Archive for the ‘Netflix Fix’ Category

Around 3 a.m. last night, I couldn’t break free from my bed. I tried to, multiple times, each effort feeling increasingly impossible. I was beneath mounds of quicksand, essentially; the comforter and sheets smothering me like tar. The only way the whole experience could’ve have been more terrifying would have been if Freddy Krueger showed his face and revealed that the ordeal was of his doing. But, of course, it wasn’t. Instead, I was stuck in authentic nightmare territory, a direct result of a film I watched only three hours prior. The movie was an old Italian giallo from 1976, The House with the Laughing Windows, a minor cult favorite from director and co-writer Pupi Avati. While the film was playing, I was certainly into it, but far from enamored. There are these murky church organs that dominate the soundtrack, and are quite effective. Before this nightmare, those keys were the scariest thing about Avati’s picture; the denouement, a disturbed GOTCHA moment, punctuated by a slight cross-gender twist, for the film’s hero  Stefano (Lino Capilicchio, a James McAvoy lookalike), is more haunting than full-on scary. But as those organs play over the enigmatic final shot, The House with the Laughing Windows settled into my head, something awful. The nightmare was inevitable.

I swear on the names of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci that this bad dream was one of the worst I’ve ever had. It all felt so damn real; I heard the organs, lifted straight out of Avati’s work, and I saw the film’s two endgame antagonists, the Legnani sisters, an embodiment of the two peripheral figures commonly seen in paintings of St. Sebastian’s final moments. My bedroom, lit only in the shadows peeking in through the windows, became a tomb; my attempts to simply rise out of bed turned into a broken record spinning devil music. Up and down, up and down; “I can do it” into “Don’t kill me,” “I can do it” into “Don’t kill me.” 

The House with the Laughing Windows takes the St. Sebastian imagery into its own fictional world, envisioning the traditional picture as an impetus for supernatural hub-bub. Stefano is hired to restore the unfinished work of Legnani, a deceased painter cloaked in mystery; he was dubbed the “painter of agony,” due to his penchant for drawing those near- and in-death. As Stefano gets to work, the townsfolk get more ominous by the second, and bodies start dropping. This all commences with patience. The film’s pacing is slow; it’s one of those creepy-crawly horror stories that zaps you early on, lets the dread marinate and then pulverizes you with third-act devastation. Not all of Avati’s film works; clocking in at 110 minutes, the flick would benefit from a solid 15-minutes-off edit. Yet, the bookends are powerful enough to salvage the entire thing. Consult Netflix immediately for this, if only to check what is easily one of the most Satanic opening credits sequences out there. All-red screen, those organs-from-Hell, a slow-motion reenactment of St. Sebastian’s encounter with razor-sharp knives, sprinkled with blood-curdling screams and yelps, all before an eerie voiceover that’s up there with “Simon” from Brad Anderson’s awesome Session 9. Even if the entirety of The House with the Laughing Windows had sucked, the beginning credits would justify its cult status.

Hell, the opening credits, paired with the film’s final five minutes, did me in more than any other horror movie in recent memory; the closest parallel I can draw is the sleepless effects that Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining had on me as a little kid watching it for the first time. In no way am I saying that Avati’s film is on par with hat Kubrick masterpiece; there’s merely an inexplicably common force between the two, in terms of their unsettling tones. 

I may have to buy The House with the Laughing Windows on DVD just to come to grips with this nightmare. Dissect the pic until I uncover the direct cause of a truly horrific nighttime experience. Or, just to swoon over Francesca Mariano, the film’s beautiful female lead. Face-wise, she’s remarkable. 

Scenes from the film—- specifically the opening credits, footage of sexy-ass Mariano and the spoiler-heavy final minutes—-after the jump: (more…)

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Distance absolutely makes the heart grow fonder. Having left the once-highly-active Theater of Mine a dust-filled cesspool of lost dreams forfar too long, I’m back in effect, hungrier than ever. The balance of dollar-free passion here and pays-the-bill, necessary passion there is a tight rope stroll, but it’s time I regain some traction. More than before. Work a good amount of literature coverage into the pot; show the world what I’m gassed about in the 2-0-1-0. It’s like that.

And what better to stick a needle in inspiration proverbial ass than a trashy zombie film from the early 1970s. Last night, I finally caught up with the late Bob Clark‘s schlock pseudo-classic Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972), an early no-budget gem from the man who’d go on to direct the great Black Christmas (1974), Porky’s (1982), Porky’s II: The Next Day (1983) and the interminable A Christmas Story (1983)—–yes, the one with Ralphie and those damn Bumpus hounds.

Written and directed by Clark, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is my favorite of his films (that distinction goes to Black Christmas), but it certainly falls above the Red Rider BB gun flick. The characters are awful, a large amount of the dialogue grates like fromage, and the gore effects are a mere step away from using cherry Kool-Aid in the place of authentic life liquid. The first two acts slither along like a finger digging through marshmallow, and the scares are telegraphed. Somehow, though, through all of this ineptitude, Clark emerges as a magical auteur, yanking heaps of entertainment from the lame-brained festivities. That I was never bored throughout the film’s lean 85-minute duration speaks volumes.

The late Bob Clark

Continued after the jump: (more…)

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It’s the quintessential Academy Award job, a brave and vicious turn from a critically-beloved actress known for her vintage class. The kind of work that leads to writers typing, “Who knew she had it in her?” Not unlike Charlize Theron’s Oscar-winning descent into ugliness and despair in 2003’s Monster, when the stunning, radiant actress morphed into a schlubby, disgusting prostitute-turned-murderer. If you went into that film blind and there’d been no opening credits, Theron’s name would be most likely remain silent when it came time to play the guessing game of “Who’s that star?”

It’s similarly difficult to accept the fact that it’s Tilda Swinton on screen while watching Julia, a nobody-other-than-critics-knows-it-exists independent thriller from last year, directed by French filmmaker Erick Zonca. In an otherwise strong but flawed film, Swinton is grade-A. Written by Zonca and Aude Py, Julia is a dark look at one desperate, 40-year-old woman’s frantic downward spiral, which she brings upon herself by kidnapping the 8-year-old son of her fellow Alcoholics Anonymous groupmate, a mentally-unstable Mexican woman. She promises to give Julia (Swinton) buckets of cash if she helps steal her estranged son from his grandfather, an electronic tycoon who hates the fact that his grandson’s mother is of Mexican descent. Julia’s life is a series of drunken hookups and flimsy values, made worse after she’s fired from her job. On the edge of hopelessness, she orchestrates her own swipe-the-kid plan that goes completely to hell, though she does end up with the kid, not for lack of scaring the piss out of him (wearing a creepy black mask, she puts a pistol to his head and then tosses him into her trunk). The rest of Julia’s idea devolves into a nightmare of debt, crime, and run-ins with con men in Tijuana.

