please do gabe
I finally watched Vanishing Point, and it was a huge letdown. It seems to be idolized in certain circles (the Primal Scream album, Death Proof), but mostly it's just an over-long heavy handed period piece mired in counter-cultural cliches. Fuck the 60's. The chase scenes are shot and edited really well, but there's way too few of them and way too much shitty story. Also, there's a weird homosexual hysteria scene with two flamboyantly gay robbers. Hail the iconoclastic outsiders, just not the queer ones! Rent Two Lane Blacktop instead.
Worst line of dialogue: "Wouldn't it be funny if after all if you did have to arrest me? I mean, me trying to turn you on and you trying to turn me in."
Also, I watched Stuart Gordon's Stuck, based on the true life story of a nurse who hit a man with her car and let him die trapped in the windshield in her garage. Liberties are taken with the source material, of course. This is a really fun, fucked up piece of modern exploitation. There's some great gruesome scenes played up a bit for laughs and slight dose of social commentary to give extra resonance. Definitely recommended.
To raise awareness about my shitty thread about shitty movies, and in expectation of Halloween, I'm going to watch and review 31 horror movies in 31 days. I'm going to try to cover all different eras and styles. I'm probably not going to be too strict on what I consider a horror movie to be and will include mixed genre films, such as horror-comedies. I might revisit some classics I haven't seen in a really long time, but in general, I'm going to try to avoid movies I've seen over and over again and are really obvious (Dawn Of The Dead, Re-Animator, Evil Dead 2, etc). I might check out some heavies of the genre that for one reason or another I've never gotten around to seeing (The Exorcist). If anyone has any recommendations for great overlooked horror movies, especially from the past 10 years, I'll consider watching them.
October 1st: Cat People (Paul Schrader, 1982, R, 118 min)
The names appearing in the credits promise a prime slice of 80's sub-arthouse sleaze: Paul Schrader, Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, Giorgio Moroder, and a theme song by David Bowie. All that in a film about people who turn into vicious black leopards when they are sexually aroused. Unfortunately, the film isn't good enough to be art nor bad enough to be trash. What we end up with is something disappointingly mediocre with a few moments of campy flair. The main problem is that the film centers around a mundane and lifeless romance between Kinski's character and John Heard's character. Meanwhile, a far more interesting plot involving Malcom McDowell's incestuous longing for his sister (Kinski) gets pushed aside and eventually dropped altogether about half way through the film. In fact, McDowell, in fine over-the-top form and the only real spark of life and intrigue in the movie, only appears in less than a quarter of the movie, as most of his character's screen time is spent in leopard form. The rest of the acting ranges from serviceable to awkward and stilted. There is no excuse for a movie about sexy leopard people to be this dull. This is a theme that writes itself, ripe with both symbolic and exploitative potential. Even on a visual level, Cat People is mostly unremarkable, with only two or three scenes really standing out. There's a scene about an hour and a half into the movie that perfectly embodies the disappointing nature of the movie: Kinski dreams about entering an otherworldly red desert with her brother and several black leopards lounging in trees, and instead of developing into the visually extravagant set piece the film needed at just that moment, all we get is McDowell explaining the origin of the cat people. I haven't seen the original Cat People from 1942 (maybe later in the month), so I can't compare the two films, but, aside from a few moments of deliciously bad 80's silliness and gratuitous nudity, this version stands as a total waste of an interesting concept and two hours of the audience's time.
Worst line of dialogue: "Irena, you don't understand. I'll always love you. I loved you before you were born."
SD...I totally support this thread. I just haven't had the time or inspiration to contribute. I'll try harder in the future.
The Catpeople soundtrack is amazing. It's my favorite work by Giorgio Moroder. The movie is laughable at best, although it does deserve cult status.
There is a lot of gratuitous nudity, but it is mainly the boyish Nastassja Kinski. So unless you're into the androgonous type, the nudity isn't so entertaining.
The soundtrack was definitely the best thing about it.
She looks a lot more like her father on the cover of cat people then I've ever noticed before.
Klaus Kinski does not a beautiful woman make.
nope. But a creepy, threatening, unnerving woman? Sure.
My sister used to have the biggest crush on Natassia Kinski.
Also, great idea for the month-long horror fest. I will be reading this.
i've never seen cat people but I adore Paul Schrader...but he didn't write it, so I guess that's how it got so shitty. I think i'll leave it in my queue regardless
the original cat people was horribly tragically bad.
this is one of the most exciting scenes
so there you have it.
Looks like that needs a better remake.
October 2nd: The Demon Seed (Donald Cammell, 1977, R, 94 min)
Today's film is an odd sci-fi/horror blend helmed by one half of the team who brought the world the quintessential 70's mindfuck Performance. It features Julie Christie as the wife of a prominent scientist being terrorized in their house-of-the-future by a super computer with intentions of impregnating her so it can know what it's like to have a human body. I already know what you're thinking, and yes, that does mean a central plot point involves a house raping a woman. If for no other reason, that alone makes this movie worth watching at least once. Overall, it's a totally ludicrous yet tense piece of technological horror that completely falls apart at the end. The plot falls somewhere between the artificial-intelligence-gone-mad elements of 2001: A Space Odyssey and the physiological horror of early Cronenberg. The film excels at gradually building a sense of dread as Christie's character fights for survival against a machine who prides itself on being perfectly reasonable but is incapable of feeling empathy. By the final third the film loses steam as it tries to make some half baked statement about the spiritual life of artificial intelligence, devolving into cheap psychedelic imagery and overwrought set pieces. While the final portion of the movie doesn't really work at all as serious sci-fi or horror, it does provide plenty of unintentional humor, especially the outrageously bad climax. Overall, the film is a failure, but an engrossing and fascinating one. There are some genuinely creepy moments, in large part thanks to the sociopathically condescending vocal performance by Robert Vaughn as the computer Proteus IV, although Julie Christie's terrorized housewife performance deserves credit too. Additonally, there are quite a few "what-the-fuck?" moments that will appeal to fans of cult weirdness. Not essential viewing, its home-of-the-future-gone-berserk plot has become somewhat iconic, even inspiring a Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror segment. Worth an hour and a half of your time.
