Archives: Movie Reviews

  • Dracula’s Widow (1988)

    The Coppola family seems to have cornered the market on vampire films. Between Francis Ford’s blockbuster, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), and Nicolas Cage’s  darkly manic performance in the now cult classic Vampire’s Kiss (1988), it’s easy to forget Christopher Coppola’s low-budget horror comedy, Dracula’s Widow (1988). But I like an underdog, and this uneven effort…

    Continue reading

  • Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

    If you’re interested in the history of queer representation in film, then I recommend Dracula’s Daughter (1936). Like so many movies from this archive, it’s a frustrating watch because same-sex desire must be expressed circuitously, rendered monstrous, and ultimately punished. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that the lesbian vampire dies in the…

    Continue reading

  • Count Yorga, Vampire (1970)

    Vampires in fiction and film often have a rarified air. Their condescension makes sense: When you’re of aristocratic birth (which most of them are) and immortal, you have travel and educational opportunities that position you above the masses. But of all the superior vampires on the scene, Count Yorga has the most (and best) attitude.…

    Continue reading

  • Death Spa (1989)

    After gorging myself on Thanksgiving dinner and experiencing the predictable postprandial bloat, my thoughts turned to health and resolutions for the New Year. But instead of resolving to join a fitness club–let’s not get crazy here–I committed to watching a cult classic that explores the horrific possibilities of the gym: Death Spa (1989).  Starbody Health…

    Continue reading

  • Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

    Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) is the most underrated horror film of the 1970s. It elegantly integrates several genre subcategories, features an original monster, and introduces us to arguably the greatest horror heroine of all time. Artistically accomplished, it’s also a great popcorn movie with plenty of those quirky flourishes that give 70s horror…

    Continue reading

  • The Night Flier (1997)

    Just when I thought I’d seen every decent vampire film, I came across The Night Flier (1997). This hidden gem is based on a short story by Stephen King, which I admit, I haven’t read. Still, I can see and appreciate King’s craftsmanship–the plot is so sincere and artless that it’s clearly his design. In…

    Continue reading

  • The Ash Tree (1975)

    To watch The Ash Tree, click here This week, I will continue my discussion of the BBC’s Christmas ghost stories by considering their adaptation of M.R. James’ “The Ash-Tree.” Not so much a ghost story as a work of folk horror, “The Ash Tree” (1975) stages what are now classic conflicts between the outsider and…

    Continue reading

  • Whistle and I’ll Come to You (1968)

    Reading is a great way to discover things about yourself; and if I’ve learned anything from the ghost stories of M.R. James, it’s that I have a spiritual affinity with Victorian-era Oxbridge dons. They really know how to vacation. Forget sunbathing, swimming, and fighting through crowds. Making the most of their time off, these men…

    Continue reading

  • The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

    The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) delivered much more than I was expecting: It’s visually stunning and features an unforgettable performance by Vincent Price, who manages to communicate the content of sentences without once moving his lips–by the end of the film, my facial and neck muscles ached in sympathy. Through its gimmicks and theatrical style,…

    Continue reading

  • Child’s Play (1988)

    As a fan of horror, I am embarrassed to admit that, until yesterday, I had never seen Tom Holland’s iconic Child’s Play (1988). There are a few reasons for this: Chucky’s phrases, which were used extensively in the marketing, rub me the wrong way. I found the taglines neither funny nor scary, but irritating as…

    Continue reading