Throughout all of the film’s realistic intensity, Swinton is dynamite. The role of “Julia Harris” is a sharp left turn from the Scottish actress’s recent work; earning heaps of praise for her co-starring gigs in Michael Clayton, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Burn After Reading, she’s proven to be surgical when embodying uptight sophistication. Which is why she’s such a revelation in Julia; here, Swinton is indistinguishable, talking with a sailor’s mouth one second, telling a sleazy gun-toting delinquent “I wouldn’t wipe my ass with you!” the next. There’s hardly a 10-second stretch in the film without Swinton in sight, and she holds the production down with pure muscle. ‘Julia Harris’ starts off as a wretched low-life, escalates into a menacing degenerate, and then unexpectedly upgrades into a sympathetic misfit—–As conceived by screenwriters Zonca and Py, the character is ticking timebomb beaming with dimensions, and Swinton nails them all. Even when the film itself enters an over-the-top climax, one that demands suspension-of-belief to accept its absurdity (how Julia and the little boy survive a few moments is anybody’s guess), Swinton literally saves face.

Too bad she won’t snag enough nominations over the next two months, let alone win any statues. Julia received a lowball theatrical release last May on its way to a second life on DVD, yet even in that market it hasn’t ignited. No real Oscar push for Swinton is underway, though she totally deserves one. Some critics have pegged this performance as a dignified actress merely slumming it, grappling with a down-and-dirty assignment simply to show that she can, that she’s not above the grime. Some critics, in that same breath, are delusional. Julia would be an intriguing premise undone by too many implausabilities, and not much more, if guided by another star.

Whenever Meryl Streep is on stage accepting trophies for Julie & Julia (it’ll probably happen more than once), know that there’s another Julia better known as Tilda Swinton out there who never got a fair shot. After all, awards season has never been prone to justice.

Julia trailer, after the jump: (more…)

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What’s so interesting, and admirable, about Paramount Vantage’s unfairly-dumped-into-oblivion (limited theatrical release on September 4; forgotten about by the following day), now liberated on DVD, Carriers, is how it deserves so many tired parallels yet manages to subvert them all. Yes, it’s close in tone to The Ruins, and, sure, not unlike the structure of Zombieland. You could even toss some comparisons to The Road in for extended measure and not be overzealous. They’re all earned. But with that degree of “It’s like….” descriptions, it’d be easy for a film to buckle under the pressure and come across as a perfunctory trash-header. Carriers, written and directed by rookie brothers Alex and David Pastor, somehow rises to the occasion, and the end result is mute, personal and, despite its obvious shortcomings, rather satisfying. Continued after the jump: (more…)

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If I ever catch myself downplaying horror sequels in the near future, I’ll be sure to remember The Exorcist III, and to then promptly quit the negativity. Written and directed by William Peter Blatty, the author of the original The Exorcist novel, The Exorcist III (1990) continues the first film’s story, only it’s 15 years later. The focus is on stone-faced, often sarcastic lawman Bill Kinderman (here played by the ever-imposing George C. Scott) and his efforts to pin down a killer that soaks his/her murders in a religuous foundation, and is mysteriously connected to the little McNeil girl’s nightmare.

Blatty, whose directing resume is all too slim, stages a handful of tense, damn chilly sequences; his M.O. for effective horror is a patient one, bent on sudden shock. There’s hardly a telegraphed scare in the entire film. The first lung-hitter is set in a confessional booth, and simply uses an unseen person’s gravely voice-from-Hell to signal the creeps. Near the film’s end, an oversize scissor and an unsuspecting teenager are Blatty’s key ingredients for a similar triumph. (There’s also a bizarre dream sequence complete with cameos from both Fabio and Patrick Ewing…. your guess is as good as mine). The crown jewel within The Exorcist III, though, is tonight’s Scene of Mine, and it’s a whopper. The entire sequence is actually nearly two minutes longer than what Youtube allows for here, so just imagine the quiet anticipation felt here amplified. I won’t say any more, in fear of spoiling anything; it’s such a blink-and-you’ll miss it image, but lord is it a slam dunk.

If you, like a high-school-aged me, were once obsessed with the forgotten horror video game Clock Tower, this scene should hit especially hard. Scene after the jump: (more…)

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If I had the luxury of my own “If You Like This, You’d Also Like This….” feature here, a write-up on the IFC Films-distributed, straight-to-DVD Belgian horror flick  Linkeroever (Left Bank) would preface mention of Ti West’s The House of the Devil. West’s inconspicuous descent into ’80s satanism still holds up as one of the year’s best horror films, perhaps even THE tops, once polls are finalized; what makes that film so damn effective is its patience. The House of the Devil saves the anarchy for its final reel, and everything that comes before the endgame insanity justifies the wait. Quiet creeps, gradual earning of sympathy for the heroine. A constant sense of something-just-ain’t-right; you know it’s going to end badly for the main character, a college-aged babysitter tending to a spooky old house in the woods, but it’s all a matter of getting there.

Left Bank, directed by Pieter Van Hees, succeeds on that same level. Budding track star Marie (gifted actress Eline Kuppens; she’s a pro at the woe-is-me face) gets smitten by suave Bobby (Matthias Schoenaerts), and, against the wishes of her over-protective mother, moves into her new suitor’s Left Bank-located apartment building. The film’s first 80 minutes are entirely dedicated to establishing a mood; it’s understood that Marie is in for something unpleasant, but just what she’s destined to experience is kept in the dark, until an explosion of cult-sacrifice fun.

