Guilty Pop pleasures: The Masked Singer is joyful surreal weirdness

When I read about the US version of The Masked Singer, I was immediately intrigued. I am all for singing talent shows but to add colorful costumes and Mystery-Person-guessing? A dream (phone) come true.

I was therefore quite startled when I read Doreen St. Felix’s review on the show in the New Yorker. Now (!), the New Yorker is probably the last place where I want my guilty pleasures reviewed. Although their TV reviews are usually amazing, these tend to focus on high quality TV dramas and not glam-glittery peacocks singing musical tunes. The Masked Singer, St. Felix writes, is a rebrand of “the dystopia as wacky”. But what kind of dystopia does she mean?

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Horror movie night: Late Night Shifts will kill you!

Because I once got robbed at the shitty video rental I worked at temporarily, I got to spend a lovely night at a police station. Because it was a late night shift and – I think – they had moved most of the personnell to a newer building, I got the whole creepy, empty and dark hallways, grainly video feeds of the doorways and some horrible second hand stories from the policemen who was supposed to take my statement but was busy with a burn victim (an apparent suicide). so, let’s just say: Night Shifts are absolutely terrifying.

It’s no wonder then, that the night shift, graveyard shift, whatever is a lovely topic for horror movies, some of which are pretty good (some of which are not). Continue reading

Best of 2018: 30 things that made this year better than it should have been

It’s that time again, my best things of the year which not necessarily were produced or released this year but which I read, watched, listened to or otherwise enjoyed this year. So it will be full of stuff that makes you go: Geez, Juliane, that’s like, totally old news, in what kind of cave are you living?” And I’ll be like “I live in one of those parts of town in Berlin that no artist would ever move to because they all think it’s sad and dangerous and poor, so it’s actually kind of like a cave but a metaphorical one!”.

Anyways, let’s enjoy this list (or not, what do I care). Continue reading

Horror movie lists: Lin Shaye is the actual Scream Queen

You know, I always disliked the term “scream queen” because I for one do not appreciate the blood-curdling scream of any given woman in any horror movie. Sometimes, it comes from female characters who are not even characterized as being overtly expressive in their emotions. It never comes from men even though men can and do scream just as well, if not louder. Plus, my favorite horror movie heroine, “Ripley” from “Alien” simply doesn’t scream but is still the greatest horror movie protagonist of all times.

So, let’s redefine the scream queen. Let’s make her a queen who makes people scream. Enter Lin Shaye, mostly known for the “Insidious”-franchise by the masses but also beloved in a gazillion independent and B-movie productions from the outright ridiculous to the downright terrifying.

If you want to get to know Lin Shaye as the contender for the scariest scream queen, I present my suggestions for a very frightening Lin Shaye appreciation movie marathon.

(Small spoilers ahead) Continue reading

Horror movies: Caves and Tunnels are creepy

I am planing this list for a while now because some of my favorite movies involve tight underground spaces. The reason is simple: claustrophobia is wide-spread, darkness is horrible and everything underground always counts as a metaphor for burials, death and hell, so if that’s not enough for horror movies, I don’t know what is.

As usual: I try to avoid heavy spoilers but I will talk about the plot, so there might be some spoilers out of a necessity. “Is good” might be enough for Czernobogh but it’s not enough for me.

Oh and: be careful with the trailers. Usually, trailers have massive spoilers when it comes to horror movies. So watch at your own risk. Continue reading

Female desire in movies and tv shows – with or without men

I recently watched “Everything sucks” on Netflix (now cancelled, after just one season) and was really taken with it even though the show itself is neither laugh-out-loud funny nor a cinematic master piece (it is utterly charming, feel-good and all around fun, though).

But something in the story-telling really resonated with me and after watching “Super 8” again, I realized it: “Everything sucks” not only takes into account the desires of its female protagonist but also rewards them.

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Overrated: What’s up with the love for ‘Dead Silence’

I watched “Dead Silence” the same year it came out and it was during a phase of heavy horror movie watching. For a long time I remembered that I didn’t like it and didn’t think it was scary at all. Since then, many horror movie lists and film critics have tried to tell me again and again what a great movie this is. And only very recently, Slashfilm.com even called it an “unpopular opinion” to like it (which it isn’t, people love it, it’s just that it was a box office flop).

So, I finally watched it again, because I thought that maybe, maybe after 10 years I would realize the genius of this hidden gem.

Narrator’s voice: she didn’t.

Spoiler Alert for the following critique: Continue reading