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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Flanagan’

Ouija: Origin of Evil

Friday, October 23rd, 2020

This is a rare event for me, to watch a prequel to a movie I haven’t seen and don’t plan to see. The original OUIJA from 2014 was a PG-13 horror movie co-produced by ghost-merchants Blumhouse and remakers Platinum Dunes, “based on Ouija by Hasbro.” It’s the same writers as KNOWING, which could be a plus, but I didn’t know that until just now. So it didn’t seem like a movie for me, and nobody told me otherwise.

But two years later I remember seeing the trailer for the prequel before some other horror movie and talking with my friend about it actually looking good. It’s a period piece set in 1967, with a real nice look to it courtesy of cinematographer Michael Fimognari (FAST COLOR) and this time it’s directed by Mike Flanagan – I’m not sure if I’d seen anything by him yet, but I’d heard good things about OCULUS. And since then I’ve seen ABSENTIA, HUSH and GERALD’S GAME – all quite good – and the 2018 made-for-Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House convinced me that he is a legit Master of Horror for our age, even before he knocked my socks off with DOCTOR SLEEP. So it’s cool to go back and catch up on this one and realize how much of a rough draft it was for Hill House (even more than ABSENTIA). It’s got the scary old house (smaller and suburban, though), the psychic gift passed through generations, the themes of trauma and loss, the period detail, and of course the freaky ass Mike Flanagan ghosts. (Flanaghosts?) (read the rest of this shit…)

Absentia

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

I think it’s pretty widely agreed now that Mike Flanagan is one of the most qualified candidates for a new “Master of Horror,” right? Two others would be Jordan Peele and Ari Aster, but they only have two movies each to go by. Flanagan has more evidence on file. I know it’s a title previously reserved for the guys we read about in Fangoria when we were growing up, and here I’m nominating three guys I’m older than. Time is a bastard. But we need fresh blood. The Masters need heirs.

I didn’t review them, but I thought HUSH and GERALD’S GAME (both not-on-DVD Netflix exclusives, unfortunately) were good. I think DOCTOR SLEEP is truly great, and will likely be near the top of my best of the decade list. But of the one’s I’ve seen so far his true masterpiece is the TV series The Haunting of Hill House. I’m a guy who generally doesn’t give a shit about ghost stories, and has a hard time keeping up with TV shows, but I found that series absolutely captivating, deeply moving, and at times really fuckin scary. I didn’t even need the ghosts to show up very often, honestly. I was so into the characters. As thrilling as the climax was, I was kind of sad to get to the last episodes because I just wanted it to keep going.

DOCTOR SLEEP and Hill House have many themes and elements in common, despite being adapted from unrelated books. And since they’re his biggest and most expensive to date, they’re kind of like the ultimate Mike Flanagan films. Both could be described as sprawling – they have multiple time periods and locations, some giant sets, large casts, great FX and a type of high level cinematography I love with very complex and effective camera moves (including long takes). So I really didn’t know if his first feature ABSENTIA, which had a $70,000 budget raised partly on Kickstarter and was filmed mostly in his apartment in Glendale, would seem that much like what we now know is a Mike Flanagan film. (read the rest of this shit…)

Doctor Sleep

Monday, November 11th, 2019

As a young man I read a bunch of Stephen King. He was my favorite until I decided Clive Barker was more interesting – I don’t know if I was right. The point is I’m just another movie-watching asshole and can’t pretend to be a King scholar. I haven’t read The Shining (1977) or its 2013 sequel Doctor Sleep. I have, of course, seen Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING, and like everyone except King and the Razzies voters I think it’s a masterpiece. (I also just realized it’s the first horror movie I remember seeing.)

It almost seemed like a suicide mission for writer/director/editor Mike Flanagan (OCULUS, HUSH, GERALD’S GAME) to make a movie out of Doctor Sleep. How do you even make a sequel to one of the most unfuckwithable horror movies ever made – a fucking Stanley Kubrick movie – let alone try to please the author who famously hated the movie’s take on his very personal story about alcoholism? He tried to bridge the movie with the books, and I think he pulled it off! (read the rest of this shit…)