Lucio Fulci: So Much More Than The Godfather Of Gore

Lucio Fulci “was sort of an Italian Hershell Gordon Lewis,” Roger Ebert wrote in 1998, dismissing The Beyond as a plotless and dim-witted movie full of bad special effects and worse dialogue. It’s not surprising that Ebert didn’t like The Beyond – he thought Friday the 13th was disgusting enough trash to warrant a letter writing campaign, after all – but what is surprising is how much Fulci’s legacy is framed more or less as Ebert had it, just with a positive inflection.

Ciara wrote about Lucio Fulci’s masterpiece Don’t Torture a Duckling for Fangoria on its fiftieth anniversary! You can read it here.

Spring Breakers: The Sundae Presents Episode 22

Ciara and Dean co-host The Sundae Presents, a podcast in which they each make the other watch films they haven’t seen. Dean follows through on his longstanding threat to make Ciara watch a Harmony Korine film, the 2012 black comedy (?) crime drama (?) Spring Breakers. They talk about its grotesque visual excess, James Franco’s repulsive performance and whether the whole film is just a big joke.

Spring Breakers The Sundae Presents

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Halloween: The Sundae Presents Episode 21

Ciara and Dean co-host The Sundae Presents, a podcast in which they each make the other watch films they haven’t seen. It’s our second annual Halloween Spooktacular, so Ciara showed Dean the most appropriate movie possible, John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher masterpiece Halloween. They talk about its genre-defining visual style, its iconic kills and whether Dr. Loomis is the worst psychiatrist in the history of cinema.

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White Dog: The Sundae Presents Episode 20

Ciara and Dean co-host The Sundae Presents, a podcast in which they each make the other watch films they haven’t seen. Ciara goes “full Dean” by showing him the controversial 80s racism drama White Dog. They talk about its bleak ending, Birth of a Nation, and why the studio sold it up the river.

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The Deer Hunter: The Sundae Presents Bonus Episode 2

Ciara and Dean co-host The Sundae Presents, a podcast in which they each make the other watch films they haven’t seen. We have a film emergency! Dean watched The Deer Hunter, so he and Ciara recorded a bonus episode. They talk about its portrayal of Russian-American identity, the controversial Russian roulette sequence, and how much its director loved lying.

The Deer Hunter The Sundae Presents

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Entering The Twilight Zone

Despite the near-constant refrain that this or that season of television is really more like a “ten-hour movie,” the birth of TV as a medium is tied much closer to radio than cinema. Genres that developed on the radio jumped to TV, from sitcoms to soap operas and game shows to police procedurals. Like radio, early television drama was broadcast live, often performed twice, once for the East Coast and again for the West Coast. “Like a child in hand-me-down clothes, television inherited the best and worst that radio had to offer, from the Ed Wynns and Jack Bennys, who made millions of Americans laugh every week, to the blatant commercialism that drove the system,” Jeff Kisseloff writes in the introduction to The Box, his oral history of early TV. “Television did it all, but radio did it first.”

I wrote about The Twilight Zone for Current Affairs. You can read it here!

The Sundae TV Awards 2022

What a weirdly fantastic and fantastically weird year of television we’ve had. We said goodbye to previous award winners Better Call Saul, Better Things and Derry Girls, all of whom represented one of the two dominant themes of the year: good shows staying good. It’s Always Sunny? Still good. Taskmaster? Still good. Ted Lasso? Still good.

But Ted Lasso also represents the other theme: our extreme uncertainty about how to classify many shows as dramas or comedies this year. Some of it was new shows like Peacemaker, or new to us shows like Doom Patrol and Succession, that straddled the divide. But we also had favourites like Ted Lasso that seemed to shift from one to the other. While we put thought into our process and considered qualities like a show’s structure as much as or more than its tone, some of our decisions are likely to feel arbitrary or even absurd to you, reader. All we can say is: deal with it, because we are not explaining or justifying that shit every time.

And with that little bit of housekeeping out of the way, please enjoy as we pass judgement on the last TV season (June 2021 – May 2022). As well as the classic drama and comedy awards, we also have two awards for reality, variety and documentary television, including game shows, professional wrestling and whatever Eric Andre is doing at any given minute. We picked our winners by consensus, so only shows we both watched were eligible to win, but we each picked a runner-up, regardless of whether the other has seen it.

You can find each of our full slates of nominees at the bottom of the post. We recommend checking them out if you’re looking for recommendations.

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Pieces Isn’t Exactly What You Think it Is

Pieces had an all-time great tagline: under a picture of a chainsaw and a woman’s lifeless body, the poster reads, “Pieces: it’s exactly what you think it is.” You know the whole story immediately. You know exactly the kind of cheapo exploitation horror you’re in for. It’s a slasher movie about women being chopped to pieces.

I wrote about the Spanish giallo Pieces for Crooked Marquee! You can read it here.

Interview with the Vampire: The Sundae Presents Episode 19

Ciara and Dean co-host The Sundae Presents, a podcast in which they each make the other watch films they haven’t seen. Dean shows Ciara his favourite film of 1994, Neil Jordan’s gay vampire fantasia Interview with the Vampire. They talk about how gay it is, the complexities of vampires as metaphors and Tom Cruise’s electric performance as Lestat.

Interview with the Vampire The Sundae Presents

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