Death Spirals: A History of the Hypnotic Horror Film

By Brother Bill

Anguish (1986) is an obscure and overlooked horror film from Spanish director Bigas Luna, a name perhaps better known for weird and erotic art-house dramas. Zelda Rubinstein (Poltergeist and Poltergeist II) stars as the overbearing mother of adult son John (Michael Lerner, Barton Fink) who still lives at home and under her thumb. Mother has a psychic connection with her slavish son and can communicate with him over long distances, a power she will use to direct him as her instrument of revenge…


‘The Vietnam Experience’ Television Commercial, 1985

This two-minute television spot from 1985 promoted the Time-Life book series The Vietnam Experience, which was released serially from 1981 to 1988, perfectly bookending the Reagan years. Each of the 25 volumes covered subtopics about the Vietnam War from the American perspective, from military tactics to culture clashes…


Samantha Smith in ‘TV Guide’, 1983

Maine schoolgirl Samantha Smith sent a momentous letter to Yuri Andropov, then General Secretary of the USSR, in autumn of 1982. She asked the Soviet leader, “Are you going to vote to have a war or not?” and “why [do] you want to conquer the world or at least our country?”


‘Nuclear War’ Card Game, 1965

Originally designed by Douglas Malewicki, an American aerospace engineer and eclectic inventor, the object of this satirical simulation of cataclysmic nuclear war was to be sole survivor, although final retaliatory strikes often eliminated all players in a deadly chain reaction…


13 Tzameti: The Game

By Brother Bill

A wave of dark, violent horror films arrived in the early-to-mid 2000s, all set in the present-day real world and centered on people caught up in deranged systems or subcultures. It seemed as though the lone psycho supermen of earlier decades (Hannibal Lecter, Max Cady, endlessly respawning Freddies, Michaels, and Jasons) were being supplanted…