Friday 31 October 2008

Basking In The Cesspool Of Filth #6 - The Resurrection

October is pretty much done and I've really been enjoying putting the spotlight on my horror viewing. I expect I'll continue some focus on horror films deep into November - though sprinkling in some other recent releases ("Silent Light", the Kaurismaki Eclipse set and the recent Jean-Pierre Melville discs from Criterion to name a few) - but I'm not sure if I'll continue with the Basking posts yet.

Here's a few more recently viewed:

Bay Of Blood (1971 - Mario Bava) - An early slasher picture from Bava that fits into his style (bright colours and great sets) and takes a bit of a different slant on the killer(s). The acting and dubbing is annoying to a certain extent, but in this case Bava makes you forget it. And let's just say the makers of "Friday The 13th" (and many of the other slashers of the late 70s and early 80s) have a great deal to owe Mr. Bava.

Dementia (1955 - John Parker) - Well here's a spiffy little film...First made in 1953, the original "Dementia" was a 56 minute dialogue-free experience of a woman losing her grip on sanity. It shuffles along in the shadows and her dreams and you can never quite tell what is real and what is perhaps something she has just imagined. Released in 1955 to scant viewership, it was recut with added narration to become "Daughter Of Horror" and released again a few years later. Needless to say, I thought the original version was just fine without any further explanation.

Bloody Reunion (2006 - Dae-wung Lim) - Korean horror movie that never seems to execute or follow through on its promise or even on individual moments in the film. Perhaps it was an exercise by the filmmakers to purposely set up so many scenes of anticipation and frame them in such a way that you expect something to happen - and then nothing does. As for the plot, former elementary students of a dying teacher gather together to make her feel loved, but maybe things aren't all as rosy as she initially thinks. There's good scenes and even a few toe-curling ones, but along with a pointless "Ha, we fooled you! Nothing was what it seemed!" ending, it just never quite managed to hold interest.

The Old Dark House (1932 - James Whale) - A bickering husband and wife plus their free-spirited friend are trapped in a huge storm that's wiping out the roads, so they take shelter in an old mansion. The house isn't empty though as it's occupied by the Femm family - brother and sister plus their manservant Morgan (played by Boris Karloff). Two other travelers find their way there and as they try to settle in for the night, some of the secrets of the house and the family get revealed. I'd love to see this in a pristine print as Whale obviously composed frames and shadows in just the right way to lend additional mystery or creepiness to certain scenes. A very fun movie.

Gothic (1986 - Ken Russell) - An imaginative take on how Mary Shelley (technically still Godwin at this point) came up with the idea of Frankenstein during a wild visit to Lord Byron's mansion with her lover Peter Shelley and half-sister Claire. During drug fueled parlour games, ghost stories are bandied about and personal demons are brought to the fore. And pretty much everybody freaks out. The flowery prose of the writers makes for some long winded moments, but the entire film has a sense of fun mixed in with some genuinely disturbing moments.

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