And, finally, here are the nominations of the St. Louis Film Critics Association!


As soon as I post this, I will be caught up on sharing all of the precursor awards here on the Shattered Lens (or, at the very least, all of the precursor awards that have been announced so far.  There’s several more to come).  It’s not a minute to soon either!  Tomorrow, the SAG Nominations will be announced.  That’s one of the biggest of the precursors.

Anyway, the St. Louis Film Critics Association announce their nominations yesterday.  The winners will be announced on December 17th.

Here are the nominees!

BEST PICTURE

  • “Get Out”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “The Post”
  • “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
  • Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
  • Denis Villeneuve, “Blade Runner 2049”
  • Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
  • Steven Spielberg, “The Post”

BEST ACTRESS

  • Kristen Stewart, “Personal Shopper”
  • Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
  • Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
  • Meryl Streep, “The Post”
  • Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ACTOR

  • Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
  • Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
  • James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
  • Tom Hanks,”The Post”
  • Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Kristin Scott Thomas, “Darkest Hour”
  • Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
  • Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
  • Hong Chau, “Downsizing”
  • Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Michael Shannon, “The Shape of Water”
  • Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
  • William Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
  • Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • “The Big Sick”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “Get Out”
  • “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • “The Shape of Water”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

BEST SOUNDTRACK

BEST EDITING

  • “Darkest Hour”
  • “The Post”
  • “Baby Driver”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Dunkirk”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

BEST SCORE

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • “Jane”
  • “Last Man in Aleppo”
  • “Never Say Goodbye: The Kshe Documentary”
  • “Whose Streets?”
  • “City of Ghosts”

BEST ANIMATED MOVIE

  • “Despicable Me 3”
  • “Loving Vincent”
  • The LEGO Batman Movie”
  • “Coco”
  • “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie”

BEST FOREIGN FILM

  • “Frantz”
  • “The Square”
  • “Graduation”
  • “Land of Mine”
  • “First They Killed My Father”

BEST SCENE

  • Harlem Shuffle Opening, “Baby Driver”
  • Elio’s Dad’s Monologue, “Call Me By Your Name”
  • Stairway Fight, “Atomic Blonde”
  • Coach Directing The Tempest, “Lady Bird”
  • ‘Oh, hi, Mark,’ “The Disaster Artist

WORST FILM

Horror Film Review: The Mummy (dir by Alex Kurtzman)


Oh, where to start?

The Mummy was promoted as being the first entry in Universal’s new Dark Universe, a shared cinematic universe that would supposedly do for the classic monsters what the MCU did for super heroes.  (Of course, horror fans with a good memory remember that Dracula Untold was originally supposed to be the first part of the Dark Universe franchise but, after that film bombed with both critics and audiences, Universal announced, “We were just kidding.  The Dark Universe starts with The Mummy.”)  The Mummy was released in June and it got absolutely decimated by critics.  That wasn’t too surprising.  One could tell from the commercials that, even with 2017 being a good year from horror, The Mummy was not going to be a critical favorite.  But then, audiences rejected it as well, throwing the whole future of the Dark Universe franchise into limbo.

To be honest, I think The Mummy could have been a fun little movie if it had only been 90 minutes long and hadn’t gotten bogged down with all that Dark Universe nonsense.  There are a few moments that actually do work, though they are few and far between.  The film stars Tom Cruise, who is a veteran at handling nonsense and who gives a somewhat lighter version of his standard Mission Impossible performance.  Jake Johnson shows up as a talking corpse and he has a way with a sarcastic line.  Some of the special effects are effective, though The Mummy is often far too dependent upon them.

The plot is damn near incoherent and it didn’t take long for me to give up on trying to follow it.  The film started with a bunch of crusaders moving in slow motion and then it jumped forward to modern-day Iraq, where Sgt. Nick (Cruise) and Cpl. Chris (Johnson) uncovered an ancient tomb.  Apparently, opening the tomb unleashes Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who is thousands of years old and is still alive because she was cursed to be both immortal and buried alive.  So, now, she’s free and apparently, she wants Nick to merge with Set, the Egyptian god of all things evil.  But Nick doesn’t want to be evil.  He just wants to save the lives of Chris and Jenny (Annabelle Wallis), an archeologist who basically has the same role that Natalie Portman had in the first Thor film.

Meanwhile, Russell Crowe is wandering around as Dr. Jekyll.  This is where the whole Dark Universe things kicks.  Dr. Jekyll is in charge of this secret organization that keeps tabs on all the paranormal stuff that’s happening in the world.  However, if Dr. Jekyll doesn’t regularly get his injection, he turns into evil Mr. Hyde.  In this movie, that means that Crowe suddenly starts talking with a cockney accent.  I’m assuming that, much like Samuel L. Jackson did for the MCU, Russell Crowe is meant to link all of the Dark Universe films together.  Of course, the difference is that the early MCU films usually only had Jackson show up at the end of the movie, often in a post-credits scene.  Crowe, on the other hand, pops up out of nowhere, takes over a huge chunk of the film, and then vanishes.  I was already having enough trouble trying to keep up with the Mummy’s schemes without having to deal with a random Mr. Hyde sighting.

The Mummy is a mess.  When it starts, it’s a likable mess, with Cruise and Johnson exchanging silly lines.  But then the movie gets caught up in trying to launch a franchise and it all goes downhill from there.  There’s even a scene where Ahmanet stands in the middle of a London streets and starts throwing cars around.  It’s such an MCU scene that I was surprised Robert Downey, Jr. didn’t come flying by.  If The Mummy had just been a content to be a silly monster movie, it could have been fun.  But instead, The Mummy tried to launch an entire universe and it just wasn’t up to the task.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Terence Fisher Edition


4 Shots From 4 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 is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order!  That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!

