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Showing posts from July, 2015
I have finished the film itself, and I have just a few more things to say and images to post about Jaws ('75) before I move on, but I'm glad I ran across it Monday night on AMC. AMC had played the marathon of Jaws movies not long ago, and I found myself watching a bit of the first film a couple of times, actually.

This was the special anniversary edition from 2000. That was fifteen years ago! Yikes!

There was a mention elsewhere of how Quint related to Ahab in search of his Moby Dick, and this, for whatever reason (it is obvious, when one gauges some of Quint's actions, which many would consider ultimately harmful and nonsensical), hadn't necessarily dawned on me much until I was watching the last chapter of Jaws (1975) as Quint, Brody, and Hooper continue their mission to kill the Great White. When Jaws causes mechanical and structural problems to Quint's boat, the Orca, and after tricks involving harpooning yellow barrels to the shark in order to follow its movements and getting the right bead on it to shoot it fail, Brody attempts to radio the coast guard among others for possible help, the obsessive fishermen destroys it much to the chief's dismay. Then when Brody posits a question about why they don't just move the shark closer to shore away from the sea, Hooper gives him a simple look that says it all: he hints up to a busy Quint and looks back at Brody.…
Quint (Robert Shaw): Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. We was comin' back from the island of Tinian to Leyte... just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in twelve minutes. Didn't see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. Thirteen footer. You know, you know that when you're in the water, chief? You tell by lookin' from the dorsal to the tail. Well, we didn't know. 'Cause our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent, huh. They didn't even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, chief. The sharks come cruisin'. So we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know it's... kinda like 'ol squares in battle like uh, you see on a calendar, like the battle of Waterloo. And the idea was, the shark goes to the nearest man and then he'd start poundin' and hollerin' and screamin' and sometimes the shark would go aw…
I love that Jaws (and its inferior sequels; although, I really think the second film gets a raw deal due to its having to follow such an absolute summer classic) are always on during this time of year. However, I never seem to get around to watching all of the film. It seems I'm always doing something, and I come in at various points. But I always watch a scene here or a scene there. I need to get my ass in gear, though, and watch these films in their entirety. I would like to re-evaluate the third and fourth parts (although, the stench of the fourth film still stinks in my nostrils many years later after I rented it on VHS back in the mid 90s) sometime this year if I get the chance. Saying that, the first film just has a way of charming me no matter when I turn it on or pass by it while channel surfing. It is to summer what Halloween (1978) is to October.
Speaking of Jaws, I always think the first part of the film (after the awesome opening Jaws kill which I will eventually write about in the future) where Brody's usual day consists of a lot of active New England townsfolk needing favors and the general operations that accost him is often overlooked. How could your nerves not be frazzled by all these people constantly bombarding you. I hadn't really thought much about it in previous viewings, but Brody's life is just overwhelmed after the two shark attacks. All the amateur shark hunters loading boats, hoping to score a reward for the Jaws' capture. How do you manage these wannabe shark hunters, with their buckets of chum and sticks of dynamite?

I think Spielberg perfects the busy day-to-day of the locals and how important it is to keep Amity progressing. There is people all over the place, really. Conversations going on all around, people talking over each other, and just active dialogue because towns are like that. It …

Jaws: The Ferry Conversation

I think many of us take for granted the little things. Filmmaking craft. People hate Spielberg, and I can get that sometimes. Going with the happy conclusion in War of the Worlds, or accepting an Oscar for Schindler's List.

But Jaws. This seems to be the exclusion. Thank goodness, at least this one generally escapes much criticism. But still, watching the opening prior to the little boy eaten by the shark, as Chief Brody (Scheider) hesitantly listened to the mayor and his underlings/yes men, (including a rather conflicted medical examiner, pressured into agreeing that the opening girl's death could have been by a fishing boat propeller), about *not* closing the beaches until the shark (if that is what killed the girl), I smiled about how I never really remembered the whole thing taking place on a moving ferry. All the time, the mayor (Murray Hamilton with the coat covered by boat anchor symbols, haha), thinking about the Almighty Dollar, eventually, through all his happy-go-l…
The film, The Last Broadcast, also offers a video editor who was asked by the prosecution against Jim Seurd, named Clair DeForest (Mark Rublee). This is a really rather disturbing (to me) example of using specifically selected footage to implicate someone through manipulative means.

