4 Shots From 4 Horror Films: 2015 — 2016


4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we take a look at 2015 and 2016!

4 Shots From 4 Horror Films: 2015 — 2016

Crimson Peak (2015, dir by Guillermo Del Toro, DP: Dan Lausten)

The Belko Experiment (2016, dir by Greg McLean, DP: Luis David Sansas)

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016, dir by Andre Ovredal, DP: Roman Osin)

The Neon Demon (2016, dir by Nicholas Winding Refn, DP: Natalie Baier)

6 Shots From 6 Horror Movies: 2008 — 2010


4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films. I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we take a look at 2008, 2009, and 2010!

6 Shots From 6 Horror Movies: 2008 — 2010

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008, dir by Guillermo del Toro, DP: Guillermo Navarro)

Drag Me To Hell (2009, dir by Sam Raimi, DP: Peter Deming)

The House of the Devil (2009, dir by Ti West, DP: Eliot Rockett)

The Ward (2010, dir by John Carpenter, DP: Yaron Orbach)

The Mask of Medusa (2010, dir by Jean Rollin)

Black Swan (2010, dir by Darren Aronosfky, DP: Matthew Libatique)

6 Shots From 6 Horror Films: 2000 — 2001


4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we take a look at 2000 and 2001!

6 Shots From 6 Horror Films — 2000 — 2001

Shadow of the Vampire (2000, dir by E. Elias Merhige, DP: Lou Bogue)

Ginger Snaps (2000, dir by John Fawcett, DP: Thom Best)

American Psycho (2000, dir by Mary Harron, DP: Andrzej Sekuła)

The Devil’s Backbone (2001, dir by Guillermo del Toro, DP: Guillermo Navarro)

The Others (2001, directed by Alejandro Amenabar, DP: Javier Aguirresarobe)

Mulholland Drive (2001, dir by David Lynch, DP: Peter Deming)

8 Shots From 8 Horror Films: 1990 — 1993


4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different with my contribution to 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films.  I’m going to be taking a little chronological tour of the history of horror cinema, moving from decade to decade.

Today, we take a look at 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993!

8 Shots From 8 Horror Films: 1990 — 1993

Troll 2 (1990, dir by Claudio Fragasso, DP: Giancarlo Ferrando)

It (1990, dir by Tommy Lee Wallace, DP: Richard Lieterman)

Frankenstein Unbound (1990, dir by Roger Corman, DP: Armando Nannuzzi)

The People Under The Stairs (1991, dir by Wes Craven, DP: Sandi Sissel)

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992, dir by David Lynch, DP: Ron Garcia)

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992, dir by Francis Ford Coppola, DP: Michael Ballhaus)

Witchboard 2: The Devil’s Doorway (1993, dir by Kevin S. Tenney, DP: David Lewis)

Cronos (1993, dir by Guillermo Del Toro, DP: Guillermo Navarro)

Lisa Marie Reviews An Oscar Nominee: Nightmare Alley (dir by Guillermo del Toro)


In March, CODA won the Oscar for Best Picture.

By May, I think most people had forgotten about it.

I point this out not to be snarky about CODA (which, for the most part, I found to be a well-made and sweet-natured movie) but to just point out that occasionally, the Oscar for Best Picture Of The Year does not go to the nominee that’s necessarily going to be remembered and watched by future generations.  CODA’s victory is not a travesty, regardless of what some members of Film Twitter insisted.  This isn’t like when Green Book won.  It’s just that CODA seems to be destined to be remembered in much the same way that we remember Argo and Spotlight, i.e. a well-made and well-acted film that gets the job done but don’t necessarily stick around in your mind for long after you watch it.

In fact, looking back at all of the 2021 Best Picture nominees, the one that has really stuck with me is Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley.

Nightmare Alley tells the story of Stan Carlisle (Bradley Cooper), a drifter who, in 1939, gets a job with a carnival.  Stan is running from his past.  He’s haunted by visions and dreams of a dying old man and a burning farm house.  When we first meet him, he avoids alcohol which is perhaps a good thing as getting drunk at the carnival just makes someone easier to exploit and, ultimately, the carnival is all about exploitation.  The carnival’s owner, Clem (Willem DaFoe), specializes in tricking alcoholics into becoming opium-addicted “geeks,” who bite the heads off of chickens for gawking country audiences.

It’s not a glamorous life but it’s one that allows Stan to hide from his past.  He comes under the tutelage of Madame Zeena (Toni Collette) and her husband, Pete (David Straithairn).  They teach him how to give “cold readings,” and Stan proves to be an eager student.  Pete tells Stan to never pretend to be able to speak to the dead and, from the minute that Pete says it, we can tell that Stan is already thinking about how much money he could make by doing just that.  Stan also appears to fall in love with Molly (Rooney Mara), a performer whose act involves a fake electric chair.  When Stan eventually abandons the carnival, Molly goes with him.  When Stan finds success as a fake medium, Molly is his assistant.

