Charlie Fox

  • Charlie Kaufman, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, 2020, UHD video, color, sound, 134 minutes. The Young Woman, Jake, Mother, and Father (Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley, Toni Collette, and David Thewlis).
    film September 03, 2020

    Stranger Things

    I REMEMBER READING, probably on an IMDb trivia page, a quote about the smash-hit romantic comedy Meet the Parents (2000) from its director, Jay Roach: “I saw [the film] as an anxiety dream.” This is probably not how Ben Stiller’s feud with grouchy paterfamilias Robert De Niro is recalled in the popular imagination, any jitters smothered by fond memories of jokes about Puff the Magic Dragon, the name Gaylord, and the immortal eeriness of Owen Wilson in a wooly sweater. But revisit the movie with anxiety on the brain and it unfolds as a Kafkaesque hellscape of doomed interactions and metastatic

  • Charlie Fox

    “What manner of man is this?” Jonathan Harker wonders when he sees Dracula creeping down his castle’s ramparts in the moonlight. Asking this question of the writer and illustrator who transformed precocious little oddballs into goths long before Jack Skellington or Marilyn Manson descended on suburbia, Mark Dery pens an eerie portrait of the artist, Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey (Little, Brown and Company), in which answers only conjure extra lashings of ambiguity—a very Gorey trick.

    Was homosexuality the antic bat in Gorey’s belfry? “Everything

  • Julie Becker, Marking Territory (detail), 2004, mixed media on paper, 11 × 17".

    Julie Becker

    DAYDREAMS TRANSFORMING into nightmares, LSD, Danny from The Shining (1980), and feelings of scary and sublime horror are just a few of the mind-bending forces at play in Julie Becker’s art. “I can’t make sense of any of this,” a Hollywood psychic tells the artist in Conversations with Voxx, 1995, a video shown within the sprawling installation Researchers, Residents, A Place to Rest, 1993–96. London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts displayed this massive work alongside nearly forty of Becker’s best known pieces in the careful survey “I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent.” The psychic’s

  • “Tom House: The Work and  Life of Tom of Finland”

    Bust out the poppers: Tom of Finland’s leather boys are hitting Detroit. Goons whining about perversion and pornography in the presence of his illustrations don’t know sublime weirdness when it strips for them. Classical sculptures on steroids emitting an angelic glow, Finland’s bodies have the same sci-fi sexiness as H. R. Giger’s aliens, complete with nuclear-missile dicks and flesh that looks like latex. MoCAD shows them off inside Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead, amid juicy photographs, ephemera, and works from Finland devotees such

  • Riverdale, 2017–, still from a TV show on The CW. Season 2, episode 11. Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa) and Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos.)
    film February 08, 2018

    A River Runs Through It

    “WHY THE HELL IS GREGG ARAKI HANGING OUT WITH A BUNCH OF GROSS JOCKS ANYWAY?” This might be the natural question to ask after watching the director responsible for evil treats such as The Doom Generation (1995) and Nowhere (1997)—not to mention the ghoulish Mysterious Skin (2004)—direct an episode of Riverdale, the CW’s 2017 reactivation of the Archie comic-book mythology as supposedly dark teen drama. With Araki’s freakier impulses tamed to meet the demands of network television, his explosive presence can be hard to detect. Nobody is smoking; nobody is a goofy homosexual hot for oblivion played

  • Stranger Things 2016–, still from a TV show on Netflix. Season two.
    film November 13, 2017

    It Follows

    IT’S HALLOWEEN NIGHT, 1984, in the new season of Stranger Things, and police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) is talking to a locked door. The show’s telekinetic heroine Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is on the other side, age thirteen, reenacting Poltergeist (1982) with the TV tuned to a dead channel. “Sorry, kid,” he mumbles, trying to be a dad. “I lost track of time . . .”

    That could be a hot new slogan for Netflix, which produces the series. In the fictional small town of Hawkins, Indiana, the 1980s are brought back from the dead in high definition, every frame like a window into a dollhouse

  • Bruce LaBruce, The Misandrists, 2017, HD video, color, sound, 91 minutes.
    film May 22, 2017

    Who Runs the World?

    “I ALWAYS THOUGHT A PUNK was someone who took it up the ass,” William S. Burroughs once said, and no one has coupled the sodomite with the transgressive hellion more riotously than the Canadian filmmaker, self-styled “pornographic philosopher,” writer, and all-around queer rake Bruce LaBruce. Cruise the freak scene of his collected works with their populations of zombie teens, skinheads, and deranged auteurs (remember LaBruce as the drug-addled hero of Super 8 ½ [1994], guzzling cocktails in his Butthole Surfers T-shirt?), and discover an artist at once contemptuous of the hopelessly defanged

  • film April 04, 2017

    Divine Comedy

    “YES, FOLKS, THIS ISN’T ANY CHEAP X-RATED MOVIE OR ANY FIFTH-RATE PORNO PLAY. THIS IS THE SHOW YOU WANT: LADY DIVINE’S CAVALCADE OF PERVERSIONS—REAL ACTUAL FILTH!”

    Welcome to the deranged world of John Waters’s Multiple Maniacs (1970): Drag terrorist Divine will be ravished by an enormous lobster and Cookie Mueller (downtown minx, belletrist, and Fassbinder’s disco-snow connection) will play her daughter, frolicking through the movie half-nude like a nymph on the run from the Factory. Out of his alter ego’s claws almost two decades later, Glenn Milstead (aka Divine) claimed that the Dreamlanders