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Halloween

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    A Few Great Pumpkins VI—Third Night: Whistle and I’ll Come to You

    Third Night:Whistle and I’ll Come to You

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    A Few Great Pumpkins VI–Second Night: Lost Highway

    David Lynch is not often thought of as a director of horror films, yet for the past 30-plus years he has given us some of the most genuinely terrifying imagery in American cinema. Taking into account all the horror movies that have come and gone in the past decade, and all the momentarily effective genres that have had their moment to cast their long shadow (J-horror, torture porn, shaky caught-on-camcorder mockumentaries), was there a scene more pit-of-your-stomach-and-soul dreadful than the one set at Winkie’s diner in Mulholland Drive? It’s not merely the scene-punctuating emergence of the monstrous man lurking out back—it’s the entire bui...

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    A Few Great Pumpkins VI—First Night: The Masque of the Red Death

    First Night:The Masque of the Red Death

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    A Few Great Pumpkins V—Seventh Night: Rosemary's Baby

    The history of horror cinema is besotted with effective scares, unimaginable scenarios, gallows humor, effortlessly eerie performances . . . but how many films of the genre can claim perfect storytelling? A great many of even the greatest are cursed with sputtering storylines, even the most epochally frightening among them designed as machines lurching ahead to the next great gotcha set piece. Are we watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the interstitial moments between massacres? Halloween for the little connections its flat characters make amidst Carpenter's careful, classical compositions? Are we invested so much in the lives of Regan a...

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    A Few Great Pumpkins V—Sixth Night: Empire of Passion

    When an established auteur breaks away to make his or her first—and in many cases, only—horror film, watch out. Film history is full of such instances, from old masters (Clouzot's Diabolique, Bergman's Hour of the Wolf, Kubrick's The Shining, and, to a certain extent, Pasolini's Salò) to contemporary art-house arbiters (Claire Denis's Trouble Every Day, Bruno Dumont's Twentynine Palms, Lars von Trier's Antichrist); these are films in which the director's concerns don't get displaced but rather find a pure outlet of expression. Utilizing horror tropes can give filmmakers free reign for extremes, whether in terms of extraordinary content, styli...

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    A Few Great Pumpkins V—Fifth Night: The X-Files ("Home")

    by cnw

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    A Few Great Pumpkins V—Fourth Night: The Thing

    by Julien Allen

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    A Few Great Pumpkins V—Third Night: My Dinner With Andre

    No, this isn't a Waiting for Guffman–style jest. While by no means a horror film, Louis Malle's My Dinner with Andre is in some ways the ultimate campfire tale, in which we lean forward and open our ears and minds to a persuasive, grave storyteller who's at times seemingly bent on raising our hair. ...

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    A Few Great Pumpkins V—Second Night: The House of the Devil

    “Are you not the babysitter?” For those who haven’t seen The House of the Devil, this is an innocuous question; for those who have, it will undoubtedly elicit shudders of recognition. The line of dialogue comes at a decisive turning point in the film, and instigates the first real blast of violence. That Ti West’s truly frightening horror film is not prone to such explosions—the director is more interested in the emotional toll of creeping terror on the audience—makes that moment, and the words that precede it, all the more disturbing. West proves to be a master of the unexpected in The House of the Devil, but the surprises aren’t the literal...

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    A Few Great Pumpkins V—First Night: Nosferatu

    Bring your carving knives—it’s time for Reverse Shot’s fifth annual weeklong “Great Pumpkins” celebration. Usually during this festive time of the year we bemoan the lack of great contemporary horror movies while recommending seven scary selections from years past (which needn’t be exclusively horror films, per se, but which have to be appropriately Halloween-y in some way—see complete list below of prior Pumpkins). In 2009, we were able to take a break from deploring the fright-flick landscape, in the light of such terrific terrors as Drag Me to Hell, Paranormal Activity, Orphan, and, expanding the boundaries of the category a touch, the sen...

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