Articles by Alex Kirschenbaum

The Muppet Movie

“A frog and a bear, seeing America!” -Fozzie Bear, The Muppet Movie There was a time, not too long ago, when the world was swept up in full-on Muppet Mania. Adorable felt-and-foam constructions brought to convincing life by an array of artisans first overtook TV airwaves, then graduated to vinyl and celluloid. The excitement peaked…

Pet Sematary (1989)

Spoilers for all three Pet Sematary films abound throughout this review. Read on, if you dare. TFH Guru Mary Lambert‘s excellent, intense and darkly funny film adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary debuted on April 21st, 1989. 30 years later, it has terrified untold oodles of pet owners, who’ve no doubt pondered the lengths to…

Lords of Chaos

Writer/director (and former Bathory drummer) Jonas Åkerlund’s new black metal murder dramedy Lords of Chaos has really stuck with this critic since I first saw it two weeks ago. The controversial true crime tale has plenty to say about the lives of fringe musicians, the dangers of toxic masculinity and groupthink, and the tenuous nature of friendships…

Misery

Author’s Note: Some spoilers populate this review, because it’s impossible to thoroughly appraise Misery without unpacking some of the film’s more macabre elements. The uninitiated are advised to watch the film ASAP, then return to this space. The most famous non-fiction line coined by the recently departed screenwriting genius William Goldman is undoubtedly “Nobody knows anything,” a…

The Halloween Film Power Rankings

John Carpenter’s immortal 1978 Halloween was never built to have one sequel, let alone eight (plus two movies in a remake series). Though it left us with Michael Myers still on the loose, an omnipresent, almost metaphysical boogeyman, in a lot of respects, the movie is utterly self-contained. The immediate threat of Myers has been quelled by…

The Halloween Timeline Power Rankings

Happy Halloween, Trailers From Hell miscreants! Roughly 17 million folks stateside as of this writing have seen the latest Halloween film (based on its current $159.3 million domestic box office take divided by the average ticket price), which premiered to stellar reviews and brisk business. Upon leaving their local theater, I’m sure a lot of those…

Fright Night

Why does Fright Night, the 1985 vampire teen horror-comedy curio, endure as a great movie long past its expected sell-by date? Because writer/director Tom Holland’s Fright Night extends its core subject matter, vampiric transformation, into a studied allegory for the painful, violent uncertainty of adolescence. And because it unflinchingly tackles the two underlying themes at the core…

Evil Dead II

With Halloween fast approaching, this writer wanted to unpack one of his all-time favorite horror movies, Evil Dead II (a.k.a. Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn). The first time I beheld the original The Evil Dead (1981), I found myself utterly terrified by the movie’s grisly carnage, completely charmed by its obvious low-fi origins, and wholly bewildered…

King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen

TFH Fearless Leader Joe Dante very astutely tip-toes around Larry Cohen’s stylistic filmmaking identity early on in King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen. Dante notes, “I would hardly call him the John Cassavetes of exploitation movies, but he does have a certain raw, visceral, realistic style.” Indeed, Larry Cohen’s signature film, Q:…