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RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 22/10/2012 7:55:49 PM   
Nexus Wookie


Posts: 2333
Joined: 24/9/2011
From: the Godcity
Thanks evil bill!

Also I could not agree more with your points, both these films truly are (i feel) hugely underrated gems from two of the greatest film directors of the century. Its funny because these two films are seen as some of their weakest, and yet theres so much one can gain from viewing them. I hope to put more into this fabulous thread (its a joy just to go through it and read some of the superb reviews from both yourself, Dr Lenera and others).

Cheers!



_____________________________

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(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 14491
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 24/10/2012 9:19:59 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6742
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Nexus Wookie

Thanks evil bill!

Also I could not agree more with your points, both these films truly are (i feel) hugely underrated gems from two of the greatest film directors of the century. Its funny because these two films are seen as some of their weakest, and yet theres so much one can gain from viewing them. I hope to put more into this fabulous thread (its a joy just to go through it and read some of the superb reviews from both yourself, Dr Lenera and others).

Cheers!



Well keep up the good work,and i'm sure i'll get this damn run down of the Poe Corman films off the ground soon.Now on a bad bad note,i made the terrible mistake of going to see:
Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

It has been five years since the disappearance of Katie and Hunter, and a suburban family witness strange events in their neighborhood when a woman and a mysterious child move in. 

Well it's coming up to Halloween and we fancied a horror film that would scare us,honestly i was lead to believe this was good by a couple we know.Let's get this straight,there was absolutely no major scary scenes,it's also extremely boring and slow compared to the last three,all of which i watched on DVD rental,and now wish i had done so again.I spent the whole bloody film just sitting there questioning myself, when the hell is this going to be an actual horror movie.But i should have known as the 1st one was scary and interesting,the 2nd one was okay and had some decent scares,as for the 3rd well for me it was better in some ways but failed to do something new or better.Paranormal Activity fans be warned, this might have left it open yet again for a 5th,but no one in the cinema once let out a scream,in fact a couple next to us nearly fell asleep.To say i was very disappointed by this one is putting it mild,this was a film full of stupid ideas and script that was shit,with crap acting and bloody useless direction.I think they've run out of ideas on this franchise,they are flogging a dead dog here,which is why i suspect why they had about five minutes of clips from the first two films,just to pad it to the slow running 80 minute mark.I'll give it a point for a story that was a good hook to get mugs like me in the fucking door but that's it.1/10

< Message edited by evil bill -- 24/10/2012 9:21:44 PM >


_____________________________

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Post #: 14492
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 25/10/2012 8:19:55 AM   
scarface666brooksy!!


Posts: 3544
Joined: 24/10/2007
From: The Valley of the Wind

quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

Well keep up the good work,and i'm sure i'll get this damn run down of the Poe Corman films off the ground soon.Now on a bad bad note,i made the terrible mistake of going to see:
Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

It has been five years since the disappearance of Katie and Hunter, and a suburban family witness strange events in their neighborhood when a woman and a mysterious child move in. 

Well it's coming up to Halloween and we fancied a horror film that would scare us,honestly i was lead to believe this was good by a couple we know.Let's get this straight,there was absolutely no major scary scenes,it's also extremely boring and slow compared to the last three,all of which i watched on DVD rental,and now wish i had done so again.I spent the whole bloody film just sitting there questioning myself, when the hell is this going to be an actual horror movie.But i should have known as the 1st one was scary and interesting,the 2nd one was okay and had some decent scares,as for the 3rd well for me it was better in some ways but failed to do something new or better.Paranormal Activity fans be warned, this might have left it open yet again for a 5th,but no one in the cinema once let out a scream,in fact a couple next to us nearly fell asleep.To say i was very disappointed by this one is putting it mild,this was a film full of stupid ideas and script that was shit,with crap acting and bloody useless direction.I think they've run out of ideas on this franchise,they are flogging a dead dog here,which is why i suspect why they had about five minutes of clips from the first two films,just to pad it to the slow running 80 minute mark.I'll give it a point for a story that was a good hook to get mugs like me in the fucking door but that's it.1/10


You're lucky, the people in the cinema when I went to go see it wouldn't shut the fuck up!The smallest movements on screen prompted extremely loud talking or shrill screams PA4 is easily the worst film I've seen this year, absolutely dreadful. I wasn't that big a fan of the series so that probably didn't help but even my friends who were big fans of the earlier ones absolutely despised it.

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Post #: 14493
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 26/10/2012 6:03:19 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6742
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: scarface666brooksy!!


quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

Well keep up the good work,and i'm sure i'll get this damn run down of the Poe Corman films off the ground soon.Now on a bad bad note,i made the terrible mistake of going to see:
Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

It has been five years since the disappearance of Katie and Hunter, and a suburban family witness strange events in their neighborhood when a woman and a mysterious child move in. 