I think that is another example of what makes this film so effective. It shows you how footage can be used against someone. But as David Leigh, the documentarian and narrative voice of this film (David Beard) slowly unravels, footage can also unveil, bit by bit, potential innocence for someone implicated when certain parts are spliced together for a conviction.

Found footage has evolved over the years in a way that has decided to not follow so specifically to the rules (footage that exists which provides reasoning behind what might have happened to people unaware of the danger that truly emerges; many don't take seriously the dangers that could exist; the threat gradually envelopes those on the footage…
What about the collection of characters associated in one way or another with the Fact or Fiction crew and show? I like how this develops similarly to The Blair Witch Project's companion piece, "Curse of the Blair Witch" which some believe is just as good as the product released to theaters (I think there's a good argument there, too). Both have those who had contact with the dead/missing interviewed, revealing their own thoughts and feelings about the protagonists and the predicament they found themselves.

I like the simplicity of the chintzy/kitschy show, how it looks plagued by a piss-poor budget and offers itself as an example of something limited by its quality tech. I couldn't help but think about Shot-on-Video flicks from the 80s/early 90s which meant well but were laughers. Tom Branski (Tom Brunt) is one of those interviewed, and I think he is an important character in that he was the "technical director" of the show, Fact or Fiction. He is fort…
I had a chance to kind of dwell on The Last Broadcast some today. I knew I wasn't done writing about it, but I wanted to begin right after watching it with some thoughts and then return to the film with further thoughts later.

What I like especially about this is the work to provide a number of talking heads surrounding the case of the arrested and convicted Jim Seurd. At the beginning they really build him as one creepy guy. The stunt with the burned date on his arm and the odd behavior in the Pine Barrens. And as further evidence and revealing footage indicates, his carrying out the murders seems to be a bit clouded, until the twist implicates someone else. I love the idea of a mystery being gradually unpackaged. Little by little the film posits that what seemed like a sure guilt in Jim, documentarian David Leigh offers questionable and circumstantial evidence that he might not have. First, through the revelation of newly developed footage it is shown that the timeline for whic…

The Last Broadcast: A Starting Point

I just got done with this found footage/mockumentary from way back in 1998, right before The Blair Witch Project made the subgenre something horror would capitalize on that continues today. This was the first time I have seen this in probably 13 or so years. It was a fresh experience. I don't even remember it being this good. I was pleasantly surprised of how much I liked this. I like it a hell of a lot, and it has cannon-balled up in my favorites list of found footage. What I think this does extremely well is it not only features the footage but has a documentary filmmaker and narrator lay out its history, using raw footage and a wide variety of news footage, interviews, reports, and particularly dedicates substantially to the footage taken on the fateful night of the "last broadcast". Laid out in chapters, with the narrator/filmmaker commenting on his own feelings regarding three murders (two found dead, another missing with only a blood trail and his toboggan hat lef…

One Missed Call: Final


As of now, I'm kind of on a "retreat", as I have been on my customary July week vacation. I still have a few slashers for the summer series, but that will be finished in mid August and I will probably more than likely take a break. I think most of those who do this not for a living but out of love for the genre need to relax their brains and devote time to other things. I have a few slasher films I'd like to include this year ("The Initiation", "Sorority House Massacre" and "Camp Fear" are three I have on the mind anyway) before it ends in August, but I'm thinking after this week is over, after a nice delay, my creative energies and enthusiasm will be back on track. I do this because I love horror/cult/sci-fi/fantasy, not out of any obligation. I learned sometime back when I was writing on this blog, that if it becomes a chore, I needed to step back and let the joy of writing return.