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the Video Vault

This category contains 24 posts

From the Vault: ‘Cronos’ (1992)

It’s been 20 years since Guillermo del Toro made his directorial debut with Cronos; since then he’s made Oscar-winning dark fantasy (Pan’s Labrynth), a Spanish Civil War allegory in the guise of a terrifying ghost story (The Devil’s Backbone), elevated second-tier comic book characters to cult film status (Blade II and the Hellboy films), and … Continue reading

From the Vault: ‘Mother Night’ (1996)

Adapted from Kurt Vonnegut’s 1961 novel by actor-director Keith Gordon, Mother Night delivers a haunting, lingering impact thanks to its unsettling core theme, summarized by Vonnegut thusly: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” In this case, the pretender is one Howard W. Campbell Jr. (Nick … Continue reading

From the Vault: ‘Six-String Samurai’ (1998)

Ordinarily, mixing aspects of samurai movies, westerns, post-apocalyptic science fiction, faux ’50s kitsch, and rock and roll icons into a single low-budget road movie is a pure and simple recipe for disaster; yet writer-director Lance Mungia managed to (mostly) sidestep the pitfalls of such a bizarre hash and deliver what quickly became a textbook cult … Continue reading

From the Vault: ‘Ravenous’ (1999)

Largely forgotten, Antonia Bird’s underappreciated horror-dramedy is a flawed (she was brought in to replace a director who had chafed under Fox 2000’s heavy-handed management) but gruesomely fun time-killer that may be the best (and possibly only) movie about cannibalism ever directed by a vegetarian. Guy Pearce stars as Captain John Boyd, an Army officer … Continue reading

From the Vault: ‘The Call of Cthulhu’ (2005)

One of the most popular and influential genre writers of the pulp era, H. P. Lovecraft was a master of weird fiction, a heady blend of dark fantasy and terror with the occasional science fiction twist. His fans have long since opined the fact that the bulk of his works are long overdue for film … Continue reading

From the Vault: ‘Freaks’ (1932)

With the release of this harrowing early sound motion picture, director Tod Browning blindsided audiences with this shocking follow-up to his successful Dracula, create a cult film for the ages, and kill his promising career dead in its tracks by daring to ask “Can a full-grown woman truly love a midget?”. The set-up is simple enough: A gold-digging … Continue reading

From the Vault: “Cannibal! The Musical” (1993)

Long before they gave us South Park and The Book of Mormon, Trey Parker and Matt Stone made their first forays into film and musicals with this indie black comedy based on the infamous story of Alferd Packer, the only American found guilty of cannibalism. The real Packer was a Colorado gold prospector who was the sole … Continue reading

From the Vault: ‘Hardware’ (1990)

A minor cyberpunk achievement and major cult classic, Hardware is a daring exercise in sex, violence, rock and roll, and nihilism that makes up for its shoestring budget and rough edges with inventive filmmaking and cleverly realized vision. Based on a story from the British science fiction-themed comic book 2000 AD and set in a post-apocalyptic future … Continue reading

From the Vault: ‘Zardoz’

“Beyond 1984. Beyond 2001. Beyond love. Beyond death.” read the tagline for John Boorman’s existentialist 1974 science fantasy flick Zardoz, which was also beyond comprehension for much of its 105-minute runtime. Equal parts ambitious and pretentious, it doesn’t fully live up to its lofty ideas, but it is nevertheless fascinating to watch thanks largely to … Continue reading

From the Vault: ‘The Brotherhood of the Wolf’

Very loosely based on the legend of the Beast of Gévaudan — a man-eating animal of unknown origin that terrorized the French countryside in the late 18th century — the historical drama (for lack of a better term) Brotherhood of the Wolf is a gonzo blend of about a half-dozen disparate genres that somehow works as a … Continue reading

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