Van Hees’s pic isn’t as across-the-board triumphant as West’s picture, mainly due to screenwriters Christophe Dirickx and Dimitri Karakatsanis’s story’s all-too-brief and none-too-revealing payoff; that aforementioned explosion is more like a firecracker job. The film has been met with some of the same “Roman Polanski-esque” claims by critics as The House of the Devil, and such lofty compliments aren’t unfounded. Left Bank, in fact, owes more to Polanski than West’s work; Left Bank—-set in a sinister apartment complex that rests above a mysterious black pit, accessible through a dark, dreary basement walkway—–is close in setting to Rosemary’s Baby and The Tenant. The climax that Van Hees’s film  inches toward, a strange exercise in Pagan rebirth rituals, is more in line with The House of the Devil, though, so, in that sense, the film’s aesthetic quality is a curious amalgamation of Polanski and Ti West,. I wouldn’t be surprised if Van Hees has never even heard of one Ti West, but he should, because they seem to operate in the same genre headspace.

Left Bank does have its share of problems. The underlying theme, for one, isn’t fully realized, leaving interpretation not only open-ended, but littered with holes that a NJ Transit train could zip through untouched. There’s a midway slideshow presentation that informs Marie and her one ally of the apartment building’s shady history, central to which is some mumbo-jumbo about a woman-eating dragon that lives underneath and devours its latest female every seven years. Thankfully, no fire-breathing Reign of Fire rejects co-star in Left Bank, but the big reveal surrounding Marie’s sketchy lover, Bobby, is nonsensical and too vague; is he somehow connected to the dragon? Why does her assailant look like a lady’s private part during that time of the month (sorry about that)? And does that resemblance connect to the film’s several references to Marie’s troubling inability to have necessary periods?

I’ll leave these questions to the decision(s) of whomever gives Left Bank a chance of their own. Oddly, the film has been overlooked by the various horror websites that typically promote foreign movies of this ilk. Which is a shame, because Left Bank—-mostly a winner despite its narrative trappings—-is certainly worth a gander.

Left Bank trailer, after the jump: (more…)

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Discovering a sick piece of cinema previously foreign brings an awesome level of excitement, doesn’t it? Sure does around these parts. Especially when its a late-game scene in an old horror film that, up until said part, has been somewhat dull; strange and incomprehensible, sure, but still proceeding as a bore. For the first hour of The Sentinel (1977), I was scratching my head, wondering, “Am I missing something here?” I’d read all the praise, and even the hate, for writer-director Michael Winner’s bizarre horror flick (an adaptation of Jeffrey Konvitz’s 1975 this-Brooklyn-apartment-building-is-the-gateway-to-Hell novel), which was considered to be Universal’s inferior answer to the success of The Exorcist; I was expecting, at the least, a few sick thrills. But, nothing, other than one rather ferocious bit involving a shirtless zombie dad chasing his sexy daughter (wearing lingerie, I should add) as dead-daddy’s two fat, naked zombie sex partners are sprawled on a nearby bed; the now-adult, commercial-model daughter (Christina Raines, who at the time had a face as dynamite as Olivia Munn does today) even gets a few knife slashes in on pops, producing some splendidly cheesy gore—–the kind of fake ’70s blood that’s brighter than tomato-red, that almost neon look.

That scene is less than two minutes long, though; otherwise, the film’s remaining highpoints—-before the grand finale—-are a birthday part for a cat and a young Beverly D’Angelo getting herself off on a couch [see right]. Yup. So when today’s Scene of Mine finally kicked in, the film’s climax, I was sucker-punched from both sides. And I kinda loved it. Tell me how this sounds to you: a hammy Burgess Meredith leading a horde of deformed undead through a spooky apartment building as they chase a beautiful woman. That’s exactly what you get with The Sentinel‘s closing bit, an incoherent mish-mash of Shelley Duvall’s dash within the Overlook during the end of The Shining and the authentic weirdness of Tod Browning’s 1932 classic Freaks

It’s after the jump. The fun really begins at the 4:00 mark. Note that this isn’t great horror, by any stretch; just underappreciated insanity that’s a total hoot. Now, if you’ll pardon me, I’m off to research this thing to find out if those are actual deformed people, or simply actors covered in top-notch makeup effects: (more…)

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The only fair way to judge a film based on an exceptional book is to rate the big screen treatment as its own entity; pretend that the novel doesn’t exist, and that there was actually a screenwriter and/or studio executive inventive enough to conceptualize such an intriguing premise.

The biggest strike (and, belive me, there’s a gaggle) against John Irvin‘s 1981 adaptation of Peter Straub‘s multifaceted horror novel Ghost Story is that, as a stand-alone piece of cinema, it’s an absolute misfire. Has not one thing working in its favor; laughable when it’s not dull. With visual effects as poor as they come, Ghost Story would’ve left me as unimpressed back in ’81 as it does today.

Having just finished Straub’s great novel, now knowing what the author’s original vision was, and just how far off Irvin’s film lands in the paperback’s context, this film is an ultimate disaster. Continued after the jump:


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There’s a slew of authors I need to catch up on (Raymond Chandler, James Herbert, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker…. the damn list is neverending); the one that I’m most likely approaching next is Ira Levin, the scribe responsible for both Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives. Up until this weekend, I’d only seen the former, the wonderfully paranoid Roman Polanski classic that I’m guessing works even better in its written word, though I’ve read that Polanski’s film is one of the best book-to-film transitions out there. That’s not a surprise, since Polanski made the picture at the height of his horror-dominance, in 1968. It was obvious, based on my already-there simple knowledge of what The Stepford Wives is about, that Levin was firmly in touch with his sensitive-to-women side back in the ’70s. The fears and helplessness that ladies endured through during a time of gender anxiety. In Rosemary’s Baby, the protagonist—-a well-meaning gal who’s scared that the older tenants in her Manhattan apartment building are all minions of Satan—-struggles to overcome the underestimation of others; the impression that she’s submissive enough to willingly allow those around her to “impregnate” her with evil. I can’t wait to read how Levin tells in in prose-form; apparently it’s even more claustrophobic.

This weekend, I finally got around to sitting down with director John Forbes’s adaptation of The Stepford Wives, and, like Rosemary’s Baby, the film churns a great me-against-the-world vibe for its main character, Joanna (Katharine Ross), a New York City-bred, strong-minded woman surrounded by soulless female drones that are subservient to their husbands and do little more than cook and clean. All pretty and well-coifed, the ladies of Stepford (where Joanna and her family have moved to, against her own wishes) are idyllic male fantasies—–they don’t talk back, share their own beliefs, or challenge anything their hubbies say or do. There’s something much more sinister than mere obedience at work in Stepford, of course, and how Joanna uncovers the mystery is what gives The Stepford Wives its horror. 

