Saturday, July 28, 2018

Review: The 1990s Teen Horror Cycle by Alexandra West

Look, I realize that given the content featured on this site for pretty much all of 2018, I should consider renaming it "All Things Alexandra West."  But after covering West's book about the New French Extremity I needed to read something a bit more upbeat and it just so happens that West's new book is just that.  In The 1990s Teen Horror Cycle:  Final Girls and a New Hollywood Formula, West explores an era of film that many in the horror community (including myself) have dismissed as being too polished and catering to more mainstream moviegoers at the expense of substance.  As someone who has a soft spot for enthusiastic defenses of overlooked pop culture, I was intrigued to see if West could win me over on '90s horror.

Monday, July 16, 2018

CONCLUSION: Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY


Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction.

Over the course of the past thirteen chapters of Films of the New French Extremity, Alexandra West has taken us through some pretty dark shit.  She notes that New French Extremity "burned brightly and quickly," starting in the late nineties and ending around Martyrs release in 2008.  This really seems the only way this wave of films could have panned out given how potent and harsh they are.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY Chapter 13: Living Womb


Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction.

We're nearing the end of our journey through the Films of New French Extremity.  After this we have just one more chapter that features filmmakers of the NFE's ventures into U.S. remakes.  I think it's fitting, then, that we cap off our last of the original NFE films with the very first one I'd ever seen, Alexadre Bustillo and Julien Maury's 2007 film A l'interieur (Inside).  I remember at the time hearing buzz about some hardcore horror films coming out of France and thinking "I'm totally hardcore.  I'll probably love them."

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY Chapter 12: It's So Easy to Create a Victim



Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction. 

Alright, I'm taking a deep breath for this one.  I know that I'm not alone in being traumatized by Pascal Laugier's 2008 film, Martyrs.  In fact, Alexandra West kicks off her chapter on this movie by acknowledging it and Irreversible are the two most infamous films to come out of the New French Extremity.  I knew before watching it that Martyrs would be one that I'd need to brace myself for given it's reputation.  But I wasn't ready, readers.  I just wasn't ready.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY Chapter 11: Enfant Terrible


Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction. 

After another unexpectedly long hiatus (paying bills really is for suckers) we're back with a new chapter of Films of the New French Extremity.  This week, we're going to take a peek at how New French Extremity frames children and parenting.  Wait, come back!  I promise this won't be as bad as you think.  In fact, given NFE's penchant for inverting expectation, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that in these films the children are not the tormented, but rather the tormentors.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY Chapter 10: Bon Voyage


Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction. 

France, it seems, is not unlike the United States in that it has pockets of the country that people avoid unless it's a layover on their way to their real destination.  Americans sometimes use the phrase "flyover states" for the places like this, but Alexandra West explores similar locations in France as a metaphor for the "journey between expectation and reality." 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY Chapter 9: I Won't Let Anyone Come Between Us


Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction. 

Well, dear reader, we've made it.  After journeying over halfway through the book, in Chapter 9 we've landed on a movie that 1. I've seen and 2. I enjoy (sorry not sorry, Vincent Gallo).  Of course, because I'm pretty lame it's also one of the movies from the New French Extremity that pretty much everyone has seen:  Alexander Aja's 2003 Haute Tension (High Tension).

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY Chapter 8: Without Borders




Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction. 

In our last installment, Alexandra West took us on a romantic tour of some of the horrible things that people can do to one another within the bounds of an intimate relationship.  This time around, West delves into how our desire within those relationships can clash with the outside world.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY Chapter 7: Lovers in a Dangerous Time


Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction. 

Following a pretty significant hiatus to allow for a vacation (and then some time to catch up with my pesky day job after said vacation) I return to Films of the New French Extremity ready for romance.  After all, France is, as Alexandra West points out, the land that's "perceived to have a monopoly on love."  It evokes the classic romantic imagery like the Eiffel Tower, candlelit dinners, and soft music in idyllic country landscapes.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

One-Shot Review: Carrie by Stephen King

 
I'm getting ready for a brief hiatus from the Chapter x Chapter Review until the second half of March (yay vacation!). But before I go I figured I'd leave you with a quick one-shot review...which, I suppose anyone else would just call a review.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY Chapter 6: Fine Young Cannibals



Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction. 

As you may have noticed if you've been following along at home, one of the prominent themes present in Films of the New French Extremity is that I have not seen a single one of the movies covered thus far by Alexandra West.  You may be happy to find out, then, that this week presents the first of the NFE films that I've actually seen.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY Chapter 5: In Wolf's Clothing


Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction.

In chapter 4 of Films of the New French Extremity, Alexandra West examined movies that explore the relationships have with women, people of color, and/or those seen as being in lower classes, particularly in terms of sexuality.  Not surprisingly, such exploration finds these relationships to be fundamentally flawed as they are measured by their value to straight, white, men.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY Chapter 4: Body Commodification


Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction.

In the last installment, Alexandra West guided us through the films of Gaspar Noe that dare audiences to reflect on the vile and brutal realities that many people in France would have liked to have kept in the shadows after World War II.  For my part, I acknowledged that while Noe's films have cultural significance, I probably wouldn't have the stomach to visit them myself.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY Chapter 3: Time Destroys All Things


Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction from January 14th.  

The time has come.  We've been given the appropriate primers on French history and cinema, and Alexandra West is ready to take us down the rabbit hole that is the New French Extremity.  For those hoping that we'd get to ease our way into the dark subject matter, I've got some bad news:  one of the earliest filmmakers attributed to the New French Extremity also appears to be one of its most brutal.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY Chapter 2: Cinema pour Tous

 

Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction from January 14th.  

When we last left Films of New French Extremity, Alexandra West had given us the dime tour of the France's history, with special attention given to the internal conflict that would play a large role in the New French Extremity.  But when they weren't fighting, the French did manage to produce some art now and then, particularly in the medium of film.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY Chapter 1: Viva La Revolucion!


Welcome back to another installment of the Chapter x Chapter series, a column where I take a deep dive into horror reading with a new review for each chapter of the book.  The first book of this series is Films of the New French Extremity:  Visceral Horror and National Identity by Alexandra West.  If you're looking to start from the beginning, I recommend you check out my introduction from January 14th.  

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Chapter x Chapter Review of FILMS OF THE NEW FRENCH EXTREMITY by Alexandra West (Introduction)


Happy New Year, horror fans.  As 2017 came to a close I, like many people, found myself taking stock and looking at what I wanted to make a priority in 2018.  When I realized how woefully neglected this site was, I realized I needed to figure out what I wanted to get out of it lest I let it wither away completely.  Combined with the fact that one of my annual (re: unfulfilled) resolutions is to read more, I came up with an idea:  I'll finally start getting to read the ever increasing list of horror-based writing that I've been meaning to get to, and I'll take you with me for the ride.