Recent horror films offer a slight escape from the woes of the pandemic

You would think it was Halloween instead of summer with all the horror / thriller movies populating the local theaters.

Perhaps it was a backlog of unreleased films when Covid-19 closed theaters and made distributors eager to release new films?

“The Unholy” still haunts local theaters after his reverence in April. “A Quiet Place Part II” opened last weekend at box office gonzo numbers, and today “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” hits the big screen and HBO Max with the tagline “The Demonic Case That Shocked America. “

Very scary, but it’s not uncommon for horror movies to be a hit when society comes out of tough times like the ones we faced during the pandemic.

Films like “Dracula”, “Frankenstein” and “King Kong” debuted between 1931 and 1933 in the throes of the Great Depression. “The Wolf-Man” sparked a craze for the B-movie monsters on the weekend of the Pear Harbor bombing in December 1941, which did not end until after the troops returned from World War II.

Some film specialists believe that the success of films like “The Exorcist”, “Jaws” and “The Omen” in the early to mid-1970s was an outgrowth of the Zeitgeist as society continued to cope with turmoil and ramifications. inflation, the energy crisis, political disillusionment and the outcome of the Vietnam War.

So maybe it’s not all that strange that people want to come together in a theater to experience the cathartic outing that scary films have traditionally provided as we approach the end of the pandemic and begin to experience this. what could be our new normal.

While I grew up being a fan of Universal and Hammer horror films and still nostalgic for them today, the genre isn’t very close to my heart anymore. To date, I have seen so many scares, which are really more a function of the sound of the film than of what was captured on film, that I can anticipate them.

A subject that was once incredibly fun to me has become tired and boring. When movies touch on topics that really scare me or make me consider uncomfortable topics, I no longer find such thoughts so funny or appealing.

Maybe I’m too old or death is too near


The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson and Keith Arthur Bolden in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It / New Line Cinema

While most movies attempt to cast a wide net, not all movies are made for everyone. “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” and “The Unholy” (see review April 9) fall into this category. Both films are decidedly scary. I would say “The Unholy” offers a more frightening impact, but the mythology around “The Conjuring” franchise is superior because it creates some investment on the part of the viewer.

Stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson do a solid job as always, which helps you immerse yourself in the film’s narrative. They do most of the work in the movie playing paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.

James Wan, director of the first two films in the series, developed the story with screenwriter David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, but Michael Chaves (“The Curse of La Llorona”) directed the film based on a 1981 murder case. where the suspect claimed he was possessed by a demon, which forced him to kill his owner.

Again, this film was not made for my particular tastes. For those who find these films entertaining or captivating, the film is more of what Wan served in the first two films in the series, just with the sensibility of Chaves. The movie is effective and scary if you are willing to buy it. However, this is not a film that escapes the boundaries of its genre for those who are not horror aficionados.

Rating: C


A Quiet Place, Part II

Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place Part II / Paramount Pictures

As for “A Quiet Place: Part II, it’s a well-done sci-fi horror / thriller directed by John Krasinski, but I didn’t particularly like it.

I enjoyed the original film to some extent, but not as much as the others, who championed it as an instant classic. It was good, but this is not a film that I have revisited. Once was enough.

And that’s probably where my problem lies with the sequel which stars Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe. It’s in many ways the same movie as the original, with just a few new situations and a few new characters.

Murphy’s character, Emmett, is featured in a flashback when blind alien monsters invade Earth for the first time. I enjoyed this background information, but from there the movie reverted to the familiar trope of the family sneaking around trying to avoid the monsters. Was there; it is done.

The main storyline takes Emmett and hearing-impaired Regan (Simmonds) on a quest to find other survivors, while Evelyn (Blunt), her son Marcus (Jupe), and the baby remain in Emmett’s hideout, which leads of course to a confrontation with one of the aliens.

Frankly after the prologue, I got bored with the movie. However, if you really enjoyed the first movie, this movie could be a lot of entertaining for you. The film, again, is well done. It just didn’t work for me.

Rating: C


New in local theaters

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Watch the trailer) / (PG-13) 2 hrs. 14 minutes. / AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Pinnacle, Malco Rogers Towne

Untamed spirit (Watch the trailer) / (PG) 1 hr. 28 minutes / AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Pinnacle, Malco Rogers Towne, Skylight


Classic Corner – Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark

Harrison Ford and Karen Allen in Raiders of the Lost Ark / Paramount Pictures

If sore knees, hairline, and a seemingly endless mortgage don’t make you feel old, wait until one of your favorite childhood movies is 40. Then see how you feel.

Honestly, I find it hard to believe that Steven Spielberg’s action-adventure extravaganza “Raiders of the Lost Ark” turns 40 this summer.

I vividly remember queuing to see it on a scorching Tuesday night, which was dollar night at the Malco Theaters in Memphis, Tenn., Even at the “luxurious” Park Theater, which was the first in the area. from Memphis to get Dolby sound the year before, when “The Empire Strikes Back” debuted. I still remember the dark room shaken by the sound of thunder as the Imperial Cruisers passed over the screen, just after the opening crawl.

But I digress.

As much as I love the first three Star Wars films, I also feel like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was a movie made for me.

Indiana Jones was a returning character in the movie series and adventure films of the 1930s and 1940s, which I literally grew up watching when those movies were a staple of afternoon and night TV programming. late night in the 1970s.

I loved those old movies set in exotic locations, featuring enigmatic mysteries, extraordinary adventures and deadly traps that our hero barely escaped. Raiders was all of that but with the volume cranked up to 11.

While Johnny Weismuller’s Tarzan rivals him in my heart, Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones is my favorite cinematic adventurer of all time. Indy was a man who didn’t want to let a group of Nazis get away with looting ancient antiques to use them for nefarious purposes. “They belong to a museum.”

Harrison Ford is just perfect in the role. He might not have been the first choice – Tom Selleck was but couldn’t get out of the “Magnum PI” TV deal – but Ford was the right one.

The film is a real thrill ride around the world that still puts the best superhero movies made today to shame. Sorry Iron Man and Batman, Raiders set a high mark for big screen adventure that no other franchise has yet surpassed.

I don’t know if “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is my favorite movie of all time or not? But there is absolutely nothing I would change in the film, from the script by Lawrence Kasdan to the exhilarating score by John Williams to the magnificent cinematography of Douglas Slocombe to the skillful editing of Michael Kahn. Spielberg put together a crack crew and they made a movie for the ages.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” airs on the big screen this week at Malco Razorback in Fayetteville and Malco Pinnacle in Rogers at a discounted price.

If you want to go back to the movies, but can’t find anything new that tickles you, consider going to visit your old pal Indy on the big screen. Maybe introduce someone who’s never seen the movie to one of the real classic summer movies.


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