Monday, May 28, 2012
1. You know who Boris Badenov is? Ya know, Rocky and Bullwinkle. Ya know. That guy in the Jay Ward cartoons. Yeah, that guy. Okay, so the guy who did the voice of Boris was this cat named Paul Frees, and most of the voices you love from your childhood came from Paul Frees. He says you're welcome. The voice of Santa Clause in your head is realy the voice of Paul Frees due to him performing Santa in all those Rankin Bass holiday specials. Can you dig it? So I popped this movie in the other day and loe and behold there is this incredible opening narration that is indescribably cool that perfectly sets up the movie. I swear, you will be throwing up all over yourself with excitement after you hear it. No exageration. And the voice you hear will seem so familiar, like that of Santa Clause, but this time a melodramaitc Pagen spell casting Santa. So that's the first 2 mimutes of the movie and already you have been better served then the last ten movies you saw at the theater. Paul Frees is long dead but he just keeps on giving, man, from beyond the grave!
Here's some Paul Free's awesomeness.
2. Aren't old creepy cemetaries with tilted tombstones in these old black and white movies great? They are. Something fun about all that. Now you add some manic British actor running around and franticly performing a pagen ritual in a crypt filled with fake spider webs. Movie party has begun.
3. This movie has some great meat to sink your teeth into. Relationships, marrage, sexual politics, suburban conformity, living with a crazy person. It all becomes a big vortex of ideas, but isn't showy about it. I think movies used to think they had to have a theme, and now if a movie has a theme it has to be BEATEN INTO YOUR FOREHEAD. I think the theme of this movie is... men are stupid.
4. There is this really great scene with a tape recording during a rain storm that you will immediatly think Evil Dead. It is the best scene in the movie. All creepy wind and a banging on the front door. And the wife pretending she doesn't think it's the devil, and the husband trying to be calm and rational, though he's freaking out because he thinks his wife has lost her mind. And I was right there with him. Maybe she has lost her mind. Or maybe it is the devil. This scene is the heart of the movie. It works as a supernatural thriller and a domestic drama, all wrapped up in a creepy British chalupa.
5. And ya know, it's no wonder the thing works so well. Look at who wrote the thing. Two heavy hitters. Richard "when in doubt rip me off" Matheson and Charles "I killed Telly Savalas" Beaumont. I'll ramble on about Matheson later. He's a freaking genius will have to due for now. But Charles Beaumont was also a Twilight Zone writer who created the great Living Doll episode, with the creepy little doll vs a terrifying Telly Savalas. But my main exposure to Charles was from a little Roger Corman produced film from 1990, long before the Crocasaurus Vs Dinoturtle fad gobbled up every b movie studio and there was still a shot at seeing something weird at an actual movie theater, well... Brain Dead is amazing, and just a total mindbinder of a movie. It came out almost 25 years after Charles death. The author died at the age of 3freak'n8. WHAT! Drugs and alcohol you ask? NO! He had some terrible desease that made you age prematurly. He looked like a man in his 70s when he died! WTF! You watch Brain Dead and you can feel all sorts of mad genius vibes imminating off it. Charles was a gun for hire for Roger Corman, also penning "The Masque of Red Death" and the only movie Corman ever made that lost money, "The Intruder", where Captian Kirk beams down to the 1950's south and ignites all sorts of racial shennanigans. Corman said it was his favorite of the 57,000 movies he made. Didn't make a dime. See, Charles must have been one of those crazy, tough to be around people that are necessary if society is to progress. An artist should be one of "the others" that are not beloved and actively participating in society. I have no idea if CB was that guy. I'm just typing stuff.
6. Every suit and shirt our rational husband wears is some terrible shiny synthetic material. Looks like he's going to a party. Distracting.
7. Speaking of shiney. The British actor who plays the lead, Peter Wyngarde, is great and is also shiney in another movie that I love. He's Shiney Goldhead in 1980s Flash Gordon.
You know, the guy who says EEEUURTH, when saying Earth. He's incredible in that. And in Burn Witch Burn, it's the same cool voice. I kept wanting him to say Earth. EEUURTH. so good. Oh here, thanks internet.
