Friday, May 30, 2014

Creature from the Black Lagoon



I can tell you something about this place. The boys around here call it "The Black Lagoon"; a paradise. Only they say nobody has ever come back to prove it.
--Lucas (Nestor Paiva), the boat captain of the Rita regarding the mythos of the lagoon and the danger that exists in paradise.

I think you can see how Creature from the Black Lagoon leaves its definite influence in the structure of the Creature Feature. Not showing the monster completely, but yet establishing the Gillman’s presence and the possible danger involved in “invading” its home uninvited. The Gillman’s webbed, clawed hand emerging from the lake, ever-so-slowly, creeping towards human feet standing close to his reach. That fabulous iconic score that accompanies the hand pronouncing imminent harm. The swimming ballet as the drop-dead gorgeous heroine/damsel-in-distress is enjoying her time underwater as the Gillman follows slightly behind as she unknowingly could be a victim at any moment it might choose. Scientists, athletic and in great shape, in aqua lungs-scuba gear, researching the water for that remarkable find that could lead to great discovery for marine science. The exotic locale, with all its potential life-threatening animal/aquatic specimens, is the ideal place to work as “another world” with a creature that is “out of this world”. Creature from the Black Lagoon is simply a benchmark for how to make a specific kind of monster movie adventure.

*****

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Beneath



*

My personal dislike for Beneath really has nothing to do with Larry Fessenden as much as the characters in his film and the laughable monster fish, a joke that wouldn’t even scare my kids. It is right out of the 70s. Maybe that will be part of this film’s charm…Lord knows the film needed some charm considering the loathsome characters we must tolerate for 85 minutes. Granted they are brats right out of high school, self-absorbed and debating each other’s worth when a hole in their boat causes leaking, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t get on my nerves. And they really are an endurance test, I think.

 I personally really liked Habit, and Wendigo might just be his best film, but Beneath did him no favors. If anything it seems to discredit his directorial talents. Still, with these cretins in a boat, stuck out in the middle of a lake with a silly rubber monster fish (which looks even less convincing in all the many close up shots), Fessenden had nothing much to work with. He does incorporate the use of a camera rather well (one among the group is a wannabe filmmaker and narcissistic nerd who leads his peeps into removing “weight” in order to survive, move the boat, while using occupants “taking up valuable space” as bait to divert attention away from the big fish) as it records moments in the film and allows Fessenden to include a different perspective of the events transpiring and incriminates at the end of the film. Bonnie Dennison (I know her as the daughter of a female cop on The Third Watch, a television show that was popular for a time on NBC) is the cute blond (not a hottie as all the guys of the cast seem to believe) so desirable to the guys which might explain how she makes it up until the end. The character certain to turn stomachs is Jonny Orsini’s Simon, the obvious antagonist who would betray his own brother (Guess what? He has a brother played by Chris Conroy). 

The scene where Griffin Newman is begging and pleading for his life, trying to turn brother against brother with information about Bonnie, not long after convincing the others to send their “friend” (friendship takes a back seat to saving one’s own ass in this film), Johnny (Daniel Zovatto) overboard as a distraction for the monster fish, ends up leaving no impact whatsoever other than applause. 

Certain to disturb is the use of their friend (played by Mackenzie Rosman of 7th Heaven) who suffers a nasty, bleeding-profusely flesh wound on the arm, as a means to row from the fish, opting to pray for her before dumping her body overboard so it would eat her and leave them along so they could paddle away! 

I kind of saw a little of Jaws 2 and the tale, The Raft, from Creepshow 2 while watching Beneath, except both of them were far better and more entertaining (and scarier). Characters trapped in the middle of the lake, a monster not letting them get to freedom, and falling one by one (mostly due to their own carelessness and inability to work together without tearing each other apart, with plenty of bickering, accusations, and infighting) to it.

