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6 Reasons Why “Midsommar” Is The Best Horror Film of The Year So Far

Midsommar follows the story of Dani and Christian, a couple who decide to travel to Sweden with their friends to attend a festival that only occurs once every ninety years. But once they arrive, events become stranger and stranger and soon they realise that everything is not as it seems within the seemingly idyllic Swedish village.

Midsommar, which is the second feature from director Ari Aster, was released in July. It earned $34 million at the box office against a budget of $9 million. Midsommar was well received critically, garnering much praise for its direction and performances. Yet in spite of receiving praise from critics, Midsommar has proved to be a divisive film amongst audiences.

With horror being one of the most popular genres, there is plenty of competition throughout the year for horror films. 2019 has so far seen the release of dozens of horror films, with films such as Us and The Hole in the Ground in particular garnering critical appraise. 2019 still has many horror film releases to come, with IT Chapter Two and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark looking to be incredibly popular with audiences. By the end of the year, there may well be a different horror film that merits the accolade of best of the year. But at this point in time, Midsommar is by far the best horror film of the year so far for various reasons.

 

1. It’s relatable

Beyond Midsommar being a horror film, it is also very much a film about relationships and at its core it is about a couple. Not only is about a couple, it is about a couple who are on the verge of breaking up, who are at odds with each other and who are struggling to remember why they were even together in the first place. Dani and Christian deeply loved each other at some point but now their relationship appears to be precarious and fraught with tensions.

Early on, we see Christian reluctant to answer his phone when he sees that Dani is calling him and we witness one of his friends urging him to break up with Dani. And it seems as though Christian may be about to break up with Dani when suddenly tragedy strikes, and they stay together. But whilst in some circumstances a tragedy would bring two people closer together, Christian staying with Dani feels more dutiful and perhaps even slightly bitter.

Regardless as to whether we ourselves have experienced this within a romantic relationship, we can all identify with the breakdown of a relationship with someone close to us – when you start to drift apart and conversation doesn’t flow as easily as it once did. There are also very relatable scenes between Dani and Christian’s friends. It is obvious that they know that her and Christian are having issues and that Christian has probably often complained about her.

It is also obvious that her presence is not always welcome in their group and some of them are merely tolerating her hanging out with them rather than actually enjoying her company. Getting on with your partner’s friends can often be a tricky terrain to navigate and Midsommar shows this really well – the uncomfortableness and almost too polite nature of these interactions.

Ari Aster actually wrote the screenplay for Midsommar after experiencing a difficult breakup himself and you can certainly see this in the central conflict between Dani and Christian. He has even described the film as “a breakup movie dressed in the clothes of a folk horror film.”

Basing the film’s central conflict around such an everyday and common issue that many of us have faced or will face makes Midsommar strangely down to earth and relatable. Even amongst the incredibly hard to watch horror that comes later, audiences are able to somehow see themselves in this film.

 

2. It’s unique

Pick a dozen horror films out to watch at random and straight away you will notice similarities – the settings are quite often night-time, the locations are dark, shady and creepy and it’s not unusual for the weather to be stormy or cold.

Then there is Midsommar. Midsommar’s setting is Sweden in the height of a hot midsummer and the horrors take place, not in the darkness of night or as lightning flashes across the sky, but in broad daylight. In daylight so bright and piercing that often the audience feels like they want to shade their eyes and then go and find a cold drink and some shade to sit in.

As well as its setting, Midsommar is unique in the way that it tries to scare its audience. It doesn’t use ‘traditional’ horror. There are no jump scares or scenes that make you want to cover your eyes and look away – at least not in the sense of being too frightened to watch. Instead the horror makes you want to cover your eyes because it is bloody and graphic, and it is almost too hard to conceive what you are seeing.

In modern cinema, horror films are often formulaic or the latest instalment in a franchise. In that way, audiences usually have a pretty good idea of what to expect and what type of scares to expect and this is why a film like Midsommar is so great – because the audience is left to watch intently to see how the film plays out with no preconceived ideas.

 

3. It showcases an exciting new filmmaker

Midsommar marks the second feature for filmmaker Ari Aster, whose directorial feature debut was last year’s Hereditary. Hereditary, which was also divisive in its own way, was met with praise from critics too. Both films were firmly in the horror genre and yet both films felt original and brought something new to the genre for audiences.

With this in mind, it marks Aster as a really exciting new filmmaker. Not only as a horror filmmaker but as an exciting new director whose next film audiences will no doubt eagerly anticipate or at least be curious to see what he comes up with next.

Aster became obsessed with horror films as a child, frequently renting them from his local video store and has talked about how he watched every horror film he could get his hands on. This passion for horror certainly shines through in his films and whilst Hereditary was an impressive debut, Midsommar definitely takes his filmmaking to the next level.

