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Apes vs. Zombies: New Skin for the Old Apocalypse in DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Matt Reeves’ "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" echoes George Romero’s "Dawn of the Dead" in more than just its title.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • July 14, 2014 4:28 AM
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OUR SCARY SUMMER: OVER THE EDGE, PHANTASM, and Other Teen Nightmares

The seventies was a scary time for anyone—nuclear disasters, political revolutions, oil conflicts—but it seemed a particularly disturbing one for kids.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • July 3, 2014 3:31 AM
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OUR SCARY SUMMER: David Cronenberg’s THE BROOD and the Weirding of the American Family

Few films expose the limitations of therapy narratives more ruthlessly than David Cronenberg’s "The Brood." Having explored the psychosexual demons haunting the individual human psyche in "Shivers" and "Rabid," the Canadian director turned his peculiar attention to the monsters lurking within the fractured family.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • June 27, 2014 4:49 AM
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OUR SCARY SUMMER: PROPHECY and the Toxic Environments of 1979

With "Prophecy," John Frankenheimer wanted to create an environmentally-conscious horror film that would raise the ethical stakes of popcorn fare.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • June 17, 2014 1:01 PM
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  • 5 Comments

OUR SCARY SUMMER: DAWN OF THE DEAD and the New American Malaise

As tag-lines go, George Romero’s seminal zombie epic sports a pretty good one: “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth.” As a thirteen year old, I had repeatedly stared at the lurid poster bearing these ominous words at the Maplewood Mall multiplex in the weeks before the film was released in the summer of 1979.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • June 12, 2014 4:35 AM
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Our Scary Summer: ALIEN, the Energy Crisis and Desperate Consumerism

The cover of the June 1979 issue of Newsweek featured an image of Sigourney Weaver from "Alien" under the caption: "Hollywood's Scary Summer." I was thirteen, and the horror movies released that summer would form a kind of grotesque carnival that mirrored my own and the world's anxieties.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • June 6, 2014 5:42 AM
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  • 1 Comment

DOWN-UNDERGROUND: Muriel’s Red Wedding

Dismissed by many critics as misogynistic torture porn, "Wolf Creek" is in fact a compendium of filmic tropes that simultaneously resurrects and comments on Australia’s peculiar film history.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • May 29, 2014 3:11 PM
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  • 2 Comments

DOWN-UNDERGROUND: The LONG WEEKEND of the 1970s

"Long Weekend" was promoted with the irresistible tag-line: “Their crime was against nature: nature found them guilty.” Directed by Colin Eggleston, the film was released on March 29, 1979, the day after the infamous nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • May 22, 2014 2:11 PM
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  • 2 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: Virtual Animals: Building the Digital Ark

The fewer animals we find in the wild, the more we see on screen. The digital revolution has enabled filmmakers to create an entirely new breed of animal, one that exists only in the form of pixels. Absence of flesh and blood answered by an abundance of virtual animals.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Jed Mayer
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  • May 14, 2014 6:00 AM
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Down-Underground: WALKABOUT, or Thirteen Ways of Making a National Epic

Like "Wake in Fright," the only other Australian entry at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival, "Walkabout" was directed by an Englishman, Nicolas Roeg. He tells the story of Australia without sentimentality, without rancor. The landscape is not idealized or demonized; neither are those who dwell in it.
  • By Jed Mayer
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  • May 8, 2014 2:03 PM
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  • 3 Comments

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