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  • The Great Mouse Detective

    The Great Mouse Detective

    The 80's are a seriously undervalued decade for Disney; each film has so totally embraced dark emotion in ways that other periods of Disney history rarely do. And like The Black Cauldron, this film's architecture if Gothic and lovingly spooky.

    The Sherlock Holmes replication is a bit too blunt, and the mystery could perhaps be a bit more well, mysterious, but the imagery is beautifully Victorian. All culminating in one of Disney's greatest climaxes: a yellow-illuminated clocktower, with every inch a moving death, standing with English fog.

    Professor Ratigan horrified me as a kid.

  • The Black Cauldron

    The Black Cauldron

    One of the few (maybe only?) Disney films I have absolutely no childhood memory of, which is a shame, because it's perhaps the studio's most grimly atmospheric and bleakly fantastical film. Undead armies occupying purple-bathed Gothic castles, witch wastelands, and death as a promise, this is wonderfully dark.

    But the film is also joyous in its fantasy; heroism is not something you're equipped with, but something you adopt and envelop. Adorable magic pigs and firework swords give this such a…

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  • Alien: Covenant

    Alien: Covenant

    Five years ago, as I walked out of Prometheus, my imagination was ablaze with the possible trajectories the sequel would go as David and Elizabeth’s journey to their creators continued. That film, while certainly dreary, had a streak of optimism in discovery that high school Austin expected to continue. I was totally unprepared for Ridley Scott to submerge my soul into an inescapable hell.

    Alien: Covenant is unrelentingly nihilistic in its philosophy, seemingly suggesting that humanity is a disgusting species…

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street

    A Nightmare on Elm Street

    Comfortable landscapes mutilated by secrecy and generational violence; what could possibly be more horrifying than nightmares leaking into reality and distorting the thin barrier between the two? In nearly all of Craven's previous films, the fragility of our perception is always haunted, and here, his savage creativity bursts like a blood-volcano.

    Truth is buried in empty alcohol bottles and the past is burned into painful ash, but nothing is ever actually hidden. Guilt ruptures the subconscious, infecting a generation that…