Midsommar, as with Hereditary, was written and directed by Aster and features cinematography from Aster’s long-term collaborator Pawel Pogorzelski. Midsommar is well written, as discussed previously Aster has put together a script that audiences are able to relate to and it is well directed. Midsommar is also elevated by incredible cinematography from Pogorzelski – in one scene, the camera follows a car along a long, vast road on the bottom of the screen until it eventually flips the entire scene on its head so that the car is now travelling on the top of the screen.

Interestingly, Aster has since mentioned that his next project may either be a “zonky nightmare comedy” or “a big, sickly domestic melodrama” which would take him away from the horror genre. Either way, Aster’s next film will be a film that audiences want to see and experience.

8 Reasons Why “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” Is One of Tarantino’s Best Films

Although Quentin Tarantino’s never been a prolific filmmaker (he’s directed nine features since 1992’s Reservoir Dogs, if you count the Kill Bill films as a single entry, which QT famously does), he’s certainly one of the most influential. His breakthrough second feature, the zeitgeist-defining 1994 tour de force Pulp Fiction has left a lasting impression on American cinema.

Arguably the most influential film of the 90’s, few movies have been as quoted, as cloned, or as dissected and debated as Pulp Fiction and yet, even after endless repeat viewings, this hard-hearted and half-joking gem never gets old.

Now with the release of QT’s hotly anticipated ode to Tinseltown finally in wide release, Taste of Cinema is here to excitedly announce that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ranks with the director’s best work.

It may just be his most incidentally enjoyable, outrageously entertaining, and visually exciting work to date. Certainly this is top tier Tarantino and is destined to make many Best of 2019 lists come December. But until then, meander down these canyon roads, dip your toes in the Playboy Mansion pool, get in the queue for a matinee of Sharon Tate’s The Wrecking Crew, and inhale an LSD-dipped Red Apple cigarette.

This fairytale of the bright lights is a generous allowance from a dependable if indulgent director, proudly presenting us with a delighted dream from which many of us might awaken with a scream trapped in our throats.

 

8. One of QT’s strongest screenplays

Unraveling in 1969, just ahead of the New Hollywood movement that would forever alter the film industry, Tarantino’s latest film focuses on three forlorn characters; Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), a fading Western TV actor having a simultaneous midlife and identity crisis trying to make it in the movie business; Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), Dalton’s stunt double and BFF; and then most ill-starred of them all, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), the real-life rising star whose life and career were cut short most tragically on August 9th, 1969, at the hands of members of the Manson Family.

Tarantino’s script, which echoes many similarly set multi-protagonist Hollywood parables (both All About Eve [1950] and Sunset Boulevard [1950] spring to mind), spends a great deal of time tackling egocentric celebrities and czars pawing their way into the hype and the glow of the limelight.

Atypical of QT his script is permeated with pulp culture references and his child-like adoration for the footlights. He loves the movies, the people who make them, and the city where so much of the entertainment industry spins their golden gossamer.

There’s also the romanticized offering of old-school glamour and glitz, an extravagantly ornate folkloric representation of the past, an almost hysterical fear of hippies, and with that the elusive but alarming threat of brutal bloodshed. Dotted amongst the erstwhile haze of Hollywood is QT’s excellently talkative pentameter and just as effective portents of ruin.

 

7. Los Angeles itself

It should come as no surprise that for Tarantino, who grew up in Hollywood, his illusory Los Angeles is as romantic as it is real. This film is that rare Los Angeles-set movie, like Rebel Without a Cause (1955), The Long Goodbye (1973), or Short Cuts (1993) with a real sense of place and relation. Hollywood is as much a character in this film as Booth, Dalton, or Tate.

So many LA-exclusive incidental delights populate the picture; the euphoria of speeding down the freeway with the top down; letting loose at swinging party at the Playboy Mansion, sauntering through the backlots of the big studios, spying stars at every junction; tiptoeing barefoot down Hollywood Boulevard with far-out hippies, basking in the glow of neon signs; bustling movie houses on every corner, lit up like bijous; in every direction the famous mingling with the huddled masses.

From Robert Richardson’s expert lensing, to Barbara Ling’s near perfect production design, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is packed with period details as vivid and tangible as possible.

 

6. The focus is on characters, not plot

In the post-Tarantino 1990s he coined the term “hang-out movie” to better capture what he was after with pictures like Jackie Brown, where plot takes shotgun next to spending time with indelible characters. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is more about the moments at the end of an era and the delighted and discontented people in those moments.

They’re all victims of circumstance, and while it may seem that the Manson family is forcing the narrative towards some final, fleeting exit, it’s still the observational character moments that define the film: Tate spends a honey of an afternoon at the movies, Booth and a charismatic hitchhiker (Margaret Qualley) end up at the Spahn Ranch where something unseemly has to be taking place, and Dalton makes a guest appearance on a TV pilot wherein he’s overthinking his avenue.

With this film we are presented with characters in a special and very specific place and time. Maybe nothing much happens over a few days in February but the play of light and the spatter of shadows suggest that summer and August in particular, hold something sadly significant and terribly, terribly wrong.

