Friday, August 31, 2012


“… I love the idea that my film is very hard to put a label on, but I’m also very aware that some people will obviously be disappointed by the content of The Tall Man and this is something I can’t do anything about if I offend them.
"But again, I love the films of the ‘70’s, where movies were much more difficult to put a label on. They were just choosing some genre and some archetypes of the genre as a way to express themselves and a way to share a vision. That’s something I want to go for, the kind of cinema I still want to do.
"As a member of the audience I’m so fed up with formulas. It’s always the same thing and I hate that. I’m turning forty and I don’t want to be told what I’m supposed to think and feel when I’m watching a movie. I love films that constantly have levels of complexity. That’s something I try to give back to the audience with my movies, so I know that probably won’t help commercially, but I also hope it will make the movies last in the audience’s mind.
"That’s my only ambition.”

Pascal Laugier’s words* on his latest film, The Tall Man (also known as The Secret in certain territories); Laugier’s name should be familiar to hardcore horrorhounds from his wrenchingly disturbing Martyrs.
Now, while The Tall Man is a different sort of film from Martyrs--the kind of film that is a horror film, but not in the usual way that term is defined by Hollywood (thus, its consideration here, outside of the whole ¡Qué Horror! crush)--it does share Laugier’s tendency to present you with one thing, then have it turn into something else as the narrative unspools; that “something else” being post-film discussion/debate-worthy.
Ostensibly, The Tall Man has a de-glammed Jessica Biel lose her son to an abductor, apparently the eponymous “Tall Man.” Suffice it to say though, that that’s merely the narrative springboard from which Laugier catapults into… something else.
If you’re the sort who likes to be surprised by film (and to have the medium challenge your beliefs and worldview), instead of the sort who likes to be comforted by getting exactly what they expect from a trailer, then The Tall Man should be of interest.

* From an interview with Ain’t It Cool’s Ambush Bug.

(The Tall Man and The Secret OS’ courtesy of

Friday, August 17, 2012

¡Qué horror! 2012
Candidate # 30

(December 2011)

Though I was never particularly a Joss Whedon fan*, when news of The Cabin in the Woods first broke, I was hopeful because of Drew Goddard’s presence on the title.
And when the casting news began to trickle in (Richard Jenkins! Bradley Whitford!), my curiosity only intensified.
But, like the Red Dawn remake (incidentally enough, also starring a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth), an already-completed Cabin got stuck in the morass of the whole MGM bankruptcy thing, which also delayed the production of The Hobbit and the latest James Bond installment.**
A couple of years passed, until Lionsgate came to the eventual rescue, and Cabin finally got released, and, I must say, it’s been well worth the wait.

Honestly, I would have loved to have gone into Cabin completely cold, and I would have, if not for that damned trailer.
Still, Goddard and Whedon have more up their collective sleeve, even if you’ve had the misfortune of seeing that damned trailer.

Whether or not you’ve seen that damned trailer though, any self-respecting horror head will know this cabin, will know the conventions and the tropes that accompany that blasted, isolated cabin in the middle of those godforsaken woods, but Goddard and Whedon take that familiar scenario and those familiar characters that populate it, and have a grand old time with them, and with the film’s audience.
There’s quite a lot going on in The Cabin in the Woods, and all concerned manage to deliver a crackingly entertaining horror film for those who love their horror substantial enough to bite into, with pulpy and juicy bits fit for dissection, and subsequent reflective chewing and rumination.

Plus, there are some priceless cinematic moments, like Jenkins shouting, “F*ck you!” six times in quick succession, and Whitford exclaiming, “Aw, come on!” and a whole bunch of nods (and faces) that should be nostalgically (and, in some cases, oddly) familiar to all you horror heads out there.

Like the tagline on the Lionsgate one sheet goes, “You think you know the story…”
Come on in, this Cabin’s waiting for you…

* I guess the closest I came to being a fan before this, was Dollhouse, which was a very good and intriguing show, although I did have some issues with it… (For the record, I've yet to see The Avengers.)

** You’ll note the original trio of one sheets (which I still love), sporting the United Artists and MGM logos on the bottom corners.

(The Cabin in the Woods OS’ courtesy of,, &


Witness an invasion of Earth like no other in Timo Vuorensola’s Iron Sky, in which Nazis from the dark side of the Moon set about to conquer the planet they abandoned in 1945.
Like Juan de los Muertos, Iron Sky is comedy that’s saying something (about perception and politics, for starters), and if only for that, this should be on your radar.
Yes, there’s a Sarah Palin analogue here (Stephanie Paul, as the unnamed US president gunning for re-election), but, let’s face it, just experiencing the cinematic bliss of Udo Kier as Mondführer Wolfgang Kortzfleisch--who’s only too eager to unleash his terrible Meteorblitzkrieg on the unsuspecting “sub-humans” of Earth--is worth the price of admission…

(Iron Sky OS courtesy of

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

¡Qué horror! 2012
Candidate # 29

(January 2012)

Brought to us by a crowd of familiar genre names (most of whom are also quite at home on the ¡Qué Horror! front) and tied together by a concept from Bloody Disgusting’s Brad Miska, V/H/S takes on two standard horror sub-genres, one (found footage) currently more popular in the mainstream than the other (horror anthology), and does both of them exceedingly proud.
Surrounded by the preponderance of mediocre and derivative found footage titles in this day and age, V/H/S crashes the party and kicks all of the bland and terribly unimaginative pretenders in the ‘nads, planting a decisive flag to prove that the form isn’t just a way for Hollywood to make a quick profit from a low production cost, but can also take the audience to some really strange and interesting places. (Even when you may guess where the story’s headed--which happened to me a number of times--the end result is still worth seeing and still holds some startling moments.)

