Friday, November 29, 2013

Essential Dance Movies LIVE!

One of the great joys of my life was participating in this podcast with entertainment commentators extraordinaire Michael J. Ferrari (Cinema du Meep) and Erik Threlfall (Hysteria Lives).  We each discussed (or, in my case, went into raptures about) our top five favorite dance movies.  Listen here, and do the bug!

Cinema du Meep's Retro Movie Love Podcast: Episode 1, Dance Movies

Amazing Made for TV Horror Movies

On this week's Friday 13, I discuss 13 beautiful and inspiring TV horror movies (many from the "golden age" of the 1970s).  I still yearn for a sequel to HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, featuring all living members of the original cast.
Chiller TV Friday 13: 13 Amazing Made for TV Horror Movies

Friday, November 22, 2013

Insane Horror Movie Rip Offs

Some horror movie "rip offs" are as good, in their own crazy was, as the movies that inspired them.  The Nightmare on Elm Street series could certainly benefit from musical numbers!  And The Exorcist would likely have been an even bigger hit if it co-starred legendary classical Hollywood actress Juanita Moore (Douglas Sirk's Imitation of Life) talking about fried chicken and the sanctity of marriage!  Here are some crazy and fabulous examples of horror movie rip offs, on this week's Friday 13.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Horror Movies About Horror Movies

Horror movie fans don’t just love the movies themselves.  Many of us are fascinated by the contexts that surround them:  How were they made?  Who made them?  Why do we love them?  How do they influence our lives?  At the same time, a lot of people are afraid of the people who make horror movies, and the people who adore them.  These people blame horror movies’ makers and fans for all sorts of social problems.  Horror movies often capitalize on horror fans’ fascination and draw upon horror haters’ anxieties, presenting horrific stories about the movies we love most.  On this week's Friday 13, here are some intriguing examples.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Soul TV, Black Power, & African American Media Culture of the 1970s

I hope you'll like my discussion of several important "Black Power TV Shows" of the 1970s, including Soul, Soul Train, and Inside Bedford Stuyvesant, which appeared on UCLA CSW's blog.  The piece includes interviews with Devorah Heitner (author of Black Power TV), Melissa Haizlip (filmmaker of Mr. Soul!: The Movie), and Ericka Blount (author of Love, Peace, and Soul: Behind the Scenes of America's Favorite Dance Show Soul Train: Classic Moments).  It also includes links to some amazing video footage.

Soul TV, Black Power, & African American Media Culture of the 1970s

Friday, November 1, 2013

Best Horror Couples

There is nothing more romantic than the notion of repressed gay men discovering their passion for one another because of a haunted Ouija board, or a one night stand with a hitchhiker turning into a true love affair because of violent ghost pirates and a town's history of genocide.  On this week's Friday 13, horror movies are for lovers.

Chiller TV Friday 13: 13 Great Horror Couples

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

In Memory of Marcia Wallace

I wrote a blog for UCLA's Center for the Study of Women, in memory of the great Marcia Wallace (the highlight of so many pop cultural touchstones, including Teen Witch, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Simpsons).  Marcia, I will miss you and your brilliance.

UCLA CSW Blog: In Memory of Marcia Wallace

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Things to watch on Halloween, other than HALLOWEEN

John Carpenter's Halloween is perfect (and Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch aren't far from it!).  However, if you want to get adventurous this Halloween season and watch something else, check out some of these Halloween themed gems.

Chiller TV Friday 13: 13 Things to Watch on Halloween Besides Halloween

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday the 13ths, Best to Worst

On this week's Friday 13, I rank the Friday the 13th series from best to worst.  A task almost as daunting as fighting Jason with my telekinetic powers, or saving the world from hundreds of cursed antiques (it only made sense to put Friday the 13th: The Series last, but actually it deserves to be at the number one spot as a tie with the original F13 movie!  Both are perfect!

Chiller TV Friday 13: The 13 Friday the 13ths, Best to Worst

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Weird and Glamorous Horror Movie Outfits

The main reasons that I watch horror movies are character development and costume design.  Check out this week's Chiller TV Friday 13, in which I examine 13 of the weirdest and most glamorous horror movie outfits that you will ever see.

Friday 13: 13 of the Weirdest Horror Movie Outfits You'll Ever See

Friday, August 16, 2013

Awesomely Terrible Dance Sequences From Horror Movies

When you're being stalked by a vicious killer or possessed by a demon, sometimes you just have to DANCE.  Read my latest article for Chiller TV's Friday 13: "13 Awesomely Terrible Dance Sequences from Horror Movies!"

Friday 13: 13 Awesomely Terrible Dance Sequences from Horror Movies

Friday, July 26, 2013

Killer Animal Movies

Giant bee hallucinations.  Radical cat community organizers.  Charlotte Rampling fighting an orca while wearing giant capes.  Read my latest "Friday 13" article on!  This week's topic is "Killer Animal Movies"!