Now, I’m unsure as to whether I should read The Stepford Wives or Rosemary’s Baby first; I’m leaning toward Stepford, since the film is still fresh in my mind. I do have one fear, and that’s that too many people associate The Stepford Wives with the shameful, let’s-make-it-a-zany-comedy-and-suck-the-lifeforce-out-of-Levin’s-vision 2004 remake, with Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick. That version is junk; the 1975 original is the way to go, as evidenced by the following scene compilation. It’s the latest installment of Scenes of Mine, and, while full of Spoilers (so be warned), it’s easily the best teaser imaginable for Forbes’s underrated little success. To best appreciate the film’s quiet ballsiness, pay close attention to where Ross’s character stabs her altered friend (the then-quite-sexy Paula Prentiss, who went on to play the mother in a passionate watch of mine, 1981’s uneven yet endearing horror-comedy Saturday the 14th) in the kitchen. Scene compilation, after the jump: (more…)

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Last month, I breezed through what could be the most enjoyable book I’ve read to date: Stephen King‘s Danse Macabre. Written back in 1981, Danse Macabre is Uncle Stevie’s exhaustive, witty and informative breakdown of all things horror from 1950 through 1980, encompassing film, television and literature. I figured it’d be a fun read, but what I didn’t anticipate was how brilliant the book could be used an encyclopedia of sorts for a knowledgeable but still growing brain-wise horror head such as yours truly. From Danse Macabre alone I now have 17 books saved in my “Books To Get/Read” file, as well as a slew of films and the complete The Outer Limits DVD set in my Amazon saved list; also, heightened awareness and excitement for next year’s release of the entire Thriller television series, considered one of the best TV anthologies ever (that I’d never heard of Thriller before is something to be ashamed about).  

One of the novels that King put me on to in Danse Macabre is Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, a classic bit of supernatural heeby-jeeby. It’d regard with nearly as much acclaim as Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, which says a ton. I was all set to pick James’s book up a couple weeks back, but then I happened across a list of Martin Scorcese’s favorite scary movies, somewhere online, and right smack in the center of Scorcese’s list was The Innocents, a 1961 film adaptation of The Turn of the Screw. Further research showed that The Innocents (directed by Jack Clayton) is praised across the board. And since my stack of backlogged books is now tipping over in my bedroom, I figured that I should watch the film rather than add James’s page-turner to the ever-towering pile.

A tad slow in the beginning, The Innocents patiently “turns its screws” (*sigh* for that pun) and eases into a great feeling of paranoia. A pure mood piece, and anchored by some subtle shots that are more forceful than I’d expected. The story (as in the source material/novel)  pits a live-in nanny-for-hire, Miss Giddens (played with class by Deborah Kerr), against the two strange kids, Miles and Flora, that she’s been employed to look after, while their uncle/guardian is out of town. They live in your standard spooky-old-mansion, but how this plot approaches the haunted house motif is quite clever—–is it all in the nanny’s head, or is the place really grand central for ghouls? The kids appear to be possessed by the spirits of the family’s previous caretakers, but are the rugrats simply messing with the heroine’s head? Slick use of emotionless figures far from the camera and reverberating voices pad the film with ample creeps. And the performance of the boy who plays Miles—-then-child actor Martin Stephens—-is magnificent.

If you’re a sucker for haunted house films, you’ll be hard-pressed to do better than The Innocents, in terms of overall quality and sophistication. For this edition of Scenes of Mine, I’ve chosen a sequence that comes late into the film; watching this alone with the lights off last night, I admittedly shook a good amount as this part commenced. The losing-her-shit nanny hears the requisite sounds, grabs a candelabra (which every haunted house film should have, by the way) and investigates the premises. The sound design that greets her is something else. See/listen for yourselves [Scene after the jump]: (more…)

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I finally earned my complete George A. Romero fanboy stripes last night. You’d think that years of constant re-watching of his entire Dead/zombie films would be enough to give me pride, but that was sadly not the case. Romero, the independent-minded filmmaking legend, has a cluster of non-zombie flicks that are mostly regarded as unheralded classics. Cult favorites, if you will. The Crazies (1973) is one that I’ve long admired, but other than that one I’d inexplicably slacked off on seeing his other works.

martin1The reconciler that I am, I’ve put the remainder of his filmography into the top five of my Netflix Queue, and last night the Romero film fest kicked off with 1977’s Martin, a film that many consider to be the man’s best. A tall order, considering this is the guy responsible for the original Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978), two undeniable horror masterpieces. Romero himself has even said that Martin is his personal favorite of his movies, which explains why I made it the first one on my list.


The verdict: strange with great mood, but not entirely effective for me. There’s a lot of great things going on in Martin; for one, the way Romero deconstructs the entire vampire/Nosferatu mythology is fascinating. The title character is a quiet, socially-awkward 20-year-old with a penchant for draining the blood of women, after drugging them to sleep. His older uncle represents the Van Helsing character, the skeptic who believes Martin to be Dracula himself. It’s confirmed, in more words or less, that Martin is indeed a bloodsucker, though he constantly denies it to others. It’s just that, the usual defenses against vampires are futile around him——garlic has no effect, he’s visible in mirrors, and religious crosses are yawned at.


What Martin lacks is a constant thread, though, espcially toward the end. The final 15 minutes feel like a loose string of scenes edited together, leading up to a predictable (but thankfully gory and hardcore) last shot that comes out of left field. The film, at times, seems more like a collection of Romero’s ideas rather than a fleshed-out narrative; his outline, or treatment, instead of a full-on script. His ideas are strong on their own, the sum of a film’s part being greater than its whole.