 

5. The devil is in the details; fun nods to Tarantino’s other movies

For Tarantino fans there are a wealth of nods and winks to his body of work throughout the film.

Characters constantly smoke Red Apple cigarettes, the fictional brand used throughout his films. And if you stick around for the credits (and you always should) your sides will ache during Dalton’s commercial and outtakes for Red Apples.

Also, for those paying close attention it’s revealed that Dalton makes some Spaghetti Westerns for one Antonio Margheriti, an alias used by Eli Roth’s Sgt. Donowitz in Inglourious Basterds (2009).

Additionally, the cast is a who’s who from Tarantino’s repertoire of regulars. Apart from DiCaprio and Pitt reteaming with QT, vets of his previous films like Zoë Bell, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, Monica Staggs, James Remar, and Kurt Russell appear in the film. Mr. Orange himself, Tim Roth also had a scene, but it was unfortunately cut from the film. Here’s hoping we’ll get to see it on the eventual blu-ray release.

The 10 Best Ambiguous Movie Endings of All Time

Ambiguity always stands among the necessary items in a filmmakers weaponry to captivate the audience’s attention. Throughout the history of cinema, spreading all the continents, Directors have tried to achieve this mythical quality in their films. In an expensive art like cinema, where the primary concern of the studio is to present the distinguishing quality in a clear, transparent way, this risky trait is celebrated for a special reason.

This is because ambiguity delicately presents the possibility of suspense-thrill and drama at the same time, where, in a successful attempt the viewers submerge to the film to an extent that they like to ponder about the film’s fictional world long after its end and tries to answer the posed questions in weeks. In this way, a film achieves the long-lasting effect of the short stories.

Now talking about thrills, this is not a cheap thrill, rather a subtle psychological manipulation by the filmmaker. With every passing second, the viewers try to expose the spider-web of confusion and enjoy an inexpressible thrill in that. Here comes the most challenging part for the filmmaker: placement of this ambiguity. If an ambiguous plot is integrated from the very beginning of the film, the viewers can bracket this as an experimental work which is not a great indication for the mainstream box office return.

The same risk factor counts for the middle placement. It is one of the prime examples of the Kuleshov effect in the film, to achieve the maximum impact. One solution is to make the ending ambiguous, as a successful amalgam will haunt viewers for a long time to come to a satisfactory conclusion. Without further ado, here are the best ambiguous film endings of all time.

 

10. Andhadhun (2018)

It is clear before “Andhadhun” reaches the halfway mark that the blind musician is playing bluff. He has good boy charms and antics and the story tells us that he is pretending to be blind to polish his piano skills, but he can also be a malicious person. The thrill starts from there, and the frequent punch of dark comedy makes it an exhilarating watch. His life takes a violent turn when his fake blindness is revealed and in consequence, he gets blind.

Only in the end, when he has learned to cope with his new blindness, a subtle unintended suggestion from his part tricks us into disbelief again. This stunning dark thriller from India is a delight to watch, and the great complex character study makes it an easy contender for the best ambiguities in life.

 

9. American Psycho (2000)

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The great American dream is severely attacked in the psycho horror “American Psycho”. Using the path “Fight Club” utilized, Patrick Bateman is depicted as a complex schizophrenic who has grown tired of the capitalistic lifestyle. He finds pleasure, an occasional relief by killing prostitutes, beggars, people who belong in the last stratum of society.

There is an equal chance that all these mishaps exist in Bateman’s tortured mind. His confession of killing people is refuted, the corpses from his home vanish suddenly and he sees some awkward message in the ATM. Again, in all possibility, He is a lucky guy, whose crimes are unacknowledged because of his social standing.

 

8. City Lights (1931)

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The treatment of “City Lights” is tonally complete different from the films that insist on an ambiguous ending. There is no profound question lingering long after the film’s end. Chaplin made a simple film that mediates on the politics of normal life and subtly criticizes the social division. A tramp can’t fall in a girl who belongs to a greater position in the social ladder, yes, they can be mutually dependent on each other, provided one is blind.

We, As spectators, wish the girl to be an exception of the stereotypes, we want her to possess a golden heart and submit to the Tramp’s love. That’s why when in the end, she proclaims that she can see now, We take this as a happy ending because we crave for it. But real life is crueler, we don’t know what future waits for them. The ending is more ambiguous than which seems in plain sight.

 

7. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Pan's Labyrinth

Fairy tales are everlasting creations made to preserve the innocence of childhood through different people. They are especially useful at times of hardship when the real world is bleaker than ever. Ofelia, a young child in the time of Franco’s Spain embraced the fairy world to escape from the horror of life. The contrasting story here is of princess Moana, who was the princess of the dark world

. “Pan’s Labyrinth” is a fantastic fantasy film from Guillermo Del Toro using a dark, gothic environment and mythic settings. It is difficult to pinpoint if the alternative reality shown in the film is in Ofelia’s head or a real occurrence, only visible to the innocent eye. It is easy to denounce the alternative reality as Ofelia’s creation, but we can’t ever confirm having lost our innocence.

