Posts byTanner Volz

Disability in Film: UPGRADE and Ableist Action Fantasies

UPGRADE tells us that the only good disabled hero is a massively enhanced disabled hero

I didn’t hate Leigh Whannell’s Upgrade. It’s a capable action film with some innovative shot design and it pulls off an almost not-laughable near-future setting with clearly limited means. It’s fine. Some of its action sequences are really wonderful. I love watching the camera follow every move, and the balletic synergy between fight moves and blocking.

Women in Film: Returning the Gaze in REVENGE and M.F.A.

REVENGE and M.F.A. argue that when you reduce us to our animal selves, it is the oppressed who have learned how to win

Content Warning: A man discussing portrayals of rape in film. As a survivor of childhood assault I empathize with these films’ anger; I believe that there is value in encouraging people of all genders to listen to what these filmmakers have to tell us. From June 11 – July 11, Lewton Bus is celebrating the

Composer Jóhann Jóhannsson Has Died

RIP Jóhann Jóhannsson

Photo by Aaron Stewart-Ahn Jóhann Jóhannsson, the composer best known in recent years for his work with Denis Villeneuve, has died at 48. He was found in his Berlin apartment. Cause of death is, as yet, unknown. This is a tragic loss for modern music. I first heard his work in Villeneuve’s Prisoners, but it

Tanner’s Top 10 Films of 2017

2017 Was a Barrel of Monkeys

2017 was bullshit. Americans watched white supremacy overtly establish itself as a political platform, thanks in large part to our stammering, moronic asshole of an administration and thanks in part to a general popular willingness to loudly stand behind unconscionable ideas in the name of “free speech.” Personally, I’ve lived through another year of a

The Price of High Society in THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER

Everything is definitely not fine

This intensely frustrating misanthropic soul-fucker from Yorgos Lanthimos is difficult to talk about from an abstract critical vantage so I’m calling this a thinkpiece and spoiling the film. I have to reckon with its story right down to its dizzying (ed note: that’s a joke) climax. I recommend reading on after seeing the film. The

5 Must-See Holiday Horrors

Ho Ho Ho You're Dead

Cheery occasions like holidays and birthdays, featuring family-friendly stuff such as candy and sentimental music and clowns, are about as easy a setting for mean-spirited horror as you can imagine. Put a bunch of happy kids in a room tearing through packages to get at their Ninjago sets, then set loose an unwashed Santa Clause

The Bus Stops Here: STAR WARS

We have a good feeling about this podcast

Allen, Kevin, CJ, and Adam herd nerfs in this special episode all about that unstoppable galactic juggernaut, Star Wars, as we await the opening of the next film in the saga! Join this gang of walking carpets as they reminisce on their histories with the franchise over the past few decades. Subscribe:

Stream of Consciousness: AMERICAN HONEY and the Gift of Empathy

Adulthood is the End of Trust

Stream of Consciousness is our semi-regular series on notable films that are currently available to stream on one of more of the major streaming platforms. American Honey is currently available from Amazon Prime. I know it’s divisive, I know that it’s very slow and sometimes ugly and its characters are hard to take, I know many of


S. Craig Zahler's Latest is a Misanthropic Hoot

Writer, musician, and director S. Craig Zahler has now delivered two outrageous feel-bad pulp epics, and his fixations have begun to clarify. Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99 are in some ways variations on the same story; they feature descents into hellish dungeons, principled macho killing machines, chained women in desperate need of rescue, a

Tobe Hooper Gutted Film with THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE

Tobe Hooper gave film permission to push its audience to new, unforgiving extremes

Tobe Hooper, the maverick independent filmmaker who viciously unmade the horror genre with his 1974 masterpiece The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, has died at 74. His filmography is loaded with gems, including the bananas cross-genre camp classic Lifeforce and the endlessly debated partnership with Steven Spielberg, Poltergeist. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, however, is a towering landmark,

