Sunday, June 16, 2019

Candidate #19

(March 2019)

Then Sotuknang went to Taiowa and said, ‘I want you to see what I have done. And I have done well.’
“And Taiowa looked and said, ‘It is very good. But you are not done with it.  Now you must create life of all kinds and set it in motion according to my plan.’”
--“Creation Story” (written and performed by Tsonakwa & Dean Evenson; from a Hopi creation myth)

After the decisive statement of purpose that was Get Out, Jordan Peele returns with Us, which sees Lupita Nyong’o as a wife and mother whose family is besieged by red-clad, scissors-wielding doppelgängers.
Which of course, you’d know if you’ve already seen the trailers or the one sheets.
That is, however, all you’re going to get here, because, as always, to preserve as much of the cinematic experience as possible, I steer as clear of spoiler territory as humanly possible…

But I will say this:
Though Peele trades in the overt thematics of racism in Get Out for a follow-up that’s apparently a more straight-forward horror film that just happens to have an African-American family as its protagonists, what it looks like (as indicated by Us’ narrative) isn’t necessarily what it actually is.
So, yes, Us, like Get Out, is most definitely about something. It’s just a bit more under the skin though, so you’ll need to dig to uncover Us’ truths.

Another thing I can say:
It’s rare these days to point to a film with a nearly two hour running time and call it “tight,” but Us seriously just flies by.
The pacing, performances, and clear control Peele exerts over the narrative all combine to give (heh) us another ¡Q horror!-worthy piece from the comedian who’d always dreamed of becoming a horror movie director.
Well, thank goodness he finally got around to the horror…

Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.
--Jeremiah 11:11 (King James Version)

(Us OS’ courtesy of

Friday, June 14, 2019

Candidate #18

(January 2019)

And the branch on the tree...
And the tree… in the hole…
And the hole in the bog…
And the bog… down in… the valley-o…”

Sarah O’Neill (Seána Kerslake) and her son Christopher (James Quinn Markey) have just moved to a new town--specifically, to a house on the edge of some deep, dark woods (are there any other kind of woods in these kinds of films?)--when she begins to suspect that Chris isn’t Chris at all…
That’s the central conceit of Lee Cronin’s feature directorial debut, The Hole in the Ground.

Working from a screenplay he co-wrote with Stephen Shields, Cronin gives us a potent dose of largely exposition-free horror that delves into the fears and anxieties a parent has for their child, relying on tone and atmosphere (and some excellent performances by Kerslake, Markey, and James Cosmo in a brief supporting role) to make its point.
And a fine, creeptastic point it is, punctuated by some unsettling set pieces (maaaaaan, that talent show number…) and wrapped up with Lisa Hannigan’s haunting rendition of “Weile Weile Waile” that runs over the end credits roll.

“The mirror always tells the truth.”

(The Hole in the Ground OS & UK quad courtesy of

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

I've just been informed that Andrea Abulencia, who chose SEROKS Iteration 1: Mirror Man as the subject for her thesis in 2016, has written another paper on it.
And this time, she's presenting her paper at the POSTHUMANITIES IN ASIA: THEORIES AND PRACTICES International Conference being held at the Umeda Campus, Kansai University, in Osaka, Japan, on June 8 and 9.

And while I've always been both thrilled and humbled every time something I've written is chosen as the subject for an academic paper, I've never made announcements before.
This time though, the paper's being presented.
At an international conference.
In the land of Ultraman, kaiju, tokusatsu, and the late, great Satoshi Kon. (All of whom/which, incidentally, were referenced in SEROKS.)
For all that, I thought it was blog post-worthy...

So, if you happen to be in the Osaka neighborhood this coming weekend and presentations of academic papers are kind of your thing, then hey, check out the conference.
And tell Andrea (now a teacher at the University of Asia and the Pacific; hope the presentation goes well!) you read about it here at the Iguana!

And before I wrap up, I'd just like to say thanx so much to all you mighty fine folk like Andrea, who find resonances in my writing, and help spread the word about them.
Dōmo arigatōgozaimashita.
you can't drink just six,


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Candidate #17

(September 2018)

And why do we work so hard, Charlotte?”
“To be the best.”
“And why is that, Charlotte?”
“Because it’s what’s expected of us.”