Most pretentious line of dialogue:
"What if it infiltrated a hydrogen bomb? My God--"
"Worse still, and a bit more likely, what if it told the truth . . . about everything to everyone? That's terrifying."
SD, I eagerly await each installment of your 31 horror movies in 31 days. Bravo.
Also, I think Soulio's Cult Film Sanctum should take a field trip here:
That looks like a ton of fun. Too bad it's already happened and way the fuck in Austin. One of these days I need to hit up a horror convention or film festival. Anyway . . .
October 3rd: Bride Of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935, NR, 75 min)
No month long horror film fest is complete without a classic from Universal, so to that end, I watched Bride Of Frankenstein. Widely considered by many to be James Whale's masterpiece, the film's influence has been thoroughly disseminated throughout pop culture. While much about the film is already familiar to just about anyone by now, it still holds a lot of surprises for a first time viewer. One surprise is just how little of the film actually revolves around the bride, her presence counting for less than five minutes of screen time. Most of the film focuses on the original monster and his search for acceptance.. This is another one of the film's surprises: for a monster movie, there is a lot of humanity and complexity on display. There is also a considerable amount of humor used throughout the film. Some of it is rather dated, including a grating comic relief performance by Una O'Connor as a housekeeper, but at other times it's by turns bizarre (experiments resulting in miniature people) and risque (graverobbing and hints of necrophilia). Despite a few glaring flaws, including some dated performances and inconsistent pacing, there is much about the film to make it appealing to modern audiences: impeccable lighting, sets, and make-up; a tender performance by Karloff as the monster and a wildly over the top one by Ernest Thesiger as the mad scientist Dr. Pretorious; iconic imagery; an inventive visual style, especially in the laboratory scenes; subtle exploration of themes unconventional for its time period; an emotional depth rarely achieved in horror films. Most importantly, it's just outright fun to watch, especially the latter half. It's not quite the masterpiece it's often portrayed as, but it's one hell of a great horror film nonetheless that all fans of the genre should see at least once.
Most Danzig-worthy line: "I love dead. Hate living."
Coincidentally, after watching Bride Of Frankenstein, me and a friend caught Bride Of Chucky on cable. Since it was on cable and therefore edited, I'm not including it in my month of horror movies, but it holds up a lot a better then most modern franchise horror movies, mostly because it doesn't take itself too seriously. There's still a few too many terrible modern horror cliches (boring teenage protagonists, shitty "spooky" cover songs, etc.) but at least I didn't feel like punching my face the entire time while watching it and actually enjoyed parts of it. It was also fun to see the direct influence of Bride Of Frankenstein incorporated into the movie.
And let me just say how much I fucking love old horror/sci-fi movie posters. Half the time they're better than the actual movies they're advertising.
Yay for Demon Seed. And Julie Christie. Yow!
I'm kind of a broken record on my fav horror movies because I'm not a huge horror nut, but here are some outside the usual suspects...The Abominable Dr Phibes, Suspiria, Near Dark, Ginger Snaps 1 & 2, Night Of The Creeps, Slither (owes a great debt to ...Creeps.)
I'd like to see you tackle some of the more obscure 80's slashers like The Burning. Also, Sleepaway Camp, since it has gotten such a notorious cult following in recent years. Silent Night Deadly Night is pretty hilarious too.
I watched Cremaster 3 for the third time last night (a good DVD rip surfaced on the web last year). Not sure how many of you have seen it, but fans of Jodorowsky will probably jive with it. I'm fairly convinced this film will make my top 10 of the decade.
Visually it's absolutely stunning. One of my favorite things about it is Barney's fearless use of zoom. It's so pigeonholed these days that no one uses it anymore. Beyond that the sense of timing a spacial construction is absolutely incredible. My third viewing in I'm starting to feel like I've filled in some of the conceptual holes... But this is by no means a requirement to my enjoying the film.
Weird...I had never even heard of that but it sounds pretty interesting.
sounds like i need to watch demon seed. keep up the good work sd!
GAH as i thought, Netflix has no Mathew Barney stuff. Cremaster 3 is available as a "save" teim, but the only other thing is a documentary about his work focusing mostly on "drawing restraint 9"...which they don't have at all
I have bootlegs of some of the Cremasters on my hard drive, but I've yet to watch them. The only way you're going to see them (aside from a 30 minute clip from Cremaster 3) is in the theater or as bootlegs because Matthew Barney considers his films as pieces of art not intended for mass marketing, which means he sells DVDs of the films at $100,000.
ah, i was not aware of that. Makes me wish i saw some of them in the theater when i had a chance now
Ah. I stand corrected. Still pretty ridiculous.