Although the wrong person makes it to the end, character actor Mark Margolis (of Breaking Bad) is there to provide us with a lasting satisfaction that the scumbag doesn’t get away with all his terrible deeds…karma comes back to bite him, and rightfully so. I did find myself at one point in the film emotionally invested when a character I actually liked is able to successfully make it to shore (although this seemed rather implausible as the monster fish was swimming right toward him, closing in fast). Then he decides to actually try and help the very ones who sent him swimming! Admittedly, like the other guys, he was google-eyed for Bonnie so that seemed like reason enough to play the hero, but it costs him dearly. I considered it quite a waste, but his heroism is the only selfless act we see in this damned movie. Fessenden has been involved in some turkeys, but this time his name is in the director’s chair…Beneath is a rather unfortunate turd he will always be associated with. Too bad.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Contracted




** ½
A beautiful lesbian (with a mother that doesn’t approve of her lifestyle) contracts a wicked sexually transmitted “virus” (a little wasted, she at first agrees to a one nightstand with some guy at a party held at her buddy’s house but tries to stop him but he forces himself in her) and the film follows her down the dark road of a diseased “makeover” until she’s basically a zombie.


Allegories on AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are nothing new, and once again the zombie genre is the means to explore the slow-moving virus caught through an act of sexual contact. Contracted was not in any way an entertaining experience. I was quite unsettled as the lead’s condition worsens and her increasingly miserable sickness rears itself physically. Najarra Townsend is Samantha, the protagonist. She is in love with a chick full of “fuck you” attitude and total disregard for the male species. Nikki (Katie Stegeman) is her name, and she doesn’t really seem all that interested in maintaining a real relationship with Samantha. It is obvious this is a one-sided affair where Nikki seems aware of Samantha’s affection for her but can’t muster up the same to offer anything emotional in return.


What I was fascinated in was the place for which Samantha finds herself. Quite stunning in the looks department, Samantha has men that are enamored with her (such as Matt Mercer as Riley; Riley is a guy that she seems to have some history with, prior to her “lesbian awakening”) while at the same time she seems uncomfortable with their desire for her. Her best friend, Alice (Alice Macdonald), kind of inadvertently instigates Samantha’s plight. Insisting on Samantha coming to her party, and boozing up, Alice leads her pal into the devil’s den unknowingly. BJ is the “serial killer” (you could equate him to past AIDS horrors where someone infected was knowingly spreading it to others who were not aware of his/her condition) the authorities are searching for, having participated in necrophilia, as well as, handling a test tube during this! This act is the opening scene explaining just what kind of deviant BJ is and what he’s capable of.


The rape almost immediately “pollutes” Samantha. Vaginal (and I guess anal) bleeding along with vomiting blood start the process. Soon Samantha’s eyes are turning color and hair is falling out. Veins of blue emerge, both teeth and fingernails rot and fall out/off, and her skin turns pallid. Sores appear and decomposition begins. This deterioration is unpleasant and takes up a large majority of the running time. The reactions of those who know her (religious mother who isn’t favorable of her sexuality, lover who loses interest in her, the friend deeply concerned for her, the doctor who believes she could be a threat to others and should perhaps quarantine herself for everyone’s safety) and how the physiology of Samantha’s “turning” becomes progressively grotesque are built specifically to pack a punch to the gut.


Eventually the condition drives Samantha into emotional upheaval, violence (both Nikki and Alice, because of their closeness to Samantha are in danger), and ultimately a flesh-eating ghoul. Told absolutely serious in tone and designed to repulse (how could you not react to all the body disruptions that result in Samantha’s deteriorating condition?), Contracted carries the lingering bleakness of Samantha’s physical and emotional state all the way to a grim conclusion. Caroline Williams of Texas Chainsaw Massacre II & The Stepfather 2 is the mother of Samantha, always at odds with her due to past drug abuse and her homosexuality, as she seems oblivious to what her daughter is actually going through. Williams has a no-win-situation part where she’ll probably be judged harshly for her stance on her daughter’s lifestyle although she seems sincere in trying to connect her on some level. Problem is this is perhaps too little too late. Her fate at the very end makes sense considering she has this difficult relationship with Samantha and when the virus has did its damage to her daughter, the time for a loving embrace is over…so the fade to black and screams comment on the abrupt finale of a troubled family that never found a way to make amends.


I think one other aspect that fascinated me was how the film establishes Samantha’s beauty and then as time goes on, that is lost until she is this hideous reminder of what she once was. So a lot going on here, but I didn’t really consider Contracted all that deep, and definitely not subtle, so it works primarily as a developing virus that spoils and rots a pretty young thing until she’s strangling and biting throats.