Romero is such a great master of tension, though, that Martin never falls from interest. The picture has a steady macabre that’s forceful, a lingering bleakness rising shotgun alongside the overpowering notion that Martin can turn ghoulish serial killer at any moment, which is a testament to the performance of actor John Amplas. The best of the film’s stalk-and-drain sequences it the reason for this post, a Scene of Mine. Where Martin breaks into an attractive local woman’s home, expecting to only see and murder her, but an unanticipated booty call of her’s spoils the fun. Well, adds to it, actually. You’ll have to fast-forward a bit through the first Youtube clip, and continue at the start of the second. [Scene, in two parts, after the jump]: (more…)

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It’s never a good sign when you find yourself fast-forwarding through a movie out of a double-sided necessity to simply finish the thing and get to the good stuff much quicker. I rarely do this; if I’ve made effort enough to start watching a film, no matter how awful it is, I might as well hang tight. A similar reasoning behind not walking out of movies I’ve paid $12 to see theaters; to date, I’ve only prematurely exited stage right three times (Freddy Got Fingered, Corky Romano, and P2), and I wasn’t proud of myself in any of the cases. Why I actually dropped bucks on the first two, I’ll never know.

lets_scare_jessica_to_deathEarly last week, during my daily ritual of scouring through various horror websites in hopes of stumbling across some old forgotten gem that Netflix can so kindly bless me with, the title Let’s Scare Jessica to Death surfaced somewhere, though I’m remiss to recall which URL exactly. Doesn’t matter, really; I’m thinking it was somehow in relation to Ti West’s new The House of the Devil, which I have a screener DVD of, that I watched, and love(d) every second (but more on that film later this week). Back to Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, a wonderfully-intriguing name for a film, and when I noticed that it was made in 1971, I was even more compelled. Obscure ’70s horror hardly ever disappoints, case in point Race with the Devil. Without even reading as much as a two-sentence synopsis, I bumped Jessica to the top of my Netflix.

I’m currently wiping the final splothces of pie off of my cheeks. Continued after the jump: (more…)

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Jack Ketchum

If you’ve never read any of Jack Ketchum‘s novels, I strongly advise that you do so, even if you’re not the type to enjoy hardcore storytelling about murder and depravity. The thing about Ketchum’s books that I love so much is the consistency, how he never submits to the temptations of unnecessary dark comedy; he goes for the jugular without ever flinching. And always with a writing style that’s much more eloquent than you’d stereotypically expect from stories that’d make the weak-willed feel queasy and shaken. He covers the horrors of everyday life; no monsters (well, She Wakes is his sole creature text, so there’s one exception) or ghosts, but real people doing very bad things, all with a subtext that fills their actions with drawn-out motives, whether acceptable or deplorable in explanation.

For those who aren’t so keen on horror fiction, I’d recommend Ketchum’s Red as a good gateway drug into his work. The tale of an old man who watches his beloved dog killed before his eyes, and the retribution he single-handedly brings forth, is the softest of the author’s catalog that I’ve read, and it proves that the guy could be one hell of a dramatic scribe if he wasn’t such a sick bastard underneath the skin. Not that I’m complaining about that. If he weren’t so demented, I would’ve never experienced the amazing The Lost, Ketchum’s epic Hannibal Lecter-ish character study of punk teenager with homicidal tendencies; or the even crueler two-book arch of Off Season and Offspring, the sprawling two-parter about a clan of feral children living in a cave out in the woods, when they’re not driving hatchets into residents’ skulls and eating their flesh. 

Stephen King, another writer I carry the torch for, is a known fan of Ketchum’s, and the inkling to draw parallels between their respective novels is always there, but hardly fair. They’re two totally different styles of horror, both serving its own purpose nicely. One commonality between King and Ketchum, though, is the hit-or-miss quality of films based on their books. We all know the spotty quality of King-based films—–for every The Mist and The Shawshank Redemption (both made by Frank Darabont, who should be the only guy allowed near King’s property at this point), there’s The Lawnmower Man, or (*gasp!*) Thinner. As for Ketchum, there’s only been four books-to-films bearing his name, and three of them (The Lost, The Girl Next Door, Red) aren’t half bad. Red is the best of the lot, but the other two, while hindered by some poor acting and foolish omissions from their on-page source material, get enough to right to earn passes.  


The fourth, the newly-released straight-to-DVD Offspring, is on the total opposite end of the spectrum. It’s every Ketchum fans worst thoughts come true, the in-mind floating notions that Ketchum’s hardest fare is virtually unfilmable. (more…)

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laconfidentialfrontai5If there’s one thing about Curtin Hanson‘s superior L.A. Confidential (1997) that always pings in my mind, it’s that the whole whodunit element is pretty anticlimactic. I’m not badge-toting private eye—-or dick, for full self-serving disclosure—-but the identity of the person(s) behind the Nite Owl diner massacre, and ultimately the film’s entire plot, is rather obvious. I won’t go into specifics here, in the chance that one of the few people who’ll actually read this hasn’t seen the film yet and wants to crack the case themselves. The only reason I’m patting myself on the back is that so many of the reviews and praising write-ups about L.A. Confidential that I’ve read have harped on the story’s unpredictability. That its curtain-pulling is of the most surprising caliber. Not for me.

I will admit, though, that the traitor’s reveal scene is pulled off brilliantly. I knew it was dude all along and the switcheroo still caused a significant jolt. Imagine if I was totally in the blue when that moment fired through like a magnum slug.


None of this is to say that I dislike L.A. Confidential even the slightest bit. Hanson’s slice of 1950s pulp crime noir (based on James Ellroy’s 1990 novel) connects on all cylinders, everything from the bravura acting (particularly Russell Crowe‘s leather-tough brute of an officer) to the costumes and set designs that look and feel impeccably authentic; not that I’d know personally, but I can still speculate. In choosing one scene to broadcast as a Scene of Mine, the deliberation process was at first taxing. My gut said to rock with the shootout in the dingy apartment building that concludes with Guy Pearce squeezing his shotgun into the closing elevator door. That’s one hell of a last shot. Further brainwork made the choice obvious, however: the cops-vs-Mexican-prisoners brawl in the lower level of the precinct, on Christmas Eve night, dubbed by the press as “Bloody Christmas.” It’s integral to the narrative, and just a hoot to watch. Note Kevin Spacey‘s ever-cool knockout punch at the sight of his stained shirt. (more…)

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Two of the year’s best films have come out within the last two weeks, but there’s a sad truth at hand—–you’ve either never heard of them, or have little to no interest in seeing either one. To your own detriment, because both Sugar and Sin Nombre (hitting DVD shops recently) represent the strongest of what independent films have to offer, and should presently rest high on any movie-head’s tops list. The former is a sports film with a deeper message, the latter a gang-banger thriller with a loudly-beating heart and soft-spoken intelligence. Both were released in the first quarter of 2009 in limited reach, and both unfortunately came and went without any attention paid outside of the credibility-pushing online film-writing world. Which is where I initially gained interest from, but wasn’t able to catch either in theaters for unnecessary-to-disclose reasons. [Continued after the jump] (more…)

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lars von trier

In a recent interview with Empire Online, Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier had this to say to a question about what’s next on his agenda, as far as directing goes: 

“Absolutely nothing! I have a garden with vegetables, and that’s what I’m working on, new potatoes and lettuce and all kinds of nice things.”