8. So I run around wondering if this is all in my head, and what is really going on in the movie, but eventually the movie has to put the cards on the table and say here is the external antagonist, though really the villian is conformity to outdated gender roles (whatever, I'm illiterate), but when the witch is revealed, man it is a great performance. Creepy and unsettling and a gas to watch. Can I tell you how much this movie has grown on me since just starting to write on it.
9. I loved that this movie was this unseen witches duel set in the stuffy tweed jacket world of acedemia. Doesn't that sound cool. Is there anything more cool then a witches duel? What makes this one so cool is how it is unseen, again all being a possible result of the wife's troubled state of mind. But hey, though it's not two witches, don't you love this...
and while speaking of that, how about this...
has nothing to do with the movie, but my blog, I like to ramble.
10. I was not expecting the movie to go all Kaiju on me in the end and it is a total mind flip and really well done. Some great minature and forced perspective work going on. Cool to see how the Brits pull off giant monsters. The movie loosens up and isn't afraid to have a good time for the climax.
SHOWSTOPPER - Our Mr. Rational is attacked by a brooding student with a gun and performs a most excellent karate chop on him, putting the little punk in his place and reducing him to a quivering, weeping pool of jelly. You will laugh. You will cheer.
PAIRS WELL WITH - The Craft (1996) - if you can bear it
Sunday, May 27, 2012
2. You like Michael Mann movies? They are kind of a grab bag you know. I can watch the robbery in Heat all day long. His entire career lives in that scene's shadow. I loved The Keep as a child, and still love that film's mood, while still not understanding what is going in. Who is Sam Shepard in that movie? Jesus? Huh? I love that he's gone digital and his amber streetlights in Collateral where so neat. But that Miami Vice movie was two hours of agony. His movies are pretty, and the set pieces are brilliant, but you have to get through some long stretches to get there, and I don't usually like the characters he puts up there. They are all arrogant assholes. All of them. If he shoots a baby, the baby comes off like an asshole. ANYWAY! Thief is the most completely satisfying movie Mann has made. It is a tight little cinematic time bomb. Crackerjack baby! Cracker.... JACK! He shows all his strengths here.
3. All the characters are assholes, but it just works here. James Caan is THE antihero, but man you really understand and like him here, and he is really convincing as a guy who has spent 11 years in a violent prison. I mean his voice is. His voices and his delivery of his lines is dead on. He has this nervous twitch in his voice, sometimes nasal. It's such a wonderful vocal performance. Cann is a little too pretty for the role, but ya know that's Hollywood. The guy who they based a lot of the film on is in the film playing a corrupt cop, and he looks like a beaten shoe. Most movie goers want to see pretty people doing cool things. Joe Spinell was in the original Maniac, Eliza Wood is in the remake. That's how it goes. So Caan carries the movie, but just superimpose a beaten shoe over his face and it will seem more realistic.
4. I hate it in movies when the main character comes out and says what he wants in life, unless it is the end of Rambo 2...
... but in Thief he just has a little picture he looks at, like a little dream collage he made, and that was okay. You get a pass. Just keep it locked up in your unicorn diary.
5. This movie has great tough guy talk. Mann is great at writing tough guys being belligerent. I cheered at a lot of the lines, poetic. Especially the bad guy, well, the main bad guy, well, the antihero's nemeses. The actor is Robert Prosky, and he's in every movie, but the speech he gives to demoralise Caan is vicious! I could listen to it all day. Also there is this great monologue about prison life at a late night diner and it is terrifying. IMDB says that it was a true story! Remind me never to go to prison.
6. Speaking of the badguy, he dies screaming in this. A bad movie becomes a good movie if the lead heavy dies screaming. It's a scientific certainty. I rewatched Lethal Weapon recently, and was surprised how crappy it was, but it does redeem itself buy having the villain die screaming. I could have used more screaming in Thief, but let's move on
7. Tuesday Weld is here, I mainly know her as the nails on the chalkboard wife in Falling Down, but I guess she was a bit of a sexpot back in the day. She plays a convincing gal who always falls for the wrong guy. Not much to do, but this isn't a Lifetime movie of the week, we got tough guys to blow away. The interesting thing about her relationship with Caan is that she's just one thing on his list that he wants, a part of his perfect picture, he sees her as something to check off the list. SO ROMANTIC!