Well it's coming up to Halloween and we fancied a horror film that would scare us,honestly i was lead to believe this was good by a couple we know.Let's get this straight,there was absolutely no major scary scenes,it's also extremely boring and slow compared to the last three,all of which i watched on DVD rental,and now wish i had done so again.I spent the whole bloody film just sitting there questioning myself, when the hell is this going to be an actual horror movie.But i should have known as the 1st one was scary and interesting,the 2nd one was okay and had some decent scares,as for the 3rd well for me it was better in some ways but failed to do something new or better.Paranormal Activity fans be warned, this might have left it open yet again for a 5th,but no one in the cinema once let out a scream,in fact a couple next to us nearly fell asleep.To say i was very disappointed by this one is putting it mild,this was a film full of stupid ideas and script that was shit,with crap acting and bloody useless direction.I think they've run out of ideas on this franchise,they are flogging a dead dog here,which is why i suspect why they had about five minutes of clips from the first two films,just to pad it to the slow running 80 minute mark.I'll give it a point for a story that was a good hook to get mugs like me in the fucking door but that's it.1/10


You're lucky, the people in the cinema when I went to go see it wouldn't shut the fuck up!The smallest movements on screen prompted extremely loud talking or shrill screams PA4 is easily the worst film I've seen this year, absolutely dreadful. I wasn't that big a fan of the series so that probably didn't help but even my friends who were big fans of the earlier ones absolutely despised it.

We where lucky we went to a late showing,for a mate in work had to put up with loud mouth teenagers at his showing,but as i told him he did not miss a thing,it as you said is the worst film of the year by light years.I too am not a big fan of this franchise,but liked the first enough to give the next three a go,but never again will i watch this pile of crap.And i won't listen to a certain couple again,cause if this scared them,god help them if they see Sleeping Beauty,they will never sleep again.

_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

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Post #: 14494
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 27/10/2012 12:35:45 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5181
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
ArrowDrome have announced two DVD releases for next year. First up, on 14th January, is Django Prepare a Coffin, followed by Dead-End Drive In on 25th February.





Arrow will also release a Dual Format edition of Wes Craven's Deadly Blessing on 25th March. Extras include:

- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the main feature
- Optional English SDH Subtitles
- Audio commentary with Wes Craven [Blu-ray only]
- Brand new UK-exclusive interview with Wes Craven [Blu-ray only]
- Introduction by star Michael Berryman
- Craven Images: The Horror Hits of Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes Series, Cut and Run, Weird Science) - An interview with Deadly Blessing’s iconic star
- Deadly Desires: An interview with screenwriter Glenn M. Benest
- Easter Eggs
- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Rue Morgue art director Gary Pullin
- Collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by author and critic Kim Newman


(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 14495
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 27/10/2012 10:53:30 PM   
Mister Coe

 

Posts: 1561
Joined: 20/10/2012
OMG, Deadly Blessing! That just gave me a massive flashback to watching it at a friends house on... get this... Laserdisc! Who the fuck had Laserdisc? Do you remember how huge and shiny those discs were? Wow.. memories aside, I remember liking that film, might have to check it out.

Now, if someone can put out DEADLY FREIND...

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Post #: 14496
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 29/10/2012 12:38:23 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 4037
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

quote:

ORIGINAL: Nexus Wookie

Thanks evil bill!

Also I could not agree more with your points, both these films truly are (i feel) hugely underrated gems from two of the greatest film directors of the century. Its funny because these two films are seen as some of their weakest, and yet theres so much one can gain from viewing them. I hope to put more into this fabulous thread (its a joy just to go through it and read some of the superb reviews from both yourself, Dr Lenera and others).

Cheers!



Well keep up the good work,and i'm sure i'll get this damn run down of the Poe Corman films off the ground soon.Now on a bad bad note,i made the terrible mistake of going to see:
Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

It has been five years since the disappearance of Katie and Hunter, and a suburban family witness strange events in their neighborhood when a woman and a mysterious child move in. 

Well it's coming up to Halloween and we fancied a horror film that would scare us,honestly i was lead to believe this was good by a couple we know.Let's get this straight,there was absolutely no major scary scenes,it's also extremely boring and slow compared to the last three,all of which i watched on DVD rental,and now wish i had done so again.I spent the whole bloody film just sitting there questioning myself, when the hell is this going to be an actual horror movie.But i should have known as the 1st one was scary and interesting,the 2nd one was okay and had some decent scares,as for the 3rd well for me it was better in some ways but failed to do something new or better.Paranormal Activity fans be warned, this might have left it open yet again for a 5th,but no one in the cinema once let out a scream,in fact a couple next to us nearly fell asleep.To say i was very disappointed by this one is putting it mild,this was a film full of stupid ideas and script that was shit,with crap acting and bloody useless direction.I think they've run out of ideas on this franchise,they are flogging a dead dog here,which is why i suspect why they had about five minutes of clips from the first two films,just to pad it to the slow running 80 minute mark.I'll give it a point for a story that was a good hook to get mugs like me in the fucking door but that's it.1/10


I would probably give this 3 or 4 out of 10, but as you say, it was a big disappointment, a real lazy way of continuing the franchise!