The simplicity and golly-gee-ness of that response was such a stark left-turn from the rest of the interview that I immediately thought, “I kinda love this guy.” Throughout the preceding portion of the Q&A, Von Trier trudged to the interrogation’s finish line in a sludge of bleakness and morbidity. He was discussing his latest piece of thought-conjuring, controversial filmmaking, Antichrist, a personal and artistic dabble into full-on rip-your-senses-apart horror that’s high on my Must See list. Mainly because the response the film received out at the Cannes Film Festival was so alarmingly vitriolic that it transcended mere written word; the reviews read like tangible attacks. Critics bludgeoned by esoteric brutality and grotesque psychoanalysis, that, as the consensus dictated, felt like it should’ve remained in Von Trier’s own head. Which is to say, precisely the kind of film that I love. 


I’ve known of Von Trier’s dividing artistry for some time now, but his films have always been mainstays on my to-do list, without ever undoing the safety and firing them into the DVD player. Shit, I even had his beloved Dancer in the Dark chilling in my DVR backlog for four months before I moved out and lost that cable-box. It’s not that the long running-time’s of his films intimidated me; his films address heavy topics and favor patience over wam-bam. The type of cinema that requires a particular headspace from its viewer. But with Antichrist around the corner (it’s playing at the upcoming New York Film Festival, and opens in limited release at the IFC Center closer to Halloween), I’ve decided that its officially time to run through his filmography. The main attraction being that his style captures the dread of good horror while covering human interest drama, with a lo-fi digital look.

First on the list was Dogville, Von Trier’s 2003 English language debut. Many critics and film-heads consider Dogville to be his best work, and the promise of a show-stopping finale with homicidal tendencies held my intrigue in strong grasp since I flipped through the film’s reviews a couple of weeks back. A few minutes shy of three hours in length, Dogville was certain to be a taxing watch, so don’t ask why I opted to start it at 11:30pm on a weeknight; sleep is overrated. Not to mention, I was already tired going into the flick, and there was no doubt that it’d be slow-moving and cerebral. Exactly what you want from something seven hours before you’re supposed to wake up for work.

To the film’s immense credit, I never even noticed what time it was, nor did I care. Dogville is so uniquely puzzling that I could’ve sat mesmerized by its quietness for hours more. This is a film meant to be seen in a group, to inspire long debate about the anti-American ideas that Von Trier so delicately conveys. Yet another piece of evidence for the necessity of my very own Matt’s Movie Club——I’m all alone in this land of Dogville interpretation, thus forced to decipher a complicated post-game mindframe. (more…)

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dario-argentoShould Dario Argento just stop making films already? It’s sad, really, that the guy who once made gems such as Suspiria and Deep Red has devolved into somebody who, just today, was referred to as a “bad Uwe Boll” by an Ain’t It Cool News contributor. Which, essentially, is equivalent to saying “shitty feces.” Glimmers of hope that Argento could bumrush skepticism and deliver another balls-out murder mystery poked through when word came that his next one, the no-frills-titled Giallo, would be in the vein of his past gore-shows, and even star an Academy Award nominee (Adrien Brody). It may not be a slam dunk, but surely it’d be better in actual quality than his last, the awful-yet-tough-to-look-away-from Mother of Tears. If not, somebody please take the man’s camera away from him. 

fourfliesongreyvelvetWell, as that “bad Uwe Boll” comment alludes to, word on Giallo is that its a steaming pile. Laughable for all the wrong reasons. Full of poor acting and overall ineptitude. The film recently screened at Frightfest out in TKTK, and the bad reviews are trickling in at a growing clip. What a shame, because at one time (way before MY time, mind you, though I can revisit it thanks to DVD) Argento was one of the most exciting horror filmmakers around. Last week, I gave his 1971 “lost movie” 4 mosche di velluto grigio (Four Flies on Grey Velvet) another spin—-certainly not his best film, but definitely one of his most overlooked. It’s part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s upcoming Agrento retrospective series, and since I won’t be able to attend I set up my own personal viewing. 


Four Flies on Grey Velvet has everything you’d want from vintage Argento—drawn-out, elaborate kill sequences that erupt in geysers of visually-stunning, almost radiant bloodshed; random occurrences and small touches that make no sense yet work due to their sheer insanity (a baby-faced mask and usage of flies as jewelry-dressing here); and classic Argento murder setpieces, including one great offing that employs a backward tracking shot down a flight of stairs that’s pure Psycho/Arbogast. There’s also a final “killer reveal” that is obvious all along, but is resolved so crazily that the laziness of the twist is forgiven. That last point leads to today’s Scene of Mine: the final shot of this film, which you’ll find at the end of the Spoiler-Heavy Youtube clip linked here. Out of context, the five minutes leading up the last shot will be an utter mess of confusion and overdone melodrama, I’m sure, but bare with it. The way that Argento sends off the killer in such a out-of-left-field manner is worth the time spent watching the entire film alone. Especially the unnecessarily-slow-and-long You’re About To Die POV he uses, which—I’m guessing—was an inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s four-perspective crash sequence in Death Proof

Here it is, the final shot of Four Flies on Grey Velvet. Check it out while mourning the once-unbeatable anarchy that was a Dario Argento-staged on-screen death: Youtube — Four Flies on Grey Velvet (Final Seven Minutes)

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strangers-on-a-train-1-1024The amount of comedy on display here is pretty staggering, in no small part due to the fact that Strangers on a Train is an Alfred Hitchcock classic. On the whole, the film is a slick cat-and-mouse game between a social giant (Farley Granger’s “Guy Haines”) and a straight-up sociopath (Robert Walker’s calculating “Bruno”), using a brilliantly-shot murder as the catalyst for blackmail and personal-space infiltration. That murder sequence, by the way, is worthy of its own Scenes Of Mine recognition, so I’ll no doubt give it the full-post distinction in due time. Perfectly paced as a flirtation, Bruno follows Guy’s philandering wife through a carnival, ultimately strangling her once they both exit a “Tunnel of Love” water ride. The hands-around-the-neck strike is shown through her eyeglasses, which have fallen to the grass, left as an inanimate bystander, a bifocal POV to homicide.

