“It’s all for you!” Whiteness as Monstrosity in The Omen trilogy

Coming on the heels of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, Richard Donner’s The Omen mined further the prospect of the Devil wreaking havoc on the ostensibly prosperous and peaceful West, specifically by using a child to accomplish the task. The Omen trilogy does not reference Nazism or the Holocaust directly, but the films chronicle theContinue reading ““It’s all for you!” Whiteness as Monstrosity in The Omen trilogy”

The SS Comes to Appalachia: Joel Schumacher’s Blood Creek (2009)

Joel Schumacher’s Lost Boys (1987) reinvigorated the vampire genre by situating a teenage coming of age story in a small coastal California town beset by biker vampires. Starring a host of popular young actors, Lost Boys enjoyed tremendous commercial success and quickly entered cult status. Schumacher revisits the genre with Blood Creek (2009), a smallerContinue reading “The SS Comes to Appalachia: Joel Schumacher’s Blood Creek (2009)”

The View from Hell: Dominion, Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)

Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005) explores Father Merrin’s origin story, firmly entrenching his trauma and temporary loss of faith in a Holocaust narrative. Directed by Paul Schrader, Dominion begins in 1944 with a young Merrin (Stellen Skarsgǻrd) serving as a parish priest in a small Dutch town. An SS unit arrives seeking retribution forContinue reading “The View from Hell: Dominion, Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)”

Banshee (2013-16): An Appreciation

Welcome to Banshee, a scenic wonderland best described as a demented Brigadoon. This small town in rural Pennsylvania acts like a black hole, attracting various international criminal overlords, drug cartels, neo-Nazis, heavily armed Indian racial activists, renegade Army units, and one ex-con jewel thief posing as Banshee’s sheriff. The world of Banshee runs on aContinue reading “Banshee (2013-16): An Appreciation”

“Filth! Horror! Right in the middle of it and you don’t know it”: Traumatic Memory in The Pawnbroker (1965)

Sydney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker (1965) is a searing portrait of a Holocaust survivor immersed in the desolation of an East Harlem pawnshop in the early 1960s.  Approaching the anniversary of his wife’s murder in a concentration camp brothel, Sol Nazerman (Rod Steiger) is flooded by debilitating memories of his murdered family as events force himContinue reading ““Filth! Horror! Right in the middle of it and you don’t know it”: Traumatic Memory in The Pawnbroker (1965)”

“Look at the flowers, Lizzie”: Moral Injury in The Walking Dead

All characters in The Walking Dead (TWD) suffer from moral injury, a form of post-traumatic stress disorder common in extreme situations like warfare or genocide.  “Moral injury,” George Hagman notes, “implies that one’s experiences are not just inconsistent with previously held moral expectations, but have the power to negate and possibly pervert them.”  The trulyContinue reading ““Look at the flowers, Lizzie”: Moral Injury in The Walking Dead”

“Sink back into the ocean” The Affair (2014-2019) as Dystopian Parable

The opening credit sequence to Showtime’s The Affair (2014-2019) features Fiona Apple’s haunting original song “The Container.” The lyrics and the imagery portend a woman’s death as she “sinks back into the ocean.” The ocean is more than just a picturesque backdrop for this relationship drama set in the Hamptons town of Montauk; it isContinue reading ““Sink back into the ocean” The Affair (2014-2019) as Dystopian Parable”

“Whatever happened to Rosemary’s baby?”

Rosemary’s Baby, the second film in the Apartment Trilogy and arguably one of Roman Polanski’s best directorial efforts, is drawn from Ira Levin’s novel.  Levin took his own anxiety about impending fatherhood and crafted an engrossing and darkly comic story about young New Yorkers becoming parents to Satan’s child. When Paramount producer Robert Evans acquiredContinue reading ““Whatever happened to Rosemary’s baby?””

Hiding in the Shadows: Outpost (2008) & Outpost: Black Sun (2012)

Outpost (2008) and Outpost: Black Sun (2012) pits contemporary mercenary soldiers against reanimated Nazi apparitions in a bunker deep inside Eastern Europe. These military horror films combine Nazi occultist pseudo-science, zombie/ghost super soldiers, and unscrupulous capitalist ventures into the plots. The story begins with a shady businessman, Hunt (Julian Wadham), approaching ex-Royal Marine turned mercenary,Continue reading “Hiding in the Shadows: Outpost (2008) & Outpost: Black Sun (2012)”

Looking into the Abyss: The Keep (1983)

The Keep is a mesmerizing and incomprehensible arthouse horror film directed by Michael Mann.[i] Set in Romania in 1941, a Germany army unit led by Captain Klaus Woermann (Jürgen Prochnow) occupies a remote village adjacent to a strategic mountain pass. The village is home to an abandoned citadel known as the Keep. The Keep isContinue reading “Looking into the Abyss: The Keep (1983)”