In The Amityville Horror, the walls bleed and there’s nasty glop oozing from the plumbing, but the main event isn’t spooky special effects. It’s the Lutz family.
Film has never shied away from exploring the rich, complicated, and in some cases straight-up creepy connection between mother and child. While normal, lovely moms are all fine and good, some of the most fun moms to watch have been downright crazy–and all the more captivating because of it. In honor of Mother’s Day (Sun., May 11) we’ve picked our five favorite frightening maternal figures. Don’t neglect to send them a card on Mother’s Day.
1. Margaret White, Carrie (1976)
Sure, the cool-kid clique at Carrie’s high school do a number on the poor girl. But the groundwork of psychotic abuse already had been laid at home, where the shy girl’s Christian fundamentalist mother consistently berates her for “sinning.” A bucket of pig’s blood might have been the straw that breaks the camel’s back. But when Carrie rebels — and tears down her town in the process — its anger and resentment toward her mother that drives most of that rage.
Spring may seem an unlikely time to crave a messed-up movie marathon, but the trippy films on this list are worth a screening any time of the year. Full of iconic (read: extremely bizarre) scenes and surprising performances from many now “mainstream” actors, these are movies that will get under your skin and stay there. Of course, it’s hard to get too bummed out by a well-told story or a stylishly made film (then again: Dancer in the Dark), but here’s a final warning: these are 10 seriously messed-up stories.
1. Grizzly Man (2005)
Like much of Werner Herzog’s work, Grizzly Man has moments of poetry as well as dark humor. But Timothy Treadwell, the central figure of this documentary, suffers a fate so horrific that it’s shown in the film only via Herzog himself listening to audio of the incident and advising that it be destroyed and never played for anyone ever again. The audio exists because Treadwell documented his life among the bears in Alaskan wilderness; some of the astonishing footage appears in the movie, as Herzog ruminates on the “chaos and murder” he sees in the natural world Treadwell so adores. You may want to chase this experience — or this entire list — with Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World, another nature-related doc with less grisly results.
2. Hard Candy (2005)
Before she was Juno or fulfilling her Woody Allen movie destiny, Ellen Page played a cunning teenager in Hard Candy, which manages to toy with its viewers so much that it appears to tell about five different totally messed up stories before it’s over. It begins queasily enough with Patrick Wilson meeting Page in a public place and bonding over the band Goldfrapp, then gets queasier as he invites her back to her place. But Page, playing on her mini-person physicality as well as her natural ability to seem smarter than her young-looking years, is not who she appears to be. This isn’t a gory horror movie, but your stomach will probably still churn with each plot twist.
Viewers can still get hooked on the engrossing, stylish eight-part French horror series that Entertainment Weekly gave an “A-” and called “eerie, tense, and highly addictive.” Beginning Sunday December 1st, each week, viewers will have the chance to catch-up on all previously aired episodes during marathons of THE RETURNED in anticipation of each week’s brand new episode on Sundance Channel.
Sundance Channel announced today that it would be the first ever TV channel to use innovative ADVNTR technology to stage an interactive digital storytelling ad campaign. Entitled “Choose Your Own Adventure”, users will interact with an online pre-roll ad and select various scenarios to play out based on their preference. The promotion is pegged to the premiere of the network’s new drama THE RETURNED which will premiere on Halloween, October 31st at 9:00PM ET/PT.
With Halloween right around the corner, there’s a plethora of scary movies to choose from here on Sundance Channel, including JU-ON tonight at midnight. In this chilly offering from Japan (seriously, Japanese filmmakers know how to give you the willies!), the death of a housewife creates a gift that keeps on giving in the form of a curse that won’t let go once it grabs on. It was terrifying enough that it was later remade as THE GRUDGE with Sarah Michelle Gellar in the leading role for U.S. audiences. But those are far from the only films where housewives make enticing victims…
Horror pushes characters to their limits — especially female characters, who generally have to stay alert and fight back if they want to make it through two hours alive. To be a horror hottie, it’s not enough to have good looks. You need smarts, resourcefulness, strength and a special something extra. In THE WIG, airing tonight at midnight, you’ll see just how hot horror heroines can be and how, sometimes, good deeds become their own punishment.
Twenty years ago B-movies and ‘sploitation flicks were relegated to sleazy grindhouses and run-down theaters that could only get clean if someone lit a match by accident. But they’re accepted now by everyone thanks to BLACK DYNAMITE and upcoming genre mash-up ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER. Remakes are happening nearly as soon as films are re-released, so why not look to the most influential and infamous of the sleazy genre? Troma. It’s time the Toxic Avenger and these other Troma notables get their marquee moment.
