Many Ways In, No Way Out: Rodney Ascher’s “Room 237” and the Overlook’s Empty Center Rodney Ascher’s 2012 documentary, Room 237, is, on the surface, an examination of some of the more outré readings of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The theorists involved are not only permitted ample time in which to present their readings, the documentary also seems to help them by way of animations, maps, and lengthy, even […]

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 […]

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 […]

Razors to the Heart: William Shakespeare and Horror Fiction

(A shot from Julie Taymor’s Titus Adronicus) Over the course of his career, William Shakespeare made many a foray into the darker regions of drama. Beginning with Titus Andronicus, the playwright experimented with different ways in which he could show humanity at its worst. These visions depended on depictions of cruelty, agony and alterity. As his […]