HHello and welcome to another issue of the guide which – in Gwilliam’s absence – has been written by me and will accordingly be about one of my favorite things: horror movies. Ever since I was a teenager devouring Scream, Friday the 13th and Final Destination sleepovers, I’ve always found a good horror movie to be one of life’s little pleasures, like ending early on a Friday or Double Big Mac.
Of course, horror has gotten more high-concept in recent years, from Ari Aster’s artfully nightmarish take on Midsomer and Hereditary to Jordan Peele’s work. Often, such films are described as “elevated horror”, a term that has become popular in recent times and refers to films that scare us while simultaneously tackling contemporary social issues in arthouse fashion. Are.
But could the tide be turning? Surprisingly, it looks like the most successful horror movies of 2023 may just be the ones that follow a more conventional path. Indeed, while Aster’s latest – the Joaquin Phoenix vehicle Beau Is Afraid – is garnering some pretty mediocre reviews, two movies that probably shouldn’t even have been made are finding success on both sides of the Atlantic. Scream VI – the “sequel to Requiem” – was released in early March, more than 26 years after Wes Craven’s original. The original was released so long ago, in fact, that lead actor Jenna Ortega, of Wednesday fame, wasn’t born until six years after it came out. The aforementioned “Request” (reboot/sequel), 2022’s Scream, defied the original by making continual, tired “meta” references to its namesake quirks and sharpening the rules of the slasher genre. It was, in short, pretty crass, using “advanced” horror (including It Follows) as an opening punchline for how snobby audiences had apparently become.
And yet, in 2023, things have changed: Scream VI eliminated any sense of victimhood and instead gave audiences what they wanted – a silly, slippery slasher movie with some genuinely heartwarming moments. (Who knew Ghostface could move a ladder? Both so funny and so shocking?) And just when it seemed like we might have heard more than one creepy phone call from our masked villain, the opening kill was novel — and gory. – was enough to hook us, no joke. Ben Lee wrote in his Guardian review of The Babadook: “If the screams ahead can provide that much of a propulsive jolt, then there’s more to life than we thought.” is in the franchise”. Oh, and it’s already made $30 million more than the previous Scream movie.
Another horror flick that’s totally defying expectations is Evil Dead Rise (in UK and US cinemas from today, pictured above) and, well, if you thought they’d be pulling Scream for a while Consider that if you added the time of the first Evil Dead movie to today’s date, you would arrive at October 24, 2064. Evil Dead Rises shouldn’t work, not only because the “scary book does terrible things” franchise has been going on for more than four decades, but because the premise of every Evil Dead since Sam Raimi’s original has been roughly the same. The film has been just that. There shouldn’t be anything left to explore (and, really, shouldn’t it be an AI-powered, evil Kindle or nothing by this point?), and yet Evil Dead Rises is one of the most entertaining movies you’ll ever see. likely to see this year, and is on track for a $20m opening weekend in America.
Despite an initially clichéd plot about two sisters who are separated, it ramps up through the middle eight heavy with stomach-turning action (1,700 gallons fake blood was used on set) and some really unexpected scares. Plus, it’s only an hour and 36 minutes long — long enough to immerse yourself in a gross story with more depth than you might expect, but not so long that you start to forget what the light of day looks like. Is.
That’s not to say that horror shouldn’t try and do new things. With TV, the endless reboots and reimaginings of existing IP can lead to autopilot commissions that lack originality and wistfulness, and there are rumors of a plan for the same. The biennial Evil Deads has me worried (I’ll be damned if I’m still scared of the dead in 2064 at age 72). Besides, the M3gan was a laugh, wasn’t it? In any case, it looks like the “advanced” crowd may have some competition – and “Joker on Zoloft” sounds like something that’s probably best avoided.