On Friday, the new horror flick CHERNOBYL DIARIES will no doubt have folks all over the country screaming and holding their hands over their eyes. Those of us old enough to remember the actual Chernobyl disaster, in which a nuclear reactor northeast of Kiev, Ukraine exploded, might take some comfort in this: the world’s worst nuclear disaster is far enough in the past that we can make scary movies about it. The nuclear industry might even embrace the film, as it allows them to figuratively pat us all on the head and remind us that radiation doesn’t really turn people into zombies.
Halloween is just around the corner, and if you don’t have your costume ready yet let us inspire you with a line up of seriously scary movies. Seriously. I mean it. Like if you really wanted to dress up as some of the characters in these movies you could probably just pour of bucket of fake blood over your head and call it a night. Or, if you’re like me and prefer to leave the gore onscreen, there’s no better way to drown out the sound of your doorbell ringing and scare away the trick-or-treaters on the other side by tuning into Sundance Channel and turning the volume wayyyy up.
Don’t know what to watch first? Allow me to break it down quick and dirty:
POSSESSION OF DAVID O’REILLY: Scary-as-hell supernatural demons in a “shockumentary” that will haunt your dreams.
COFFIN ROCK: Go ahead, sleep with your stalker, psychopathic neighbor. What’s the worse that could happen?…
Take This Lollipop is an entertaining, interactive viral marketing site for a brilliantly “executed” upcoming horror film that also smartly addresses issues of privacy, or the lack thereof in our modern, digital era where pretty much every new website or app tries to gain access to our personal information stored in Facebook…
Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In—based on Thierry Jonquet’s novel, Tarantula–is officially described as being about a brilliant plastic surgeon who’s “haunted by past tragedies” involving his daughter and “creates a kind of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage” to deal with that old horror.
Well, you certainly can’t say that’s been done!
But hold on to your foreheads…
Cannes is approaching in late May, and as bloggers and journalists speculate about what will splash along the French Riviera, I recalled the festival’s hit of 2006 — Bong Joon-ho’s THE HOST. Part satire, part sit-com, part horror and mostly monster, THE HOST is hailed as Korea’s ‘biggest film ever’ and was certainly a critical darling. If you haven’t seen it – do – if nothing else, as a balm to ready yourself for the barrage of mostly bad summer blockbusters that are gearing up to piss you off.
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 chiller-thriller PSYCHO still makes me crazy, in a good way. No, it’s not a perfect movie. The handling of the mystery solving isn’t nearly as passionate as the murder itself, and I always hated the way Norman and his mother talk in overlapping dialogue so you’re made to think he really must be hanging with a live woman.
But even BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN has a few low points—or so I hear. Gimmickry aside, PSYCHO jolted America into the ‘60s and we haven’t really been the same since. On the 50th anniversary of its release year, we can look back and see how profoundly the movie—dismissed by some lunatics as exploitive trash at the time—is a landmark in delicious arthouse perversion, a daring auteur curio which still manages to disturb and entertain.
Sundance Channel recently sat down for an interview with Karin Diann Williams & Stuart Hynson Culpepper, creators of THE CAPTIVE. Watch THE CAPTIVE now at Sundance Channel Digital Shorts.
What was the inspiration for The Captive?
Karin: Believe it or not, we started with just the idea that we wanted to make a web series. We had an inkling that the microseries was about to find its audience and really explode as a popular form.
Stuart: We saw all the activity blossoming on YouTube and sites like it and knew a huge audience was there and they were wanting something beyond the user-generated content, something thoughtful and well produced. So we took the plunge. Part of the idea for the themes and action in The Captive came from studying the kind of person we thought were going to engage: someone fairly tech literate and independent in their thinking.
More interested in creating mood with imagery both creepy and beautiful than in following a logical narrative, Dario Argento’s Italian horror films have become masterpieces of gore. Plot lines tend to revolve around young artists and students who find themselves in situations way over their heads, like attending a cursed ballet school (SUSPIRIA, 1977) or…
Photographer Joshua Hoffine latest series is his vivid interpretation of childhood fears. Such “classics” include the monster under the bed, the monster in the basement, and the not-so happy scary clown in the vein of Pennywise that I’m sure resulted in many night terrors everywhere. With a pinch of Gottfried Helnwein’s morbidity, there is an aspect of Hoffine’s work that dances a fine line between cartoony camp, psychological anxiety, and childhood nostalgia.
If you search YouTube for videos of Don DeLillo, you won’t find much. The author of White Noise and Underworld is not a public man, and he rarely does tours or events. But an enterprising fan known as the Donologist has been uploading DeLillo radio interviews to YouTube. The presentation of these interview clips leaves…