by on Sep.02, 2010, under Daily Review

This is another one of those films which I’ve owned, since about, 1985 and never got around to watching; until now. I don’t know why I never got around to it. It’s in my loft right now, probably still illegal to own that edition on Betamax, although now freely available throughout our land. Which it being directed by Tobe Hooper, they guy who brought us Texas Chainsaw, Poltergeist and Lifeforce, you would have thought I would have dived at the chance to watch everything the guy has ever made, but maybe it was the George Lucas syndrome which I have, which prevents a viewer watching other works of master directors. It took me a very long time to get around to viewing THX1138. Why didn’t I watch it earlier? I could have had another 30 years with THX in my mind making me happy. The same goes for Tarkovsky. Andrei Rublev is a masterpiece. Took me 3 years to watch Solaris followed by a further 4 years to watch Stalker. I’m scared to watch anything else by him as they might just not live up to the perfection. I digress

Hooper gives us a glimpse of life in a crazy circus. A bunch of teenagers head out for a fun night at the fair but find a much darker tale behind the big tent. This is basically a glossier version of Chainsaw. It’s kinda, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury America which is cool and charismatic with nice characters having a fun time with odd strange folks. It actually feels like a John Landis film too, bright and colourful as you’d expect from a circus. Even when it gets bleak and dark, it’s all quite comic book. The monster guy is quite creepy with quite a basic effect from a young Rick Baker, which works well here. He’s a spooky character and it’s all quite shocking when he freaks out and removes the mask. The films darker side is also quite disturbing. One scene has the master of one of the freaks shouting and barking and you’d expect him to take a whip or stick to the young beast, but instead, he’s been conditioned to hit himself when the master shouts.

This is all quite good. It’s very easy to watch and flows easy with enjoyable characters, even when they behave badly. I’ve no idea why this was banned. No reason at all. It’s like banning Creep Show for Christ sake. It’s all good though and enough to encourage me to view some other Hooper flicks.


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