But that’s not the cause of this discussion, so we’ll save that one. Throw it in the bag, so to speak. Here, I’m focused on the film’s climactic last sequence, set in the same carnival-space as the above-cited murder. Guy and Bruno converge at the locale of the crime, where Bruno plans to plant evidence to implicate Guy as his wife’s killer. Before he’s able to do so, however, Bruno is confronted by Guy, and the two wrestle it out on a speeding carousel. The reason why the carousel is moving at a breakneck speed is the first instance of pure hilarity—-a horrible police officer, hoping to catch Guy in the back with a bullet, fires directly into the kid-and-parent-packed carousel, catching the ride’s operator with a slug, the operator’s lifeless arms pulling the lever dangerously down. From there, we’re treated to a chiseled old man coming to the rescue, as if on comic cue; Bruno nearly killing a little kid; tons of exaggerated screams and Help-Me cries; and a solution to the carousel’s unruliness that causes more destruction than aid. 


Maybe I’m just an ass, and this isn’t funny at all. Could very well be the case. The shit is laughable gold to me, though, a bizarre and no-doubt-thrilling conclusion to an otherwise controlled and restrained picture. Enjoy, spoiler-lovers: (more…)

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Maybe the Special Edition DVD is different than the original film that was released back in 1979. All I know is, while watching Phantasm last night for the first time ever after years of slacking off, only one thought kept reappearing within the head’s chamber: People actually consider this a “great” horror film? 

phantasmSome genre vets would consider this sentiment to be blasphemy, but fuck it—–Phantasm is a terrible movie. Boring, cheesy, the opposite of scary. Overrated and forgettable. Placed alongside the sequels (which I have seen, ass-backwards enough), though, director Don Coscarelli’s franchise jumpoff is on the same plane as Alien, another ’79 horror favorite. That’s saying very little, however. I’m not going to overtalk my point here, simply because I don’t have much to say about the film, it disinterested me that much. Points are awarded its way for originality, offering some unique ideas and an off-kilter narrative approach. The script is wise enough to tap directly into a common fear of suburban youngsters, and that’s the mysteries and potential terrors that reside in the local cemetery. And Phantasm has a formidable, memorable villain in The Tall Man (played by naturally-freaky-looking Angus Scrimm); the problem is, The Tall Man is underused, washed over by strictly-for-the-gore orbs that zoom around and drain blood from foreheads, and black-hooded ghoulies that just jump around and irritate rather than doing anything that’s actually scary.

The urge to compare Phantasm to 1986’s Spookies is overpowering. If not the entirety of one-of-the-most-astonishingly-awful-films-ever-made Spookies, than certainly the shitshow’s first 15 minutes, a pointless first act featuring an annoying, poorly-acted kid who runs around an eerie graveyard and bumps into a tall warlock-dude wearing a cheap suit (a la Sir Tall Man). The acting in Phantasm is much better, fortunately, but that’s enough to lift the flick above Spookies standards. 

PHANTASM'S only semi-effective moment

PHANTASM'S only semi-effective moment

I’d hope that hating Phantasm isn’t considered a notch off my horror-fan-belt, but if so then that’s the way the cookie disintegrates. Bottom line: When you’re so bored with a movie that you start fast-forwarding it in hopes of seeing something that catches your eye enough to stop and watch, completely out of context, then you have a bad one on your hands. Case closed.

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If I had to choose my all-time favorite cable television special, gun-barrel positioned firmly against my brow, sweat pellets trickling onto the trigger, it’d be Bravo’s unparalleled “100 Scariest Movie Moments,” the Halloween-season-aired countdown of all things superior in shock. First airing in October of 2004, this totally re-watchable bit of cinematic bliss is a guilty party in the presence of my evolution from “above-average movie lover” to “obsessive cinephile.” Prior to watching it, I fancied myself as a pretty knowledgeable horror/thriller flick aficionado, but a mere 30 minutes into this special I realized that I had a ways to go. What were these movies that I’d never heard of yet were being talked about as some sort of celluloid scripture? Blood and Black Lace. The Sentinel. The Wicker Man (original, not the terrible Nic Cage remake). Even Takashi Miike’s Audition, which I was sadly unaware of before “100 Scariest Movie Moments” entered my life.

90110_3Also on this list of films the special slapped my senses awake for is director Terrence Young’s 1967 adaptation of the popular stageplay Wait Until Dark. A flick that a good friend of mine who adores Audrey Hepburn should be ashamed of herself for not recommending my way; in it, Hepburn stars as a blind woman who’s city apartment is under siege by tactical, cold-blooded thieves searching for a heroin-stuffed doll lost within her home’s walls. The lead baddie is played with chilly calm by Alan Arkin, in a wonderfully restrained performance that goes off the rails at all the right times. Wait Until Dark is so effective because it’s so sneaky in its terror; starting off ordinary and slightly wishy-washy, it doesn’t take long before blindsiding you with some magnificent scenes of claustrophobic tension.

The film’s most celebrated moment, though, is what thrust it upon Bravo’s top-100 list. It comes near the end of the picture, when a possible resolution has been reached, victory flirts with the emotions of Hepburn’s resilient sightless heroine. [SPOILERS AHEAD, SO BEWARE IF YOU PLAN ON WATCHING THIS] Wait Until Dark came years before the likes of Carrie and Friday the 13th, giving this shock a truly earned OG quality. [Scene, shown within the context of the Bravo special, after the jump]:



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DeadofNightHow about some more Richard Matheson-related goodness? Fuck it, why not? The difference this time, however, is that I’m pointing the spotlight toward 1977’s made-for-TV anthology Dead of Night, stringed together with three 25-minute, Matheson-written shorts all directed by Dan Curtis.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say it until I one day scribe one of my own—-I’m absolutely gaga for horror/genre anthologies, whether it be Night Gallery-like television programs or Creepshow-esque movies. I’ve seen them all, and even the inferior ones still keep me pleased enough. Dead of Night falls on the bottom spectrum, unfortunately. The first two tales, the time-traveling melodrama “Second Chance” and revenge yarn “No Such Things as Vampires,” aren’t terrible, but they’re ultimately forgettable. Dead of Night‘s final entry, however, is a closes the curtains with an evil game-changer—–it’s called “Bobby,” and it’s about a grieving mother who uses dark forces to bring her son back from his watery grave, only to find out that her precious Bobby isn’t the innocent kid he once was anymore. Confined to the walls of their oceanside home, “Bobby” becomes a hide-and-seek game between scared mother and psychotic reanimated son.

