At the height of Oscar-frenzy, I ask once again, why horror?

For those amongst our readership who need no cajoling to wade waist-deep into the darker realms of projected entertainment, I apologize. For the terror-averse, the cajoling begins now. March 17 at 10pm, we open X, a deliciously gory (and funny) slasher set in 1970s Texas where a dirt-cheap adult film production aiming to elevate the artistry of the pornographic genre find themselves fighting for their lives. The obvious thematic nod to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre runs deeper than surface elements though, as American independent filmmaking broadly owes a staggering debt to the wild inventiveness from outside of the studio system that Massacre ran away with.

This inseparable bond between horror and independent cinema has been at the core of director Ti West’s career for over a decade (with 2009’s House of the Devil and the mumblegore anthology V/H/S), but X in particular puts the process of making indie films and their sometimes-salacious negative receptions under the knife in glorious fashion. If I’ve failed to convert the horror non-believers, fear not — as the rapidly approaching Academy Awards see us still rolling shows of BelfastThe Worst Person in the WorldDrive my Car, and this year’s Animated & Live Action Oscar-nominated Short Films. Lastly, Science on Screen® returns next Tuesday with Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report screening on glorious 35mm and opened with a lecture from Dr. Chi-Ren Shyu, Director of the Institute for Data Science and Informatics at the University of Missouri.

Don’t get scared now,