The Reassurance of Awe: The Metaphysics of Music in Soderbergh’s SOLARIS

Cliff Martinez wallops the soul with this hulking masterpiece of a score

This article was originally run in September of last year.  In honor of our ongoing tribute to Steven Soderbergh, we rerun it today as part of Soderbergh Week. Cliff Martinez has found his way to the common tongue in film and game circles thanks to his emotionally frank and transparently gorgeous work for Steven Soderbergh and,

Stream of Consciousness: ALWAYS SHINE

Crawford and Davis have nothing on the best frenemies in Sophia Takal's ALWAYS SHINE, a smart, quietly experimental horror drama

Sophia Takal’s quietly experimental ALWAYS SHINE tackles the well-worn story of rivalry between Hollywood hopefuls and infuses it with horrific intensity and fierce symbolic weight.

THE SHAPE OF WATER Trailer is All Wet

Drink in this new trailer from Guillermo del Toro

I’m in it for life with Guillermo del Toro. Even his less beloved films (Pacific Rim and, weirdly, the sumptuous Crimson Peak) are gorgeous, hypnotic affairs. It appears that The Shape of Water is no exception – I mean, look at this new trailer! He loves his monsters! Vaguely threatening Michael Shannon is a wonderful

The Bus Stops Here: Hot Takes v. 1

Tanner, Allen, Adam, and Bee stock up on burn gel as we present a series of wildly unpopular opinions and stand off against impassioned rebuttals.

Tanner, Allen, Adam, and Bee stock up on burn gel in this, the first ever HOT TAKES episode of The Bus Stops Here. We present a series of wildly unpopular opinions and stand off against impassioned rebuttals. Crank open the hydrants, here we go! Subscribe:

Children of Chaos: Sofia Coppola’s Women

Sofia Coppola’s protagonists are free particles in search of orbits. Sometimes they discover new families, sometimes they live and die alone.

Note: I use the term “Coppola’s girls” and “Coppola’s women” somewhat interchangeably simply because her characters range in age from pubescent to young adult.  Let’s start by shedding the shallow idea that Sofia Coppola’s cinema is a bored dissection of upper-class ennui. A popular refrain is that she shares with Wes Anderson a fascination with the restlessness of

Trash Time: ALIEN V. PREDATOR(s)

The TRASH TIME team take on the much-maligned ALIEN V. PREDATOR films

With a new Alien film just around the corner, Bee, Arzner, and Tanner welcome Lewton Bus regular Kevin to a long, weirdly impassioned heart-to-heart about the Alien v. Predator films! This time we locked poor Allen in a cryo-chamber. We’re still debating letting him out. Subscribe:

Stream of Consciousness: THE DAUGHTER

THE DAUGHTER is a masterfully performed reminder that even the best of us are capable of hurting each other

Stream of Consciousness is an ongoing series that highlights gems available from popular streaming services that you might have missed The Daughter is currently available from Netflix US Sometimes you arbitrarily hit a classy thumbnail on Netflix and shit gets very real. The Daughter is a smart and moving melodrama that breathes fresh life into

Stream of Consciousness: SPA NIGHT

In this installment of our regular series on gems you might have missed that are now widely available on streaming services, Tanner talks about a quiet masterpiece of queer cinema, Spa Night. Even looking on as an outsider from a multi-generation white family, this remarkable film feels personal to me. I married a first generation child

Tanner’s 2016 Horror Top 5

Tanner walks us through his favorite horror films of the year. 2016 is embarrassingly rich with tremendous films, in this and every other corner of the medium.  I have been an obsessive horror buff since the glory days of slasher franchises in the 1980s. The genre’s catalog is deep and wide, and I’ve spent decades exploring


Finely-crafted, enjoyable, and legitimately scary.

Related: THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE: Shannon says see it, too! The Autopsy of Jane Doe, from André Øvredal, is a finely-crafted, enjoyable, and legitimately scary film that is essentially one long bottled set piece in a beautiful (and wildly fanciful) imagination of a gothic subterranean mortuary. I want some of today’s lazier haunted house hallway fetishists