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Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.

Jed Mayer

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    VIDEO ESSAY: Siding with the Victim, Part I: THE SHINING: Death in the Family

    From the time we are little children we like hearing scary stories. Some psychologists claim it’s because we use these stories to work through our anxieties. Maybe there’s another explanation to why we like scary stories. Perhaps we don’t identify with the victors so much as the victims.

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    TRAILER: SIDING WITH THE VICTIM: A Video Essay Series

    During July, Press Play will be presenting a three-part video essay series called "Siding with the Victim," about the ways in which identifying with the hapless ones in horror films, the ones who go into the basement/behind the creaky door/into the woods without a flashlight/into the attic, is a cru...

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    RAISED IN FEAR: LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH and the Perils of Country Living

    Most potential viewers would expect a film made in 1971 with the title "Let’s Scare Jessica to Death" to be a teen slasher picture, but in fact, it is a subtle, moody piece of cinema that explores the fragility of the mind and the persistence of the past, achieving moments of rich psychological insi...

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    RAISED IN FEAR: NIGHT OF THE HUNTER and the Horrors of Childhood

    The most harrowing film ever made about childhood opens with a lullaby that is anything but soothing: “The hunter in the night / Fills your childish heart with fright / Fear is only a dream / So dream, little one, dream.”

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    RAISED IN FEAR: Who Can Kill a Child?

    Who Can Kill a Child (1976) is a relatively obscure Spanish horror film directed by Narcisco Ibanez Serrador, but it should be much better known, and not only by people like me, sick of having to pretend to be awed by how wonderful children are.

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    Raised in Fear: The Superdynamational Horrors of Ray Harryhausen

    You never forget the first time you fall in love, especially in the movies. My moment came when I was eight years old, at a Saturday matinee in a cramped multiplex theater. Setting my sights high, the object of my adoration was Kali, Hindu goddess of Time, Change, and Death, brought to life by the m...

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    Raised in Fear: The Self-Help Horror of Todd Haynes’ SAFE

    For all its originality, "Safe"'s narrative owes much to the made-for-TV movies that once permeated the airwaves, films like "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble," "The Best Little Girl in the World," and "Brian’s Song" that have been called “disease-of-the-week” movies for their morbid fascination with n...

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    Raised in Fear: POLTERGEIST and the Culture of Forgetting

    Poltergeist is a film about the repressed traumas and anxieties underlying the American dream.

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    The Bleak Spaces and Blank Faces of FARGO

    When Fargo was released, I felt that my home state of Minnesota had finally been given its "Oresteia," its "Njal's Saga," its "Double Indemnity." Over the ensuing years, however, the popular image created by the Coen Brothers' regional epic has been a questionable inheritance.

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    The Grimm Possibilities of MAMA

    Though "Mama" does not ultimately succeed as a film, it does offer a set of rich possibilities for the creation of a modern fairy tale, one that, like those told once upon a time, faces the horrors of everyday life head on, also recognizing the power of fantasy to make imaginative sense of those hor...

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