 

6. Certified Copy (2010)

Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy. From the time of the ford’s assembly-line production to today’s recreation of original artwork, authenticity has been largely compromised. Old schoolers believe in a world that is long forgotten or was never present in the physical world. Again, according to Plato, it is never possible to truly translate an idea to a physical medium.

“Certified Copy” argues the same: A replica of Mona Lisa is no more original than the first Mona Lisa painting. When a lady of blood and sweat is recreated in the artist’s canvas, it loses its essence. A new artwork emerges, but it is distinct from the original idea. Kiarostami’s character choices are deliberate here: an antique dealer and a prose writer. They are the members of a cafe society, where authenticity is generally sacrificed in the name of charm.

It doesn’t matter what is real, a marriage doesn’t need a stamp to certify chemistry. That’s why Kiarostami’s two protagonists suddenly behave like a couple regardless of their declaration of bachelorship. Or are they a real couple in disguise? The ambiguity is real.

The 10 Best Movie Performances of 2019 (So Far)

The year is half over and as expected, we already have some great performances to talk about. Many of those lay in independent films, arthouses but there are some performances in bigger films that deserve to get talked about. Some of these may be remembered at the end of the year by awards voters, and some will unfortunately be forgotten, but they all deserve a mention.

Since film distribution can vary from country to country, the films in the list are the ones that had their first theatrical release this year in the film’s country (or one of its countries) of origin.  That’s why you won’t see “High Life,” “Shadow” and some others while seeing some films that probably haven’t yet been released in your country. Here we go.

 

10. Matthias Schoenaerts – The Mustang

Matthias Schoenaerts – The Mustang

“If you want to control your horse, you’ve got to control yourself.” One of Sundance breakouts, “The Mustang” is a beautiful, quietly moving work directed by first-time director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre. It’s about the bond between a hardened prisoner and a wild horse.

The movie has somewhat of a predictable nature (well, maybe except that beautiful final shot) and comes up slightly short if you compare it “The Rider” of the previous year, but what makes this work is its honest portrayal of that aforementioned bond and character development.

Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts has been shining in movies since his 2011 breakout “Bullhead” and here he is terrific once again. Schoenaerts plays a prisoner who serves in a Nevada prison set against desert and mountains. He is placed in a rehabilitation program run by rancher named Myles (the excellent Bruce Dern) who assigns prisoners to train with wild mustangs.

It’s not a film full of dialogue and it doesn’t have a complex plot, but its poetic tone is involving enough. And Schoenaerts’ fully committed work makes the film even stronger. Even when his character is quiet and well-behaved, he vibrates with a dangerous energy that portends disaster. That had always been one of the strengths of Schoenaerts. He can play the sensitive man, and he can be menacing as well.

 

9. Olivia Wilde – A Vigilante

vigilante-review

Olivia Wilde always deserved somewhat of a better career. She gets some strong parts in independent movies from time to time and she has a very solid filmography overall, but her roles can be pretty thankless. This year, thanks to critical reception, she got a lot of attention for her surprisingly showy directing work in “Booksmart,” but most people unfortunately overlooked her great performance in “A Vigilante.”

From its title, you may expect some kind of “Death Wish,” but it’s a different kind of film surely to disappoint some, mostly because it’s not your average revenge movie and its pacing and tone might not be for everyone. It’s also a tough and uncomfortable watch for its subject matter.

As for Wilde, she goes through a serious transformation into a woman who suffered physically and morally for the very serious abuses she endured. She’s a lone-wolf vigilante who helps mostly female victims of abuse to escape using force and asks for almost nothing in return.

Wilde’s portrayal is incredibly effective. Her character often faces panic attacks and Wilde balances her character’s feelings in an impressive way. You may have watched and liked what she had done in “Booksmart” this year, but “A Vigilante” will remind you that she’s capable of doing so much more as an actress as well.

 

8. Mads Mikkelsen – Arctic

Joe Penna made his name on YouTube with a channel dedicated to music and short films. He has also shot commercials and for his first feature film debut, he chose himself the right actor.

Survival films can be a great acting showcase for their stars; Tom Hanks, James Franco, Liam Neeson, Robert Redford, the list goes on. Now Mikkelsen gets a chance to carry a whole film on his shoulders with a steel charisma, expressing the relentless tension of the suffering, anguish, and desperate perseverance of his character.

Those in search of an explanatory narrative will find no flashback on his past life, neither family photos nor a monologue in voiceover specifying the circumstances of the plane crash of which he was a victim, but his facial expressions speak more than any monologue would. He loses hope, he regains it, he uses all of his strength. “

Arctic” has some other strong things going on, most notably its setting and impressive cinematography, but if anything makes the film memorable, that’s definitely Mikkelsen’s commanding performance. You know nothing about him but he still manages to find so many layers in his character that it makes you feel involved. Absolute testament to Mikkelsen’s talent.

