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The horror, the horror list.

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"Il était une fois..."You want to know true fear? The blackest depths of terror and despair? Try having to move to your fifth apartment in less than two years. No cinematic experience can top it, we promise you.

But anyway, happy Halloween and all that. We had this wicked variation on a "Clockwork Orange" costume that somehow involved cool stockings planned, but we’re ankling that in favor of a hot night of once again unpacking all of our worldly goods.

Never. Again.

Anyway, some Halloween lists:

• editor Jim Emerson picks his 10 most shocking movie moments for MSN — quite a bit of crossover with Premiere magazine’s "25 Most Shocking Moments in Movie History," though we suppose quite a few of those picks are just obvious and inarguable. Nice call with Altman’s "The Long Goodbye," though — we’d forgotten about the Coke-bottle incident, but it was definitely incredibly jarring.

• Entertainment Weekly, gradually working their way up to being all lists, all the time, offers Marc Vera summing up all of the "of the Dead" movies for you, the magazine staff picking the "20 Scariest Movies of All Time" and Gillian Flynn running down the six frightening, forgotten horror flicks (half behind a subscription wall, but you can see the picks in the right-hand column).

• Paige Newman at MSNBC‘s got six edgy vampire films, and Not Coming to a Theater Near You‘s been working through a way robust in-depth daily look at 31 horror classics.

Elsewhere, we never thought of "The Night of the Hunter" as a horror film, per se, but it makes a damn great film for the season. It’s playing at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre, and Roger Ebert pulls up his "Great Movie" essay for the occasion.

Charles Purcell at the Sydney Morning Herald takes in the various critical and audience reactions to Greg McLean‘s "Wolf Creek," which just opened in Australia and the UK but which won’t get here until early next year. "Wolf Creek," another goresploitation type, generated enough buzz going into Sundance to get picked up by the Weinsteins, if we’re remembering correctly, before the festival even started. Based on a true story, the film has proudly prompted walkouts:

Unlike many Hollywood films, which use sound and special effects to sweeten it, there’s something shockingly real about the carnage in "Wolf Creek." Unlike films where the killers are Martians or robots, it realistically evokes the terror of being hunted by a fellow human, the shivering fear of the victims, the brutal practicality of the hunter.

The horror sourced from real events – such as being turned into "a head on a stick" – is just as sinister.

On the topic of extreme gore done on the cheap, the LA TimesPatrick Goldstein devotes this week’s "Big Picture" to how Lions Gate, coming out of a gangbusters weekend with "Saw II," is currently the coolest kid on the block (Lions Gate, oddly enough, is also distributing "Three…Extremes," which had a quieter opening on 19 screens). The New York TimesDave Kehr liked Park Chan-wook‘s "Cut" sequence from "Three…Extremes" enough to use it as a focus for the socio-political aspects of the "Asian extreme" cinema (we do wish someone would come up with a catchier name for the movement that doesn’t belong to Tartan Films, but we’ve got nothin’). Dave White at MSNBC laments the current state of horror, particularly the recent rash of dire remakes like "The Fog," and Noel Murray at the Onion AV Club interviews John Carpenter, who obviously isn’t feeling so fussy about who remakes his films, but who has some good things to say about the genre:

AVC: It’s odd that the basic visual grammar of horror still works. After a hundred years of cinema, people still get frightened when something jumps out of from the side of the frame, and audiences know to be tense when they see a tight shot of a human head with a little space over the shoulder where something might appear.

JC: I don’t know what it is, but you know, horror stories have always worked on film. It’s where they work. That’s where vampires and ghosts and UFOs are real. They’re not particularly real in life, but they’re real on the screen. It’s the communal aspect of movie-watching. Sitting in the dark. It goes back to sitting around a campfire when we had just come out of the trees.

+ Nothing’s Shocking? (MSN)
+ The 25 Most Shocking Moments in Movie History (Premiere)
+ Beating a ‘Dead’ Horse (Entertainment Weekly)
+ The 20 Scariest Movies of All Time (Entertainment Weekly)
+ Scary Movies (Entertainment Weekly)
+ Six vampire movies with bite (MSNBC)
+ 31 Days of Horror (Not Coming to a Theater Near You)
+ The Night of the Hunter (Not rated) (
+ Up the creek (Sydney Morning Herald)
+ Lions Gate très shriek (LA Times)
+ De-finger the Piano Player (NY Times)
+ I spit on your horror movie remakes, sequels (MSNBC)
+ John Carpenter (Onion AV Club)



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.