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 14497
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 29/10/2012 12:42:05 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 4037
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Nexus Wookie

Thanks evil bill!

Also I could not agree more with your points, both these films truly are (i feel) hugely underrated gems from two of the greatest film directors of the century. Its funny because these two films are seen as some of their weakest, and yet theres so much one can gain from viewing them. I hope to put more into this fabulous thread (its a joy just to go through it and read some of the superb reviews from both yourself, Dr Lenera and others).

Cheers!




Thanks very much and I look forward to reading some more of your reviews, I don't have quite as much time to post on here as much as I used to, and some of our old contributors have their time mostly taken up with the same website I write for, so fresh blood has been almost required

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Nexus Wookie)
Post #: 14498
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 31/10/2012 12:28:39 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 4037
Joined: 19/10/2005


Egypt 1947, the Valley of the Sorcerer. A young boy is carrying out a bit of tomb robbing and witnesses another robber open the tomb of Queen Tera and something burning the man’s face. Marin County, California, the Present Day. Egyptian artifact collector Abel Trelawny starts to put a broken stone tablet back together while he reads out loud the incantation on it. Something attacks him and tears his arm, after which he is found in a coma by his daughter Margaret. Worried and unsure what to do, she contacts her ex-boyfriend Robert Wyatt to help and he finds a set of bizarre instructions Trelawny apparently left behind to be followed to the letter. When the maid is attacked by an unseen force which almost disfigures her, Robert seeks the advice of John Corbeck, an expert in Egyptology who was with Trelawny when he excavated Tera’s tomb, while Margaret is possessed by Tera……


[proof that this film is not much talked about, this is the only pic I could obtain of it!]


The 1903 novel The Jewel Of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker [ best known, of course, for Dracula] is not a particularly well known or read book. For some reason though, it has had four film versions and even two adaptations for TV and radio respectively. Then again the premise of an ancient Egyptian queen taking revenge and one man’s plot to resurrect her is a pretty exciting one. The first cinematic version was entitled Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb, made by Hammer in 1971 and was by far the best. The Awakening from 1980 was a bit weaker and 1986’s The Tomb a lot weaker, which brings us to The Legend Of The Mummy, sometimes called Bram Stoker’s The Legend Of The Mummy. This was a very hurriedly conceived and made production which was rushed out straight to DVD to cash in on the big success of the Brendan Fraser The Mummy. I myself, despite having a distinct fondness for Mummy movies, had never seen it….until now. And sadly, it’s pretty poor, a total mess of a film which fails to be kept afloat by its story and the odd effective scene. I found it tolerable, but that might be partly due to my liking for Egyptian curses, bandaged killers and dead queens possessing the living. You may actually find this movie very bad indeed.

The opening in the tomb is reasonably well handled and the scene following, when Trelawny reads the incantation and pays with his life, is clearly intended to echo the brilliant scene in the 1932 The Mummy when the guy reads aloud from the scroll and awakens the Mummy, who takes the scroll from him and leaves, leaving the man to cry; “he went for a little walk”. Unfortunately, director Jeffrey Obrow is no Karl Freund, in fact he’s not even Uwe Boll, and the sequence has little effect. Obrow’s direction is one of the worst things in this film, resolutely failing to make the most of proceedings, though as a scriptwriter he’s even worse [even taking into account the script was based on drafts by others]. At first it seems this is going to be a simple tale of a murderous Mummy, but about half way the Queen Tera possession and revival stuff from Stoker takes over and the Mummy is forgotten about! Then there’s other random stuff like lots of mention of the number seven because Tera has seven fingers [?!], and chopped up Mummies in a garden.

All this may have been fine if the film had some atmosphere or fear; some great horror films thrive on randomness. Unfortunately this has neither and is actually rather dull even if it certainly shouldn’t be with all the stuff going on. The Mummy rips out a heart, breaks fingers, strangles someone with one of his bandages and seems to teleport, while other folk die in more mysterious ways. A scene of a woman having her face cut by…something…is obviously supposed to echo a particularly strong scene in Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb, and I’ve just realised that both films share the same actor, a certain Aubrey Morris. But look out for the scene where a guy has his oven catch fire, runs away from steam emitting out of it and seems to trip over everything in sight before sticking his head through a window, a scene so ineptly executed it just causes laughter, though generally the film takes itself too seriously for such a badly done movie.

