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There’s a unique kind of terror to the intersection of disability and dependency that can sometimes feel hard to genuinely capture, particularly if it’s a situation you’re born into…

…Writer/director Aneesh Chaganty’s latest feature Run, written with Sev Ohanian, sets out to examine the thin and twisting lines of trust upon which such intersections need to function and what it takes to survive them when they go wrong.

Chloe Sherman (newcomer Keira Allen) has been living with various disabilities her whole life, from asthma to diabetes to paralysis. As a result, she’s been primarily cared for and homeschooled by her mother Diane ( Sarah Paulson). Now, though, Chloe is eagerly awaiting her acceptance into college and her first true taste of independence. At first things seem fine; Diane is supportive, and even expresses excitement at the thought of her daughter finally getting opportunities and experiences she had up to now been denied out of circumstance to the other moms who homeschool their disabled children. Up to now, Chloe’s days have been fairly routine and broken out into the familiar blocks of time surrounding her medicine schedule. She wakes up, takes medication, does her schoolwork and exercises, takes afternoon medication, has dinner and strictly limited dessert, and takes medication before bed. One day, while trying to sneak chocolates out of the bag while her mother is distracted, she finds a new prescription in the groceries. It’s made out to her mother, and she doesn’t recognize it, so when it shows up in her pre-bed batch of pills, she grows more than a little concerned. …


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People have been disparaging film franchises as cash grabs since time immemorial, and sometimes they are right to do so…

…Horror in particular is notorious for taking well-loved figures and dragging them kicking and screaming across the cobbled streets of a series until they emerge, beaten and bloodied on the other side of an eighth entry. Sometimes, though, a beloved film’s journey into the world of franchises results in an unexpectedly fun and fulfilling addition to the foundational story. Such is the case, for me, when it comes to the entirety of Anthony Perkins’ run as Norman Bates in the Psycho films. …


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It is that time of year again. The time for me to reemerge from the shadows to defend the honor of my most beloved Halloween candy, candy corn…

The debate rages every holiday season and this year I decided to take a closer look at how the film world feels about this most wronged of seasonal sweets. Turns out, they weren’t really on my side either. In fact, if anything, this harmless honey-sugar pyramid is horror’s harbinger of doom.

From Hitchcock’s Psycho to Josh Hasty’s 2019 offering Candy Corn, from kid-friendly horror to iconic slashers and possession films, the sweet treat is safe from no subgenre. In honor of the season, I’m diving deep into five films’ uses of the candy to summon destruction upon their hapless victims. …


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It’s amazing how many fairy tales are concerned with women’s bodies in peril…

…Almost all the most famous ones center around placing a woman or a girl in a situation from which she must be saved. Only through modernized adaptations do we ordinarily get to see them save themselves. Writer/director Vincent Paronnaud’s Hunted, written with Léa Pernollet, tries its hand at turning one of the most predatory tales-”Red Riding Hood”-into a rape-revenge horror in its US premiere at Nightstream Film Festival, and what results is visually affecting but ultimately a bit of a mixed bag.

​The basic premise of rape-revenge stories is fairly self-explanatory. A victim has an encounter from which they must escape and an aggressor they must fight off. The most fulfilling stories of this kind, for me, are those that end with the aggressor getting their comeuppance at the hands of the survivor we have grown to know and feel for. It’s the ultimate power fantasy, for better or worse. Hunted sets the proper wheels in motion but sets them spinning just left of the right direction. …


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Have you ever asked a woman what her greatest fears are?…

…Asked what she would do if certain circumstances of society were different? I know what my answers are and, somehow, director Natasha Kermani and writer Brea Grant tapped into both flawlessly with Lucky. I’ve been chasing this film all across the festival circuit, so getting the chance to catch its U.S. Premiere at Nightstream Film Fest was a highlight of my coverage.

Surreal, poignant, and bitingly feminist, Lucky is the story of self-help author May Ryer ( Brea Grant) trying to survive and protect herself from a mysterious figure who sets out to attack her every night following a home invasion. Trouble is, no one around her seems to believe what she’s saying. They aren’t taking her seriously and, on more than one occasion, seem almost to be mocking her. It’s a scathing dissection of a universal yet intimate fear and how hard it is to get people to break away from their preconceived narratives and take you seriously in a world that feels trapped in a twisted cycle of ignored violence. …


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I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like writer/director Baptiste Rouveure’s feature debut Anonymous Animals, which recently made its U.S. Premiere at Screamfest

…There’s something about a film opening with the sound of a screaming fox that sets the tone unlike anything else, and Rouveure seems to have harnessed the uncanny nature of it and used it as a template for his work. I mentioned how casually unsettling the cry of a screaming fox is in my review for Screamfest’s Caveat, but if you haven’t heard it, it sounds almost exactly like a person in danger, both animal and human at once.


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The first night I moved into my old house I spent the first few minutes after nightfall in a bit of a panic because I was pretty sure someone was getting murdered in the woods…

…They weren’t, of course, but the sound coming from the dark and the trees was something I had only heard in movies and nightmares. Little did I know, it’s the naturally occurring sound a fox makes when it gets separated from its family. Probably you think I’m exaggerating when I say a fox cry sounds like a woman in distress but go ahead and Google it. …


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It’s easy to forget the malleability of truth…

…Even the things we accept as unquestionable fact, we do so because we were taught to. Almost nothing is entirely straightforward and one-sided, though. Mostly, truths are prismatic and shifting depending on perspective, and on who’s doing the teaching. Writer/director Emanuela Rossi explores this idea with co-writer Claudio Corbucci with her debut film Darkness aka Buio, which recently made its U.S. Premiere at Nightstream Film Fest.

Worldwide natural disaster films are striking a bit of a different chord under our current circumstances. Many of us, particularly in America, are still managing under lockdown guidelines. We only leave our houses when absolutely necessary, and when we do, we must go out with face coverings to protect ourselves and others. Darkness operates under a similar setup, just replace a widespread virus with a solar phenomenon and six months with an unknown number of years. Such similarities allow for quicker connection with the film’s narrative and predispose us to believe those who tout the dangers of outside exploration, making the story stronger by default. Darkness is effective in connecting us with the basic idea of the story such that we don’t really need exposition about how or why the family is in the situation we find them. …


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Grief is the birthing ground of horror…

…It’s one of our most complex emotions, expressed in more ways than we could imagine. It’s so powerful it can morph us into entirely new and unrecognizable versions of ourselves or engulf us so completely that it warps our memories and ways of thinking around the moment of trauma. Writer Keith Cooper and director Justin G. Dyck dive into some of the layers of mourning with Anything for Jackson, which is now making its US Premiere at Nightstream Film Fest.

Audrey (Sheila McCarthy) and Henry (Julian Richings) are a couple in mourning. They’ve lost their daughter and grandson in a tragic accident. Audrey is so drowning in her sorrow that she’ll go to any length to bring her grandson Jackson (Daxton William Lund) back, even if it means kidnapping and trapping a pregnant woman in order to provide a vessel for Jackson’s return. What follows is, of course, the opening of a doorway they have no idea how to close, and more havoc than they know how to handle. …


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Mary Shelley’s life and the events that spawned her most beloved work are anything but ordinary…

…We’ve all read about that famous gathering of the minds and the fateful challenge that led each member-the Shelleys, Lord Byron, and Polidori chief among them-to formulate their own scary stories to tell on dark and stormy nights. Occasionally this party is even used for the frame story surrounding Frankenstein film adaptations. …

About

Katelyn Nelson

Katelyn Nelson’s writing interests lean mostly toward pop culture analysis and representation. She tweets @24th_Doctor, mostly about horror.

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