John Carpenter directs the cult movie satire starring Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David

John Carpenter’s ‘They Live’ on Peacock

A year after Oliver Stone elevated the phrase “Greed is good” to a satirical double-edged mantra in Wall Street, John Carpenter put it more bluntly in They Live (1988), a scruffy little genre movie with a subversive subtext. “Why do we worship greed?” asks an pirate broadcaster in the opening scenes, as images of homeless […]

Lucy Davis, Kate Ashfield, Dylan Moran, Simon Pegg, Penelope Wilton, and Nick Frost in the film by Edgar Wright

‘Shaun of the Dead’ – the funniest zombie comedy ever on HBO Max

The apocalyptic hysteria of the zombie film has always been pitched on the edge of comedy: a horrible black joke played on humanity by a god with a sick sense of humor. Director/co-writer Edgar Wright and co-writer/star Simon Pegg’s self-proclaimed “rom-zom-com” (romantic zombie comedy) Shaun of the Dead (2004) simply nudges it over the edge. […]

‘I Married a Witch’ – Veronica Lake casts a spell on Criterion Channel

“Long ago, when people still believed in witches …” I Married a Witch (1942), René Clair’s sexy ghost story by way of a cockeyed American romantic comedy, is a delightful and deftly made little trifle with Veronica Lake at her best as the daughter of an ancient supernatural trickster (played by Cecil Kellaway). Resurrected hundreds […]

David Naughton stars in John Landis's 'An American Werewolf in London'

‘An American Werewolf in London’ on HBO Max and HBO Now

John Landis teaches us two things in An American Werewolf in London (1981): turning into a werewolf is a very painful process, and the dead are boring! American tourist David Naughton survives a moonlight animal attack in Northern England only to turn into a hairy, bloodthirsty beast back in London when the moon is full. […]

‘Where the Wild Things Are’ – a dreamy Maurice Sendak adaptation on HBO Max

Maurice Sendak’s masterpiece of a picture book comes to the screen in Where the Wild Things Are (2009), a film as unique and heartfelt as the book itself. Director Spike Jonze (whose vision received the blessing of Sendak) and co-scripter Dave Eggars expand and reimagine the story of the defiant Max, a young boy in […]

Gary Sherman directs the landmark British horror film with Donald Pleasance

‘Death Line’ – cannibals in the underground on Criterion Channel and Shudder

Gary Sherman directs Death Line (aka Raw Meat) (1972), an underrated (and for years largely unseen) British horror film about the last survivor of a literal underground clan (trapped in a subway construction cave in a century before) who emerges from his cave to hunt for food on the London Underground. Yes, it’s a cannibal […]

‘Carnival of Souls’ on HBO Max and Criterion Channel

Carnival of Souls (1962), an imaginative tale of a chilly church organist who is haunted by apparitions (looking very zombie-like in greasepaint make-up) is a minor masterpiece of independent genre filmmaking of the sixties. Candace Hilligoss stars as a young woman who stumbles out of the river after the car she was in goes through […]

‘Peeping Tom’ – Michael Powell’s subversive masterpiece on Amazon Prime and Criterion Channel

Michael Powell lays bare the cinema’s dark voyeuristic underside in his disturbing psychodrama Peeping Tom (1960). Handsome young Karlheinz Böhm (billed as Carl Boehm) is Mark Lewis, a shy, socially clumsy young man shaped by the psychic scars of an emotionally abusive parent, in this case a psychologist father (Michael Powell in a perverse cameo) […]

‘Eyes Without a Face’ – the poetry of horror on HBO Max, Criterion Channel, and Kanopy

George Franju’s perverse and poetic Eyes Without a Face (France, 1959) is at once lyrical, haunting, and deviant, an elegantly horrifying classic of sadism and shadowy grace. A famed plastic surgeon (Pierre Brasseur), wracked with guilt over disfiguring his once beautiful daughter (Edith Scob) in car wreck, lures young woman to his secluded mansion with […]

Nobuhiko Obayashi's 1977 acid flashback horror fantasy 'House'

‘House’/’Hausu’ – Japanese madness on HBO Max and Criterion Channel

I can’t begin to find the words to describe House (1977), aka Hausu, an unclassifiable Japanese haunted house/high school romp/demon killer/surreal fantasy film from Nobuhiko Obayashi. Made in 1977 and recently revived and released to the rest of the world, it’s the archival cult find of the decade: a candy-colored style bomb of horror movie […]