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  • It

    It

    ★★★

    Film #9 of Hooptober 4.0

    This isn’t really a review—just a film student overthinking a horror movie and (probably) misreading a historian. I’m wrestling with a lot of things that I am not particularly versed in, but that’s what writing’s for, isn’t it? For the most part It is well-done, if safe. Nothing really stands out besides the music—which would be fun to talk about another time—and the scares—which make the movie, and which, eventually, I get around to talking…

  • The Devil's Backbone

    The Devil's Backbone

    ★★★★

    Film #8 of Hooptober 4.0

    This is much better, del Toro, and it fits more comfortably under the Hooptober banner. The first (real) encounter with Santi--in the middle of the night--is chilling, and rightfully so: terror is Carlos' only reasonable reaction. He's abandoned by his tutor, marked as an outsider, and already encountering a supernatural entity. But like the del Toro produced The Orphanage, the horror iconography gives way to emotional trauma. The visual distortions around Santi's image are manifestations…

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  • The Birds

    The Birds

    ★★★★

    The Birds: Hitchcock’s film version of the gothic romance, where female hysteria is realized by nature and the shadowy moors of England are replaced with a bright bay of California. The suspense is there, and the performances and direction are all high-grade Hitchcock, but it drags at parts and really, Hitch probably isn’t the best guy to talk about the institutional oppression of women.

    It is a fantastic film: from the brief wolf-whistle at the very start of the film…

  • A Page of Madness

    A Page of Madness

    ★★★★

    Film #2 of Hooptober 4.0

    There’s little I can do to properly translate the chaos of A Page of Madness into words. Each attempt feels like a disservice no matter how thoroughly I describe a sequence, because this is a film built upon the clashing of images, both horizontally and vertically. Even before entering the asylum, the film breaks from conventions of seeing: the opening sequence presents a downpour in brief flashes, as rushing water runs over images of windows…