Forget Blair Witch. Forget Don’t Breathe. Forget any other horror flick that tries to claim it’s the scariest movie of 2016. Friends, there is only one objective choice for the year’s truly most frightening film, and this past weekend I saw it.That film is Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween.Now that I’ve scared away all but the coolest readers, let’s first talk about the amazing ongoing enigma that is director/producer/actor/multimillionaire media mogul Tyler Perry.In one of the most obvious case studies of how a lack of diversity in entertainment leads to sub par material, Tyler Perry has made his name cranking out plays, movies, and TV shows of questionable quality to a primarily (southern) African-American audience for over a decade. As Hollywood continues to ignore that growing yet underserved market, Perry’s fame has only increased, to the point where Boo! made more money than Jack Reacher: Never Go Back in their shared opening weekend. He’s showing up in movies like Star Trek and Gone Girl and Alex Cross and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows now. He pals around with Oprah!It would be one thing if Perry was just cynically making bad movies for profit. I mean, he is doing that. But because his continued success has granted him such complete creative control, his films are more than just inept. They’re super fascinating windows into Perry’s warped psychology. He’s a wacko schlockmeister in the mold of Ed Wood or Tommy Wiseau, but with an even more shameless lack of artistic integrity.The insanity is dense enough to inspire academic work. I took a class on Perry in film school and wrote a thesis about the Why Did I Get Married? duology (featuring The Rock!). Birth Movies Death author Evan Saathoff wrote an incredible book on Perry’s entire oeuvre.There’s admittedly an element of “so bad it’s good” ironic appreciation going on here, but that’s reductive. It’s so much more than that. Plus, Perry’s outsized impact on modern Black cinema makes studying him especially personal to me. So I believe it’s my moral imperative to use whatever platform I have to educate people about what’s going on with this dude. And Boo! A Madea Halloween is as good a place to start as any.You’ve Been WarnedWhen sensitive single father Brian (Tyler Perry) wants to make sure his rebellious teenage daughter Tiffany stays away from the nearby frat house on Halloween night, he enlists his crotchety father Joe (Tyler Perry) and short-tempered, no-nonsense aunt Madea (Tyler Perry) to maintain order. Tiffany and the frat brothers think they can scare off the old folks and escape to have a good time, but they’ve never crossed paths with Madea.That’s a… fine premise for a family Halloween comedy. You can see how a normal movie might balance Scooby-Doo antics and touching father-daughter reconciliation. But an okay premise is all that most Perry movies have before they start derailing almost immediately. A lot of Boo!’s faults are just boring. The staging and camerawork are flat. The “scary” moments look like they were composed by someone with only the vaguest idea of what a horror movie is. Kudos to Perry for catching the killer clown zeitgeist, but there are no real supernatural elements like we thought there might be. That’s a real disappointment because a truly genre Madea movie could be a mind-blowing thing.Meanwhile, other parts of the movie legitimately work. Perry’s improv is barely coherent, sub-Adam McKay/Paul Feig stuff, but he does so much of it some can’t help but stick. And if you ignore how satisfied he is with himself, as he plays multiple characters laughing at his own jokes like Dr. Hibbert crossed with Jimmy Fallon, Madea can be very funny. There are great gags about stealing candy from children and marijuana jack-o’-lanterns. Even the central gimmick has the kernel of an interesting idea. Dropping untypical characters like Madea and her elderly cadre into typical horror scenarios leads to entertaining results, even if watching senile lower-class Black people get terrorized instead of sexy teenagers gets depressing. Still, I laughed a lot.This is what I (again, a literal Tyler Perry scholar) like to call a “Silver Age” Madea movie. After 2011’s Madea’s Big Happy Family, Perry began to unshackle Madea’s pure comedy from the operatic and arguably offensive melodrama endemic to the rest of his movies. Seriously, if you want to get completely desensitized to child molestation through inane and insane twist endings check out those earlier movies. The new Madea movies are lighter, funnier, and at times nearly plotless, with scenes of endless and airless riffing to nowhere. They’re more mainstream. They attract broader audiences, bigger (rapper Tyga) and whiter (Disney starlet Bella Thorne) stars, and Chinese financiers.However, the comedy is insidious in how it belies that true moral nightmare at the horrifying heart of Boo! A Madea Halloween. Real talk, members of a certain older strain of the Black community romanticize the idea of beating children to keep them from getting into trouble. I empathize with them. Parents would rather beat their kids with love than helplessly watch a racist world kill their kids for slightly stepping out of line. But in my opinion the mindset has become an outdated pathology. Perry clearly disagrees.Beating kids is a frequent theme in Perry’s thoroughly old-school work, but at least the melodramatic movies acknowledge the practice’s dark side. In Boo! not only is child abuse played entirely for laughs, learning how and when to physically and verbally beat your children is essentially the