Archive for November, 2009
George A Romero’s psychological black comedy is something of a surprise for me. I really like Romero. He’s a master of characterisation, social issues and fine cinematography and editing, but for some reason I’ve kept away from this movie. Released in 2000, it feels like a slightly different approach for Romero. The characters are still filling the screen in realism with a great script to work with and developing the simple plot through theatrical performance. Branching into a fantastical place 40 minutes into the film, the viewer is left wondering what state of reality is the protagonist in, given earlier day dreams of brutal violence.
Jason Flemyng’s character, Henry is taken advantage of from all sides; his girlfriend, his boss and his best friend. He’s a gutless man but something has gotta give. After a bout of varying violence, Henry awakes with a white mask replacing his usual features as he takes on a new persona with a vendetta.
It’s all quite good, fun and light but seems to lose its way a little towards the later part of the film and it actually feels like Romero is losing interest in the production. Flemyng is good, believable in his changing role and it’s good to see his versatility at work here. Peter Stormare is cartoon like in his approach as the egocentric boss and Nina Garbiras also performs well as a real bitch of a girlfriend who gets what she deserves. There are some nice homage’s too, intentional I’m sure, Phantom of the Opera and I can’t help thinking that the mask is very Mike Meyers, even Jason like, with Romero maybe trying to offer a ‘real’ reason for a person to flip and go on a killing spree rather than the usual ‘born evil’ excuse of popcorn stalk n slash.
End of the world, end of the line. This tale is one from the gospels warning of the day of revelations. God will choose who enters his kingdom for the afterlife, whilst the rest remain here on earth with the demons. Same old story, but this time told with quite a meaty edge and makes many of it’s predecessors look tame. At heart, this is a lock stock Zombie fest, without the zombies who have been replaced by religious freaks from the sect, ‘Voice of Eternal Hope’ who spend most of the film ‘saving’ anyone they can plunge their sacrificial dagger into. Amen.
Ilona Elkin takes the lead role as Karen, a psychiatric nurse, who keeps having bad dreams and occasional spooky visions. On the train back from work, she’s met with judgment day as the Voice of Eternal Hope begin their reign of slaying on board the tube. Some passengers escape and take their chances in the tunnels. But were those nightmare dreams of Karen’s just troubled mind or really a vision of what is yet to come?
This is an ambitious movie and could have helped with a better cast and a larger budget. That aside, it copes very well. The cast are quite good, with some talent shining through. The script is a tad shoddy and it looks a bit TV ish, but the gore effects are old school and very savage in places. A chunky axe to the head is effective and very well done. The plot and pacing are excellent and leaves the viewer questioning after the end credits, which is always a winner in my opinion.
Maurice Devereaux, (writer and director) takes us to an interesting place offering Religion as the villain with an even bigger threat lurking in the wings. There are some real moments of dread and fear, especially during the dream/demon scenes and also some real terror when dealing with moral standards; hitting a young lad with a crowbar is uneasy viewing, but dwarfed by the scene shortly after between a married couple, with child caught between religious values to ‘save themselves’ by the blade.
A crazed doctor kidnaps beautiful women in an attempt to remove and transplant their faces onto his own daughter’s that was torn up in a road accident. It’s a wild and somewhat thought provoking plot dealing with the extremes a man can go to for the people that he loves. This is one of cinemas masterpieces, along with Psycho, can be credited as a landmark in the modern horror genre.
Released in 1960, It’s French look and feel give it a magical element and the term ‘silver screen’ is truly effective here as the film shimmers beautifully, resembling a silent classic, dreamlike and haunting. Edith Scob virtually floats from scene to scene in her role as Christine, the Doctors daughter, wearing a mask to cover her disfigured face whose hold on reality is slowly slipping away as her father thrives for that successful skin graft. It’s atmospheric suspense and underlying sinister ideal of beauty. The love of a father, whose life devotion is surface rather than the love of a child beneath the mask can be seen as horror enough. The disposable bodies of countless beautiful young women which feed his obsession, destroyed and mutilated out of his own guilt.
It’s an amazing film, Director George Franju made a huge contribution to French cinema and to the Horror genre and here, it’s easy to see why. The final moments of this film are glorious and grotesque. Like a piece of art, once experienced, this film will stay in your thoughts.
This is a real nice little curiosity. A business man is on the run, cross country after concerns of embezzlement. After a few near misses with the police, he tunes his radio to calm his nerves, only to hear a message of distress. His better side leads him to the radio station transmitting the call for help, and what he finds inside is something far more worrying than being caught by the cops.
In essence, this is HP Lovecraft down to the final frame of film although the story is not one of Lovecraft’s own, taken from an original source. It’s spooky and inquisitive with a deep feeling of dread surrounding the station. Eric Lange’s performance is convincing and reassuring, carrying along the simple thread of a plot. There are some real neat tricks too. One of the opening scenes has an amazing zoom into a map fading into a car on a road which is created with fine detail. The film certainly hits the spot too, with some brutal scenes and especially what he finds in the basement of the station, is pure poetic Lovecraft. Seek this out.