In the Zone: An Excursion into Andrei Tarkovsky’s Film “Stalker”

[Editor’s Note: The following embedded video is not a trailer, but in fact the entire film of Stalker. Many of Tarkovsky’s films are in the public domain and can now be viewed for free online and elsewhere.] In Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, three men leave the confines of a rotting Eastern European city and walk through a pleasant-looking rural […]

Knowing the Alien: René Laloux’s “Fantastic Planet”

A father and his daughter, while strolling through a field, come across a tiny orphaned creature. The poor thing’s mother has just been killed by a callous group of children and the girl takes pity on it, asking if she can keep it as a pet. After a lecture on responsibility, her father agrees to let her bring it home […]

An Awful Truth: Mike Flanagan’s “Absentia”

Absentia, a horror film from director Mike Flanagan, opens on a pregnant woman walking the streets of a serene suburban neighborhood. This is Tricia, and we watch as she pulls down tattered flyers from telephone poles only to replace them with fresh copies. These are missing person posters, and they bear the likeness of her absent husband. Daniel […]

Cold Comfort: Larry Fessenden’s “The Last Winter”

In our search for optimal ways to use natural resources, human beings have discovered subtle connections between the ecosphere, the raw materials comprising our world, and the fate of our own species. The fragility of this planet’s living environment was a concept all but undreamt a mere century ago, when the Earth promised to supply an endless […]

At the End of the Path: A Review of “YellowBrickRoad”

Seventy years ago, the entire population of a New Hampshire town left their homes and vanished into the woods. The bodies of nearly 300 of these missing people were later discovered, mutilated corpses which bore the signs of murder and exposure to the elements. The rest of the townsfolk were never recovered, lost to the eerie […]

Underneath the Skin: John Carpenter’s “The Thing” and You

Warning: This essay contains many spoilers. A dozen men are holed up in a research station in the unforgiving wastes of Antarctica, caught up in a relatively peaceful life of scientific inquiry, casual camaraderie and boredom. The bleak landscape outside dominates John Carpenter’s The Thing, through both the isolation it imposes as well as the ambient hostility […]