Today’s director: one of the masters of Hammer horror, Terence Fisher!

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957, dir by Terence Fisher)

The Horror of Dracula (1958, dir by Terence Fisher)

The Mummy (1959, dir by Terence Fisher)

The Gorgon (1964, dir by Terence Fisher)

4 Shots From Horror History: Night of the Demon, Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula, The Mummy


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

Today, we reach the end of the 50s and the rise of British horror.

4 Shots From 4 Films

Night of the Demon (1957, dir by Jacques Tourneur)

Night of the Demon (1957, dir by Jacques Tourneur)

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957, dir by Terence Fisher)

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957, dir by Terence Fisher)

 Horror of Dracula (1958, dir by Terence Fisher)

Horror of Dracula (1958, dir by Terence Fisher)

The Mummy (1959, dir by Terence Fisher)

The Mummy (1959, dir by Terence Fisher)

Horror Film Review: The Mummy (dir by Karl Freund)


220px-the_mummy_1932_film_poster

Did H.P. Lovecraft enjoy movies?  I’d love to think that he did but in all probability, he didn’t.  After all, Lovecraft frequently wrote, in both his fiction and his personal correspondence, that he found the modern world to be “decadent.”  He was not a fan of technological development, viewing it as being the source of civilization’s decline.

In all probability, Lovecraft did not enjoy the movies.  When The Mummy was first released in 1932, it’s probable that Lovecraft did not rush out to a local Providence movie theater and buy a ticket.

And, really, that’s a shame.  Of the many horror films released by Universal Pictures in the 1930s, The Mummy was perhaps the most Lovecraftian.  The bare bones of the film’s plot could have easily been lifted from one of Lovecraft’s stories: a group of rational and educated men are confronted with an ancient evil that defies all reason.  When the title character is brought back to life by a man foolishly reading from the fictional Scroll of Thoth, one is reminded of not only the Necronomicon but also of the dozens of other fictional-but-plausible texts that have appeared in the works of both Lovecraft and his successors.  Just the sight of the Mummy coming back to life causes one man to have an immediate nervous breakdown, a fate shared by almost every Lovecraft protagonist who was unfortunate enough to learn about Cthulhu, Azathoth, and the truth concerning man’s insignificant place in the universe.

The story of The Mummy goes something like this:  In ancient Egypt, a priest is caught trying to bring his dead lover back to life and, as punishment, he is mummified alive and locked away in a tomb.  Centuries later, a group of explorers discover the tomb.  The mummy comes back to life and, ten years later, he abducts the woman (played by the very beautiful Zita Johann) whom he believes to be the reincarnation of his former love.

I’ve watched The Mummy a few times and one thing that always surprises me is how little we actually see of the Mummy as a mummy.  After he’s accidentally resurrected by Ralph Norton (Bramwell Fletcher), the Mummy steps out of his sarcophagus and stumbles out into the streets of Cairo, leaving a now insane Norton to giggle incoherently about how the mummy just stepped outside for a walk.  That is pretty much the last time that we ever see the Mummy wrapped up in bandages.  When we next see the Mummy, he’s going by the name Ardath Bey and he bears a distinct resemblance to Boris Karloff.

Karloff gives one of his best performance as the sinister and calculating Bey.  Of all the horror films that were released by Universal in the 1930s, The Mummy is perhaps the only one that can still be considered to be, at the very least, disturbing.  That’s largely due to the fact that, as played by Karloff, Bey is the epitome of pitiless and relentless evil.  I’m always especially shaken by the scene in which Bey uses his magical powers to make a man miles away die of a heart attack.  It’s not just the fact that Bey has the power to do something like this.  It’s that Bey seems to get so much enjoyment out of it.  There’s a sadistic gleam in Karloff’s eyes during these scenes and his expression of grim satisfaction is pure nightmare fuel.

Just compare Bey to the other Universal monsters: The Invisible Man was driven insane by an unforeseen side effect of his formula.  Frankenstein’s Monster was destructive because he didn’t know any better.  The Wolf Man spent five movies begging people to kill him and put him out of his misery.  And while Dracula was certainly evil, he had as many limitations as he had power.  He couldn’t go out in daylight.  He was easily repelled by both crosses and garlic.  He often didn’t do a very good job of hiding his coffin.  Ardath Bey, on the other hand, was not only evil but apparently unstoppable as well.

The rest of the cast is pretty much overshadowed by Karloff but fans of the old Universal horror movies will enjoy picking out familiar faces.  They’ll recognize David Manners from Dracula.  Edward Van Sloan also shows up here, fresh from playing Van Helsing in Dracula and Dr. Waldman in Frankenstein.  But ultimately, it is Karloff who dominates the film and that’s the way it should be.  There’s a reason why Boris Karloff could get away with only his last name appearing in the credits.  He was an icon of both cinema and horror and The Mummy reminds us why.

For a film that was first released 84 years ago, The Mummy holds up surprisingly well.  There have been countless movies about homicidal mummies over the years but none have yet to match the original.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, White Zombie


4 Shots From 4 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 is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

4 Shots From 4 Films

Frankenstein (1931, directed by James Whale)

Frankenstein (1931, directed by James Whale)

Dracula (1931, directed by Tod Browning)

Dracula (1931, directed by Tod Browning)

The Mummy (1932, directed by Karl Freund)

The Mummy (1932, directed by Karl Freund)

White Zombie (1932, directed by Vincent Halperin)

White Zombie (1932, directed by Victor Halperin)