Drunk Monkeys

IT'S GOOD ACTUALLY / Fired Up / Sean Woodard

Fired Up! remains one of my favorite films from when I was in high school. Most people who know me might shake their heads in confusion as to why I love this movie. The film follows two philandering high school football jocks named Nick and Shawn (Eric Christian Olsen and Nicholas D’Agosto, both pushing 30), who ditch football camp for cheer camp to hook up with girls. Along the way, they learn the meaning of friendship, teamwork, love, and how to become better people.

FILM / Finding the Sacred Among the Profane: Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday / Sean Woodard

I’m back everybody! I apologize for being absent for months and not posting regular monthly columns. But COVID-19 has affected everyone differently. With this being the last issue of the year, I thought I should throw something together and end on an even note (publishing an equal number of “Once Upon a Time in Film Scoring” and “Finding the Sacred Among the Profane” columns this year). For this month’s column, I thought we’d have a bit of fun. While it’s firmly planted in the horror genre, there are enough sci-fi/fantasy elements in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) to thematically fit in with this special issue of Drunk Monkeys.

FILM / Once Upon a Time in Film Scoring / Bye Bye Birdie / Sean Woodard

I was first introduced to the music of Bye Bye Birdie (1963) in elementary school. Student were divided up in Fourth Grade for musical instruction. You could choose between orchestra, band, or choir. I remember musicians coming to class and allowing us to test cellos, flutes, and other instruments. I was initially interested in orchestra. But the cost of purchasing a string instrument and taking private lessons on top of piano lessons would have been too cost prohibitive. So on the final day as

FILM / Once Upon a Time in Film Scoring / The Psychic / Sean Woodard

While much has been written on the scores for quintessential gialli such as Argento’s Deep Red (Profondo Rosso), Fulci’s film—alternately titled Seven Notes in Black and Murder to the Tune of Seven Black Notes—inherently ties a music theme to the plot itself. In effect, its alternate titles not only appropriately reference the narrative, but seven particular notes mentioned creates a sense of foreboding. The number of notes is incorporated into the recurring main theme. Each repetition then builds suspense as the film moves toward its inevitable conclusion.
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The Frida Cinema

The Writer's Room: Criterion Sale Picks

It’s July—one of the two months of the year when film afficionados flock to Barnes & Noble for the Criterion Collection 50% Off sale, all the while regretting the holes left in their wallets. Though there are plenty of boutique label sales throughout the year, including those by Arrow Films and Vinegar Syndrome, The Criterion Collection sale is perhaps the most well-known and popular of its type for cinephiles. It also offers a wide selection of filmmakers and genres for people to explore: you can browse online or travel to your nearest brick-and-mortar store to physically thumb through the array of discs on display.


In the 46 years since its release, Bob Clark’s Black Christmas continues to conjure up nightmares and make skin crawl in moviegoers. If it doesn’t, as the tagline goes, your skin is “on too tight…” What sets this horror staple from the slew of slasher films that it inspired are the well-defined characters. Although the narrative takes place in a sorority house over the Christmas holiday, each young woman stands out with their own personality quirks and set of problems. Two of the most convincing portrayals are those by Margo Kidder and Olivia Hussey.

One Giallo To Rule Them All: Deep Red

To call the Italian giallo a distant cousin and predecessor of the American slasher film would not be entirely incorrect as a statement. However, the slasher’s slice-and-dice tendencies and the reveal of the killer’s identity are usually where the comparisons end. For the uninitiated, I describe a giallo film (plural, gialli) as a murder-mystery featuring stylish murder set pieces, hyperviolence, and lurid sexuality. Common tropes include black gloved killers, copious amounts of J&B scotch, and amateur detectives.


The onset of the COVID-19 quarantine left me with two things: too much time on my hands and a plethora of books and films to (re)discover. I found myself delving into crime fiction with James Ellroy’s “L.A. Quartet” (The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L. A. Confidential, White Jazz), graphic novels (Hit: 1955, The Fade-Out), and my film noir collection on Blu-Ray. When Frida Programming Director Trevor Dillon asked us to pitch blog post ideas, I automatically came up with the title: NOIRANTINE.

The Writer's Room: Top 10 Films of the 2010s

(Featured Contributor) The films I have selected can be considered an interesting assortment. Ranging from genre fare to high art, I felt the best way to approach this list was to consider the lasting impact each film has had on me. The Grandmaster (2013) Endless Poetry (2016) Short Term 12 (2013) Brooklyn (2015) Carol (2015) The Wind Rises (2013) Fruitvale Station (2013) Train to Busan (2016) A Coffee in Berlin (2012) Novitiate (2017)

The Writer's Room: Favorite Christmas Films

(Featured Contributor) Every holiday season, one can’t help but look forward to the movies that make the season special. Whether it’s a film from our childhood or a recently discovered gem, these movies make us feel like it really is the most wonderful time of the year. The writers of The Frida Cinema have put together a list of our favorite Christmas films, including movies that deal directly with the holiday or ones that are simply set during Christmas. Regardless of which category they fall into, they make our holiday season that much merrier!

It's Hard to Eat Your Penne with a Face Full of Spikes: Visionaries of Italian Horror

Away from Murderer’s Row where American werewolves, hockey-masked serial killers, and vampires reside side-by-side in their haunted houses with white picket fences stained pink from blood is a dark alley that few horror fanatics dare to venture down. The lucky few who follow it—and survive—are shown such sights of terror and repulsion by their Italian horror counterparts; horror that’ll make even Alfred Hitchcock, the “Master of Suspense,” squirm in his seat.

The Frida's Top Folk Horror Picks

Sean Woodard: Set in a sleepy Connecticut farming community in 1935, The Other follows two twins, Niles and Holland, who learn something called “the great game” from their Russian grandmother. But, their idyllic summer is shaken when people begin dying in mysterious accidents. While primarily known as a psychological horror film, I’d argue The Other also qualifies as folk horror, because its elements of superstition and pastoral setting add to the overall atmosphere as the narrative builds up to its shocking twist.

Cultured Vultures