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Riding the Ghost Train Again

The ghost train as an idea tends to come up repeatedly on this blog and in horror discussions generally.  I can’t think of a more apt metaphor for The Cabin in the Woods (2011), though there’s more to Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s film than mere thrills and spills.  Spectacular, clever and very funny, Cabin is a joy to someone like me, who not only watches horror for pleasure, but who has reviewed literally hundreds of straight-to-the shelf horror DVDs, many tending towards the formulaic and predictable.  Cabin displays a fond awareness of such formulae, monkeying around with a plethora of horror references (Evil Dead! Romero! Slasher flicks! Murderous inbreds! Japanese ghost horror! Lovecraft!) while still functioning as a piece of dark fantasy in its own right.  It’s no mean feat to pack so many allusions into the one coherent narrative.

This is a beautifully realised, rather sly parody which operates on several different levels depending on the viewer’s knowledge of horror.  Australian viewers can still catch Cabin at Palace Cinemas in Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide.

Peter Booth, Untitled 2011, oil on linen, from The Human Condition at Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne

In other news, Peter Booth has an exhibition—”The Human Condition”—on at Anna Schwartz Gallery in Melbourne (tomorrow is its last day, unfortunately).  For those unfamiliar with the artist, Peter Booth is an acclaimed mid-career Australian painter of English birth who hit the art scene in the 70s with large-scale colour field paintings, then moved on to similarly large scenes of apocalyptic horror, elements of which remain in his paintings to date.  Disappointingly, I’m in the wrong city to review this latest exhibition, but I’m mentioning it because Peter Booth—surprisingly—draws more views to this blog than any other subject!  And while these random seekers of Booth probably don’t have much interest in horror, I do feel a certain duty to give them what they’re looking for by publicising the man at any opportunity.  Apart from that, I admire what he does, and it’s nice to see some of the overt monstrosity of the earlier works creeping back into this latest show.

View the works in the exhibition on the Anna Schwartz website here.

Peter Booth’s previous appearance on Black Spot Horror can be found here.

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One comment on “Riding the Ghost Train Again

  1. […] knowingly launches his narrative with the familiar horror template so cleverly mocked in Cabin in the Woods, wherein a group of obnoxious young urbanites embark on a trip into the wilderness. There’s […]

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