Favorite films

  • Angel Heart
  • Dawn of the Dead
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • City of the Living Dead

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  • Mad Max

    ★★★★★

  • Alvin Purple

    ★★★

  • Eyewitness

    ★★

  • Mad Dog Morgan

    ★★★★

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  • Pray for Death

    Pray for Death

    ★★★★

    My older daughter, who is in first grade, brought home some ninja artwork she had done with her friend. It was a murder diagram with a bunch of little ninjas in different positions, including a ninja shooting a bow and arrow at a bad guy. There was a large silhouette of a black-garbed ninja with the words "darkest grandfather" written below it. Turns out her friend claims his grandfather is a ninja who once fought a robot on top of…

  • Night of the Demon

    Night of the Demon

    ★★★★

    I have a pretty uncomplicated relationship with death metal. I like how it sounds.

    Death metal is not about technical skill, really. It's not about the lyrical content, either, because I can't understand what they're saying. There are death metal artists whose artistry is undeniable, like the late Chuck Schuldiner, and there is lyrical content that I just find too fucked up and objectionable, like some of Cannibal Corpse's records, where it's right there in the song title. In general…

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  • Eyewitness

    Eyewitness

    ★★

    Director Peter Yates and writer Steve Tesich, who scored a massive critical and commercial success with Breaking Away (1979), do not strike gold twice with this thriller.

    Yates is a great director, and Eyewitness is never boring, but there’s something fundamentally flawed about its characters.

    The story is serviceable, airport-thriller fluff. A janitor (William Hurt) discovers the corpse of a murdered South Vietnamese businessman in his office. He does not reveal to the police detectives investigating the case (Steven Hill…

  • Mad Dog Morgan

    Mad Dog Morgan

    ★★★★

    Dennis Hopper’s dodgy Irish accent and pasted-on beard notwithstanding, Mad Dog Morgan is one of the most beautiful and horrifyingly violent period pieces I’ve ever seen. At least some of the time. I haven’t read Margaret Carnegie’s novel, which is the basis for the film, but the narrative structure of the movie seems like it might hew too closely to the truth. The early parts of Morgan’s life in the film — violently antiracist amongst the white gold prospectors of…

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  • Black Christmas

    Black Christmas

    ★★★★★

    Black Christmas is one of the few movies that really, truly scared me as an adult, and continues to scare me. If you’re a horror fan, you know that Black Christmas is the first North American movie that can properly be called a “slasher movie,” and that it established the template that movies like Halloween and Friday the 13th would follow. Black Christmas is arguably the greatest slasher movie of all time, as well as the greatest Yuletide-themed horror movie.…

  • Where the Sidewalk Ends

    Where the Sidewalk Ends

    ★★★★½

    What a difference six years makes. Where the Sidewalk Ends reunited Otto Preminger, the director of Laura (1944), with Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney, the two stars of Laura.

    This reunion between director and actors was nothing earthshaking. In the years between Laura and Where the Sidewalk Ends, Preminger had worked with both Andrews and Tierney again separately, and Tierney and Andrews had appeared together in the film The Iron Curtain (1948), which Preminger didn't direct.

    But comparing Laura with…