Showing posts from May, 2021

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

A knowing blend of demonic-possession horror, teen comedy, rape-revenge narrative and coming of age satire, Jennifer’s Body tells of the complex friendship between two girls, one of whom becomes possessed by a succubus demon and begins devouring her male classmates. From its first line of dialogue, ‘Hell is a teenage girl’, it unravels as a razor-sharp and satirical dismantling of societal gender roles and stereotypes, sexual politics and an examination of the horrors and anxieties of growing up a young woman. Written by Diablo Cody and directed by Karyn Kusama, it plays with familiar tropes and offers something that still feels remarkably fresh. Indeed, since #MeToo and #TimesUp, its central themes are as relevant as ever.  At the heart of Cody's screenplay is an exploration of a complicated and toxic friendship. Jennifer (Megan Fox) and Needy (Amanda Seyfried) have been friends since they were children. There’s a strong co-dependency between them, the complexities of which becom

Lurking on the Book Shelves: Horror in Space, Queens of the Abyss & The 90s Teen Horror Cycle

Editor Michele Brittany’s Horror in Space: Critical Essays on a Film Subgenre gathers a number of essays examining the various concepts, tropes and ideas associated with space horror. In her introduction, Brittany, book review editor for the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics and co-chair of the Ann Radcliffe Conference, sets out a definition of space horror, notes its predominant themes and discusses its evolution throughout the history of cinema, from Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon (1902) to more recent titles including Sunshine (2007) and Prometheus (2012). Elsewhere, the various contributors discuss titles including Alien, Event Horizon, John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars, Jason X and Mario Bava’s Planet of the Vampires and how filmmakers have exploited the setting of the great unknown to probe concepts such as the Final Girl/Survivor, the ‘uncanny valley’, the isolationism of space travel, religion and supernatural phenomena. From Juliane Schlag’s Out of Space – Out of T

Dark Touch (2013)

A dark revenge fantasy with echoes of Stephen King’s Carrie and Firestarter , Dark Touch tells of a young girl with terrifying powers that are conjured through pain and rage. When her parents die violently and in mysterious circumstances, Niamh (Missy Keating, who provides a truly compelling performance) is taken in by her neighbours whose own young daughter has recently died. Niamh insists her parents were killed when the house came alive, but authorities dismiss her claims and attribute the deaths to a violent home invasion. Before long though, her neighbours begin to sense that something unusual is now happening in their home, too.  The work of writer and director Marina de Van frequently explores themes such as the vulnerability of the flesh, body dysmorphia and psychological turmoil, and with Dark Touch , she explores the devastating effect of child abuse through the tropes of the evil/demon child sub-genre. Such films (including titles like The Bad Seed, Orphan, Village of the