point of the movie. The fourth(!) act is like Christmas for child disciplinarians.In that (surely unintentional) way, the film recalls slasher movies like Halloween or Friday the 13th that present the villains as avenging paternal forces punishing deviant teens. But there’s no fantastical distance here. It’s just scenes like Joe (Tyler Perry) laughing about how he dropped his son Brian (Tyler Perry) off a roof, a comedy scene bafflingly similar to the disturbing and dead-serious tragic climax of Perry’s own butchered adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls poems.The movie doesn’t even seem to recognize how Brian’s trauma (one of his testicles were maimed, hilarious!) might inform his more delicate parenting style. Nope, he has to learn how to beat that girl into behaving. At one point she honestly asks for it. To top it all off, the sequence features what might be the first use of the N-word in a Perry film, in the form of a chilling rebuke from Joe that elicited howls of laughter from the very mixed-race audience. Brian should be grateful his parents didn’t literally murder him. Luke Cage has nothing on this.That all may make it sound like I hate this movie. But what I just described is exactly the kind of fever dream lunacy I go to a Tyler Perry movie for. People think these are just bad Christian family comedies, and that’s kind of true. Tiffany’s best friend is a preacher’s daughter, played by some YouTuber, who acts like she’s 75 and goes to church in costume on Halloween night. But it’s the whirlwind of unaware immorality that really gives these movies their spark.Plus there’s the fun of trying to sort out the deeply complicated Madea-verse continuity, in which only some Perry movies exist. Ten years ago Brian’s(Tyler Perry) wife was a crackhead and his kids were totally different, but here she just cheated on him? Aunt Bam and her blunts are here but where are the Browns? There’s a character from Perry’s stage plays and TV shows, Miss Hattie, who makes her film debut here. It’s like watching Spider-Man swing into Captain America: Civil War.I’ve seen all but three of the 18 Tyler Perry movies, but the only other one I’ve seen in theaters is the serious but similarly nonsensical Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor. There’s a real hallucinatory quality to the experience. Often, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and felt as if I was levitating out of the theater chair, my hands over my open mouth. But the thing is, this isn’t even close to his craziest film. It’s pretty standard for Perry, all things considered. So if you want to get existentially spooked to your very soul, go watch Boo! A Madea Halloween, in theaters now. 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Stay on target With Marvel taking the year off, Warner Bros.’ Hall H panel at Comic Con is the biggest event of the weekend for superhero movie fans. Especially because DC has some real heavy hitters coming. The DC portion of the panel began with the film we know the least about: Wonder Woman 1984. All we knew going in is that it’s still in the midst of production, that it takes place nearly 70 years after the first movie, and that somehow Chris Pine is in it. Well, now we know a little more. Warner Bros. screened some footage from the movie during their panel, and it probably won’t be released online. IGN describes the footage as containing plenty of action and 1980s style, so pretty much everything we’d hope for.The footage reportedly starts with Wonder Woman in full costume in a mall, because that’s what you do in the ’80s. She fights off two men with guns, saving a little girl in the process. Then, she ties them up with her lasso, and swings away from a balcony. The next scene WB showed had Wonder Woman running at super speed while onlooker standing next to old cars watch her go by. What’s she running from or toward? Who are the men with guns? They’re not saying. The movie is still being made, we’ll be waiting a while to find out.Deadline reports that the cast and crew was in attendance at the panel offering some general information about the movie. Chris Pine let everyone down easy, saying he wasn’t allowed to reveal exactly how Steve Trevor makes his return. However it happens, it’s something director Patty Jenkins sounds very happy about. “It’s something I’m super excited for everybody to see, [Chris] is a very important part of our movie,” she said.Jenkins also revealed why she wanted the movie to take place in the ’80s. “I grew up in the 80s, and this has its own look and feel. The reason I am excited is it showed mankind at its best and worst. It was grand and wonderful, there was great music, and there were elegant and beautiful things,” she said. “But other things about the decade revealed the worst of us. To have Wonder Woman in that period of time that was us at our most extreme, is wonderful.”For her part, Gal Gadot described the movie as something more than a sequel. It’s not a sequel; it’s its own story – a different chapter,” she said. With DC shying away from having a strictly connected universe, it could do the movie a lot of favors. If this is another standalone Wonder Woman story it doesn’t have to spend a ton of time linking to whatever happens next with the Justice League or even calling back to the first movie. Aside from Steve’s reappearance, of course. After Jenkins’ comments, I’m even more curious about how that happens.Zachary Levi in Shazam! (Photo: Screenshot via YouTube/Warner Bros.)Now let’s talk about some footage that did make it outside of the panel. After Wonder Woman 1984, it