Since 1973, various horror films have tried to replicate the shock of the prototypical human sacrifice movie, The Wicker Man (not to be confused with its gonzo 2006 remake, starring Nicolas Cage, which is perhaps best remembered for the immortal, memeified line, “Not the bees!”) Even the late Robin Hardy, director of the original Wicker Man, went back to the well in 2011 with The Wicker Tree. Most movies, including that one, have failed to recapture the terror of the iconic moment when the protagonist turned sacrificial victim burns alive, surrounded by cult members. However, the 2010s have been bookended by a number of interesting horror films, each of which has managed to reframe the Wicker Man model in different ways.

One of those films, Midsommar, hits Blu-Ray on October 8. Writer-director Ari Aster has called Midsommar “an apocalyptic break-up movie.” Speaking with Empire, he talked about how he tried to avoid The Wicker Man‘s influence, saying, “I think what [Midsommar] tries to do is point to The Wicker Man and set up expectations native to that film, then take a left-turn from there and go somewhere surprising.”

That’s a quote that could apply to other films on this list, too. Of course, this man made of wicker is not escaped easily. In some ways, he’s like the Gingerbread Man: every horror movie that deals in similar tropes seems to be chasing him. Here, we’ll chase The Wicker Man back through his own movie, then back through Midsommar and five other horror films of the 2010s. How have recent fright flicks approached the timeless subject of secret cults and human sacrifice?

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shudder recommendations

Between Netflix and Hulu and Amazon, you may think you have enough streaming options in your life. But you don’t, especially if you’re a horror fan. If you’re in the market for a scary movie, you aren’t going to find much to get excited about amongst most of the major players. The handful of gems tend to be wedged between whatever schlock your streaming service of choice could buy on the cheap.

That’s why I was so intrigued by Shudder, a horror-centric streaming service that supplies all of the great horror options that are so painfully absent elsewhere. Browse through Shudder’s library and you’ll find untouchable classics and cult favorites, mainstream movies and eclectic curiosities from every corner of the globe. And it only costs five bucks a month, which makes me feel like I’m getting away with murder by subscribing.

Because I genuinely love Shudder and because you can sign up for a free trial before you commit to actually paying a dime, I combed through their archives and tried to find ten movies I could recommend to subscribers and curious newbies alike. I ended up narrowing it down to twenty titles and couldn’t bear to cut another one because I have zero discipline. So I decided to program ten double features, linked by filmmakers, themes, styles, and occasionally utter nonsense, that you can enjoy via Shudder.

So don’t let the lack of great horror options on Netflix bring you down. There is another way.

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Jacob Hall’s Favorite Movies of All Time

jacob favorite movies header

Hi, /Film. My name is Jacob Hall and my favorite movies are part of me on a molecular level. Cut me open and the films that have defined my life come spilling out in a great, red heap. So when I was asked to introduce myself to you guys, the community, via a list of my favorite movies of all time, I prepared myself for some gritty, Robert-De-Niro-in-Ronin-style surgery. This list is me being cut open for your amusement.

Read on all about my favorite movies after the jump.

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The Alamo Drafthouse Picks the Top 10 Films of 2012

The Alamo Drafthouse brand is beloved among moviegoers for their plush theaters, but it’s revered for their impeccable taste in movies. Whether programming a film festival or picking up indies for distribution, they’ve demonstrated an eye for films that aren’t just good, but unique.

With 2012 on its way out, the company has just released its list of their ten favorite movies from the year. Some of the titles were as successful at the box office as they were with critics, while others are more off the beaten track, but all are well worth checking out. Read their picks after the jump.

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slashfilmcast550

The /Filmcast: After Dark is a recording of what happens right after The /Filmcast is over, when the kids have gone to bed and the guys feel free to speak whatever is on their minds. In other words, it’s the leftover and disorganized ramblings, mindfarts, and brain diarrhea from The /Filmcast, all in one convenient audio file. In this episode, David ChenDevindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley chat about whether/if/how film directors can be jerks on the internet, describe a Twitter attack from Justin Bieber fans, and enumerate the perils of internet fame.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Tune in to Slashfilm’s live page on Sunday (2/19) at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST to hear us discuss Take Shelter.

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/Filmcast Ep. 174 – The Grey

slashfilmcast550

This week, Dave, Devindra, and Adam chat about this year’s Oscar nominations and point out how Warner Brothers continues to try and screw over its customers.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. There won’t be any live broadcast next week on account of the Super Bowl, but we will be reviewing Chronicle.

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As a follow-up to the movie Down Terrace, director Ben Wheatley made the tense and rather strange film Kill List. The picture defies typical categorization, because it blends elements of domestic drama, a hitman thriller and a much weirder sort of suspense story that will, I think, earn a few pleasingly shocked reactions from viewers.

There is an ambiguity to the movie, as Wheatley declines to explain every element of the story, but enough info is present that no viewer ever has to be lost. Disoriented, definitely, but that’s part of the plan. Kill List is like a realization of many familiar modern male anxieties, and it also contains a few truly unexpected turns that surprised me more than anything else I can remember in the last year. In short, it’s good stuff. I’ve thought about it quite a lot since the credits rolled.

Mondo will soon release a poster designed by Iron Jaiden (who did great images for Videodrome and Repo Man, among others) to help promote IFC’s limited theatrical release of Kill List. See the full image after the break. Read More »

‘Kill List’ Trailer

I only know a few things about Kill List, the latest film from Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace). I know that some friends who have seen the movie have raved about its ability to manipulate genre conventions and audience expectations. Even those who have seen it and not loved it, such as Germain, had things to say that intrigued me. (Germain’s Fantastic Fest review mentioned the film posing “really screwed up and fascinating questions.”)

And I know that the trailer that has been released to begin the promotion for the limited February release, via IFC, looks great. But I’m reluctant to discover any more, because those I’ve talked to about the film suggest going in cold if at all possible.

All told, Kill List seems like a movie that should be on your radar. Have a look at the trailer below. And not to worry — it seems to be light on potential spoilers. Read More »

The titles Carnage and Kill List sound like they could be the same movie. Kill List: Carnage. Carnage: The Kill List. I’d see that movie. In reality though, they’re two movies which, besides their ominous titles, couldn’t be more different. One is a comedy, the other a thriller. One is American, the other British. One is from a well-known filmmaker, the other an up and comer. And one has four of our most celebrated actors while the other is populated by unknowns. Yet despite being so different, these two films, both of which played at AFI Fest Presented by Audi, make nice bed fellows because they’re so different. Read some thoughts on both of them after the jump . Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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