Violent with Purpose: The Case for Extreme Horror

Violent with Purpose

“There are many good new scary movies, but few great ones,” wrote critic Jason Zinoman in 2011, and it’s hard to argue with him. Horror might be the most viscerally exciting genre in all of cinema, yet not many horror movies of the past few years have taken the same grip that The Exorcist, Halloween, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre did in the 1970s. Part of that is because of a dispiriting trend of cookie-cutter remakes (Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw 3-D), but even the original horror movies of the past several years seem hesitant to truly unnerve people.

Writing for Slate in a series titled “How to Fix the Horror Film”, Zinoman wrote that horror films should “stop trying to be so damn respectable.” Zinoman, whose excellent book Shock Value traces how horror films of the 1960s and 1970s “went for the throat and then worked their way down”, argues that horror needs to push boundaries in order to be effective. And indeed, one horror subgenre in the 2000s, extreme horror, pushed the boundaries of what viewers could take, rattling and unsettling them like few films of their time.


Dispatches from TIFF: Prestige Pictures and Grindhouse Flicks on the Festival Circuit

12 Years A Slave

The Toronto International Film Festival doesn’t have the same pedigree as Cannes, nor does it exclusively serve up-and-coming directors like Sundance. What does it have instead? Options. Pitched as a populist film festival, TIFF brings hundreds of different films together for a week and a half for press, industry types, film fanatics, and general moviegoers, who can see anything from the latest avant-garde opus to a future Oscar contender, from world cinema masters to first-time directors. It’s a wonderful smorgasbord for anyone with a ticket.


When The Sky Falls: Opportunity Amid Hollywood’s Looming Implosion

“Cinema is dead,” or so the frequent pronouncement goes. It seems that each decade brings at least a few grouchy filmmakers to decry the state of cinema, but it’s hard to take them seriously. Lately, though, some of the complaints about Hollywood have gone beyond noted cranks like Peter Greenaway and Jean-Luc Godard and come from more levelheaded thinkers. Major filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg are having a harder time realizing their visions, and to some, the future of movies looks awfully grim. But too many people have taken Soderbergh and Spielberg’s talks and filtered it through a “the sky is falling!” mentality. Rather, it’s time to consider whether the Hollywood model really is breaking down, and what this might actually mean to filmmakers old and new alike.


Whatever & Ever Today: ‘The Purge’ Shocks The Box Office, Designated Drunk Drivers, and John Oliver Starts ‘The Daily Show’ Gig

Americans like movies about scary murderers in dystopian America, designated drivers still drink, and John Oliver tries not to run The Daily Show into cancellation.


Review in Haiku

Film reviews, in Haikus. Review in Haiku is written by Tony Russo, designed by Blake J. Graham, and updated regularly. Images are also available on imgur.


Whatever & Ever Today: Weiner Runs For Mayor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt Made a Movie, and The Lonely Island’s “Semicolons”

Weiner announces a comeback, Joseph Gordon-Levitt premieres the trailer for Don Jon, and The Lonely Island try its hand at grammar-rap


14 Independent Short Films by Louis C.K.

Before the glory days of a show on FX and HBO comedy specials, Louis C.K. spent his time arduously working his way up to comic celebrity. By the time he landed a deal with FX for his show Louie, where his contract allowed him to singlehandedly write, edit, direct, and star in each episode, he […]


On Air Issue 002: Boy Scout’s Coming Out, Cloud Atlas, Internet Society, & The Value of Cinematic Flops

The second issue of The Airspace’s digital periodical On Air is now available. In this issue writers Jon Catlin, Hamid Bendaas, Christopher Smith, and Max O’Connell cover the Boy Scouts of America’s policies toward gay scouts, the complex inner-workings of the near-epic film Cloud Atlas, the reality of technological society, and how seemingly awful blockbuster films are actually important. The four articles contain a total of 13,000 words of insightful and tested prose. Excerpts of Issue 002 are available below.

On Air is the result of our efforts and what we believe is the next step in making the world a better and more intelligent place. Every two weeks, a new edition of On Air will be published containing at least four pieces of completely original high-quality journalism, essay, or fiction. Our articles center in topics on culture, technology, and scholarship and are written by college and university students around America who are burgeoning professionals in the areas they write in.

For $2.00 a month, the newest issue of On Air is delivered to your email inbox every two weeks. You can read it in your email, or on the web. It looks great on a computer, tablet, smartphone, and on paper. No advertisements or gimmicks. Just great writing from students across the country. Subscribe to On Air, it only takes a minute.


Watch This: Disney’s Animated Love Story ‘Paperman’

Every boring office drone is waiting for their serendipitous rom-com moment when happenstance brings two souls together. At least that is what film has taught us avid viewers and Disney’s animated short “Paperman” is no exception. If you missed it when it debuted in theaters with feature film Wreck-It Ralph, the Oscar-nominated short is now […]


How an Indie Film was Secretly Made Inside Disney’s Theme Parks

After Randy Moore premiered his film “Escape from Tomorrow” at the Sundance film festival he was out of breath and paranoid—afraid of what might happen next. Moore spent three years in fear that his project might be come public knowledge. He told his actors not to tell anyone they worked on the project. He didn’t […]

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Commentary Ticker

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    July 12, 2014 | 4:02 pm

    If you haven’t heard, electroencephalograms (EEGs) have been getting better. Way better. Artificial limbs and even video game controllers are utilizing the non-invasive brain-wave monitoring method to guide computers by thought. Now English startup This Place has developed a way to bring the technology to Google Glass, allowing Google’s wearable to read your mind. Well, […]

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    Within the cultural centers of the world lurks a mechanical beast draped in silver spinning madly and capturing everything, sometimes even itself. In 2011 Google created the Art Project, an initiative to bring their Street View technology inside the cultural epicenters of the world. Google enlisted 17 world-class museums in short time. Institutions such as […]

  • Purple Mountunes Majesty: The Most Patriotic Playlist
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    A while ago, Paul Lamere of The Echo Nest, a music-analysis company, took to finding each state’s most distinctive, yet popular, artist in a viral article. Spotify took note, purchasing Echo Nest for their analytical talent. Together, they’ve released a blog post documenting each state’s most distinctively American song creating a patriotic playlist for the […]

  • Emojinealogy: Where the Heck Emojis Come From
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    On June 16th, the Unicode Consortium announced that 250 new emoji would be added to the list of symbols available to people’s cellphones and computer devices. The list of the new symbols can be found on Emojipedia. And no, the list doesn’t include the much needed minority representation, but it does include your favorite (?) […]

  • The Decline and Fall of the American Mall
    June 24, 2014 | 9:07 pm

    For ages, the shopping mall was as essential to the architecture of suburbia as Levittowns and freeways. But in an era of online shopping, these epicenters of brick and mortar yesteryear are quietly being abandoned across the country. While the U.S. currently has around 1,500, the number may soon shrink, and rapidly, leading to abandoned […]

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