Stan becomes quite a success in Buffalo, trading in his shabby clothes and his unshaven appearance for a tuxedo and suave mustache.  With success comes arrogance and Stan soon ignore what Pete told him about pretending to be able to speak to the dead.  When Stan meets a psychologist named Dr. Lillian Rith (Cate Blanchett), he gets involved in a plot to con a judge who is still mourning for his deceased son.  It also leads to Stan meeting a corrupt and murderous businessman (Richard Jenkins).  Ignoring Pete’s lesson sets off a chain of events that leads Stan right back to where he started.

There’s something wonderfully subversive about taking Bradley Cooper, a legitimate movie star who is probably one of the most personable and likable actors working today, and casting him as such a sleazy character.  This isn’t a case, as in American Hustle or even The Hangover movies, where Cooper is playing a goof who gets in over his head.  Instead, Stan is someone who uses his eager manner and his natural charm to cover up the fact that he’s hollow on the inside.  Watching the film, you’re never quite sure as to whether or not Stan truly cares about any of the people who come into his life.  Does he love Molly or is he just using her?  Does he care about his friends from the carnival or is he just manipulating them into acting as a shield to keep out his former life?  When he goes against Pete’s lessons about pretending to speak to the dead, is he motivated by greed or arrogance?  Or does he truly want to believe that he’s somehow become the all-powerful psychic that he pretends to be?  Stan becomes a success because he knows how to con everyone but eventually, he meets someone who is even emptier than he is.  Ultimately, Stan cons himself.  He tricks himself into believing that he’s more clever than he actually is and he ends up facing the fate that he secretly always knew was waiting for him.  Cooper gives an outstanding performance as Stan.  Both he and del Toro cleverly play with what audiences expect when they see Bradley Cooper onscreen.  In the end, the film suggests that not even charm can ward off karma.

Nightmare Alley is work of what Lucio Fulci called “pure cinema,” one in which the imagery and the emotions generated by that imagery is even more important than the story itself.  The sets, whether it’s the carnival or Dr. Ritter’s office or the Buffalo ballroom where Stan cons the wealthy, are large and ornate.  The cinematography is gorgeous.  The supporting performances are arch and witty.  Cate Blanchett’s and Rooney Mara’s costumes are to die for.  Nearly every shot feels as if it could have been lifted from a particularly vivid dream.  Guillermo del Toro’s love of cinema is evident in every frame of Nightmare Alley.  It’s a film that celebrates the grandeur and the power of imagination and also warns about the destructive power of hubris.  Despite the fact that del Toro has gone on the record saying that there’s nothing supernatural about Nightmare Alley, it’s still a wonderful film for the Halloween season.  The costumes are beautiful and the final third of the movie plays like an homage to the classic German expressionistic horror films, with Blanchett playing her role as a mix of Dr. Caligari and a classic noir feeme fatale.  Nightmare Alley is a big, flamboyant, and unforgettable work of pure cinema and, looking back, it’s my favorite film of 2021.

It’s a film that stays with you.

Here’s The Trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio


Every few years, we get a new version of Pinocchio.  Walt Disney was responsible for the best-known version.  And then there were a few live action versions that were made in Europe in the 50s and 60s.  There was a pornographic version in the 70s that featured the immortal tag line, “This time, it isn’t his nose that grows!”  If I remember correctly, there were a few made-for-television versions.  Roberto Begnini did a version that I’ve never seen but many people have told me that it’s terrifying.

Well, it’s 2022 and that means that were due a new version.  This time, it’s Guillermo del Toro’s turn to bring the tale of a wooden boy to life.  His animated version will be released on Netflix in December and, given how much the Oscars have recently embraced del Toro, it seems likely that it will be a contender for Best Animated Feature Film.  That’s fine, by me.  I like del Toro.  Of the latest crop of Best Picture nominees, Nightmare Alley is the one that has really stuck with me.  Certainly, it’s stuck with me more than whatever it was that actually won.

(Seriously, what did win?)

Here’s the trailer for Pinocchio!

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for November


It’s time for my monthly Oscar predictions!  Awards Season is going to begin in just another two days and the Oscar picture has become a lot more clearer.  

Last month, I was ready to write off West Side Story as a contender.  However, following both the film’s recent screening and the death of Stephen Sondheim, it’s now once again very much a contender.  If nothing else, Rita Moreno seems like the clear front runner for Supporting Actress.  This would be her first nomination since she won an Oscar for appearing in the original West Side Story.  Who can resist that narrative?