 

7. Isabelle Huppert – Greta

Isabelle Huppert – Greta

It may not be a great movie, but nevertheless, “Greta” offers some enjoyment for those who loved ‘90s stalker thrillers. It doesn’t go to unpredictable places much and the payoff doesn’t feel satisfying, but in general, it’s kind of fun.

Mainly because French legend Isabelle Huppert chews the scenery and it’s just fun to watch her. Huppert admits that she never “played a psychopath” before. Greta’s actions are so over the top that it eventually influenced how both she and Jordan handled the character in key moments.

In the scene where Greta plunges a fatal syringe into a man’s neck surrendering to the essence of evil, Huppert improvised and did the first thing that came to her mind: She danced. And things like that are what make the performance unpredictable and deliciously entertaining. No wonder the studio decided to release the restaurant scene as a promotional clip first.

One would wish the film would do even more with the character and since it was already over-the-top, they could go a little more camp with this and give Huppert more material to do so. That said, it’s still a wonderful work and a reminder of her impeccable versatility. An honorable mention should also go to Maika Monroe in a very fine supporting performance. She deserves to get better parts in the future.

 

6. Elisabeth Moss – Her Smell

Her-Smell-Trailer-Elizabeth-Moss

It may not be an easy film to watch for everyone, it can even be exhausting for some, but no matter what you’ll end up thinking of the film, most of the people can agree on one thing: Moss is riveting in it.

In the first three segments you feel like you’ve suddenly found yourself among the group of people you have no idea about. It makes it hard to relate, but Moss is such a force of nature that you can’t take your eyes off of her and you feel fascinated by her screen presence and raw performance.

The last act is more conventional; there’s one moment where she just sits and covers Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” and it may be one of the most haunting, gorgeous moments of the year. It takes a level of confidence that not many actors have to pull off a character like this. Absolutely exceptional work and something that we haven’t seen from her. Considering she was also brilliant in a scene-stealing turn in “Us” this year, it seems she’ll keep on amazing people with her versatility.

The 10 Best Jump Scares in Horror Movies

The horror genre employs a number of techniques to scare audiences, whether it be gore that makes us flinch, psychological chills that mess with our minds or playing on our deep, dark childhood fears. But one long standing technique used in horror is that of the jump scare. Not only is it an enduring aspect of the genre, but it is one of the simplest yet most effective techniques.

One of the greatest things about that jump scare is its ability to fit seamlessly into any subcategory of the genre. For example, jump scares are used in traditional horror films such as Halloween and Carrie, but they also work just as well in sci-fi horror such as in Signs and The Thing and even in dramas such as Mulholland Drive and Unbroken.

For some, the jump scare is seen as a rather crude and rudimentary technique, but regardless of whether audiences see it as a clever bit of filmmaking or a lazy one, it cannot be argued that jump scares work on the even the bravest and most unflinching audiences.

 

10. Candyman (1992) – The medicine cabinet

The film: Researching urban folklore and superstitions in the housing projects in Cabrini Green, Helen, a student from the University of Chicago investigates the legend of the Candyman who supposedly appears when someone looks in the mirror and repeats his name five times. But it is only after a mysterious man matching the Candyman’s description begins stalking her, that Helen begins to realise that the legend may be true.

The scene: Helen approaches the bathroom mirror and stares at her reflection. She opens the medicine cabinet and turns around, suddenly the Candyman’s hook crashes through the cabinet.

In this scene, the tension is built up in a way that suggests that something might happen but because of the focus on the mirror, it is expected that something will appear in the mirror. So when the hook crashes through the actual cabinet, it is an effective jump scare.

Trivia: The bees that feature in Candyman were real and bred specifically for that purpose, only twelve hours old so their stings were less powerful. Tony Todd allowed his face to be covered with bees and to have bees put into his mouth. Overall, he was stung twenty-three times. But it wasn’t all bad, as his lawyer had negotiated a contract where he was paid a bonus each time he was stung – a thousand dollars a sting.

 

9. Friday the 13th (1980) – Jason in the lake

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The film: Camp Crystal Lake is reopened many years after being cursed by terrible events. Although the cautious locals warn against it, a group of young counsellors decide to stay at the deserted summer camp. Soon they find themselves in a fight for their lives as they are picked off one by one by a crazed murderer.

The scene: Finally, it seems as though Alice is headed towards safety, as she drifts towards the policemen on a canoe. Raising her head, she looks at them in relief. When suddenly, Jason appears from the depths of the lake and drags her under.

Lulled into a false sense of security, as the audience believes that the film is coming to an end and Alice is safe now, Jason suddenly appearing is both terrifying and shocking.

Trivia: The filmmakers never intended for this film to launch a franchise. Jason was only meant to be a plot device and it was never intended or thought that he would carry on his mother’s murdering ways and grisly work.

