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Showing posts from September, 2016
Watching Dressed to Kill tonight, I had forgotten what it was like to actually see camera work capture a developing scene, following action in movement, seeing it to its completion, with editing done circumspectly, with a painterly skill. The opening has Victoria Johnson....errrmmm, Angie Dickinson groping and fondling her fully naked and showered body as steam, water, and soap accompany her hands in enjoying the sensation of the flesh as pleasure turns to horror when a man comes from behind as she focused her eyes towards her husband, shaving his face outside the fogging glass. It is a peculiar dream, or maybe fantasy, soon retreating to the bedroom where Dickinson's pleasureless sex with her husband is occupied by radio news. Her hubby gets it done and departs while Dickinson is left unsatisfied. Soon to complain to her science genius son (Keith Gordon), about his staying up all night inventing a "binary numbers machine" and forgetting their planned art museum trip, Di…

Response to question about Shelley Duvall in The Shining

Kubrick's treatment of her, turning her into human wreckage, is a visual that thrives in the film. That her character is already weak and careful to begin, with this cautious timidity, and gradually rendered an emotional scrapheap thanks to "Jack Torrance" (Kubrick) is important to the power of the film, showing how she is deteriorated by the Overlook's destructive influence. 


American Horror Story Roanoke Episode 2

Further developments

Matt and Shelby (Andre Holland and Lily Rabe) talk about being stuck with the damn house, pondering selling it. Lee (Adina Porter) gets visitation with her daughter, but bringing her to Roanoke will be her undoing, placing the girl in danger. She talks of a girl, and offering her doll as a trade for her and the family's lives! Matt sees two psychopathic sisters, in nursing uniforms, killing an elderly patient in cold blood. MURDE was spray painted on the wall, and Matt learns later by a taped recording from a raving author/professor (Dennis O'Hare, in a cameo; it appears he was the victim in a pig mask in a recording Shelby and Lee found in the basement they were locked in last week's episode), the sisters he saw were real people and his home was their assisted living facility (for the elderly abandoned by children who wanted them out of the way, allowing the nurses to kill them through various means like rat poison and sock suffocation).

There was an article questioning whether or not Myrick and Sanchez lost their opportunity to capitalize on the fame of BWP. With Wingard and Barrett's failure in reviving the franchise obvious from how Blair Witch performed last Friday and suffered seriously damaging critical skewering, I think that question has merit. 2003 - 2005 was a span of time where horror was peaking in the first ten years of the new millennium. I think that was the ideal time for BWP to draw it's weight in rubies. Flopping like a fish last weekend proved that maybe the light has gone out and the wait was too long.
Blair Witch (2016) opens with brother of Heather Donahue, James, in his room preparing to go to the Burkittsville woods along with friend, Lisa (film student doing a research project on the Blair Witch, and the mystery of the three missing students in 1999), buddy Peter, and Peter's girlfriend, Ashley. In their hotel in Maryland, the four are in good spirits, having attended a club wearing ear cameras recording their activities. They meet up with Burkittsville residents, Lane and Talia, who are a more than a bit creepy (African American Peter responding to Lane's confederate flag is priceless), because they supposedly understand the history of the Blair Witch and know the location of the woods where Heather, Josh, and Mike entered and were lost. All six head into the woods, and the rest of the film has them encountering "something". I already mentioned what the woods produces in the blog post below, but I wanted to give a synopsis just the same. There's some gadg…

Blair Witch Aka The Woods

Instead of unsettled or rattled, I feel exhausted and frustrated. I've just got to get away from found footage/cam horror for a while. The on camera/off camera gimmick wore thin real quickly. The camera recording disrupted with interference and the swinging around (there are "ear handle cameras" equipped with GPS tech) gets tired, too. There's this emphasis on disorientation where you enter the Burkittsville woods and never escape because, it seems, the Blair Witch has cursed the area to the point that it almost becomes a type of alternate universe where a giant stick monster (I call it the BUFG, Big Unfriendly Giant) knocks down trees, night is never-ending or when you do wake up and it's light out it is in the afternoon, a foot wound starts to crackle and pulsate on its own, a leg wound produces this worm/centipede that oozes out, a drone plane camera in a tree causes a trip up to retrieve it ending in disaster when "it" pulls the person off with her …
"What the fuck is that?!?! What the fuck is that?!?!"