I’ve also added Licorice Pizza back to my list of nominees.  At first, I thought it sounded too slight to be a contender but the enthusiasm that I’m seeing for the film would seem to indicate that I was incorrect.

As always, keep in mind that I don’t claim to be an expert.  The picture is a bit clearer but I don’t claim to have any inside information or anything like that.  These are just my guesses, for better or worse.  To see how my thinking has evolved,  check out my predictions for March and April and May and June and July and August and September and October!

Best Picture

Being the Ricardos

Belfast

Dune

House of Gucci

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

The Lost Daughter

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza

Kenneth Branagh for Belfast

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Guillermo del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Best Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage in Cyrano

Jude Hill in Belfast

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Lady Gaga in House of Gucci

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

Rachel Zegler in West Side Story

Best Supporting Actor

Ben Affleck in The Tender Bar

Bradley Cooper in Licorice Pizza

Ciaran Hinds in Belfast

Jared Leto in House of Gucci

Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Ann Dowd in Mass

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis in King Richard

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Rita Moreno in West Side Story

 

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for October


It’s time to take a little break from horror so that I may once against do my list of my monthly Oscar predictions!  I guess some people would consider predicting the Oscars to be a scary thing.  Personally, I have fun doing it, even if my predictions often seem to be for naught.  That said, I did manage to predict that Thomas Vinterberg would be nominated for Best Director last year so take that, haters.

Probably the biggest development this month is that I’ve lost all faith in Spielberg’s West Side Story.  It’s just not getting the type of hype that I would expect from a Spielberg Oscar movie.  In fact, it seems like everyone involved is in kind of a hurry to move on.  So, for now, I’m dropping it from my predictions.  While West Side Story goes, Dune has definitely established itself as a probable nominee.  I think the only problem that Dune will have is the possibility of people saying, “We’ll just nominate the sequel instead.”

I’ve also added C’mon C’mon and Passing to my list of Best Picture nominees.  This is almost totally due to their popularity with the Gothams.  If the other critics groups don’t duplicate the love, they’ll probably get dropped from my predictions come January.

As always, keep in mind that I don’t claim to be an expert.  The picture is a bit clearer but I don’t claim to have any inside information or anything like that.  These are just my guesses, for better or worse.  To see how my thinking has evolved,  check out my predictions for March and April and May and June and July and August and September!

Best Picture

Belfast

C’mon C’mon

CODA

Dune

The Lost Daughter

Nightmare Alley

Passing

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Director

Kenneth Branagh for Belfast

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Maggie Gyllenhaal for The Lost Daughter

Guillermo del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Denis Villeneuve for Dune

Best Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage in Cyrano

Jude Hill in Belfast

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter

Penelope Cruz in Parallel Lives

Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in Nightmare Alley

Jamie Dornan in Belfast

Ciaran Hinds in Belfast

Jason Isaacs in Mass

Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Jessie Buckley in The Lost Daughter

Dame Judi Dench in Belfast

Ann Dowd in Mass

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Horror Scenes I Love: The Arrival At Allerdale Hall in Crimson Peak


Since today is Guillermo del Toro’s birthday, it only seems appropriate that today’s scene that I love comes from my favorite del Toro film.

In this scene from Crimson Peak, Thomas bring Edith to Allerdale Hall for the first time and it’s both hauntingly beautiful and rather frightening at the same time.  The same thing can be said for this film itself and perhaps all of del Toro’s work.  I just love the gothic atmosphere of the location.  Edith is determined to see the positive.  Thomas’s personality is already starting to change as the weight of returning to Allerdale starts to push in on him.  The mansion has already started to sink back into the Earth.  It’s just a wonderfully put-together scene, one that sets the mood for the rest of this sadly underrated film.

4 Shots From 4 Guillermo del Toro Films


4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films is just what it says it is, 4 (or more) shots from 4 (or more) of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 (or more) Shots From 4 (or more) Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy 58th birthday to the one and only Guillermo del Toro!  Del Toro won an Oscar for Shape of the Water.  Rumor has it that, next year, he could very well win another one for Nightmare Alley.  He’s an innovator.  He’s a visionary.  He’s an artist.  He’s one of the reasons why sites like this one exist in the first place.  And today, we honor his life, his career, and his legacy with….

4 Shots From 4 Guillermo Del Toro Films

Cronos (1993, dir by Guillermo del Toro, DP: Guillermo Navarro)

The Devil’s Backbone (2001, dir by Guillermo del Toro, DP: Guillermo Navarro)

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006, dir by Guillermo del Toro, DP: Guillermo Navarro)

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008, dir by Guillermo del Toro, DP: Guillermo Navarro)