 

8. Jaws (1975) – Jaws appears next to Brody

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The film: When a woman is killed after going for a late-night swim, her remains cause Police Chief Brody to suspect that there may be a shark on the loose. However, the Mayor refuses to close the beaches, mindful of the roaring summer tourist trade. But after more victims are discovered, Brody teams up with a visiting ichthyologist and local fisherman to get rid of the dangerous predator once and for all.

The scene: As Brody churns the water, he shouts up to Quint when suddenly Jaws appears behind him.

In this scene, Brody is cleverly kept to the right of the frame but because his actions are otherwise mundane, we do not expect to suddenly see Jaws fill the left of the frame, causing a jump scare.

Trivia: The other jump scare scene in the film was not originally scripted. Director Steven Spielberg added it in because he “got greedy” after seeing the test audiences’ reactions to the above-mentioned scene.

 

7. The Exorcist III (1990) – The hospital scene

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The film: When a police detective starts noticing similarities between his current murder investigation and the crimes carried out by a murderer who was executed fifteen years ago, he soon discovers a man who claims to be the dead serial killer. Visiting the hospitalised mental patient, he begins to investigate how the two men may be connected.

The scene: We watch a long shot of the hospital corridor as a nurse checks a room and then comes out of it and locks it. As she walks away, suddenly a figure appears behind her and decapitates her.

Often cited as one of the scariest scenes in horror, this jump scare is so effective because it is so sudden and unexpected. It is also horribly violent.

Trivia: The film is based on the novel Legion by William Peter Blatty. It was decided that it would be called The Exorcist III for commercial reasons, even though it doesn’t feature any exorcisms. After principal photography, the misleading title was noticed, and producers decided to add in additional scenes in order to make the film more viable as a sequel to The Exorcist.

 

6. Poltergeist (1982) – The creepy doll under the bed

Poltergeist (1982)

The film: The Freelings live an ordinary life as your typical Californian family, until one night when strange and mysterious things begin to happen in their house. They are drawn to the television set, where ghosts begin to commune with them. At first the interactions are friendly but when the youngest daughter goes missing, the Freelings are forced to call in the help of an exorcist.

The scene: Robbie looks at the clown doll sitting at the end of his bed and throws a cushion at it, causing the bell on its hat to jingle. Settling down to sleep, he sits up again to see that the doll has moved. He looks around for it, and slowly looks under the bed on one side before carefully looking on the other side. As he sits up, the clown is behind him.

Another clever piece of misdirection as the scene is played out as though the doll will appear under the bed. When the doll appears behind Robbie, it is sudden and violent.

Trivia: This was Steven Spielberg’s first film as a producer. In the scene where the hands pull the flesh off of the investigator’s face in the bathroom mirror, the hands are Spielberg’s.

7 Reasons Why “Avengers: Endgame” Is The Best Marvel Film

“We’re in the end game now,” words which echoed in the ears of Marvel fans for months. This was it, not only was Endgame due to be one of the biggest films of all time, it marked a monumental occasion for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We had been building up to this moment ever since the release of Iron Man in 2008 and now the first three phases of the MCU were almost at their conclusion.

With twenty-one other films to choose from, the MCU has its share of great films – Infinity War was incredible, Guardians of the Galaxy is hilarious and Black Panther was even nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award, to just name a few.

No one can deny that the MCU boasts some awesome films, and everyone has their favourite. What makes an MCU movie good? What makes an MCU movie someone’s favourite over the other films? Of course, like all film, this is subjective. But Endgame certainly deserves to be considered as one of the MCU’s best for many reasons.

Note – there are major spoilers throughout, but let’s be honest – if you haven’t seen Endgame by now then you probably deserve to have it spoiled.

 

1. It does its characters justice

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has given us a plethora of great, quirky and three-dimensional characters. Everyone has their favourite, whether you are Team Iron Man or Team Cap, a fan of the Guardians or all about Ant-Man – audiences have come to be fully invested in these characters. As such, it was important for Endgame to not only be true to the characters, but to make sure that their stories were brought to an end in a way that was fitting.

Before Endgame was released, there was a lot of speculation about what would happen to the characters and in particular there was a lot of speculation about who would survive and who wouldn’t. In the end, many of the characters had survived and were reunited with their family and friends to fight on another day.

Three characters fates took on a slightly different path. Tony Stark and Natasha Romanoff lost their lives in the fight against Thanos, and Steve Rogers decided to go back and live in the past to live out his life with Peggy Carter.

Tony and Natasha’s deaths, though sad, did make complete sense within their character arcs. Tony, who had always felt like the father of the MCU, went through a classic redemption arc. He began as a cocky, ego centric and self-interested character. Though he fought for good, it wasn’t always clear cut that he would make the ultimate sacrifice if it came down to it.

As each film passed, he became more and more honourable and less and less selfish. He became a mentor to Peter and eventually an actual father to Morgan. So, it felt like the perfect bittersweet move that he would be the one that saved everyone. If Steve, like so many had believed would happen, had been the one to die saving everyone – then yes it would have made perfect sense for his character. But that was too obvious, too clear cut.

