Witchcraft Month: A salute to Hermione Granger

Harry Potter is the boy who lived, the hero of his eponymous series, but over seven books and eight movies, Hermione Granger is the MVP. There’s no magical puzzle, spell, or dilemma that she can’t figure out, even if she needs a Time-Turner to be in multiple places at once. As Professor Lupin (David Thewlis) once noted admirably in 2004’s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of … Continue reading Witchcraft Month: A salute to Hermione Granger

Retrospective Review: Witches of Eastwick

Year: 1987Duration: 118 minutesDirector: George MillerWriter: Michael CristoferStarring: Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jack Nicholson By Juli Horsford “The Witches of Eastwick” is not necessarily a Halloween movie, but it’s zany enough that it might help you get into the spirit. Despite the title containing the word “witches,” that word is never actually mentioned in the movie. We’re left with the opportunity to interpret the … Continue reading Retrospective Review: Witches of Eastwick

Witchcraft Month: “The Witch: A New England Folktale”

For the month of October, ITOL have decided to focus on the representation of witchcraft in film. From the early silent days of cinema, the theme of witchcraft has been a constant presence in film. In today’s culture, the term “witch hunt” has taken on a different meaning, mostly in a response to cancel culture and moral outrage. However, the term has existed for a lot longer than the digital age. From the period of 1450 to 1750, Europe and Colonial America witnessed between 35,000 to 100,000 executions of those who were declared “witches”. Continue reading Witchcraft Month: “The Witch: A New England Folktale”

Witchcraft Month: “Suspiria” (1977)

Witches are among the first villainous archetypes many of us come across in our stories. Although I was personally introduced to these magical women via much friendlier interpretations, such as “Kiki’s Delivery Service” (1988), “Harry Potter”, or even Julia Donaldson’s “Room on the Broom”, others would look to “Snow White” (1937), “The Witches” (1990) or any number of others for more maniacal examples. However, few stories take the concept of witchcraft to its extreme, revelling in the sheer dread such a common villainous template can exude.

Enter Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” (1977), a techni-coloured gore-fest that not only revels in the eerie aspects of witchcraft, but also happens to be a staple in Italian cinema. Continue reading Witchcraft Month: “Suspiria” (1977)

31 Days of Horror, Day 31: Jennifer’s Body

When making that perfect meal, there are two key rules – follow the recipe, and get the very best ingredients. Everything else is just adds to the general appearance, but if you get those basics right? You won’t go far wrong. Making a film is pretty similar – get the right story, and deliver it with the best creative team, and you’ll almost certainly get an enjoyable film. “Jennifer’s Body” is the exception that proves this rule.

Let me take you back to 2009. Megan Fox was one of the hottest properties in cinema, with her face and body being plastered all over the unfathomably internationally successful first couple of entries into the Transformers franchise. Amanda Seyfried was a key part of popular movies like “Mean Girls” and “Mamma Mia!”, along with a major role in hip TV show “Veronica Mars”. Continue reading 31 Days of Horror, Day 31: Jennifer’s Body

31 Days of Horror, Day 30: Body At Brighton Rock

“Body at Brighton Rock” is a horror film. However, it’s not a very well executed one. There are a lot of jump scares in all the right places: a hand on the shoulder, a loud noise, someone jumps out from the bushes. When well-executed, the jump scare can be very effective. A prime example is in “Jaws”, or in “The Shining”. However, for the case of Body at Brighton Rock, the jump scare is used as a lazy way to keep the viewer awake, rather than actually scaring them. As a result, you walk away from this film feeling deeply unsatisfied. Continue reading 31 Days of Horror, Day 30: Body At Brighton Rock

ITOL’s Top 10 Female Focused Horror Films

What does “Suspiria”, “Carrie”, “The Witch” and “The Hunger” have in common? Well, these horror films are not only directed by a male director and are terrifying to watch, but they also pass the Bechdel Test. If you have managed to make it through our 31 Days of Horror countdown and you’re still looking to be well and truly creeped out, then ITOL recommends these horror films which see women at the centre of their plot. The films included on this list aren’t necessarily directed by a female filmmaker, but they are unique because they all pass the Bechdel Test.

The films below all meet the criteria set out by the test: (1) it [the film] has to have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man. So, without any further ado, here are some must-see horror films this Halloween. Enjoy! Continue reading ITOL’s Top 10 Female Focused Horror Films

A Look Back On Sally In The Nightmare Before Christmas

We love Jack Skellington for not staying in his lane, for that exuberance that makes this Pumpkin King of Halloween want to wrap himself in Christmas like a kid flopping into a snowdrift. But Sally, the clever ragdoll who first loves Jack from afar, gives “The Nightmare Before Christmas” a conscience and an extra dose of heart.

Jack and Sally have been bridging two of the biggest holidays for more than 25 years now. Tim Burton, director of “Beetlejuice”, “Batman”, and “Edward Scissorhands”, first conceived of the dapper skeleton with an existential crisis in the 1980s, writing a poem about a spooky fellow who wants more out of life than just saying, “Boo!” (A book version with Burton’s illustrations was released for the film’s twentieth anniversary.) Continue reading A Look Back On Sally In The Nightmare Before Christmas

Sex and Living- Death in Thirst

2019 was the year that Andrew Scott’s Hot Priest seized the zeitgeist with full gusto. The Fleabag character had people all over the world fanning themselves to avoid a case of the vapours, with his actual name remaining a mystery. He was merely the latest – one of the most libidinously triumphant – in a line of on-screen hot priests. Others include Father Brian Finn in “Keeping the Faith”, Father Grandier in “The Devils”, Father Andrew Kiernan in “Stigmata”, Reverend Adam Smallbone in “Rev” and, perhaps most obviously, Friar Fuck in “Sex and the City”. One of the finest men of the faith was given to us by Park Chan-wook in his 2009 vampire romantic-horror, “Thirst”. Continue reading Sex and Living- Death in Thirst

31 Days of Horror, Day 29: The Babadook

“The Babadook” is the type of horror flick I love; one where the threat — in this case, the monster — works as both an internal and external threat. The unique creature design is simultaneously whimsical and menacing. Think, the hybrid that one would get if they were to describe Nosferatu to a child and have that child illustrate the description. Continue reading 31 Days of Horror, Day 29: The Babadook