There were some valid criticisms regarding logic problems with the film I agree with on the imdb during a topic about it on the Horror board. Seeing the disease advanced on Samantha and no one reacting hardly towards it is hard to take seriously. Her scenes in the restaurant, especially, and Riley blind to Samantha's obvious sickness (and still willing to have sex with her) were good examples brought up by users on the topic of the movie. So I do think viewers err on the side of caution before expecting something worthwhile with this as the execution of the story has its share of idiocies. 
http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/87246333336/najarra-townsend-contracted
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Sunday, May 25, 2014

SX_Tape






 **

I won’t be quite as critical towards SX_Tape as its most ardent detractors, as I think the abandoned hospital has a wealth of atmosphere, history, wreckage, and decay to exploit for all its worth. However, besides the “young couple trapped in a hospital and besieged by a ghoulish former abused patient” premise, it seemed to drag on and feel longer to me than it really is. I will say that the location is exceptional, a real find for filmmaker Bernard Rose (Candyman), with plenty of “age candy” to get on camera. Found footage is used here to document what should have been just a tour of a possible gallery showing of Jill (Caitlyn Folley) by her cameraman boyfriend, Adam (Ian Duncan). Within the walls of the hospital is the spirit of a “cutter” in 1982 who endured molestation from her doctor. Jill is of interest to this spirit who can serve as host. Now you might be pissed off at me right now for revealing this, but truthfully SX_Tape sledgehammers this home to the point that it leaves behind a migraine. While Caitlyn kind of has this grunge artist chic about her, she is a refreshingly realistic looking natural gal. She’s one of those thrill-seeking types, with an allure about her that could be quite desirable. Sex is an obvious vice she enjoys. She’s one of them gals that enjoys spontaneity, is more than her share of promiscuous and mischievous, embraces what life offers in terms of living it to the fullest and liking the unpredictability of her lifestyle. There’s a level of danger in this, though. Having sex in a car amongst others vehicles in a parking garage, having herself filmed in a change room, and intruding/trespassing in the building left to its methodical demise offers potential trouble for her and the boyfriend. Adam isn't exonerated from this lifestyle. He uses his camera to spy on a couple perhaps breaking up at a cafe, and sticking the camera in the face of a "friend" of Caitlyn's who requests him not to (in not so many kind words...) could invite hostile action in his direction. And that’s exactly what happens.

If I had a problem particularly with the film is its title and marketing that would seem to indicate something far kinkier and risqué. Let’s face it: there’s that impulse that draws a certain audience to the film if you offer the idea that it is naughty. That’s not to say Caitlyn is shy on screen and unwilling to convey a level of carefree sexuality. She does. She sure strikes a pose, I will give her that. She is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I have to say I found her provocative nature rather appetizing. Anyway, she is lively and vivacious, but Caitlyn’s performance is more than a bit rough around the ages. Her hysterics by film’s end and the “back and forth” possession (or whatever you wish to call it) where she seems to battle a takeover really grinded on my nerves. The introduction of two other characters (one of which is Jill’s pal; she calls them after her car is towed) ruins the film for me, personally. The “tagger” (a graffiti artist who vandals buildings with his animation that do not belong to him) with a crude tongue and rude disposition, and his girlfriend, wish to see inside the building just after Jill and Adam were able to escape it. Jill, while locked in the bindings of one of the institution beds, is playfully offering herself to Adam when unawares the spirit emerges in form for the first time and corrupts her. When the tagger and girlfriend secretly have a tryst unknown to Adam in another room against his wishes (he wanted them to separate and insisted Jill leave the hospital with him to no avail), it ends in tragedy. From the point where Jill first encounters the spirit, her countenance changes and she is never quite the same, as Adam is left with this girl who resembles the free spirit he fell hard for struggling to maintain her bearings.

