Hannibal – “Buffet Froid” (Season 1, Episode 10)

Hannibal’s early episodes demonstrated an affinity for horror, realised in thick brushstrokes of sumptuous gothic tableaux and direct references to horror classics like The Shining. That horror focus has diminished, but not disappeared, as the season has continued, fleshing out both its characterisation and serialisation. “Buffet Froid” serves as a return to elegant, unnerving horror;…

Lifeforce (1985)

I watched Lifeforce with high expectations. After all, it’s a sci-fi/horror B-movie written by the director of Return of the Living Dead, from the director of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and adapted from a novel called … Space Vampires. But the first hour of the film lowered those expectations dramatically. Sure, there’s a gorgeous, completely naked…

Frailty (2001)

Frailty is the kind of film that poses challenging, ambiguous questions and then, unfortunately, answers them. Director Bill Paxton stars as the deeply religious working-class father of two young boys. He believes that God has delivered him a message: that he must destroy – not murder – “demons” in the local community. He enlists his…

Hannibal – “Trou Normand” (Season 1, Episode 9)

“Trou Normand” opens on a majestic and terrible spectacle, a totem of twisted corpses reaching to the sky. It’s grand and imposing, but belies the subtlety of an episode populated with little moments like Abigail’s look of recognition as she tastes the meat that Hannibal has served; or, amidst a gripping confrontation between Will and…

Spring Breakers (2013)

Spring Breakers is a fluorescent dream, an elusive ode to excess. Korine’s film is gorgeously ugly, illuminating the worst of human behaviour in swathes of hypercolour; neon bikinis pulsing in streaky, candy-coloured lights. Spring break is an escape, an emblem of the modern American dream – not to work hard for success, but the aspiration…

Double Feature: The Exorcist (1973) and Don’t Look Now (1973)

(Double Feature is a series of “double length” (400-word) posts where I’ll discuss two related pop culture artifacts) William Friedkin’s The Exorcist and Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now have a great deal in common: both are supernatural horror films released in 1973, both now regarded as genuine classics. They’re each impeccably directed and feature rightfully…