FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #92 – “Ouija: Origin of Evil” (dir. Mike Flanagan)

Poster for "Ouija: Origin of Evil"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel return to the assembly-line horror world of Blumhouse with a prequel to a thriller about a board game. Can a franchise horror film whose upper limit of scariness is at roughly the same level as Jumanji possibly exceed our middling expectations? With a skilled director and solid cast, the answer is…well, you’ll just have to see which way the planchette moves (37:16).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the track “Time of the Season” by The Zombies, which appeared in the film’s trailer. But you already knew that. Come on.
  • Check out the episode of NPR’s Planet Money podcast all about Jason Blum and Blumhouse Productions, filtered through the lens of a specific film and director – quite an interesting look at the process that has unfolded in Hollywood horror over the past few years, with everything from Paranormal Activity to The Purge to The Visit
  • Also check out Glenn’s review of Flanagan’s 2014 film, Oculus, which also starred Annalise Basso. Flanagan actually has another 2016 Blumhouse horror film (Hush) available on Netflix as of this writing.
  • The person who operated the soda fountain was the soda jerk. Look at this jerk:
    Soda jerk

Listen above, or download: Ouija: Origin of Evil (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #91 – “The Birth of a Nation” (dir. Nate Parker)

Poster for "The Birth of a Nation"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel try their level best to be objective about a film and filmmaker that strive at every turn to make them otherwise, Nate Parker‘s The Birth of a Nation. All of the film’s controversy (and surprisingly frequent comparisons to the work of Mel Gibson) is fundamentally about the interplay of fact and fiction, of drama and history, with our intrepid hosts firmly entrenched on opposite sides. Can we reach an accord, or will we go to war like the Inglourious Basterds of old? Tune in and find out below (49:46).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 6.5/10 (Daniel), 7.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the track “Black Moses” by Pusha T (featuring Meek Mill & Priscilla Renea) from the film’s Inspired By soundtrack, and Nina Simone‘s 1965 version of “Strange Fruit“, which appeared in the film’s teaser trailer.
  • Jerusalem, Virginia was indeed a real village – it was renamed to Courtland, Virginia in 1888.
  • Without being able to scroll back through the film frame by frame, we can’t be completely sure, but as best we can remember (with Google’s assistance), the Bible verse briefly shown in the film (which is the closest that the film comes to suggesting that the rebellion plans to murder children) is Ezekiel 9:5-7:

    And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:
    Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.
    And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.(KJV)

  • CORRECTION: This one, I really feel bad about, because it wasn’t HBO’s Entourage, the horrendous guilty pleasure of my early 20s, that was responsible for the fictitious Haitian Revolution movie. It was writer/director Chris Rock, in his outstanding 2014 film Top Five (which made my Top 10 for that year). I did correctly characterize its role in that film, however – it was an example of an artsy project that nobody wanted to see.

Listen above, or download: The Birth of a Nation (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)