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After just a month as the Macabre Brothers, Chris and I are already tired, stressed out, a bit sweaty and more than a little behind. On the bright side, we’ve had solid conversations about horror films and heard stellar feedback from our small (but hopefully growing) core of readers. If our periodic Facebook posts and Twitter blasts are obnoxious, click on the links we send and you’ll be taken to a much more interesting place. Magic!

By now, all the kinks with the website should be worked out, but if you run across problems, give us a shout. Also write us with film suggestions, Macabre 101 topics, love letters, bomb threats and the like. As usual, two of our four weekly posts in September will be from our friends at Kitley’s Krypt. This month’s mission is to find horror films Chris and I have never seen with children as integral characters. Luckily, we’ve always preferred our rugrats to be the murderous and satanic kind, not the plucky indie comedy variety – maybe that’s why neither of us should be dads.

Since we’re lazy and such, we’re also taking suggestions for our Sept. 30 post… Anyone? Anyone?

The Films

Absentia (2011)
In our review of Sleepaway Camp, Chris teased the first film for this month, Absentia, a small-budget psychological thriller from indie writer and director Mike Flanagan. In a starkly-imagined suburban town, a thirtysomething woman and her sister uncover an ominous cave (sexual much?) they believe is linked to a number of disappearances, including the elder sister’s husband. The trailer is packed with jumpy scares and loud noises, but the film won a slew of awards in 2011, practically sweeping the “Best Horror Feature” category everywhere from the niche-friendly Shriekfest to the renowned Phoenix Film Festival. It came highly recommended as an “overlooked gem,” which is potentially the most questionable sort of praise. Look for it on Sunday, Sept. 9.

Orphan (2009)
The first of our Kitely’s missions is Orphan, a slow-burning flick about how easily the nuclear family dissolves when a newly-adopted child may or may not be demonic. Or something like that. The film earned mixed praise and drew immediate comparisons to The Omen, butthe time-tested premise could be livened by a promising cast. The highly-underrated (and inexplicably gorgeous) Vera Farmiga plays horrified mother to the titular hell-spawn, finally earning a lead role after excellent supporting turns in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, the superior sci-fi thriller Source Code and Up in the Air, which won her an Oscar nomination. Read our thoughts on Sept. 16.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)
If you’ve scoped our bio page, you know Chris was duped into believing witches and stick bundles lived in the twisted forests of Maryland, thanks almost wholly to a prepubescent viewing of The Blair Witch Project. On the budget of an Axe commercial, filmmakers Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez pioneered the “found footage” sub-genre, typified by queasy-cam and bare-bones plotting. The film is still less than 15 years old, but for better or worse, it has influenced an entire generation of horror directors. Neither of us have watched it in quite some time, and we’ll do our best to separate the film from its near-mythic legacy – kind of like those ill-fated documentary students. The review is the first installment in our “Where it All Began” series and goes live on Sept. 23. Look for coverage of my first horror experience, The Shining, sometime in November.

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