So you see previews of Blair Witch (2016), and all the elaborate effects that money could by. A marginal budget, a bit of ingenuity, a clever marketing campaign, three regular looking folks, and a damn good syfy channel documentary called Curse of the Blair Witch, which is an effective companion piece, and The Blair Witch Project (1999) sank it's teeth into pop culture, with a ferocious overbite that continues to this day. Some might consider Curse even better because it perpetuates the mythos. In the new sequel's trailer, you immediately see how it goes for the "all will be seen" approach. In the selected scene above, the documentary is must-see so it all comes together efficiently. The children, the back story of the witch, the description of the three missing students, the students' attitudes about the project, and the location itself. But where the footage is found is especially creepy. But the s…
"We're gonna die out here."

Watching The Blair Witch Project - well, half-watching it, tonight since it was on - a memory come back to me from when three of ourselves got lost in the woods. You can really get turned around in the woods, even if behind your house. Venture in deep, forge ahead, make mistakes, go too far and before you know it you're lost. As kids, my brother loved for us to head off into the woods. My cousin would come down from Tupelo and the three of us would waste a Saturday afternoon adventuring. One afternoon we walked ourselves into the woods, winding up walking miles out of our way. Not finding familiar signposts back, walking in circles without that key spot/path leading us back home, that terror and fear is palpable. People probably laugh at the film and feel certain that'd never happen to them. Go ahead. Enter in. Walk a piece. Might want to leave bread crumbs. Mark some trees. And be afraid. Be very afraid.

American Horror Story Season 6 - Chapter 1

My Roanoke Nightmare

Meh, the inaugural chapter for the sixth season seems to eye those documentary interview reenactment series involving crime/paranormal/cult victims/subjects taking us through a traumatic experience, detailing it to us, leaving it to us to either accept or reject. Falchuk and Murphy have formed their stock company, including additional talent who enjoy working for them, like Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Kathy Bates. AHS regs, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe, are Shelby in reenactment and interviewee respectively. Rabe and Andre Holland (Gooding is him in the reenactment) are interracial couple who suffer assault in LA, fleeing to Roanoke, VA, of all places, to start a new life in rural country, occupying a rundown house desired by "white trash hicks". While Holland is away on traveling salesman business, white wife Rabe is nearly drowned in their hottub outside. The police deputy, however, can't find footprints or evidence supporting her claim. Animal growling ca…

Clown

Potent graphic violence at times and bizarre premise are what somewhat
salvage a rather unspectacular presentation. Pacing drags and instead
of a sense of real horror exploited to its potential, the handling of
the film is a bit subdued and cold. I just found myself underwhelmed.
The plot has a real estate agent father finding a clown suit in a house
he's about to sell. His son's birthday party had a clown cancellation
so the father puts on the suit, wig, and red nose (applying makeup as
well) as a replacement. What the father doesn't realize is that the
costume curses him with a child-hungry demon which gradually transforms
him into a monster. Five kids must be eaten in order for the father to
be released! Ghoulish plot, to be sure. The fate of a kid who sees him
as a clown, continuing to come around his hotel room, with an attempted
suicide beheading with two running electrical saws going awry and the
evil influence of clown demon causing him to go after kids in a indoo…
Well, it has been fun for me so far, getting my Trekkie on and all. Just watched Spock having to deal with a command where logic and no emotion are at odds with those on a crashed shuttlecraft with him. Crew members die because of furry primitives on a planet heavy with ionosphere and Spock spends his time helping Scotty repair the failing shuttlecraft while they balk at him about giving them a proper burial with respect worthy of officers dying on mission. Kirk is on the Enterprise hoping rescue missions can find them or a sign of them while a commissioner constantly reminding him that he must reach a colony needing medical supplies for a plague, initially what Spock, Bones, Scotty, Don Marshall and others were sent in their Galileo shuttlecraft for. Seeing Spock mistakenly predict behavior pattern for the creatures through phaser fire thinking they could scare them, he does come up with some inventive defense response and his orbital "flare" ingeniously sends off a type of…
I just finished writing my user comments about "Squire of Gothos" as I make my way through a long Star Trek marathon in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the great show, and it fascinated me how William Campbell (who I thought was a hoot), as a god-like blatherskite named Trelane who can change matter into energy, and vice versa, just willing whatever to be so is similar to Q. Like waving his hand or merely by "mental request", Kirk and company can be transported from the Enterprise to a castle on a planet he totally made up to "entertain him". Q couldn't stay away from the Enterprise and often used his power to annoy and challenge Picard and crew on The Next Generation. Once Q was abandoned by his kind, forced into a human body, while Trelane is scorned by his "parents" for "misbehaving". It all sounds like silly piffle, but Campbell in the showy "superior being with great power who acts like a brat" is so entertain…

Messiah of Evil

At Night, She Walks