Visit: Chiller TV Friday 13: 13 Killer Animal Movies

Friday, July 19, 2013

Good Actors Who Did Bad Horror Movies

Lana Turner takes LSD.  Faye Dunaway makes a nice old lady eat glass filled cookies.  John Huston must save the world from an ice skating demon child.  Read my latest "Friday 13" column at Chiller TV!!  This week's theme is "Good Actors Who Did Bad Horror Movies."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Women Against Violence Against Women

Some of you may be interested in my latest blog post at UCLA's Center for the Study of Women. It focuses on The Women Against Violence Against Women special collection at UCLA, part of The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives. WAVAW was a feminist organization that protested Snuff (1976, Michael Findlay, Horacio Fredriksson, Simon Nuchtern), Dressed to Kill (1980, Brian De Palma), Windows (1980, Gordon Willis), the ad campaign for Rolling Stones' Black and Blue album, and various other films and ad campaigns during the 1970s and 1980s. The blog contains some great photos, including flyers protesting DTK and Snuff, and a photo of a protest taking place outside of a theater playing The Story of O (1975, Just Jaeckin).
Read the post here!
From The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives: Women Against Violence Against Women

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Reality Bites in 2013

When I was around 12 or 13 I traveled in a very, very small social circle in which liking any currently popular music would get you shamed, but liking Cyndi Lauper or Patti Lupone ensured social acceptability.  So in the mid-1990s my fondness for Green Day was one of my many dirty little secrets, shared with no one.  Secretly I thought that Billy Joe Armstrong was beautiful, and that I wanted to look like him.  I still sort of do.   So yesterday I was at a used CD store and I saw a copy of DOOKIE on the shelf.  I am one of the only members of my generation who doesn't own it, so I decided the time had come.  I felt very empowered.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Horror movies about graduate school speak some of graduate school's darker affective truths more clearly than any other form of discourse.  Graduate school can be scary, and I will let these horror films tell you why.  However, lest you worry, these films also carry valuable lessons to help you get through it.  WARNING: This post contains spoilers about all of these films.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

On Valerie Harper....and loving somebody you have not met.

I'd already been thinking a lot about Valerie Harper, when she announced her illness a few days ago.  It started about a month ago, during a bad weekend.  I had writer's block and it was making me depressed, plus J. was away for the weekend.  This combination can get Repulsion-esque.  Desperately surfing Netflix for a cure for my ailments, I found a late '80s TV movie with Valerie Harper that I'd somehow never seen or heard of: 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Shocking the System: The American Horror Film After PSYCHO

My friend Maya Montanez Smukler invited me to do a guest lecture for her online course "This Picture is Condemned! Censorship, Controversy, and the Movies" at The New School University in New York, NY.  The unit was on American horror films in the 1960s and 1970s, and she showed Psycho and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.  In case anybody is interested in what my classes are like, here is my guest lecture:

Watching Psycho in 2013, it can be difficult to understand how shocking, terrifying, and traumatic it was for audiences watching it in 1960.  I first saw it when I was around 11, after having devoured a steady diet of Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers, and I remember thinking "What's the big deal?  It's not so scary."

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Video Stores of My Youth Part III

"You better not never tell nobody but God.  It'd kill your mammy."-Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982)

"It's too late, Krueger.  I know the secret now...I take back every bit of energy I gave you."-Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984, screenplay by Wes Craven) 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Video Stores of My Youth Part I

"Everything was beautiful at the ballet."
-Sheila, Bebe, and Maggie, A Chorus Line (1975, lyrics by Edward Kleban)

"Everything is temporary!" 
-Cosmo Castorini, Moonstruck (1987, screenplay by John Patrick Shanley)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My Los Angeles

When I first moved to Los Angeles I kept thinking over and over again about a Quentin Crisp quote from the documentary The Celluloid Closet.  He says that when his friend first came back to England from visiting the United States, he said "It's more like the movies than you would ever believe."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Studs of '70s Horror Part I

When people ask me what I love most about horror films, my answer is usually: "The character development."  I think that I see most horror films as character studies, no matter how thinly drawn the characters are.  I choose these studs of '70s horror not just for what they look like, but for who they are.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Looks of Crossing Delancey

For what seems like years, I have been saying that I want a blog so that I can do a tribute to the costumes and set design of Crossing Delancey (1988, Joan Micklin Silver).  So here, at last, it is.  Crossing Delancey was notable in my childhood because it was one of the few movies that my parents went to see without me in the theater.  It was also one of the few movies that they had a VHS copy of in my synagogue library (along with the other seminal Amy Irving masterpiece, Yentl).  I used to watch it over and over again and imagine that, one day, I would live in New York and my life would be exactly like that of the character Isabelle (played by Amy Irving).  This notion was solidified when I visited New York for the first time in the early 1990s, and it looked to me just like it did in Crossing Delancey: a sea of beautifully frizzy hair, shoulder pads, and cluttered bookstores (I ran into the same frizzy haired woman, and her tweedy husband, two nights in a row: once outside The Cinema Village, and once at the off-Broadway play How I Learned to Drive starring Molly Ringwald.  On some level I based many of my future fantasies on being that couple, and thought about them repeatedly over the years.  I imagined that they had pots hanging from the ceiling in their kitchen). 

A new beginning.

Having just watched a zillion Tyler Perry movies and episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show in preparation for writing a dissertation chapter, I am rewarding myself by writing the first entry of my new blog.