Mom and Dad (2018) – Hello Murder, Hello Furder

Released: 19th January
Seen: 4th December (Catch-Up Screening)

This year might be the best year Nicolas Cage has had in a very long time, this year he’s put his names on such amazing films as Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, Mandy and Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, films where he’s been allowed to have a lot of fun and either deliver a really clever vocal performance or just be the pure maniacal insane man we kind of love. Mom and Dad combines both of those performance styles for what is arguably his best role of the year, and one of the most delightfully dark films in recent memory.

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Overlord (2018) – 100 Nazi Scalps!

Released: 6th December
Seen: 3rd December (Advanced Screening)

One of the great joys of doing this is getting to really see some intense hard-hitting films. As I slowly start to finish out 2018 I look back and think about the hard intense thrillers, the powerful dramas, the deep explorations of the human psyche that I have sat through for the last 12 months and after all that it’s about time that I got to have a nice simple movie that I could switch my brain off during and just enjoy for its visceral delight in being over the top… and Overlord provided me exactly that.

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Summer Of 84 (2018) – Way WAY Before Nirvana

Released: 10th August
Seen: 28th November

Official Trailer for Summer of 84

One of the fascinating things about pop-culture, particularly the impact nostalgia plays on it, is something known as the 30-year cycle. To get a good explanation of this you need to look at Lindsay Ellis’ video essay Stranger Things, IT and the Upside Down of Nostalgia but basically, this cycle is why we’re seeing so many 80’s style content in pop culture recently. Not only is it why shows and movies like, well, Stranger Things and It are getting such buzz and are hitting something special in the audience, it also explains things like the stylistic choices of Thor: Ragnarok or the throwback nature of Mandy. The nature of the 30-year cycle lends itself really well to the horror genre, especially now since that 30-year cycle means we’re seeing echoes of one of the golden ages in horror. Summer of 84 capitalises on that and its echoes of a distant cinematic past are loud, vibrant and engaging.

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Halloween (2018) – No More Days Till Halloween, Silver Shamrock

Released: 25th October
Seen: 31st October

Halloween Info.png

In 1978, an unknown director named John Carpenter was given the chance to make a movie about a man in a mask who stalks babysitters. He worked with Debra Hill, who he had worked with on the film Assault on Precinct 13, and together they created Halloween. The original movie not only launched the career of Jamie Lee Curtis but it also created one of the longest running franchises in horror movie history and, effectively, created the slasher genre. Yes, there were films before Halloween that we now count as slashers, but Halloween popularised it and created a very basic formula that dominated the horror landscape for decades. If you see a horror film today, the odds are good that someone at some point will cite the original Halloween as an inspiration. It’s also a series with a timeline so confusing that it can really be impossible to follow. Say what you will about series like Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th, those series were relatively good at keeping a consistent story between films. Halloween has had several story changes, major plots dropped, main characters die only to come back in the next film, a full-fledged reboot and even a departure to tell a story about witches. Hell, even THIS film is confusing enough since it shares an identical title with two other films in this franchise. It’s confusing, so let me try and ease that confusion.

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Mandy

Released: 21st September
Seen: 21st September

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There are some horror movies that work best if you’re already a fan of the genre. Movies like Scream or Cabin in the Woods are films that mostly work for people who aren’t complete horror nuts but fans appreciate them on a very different level and get a whole different kind of enjoyment out of them because they are familiar with what those films are referencing and, therefore, get a better surprise when those films subvert the tropes that they’re referencing. Mandy is a film that definitely fits into that group, it might work wonderfully for non-genre fans but for fans of Horror and especially fans of 70’s-80’s horror, it’s something special.

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The Nun

Released: 6th September
Seen: 19th September

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The Conjuring cinematic universe started as a 2013 low budget horror film about Ed and Lorraine Warren, a pair of paranormal investigators who were basically highly effective charlatans (in my opinion) and from there the franchise has exploded to include a sequel and two spin-offs, one of which also got a sequel of its own. There’s no sign that this series is going to stop any time soon, with a third Conjuring film on the way, another Annabelle film being released next year and even a film called The Crooked Man being planned which will follow another monster from the movies. The marketing behind these movies is genius, just slip a monster into one of the main movies in the franchise and then let the spin-off movies explain it’s origin story. That’s how we got The Nun because that was the big bad of Conjuring 2 so therefore we need to know how The Nun became The Nun… apparently.

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