As far as the “haunted house” tricks go, Rose and company offer noises, loud bangs, wind, echoes, and falling debris…the place comes eerily alive. Besides the natural sounds, there soon comes humming and tunes sounding off from someplace in the hospital to add an extra potency of ominous. Then the CGI of the spirit herself and her interest in Jill explains where the sounds originate. I thought the distance shots of the ghoul fared better than her presence up close. Wanting to show her makes sense considering how many criticized Blair Witch Project for failing to do so, but I think too much of her wasn’t a good thing. Like the added cast members, Jill’s later hysteria (loud breakdowns, gibberish, disagreements with Adam, shouting, and periods of resistance towards Adam’s continuing pleas to leave the place), and unnecessary “oral castration”, a lot of reveal of the ghoul just kind of disrupted the good will I had for SX_Tape. This is one of the most recent horror disappointments for me, chiefly because it was directed by Bernard Rose. Still Caitlyn was someone I found strangely striking, with a certain charm, with it unfortunately dissipating as time went on. I think this has a promise never quite capitalized on. I do think the technical aspects of this were its best asset. Some good use of hand-held camera (yep, it does get the jitters, as you might expect), and, again, the setting speaks for itself. The horror genre can never have too many of these old hospitals…








Thursday, May 22, 2014

Afflicted


 
***
When I read about how “horror is dead” and such nonsense, I see a cool little flick like Afflicted and consider such fatalistic thinking hogwash. From Canada, a country quickly becoming a burgeoning horror juggernaut, releases this found footage “evolving vampirism” flick about two childhood buddies in their twenties embarking on a global tour (mostly Europe), encountering an absolute nightmare. Derek Lee has always been a traveler, but for five years he was working behind a computer and yearning to return to his adventurous ways. Documentarian pal, Clif Prowse plans to shoot their “ends of the earth” odyssey, but this set of fun trips is cut horribly short when Derek is urged to find a girl to shag at a club where two of their musician buddies are currently touring / performing. The girl he finds is actually a vampire (not of Bram Stoker legend; it isn’t the least bit romantic; the vampirism of this film is presented as a type of infestation that ruins your life, causing you to feed from humans or else turn into something rabid and uncontrollably monstrous) who attacks him, leaving Derek afflicted with the thirst for blood and aversion towards sunlight.

What I appreciated about this film was the use of the “strap on” camera as it gets a first person presentation of Derek “in flight”, “in speed”, and “under fire” while trying to avoid police from Italy and Paris. Even when engaged in a fight with Audrey, the female vampire that turned him after he is able to find her phone, text her, and coerce her into meeting him (after he kidnaps and nearly kills her human “trophy” she uses as her Renfield), you literally feel him leaping around and taking a beating from her. It can be jarring, but it is appropriate considering action shouldn’t feel smooth and steady. The way the camera captures Derek leaping from the street to a wall/balcony/roof, and the use of cameras as a guide into Derek’s vampiric unraveling/transformation (and Clif’s dilemma and eventual tragic fate during his filming of Derek’s turning) provide a unique take on vampires. The blood thirst (looked at as a damned problem that must be dealt with or else; the rabid lack of control after going without blood is also shown as Derek eventually loses the ability to choose who he feeds from) and power that derives from the vampirism of Afflicted seen through the cameras’ lenses are uniquely elaborated in a format that gives Derek’s plight an uncomfortable / anxious / alarming quality, where being in the wrong place at the wrong time [natch] costs him dearly. Both Derek and Clif are quite likable and have good senses of humor, with neither deserving what happens to them. That is really important, to me, the fact that the victims were undeserved of what befalls them. Too often, the characters are pricks or obnoxious tools with little redeeming qualities, with the audience against them almost from the start. Here, the guys are fun-loving and accessibly honest with us. So to see their trip suffer after only a few days is disappointing, because the guys didn’t embrace danger at all. Danger just embraced them unexpectedly.

With some good special effects (flesh frying under the sun, an unsuccessful shotgun suicide leading to a nasty head wound, Derek in serious degrees of woe due to malnourishment and the hunger, and a victim of his in a severe state of vampirism due to a full transformation due to not feeding properly), and sound design (the carnivorous sound of Derek at his most ferocious vampiric form, gunshots at Derek’s direction while fleeing or engaging police trying to kill him) only add value to the found footage aesthetic. The immediacy and awareness of how the need to feed can land Derek (and Clif when he's filming him looking for fresh blood--such as his hunting for a stray, choosing a pig in a backyard pin, raiding a blood bank, and the disastrous confrontation with an ambulance--or overcome by sickness due to the vampirism's blossoming) in heaps of trouble and excellent effects where Clif astonishingly captures Derek's supernatural powers / strength as they film the change for their audience online, Afflicted allows vampirism to be seen as this startling sequence of events that usurps intentions for a good time. Canada has another neat sleeper on its hands here.
http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/86570828576/afflicted

