Passion and anguish, true love lost and mourned over oceans of time, unrequited love felt so strongly that it drives one to darkness and despair…ah, the horror of love. These sentiments may not appear in the glittery pink and red Hallmark cards littering your local supermarket, but in a year where del Toro’s strange and unusual love story The Shape of Water swept the Oscar nominations, this Valentine’s Day deserves something a little different, a little darker, a little more…gothic.
Gothic isn’t always spiderwebs and haunted mansions or that weird kid in the back of your classroom. From poetic bloodlust to loneliness so crippling you can almost feel your chest caving in, from Universal Monsters and Goblin Kings, from headless horseman to robots, the romances of this list take the phrase “it’s better to have loved and lost” to tortuous new heights. They embody the characteristics of a Victorian era genre full of mystery, desire, and the macabre, more tantalizing and real than a thousand shades of grey.
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Matt Zoller Seitz and Simon Abrams have created a stunning, essential new book devoted to Guillermo del Toro‘s 2001 gothic horror movie The Devil’s Backbone. Through in-depth interviews with del Toro and the cast and crew of the film, the Devil’s Backbone book details both the making of one of del Toro’s best films, and del Toro’s insights into filmmaking as a whole.
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When people are looking for movies to watch during the Halloween season, their eyes are often turned to the Horror genre. But what about the other emotional aspects of what many (including yours truly) considers “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”? And more importantly, what about…love?
That’s right, All Hallow’s Eve can be quite the time for some romance to be in the air! From doomed couples to those who found love because of their quirks and oddities, this holiday of monsters and ghouls can be a great time to explore some of cinema’s greatest (and spookiest) romances.
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If you’re searching for the perfect Halloween double feature, you need not resort to repetitive slashers or gross-out gore-fests. You need only journey down a foggy, mossy path towards a towering structure in ruins, and find yourself embraced by the lush, ornate, blood-soaked worlds of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Crimson Peak. These two films are the fine wines of horror and gothic romance, paired perfectly with your gourmet Halloween meal. They live, and breathe, and die like so few other horror films.
Primarily because these two films do not adhere strictly to the horror genre. Instead, they wade into the world of Gothic romance, where candles flicker as passions burn; where the old world clashes with the new; where dark secrets lurk in locked rooms. But you can break those locks, if you’re adventurous enough; if you’re brave enough. If you’re willing to face the ghosts and undead that lurk in the shadows, and learn what truths they hold.
These films dabble in death and terror, yes. But they also thrive on love. They have beating hearts which long to be listened to. They are somehow both horrific and delicate; like Venus Fly Traps that can ensnare and destroy if you get too close. As Halloween approaches, and you look for a break from sequels and jump-scares, why not draw closer to these two films and wrap yourself up in their chilly embrace?
This post contains major spoilers for both films.
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Hello, /Film readers. It is I, Chris Evangelista. You may (or may not!) be familiar with my writing here, as I’ve been contributing to /Film since April. But now I’m part of the staff, and I’m very excited about that. I’m also very excited to tell you my 15 favorite movies. Some of these movies are downright masterpieces, others are like comforting junk food. I try not to limit myself in terms of “quality.” If a movie gets a reaction out of me, I consider it a success.
I see a lot of movies. Too many, in fact. And what I’m always looking for is that spark. That feeling that I’m seeing something unique; something special; something to make me sit up and take notice.
This was a bit harder than I thought it would be, simply because there are so many movies I could include on this list, but these are the ones that I think are the most important. For now, at least. This list could easily change in a week.
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Posted on Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 by Angie Han
It doesn’t matter how many resolutions I make: the next New Year always arrives before I’m ready to close the book on the previous year’s movies. There are too many movies I still haven’t seen (maybe next year, Paddington), or movies that probably deserve a rewatch (sorry, Carol), or movies I’m still not quite sure how to process (yeah, I’m still mulling over The Hateful Eight). But we’ve gotta wrap up 2015 sometime, and the first week of 2016 seems as good a point as any to stop and look back.
As always, I’d like to stress that these are not the “best” films of the year. They’re simply my favorites — the films that made me just a little bit happier, a little bit smarter, a little bit better at being a person in this weird wide world. After the jump, join me in counting down my top 10 movies of 2015. Read More »
Halloween may be over, but there’s still plenty of horror for you to check out in theaters. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is now in theaters, and you should probably see The Final Girls on VOD as well. And for those who don’t mind more Gothic romance than true scares, Crimson Peak is a visual feast from director Guillermo del Toro with some spirits that really stand out.
The reason the Crimson Peak ghosts are so unnerving is the combination of visual effects and practical make-up effects that were used to create them. If you want to see how these ghosts looked on set, check out some new photos that del Toro recently revealed online. Be warned that they are somewhat NSFW because a couple of them show old, wrinkly, decaying, prosthetic breasts. Read More »
Director Guillermo del Toro is a master of blending fantasy with reality. He takes the world of the supernatural and makes it feel all too genuine, sometimes forcing us to question what we call reality. But sometimes, del Toro also uses monsters and myths to show the resilience of mankind in the face of threats greater than ourselves. And in these fantastical stories, he also brings humanity, giving weight to larger than life scenarios.
The result is a relatively small but impressive filmography spanning just nine feature films, full of beautiful visuals, magnificent creatures, rich characters and a penchant for combining unreal terror with the very real threats of tumultuous sociopolitical times. And following the recently released Crimson Peak, we decided to have all of the Guillermo del Toro films ranked. Read More »
Posted on Monday, October 19th, 2015 by Angie Han
Guillermo del Toro‘s Crimson Peak is a deliciously dark and twisted piece, set in the most gorgeous, most decrepit haunted house you’ve ever seen and anchored by three mesmerizing performances from Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and most especially Jessica Chastain. It’s also not the horror movie that’s being sold in the trailers, but a Gothic romance. Think Jane Eyre plus ghosts, not The Conjuring plus corsets.
That’s not such a bad thing if you happen to love costume dramas, but it can be an unpleasant surprise if you don’t. And that misleading marketing doesn’t seem to be doing it many favors. I’ve seen a lot of critics ding it for being ineffective as a horror movie — which of course it is, because it isn’t really one. The B- Cinemascore and limp box office might also reflect the discrepancy between what Crimson Peak seems to be, and what it actually is.
Admittedly, it’s not difficult to understand why Universal chose to market Crimson Peak as a horror movie. A Brontë-esque romance is a much harder sell outside the arthouse than a spooky, seasonally appropriate haunted house flick. And it’s hardly the first time a marketing team has chosen to sell a completely different movie. Sometimes it’s part of a savvy strategy and sometimes it’s a desperate ploy; sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Below, let’s look back at 15 movies with misleading trailers. Warning: Some spoilers ahead. Read More »
This year marked my first time attending the the Austin-based Fantastic Fest, and I’m glad I went. How good is the festival? Well, the first film I saw, which is no. 1 on this list, blew my socks off. The movies I saw after that grand introduction, for the most part, didn’t make for a downhill slope. After the jump, read about the 12 best films at Fantastic Fest 2015.
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