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"Actually, I'm committing suicide on the installment plan."
Every year at this time, film journalists thoughts turn to talk of the state of the horror film. We’ve run out of things to say on the subject. Last weekend, "Saw III" opened to $34.3 million at the box office — we know nothing about the film, but prefer to think of it as a series of sketches in which people jump into industrial-sized blenders, over and over again, for 80 minutes. We’re just weary of what Rebecca Winters Keegan proclaimed "The Splat Pack" in Time last week, though it’s also possible they’re getting tired of themselves. On the wires today, Leigh Whannell and James Wan, the 29-year-old filmmakers behind the "Saw" franchise, expressed reluctance to commit to the inevitable "Saw IV":

"I don’t know personally if I would want to do it or not," Leigh Whannell said of the potential fourth film.

"As a creator, I’m starting to feel like I’m painting with the same brush."

A brush…DIPPED IN GORE! Eh, whatever. Don’t get us wrong, we like horror, and we’re absolute suckers for all things supernatural, which inevitably seep into our subconscious and give us nightmares, no matter how obvious or cheesy or "intended to be funny" (we’ve got our eye on you, "Ghostbusters II"). It’s just that franchises like "Saw," "The Grudge" and "Final Destination" all seem to be composed of the lopped-off ends of film. Whither suspense and build-up?

Over at the Onion AV Club, Noel Murray and Scott Tobias have a nice discussion of the meaning of the current hits of horror. Murray:

I think you’re right that the most relevant-to-American-youth horror films today are torture-fests like Saw and Hostel, and I agree that the relevance is tied to 9/11, but I think it goes beyond the fear of unexpected tragedy. If you look closely at Hostel—and Wolf Creek, for that matter—what they’re really about is what happens after everything goes to hell. When that kid in Hostel is strapped to a chair with a chainsaw-wielding sicko heading toward him, we in the audience have to ask what we’re hoping to see. Do we just want him to escape and get the hell out of there? Or do we want to him to get hold of that chainsaw and exact revenge?

Over at the Film Experience Blog, Nathaniel R. has links and an entry in a blog-a-thon centered on that most metaphor-friendly of horror denizens, the vampire. We’re not seeing it anywhere after a cursory glance, but we wanted to make sure there’s some love shown for Larry Fessenden‘s "Habit," our favorite revisionist vampire film out there.

At MSNBC, self-proclaimed "gorehound" Dave White shares his list of the ten "coolest horror movie killings ever."

And we’ve seen nothing so frightening this year as Susan Wloszczyna piece in USA Today on John Travolta‘s turn as Edna Turnblad in the upcoming "Hairspray" semi-remake.

Travolta wanted to make Edna sexier and real, not a campy drag act. That required four hours of prep time before putting in eight hours of performing in padding and silicone prosthetics.

+ The Splat Pack (Time)

+ Saw IV’s a sore point
(Sydney Morning Herald)

+ Crosstalk: The state of horror cinema (Onion AV Club)
+ The Vampire Blog-a-Thon (Film Experience Blog)
+ The coolest horror movie killings ever (MSNBC)
+ Pssst! Pssst! John Travolta is Edna Turnblad (USA Today)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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