Author Archives : Stan

About Stan

Stan is a freelance writer and editor. He blogs about the English language at Sentence first and can also be found on Twitter.

Vintage animation: The Insects’ Christmas

The Insects’ Christmas is a short film from 1913 by the pioneering animator Władysław Starewicz (later Ladislas Starevich). During his time as director of a natural history museum in Lithuania, Starewicz began making live-action nature documentaries. Apparently he turned to stop-motion while trying to film a battle between stag beetles who kept falling asleep under the […]

Phase IV

Retro Movie Review: Phase IV

So defenceless in the individual; so powerful in the mass. Graphic designer Saul Bass (1920–1996) is best known for his iconic film posters and title sequences, the latter including The Man with the Golden Arm, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, Spartacus, West Side Story, Big, Goodfellas, and Cape Fear. Though not generally known as a […]

The Vampires of Wartime Paris

In the early 20th century, crime and suspense serials were very popular with cinemagoers. They were like the 24 of the silent film era. One of the finest practitioners of the form was Louis Feuillade (1873–1925), a French writer and director of about 700 films. After the success of his Fantômas, Feuillade was encouraged to repeat […]

Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People

This week’s cult film recommendation is Matango, a little-known Japanese oddity from 1963. You might imagine from its full American title, Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People, that it’s a daft and trashy piece of work. Contrary to appearances, though, this is an unusually well-made and thoughtful genre film. It plays by the rules of […]

Master of the Flying Guillotine

Jimmy Wang Yu’s outrageous martial arts film from 1975 is something of a cult classic. I re-watched it recently and can happily report that it’s as over the top and crazily entertaining as ever. This fight scene — between the one-armed boxer (Wang Yu) and a yoga master with an unexpected special power — is […]

The Thing From Another Decade

“It’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is.” John Carpenter’s The Thing was released in 1982, but I saw it first in the mid-1990s. It hooked me right away. The opening caption: Antarctica, Winter 1982; and the scene: a helicopter chasing a dog, its passenger shooting at the animal sprinting across the empty snow towards […]

Fantomas, the silent killer

Instead of keeping up to date with the latest offerings from the world of cinema, I have been catching up on a crime serial from its early days. Fantômas is a criminal mastermind who originated in a flurry of 32 detective novels published monthly between 1911 and 1913; the first film adaptation, directed by Louis […]

Fridge Fright

When said they wanted “fresh blood” for the site, I knew immediately that I wanted to write something for them about horror films. In an email to Darren I whimsically proposed, among other things, a piece about refrigerator-based horror. Not cal-horrific psychological snack-horror à la Bridget Jones, but full-on cinematic horror, featuring refrigerators. As […]