Richard Shepard’s The Perfection turns on Charlotte Willmore (Get Out’s Allison Williams), “a rare and gifted talent” whose promise as a world class cellist was derailed when she needed to return home to care for her ailing mother.
Upon her mother’s eventual passing nearly a decade later, Charlotte reaches out to her former mentor and teacher, Anton Bachoff (Steven Weber), and in doing so, comes into the orbit of Anton’s latest star pupil and “most prized protégé,” Elizabeth Wells (Powers’ Logan Browning).
What follows is a taut and twisty tale that bears witness to the sordid costs that sometimes need to be paid to attain that titular perfection.

While some may argue The Perfection is more thriller than horror, I would point out that the things that characters do to each other in the film are chilling, gruesome, and ultimately, horrible.
The screenplay--credited to Shepard, Eric Charmelo, and Nicole Snyder--takes a number of pivots in its 90 minute running time, and with each turn, fundamentally changes the type of movie you believe you’re watching. You start off The Perfection thinking it’s this kind of film, when actually, it’s that, until you realize, No, wait, it’s really that other kind of film.
It’s the kind of narrative that, even if you sense the twist coming, it doesn’t significantly blunt its impact when it lands, and with each turn, light is cast on statements and sentiments made previously, forcing us to view them in hindsight as more weighted than they initially seemed.

All in all, it’s an elegantly sinister tale that builds to a savage crescendo, closing with Chromatics’ abbreviated cover of Hole’s “Petals,” a blackly satisfying story for those of you who treasure both narrative surprises and horror that speaks to its time.

“She’s the grace of this world
She’s too pure
For the likes of this world
This world is a whore”
-- “Petals”

(The Perfection OS courtesy of

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


For those of you who frequent the Iguana, you may be aware that the sudden start of the Saga of My Brokedown Foot caused me to be absent from last year's NovKon Day 2...
So I've come to think of the upcoming Summer Kon (on April 13, Saturday, at the Bayanihan Center, Unilab Compound, on Pioneer Street, in Pasig) as "The 2018 NovKon Day 2 That Never Happened."

As such, all the discount and freebie promos from NovKon still apply.
If you weren't aware of them before, or if you need a refresher course, here's the link to the original announcement (which, in turn, has more links; hurray!).

So all of that still holds for Summer Kon, as does my location: I will again be situated at the Visprint booth, so look for me there.

And as far as the new release goes, swap this in instead...

DAKILA: Kapalaran
Issue 2 (of 3)
David Hontiveros / Romnick Magbanua

Your name is Brandon Ramirez and you’ve been a geek your whole life: comics, movies, RPGs, cosplay.

And now you’re officially the world’s first superhero, as evidenced by the cape, the mask, the totally ripped physique, and those crazy-awesome powers.

Higher agencies seem to have conspired to steer you right into that skintight outfit.

We have only one question: How’s that working out for you?

SEE! Dakila in training!
WITNESS! One of his most trusted allies lie right to his face!
FIND OUT! What's up with his MIA mom!
DELIGHT! In the spectacle of the Devil doing k(SPOILER)e!

All that and more, in 38 pages of sweet superhero spandex goodness!

Dakila. 18 years old. Cosmic champion.
All of a sudden, acne and getting a driver’s license are so not a big deal anymore.

So there you go.
Save the date: April 13, Saturday.

Hope to see all you mighty fine folk at Summer Kon!

you can’t drink just six,


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Candidate #16

Season 1 Episode 6
(March 2019)

Somethin' terrible happens to a woman and it just lives in you.
“In her. Starts on the inside, then it becomes her skin and she wears it till she dies, and that’s that.”

Jimmi Simpson stars in and executive produces the latest “episode” of Into the Dark, an entry co-written and directed by another familiar TV face, James Roday (of Psych).
Aside from saying this is timely, topical horror though, there isn’t much more that can be said without revealing too much, so I guess I should just leave it at this:
Treehouse is a notable example of a genre narrative that says Something, and if only for that, this gets the ¡Q horror! seal of approval.
If you’ve enjoyed at least one of the past Into the Dark entries, or if you’re a fan of either Simpson or Roday, then you should check this one out.

“… Y’all are lucky. Wasn’t always this easy for women to lean on each other.
“There was a time when it wasn’t about choosing to be heard, because you had no voice. How can you use something you were never given?”

Parting Shot: And once again, in lieu of an actual one sheet, I had to go with a screenshot from the trailer…