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Nurse 3-D


 
****
What do you get with Nurse 3-D? This is a bloodbath. Paz de la Huerta has here probably a cult part to be remembered years down the road. Just her willingness to lose herself in such a role that requires sheer acts of diabolical pre-meditated savagery and faux seductive techniques to “test” the nuptials of married men, noticed by her as adulterous philanderers, most of the time provided reason (their attempt to shag her) to execute them. She considers herself right in the role of destroyer, validated by the male victims’ guiltless desire to bed her as proof that they deserve to die horribly. Motivated by what happened to her mother by her father when caught in the act at his office as a child, Paz is convinced that cheating husbands/fathers need to be taught a lesson…and that lesson is death at her hands. Paz spends a lot of time nearly or altogether nude. When she does wear clothes, they tightly hug her amazing body and she walks in a way to make sure her curves are noticeable and worthy of lingering gaze. Paz’ “Nurse Abby” (her actual name is Sarah, under the assumed name of Abigail) is in love with a “new hire”, a nurse under her mentorship named Danni (the stunning Katrina Bowden of Tucker & Dale versus Evil), and there are desperate attempts to secure her affection. But Danni loves paramedic Steve (Corbin Bleu), and no matter how Abby tries to thwart their efforts at a strong relationship it hold through it all. Abby drugs Danni at a club, taking advantage of her trust, getting some guy dancing nearby involved in a three-way, taking photographs of them. This is just an example of how Abby treats Danni. Danni has a philandering stepfather named Larry (Martin Donovan) that Abby sees for therapy sessions to gain his lust, soon paralyzing him in his car so she can stage a car accident where it appears he was the victim of an accidental crash with a semi. When Abby fails in her efforts to secure Danni’s love, then the shit really hits the fan. The resulting finale is an absolute slasher display of blood-spewing carnage. Police, security guards, patients, doctors, and anyone else who gets in Abby’s way while engaged in a climactic battle with Danni in the hospital they work are murdered by tools of the trade. Scalpels are often quite readily available. Not to be limited to just that, womanizing surgeon Dr. Morris (Judd Nelson) unfortunately blackmails Abby’s “services” so she won’t be a victim of a disciplinary review, finding himself awakening from chloroform-induced unconsciousness to have his arm taken off by a bone saw! Scissors are also put to nasty use, such as stabbing eyes and prying open a throat in certain moments. The car crash with Donovan’s face all mangled is not a pretty picture, either.

There are some important small parts such as Adam Herschman as an admirer of Abby’s, Jared (she later uses him to help her eliminate a threat to her), Boris Kodjoe as a cop named John Rogan, Niecy Nash as wise-cracking fellow nurse, Regina (you know, the actress with all the plum lines and character with the personality to steal every scene featuring her), and Melanie Scrofano as sprightly, enthusiastic, innocuous Rachel (the HR woman who recognizes Abby as someone she thinks reminds her of Sarah, the person Abby really is). Colorful characters and direction add weight to what could have been just another slasher in a hospital. Paz’s involvement, along with the cast, helps lift this beyond the familiar, in my opinion. There’s a lot of energy in the film, and the pace refuses to lull. I do think there’s a good time to be had here for slasher fans.

While Bowden isn’t the kind of actress willing to totally dispense with clothes (she showers with panties on in an early scene and the director shoots her from a distance when she is naked so no nudity is visible), but you get enough of her body in tight undergarments to paint a picture in your mind. This is a film that goes out of its way to capture both Paz and Katrina in camera angles that exploits every part of their form in the most desirable ways imaginable. This is a film with a clearly defined audience, so it will be certainly off-putting for some. For me, it has all the ingredients of a bloody good time. I loved it.
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Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Borderlands


 
***
“That Crellick…he’s a few rosaries short of a crucifix.”

“He lies beneath ever hungrier for souls… ..Now I see the perfect hideous logic of the orphanage. I may have a new master now.”

“Now it has returned…like weeds that creep through an abandoned building.”