was time for another movie we knew relatively little about: Shazam!. We got our first look at the bright comics-accurate costume earlier this week, and now Warner Bros. has released a full trailer. There are clear hooks to the rest of the DCEU in it, but from moment one, it’s so different from anything we’ve seen from the franchise so far.It just looks so much fun. It’s got humor, action and already some real genuine heart. It even has a semi-dig at the DCEU with Freddy Freeman getting all dark and serious for a second. Not every DCEU movie needs to be a comedy, but it’ll sure help to have one among its ranks. It’s refreshing to see a DC superhero that recognizes how freaking cool it is to be one. And also one that acknowledges that his name sounds just a little silly in 2018. The relationship between the kids is strong in this trailer, and it’s looking like that’s going to be the heart of the entire movie. Yeah, this is what the DCEU needed.Zachary Levi even commented on what it’s like to play a hero who’s as psyched to be one as he is, IGN reports. “There are very few characters that are just super stoked to have powers and that responsibility…but Billy Batson, Peter Parker are the characters that come to mind,” he said. Man, Levi. Why are you making us wish for a Marvel-DC crossover that will never happen? Levi also reportedly indulged a bit in the old comic book pastime of who can beat who. When asked if Shazam can stand up to Superman, Levi revealed he did his homework. Canonically, he said, Shazam could hold his own against Superman pretty well. Also, according to our friend MovieBob, Levi kept referring to his character as “Captain Marvel-Shazam.” Interesting… He also mentions that a little girl asked during the Q&A (most of the questions went to kids, apparently) whether we’ll see Isis in the movie. The answer: “We’ll see.” Hmm….There’s so much to like about this trailer. The action, the tone, the humor… I even love the callouts to the rest of the DCEU. It’s a nice reminder that all those movies still happened. That this universe has room for many different kinds of superheroes. Though if this does well, we’ll probably seeing more DC movies like Shazam! and fewer like Batman v. Superman. I’d be alright with that.Aquaman (Via Warner Bros.)Warner Bros. closed out its panel with a look at Aquaman. As expected, we got our first trailer from the movie, introduced by the cast including a *very* excited Jason Momoa. And looking at the trailer, he has a reason to be excited. From a purely visual standpoint, the movie looks gorgeous. We’d heard about how much work it took to make the underwater scenes, and you can see all that work on the screen. Atlantis is jaw-dropping.That’s just a real good superhero movie trailer. We’re briefly told his origin, we see the moment his powers manifest and then a few scenes of him as an adult. Warner Bros. keeps story details to a minimum in this trailer, focusing instead on the action. And James Wan certainly knows his way around an action scene. The wisecracks are funny, the costumes are intricate, and the fight scenes look so much fun. Even if Aquaman turns out to be a standard superhero movie, it’s shaping up to be a very good one of those.But from the sounds of things, it isn’t. During the panel, James Wan described it as “more of a science fiction movie than a superhero film,” according to Syfy Wire. For his part, Momoa promised that we’ll see the bits of Aquaman’s story that had to be left out of Justice League. Aquaman’s ascent to the throne, him being a reluctant king, that’ll all be in Aquaman. This is shaping up to be something truly unique, not just in DC movies but for superhero movies in general. According to MovieBob, who was in attendance, the panel ended with a second Aquaman trailer. This one won’t be released to the public because it contains minor spoilers. He won’t share what’s in it, and so far, neither will anyone else. It sounds like something special, though. All the Trailers You Might Have Missed from SDCCVoltron Confirmed Gay AF Uhhhh…. okay. WB ends show with second #AQUAMAN trailer that will NOT be released to public because full of psuedo-spoilers. Won’t describe it, except to say that the film is MASSIVELY bigger than you think it is (if this is representative?) and could be the best DCEU movie.— Bob Chipman @ SDCC (@the_moviebob) July 21, 2018Holy crap, what could that mean? Well now I have to see this movie. Thankfully, we don’t have long to wait. Aquaman hits theaters December 21, 2018.One last interesting bit of news to come out of the panel, is that Warner Bros. has an official name for the DC universe of movies. DCEU was never an official title; it was ascribed to these movies by enthusiast media and fans. Bleeding Cool reports that Warner Bros. is now referring to these titles as Worlds of DC. It’s a fitting name, as it leaves them open to do films that have direct connections to each other as well as more standalone superhero stories. It allows there to be two different actors playing The Joker, for example. It’s probably going to make the movies better in the long run too. Now, they can focus on making good movies, rather than trying to tie it to a larger overarching universe. And if they ever want to unify it all again, maybe after all the characters are better established, well… that’s what a Crisis on Infinite Earths is for.With that, we come to the end of a darn impressive offering from Warner Bros. The future is looking better than ever for the DCE… um, I mean Worlds of DC. Yeah, it’ll take some getting used to. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.