On Depression and Westerns

Special guest Article by Leigh Evans KreuzThey say you never forget your first love.

I’m thirty-eight now and I’ve forgotten a big chunk of my life up until this point. Sometimes, if I’m especially #blessed, the right stimuli and the right amount of THC knock a few things loose. Being born before the turn of the century, I was a kid who, like my parents before me, was raised largely by television. Our story begins during the little slice of my life in which I was often sat behind the arm of a floral patterned sofa, staring in rapt attention at the rabbit-eared television; relic from the time when sets were advertised as being (holy smokes, Batman!) IN COLOR. I happened to be born into a culty Assembly of God church run by a guy who wore Jim Jones sunglasses without a single wit of irony and utilized information control in the guise of “keeping the children safe”.

That meant we weren’t allowed to just watch whatever we wanted because the stuff on TV would send demons through the screen or something. (For further reading and cringing so hard your back cracks read “Turmoil in the Toybox” by Phil Phillips). The selection of “Jesus approved” material was pretty slim for the child of “God and country” 1980s Reaganites.

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Smile (2022)

I think we can all agree that the marketing for Parker Finn’s “Smile” has been pretty genius. It’s a movie that has built enough clout to attract an audience that’s been big enough to continue a large swell of even more horror films coming in to theaters. It’s good because now we can start to see more movies as immensely disturbing as “Smile,” one hopes. While it’s often compared to “It Follows,” I’d say “Smile” is more in the vein of “The Babadook.”

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The Woman in the Window (2021)

Joe Wright’s “The Woman in the Window” wears much of its influence and inspiration on its sleeve. Before we meet the character Anna, the camera pans past a still shot of Jimmy Stewart from “Rear Window.” This sets the stage for a movie clearly influenced by Hitchcock’s masterpiece that completely misses the mark on every level. Wright’s film is a long troubled production that could have managed more editing here and there, as it’s a sloppy, droning, and genre confused mess.

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