After a debunking in Brazil goes awry, a “miracle investigator” for the Vatican is partnered with a “New Age Catholic Priest” (one of those skeptical of anything remotely considered a “miracle” believing that all this does is drag The Church back into the “Middle Ages”) and a tech wiz (cameras and audio/video equipment are his expertise/specialty) to disprove (or, if it is at all possible, successfully prove) a miracle in this village church located in British countryside quite off the beaten path. Through historical investigation it is soon learned that the church was built upon a pagan property once devoted to a specific yet unrecorded god that seems to have recovered from its dormancy. With security cameras set up all over this cottage where they sleep and the church itself, along with mini-cameras to be worn on their heads, the Vatican will have better access to their investigators throughout due to so much documented footage. Yep, here’s another found footage film, this time following two Catholics from different eras of the religion, and a techie with no ties to Catholicism (hired as an outside consultant) viewing a church, its awkward and increasingly disturbed priest, and the miracle that supposedly happened within the building during a baby’s christening as if a mystery to solve. The Catholics seem almost totally skeptical; interestingly, the tech guy seems more susceptible to a possible miracle, willing to look at what happens with less skepticism.

For me, the film’s opening hour is more or less a “getting to know the characters” access as the cameras allow us to learn all we need to know about them from a religious and humanistic standpoint. The friendship between old school Deacon (Gordon Kennedy), carrying an anviled weight after his mission to return priests home ends in a massacre he could’ve avoided and agnostic tech genius Gray (Robin Hill) is certainly one of the significant aspects of this access to them as chats on miracles and Catholicism (a suicidal leap from the roof of the church definitely has the two confronting the shock of “mortal sin” and how the investigation of the church has provided unforeseen developments they were unprepared for), religion and the history of the church are spoken about in conversations. Mark (Aidan McArdle) is the priest with an intense demand for strict policy and following the procedures and rules specifically dictated by the Vatican; Mark isn’t the kind of Catholic easily persuaded and seems to find scientific theories for anything even remotely possibly paranormal.

I knew going into this film that perception of The Borderlands was quite impressive. I was skeptical as the characters in the film that it could be that incredible, as some criticisms towards pace and the camerawork were taken under advisement by me. However, the end and its twist were so magnificent I found myself considering those apt critiques prior to it not as detrimental. I can’t unfortunately lay claim to it but “entering the belly of the beast”, used elsewhere to describe the finale (in a comment by a user regarding it on the film’s imdb page) did pop in my mind as it transpires. The discovery of the entrance of the underground and how the descent concludes with acid burns and screams is quite a stunner to watch unfold. The whole film does lead up to this finale and there are “markers” along the way to indicate this. The sounds of baby/child cries, the diary of a priest prior to the close of the church in 1880, the history of the location, and how the whole “miracle” starts through a christening are such markers. While nothing at all happens at the cottage (this was more to document the activities of the three men involved in the investigation due to the circumstances revolving around Deacon’s failed mission in Brazil), the slow burn unraveling in the church builds to quite an apex. The head cams approach was a fun touch that provides first-person perspectives between those talking, and the sinister night scenes in the church with its unsettled priest, Father Crellick (Luke Neal), are certainly atmospheric enough. But that ending is the clincher. This may be considered a love-it/hate-it film in that I have read different viewpoints on The Borderlands. Boring and enthralling from these opposing sides. For the most part I liked it, but I must admit that it does take quite a while to really impact with its premise. I liked the characters, though, and found the debates, friction, humor (mainly by Gray), and frustrations between them quite fascinating and compelling at times. Worth a look but I wouldn’t totally embellish it with the kind of glowing praise as others who seemed to be smitten with The Borderlands.
http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/86160203516/the-borderlands
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Friday, May 16, 2014

The Occupants



 

**½

“They’re inside of the house…they’re inside of me.”
While watching The Occupants, “demons of the mind” was what I thought as an apt description regarding the film’s title lead actress’ character. Supposedly her house (shared with her “husband”, Wade) is haunted by a family in crisis (a father wanting his family members to tell him where his other daughter is, an obviously abusive man with a hammer and pent up hostility) and she is persistent in getting a grip on how to “stop the cycle” and get rid of them by solving it.

