Razor Candy Reviews: 31 Days of Fright, Part One

Welcome to the first part of our 31 Days of Fright! Every October, I watch 31 horror films that I’ve never seen before, and this year I’ve stitched together my thoughts on them into a shambling, sentient beast. 10 reviews are below the cut. Enjoy! – Joel La Puma

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Epic Episodes: The Real Ghostbusters- “Janine, You’ve Changed”

Welcome to Epic Episodes, another hopefully recurring feature where we examine notable episodes of TV shows. This first installment is on what I feel is one of TV animation’s best metafictional episodes.

Recent events have shown that trying to discuss the role of women in “Ghostbusters” is like someone with a papercut asking for a band-aid and having gasoline, lighted matches, and oily rags thrown at them in response. But if I have to get oily rags thrown at me, bring ‘em on. Today, we’re talking about The Real Ghostbusters and Janine.

janinereveal

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The Most Misguided PSAs

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It seems like PSAs have always been more about beating you over the head with a message than actually informing or serving the public. Whether it’s somehow comparing your brain to an egg, or trying to scare the bejeezus out of you with a puppet that looks like Lou Reed (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQhFQJ4deNQ) they usually end up raising more questions than they answer. Here’s a rundown of some PSAs that I’ve always found to be bizarre, confusing, and poorly suited to whatever point they were trying to make- usually because they try to shoehorn in something that will appeal to kids.

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In the Words of Carey Mulligan: “SQUAAAK”

Smithereens

Smithereens
1982
Dir. Susan Seidelman

 

 

Llewyn

Inside Llewyn Davis
2013
Dirs. Joel & Ethan Coen

It’s unlikely Smithereens was on the Coen Brothers’ minds when they made Inside Llewyn Davis, but the base similarities are striking: an abrasive, irresponsible artist wanders New York City, living on the charity of other people while trying to wedge themselves into a spot in a crowded music scene. Yet the plot is so much more persuasive in Seidelman’s film. Maybe it’s because Susan Berman’s Wren is such an interestingly broken person, fun and exasperating, a keen robber and naïve ingénue, obsessively making herself an artistic statement and building a reputation on nothing. Oscar Isaac is magnetic as Llewyn, cool in ways most actors can’t even dream of being, but that’s kind of the problem. He’s not the boor that the Coens seem to believe he is. The film runs on informed characteristics: it surrounds Llewyn with embarrassingly shrill female characters to screech and flap at him and it rejects him after performances that would move the dead. The door was locked from the start, so why blame the guy for smashing a few windows?

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Razor Candy Reviews: Survivors’ Club and Kundo: Age of the Rampant

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DC Vertigo
Art: Ryan Kelly
Writing: Lauren Beukes and Dale Halverson
Covers: Bill Sienkiewicz

If you’ve kept up with non-superhero comics in the past few years, you know the High Concept Kids, that IP-obsessed band of visitors using comics as barely disguised pitches for movies or TV shows. Survivor’s Club isn’t quite that, but it ain’t quite quill, either. The story is halfway between the High Concept and the mash-up: six survivors of adolescent horror movie trauma gather to discover that the Past Isn’t Past. The tribute to B-horror is the biggest draw here, but there are enough smart inversions and twists on well-worn tropes to sustain interest. A young boy suspecting his attractive neighbor of seducing and killing victims doesn’t find a Fright Night vampire, but a ravenous insect queen who turns him into a walking hive. Girls live alongside J-horror vengeance spirits and killer dolls, carrying them into adulthood. And in the story’s loopiest thread, a South African gamer finds that the Polybius-like haunted arcade game that destroyed her childhood is still alive and searching rebirth on the internet.

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10 Cloverfield Lane Guesses: NO SPOILERS HERE

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Well, I don’t want to say too much, but I was surprised at what I got right, and what I got wrong. I will say more after Joel sees the film, but it came together in a very unexpected way, like I walked through a cornfield and to passing aircraft, my trail left behind the visible pattern of a happy face. A happy face I never saw.

Or something. But hey, no first person shaky cam! Thank god!

-Roxie