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    Horror Cinematic Techniques: Close-up Shot

    The close up has been a powerful device in horror films for nearly a century now. The close-up shot is used in horror to create atmosphere and increase the audience’s fear by zooming in on facial expressions of the characters at hand. Conversely, close-ups are an equally effective tool used to emote objects, from Freddy […] More

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    ‘The Brainiac’ goes for cheap thrills

    The Brainiac Directed by Chano Urueta Mexico, 1962 Chano Urueta’s 1962 mishmash of horror, science fiction, and largely unintentional comedy, is perfect Mystery Science Theater fodder. Less schlocky than illogical, The Brainiac (its title literally translates to The Baron of Terror, a much better name) features moderately high production value and enough over long reaction […] More

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    With Christopher Young’s fairy tale score, ‘Hellraiser’ withstands its otherwise dated qualities

    Musically speaking, Hellraiser begins like a fairytale. Glassy bell percussion provide an enchanted introduction before composer Christopher Young’s main titles layer in tragic string figures. Blaring low brass blast a tainted pessimism, harkening back like the prelude to some age old fable as piano moves in grand, darkened fashion. Like a spell cast over the […] More

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    Witchcraft Wednesdays: The Salving Calm of ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’

    In a month full of horror and malevolent covens and blood-curdling scares, I offer now the soothing respite of Hayao Miyazaki’s beautiful and serene Kiki’s Delivery Service. Possibly Miyazaki’s most under-appreciated film, it is surely his most modest, which I mean as a compliment. It is the epitome of Miyazaki’s quiet filmmaking, letting the soft emotion and warm aesthetics of the animation do most of the talking. The fact that Kiki is a witch is rather beside the point, because this is a coming-of-age story for a young girl committed to helping others but forgetting about herself. More

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    Tombstone Tuesdays: H.P. Lovecraft’s Re-Animator

    Re-Animator, another obscure zombie flick, questions scientific advancements by revealing potential consequences and effects to the people around us. This last Tombstone Tuesday could have easily been given to Army of Darkness by Sam Raimi, Night of the Living Dead by George A. Romero, Shaun of the Dead by Edgar Wright, Dead Snow by Tommy Wirkola, or maybe even Dead Alive by Peter Jackson. But Re-Animator offers something beyond braining eating and strange noises. Re-Animator is a non-traditional classic that is centered on an underlying message of whether or not science is going too far. More

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    Satanic Sunday: Cults devoted to the Devil

    Cloaked in hooded robes, hell-bent on destruction and ready to sacrifice innocents to please their master- worshipers of the Devil are an easy bunch to stereotype in popular portrayals. Ranked from worst to best, the extent to which they work with or against cliché and manage to be entertaining on film is profiled in the following list. This […] More

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    Found Footage Friday: ‘The Sacrament’

    Just when I thought there weren’t any great filmmakers working in horror anymore, Ti West just scared the shit out of me. West bust out on the scene with the moody throwback The House of the Devil showing that he could replicate period aesthetic with ease. His first several films were shot standardly, but for The Sacrament, West dips his toes in the waters of the found footage genre. More

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    Hammer Horror Thursdays: ‘Brides of Dracula’ with no brides and no Dracula

    After the success of Horror of Dracula (1958), it only made sense to make a sequel. The Brides of Dracula tells the story of a young Marianne who happens to stay the night at a baroness’ castle only to discover her host’s dashing son is locked up in an adjacent wing. Feeling sorry for the Baron Meinster, she releases him from his bonds with no clue that she just unleashed a vampire to wreak havoc on all the ladies of Transylvania. It’s a psycho-sexual scenario peppered with mommy issues that Hitchcock would certainly appreciate – his film Psycho was released the same year as Brides. More

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