Author Archives: James Morgart

Nietzsche and Marxism in Eli Roth’s ‘Hostel’

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As has already been stated, I’m a graduate student over at Penn State, and when I first arrived there, there was all this talk in my courses by my fellow graduate students about this guy by the name of Foucault. Grad students were saying, “Oh, well, Foucault says, this and Foucault says that.” I didn’t even know who this guy Foucault was and I was getting a little sick and tired of hearing what Mr. Know-It-All Foucault … Continue reading

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Blackmail (1992): Sometimes a Cigar is a Hitch(cocktail)

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Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail marked the first time, in British cinematic history, that sound was used for an entire feature film. The infamous American musical The Jazz Singer (1927) has been cited as the first film to use dialogue; however, Al Jolson’s notorious film barely passes as a “talkie” as it incorporated only a “few” lines of dialogue. When considering the inability to adequately market a full-“talkie” at the time (only 20% of theatres could support a “talkie” … Continue reading

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Politics of the Dead

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Growing up as a horror fan living in New Jersey meant that I was inundated by Lloyd Kaufman’s Troma films, a ridiculous amount of zombie films and, of course, Jersey Devil films. Since I had long ago adopted the typical horror fan’s code of skepticism (that is, many of us have a tendency to reject mainstream thinking and authority figures – sometimes simply for the sake of rejecting anyone telling us what to think, what to … Continue reading

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Feminism in the Hills of Wes Craven

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More and more I’m forgetting the past… Webb Pierce’s lyrics open the remake to Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes, and upon watching the remakes that have littered the wasteland of the horror landscape over the past decade, few songs seem more befitting to a remake of one of Craven’s most feminist works. It’s not that I entirely dislike Alexandre Aja’s 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes, it’s simply that I don’t care for … Continue reading

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Tortured Over Being Misunderstood

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Saw has ultimately become the most popular of the so-called “torture p*rn” franchises in existence. This subgenre of the horror industry has become a hotly contested subject. Is torture p*rn right? Should we support it as fans? Perhaps a better question to ask is, “Does torture p*rn even really exist?” In the Freshman Rhetoric and Composition course I teach, we call the release of Saw VI an exigence – meaning an “event” or “thing” worth responding to. One person I … Continue reading

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An Open Letter to Horror Actresses and Filmmakers

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With the advent of the prosumer camcorder, more and more “filmmakers” are coming out of the woodwork in a similar fashion to the infamous GWC’s of the modeling industry.  Basically a GWC is a “guy with a camera” or “guy with camera.” These are males with little to no equipment who hold nude modeling shoots usually for their “private collection.” Often, once they’ve gotten the model naked, they’ll either proposition the model or push the boundaries even … Continue reading

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Triangles and Freedom in Hitchcock’s Lodger

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Tippi Hedren. Janet Leigh. Grace Kelly. Eva Marie Saint. Kim Novak. Alfred Hitchcock’s consistent casting of platinum blondes has painted a target on his infamously rotund figure for being a misogynistic director hampered by an obvious fetish. His casting of the beautiful blonde – who he found to be at their most alluring when they were least clothed – led to a motif in the horror industry that is still alive and kicking today. However, as one of my personal favorite … Continue reading

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The Horror of Social Ignorance

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“I want to study Gothic literature and film adaptations.” “Oh?” The professor advising me on my academic career path sat back in his chair. “Do you think you might know a time period?” “I haven’t decided on that. I was thinking post-World War II. Begin with Lovecraft, work my way up to Bloch, Matheson, Blatty.” “Hmm…well, for the time period you’re speaking of, it’s becomes a matter of you may be facing an uphill battle as some of those … Continue reading

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Hostile Rebirth of Horror: The Morality of Eli Roth’s Hostel 1 and 2

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Not since the late 1970s and early 1980s when woman revenge films like I Spit on Your Grave and social critiques like Cannibal Holocaust were released has the horror industry produced a burst of socially provocative films like the current wave of violently graphic horror flicks conversing with the existence of torture in Western society. Recent productions over the past decade such as the Saw franchise created by Asian-Australian filmmaker James Wan, the psychological thrillers of … Continue reading

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Crisis in Horror: A Call to Horror Fans – Take Action!

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One could say that the last bastion of free thought and free speech is the Internet. It is here that we have the opportunity to say whatever the f*ck we like, whenever the f*ck we like, at whatever the f*ck speed we like. However, there is growing concern that this may one day draw to a close – and sooner rather than later. Some of you reading this are already saying, great another article on net neutrality … Continue reading

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Interview: Gunnar Hansen (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Won Ton Baby..)

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James Morgart (JM): Obviously, you starred as Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, one of the great low-budget horror legends in the history of horror films. But then you took time off before coming back to horror. First, what were you doing during that time away from film? Gunnar Hansen (GH): My interest had alway been writing first, so that’s what I did. I went back to grad school for a while after filming Chainsaw and … Continue reading

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Interview: Aaron Dlugasch (Composer for Systematics Sound)

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As I continue to meet new people throughout the industry, I think it’s worth sharing those who I think who have the ability to make an impact on the genre down the road. In one of those weird twists in life, I met this musician, Aaron Dlugasch ( www.systematicsound.com ), over a decade ago while we were both just a year or two out of high school. Aaron was big into metal and I was into grunge, … Continue reading

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Zombie’s Halloween 2: letting your white horse run wild

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Last year, in case you were hiding in a hole and weren’t aware, Rob Zombie’s Halloween II came out. A flood of reviews submerged the information super highway as critics rushed to have their say. I held off on watching the film for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I was feeling slightly pressured by all the internet advertisements to go watch the movie, so I said, “No! Fuck you Internet! I will not … Continue reading

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Interview: Suzi Lorraine (Scream Queen)

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James Morgart (JM): When we first met (oh, so many years ago), I was in a graduate program for Accounting and you were mostly taking on modeling work, how did you break into film? More specifically, why horror films?  Suzi Lorraine (SL): Isn’t it amazing what has happened in the last 8 years! Can you believe we’ve been friends all those years – geez! My break into horror films was completely intentional, and strategic. I started modeling to make … Continue reading

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Interview: J.D. Lipsh*tz – Director (Killed on the Fourth of July)

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After having worked on and off as an indie filmmaker, I’ve found that often after filming has wrapped, everyone will go their separate ways and rarely keep in touch despite promises to do otherwise. However, low-budget horror indie films has always been unique for me though as whenever I’ve met someone at a convention or festival or have worked with them on a film, those who are involved in the genre actually DO stay in touch. Perhaps … Continue reading

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Blogging for Horror

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One of the courses I’m enrolled in this semester is being taught by Master Blogger Michael Bérubé. (You can check out his blog, “American Airspace”, at http://www.michaelberube.com )  Every couple weeks, the course requires that we post a blog entry on a closed blog about the assigned reading for that week. At first, I stared at the blog text box wondering what in the world to write about regarding a 100+ page reading assignment as well … Continue reading

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