8. You like Dennis Farina? No opinion, huh. Well, me neither until this movie. He plays a silent enforcer with a shotgun and a black trench coat. One mean scary mamajamma. You walk away thinking, "Hey, I like that Dennis Farina!"
9. There is a great factory in this, all smelting steel and sparks and hellfire. You would think they had wandered into a Highlander movie. But it's pretty. All Mann's movies are pretty, and his factory is great. This is Mann's first theatrical movie, and he really went into overdrive to leave a visual impression. The night scenes are so perfect, all the streets are are sprayed down and reflecting all the streetlights and so great. Really for me, the star of the movie was the night photography. It was 1980 Chicago with those cars and the dirt and it's just a time and place and Mann showing off, marking his territory. Just a site to behold. The day stuff is flat and boring, but when the sun does down, this movie explodes.
10. Hey look! Willie Nelson! He is a pretty good actor. Everybody is good in this. I think Willie Nelson in the early 80's was something of an icon. He was in alot of movies. My dad loved Willie Nelson. He has one scene here, blows it away.
SHOW STOPPER! - Not really a scene, but Tangerine Dream has such an incredible score in this. It is perfection. Electrosynth loops, like expensive John Carpenter music, like 50 tracks all going and making this wall of awesome that washes over you and pushes the movie along. It gives the movie such a distinctive personality. High tech. I don't care for Tangerine Dream in all cases, but it is a perfect fusion here. I can not imagine this movie being worth writing about if it had not been wrapped in the Tangerine Dream music.
PAIRS WELL WITH - Drive (2011)
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
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?|
Monday, May 21, 2012
1. Barbara Steele taken to the next level. She's painted green man! Now euro-thriller and Trekkers can come together and start a weird little village with a bronze statue of Babs in the center of town. The war is over! She is barely in the movie but five minutes of green Babs is better then none.
|bwahahahaha... check please|
2. Boris Karloff was still making movies in the late 60's, but the man was down to one lung and he has these dark circles under his eyes that are not make up. BUT! The man, even with one lung, has power, and gravitas, and it's freaking Frankenstein's monster! And he loves him some fine brandy.
3. Christopher Lee to me is the most confident evil guy you will ever see. His heart rate never rises. Even when on fire he doesn't break a sweat. You can say whatever about your Clint Eastwoods or Chuck Norrisises, Chris Lee doesn't even notice your pathetic laughable attempts to stop his evil plans. He just doesn't care. To Chris Lee, the movie is already over and you are already dead, and you died crying.
4. Michael Gough, or Alfred from Batman, I see now why Tim Burton cast him. He is awesome. Okay, everyone is awesome in this. It's British. They act circles around us. Maybe it's the accent. I don't know. All I know is that Gough plays a stuttering man child, and I am a sucker for a good man child character.
5. Why does this movie look so good? The colors are vibrant and sharp. It looks as fresh as the day it came out. Most of these MGM archive films look too good. Why do low budget movies now have to look so crappy? It's pretty, you should see it. Great day for night shots. I miss day for night shots.
6. Crazy Mod brits throwing randy parties and painting themselves while drinking champagne off dancing girls. I kept expecting the Benny Hill music to crank up.
7. Our hero is an antiques dealer by day, player by night. He forces himself on some chick. It's kinda sad to watch. Creepy too. I think the girl just goes along with it because she's scared he might punch her.
8. Very simple plot, movies used to be more straight forward. Now everything is a twist wrapped in a gotchya! This is a nice little movie about warlocks and Goat Masks.
9. We have two movies going on here, one awesome witch cult movie with a green Barbara Steele and mind control and people wearing animal masks. The other is something about looking for a lost candle stick and drinking brandy. The main character is trapped in a ho hum movie, and then falls asleep and is whisked away into an AWESOME movie. It just doesn't happen often enough.
10. How does it end? It doesn't. Dumb ending with Chris Lee lost on the roof. It's better if you make cat noises for him.
SHOW STOPPER! - The technicolor lamp shade of EVIL!!!!
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Monday, May 07, 2012
Unimonster's Crypt: Bobbie's Essays: Murder Most Fowl: Ahhh ... Spring! A time when flowers awaken from their chilly slumber, butterflies dance in the warm breezes, when one’s heart turns ligh...
-makes a drog proud -SD
-makes a drog proud -SD