Tag Archives: Toni Collette

341 – Nightmare Alley (1947)

Listen on the players above, Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

Listen to our discussion of 2021’s Nightmare Alley here.

We explore 1947’s Nightmare Alley, directed by Edmund Goulding, and compare it to Guillermo del Toro’s new adaptation of the material, which we find superior in almost every way. Mike in particular finds, in the reflection of Goulding’s version, useful ways to appreciate del Toro’s, which at first blush he found uninspiring. We discuss the portrayal and use of the geek, the differences in the introduction of the protagonist (played by Tyrone Power and Bradley Cooper in the old and new films respectively), del Toro’s greater focus on mood and scene setting, and how thoroughly Goulding’s film adheres to the noir genre. And we express our joy at seeing del Toro’s version at the grand reopening of the Electric, the UK’s oldest working cinema, which we completely forgot to do in the last podcast.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

340 – Nightmare Alley (2021)

Listen on the players above, Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

Listen to our discussion of 1947’s Nightmare Alley here.

We talk swoony visuals, alcoholism, a femme fatale pastiche, moral descent, Bradley Cooper’s sexual presence and more in our discussion of Nightmare Alley, Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel of the same name.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

253 – I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Listen on the players above, on Apple Podcasts, or on Spotify.

Horror tropes pervade I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Charlie Kaufman’s oddball drama about a girl doubting her relationship, but it can’t be considered a traditional horror. Instead, it turns these tropes inwards, likening a controlling, toxic relationship to an isolated, threatening, haunted house. It’s a fascinating and brilliant idea, but despite the film being well-observed and intriguing, it’s not engaging enough, and offers little opportunity for confident interpretation. Mike has little sympathy for its developing surreality; José wants more humour. Still, it’s an ambitious, interesting film, and worth delving into.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

71 – Hereditary – Second Screening

We go deep on Hereditary, occult/folk horror, and indeed horror in a wider perspective with guest contributor and horror guru (Mike’s words) Dr. Matt Denny from the University of Warwick, a film scholar with a particular interest in precisely the milieu Hereditary occupies. (He’s also a former student of José’s who was an undergrad alongside Mike, so it’s not all down to his credentials.) He brings an insightful and informed perspective to the film, picking up the baton where Mike and José dropped it in the previous podcast, and running off with it.

We consider what the occult subgenre is, what makes such stories interesting and where Hereditary in particular digresses from them, and the effects that has. Matt offers a historical perspective on the treatment of women in horror and how the film puts forth a muddled version of that, and the influence of Kubrick (in particular The Shining) on the film. We consider Mike’s dislike of how the film hides information or clues behind codes, and Matt suggests that this is really just a function of how this type of film works – and indeed how the occult works. And is it reasonable that Mike associates the occult film with British cinema in particular?

All this and more in a fascinating discussion.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

70 – Hereditary

Perhaps we lack the specific horror fundamentals that would open Hereditary up to us, but we find it a muddled, almost adolescent film – a particular disappointment given it’s also an engrossing family drama with a brilliant central performance from Toni Collette. Our conversation includes considerations of the compositions and props, including repeated imagery of miniature models of the family’s home, and complaints that it feels as though we’re deliberately being withheld a clear explanation of what the hell is going on by a writer-director who’s keen to seem smarter than us. In its cruel and brutal treatment and imagery of women, José finds the film misogynist, which reminds Mike of It Follows, which he found misogynist. And José spends a few moments decrying The Exorcist, why not.

Everything we discuss is a significant plot spoiler as the film operates on revelation and surprise, so make sure you either know or don’t care what happens before listening.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.