“The streets looked really good to me. They looked like art”: DOWNTOWN 81 as Graffiti

|Brad Stiffler| There is undoubtedly a lot of graffiti in Downtown 81. Featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat just before he began his meteoric ascent in the world of galleries and museums, the film captures the height of his public graffiti-writing period with numerous scenes of him spray painting walls and defacing cars...

Hypothetical Conversation Between Myself at 12 and 35 After Watching Face/Off

|Matt Levine| 12-year-old self, after seeing Face/Off for the first time upon its release in June 1997: Dude. 35-year-old self, after rewatching Face/Off for about the fifteenth time in 2020: What? 12-year-old self: Bro. 35-year-old self: Ugh. 12-year-old self: That was the fucking coolest thing ever. 35-year-old self: Um… 12-year-old...

The Eternal Blessing of NEAR DARK

|Ted Harwood| You’re sitting in a comfortable chair, watching the opening scenes of Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark, and it looks damned hot. Everyone on the screen is somehow sweaty looking and dusty, and even the shots at dawn look too hot to breathe. For just a second, you envision brush...
“The streets looked really good to me. They looked like art”: DOWNTOWN 81 as Graffiti

“The streets looked really good to me. They looked like art”: DOWNTOWN 81 as Graffiti

|Brad Stiffler| There is undoubtedly a lot of graffiti in Downtown 81. Featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat just before he began his meteoric ascent in the world of galleries and museums, the film captures the height of his public graffiti-writing period with numerous scenes of him spray painting walls and defacing cars...
Hypothetical Conversation Between Myself at 12 and 35 After Watching Face/Off

Hypothetical Conversation Between Myself at 12 and 35 After Watching Face/Off

|Matt Levine| 12-year-old self, after seeing Face/Off for the first time upon its release in June 1997: Dude. 35-year-old self, after rewatching Face/Off for about the fifteenth time in 2020: What? 12-year-old self: Bro. 35-year-old self: Ugh. 12-year-old self: That was the fucking coolest thing ever. 35-year-old self: Um… 12-year-old...
The Eternal Blessing of NEAR DARK

The Eternal Blessing of NEAR DARK

|Ted Harwood| You’re sitting in a comfortable chair, watching the opening scenes of Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark, and it looks damned hot. Everyone on the screen is somehow sweaty looking and dusty, and even the shots at dawn look too hot to breathe. For just a second, you envision brush...
THEATER OF BLOOD

THEATER OF BLOOD

|Caty Rent| When I was first approached with the opportunity to choose a film to show at the Trylon, Theater of Blood rose quickly to the top of my list. I immensely enjoy the horror genre, but mostly when a movie can be funny while taking itself seriously. Vincent Price...
What GUMMO Wasn’t

What GUMMO Wasn’t

|Olga Tchepikova-Treon| Gummo has been around for more than twenty years, so there are not many new insights I feel I can offer about its position in and contribution to cinema history, or its significance in Harmony Korine’s filmmaking trajectory. Korine earned his directorial debut—this very Gummo—with the tremendous success...
Waking up in CLOSE-UP

Waking up in CLOSE-UP

|Jesse Lawson| For those of us caught slumbering in the cinema, Abbas Kiarostami once offered a vindication. Interviewed at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997, he expressed his distaste for those films that “hold viewers hostage” or attempt to “disturb” them. “I prefer the films that put the audience to...
(Not Coming) Out Out

(Not Coming) Out Out

|Jesse Lawson| I ended up with the wrong Gremlins poster on a trip to Spencer Gifts one Saturday in the mid-1980s, when I was eight or nine years old. It may have been mislabeled; I may have misread the label. I had wanted a reproduction of the film’s meta promotional poster,...
PARIS, TEXAS: Wim Wenders’s American Myth

PARIS, TEXAS: Wim Wenders’s American Myth

|Greg Hunter| Paris, Texas begins with Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton) in a kind of walking catatonia. He has spent years away from his family––most of them on foot, for all viewers know––and only reconnects with his brother Walt (Dean Stockwell) after collapsing in a small West Texas town. Despite...
Black Christmas: The Godfather of Slasher Genre

Black Christmas: The Godfather of Slasher Genre

|Finn Odum| John Carpenter’s Halloween is a cornerstone of the slasher genre. It’s one of the most influential and well known horror franchises, inspiring countless sequels and knock-offs. It’s everywhere in horror culture: The hockey-mask wearing Jason of Friday the 13th is based on Michael Meyers. Halloween appears in Wes...
Santa Slays: Tracing the History of Christmas Horror

Santa Slays: Tracing the History of Christmas Horror

|Finn Odum| See Finn Odum’s post on Silent Night, Deadly Night here.
He Sees You When You’re Sleeping

He Sees You When You’re Sleeping

|Finn Odum| Santa Claus is an American Christmas staple. As soon as Halloween passes, department stores pull out red and green decorations and radio stations start playing Christmas carols. TV networks air every Christmas movie imaginable, including a wide variety of Santa Claus origin stories and adventures. To the dismay...
BUFFALO ‘66: Desperate times call for magical style

BUFFALO ‘66: Desperate times call for magical style

|Ann Romine| Five minutes into Buffalo ‘66, Billy Brown needs to find a bathroom. To remedy this situation, he decides to return to the prison from which he was just released, a move that immediately characterizes the film’s protagonist as a lost soul.  On a winter day in Buffalo, New...