Friday 17 October 2008
Basking In The Cesspool Of Filth #5 - The Revenge Of The Well-Rested!
Have I mentioned how much I'm enjoying my October Horrorfest viewing? Well I am.
I do somewhat regret my choice of post titles though - not the cesspool thing, but the second part where I lamely try to ape those extended titles of horror sequels with descriptions matching my rather awful sleep patterns. It just ain't working...What the hell though, let's push on! More good stuff below:
Strait-Jacket (1964 - William Castle) - Huge thanks to Final Girl's Film Club pick last month, otherwise this one would've slipped by me. I didn't see it in time to post a review for the Club, but I think Stacie really captured everything about it in her review. I haven't had this much fun watching a movie all month (and I've had a good month!). Though likely classified as camp by many, it's not so over the top that you aren't held by the plot or characters. Joan Crawford actually reigns it in enough that you can feel sympathy for her even when she's going nuts - OK, there are a few bat-shit crazy scenes, but they are great! And when Joan strikes a match off a spinning record (combined with the sound affect of the needle jumping the grooves), I laughed out loud. Not at the film, but completely with it. And man does this thing look great in all its shadowy glory.
Watch Me When I Kill (1977 - Antonio Bido) - Likely seen as a lesser Giallo (at least it wasn't something that was actively on my radar), this turned out to be surprisingly entertaining. It has its share of weak moments and acting plus a convoluted plot, but the murder scenes were staged quite well and the quick cut-aways to those cat/fox eyes just before the kill were creepily effective. The soundtrack is mostly Goblin-lite, but it seems to work and helps add the proper amount of tension. I'm curious to see more of Bido's work...
Happy Birthday To Me (1981 - J. Lee Thompson) - One of the better known entries in the 80's class of slasher-seeks-revenge-on-old-friends films, this one stars Melissa Sue Anderson (coming off her stint on "Little House On The Prairie") and Glenn Ford. She's just coming off the years previous trauma of a car accident that injured her and took the life of her mother and he's the doctor that is supervising her progress. But as she reintegrates into her old school, her friends start disappearing. A big problem with some of these films is that the crowd of friends that gets bumped off are typically pretty annoying - that's good in that you don't care when they get killed, but that's bad in that...well, you don't care when they get killed. Same problem here. But there's a bit more effort put into making things flow and staging interesting, if not overly realistic, death scenes. My favourite being the guy lifting weights - dude, you could've just let them drop behind you!
Paranoiac (1963 - Freddie Francis) - Along with their classic Horror films, Hammer Studio's also released a number of suspense/thriller films that leaned closer to the feel of Psycho. This one still throws in a couple of good shocks though and it looks totally great...Not only is the black and white cinematography pretty stellar, but Francis really has an eye for staging a sequence, placing his actors and using the set decoration to his advantage. Oliver Reed is piles of fun here as the spoiled drunk heir who is concerned about losing part of his inheritance when his long lost younger brother (thought to be dead) shows up. The Hammer films set I have also has Francis' followup Nightmare and I can't wait to watch that one now...
I was going to wait to post this until I finished Mario Bava's Bay Of Blood, but with the Toronto After Dark Film Festival beginning tonight, the home viewing is going to drop off in favour of all the tasty cult-y goodness I can handle over the next week at the Bloor Theatre. Tonight's opening film is Let The Right One In which is an artful Swedish Vampire young love coming of age flick ("not another one of those!" I can hear you saying...). It's won a bunch of awards but also received a few so-so gradings from some bloggers I respect.
I'm looking forward to it hugely though and I'll be-heading there shortly...