Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Rundown of the 13 Best Horror Movies I've Seen in the Past Year
[6 of 13]
The Osgood Perkins Slot

Tie number 2...

(September 2015)

Osgood Perkins (son of Norman Bates himself, Anthony Perkins) gets a slot all to himself this year, and we kick off with his feature debut, The Blackcoat’s Daughter.
Originally titled February, the film follows Kat, Rose and Joan, the former two left largely alone and unattended at their virtually empty boarding school. Both are in a delicate condition (one, emotional, the other, physical), and soon, the quiet in the halls and rooms is shattered by the undeniable fact that this is, after all, a horror movie.

Under Perkins’ assured directorial hand, the off-kilter air that is in evidence very early on quickly settles into an unease that pervades the rest of the film’s running time, helped in no small part by Perkins’ younger brother, Elvis (himself a musician with 3 albums under his belt), who scores the proceedings with a jangly, atonal touch.

With Bryan Bertino (whose The Strangers nabbed itself a ¡Q horror! 2008 slot) as one of its producers, and genre faces James Remar, Emma Roberts, and a nearly unrecognizable Lauren Holly along for the darkly disquieting ride, The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a must-see for anyone who treasures horror that doesn’t feel the need to over-explain itself.

(September 2015)

"I'll tell you what it is, kids.
"It’s that every f*cker in the country thinks they’re a photographer now, okay? And everyone can share an image, and it’s awful. It’s awful because it makes everything just like watery piss.
“Then you have this guy who creates an image that you actually can’t f*ck with, that you actually can’t ignore…”

Serial killers are like zombies and vampires; you need to look really long and really hard to find films about them that are actually worth your time and your attention.
Nick Simon’s The Girl in the Photographs is definitely worth your time, not just because it’s an excellent (and at times, frankly brutal) serial killer thriller, but it’s also one of the last things the late, great, and sorely missed Wes Craven worked on. (At the very top of the end credits roll, the dedication, “For Wes.”)
So if you feel any allegiance at all to the late Mr. Craven, then the least you can do is check out the film that he believed in enough to Executive Produce, before he had to so abruptly leave us…

And while that should be enough reason, if you find that you still need some more motivation, then Kal Penn’s total douchebag fashion photog Peter Hemmings is one of the definite draws of the film.
There’s also Mitch Pileggi, effectively de-Skinner-izing himself as the ineffectual Sheriff Porter, and Katharine Isabelle--late of the equally sorely missed Hannibal--in a brief role.
Plus, the D.P is Dean Cundey! Halloween! The Thing! And if your cinematic tastes lean more towards big-a$$ Hollywood productions, Jurassic Park! The Back to the Future trilogy! Cundey also shot the brilliant Psycho II, which leads us to one other notable…

The film’s screenplay is credited to Osgood Perkins, Rob Morast, and Simon.
So, yeah. Psycho. Perkins. (Osgood also actually played “Young Norman” in Psycho II.)
This double whammy is a promising sign for Perkins’ sophomore directorial effort, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, which already garnered some good notices from its TIFF premiere last month. (Incidentally, the double whammy we're looking at right now also premiered at TIFF, last year, just 2 days apart.)

So, yes, The Girl in the Photographs.
If you want a bit of brutality in your ¡Q horror! viewing…

“This guy knows I’m from Spearfish. He’s doing this… this photography thing with his victims as… as… as an homage, as a… as a nod, a nod to me, Spearfish’s most famous citizen and only known living artist.
“Frankly, I’m flattered.”

(The Blackcoat’s Daughter, February, and The Girl in the Photographs OS' courtesy of

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