It’s October, so that means audiences seek out stories of horror both old and new. One common trope is the haunted place, typically a house but it can be any location where someone has died in an extremely violent or tragic manner. Here is a selection of films (and one tv series) that I think present hauntings in an exciting and sometimes very different way.
The Innocents (1961)
Written by William Archibald, Truman Capote, and John Mortimer
Directed by Jack Clayton
Based on the novella by Henry James, The Turn of the Screw, this adaptation tells the story of Miss Giddens, a governess who has just arrived at a remote estate in the countryside to care for a wealthy bachelor’s orphaned niece and nephew. The children’s behavior is extremely questionable, and Giddens finds herself attempting to uncover what is driving them to such bizarre extremes. Eventually, she learns of dark events that took place before her arrival between members of the staff and the specters that remain as a result. There are some deep psychological levels to this story beyond the ghosts and this masterfully written, and directed film will linger with you for a long time after viewing it.
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Written by Jim Kreuger & Alex Ross
Art by Doug Braithwaite & Alex Ross
The Justice League of America is the greatest team of heroes on Earth. Their roster includes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and many more. And up until now, they have been the defenders of the weak. Suddenly, across the globe villains like Lex Luthor, Captain Cold, and Poison Ivy offer up help the downtrodden, particularly those with disabilities and people living in the third world. They do more for these people than the League has ever been able to and public opinion begins to turn on the heroes. Batman learns The Riddler has ransacked the databases of Wayne Enterprises and is armed with dossiers on every Leaguer. A psychic assault comes from Gorilla Grodd who incapacitates Aquaman. Meanwhile, Brainiac is constructing a plan that will destroy the heroes for good.
Continue reading “Comic Book Review – Justice”
Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Mike Nichols
In 1980, Democratic Congressman Charlie Wilson of Texas was known as a hard-drinking, hard-partying, womanizing member of the House Appropriations Committee. Wilson was a man quite deft at securing favors from his fellow congressmen and infamous for his office staff of “angels,” young and fit women that ran his day to day operations. Despite a mind very focused on the material and carnal, Wilson was deeply moved by the footage he saw of Afghan refugees. A fact-finding mission to Pakistan found him walking among a camp comprised of a one-fifth of the Afghan population that had fled in the wake of the Soviet invasion. Wilson, pushed by Texan socialite Joanne Herring and CIA agent Gust Avrakotos, was one of the figures responsible for getting weapons into the hands of the Afghan freedom fighters who ultimately repelled the Soviets.
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The Contender (2000)
Written & Directed by Rod Lurie
Senator Laine Hanson has been nominated as the new vice president in the wake of the previous office holder’s death. Like all presidential nominees, the Legislature exercises its advise and consent policy with hearings. Congressman Sheldon Runyon, chair of the House Judiciary, has made it his mission to take down Hanson publicly for a multitude of reasons. She is, after all, a Democrat to his Republican, but made even worse is that she is a former Republican who switched parties mid-stream. Her beliefs in upholding a woman’s right to choose was a catalyst for her political conversion, and now Runyon wants her to suffer. He enters into a deal with members of both parties in Congress, as well as a runner-up for the nomination, with plans to humiliate Senator Hanson with a scandalous revelation from her past.
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JSA by Geoff Johns Volume 2 (2018)
Written by Geoff Johns with David Goyer
Art by Stephen Sadowski, Phil Winslade, Carlos Pacheco, Steve Yeowell, Buzz, Javier Saltares
The Justice Society is ambushed by their nemesis Johnny Sorrow and his new Injustice Society. The team is fragmented, and each villain targets a specific hero. Jay Garrick, the original Flash, is confronted by his long thought dead arch-enemy Rival. Count Vertigo seeks revenge against Black Canary who is out on the town with Doc Mid-Nite. Shiv has a score to settle with the Star-Spangled Kid. In the midst of this chaos, a new ally is forged, and Hawkgirl suddenly recalls her past-life as Shiera Hall and her lost love Hawkman. The JSA ends up across the galaxy on Thanagar heralding the return of the winged wonder while they battle the devilish Onimarr Synn. After a brief tour of duty in Our Worlds At War, the team finally settles down with a Thanksgiving dinner with the Justice League only to have it interrupted by global hell as the Seven Deadly Sins are unleashed. This leads to the return of two deadly enemies for both heroic teams.
Continue reading “Comic Book Review – JSA by Geoff Johns Volume 2”
Vernon God Little (2003)
Written by D.B.C. Pierre
Vernon Little is a teenager living in the nowhere town of Martirio, Texas. After a life of mundanity, one day his friend Jesus up and shoots 18 of their classmates and then kills himself. Without anyone to heap their collective anger and rage on due to the suicide, suspicious immediately turn to Vernon. Everyone becomes convinced he must have known Jesus had this planned and therefore his hands are covered in blood. A reporter rolls into town who is named Eulalio Ledesma (Lally for short), and he claims to work for CNN with a promise he will help clear Vernon’s name. This is just the beginning of the foul-mouthed teen’s manipulations, and Vernon quickly learns everyone is out to claim their own piece of him. Events begin to spiral out of control, and Vernon is confronted with the fact life as he knew it is effectively over.
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American Psycho (2000)
Written by Guinevere Turner & Mary Harron
Directed by Mary Harron
1987 in New York City was a time of gross consumption and wealth. Patrick Bateman is an investment banker who spends his life dining at exclusive restaurants amongst people whom he seems to regard with vile disdain. When Bateman becomes enraged by a social slight or what he perceives as personal digs at himself, he unleashes his anger in a private and extremely violent manner. Bateman stabs a homeless man to death and stomps his dog into oblivion. Later, he gets a colleague extraordinarily intoxicated and brings him home, only to hack the man apart with a chrome plated ax after opining on the virtues of Huey Lewis’ “Hip to Be A Square.” How long can Bateman sustain such an existence, especially as he feels his sense of individual self-being drowned out by the culture around him.
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