Witches to Love: A Bibliography

Not everyone loves witch stories, but many people do. They’re characters who can right injustices with ancient magic or psychic abilities. They can fly or talk to animals or entice romantic interests. They can transform. Audiences are drawn to their power and their powers, their wisdom and their knowledge. They are women who are respected…

“Toni Erdmann” and the Burdens of Womanhood

You were lied to. Toni Erdmann is not a comedy. Sure, German director Maren Ade’s Oscar-nominated ode to fatherhood (and daughterhood) is hilarious. I laughed my heart out at its quotidian absurdity. The log line primes us for funny: “Goofy older music teacher plays pranks on his upright, workaholic kid to spark a little life…

Top 10 Nontraditional Horror Films

Is it possible to be a horror fan and not really enjoy most capital-h “Horror” movies? Well, let me back up for a second. I actually do love the body horror/splatterpunk genres (think the visceral, frenetic, transformational, oozing nastiness of The Fly, Dead Alive, or even Rosemary’s Baby). I long to be shocked and disgusted,…

“The Revenant” and Traumatic Brain Injury

The question of male violence is at an impasse in the United States right now. With the growing prevalence of technology and social media, images of police brutality are now immediately accessible in a way that mounts the almost 25-year-old Rodney King video as sadly par for the course. Ruby Ridge-wannabe militants can hold an…

Why “Maleficent” is the Rape Revenge Film That We Need

Reposted from an article I wrote for Indiewire in June 2014.  Not since I Spit on Your Grave have I seen such an intrepid and compelling rape-revenge film. I am talking, of course, about Disney’s Maleficent, the latest in a long line of revisionist fairy-tale epics to hit theaters in the last few years, though this might…