Steve has always been the hero, the epitome of a true superhero and so giving him his happy ending felt so well deserved. When it comes to Natasha, her character was always so loyal, and she was able to be tough and make the hard choices in a way that no one else could. Dying for the only family she’d ever known only went to prove further what an incredible badass she was. Just like we’d always known.

 

2. It has the perfect balance of action and emotion

Coming off the intense, action filled scenes of Infinity War, it would have been easy to think that Endgame would either be the same or would go too far the other way and be full of overly emotional and downcast scenes. But Endgame successfully managed to find a balance between the two, providing audiences with some awesome battles and action sequences but also delivering some real emotional gut punches. Not only that, but we also had the touches of humour that the MCU has come to be known for.

The best example of this perfect balance between action and emotion was arguably demonstrated in the final battle scene and then Tony’s funeral scene. If you look at both of these scenes side by side, they have poignant similarities. Both scenes feature the ensemble of characters coming together in a momentous moment, both scenes feature moments which will be quoted as defining moments of the MCU and both scenes evoke big reactions from the audience.

The battle scene is a fast-paced blur of action, fighting and awesome sequences of the characters using all their weapons and skills at their disposal. We see Thor, Captain America and Iron Man triple team Thanos, we see Spider-Man catch a ride with Valkyrie and Ant-Man punch a spaceship out of the sky, amongst many other things.

After that scene, which is filled with so many things to draw our eye and almost too much to take in, we have the complete opposite. Tony’s funeral is a deeply moving scene, it is slow-paced and calm. Now the audience can let the action sink in, and the emotion comes pouring through. Not many films can pull off such a great balance of tones, in a way that makes the film non jarring and watchable for the audience.

 

3. It’s the ultimate payoff to the previous films

After three phases and twenty-one previous films, the MCU has given us dozens of brilliant, jaw dropping and awe-inspiring moments. It has built a cinematic universe and a saga of individual stories, all of which have been playing into one overall story arc – the Infinity Stones.

When you have a momentous and long build up to something, then when it reaches its concluding part – expectations are really high, and the pressure is really on. Endgame had to simultaneously satisfy and achieve several things. Not only did it have to deliver an amazing film, it also had to conclude the story of the Infinity Stones and all the other character arcs that were due to close with this film.

If it could do this then it would be the ultimate payoff to all that came before it, and the ultimate payoff to the audience that had invested so much time and energy into it. And arguably, it did that and more, showing audiences that their time had been well spent and invested. It also brought several stories to a close in a satisfying way and left audiences eager to see what new stories the MCU would introduce with its next phase.

The 10 Most Important Occult Themes In “Twin Peaks”

When FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper arrived in Twin Peaks, his mission was clear: the homecoming queen, Laura Palmer, had been murdered and Cooper was there to crack the case. But the investigation that followed led him into a labyrinth of secrets lurking just under the surface of the small town, and those secrets often threatened to obscure his primary objective of solving the murder mystery.

As time passed, Cooper discovered that this hidden, or occult, side of Twin Peaks was in fact directly related to the visible events which had drawn him there in the first place. And so it is with all occult laws of nature: the mysterious and the inexplicable parts of life are governed less by magic and chance than by hidden sets of cause and effect which begin to turn the gears of visible events long before they become manifest.

It soon became obvious to any thoughtful viewer of Twin Peaks that its creators were lifting the veils off some topics not often tackled by primetime television, and the show explored these occult themes unapologetically. Though the work of David Lynch is filled with supernatural ideas, these ideas are often obscure and unnamed; his collaboration with Mark Frost on Twin Peaks brought a wonderful clarity to otherwise difficult concepts.

Co-creator Frost has made no secret of the influences which informed his pen while writing Twin Peaks, and the occult references are in fact quite easily apparent. In an August 1992 interview with The Independent, Frost admits “The whole mythological side of Twin Peaks was really down to me, and I’ve always known about the Theosophical writers and that whole group around the Order of the Golden Dawn in the late 19th, early 20th century—W.B. Yeats, Madame Blavatsky and a woman called Alice Bailey, a very interesting writer.”

Therefore, this list contains no imaginative speculation and requires no recourse to bizarre fan theories – the script and the creators of Twin Peaks speak for themselves. So, let us peer beneath the ostensible story of this legendary series to uncover the hidden elements which will clarify our own investigations.

Warning: Spoilers lie ahead for those uninitiated into the world of Twin Peaks.

 

1. The Black Lodge and evil societies

The Black Lodge featured prominently in Twin Peaks, which took care to give it a tangible presence and appearance. Hawk described it as “a place of dark forces that pull on this world. A world of nightmares.” Some residents of Twin Peaks were aware of “the evil in these woods,” where various evil spirits resided, and took active steps to combat it.Nevertheless, The Black Lodge remained an insidious force throughout the series, with glimpses of its nature being given during scenes featuring The Red Room.

