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Author Archives: Paul J. Marasa

DVD Reviews: A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life

I know I’m as early as a Wal-Mart, but I want to be among the first to check in with my obvious picks for The Two Greatest Christmas Movies: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) and A Christmas Story (1983). Let me quickly add Honorable Mentions: Miracle on 34th Street (1947), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) — really more of a ... Read More »

Movie Review: Good Night, and Good Luck

There is so much to admire about this low-key movie Read More »

Movie Review: Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972) (aka Halloween Roundup V)

It’s instructive, I think, to note that the director of Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, Bob Clark, gave us A Christmas Story (1983), which is, along with It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), among the greatest Christmas movies. But he has also helmed two Porky’s movies, as well as Rhinestone (1984), Loose Cannons (1990) and a couple of Baby Geniuses ... Read More »

Halloween Roundup IV: Famous Studios Cartoons

I was thinking about my childhood experiences at the movies and in front of the TV (I’m old enough to remember Saturday matinees and life without cable), and the memory of Famous Studios cartoons landed in my head with a sickening thud. These were hard-hearted animations: post-Fleischer Popeye, Little Lulu (or Little Audrey), Casper the Friendly Ghost, Baby Huey–and worst ... Read More »

Halloween Roundup III: “They’re Coming to Get You, Barbara”–and the Rest of Us, Too

I know a guy in his early twenties who thinks about George Romero's zombies all the time. Read More »

Halloween Roundup II: Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur Whisper in the Dark

The opening line of H.P. Lovecraft’s story, The Whisperer in Darkness, tells us most of what we need to know not only about his approach but Jacques Tourneur’s: “Bear in mind closely that I did not see any actual visual horror at the end.” Like Jaws and Tod Browning’s Dracula, what matters is the suggestion of horror coupled with the ... Read More »

DVD Review: Alexander

The Unclean Thing: Oliver Stone’s Alexander Oliver Stone’s Alexander (2004) is a bit of a mess, but I was happy to see that Stone acted true to form and made a movie that sees ideas as plot devices; that is, he always tries to merge story and “theme” so that the two complement each other. In doing so, he may ... Read More »

DVD Review: Pre-Halloween Roundup

I know it’s not yet October, but I thought we could jump-start the busiest time of the year for home viewing–at least in my house–with a few selections–actually, a record of the movies we watched last Halloween season (all available on DVD; Netflix forever!). So enjoy, kiddies.Willard (2003) I have nothing new to add here. Yes, Crispin Glover fits the ... Read More »

Ripley’s Believe It or Not: Alien and the Suspension of Disbelief

I still own an old paperback copy of Carlos Clarens’ Illustrated History of Horror Films. (According to Amazon, it’s still in print, with “Science Fiction” added to the title.) I read it when I was in seventh or eighth grade, right around the time Karloff died. I’d like to write about both Clarens and Karloff in more depth some time, ... Read More »