1. It's all so freaking pretty! So AIP made these great Poe films with Vincent Price, and now they tackle H.P. Lovecraft and so they take the guy who did all the art direction and production design for the Poe films and give him the director's chair. They guy goes crazy and makes a beautiful film. The highlight is the creepy old house that has every lighting trick known to man thrown at it. Very theatrical. Pretty.
2. Dean Stockwell. Remember that kookie guy from Quantum Leap? That guy used to be an actor before getting swallowed up by the NBC monster. Not only was he a character actor, he was a nut! Dean is so freaking weird and creepy in this you will cry that he didn't keep on this jag and stay in his weird little zone. He plays a creepy little Cthulhu fanboy here, comes off like a deranged D&D fanatic who takes himself too seriously. Has some creepy eyebrows, something he would bring back around for Dune, another movie that shows how cool he was. Anyway, he's a real creepshow here and in your mind you can pretend that his character mellowed out, moved to Wilmington, NC, and became his character from Blue Velvet. Go ahead, it'll be fun.
|Romper, bomper, stomper, boo!|
3. Whatever happened to Gidget? Well, she went to college and majored in philosophy and then... well, made some poor life decisions. This movie makes a fun semi sequel to Sandra Dee's Gidget movies. It's like Gidget's Wild College Years, all drugged out and writhing on an alter with the Necronomicon between her knees. Yeah, that happens. Swear.
|Call your mother.|
4. Makes a great double feature with In the Mouth of Madness. Can't tell you how much I wanted to watch that one once this was over. DOUBLE FEATURE DOUBLE FEATURE. You would swear they transported the angry mob from this movie into MoM. If anyone could do it, Carpenter could. So in my mind he did.
5. Great opening title sequence and theme song, blue with black animated silhouettes. Opening titles are usually my favorite part of the movie, and these are really neat.
6. So how do you show the unnameable and unseeable. That is tricky. Lovecraft always just said, "Then the most terrible thing imaginable popped up and my mind snapped so now here I am all locked up in the nut house." This movie is pretty creative with it. It's all flashy edits, wind machines, and crazy psychedelic flashes... but by Yothog it works! Pretty creepy and moody actually. Ya know, in Mouth of Madness you barely see the creatures, and I think it works best. keep them just out of focus, a bit here and there. That's the classy way. When Del Toro shows you everything at once, revealing it to be what... a squid? neat, but not scary. Give me psychedelic strobe lights any day.
7. So you will watch this thing and go, this is way better then I thought it would be. The pace is really good and it has a great mood and something is just working, it has some sort of compelling thing to it, and then you see who wrote it and Curtis Hanson did! He's all bigtime now but back before winning the Oscar for Meryl Streep's "Danger Raft", he was just another mouth on the AIP teat. Lot of good people involved here is all I'm saying. Heck, even Adrian from Rocky shows up to get killed by the unseen windmachine!
8. The guy I liked most was the old town doctor. He is a riot. He's a young guy playing an old guy, and smokes a pipe and is a hoot to watch. His performance took this movie to the next level. Let me IMDB that guy... oh crap! he was in Millennium! I love that movie! It introduced me to the wacky world of John Varley... who played Ernest.
9. What is a Lovecraft cult funeral like? Weird, complicated, and depressing. "I give your body back into the black abyss of nothingness blah blah blah." Major downer.
10. A little context (just a little). This is post Rosemary's Baby and you can see Rosemary's sticky little fingerprints all over this. This was made when hippies and counter culture and Charles Manson was all over the news. You can feel the movie's distrust of the young, odd for a movie geared toward teenagers. All the hero's in the movie are grey haired establishment figures (doctors and professors). The young are easily manipulated and dopey, or just totally rejecting the establishment and wanting to create a new order (with mind altering drugs and psychedelic monsters). One more plus, some nice ambiguity by showing the religious fanatics on both sides as being dangerous and crazy.
SHOW STOPPER!!! - Sandra Dee's best friend, a prettier and more talented actress, slowly creeps up the steps and opens the FORBIDDEN DOOR and (SHOCK!SHOCK!SHOCK! ) launches a million Japanese tentacle fantasies with her nutty death scene. Hey manga, guess what, you're welcome.
|I have to do what in this scene?|