Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: 30 Coins, Talk to Me, and Classic Folk Horror and Yokai

December 19th, 2023 | Robin

The Pinnacle

30 Coins Season 2 (Television, Spain, HBO Europe,  Álex de la Iglesia, 2023) Scattered, in hiding, on the run, interned—or, in the case of Father Vergara (Eduard Fernández), literally in Hell—the people of Pedraza race to investigate a world-ending conspiracy led by a smug billionaire (Paul Giamatti) with eldritch inclinations. Sly, thrilling, epic in sweep, and unrelentingly paced, this is the biggest and most fully realized tribute to horror roleplaying ever shot. Anybody can throw in the Necronomicon but you have to be one of us to prominently feature the Chaosium elder sign.—RDL


The Blood on Satan’s Claw (Film, UK, Piers Haggard, 1971) A plowman accidentally unearths a demon’s corpse, provoking a plague of possession and murder in an 18th century English farm community. Influential folk horror depicts Satanic activity as an eruption of illogic, creating unease by forgoing a clear protagonist and cause-and-effect scene transitions.—RDL

The Donut King (Film, US, Alice Gu, 2020) Documentary profiles Ted Ngoy, the refugee who built an L..A. area donut store chain and brokered the dominance of the Cambodian community over the city’s glazed treat market. Riveting as cultural, food, and business history, but most of all as a gobsmacking rags to riches to rags story.—RDL

Spooky Warfare (Film, Japan, Yoshiyuki Kuroda, 1968) When a blood-drinking Babylonian demon kills and impersonates a virtuous samurai magistrate, offended local spirits, including a kappa, a rokurokubi, and a Kasa-obake, team up to stop him. For a goofy tokusatsu flick, this goes surprisingly hard, with gore, murders, and a pretty scary enemy monster. Also known as Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare and The Great Yokai War.—RDL

Talk to Me (Film, Australia, Danny and Michael Philippou, 2023) Grieving teen Mia (Sophie Wilde) attends  a house party where the kids  use a severed embalmed hand to conjure spirits into themselves. What could have been a rote “stay off drugs kids” story instead shows a convincingly callous teen subculture and always chooses the worse (and hence scarier and better) path, to terrific effect. But seriously, kids, stay off the severed embalmed hand conjuring. —KH

Violent Night (Film, US, Tommy Wirkola, 2022) Drunk, disillusioned Santa Claus (David Harbour) reconnects with his warrior past, and the spirit of the season, when mercenaries invade a house he’s visiting. Hard to think who other than Wirkola could do a slapstick gore fest that also hits all the beats of a heartwarming Santa movie.—RDL


Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (Film, US; James Mangold, 2023) A larcenous god-daughter (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) drags a retirement-age Indy (Harrison Ford) on the hunt for a relic of Archimedes, with a Nazi rocket scientist (Mads Mikkelsen) in murderous pursuit. The script cleverly assembles the elements of the franchise, but the execution of the action sequences shows just how heavily it relied on Spielberg’s unparalleled flair for staging, composition and timing.—RDL

She Will (Film, UK, Charlotte Colbert, 2022) Ferociously guarded actress (Alice Krige) recuperates from cancer surgery at a New Agey retreat in the Scottish woods, developing a connection with the ashes of the witch trial victims who were burned there. Feminist weird tale maintains an intellectual distance from its protagonist and her dilemma, if she can be said to have one.—RDL


The Witch Part 2: The Other One (Film, South Korea, Park Hoon-Jung, 2022) Another experimental subject of the Witch supersoldier program (Cynthia) escapes an attack on her facility and takes refuge with siblings resisting gangland pressure to sell their childhood home. Lazily written sequel introduces a new, dull, passive protagonist but maintains the standard for fun, gory superfights.—RDL

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