Five essential pieces of pop-culture we watch, read and listen to each week
music – Everything But the Girl: Fuse
’90s Bands Are Releasing New Singles That Sound Like Biceps Must Be The Worst Thing You’ve Ever Heard… And Yet Everything But The Girl (pictured above) Made A Totally Unexpected Comeback Thing is crushed. Fuse features everything you love about their moody, soulful peak, while also showing that Tracy Thorne and Ben Watt have been keeping a close eye on Disco in their absence.
want more? Also making a comeback – albeit after a short time – is 1975-early singer-songwriter Japanese House, whose new single sad to breathe An abbreviated breakup is BOP.
podcast – dirty ritual
As hosts of Redhanded, Hannah Maguire and Suruthi Bala are already well-known on the UK’s True Crime pod, and have received the Listener’s Choice award at the British Podcast Awards two years in a row. dirty ritual sees them add another string to their bow, focusing not on isolated cases of gruesomeness, but on the pursuit of a scam-fixer from North London through magic, monkeys – and other people’s money In spend the whole series.
want more? Also this week has a new series bodies, which explores “medical mysteries” with care and curiosity. PLUS: Sign up here to receive our podcast newsletter Listen here every Thursday (skip…)
Art Grenfell by Steve McQueen
Open until May 10 at London’s Serpentine Gallery, a new short film from the filmmaker and artist examines what was left of Grenfell Tower after the fire that killed 72 people in 2017. A striking tribute in the face of a tragedy that is still incomprehensible in so many ways.
want more? BBC Three’s short 2022 doc, Grenfell: Five Years, Five Stories, is available at youtube,
TV – Dead Ringers (Prime Video)
If horrors before have whetted your appetite, then Prime Video’s new take on David Cronenberg’s 1988 thriller might be up your alley. starring Rachel Weisz (Queen, incidentally, of forthright magazine cover) and created by Normal People author Alice Birch, this tale of twin gynecologists deals with skewing modern society as it does with Cronenberg-inspired grisliness.
want more? Here are the seven best shows to watch this week. Also an honorary eighth mention for Succession, which has been totally sticking the landing so far.
film – how to blow a pipeline
If you’re in the market for a Tarantino-riffing eco-thriller based on the work of a Marxist academic, it’s your lucky day: How to Blow Up a Pipeline, out in UK cinemas today, is all those things and more . In addition, the cast includes Sasha Lane – who was last seen masterminding the cannibal drama Bones and All – and Lucas Gage, a scene-stealer in The White Lotus and You, among others.
want more? A Thousand and One — a drama about motherhood set in 1994 Brooklyn and starring singer Teyana Taylor — sounds intriguing, and is also in theaters now.
I said maybe… oh Can really take the music?
Indeed, on listening to computer generated “Drake and the Weeknd” track that’s moving – and reading the slate Take – I am now absolutely horrified that the musicians will be out of a job within weeks.
Ever wondered why the urge to gamble can sometimes Gambling? wonder no more … (hat tip to Kezza McDonald’s Pushing Button newsletter).
“Such a Fun Way to Consume Music”: Why Selling “Obsolete” cassette are flying
be your guide
Last week, Gwilym asked your favorite pop-cultural reunion, Here are just a few …
“My favorite reunion is Jon Snow and Sansa Stark at the Wall game of Thrones, They weren’t even close as siblings, so Jon/Arya meet again a few episodes later (or was it a series later? Who knows, as time warped so much later in GoT) Should have been a big deal, but it was way more going on for me. I cried.” – Helen Wood
,John Otway and Wild Willie Barrett On tour again to celebrate 50 years of the first ‘hit’ – Really Free. , richard meek
“I read your request for suggestions shortly after watching episode nine of season 3 Star Trek: Picard, In addition to reuniting the original cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, there have been frequent references to TNG characters and episodes, which has left Star Trek nerds (of whom I am one) breathless.
, , rob kilty
,destiny’s Child There was an iconic moment on stage at Coachella in 2018. Not only did they look incredible (they reconciled!) it was so heartwarming to see them back together again. , jenny p
this week, i’m after horror movie that really scared you, Send your suggestions for movies that made you watch under the bed, lurk under the sofa and double lock your doors to firstname.lastname@example.org.