Altered States

Adapted by Network scenarist Paddy Chayefsky from his only novel, Altered States (1980) is an unusual work of mainstream psychedelic science fiction, one that posits the unfettered mind as an engine of radical corporeal transformation.


The premise, like the ambient air of fatalism, owes as much to film noir as it does horror. A man wakes in a place he can’t remember arriving at, his body bearing the ravages of some misadventure, his memories a dense fog yielding no clues save a lingering sense of grave culpability.

Late Night with the Devil

Drawing inspiration from the special bleary-eyed ambiance of vintage witching-hour television, this found-footage curio from Australia’s fraternal writing/directing duo Cameron and Colin Cairnes (who also edit here) considers the Faustian bargain implicit in the ruthless pursuit of household-name celebrity status.


A woman places her hands over her headphones

A public case of professional disgrace has driven a journalist (Lily Sullivan) to hide out at her parents’ vacant, sprawling country home. But the young woman, credited simply as “the interviewer”—we learn her subjects’ names but never her own—refuses to be defeated.

She Is Conann

Sweeping across centuries and continents to track the Orlando-like incarnations of its titular barbarian, French writer/director Bertrand Mandico extravagantly extrapolates on the themes and situation of his 2023 short film Rainer, a Vicious Dog in a Skull Valley with this hallucinatory existential epic about survival in a world of relentless brutality and failed attempts at civilization.

Poor Things

A philosophically infused coming-of-age tale and Victorian-era fantastical travelogue with overt nods to both Frankenstein and The Island of Dr. Moreau, Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things is marked by flamboyance, plottiness, and general abundance…

Gold Metal

The directorial debut of veteran character actor Charles Martin Smith, Trick or Treat (1986), tells a story grounded in rites, rituals, and rock.

The Velvet Vampire

It was Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957) that inspired Stephanie Rothman to make movies. She studied filmmaking at the University of Southern California, became the first woman to be awarded a Directors Guild of America fellowship, and went on to work as a valued assistant for exploitation titan Roger Corman (also, as it happens, a big Bergman fan).

The Haunting

The question of possession looms over The Haunting (1963), with regards to both Hill House, the labyrinthine Victorian mansion in which most of the action takes place, and the film’s story, an adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s now-canonical 1959 Gothic The Haunting of Hill House that’s remarkably faithful in plot, if not in spirit.

The Changeling

For all the freaky poltergeist activity and vivid visions of murder to come, The Changeling (1980) dispatches its most abysmal horrors in its opening minutes, when its protagonist witnesses the deaths of his wife and child under the wheels of a truck, in the sort of scene that inevitably impacts older viewers more profoundly than younger ones.