Lady Vengeance

by Farihah Zaman

  • Genre at the 2013 Oscars: Live Action Short Death of a Shadow

    The Oscars are not generally considered a crucial event for genre lovers; the inclusion of such films is often limited, and often ghettoized, relegated to technical awards only. This year there are several films in requisite categories like Makeup and Hairstyling, and Visual Effects (whose nominees include The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Avengers, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Prometheus). Another good category where one can snoop out genre fare is in Best Animated Film, and 2013 doesn’t disappoint, with the lovingly crafted and decidedly Gothic take on suburbia in ParaNorman and Tim Burton’s tale of a boy and…  Read more

    On Feb 22, 2013
    By on Feb 22, 2013 Columns
  • Antiviral: The Spawn of the Spawn of David Cronenberg

    Imagining a future in which celebrity worship has become the new world order hardly strains the brain, but first-time filmmaker Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral creates this scenario with such casual logic and vivid detail that very little imagination is required to make the leap from current reality to future absurdity. In this world, we no longer want to hear, as a society, that stars are just like us, we want them to be other, god-like. There is also a yearning to be close to them; the ritualistic collection of autographs or buying Kim Kardashian’s used hair dryer on eBay has morphed…  Read more

    On Feb 8, 2013
    By on Feb 8, 2013 Columns
  • Eat Your Brains Out, Twilight: Reviewing Warm Bodies

    As the writer of a genre column, I spend an inordinate amount of time contemplating the balance between “classic” and “updated” when it comes to monster movie tropes in vampire, werewolf, and zombie fare. How much can a new offering stick to the proscribed strictures of, say, werewolf lore without feeling stale or, at best, adequate? How far can a new film stray from those details without sacrificing the pleasing familiarity we all love, a dependence on immutable truths like zombies are slow, and vampires go poof in the daylight? Every film should have the opportunity to make its own…  Read more

    On Feb 1, 2013
    By on Feb 1, 2013 Columns
  • Lady Vengeance: Sinister Review (Fantastic Fest 2012)

    A mainstream production with a mainstream star, Sinister employs such horror movie tropes as a nice family moving into a new house with a past, the supernatural traveling through photographs and movies, and suspiciously troubled children. Yet despite its potentially cliché setup, the film feels unexpectedly fresh; a mash-up of ghost story, serial killer thriller, and Ringu-style photo-phobia that is more than the sum of its parts. The film is anchored by a story of believable domestic strain, and probes slightly deeper than many films in its exploration of the primal idea that images, like the film itself, represent a…  Read more

    On Oct 12, 2012
    By on Oct 12, 2012 Columns
  • Lady Vengeance: V/H/S — Horror Movie Litmus Test

    The most important thing to know about V/H/S is that it is more than the sum of its gimmicky-on-paper parts, which include found footage film, genre anthology, and snuffy homage to the recent history of lo-fi horror. Although it is not entirely free of the inherent unevenness of the omnibus film, V/H/S works surprisingly well as a whole because of consistency in the aesthetic, clever writing, and tongue-in-cheek humor across multiple directors’ vignettes. The setup involves a group of 20-something delinquents whose primary activity is shooting prank videos of a slightly racier nature than the likes of Jackass. When they…  Read more

    On Oct 5, 2012
    By on Oct 5, 2012 Columns
  • Lady Vengeance: Trailer Happy, Scaring the Children Edition

    Trailers have the ability to psyche us up, freak us out, turn us off, and lead us very, very astray, but the heightened anticipation is part of the fun, regardless of how accurate a representation of the film that cleverly constructed little bugger ends up being in the end. Recently there’s been a spate of trailers for horror-themed animated children’s films, starting with ParaNorman (pictured above), which opened today. So which of these flicks is most likely to either give your kids nightmares, or send them down a lifelong path of genre appreciation? Let’s judge a book by its cover…  Read more

    On Aug 17, 2012
    By on Aug 17, 2012 Columns
  • Lady Vengeance: Hungering for the Release of Battle Royale

    Although I’ve been recently reminded of the fact repeatedly, it always shocks me anew to hear that Battle Royale, Kinji Fukasaku’s stunning, blood-soaked film adaptation of the novel by Koushun Takami, has never officially had U.S. distribution. After a spate of festival bookings, a 3D release of the film in honor of its 10-year anniversary, and a DVD and Blu-ray release from Anchor Bay, Battle Royale, original flavor, is starting to see theatrical premieres in the U.S., like the one at the Cinefamily Theater in Los Angeles in December 2011, and the New York premiere starting at the IFC Center…  Read more

    On May 25, 2012
    By on May 25, 2012 Columns
  • Lady Vengeance: A Genre Fan’s Guide to 2012 New Directors/New Films

    New Directors/New Films is known for bringing some of the freshest, boldest films to light, and not necessarily just for New York audiences. Arthouse theaters around the country often make selections from this well-regarded festival’s programming. The relatively high-brow co-presentation of the The Museum of Modern Art and the The Film Society of Lincoln Center is not, however, generally considered a place to discover new genre film, despite its reputation for supporting ballsy young upstarts. Yet perhaps the increasing cultural and cinematic significance of sufficiently well-made genre films is now keeping them from being overlooked by the festival that saves…  Read more

    On Mar 23, 2012
    By on Mar 23, 2012 Columns
  • Lady Vengeance: Andrzej Zulawski – High End Low Life

    In a fit of extreme ballsiness, BAMcinématek is currently plummeting down the rabbit hole opened by Polish filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski, showcasing a complete retrospective appropriately entitled Hysterical Excess. Zulawaski’s films employ many hallmarks of genre filmmaking: the paranormal, the psychedelic, blood and guts. As well, beasties and boobies make appearances somewhat to excess, a tendency which has kept him from recognition as an “important” auteur despite a consistent aesthetic based on exhilarating camerawork (in collaboration with beloved cinematographer Andrzej Jaroszewicz) that swoops and dives like a bat one moment only to penetrate a bedroom with the tightest, most controlled zoom…  Read more

    On Mar 9, 2012
    By on Mar 9, 2012 Columns
  • Lady Vengeance: Trailer Happy, February 2012

      Trailers have the ability to psyche us up, freak us out, turn us off, and lead us very, very astray, but the heightened anticipation (they don’t call them teasers for nothing) is part of the fun, regardless of how accurate a representation of the film that cleverly constructed little bugger ends up being in the end. Here’s a little commentary on a selection of recent genre trailers; let’s both judge a book by its cover and appraise the cover itself.   THE SNOWTOWN MURDERS (Justin Kurzel, in theaters March 2nd) I always feel wary of trailers that start off…  Read more

    On Feb 17, 2012
    By on Feb 17, 2012 Columns
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