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)”

“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”

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)”

The Terminator (1984) and the Art of Industrial Genocide

“They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence. Then it saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination.”                                                                         -Kyle Reese, The Terminator (1984) There is nothing subtle about The Terminator, James Cameron’s breakthrough film released two years after BladeContinue reading “The Terminator (1984) and the Art of Industrial Genocide”

Network Nazis: Star Trek’s “Patterns of Force”

The original Star Trek series laudably promoted inclusiveness and provided progressive social commentary during the turbulent late-1960s. With an international and diverse crew, the USS Enterprise travels the universe guided by the Prime Directive prohibiting the Starfleet from interfering in the development of other civilizations and imposing its will on others. This principle was putContinue reading “Network Nazis: Star Trek’s “Patterns of Force””

Midsommar (2019) and The Pawnbroker (1964): Meditations on Grief

What possible connection is there between Midsommar, a 2019 horror film set in remote Sweden and The Pawnbroker, Sidney Lumet’s searing portrait of a Holocaust survivor navigating the urban decay of 1960s Brooklyn?  Midsommar director Ari Aster thinks there is one, which is why he situates a photo of Sol Nazerman (Rod Steiger), the protagonistContinue reading “Midsommar (2019) and The Pawnbroker (1964): Meditations on Grief”