Momoiro Clover Z—these color-coded idols have performed your favorite anime themes, opened for Gaga, and dazzled 150,000 people at Japan’s National Olympic Stadium with their kinetic live act. But in 2010—before they added the Z, before they were Momoclo or MCZ—they were merely Momoiro Clover. They were simply six high school girls with a dream, who were about to have an enterprising horror filmmaker plunge them into a living nightmare.
The Witch, Robert Eggers’ 2015 debut film, tells the story of a Puritan family exiled from the Massachusetts Bay colonies for patriarch William’s (Ralph Ineson) unorthodox beliefs. While the haunted house story is the traditional model of American familial horror—The Shining’s domestic terror growing like a goldfish to fit its massive new tank, the alienating and all-consuming vastness of the titular building in The Orphanage—The Witch instead treats the house as a fragile membrane between love and ruin, the family’s rough homestead on the edge of a vast wilderness a visual metaphor for the precarity of their bond.
Cartoons were strange in the early aughts. It was a time when up and coming animators and writers were given free reign to create imaginative, idiosyncratic children’s shows. The best of the bunch that have survived in popular culture—your Rugrats, your PowerPuff Girls, your Dexter’s Lab—have stuck around because they experimented with visual styles and themes that made a palpable impression on children of that era.
In 2018, “creepypasta” is a household term. Internet ghost stories aren’t restricted to the dark corners of obscure message boards anymore—they play out in original video games, YouTube videos, and even on professionally-produced television shows. Despite the vast and various types of creepypasta, all of it is, in some way, an exploration of the hopes and fears of a generation. It’s a way to make sense of the things we deal with in our respective days and ages—in other words, it’s folklore.
The Lost Boys is a kids’ movie—it’s all about sex. Or let me put that another way—the monsters of kids’ media tend towards a didactic form of moral panic. In American movies of the 80s and 90s, it manifests primarily as a thinly-coded stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS—anti-social violence, infection, disease and gay sex mutually imply each other according to the bizarre and homophobic torsions of the culture industry. That’s especially true for The Lost Boys, a horror-comedy that picks up the Peter Pan mythos and plunks it down in a California of the dilapidated 1980s.