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Genre big and small permeates screens

Are we inside a genre revolution? Lately the amount of content hitting screens that features either a modest nod or full-fledged over-the-top bow to genre is simply overwhelming. ANOTHER EARTH is indie-drama-with-a-side-of-sci-fi. MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE is indie-drama-with-a-touch-of-thriller. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, the highly anticipated third feature from Lynn Ramsay, is indie-drama-experimental-fantasy. Yep, that’s right, on the surface it’s about raising a child who turns out to be a Columbine-like murderer, but in reality, I hear, it exists as a true art film. Lead actress Tilda Swinton said in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine that the film is “a fantasy that has as much to do with the practical business of bringing up a child as ROSEMARY’S BABY has to do with being pregnant.”

On the other end of the spectrum, we recently had COWBOYS AND ALIENS, the mother load of mash ups, and on the small screen, AMERICAN HORROR STORY. AHS is so fright-a-minute that it both scares and amuses simultaneously. An East Coast family who moves into a doomed Los Angeles house is terrorized by the seemingly dozens of ghosts of former residents, brutally murdered in very creative ways. As co-created by Executive Producer Ryan Murphy, AMERICAN HORROR STORY is the GLEE of horror with a ROSEMARY’S BABY line of its own, as wife Vivien (Connie Britton) experiences a fairly horrifying pregnancy. The best part of the series, though? Watching the brilliant Jessica Lange as Constance, the nutty next door neighbor a la Ruth Gordon (but much more sinister than Minnie Castevet making vitamin drinks). When Lange spins dialogue as bland as “I for one will be there with bells on” into something dark, manipulative, scary and pitiable, I WILL be there with bells on. Bring on more genre, big and small!

–AH