The existence of Black Lodges is an important occult concept which has been given plenty of consideration by initiated authors. Perhaps most prominently, Black Lodges are discussed at length in the book Psychic Self-Defence, by Dion Fortune. Fortune was an occultist with ties to Theosophy in her early career, and her writings remain influential today.

“That’s right, that’s exactly where I got the Black Lodge from” answers Mark Frost when asked about the book during the previously mentioned August 1992 interview with The Independent. Fortune explains Black Lodges as sinister centers of influence where black magic is practiced by unscrupulous characters.

 

2. The White Lodge and Ascended Masters

Everything that The Black Lodge is, The White Lodge is not. In fact, The Black Lodge is described as the “shadow self” of its White counterpart, which is “a place of great goodness” where virtue thrives and beneficent spirits operate. It, too, has a rich history rooted in occult teachings about groups who work behind the scenes of humanity to promote wisdom and progress.

Though Dion Fortune makes mention of a “Great White Lodge” in Psychic Self-Defence, the majority of occult lore on this topic comes from other sources. Alice Bailey and other Theosophist writers frequently mention the “Great White Brotherhood,” which is composed of “Masters of the Ancient Wisdom” who help direct the spiritual progress of the human race. Some difference of opinion may arise over whether its members are living or dead persons, but the belief in the existence of such a lodge is generally agreed upon by occultists.

 

3. The Dweller on the Threshold – the final spiritual test

Here is an important concept which Twin Peaks specifically references only in passing, but which is full of meaning. Its occult significance merits mention here, if for no other reason than to spark further investigation by those whose attention it catches. Hawk describes to Cooper The Dweller on the Threshold in the following passage: “My people believe that the White Lodge is a place where the spirits that rule man and nature reside.

There is also a legend of a place called the Black Lodge. The shadow self of the White Lodge. Legend says that every spirit must pass through there on the way to perfection. There, you will meet your own shadow self. My people call it The Dweller on the Threshold… But it is said that if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul.”

Facing The Dweller on the Threshold is one of the final tests for the seeker on the verge of attaining spiritual maturity, and the battle can either free or crush the soul of the aspirant. Since Mark Frost is an admitted student of the writings of Alice Bailey, let us refer to her definition of this mysterious entity: “This Dweller is the sumtotal of all the personality characteristics which have remained unconquered and unsubtle, and which must be finally overcome before initiation can be taken.”

The role and identity of The Dweller on the Threshold in Twin Peaks may be reasonably up for debate, but one cannot deny its intentional insertion into the occult lore of the story.

 

4. Doppelgängers and evil twins

Twin Peaks had no shortage of doppelgängers, and it seemed that nearly every major character had a shadowy double lurking somewhere around the corner. Originating from the Black Lodge, these cloudy-eyed twins surfaced many times throughout the series, bringing trouble in their wakes. L

aura, Leland, and Cooper’s doppelgängers featured most prominently, and often carried cryptic messages meant for Cooper and the audience to decipher. Viewed in this way, the doppelgängers seemed to function as hidden elements of the consciousness which the main characters needed to understand.

The doppelgänger motif has appeared in painting and literature for centuries, and is commonly described as the “double” or the “evil twin” of a person. But a closer inspection reveals that the doppelgänger is most correctly viewed not as an entity separate from oneself, but rather as a manifestation of the hidden side of one’s personality.

The fact that the shadowy being is often perceived as evil can be attributed either to an individual’s ignorance of his or her dark side, or by a prolonged attempt to hide that sinister half from public view.

Left unconfronted, a doppelgänger may work ruthlessly to undermine or ruin the life that one has built; at other times, the doppelgänger may appear only briefly to warn of an impending momentous event. Understanding the origin and purpose of the apparition is critical to responding properly.

 

5. Electricity and personality transference

Electricity is an obviously recurring theme throughout much of Lynch’s work, including Twin Peaks. From slow pans along power lines, to the sight of Cooper’s clones manifesting from electrical sockets in Season 3, to the existence of the mysterious Electrician above the convenience store, it comes as no shock that great significance is attached to the concept of electricity.

Though many details remain shrouded in mystery, much can be learned by observing how power lines and electricity seem to be used to transmit energy, evil, and even various versions of Cooper himself.

Briefly touching on the concept of the Astral Body seems the best way to prompt an exploration into the occult meaning of electricity in Twin Peaks. Many occultists believe that the Astral Body, or the “etheric double” of a person is built up by the emotional energy which that individual nurtures and sustains. It is the Astral Body that constitutes the essence of “ghost” sightings, and its etheric substance is closely related to electrical energy.

Thus, when Cooper’s double emerges from a power socket, an astral, or electrical, body is clearly implied. Likewise, the evil energy which haunts the entire series is often linked to the transmission of electricity, which has perhaps been enhanced by the atomic explosion which we witness in Twin Peaks: The Return.

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