The segments are, to wit:

“Tape 56,” directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett, who brought us fellow ¡Qué Horror! 2012 candidate, A Horrible Way To Die, and who also both appear in the fragmented segment which acts as the connective tissue of the anthology;

“Amateur Night,” helmed by one-third of The Signal directing team, David Bruckner, and written by Bruckner and Nicholas Tecosky;

“Second Honeymoon,” written and directed by Ti West, who brought us past ¡Qué Horror! title, The House of the Devil, as well as current contender The Innkeepers (which I’ve already seen but have yet to write about here at the Iguana). This one stars Joe Swanberg, from A Horrible Way To Die, who also directs another V/H/S segment (see below);

“Tuesday the 17th,” written and directed by Glenn McQuaid, who brought us I Sell the Dead, a previous effort I must confess, I wasn’t too overly fond of;

“The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger,” directed by Joe Swanberg and written by Simon Barrett;

and “10/31/98,” written and directed by the Radio Silence collective of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, and Chad Villella, who also appear in the segment.

Truly exceptional work from all concerned, and I, for one, am excited to see what all these gentlemen have up their sleeves next…

(V/H/S OS courtesy of

Monday, August 6, 2012

¡Qué horror! 2012
Candidate # 28

(September 2011)

Once again, Eduardo Sánchez directs the sh!t out of material born from his fruitful collaboration with co-writer Jamie Nash; they worked together on both Altered and Seventh Moon.
This time out, it’s Lovely Molly, where Molly Reynolds (Gretchen Lodge, in her impressive feature film debut) returns to her childhood home with her brand new husband, to make a go at a brand new life, only to have the terrible ghosts of her troubled past rise and eclipse her married existence.
Lodge, whose background lies in London theatre, acts the sh!t out of this one, too, as does Alexandra Holden, who plays Molly’s sister, Hannah.
I really shouldn’t say too much about Lovely Molly, other than perhaps, it’s about (among other things) the ugly malevolence of transgressions, both past and present.
¡Muchas gracias, Señores Sánchez-Quiros y Nash! Estoy muy entusiasmado con la película pie grande. (Or something like that.)

(Lovely Molly OS courtesy of

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Graphic Classics, brought to us by the mighty fine Tom Pomplun, and for which I've adapted a number of classic short stories, is having a sale!
Look! Press release!


Eureka Productions is pleased to announce a special, limited-time, half-price sale on the GRAPHIC CLASSICS® series of comics adaptations of great literature.

The sale runs from August 1 through August 14, 2012, and applies only to direct sales through the GRAPHIC CLASSICS website at

Now is the chance to fill in any series volumes you may be missing, or purchase gift copies at a discount price. Hurry, as the sale ends soon, and some volumes are in low supply. $10 minimum purchase.

“Innovative visual entrées to great writers and their legacies.”
— Stephanie Zvirin, Booklist

“A splendidly inventive series.”
— Malcolm Jones, Newsweek

“So imaginative, evocative, and compelling in their execution that they leave readers with no choice but to crave more.”
— Michael Dooley, Imprint

Currently in stock:
GRAPHIC CLASSICS: EDGAR ALLAN POE (978-0-9825630-0-7) b&w / $12.95 retail / ON SALE $5
(978-0-9746648-5-9) b&w / $11.95 retail / ON SALE $5
 (978-0-9746648-9-7) b&w / $11.95 retail / ON SALE $5
 (978-0-9746648-8-0) b&w / $11.95 retail / ON SALE $5
 (978-0-9787919-5-7) b&w / $11.95 retail / ON SALE $5
 (978-0-9787919-1-9) b&w / $11.95 retail / ON SALE $5
 (978-0-9787919-2-6) b&w / $11.95 retail / ON SALE $5
 (978-0-9825630-3-8) b&w / $12.95 retail / ON SALE $5
HORROR CLASSICS: Graphic Classics Vol 10
 (978-0-9746648-1-1) b&w / $9.95 retail / ON SALE $5
 (978-0-9746648-2-8) b&w / $11.95 retail / ON SALE $5
ADVENTURE CLASSICS: Graphic Classics Vol 12
 (978-0-9746648-4-2) b&w / $11.95 retail / ON SALE $5
 (978-0-9746648-6-6) b&w / $11.95 retail / ON SALE $5
GOTHIC CLASSICS: Graphic Classics Vol 14
 (978-0-9787919-0-2) b&w / $11.95 retail / ON SALE $5
FANTASY CLASSICS: Graphic Classics Vol 15
 (978-0-9787919-3-3) b&w / $11.95 retail / ON SALE $5
(978-0-9787919-6-4)  b&w / $11.95 retail / ON SALE $5
 (978-0-9787919-7-1) color / $17.95 retail / ON SALE $7.50
(978-0-9787919-8-8) color / $17.95 retail / ON SALE $7.50
CHRISTMAS CLASSICS: Graphic Classics Vol 19
 (978-0-9825630-1-4) color / $17.95 retail / ON SALE $7.50
WESTERN CLASSICS: Graphic Classics Vol 20
 (978-0-9787919-9-5)  / color / $17.95 retail / ON SALE $7.50
POE'S TALES OF MYSTERY: Graphic Classics Vol 21
 (978-0-9825630-2-1) color / $17.95 retail / ON SALE $7.50
 (978-0-9825630-4-5) color / $17.95 retail / ON SALE $7.50

So, go! Go now!