Peter Jackson’s 1994 film Heavenly Creatures takes its audience on a voyage through the twisted fantasy world woven by of a pair of adolescent girl murderers. The movie ends with a scene that stabs an icy stake through the heart of innocence: the gruesome slaying of one of the girls’ mothers. The movie’s dreamlike atmosphere feels like a dark, warped fairytale, but it was based on a crime committed by two real girls in 1950s New Zealand: Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme. The motive? Juliet was leaving for America, and Pauline’s mother was against Pauline going with her.
TThe breakneck revenge-fueled turns in Park Chan-Wook The Handmaiden‘s astonishing plot are owed directly to their source material: Sarah Waters’ The Fingersmith. Although The Fingersmith is set in Victorian era England and The Handmaiden is set in Korea under Japanese rule in the early 20th century, they’re both tales of class and desire mixed up with twisty, double-sided plots.
If aliens could land on Earth, a staggering feat it itself, what other technologies could they possess?
“I don’t need to be scattered here. I’ve been already.” – Peter Dunning
Peter and the Farm is a gorgeous film, often grotesquely so as it pierces the raw heart of life and death. First, with the stark reality of butchering animals, and secondly, with the depths of Peter’s personal existential crisis.
The monster in Kubo and the Two Strings is a toxic family. It feels like a very personal story wrapped in a beautiful allegory, a tool to deal with some harsh realities many people struggle with as they make their way into the world.
In the early hours of November 13, 1974, 23-year-old Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. methodically shot six members of his family, including four of his younger siblings, while they were sleeping in their home on in the Amityville, NY. The family had moved into the sprawling Dutch colonial on 112 Ocean Avenue a few years ago, and though their home life was rife with abuse and drama, the house had been a symbol for a fresh start. The dad, Ron Sr., even named the house High Hopes, a chillingly ironic moniker for an estate that would be rife with such pain, horror, and a haunted legacy.
What does it mean to own land? That’s one of the questions at the heart of the gorgeous western Hell or High Water. In the film two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) scour the dry and lonesome West Texas landscape robbing multiple branches of the bank that’s threatening to foreclose on the family ranch after their mother died. On the surface, their cause seems righteous: familial morality in the face of heartless corporate greed, but as the story lingers on the moral lines smudge into the gray confines of the human condition. Complete moral dualism is an illusion, and every fight to secure something for your own family, your own tribe, can lead to unintended consequences for everyone.
Krystian Bala was the author of an obscure book just a few years ago but now his novel, Amok, is pretty widely known for aiding in his murder conviction.
Humans want to know answers and we yearn for comfort in an uncomfortable world. Answers to any question are fairly scarce and only point toward more questions. That’s why cults are so attractive. They give us clear answers and then cut us off from the well of more questions with the force of Authority. The faucet is blocked, the flicker of curiosity sated by clean lines of certainty’s illusion.
The Neon Demon is a gorgeous film. The bold, color-saturated photography of Natasha Braier paired with Cliff Martinez’s haunting score makes the entire event a devilish sensuous treat. It’s a horror flick set in the L. A. fashion scene, a notorious breeding ground for real monsters. When everyone is beautiful, the currency of pretty depreciates quickly, so some other savage quality may be required to thrive. The Neon Demon jumps, with impish glee, straight into the sparkle-lined abyss that idea conjures, like Alice spiraling into the underworld.