David Kalat
David Kalat If you ask where I'm from, I have to give an essay in response: I was born in Philadelphia, lived briefly in Atlantic City and then Durham, before spending most of my childhood and formative years in Raleigh, NC. I went to college at the University of Michigan (where I was in the second cohort of students to go through U of M's Film and Video Studies Program), and spent a year in Freiburg, Germany. After graduation, I lived in Washington, DC for a year, then followed my wife Julie to Bloomington where she attended law school. After a summer in New York, we both returned to DC, moved to the Alexandria suburbs, and then moved to the outskirts of Chicago where I am now. One thing has been a constant through all that-I love movies. I eat them. It was a weird confluence of science fiction/horror and slapstick comedy that first commanded my heart. As a little kid I thrilled to Godzilla and Hammer horror, in revival screenings at Raleigh's Rialto and similar theaters, while watching Batman and Doctor Who on TV. At the same time I was obsessed with the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and the Three Stooges. By the time I was twenty-five I'd already seen THE GENERAL in five different theaters in five different cities. My career path has been as peripatetic as my lifestyle. I once aspired to making movies of my own and one of my short films was released on DVD, even though I was the one who published it, so maybe that doesn't count. I started writing about movies in 1997 with the publication of A CRITICAL HISTORY AND FILMOGRAPHY OF TOHO'S GODZILLA SERIES, a book that won me a lot of attention and acclaim but which I eventually grew to dislike. I rewrote it, and had the completely revamped text published under the same title as if it were just a second edition. Joke's on you! I've also written about J-Horror and Dr. Mabuse, while contributing essays on subjects such as Fantomas, French horror and Edgar Ulmer to various anthologies. From time to time I record audio commentaries as well. Now I blog.
Posts by David Kalat

It’s not that I advocate terrifying children, I hope you understand, but… well, let me start at the beginning. When I was 8 years old, my dad used to wake me up late at night to join him in watching the classic Creature Features package on local TV. The deal was I had to finish […]

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So, in case you haven’t heard, there’s this movie called Phase IV. It’s a 1970s apocalyptic sci-fi thriller about killer super-intelligent ants, and it was directed by Saul Bass of all people. And instead of special effects, the killer ants are played by real ants, filmed in close-up by National Geographic photographer Ken Middleham. Either […]

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Once upon a time I was very tired. More to the point, I was very tired in Montreal. Julie and I were in Montreal for a child-free vacation, and we were so happy to have some time to ourselves we hadn’t done much planning. On arriving in the city we just looked around at what […]

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I used to have a chip on my shoulder about sports movies. Actually, more properly stated, I used to have a chip on my shoulder about sports in general, and sports movies were just a subset of that entire category of human activity that I disdained. As a kid, I wasn’t athletic—I have joked I […]

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With all the hoopla and conversation here over the last week regarding Gone With the Wind, I thought it might be fun to take a glance at GWTW’s evil twin, Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1946 The Strange Woman. It starts in 1945 when 20th Century Fox released a film called Leave Her to Heaven, based on […]

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This morning (Saturday the 20th) TCM is running the notorious flop The Horn Blows at Midnight. Chances are by the time you read you’ll either have already seen it or already missed it, and nothing I can say here will retroactively change that. But I’m going to yammer on about it for a few paragraphs […]

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Coming up on Friday on TCM is a delightful pre-Code screwball comedy called Bombshell. If you haven’t seen it before, you owe it to yourself to catch up with it this time around since it is at once a zippy, aggressively paced comedy with one of early film’s most glamorous comediennes, while also being a […]

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As we approach the anniversary of 9/11, I do at least have some good news to report. No, international terrorism is still a thing. Violence still reigns across Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gaza strip, and Ukraine. Injustice and racism still festers here at home, and the income gap widens. But… on this September 11, TCM is […]

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My wife once accused me of liking every movie I see. As a criticism, that’s a character flaw I think I can live with.  In fact, it’s hard to even see it as an insult.  I’ve got a number of pop culture passions—Godzilla, Doctor Who, Batman, silent comedy… and I’ve always felt alienated from their […]

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I’ve outed myself as a Doctor Who fan in this space before. As a TV show, even if it is a record-breakingly long-running TV show, it’s not really within the remit of this blog—but then again, Doctor Who has been wearing its cinematic ambitions pretty openly on its sleeve lately. Movie directors like Nick Hurran, […]

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