“Bobby” isn’t in the same league as Matheson’s best work, but it’s still quite memorable. Particularly the story’s final shot, which, Spoilers Abound, can be watched after the jump. Back in ’77, this must’ve caused soiled-pants nationwide; today, the makeup effects and goofy small-man approach will probably make you giggle. Regardless, this is one mean endgame twist: (more…)

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I’ve always been an overthinker, to my own minor downfall(s). But you know it’s getting to be an issue when the thought of “Let me picture the remake of this” pops into my head any time I watch a movie made before 1990. More times than not, the version I cast and shoot in my head is inferior, and plain old lousy. It’s the byproduct of expecting nothing but the worst from Hollywood remakes, a mental complex that a stronger fella than I could shake and think little about.

6a00c2251e4a7f549d011015f7c0cc860b-500piSuch was the case while watching Charles’ Laughton’s tough-as-rawhide The Night of the Hunter, a 1955 exercise in watching a truly despicable guy trigger pounds of suspense. That guy is “Harry Powell,” played with icy calm by the great Robert Mitchum; Powell is, without a shred of doubt, one of the most deplorable characters ever put on film. The guy curses out a younger-than-kindergarten-age girl and threatens to ring her arm, and then later slices the neck of two kids’ mother while they’re sleeping in the room next door. He’s a phony preacher/murdering sociopath who fools single ladies into marriage before killing them for their riches, and there’s literally zero redeeming qualities at play. An extra fun fact comes from the “Love/Hate” tattoos seen on Powell’s fingers, imagery that Spike Lee has gone on the record giving credit to as his inspiration for Radio Raheem’s similar digit-decor in Do the Right Thing.

I could see Daniel Craig being cast as the new-age Harry Powell, in an effort to show his range. The little kids in peril throughout would be bumped up to a teenage guy and his little sis, probably one of those Gossip Girl squares and Abigail Breslin. British director James Watkins, he of last year’s terrific little downer Eden Lake, would score his first American-studio project with this, and it’d be a September release.

The day that a Night of the Hunter remake with those credentials happens, somebody better flip me some scratch.


Until that does, give a look to one of Laughton’s film’s key, and best, scenes—a chase along a river than culminates into a soothing yet haunting lullaby. Do they make ’em like this anymore? You be the judge: (more…)

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eyesJust as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho paved the way for the “slasher” subgenre of horror, George Franju’s Eyes Without a Face (1960) can fairly be lauded as a seminal example for the makers of the Saw films, or Eli “Hostel” Roth, for that matter. The French cult classic’s centerpiece sequence—a music-less, patient cutting off of a girl’s face by a mad doctor and his nurse—is vicious and ghastly on its own GP, but when you consider that the film was made nearly 50 years ago, it’s downright astonishing. Must’ve send France’s curious moviegoers sprinting to the nearest toilet to hurl, or to the ticket vendor to furiously demand refunds. An undeniably powerful scene, that has to be a Master’s lesson for any aspiring horror filmmaker.

As a whole, Eyes Without a Face is a terrific film, shot in a poetic breeze, using quietly paralyzing imagery to transmit its eerie juice. The story concerns a plastic surgeon who’s obsessed with rectifying the massively charred face of his once-lovely daughter after he caused a car accident that nearly killed her. With the help of his loyal nurse, the doc kidnaps several girls and attempts to cut off their faces and put the removed skin onto his seed’s, with constantly poor results. Franju, the film’s director, never lets the gonzo plot fly the movie off its hinges, though. There’s no gratuitous slaughter, only a solid backbone of melancholic disturbia.


Unfortunately for this post’s sake, the aforementioned “prolonged facial transplant” scene isn’t available on Youtube, or anywhere else online. However, I’ve tracked down two other stunning moments from Eyes Without a Face, so I’m turning this into a two-for-one Scenes of Mine entry. ‘Cause I’m generous like that. Be warned, though—-one of the scenes is the film’s conclusion, which is about as spoiler-heavy as you can get, but features a brilliant juxtaposition of a payback screaming for a “Who Let the Dogs Out?” underscore and an Edgar Allen Poe-like exodus guided by doves. The other, our first time seeing the daughter’s post-accident face; shot in a hazy state, it’s one effective reveal. [both Scenes of Mine after the jump] (more…)

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**New Recurring Column**

Actually, not as much a “column” as it is a quick-hitter meant to honor the forgotten/neglected beauties of cinema. Consider last week’s random post about Planet of the Apes co-star Linda “Nova” Harrison the first installment.

t35523roxm9In Roman Polanski’s unpredictable debut Knife in the Water (1962), Jolanta Umecka does very little to make a mega impression. Soft-mannered glances, piercing half-smiles. One of the many reasons Polanski’s shoestring psyschological drama works so well on its largely-single location (a couple’s sailboat also occupied by a young, mysterious hitchhiker) is Umecka’s effortless hook-line-and-sinker effect on the eyes.


Just wait ’til you see her in the final act, wet hair still drying, only a loose sweater covering her white one-piece swimwear. Makes you wish filmmakers of that time had considered the future’s indulgence of “Deleted Scenes.”

Bonus Knife in the Water scene of Umecka rocking that wet hair look, after the jump: (more…)

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***Spoilers Abound***

69197307_afIf there’s a more devastating film focused on the anticipatory anxiety of losing one’s virginity out there than this, I defy anybody to name it. Fat Girl, a 2001 study of teenage alienation and sexual coming-of-age from French filmmaker Catherine Breillat, is a film that gives the impression that it’s all on the surface, but then yanks the rug from underneath the viewer’s toes in its final five minutes of ultra-shock, revealing a hidden context to nearly every line of dialogue from the first scene onward. A vastly impressive feat, one that has divided film lovers while conquering those clearest of thought.

Fat Girl (the English translation of A Ma Soeur!) incubates in the brain once the last freeze-framed close-up of its titular character hits. Once a watcher’s  jaw is lifted off the floor, endless analysis of the film’s themes and seemingly, yet not at all, random conclusion are inevitable.

[Full assessment after the jump] (more…)

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