Our Enemy, Ourselves: Averting Armageddon in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Released soon after the Soviet Union acquired the atomic bomb and the “flying saucer” mania gripping the country after the Roswell, New Mexico incident, Robert Wise’s The Day the Earth Stood Still (Day) is, M. Keith Booker maintains, “a courageous film” and the first “truly important work of American science fiction cinema.”[i] Day critiques nuclearContinue reading “Our Enemy, Ourselves: Averting Armageddon in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)”

“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 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)”

“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?””

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)”

Through the Peephole: Roman Polanski’s Repulsion (1965)

“When it comes to cinema, evil is simply a form of entertainment to me” – Roman Polanski French-Polish director Roman Polanski’s experiences as a child Holocaust victim and survivor left an indelible mark on his brilliant and controversial career. Born in Paris in 1933 to parents with Jewish ancestry, the Polanski family moved to Krakow,Continue reading “Through the Peephole: Roman Polanski’s Repulsion (1965)”

“Why this little girl?” Exorcising Existential Despair after the Holocaust

William Friedkin never intended to direct a horror film when he decided to explore the details of the 1949 exorcism of Roland Poe and adapt William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel, The Exorcist. “I attempted to make it as realistic possible,” he said, “At the very most, I think it could be called a work ofContinue reading ““Why this little girl?” Exorcising Existential Despair after the Holocaust”