 and 21 at 7:00 and 9:15 at the Trylon.  You can purchase advance tickets here.





Review by Trylon volunteer Caty Rent


If you haven’t seen Evil Dead or Evil Dead 2 yet, you can still enjoy this zany third installment of the Sam Raimi series. Army of Darkness does a pretty quick and efficient job of explaining what has already happened to the protagonist, Ash Williams. Bruce Campbell masters this role of the one-armed, sarcastic, S-Mart store clerk that finds himself in unsavory situations.


Ash is pulled through a time vortex to 1300 A.D. where he is taken prisoner by Lord Arthur’s men. It is assumed that he is with Henry the Red, the sworn enemy of Arthur. Our hero is thrown into a pit and is able to escape with the aid of his chainsaw hand.


It is discovered that the only way Ash can travel back to his own time if if he goes on a quest for the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (the book of the dead) because he is prophesied as The Promised One. With his shotgun and new title, the townspeople look up to him. He becomes fond of a young woman named Shelia.


In typical Raimi form, there are gruesome creatures and epic skeletal deaths. The filming is on par with the feel of the movie. Crossbow arrow cam is pretty sweet. There are quick cuts, weird angles, shaky screen, and a lot of zooming in. Of course there’s high-pitched screaming and endless amounts of old fashioned slapstick humor. Definitely worth watching on the big screen!  – Caty Rent


Army of Darkness screens Friday and Saturday, October 17 and 18 at 7:00, 8:45 and 10:30, and Sunday, October 19 at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:30 at the Trylon.  Get your tickets here!