This film deals with trauma from the past, latent and kept locked away, but eventually such memory has a way of surfacing from its dormancy. Lucy, a psychologist, was mentored by a psychiatrist she had a sexual relationship with. Lucy has a way of holding that over him. Wade is everything she could possibly want in a husband. Caring, thoughtful, affectionate, a good listener, a fine father, and sympathetic to Lucy’s disturbia; Wade is the ideal partner. He’s experiencing dreams similar to hers. An abusive father, his harmed wife and daughter with corpse-like appearances are what Lucy and Wade see. Their child seems to be a device in the plot ready-made for an influx of suspense later to be milked for as much potency as possible. Lots of “breathing down your neck” score attempting to heighten the hysterics of Lucy as her mental state deteriorates and emotional upheaval weighing upon her heavily takes its toll.

Suppression of trauma and its awakening is very real if you are one of the unlucky ones to have experienced something quite horrific as a child or during your youth, having a mechanism that closes it off so that life can go on without remaining entrapped in misery, collapsed into a fetal position every day because of it. Lucy believes the ghosts can be removed from her home and dealt with therapeutically by finding the girl the father seeks after. But ultimately the ghosts are intimately linked to Lucy and this symbiosis will send her irreparably careening into the abyss.

Despite the confines of a low budget, those involved in the making of The Occupants are ambitious despite their limitations. I appreciated the effort in telling a story of a downward spiral and how we are privy to her trip into darkness. With these big, beautiful eyes, Christin Milioti has her close up and so much pain and confusion, anxiety and terror fills them up. The house, to me, eventually feels like a type of tomb that serves only as a cell of terrible history with those from deep in the subconscious uncaged now and emerging to torment Milioti’s Lucy. Eventually no matter where she runs, confrontation of what anyone of us would wish to stay away from is inevitable.

I have seen films deal with a twist that serves as a “A-ha” moment that makes sense considering how Milioti acts towards her mentor, also explaining why he’s ambiguous and enigmatic when opposed by her anger and aggression towards him due to his perceived jealousy and disappointment in their relationship souring. She continues to seek his advice and help but when he offers to put her under hypnosis and request a session, Lucy resists and fights him off. Ultimately, their time together and purpose in the story has greater meaning.

This isn’t a film with knock-your-socks-off special effects. The “ghosts” are lo-fi and presented as foggy replications of memory’s figments re-surfacing. Primarily 85 % of the film is set in her sunny LA home, where even the night scenes are not particularly ominous. I didn’t find this scary in the least, but I did admire the psychological approach to the character of Lucy. I think the ambition is defeated by the lack of money and means, but the effort didn’t go unnoticed just the same.

http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/86000318786/the-occupants
http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/85995164071/the-occupants

linnea

linnea

Nlc

Nlc
Old Skool Nostalgia

Amer

Amer
Taste of metal
"There is no terror in the bang, only the anticipation of it."
--Alfred Hitchcock

Sus

Sus

The h gang

The h gang

Hp

Hp

Bs

Bs

Smoke

Smoke
Got a smoke?

h1

h1
Look behind you!

Strek

Strek
Live long and prosper

Sbut

Sbut
Snip. Snip

Ahs

Ahs

Edc

Edc
Blog's Dead all Over

Hill

Hill
"Do not enter the city...It belongs to the dead now."

Edfen

Edfen

SRW

"This seems to be the place where the plot begins to thicken..."
--Spooks Run Wild (1941)

Castle

Castle

Frere and dummy

Frere and dummy

WZ

WZ

Mlove

Mlove

The Scarecrow Blogspot

Horror
Cult
Erotica &
Pro Wrestling Entertainment

Yep, the Prolific Madness of a Headcase Blog
"... perhaps we invent artificial terrors to cope with the real ones."

--host, Donald Pleasence, Terror in the Aisles (1984)

Alone/dark

"There are no crazy people, doctor. We're all just on vacation."

--Alone in the Dark (1982)

Translate

Lips

Lips

Care to Read Further?

When you see posts with this question, you can click on it to further read the review or blog post. I include this so that I can include more posts on one page and take up less space.

wb

Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.

Fhz

Fhz

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Ph

Ph

The Boogens - Intro

While I must admit that as a monster movie, The Boogens (1981) doesn’t quite measure up (its monsters aren’t particularly menacing ...