The meagre gore is mostly off-screen and the Mummy is mostly relegated to close ups of its hands and mouth, just as well because it looks laughable. The house where much of the action takes place is a good setting for a horror movie with all its antiques and nooks and crannies, but most of the Egyptian relics look like they were made in about half an hour. The acting by the younger cast members is Neighbours wooden though Louis Gossett Jr, who despite being top billed doesn’t appear until half way through, overacts with relish, delivering lines like “there are forces here far greater than you would ever understand” like he totally realises what kind of film he’s in. Unfortunately few others involved in this film seem to, especially the writer/director. When we get to the climax and it seems to take forever yet hardly any suspense is being created, you have proof that The Legend Of The Mummy is a loser. What a shame, because at the very least, this should have been fun.

Rating: 3/10

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 14499
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 31/10/2012 12:32:06 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 4037
Joined: 19/10/2005


Somewhere in Mexico during the summer, an ancient Aztec pyramid, dedicated to the rain god Tlaloc, is discovered. It contains numerous artifactsas well as a remarkably well-preserved Mummy. All of these items are transported to a university in the United States for study and display. The university is nearly deserted except for six archaeology students and their professor. While they are preparing the artifacts for display, one of the students steals an amulet from the mummy's wrist; he gives it to one of the other students, a girl whom he has a crush on. Unfortunately, it turns out that another of the six students is actually a descendant of Aztec priests, and that he needs the amulet as part of a ceremony to Tlaloc. He resurrects the mummy and sends it to recover the amulet so that he can complete the ritual, even if it means killing anyone in its way.....



I can safely say that Legend Of The Mummy 2 is one of the worst horror films I have ever seen. Now I have a weakness for cheap and trashy schlock, so I probably cut some films more slack than I should. Give me a group of people and a monster or a killer on the loose, and on some level I’ll be a happy bunny, at least for a while! However, I found Legend Of The Mummy 2 an absolutely painful experience. Occasionally it’s good for a laugh, but most of the time it’s excruciating. It hurts to watch this film, to see such complete and utter lack of talent in front of and behind the camera. This is the kind of movie where thunder and lightning is constant but we don’t see a drop of rain, where a man lying on a bed waiting for his girlfriend says “if you ‘come’ slowly, I ‘come’ quickly”, and where a university room has a fireplace and a sofa in it. Yes, it’s very very cheap, but with a bit of skill cheapness can be transcended or even taken advantage of. This film; well, all I kept thinking was that none of the folk involved should be let near a movie camera again, yet the director David DeCoteau, according to the imdb, a total of 98 movies!

This movie was actually originally called Ancient Evil: Scream of the Mummy. Two years after its release it was retitled Legend Of The Mummy 2 so folk would think it was a sequel to The Legend Of The Mummy. Now you wouldn’t think that people would be actually interested in a sequel to that film, but it was amazingly a success when it was released straight to DVD [probably because of the popularity of the Brendan Fraser movie]. It goes without saying that Legend Of The Mummy 2 has nothing to do with its predecessor and the fact that it also goes under the title Bram Stoker’s Legend Of The Mummy 2 is pretty insulting. It has nothing to do with Stoker and I was sure I could hear the dead writer rolling in his grave all the way from his burial place in Golder’s Green. Amazingly, this film was followed by another movie called Ancient Evil 2: Guardian of the Underworld, which seems to be have kept its original title. You mean the response for this film was good enough to have them make a sequel?

So all we basically have here is a few people wondering around a university while being stalked by a Mummy and his deranged ‘master’. The Mummy, who seems to wield a Ghurka’s kukri, actually looks half-decent facially but sports a pot belly and is soon shown far too much; they obviously figured out that the monster's face was the only decent thing in the film so they milk it to an eventually tedious degree. The acting is atrocious though the female professor twitches her eyebrows in a way that Roger Moore was never able to do. No attempt is made to disguise the fact that the university is just a large house. The film is mostly set at night time but it’s obviously daylight outside. And get this....one of the most bizarre directorial quirks I have ever seen. For the most part, the direction is incredibly dull and botches even scenes that you would think would be impossible to totally screw up like the monster suddenly appearing right behind someone. However, every now and again the camera swings slowly from right to left and back again. After a while it feels like the film is taking place on a bloody boat.

With no suspense or atmosphere to speak of, I could forgive the film just a little bit if it had tried to make up for this by giving us some decent gore or creative death scenes, but no, it doesn’t even do that. The brief dagger slashing is mostly off screen and, with just a couple or brief flashes of dead bodies and no sex or nudity either, I cannot for the life of me work out why Legend Of The Mummy 2 is rated as being ’15: suitable only for persons of 15 years and over’. It actually should be rated ‘NO: suitable for nobody’. Ed Wood would have made a better job of this; at the very least, he would have made it enjoyable. Avoid.

Rating: 0.5/10

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

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Post #: 14500
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 31/10/2012 6:42:21 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6742
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Mister Coe

OMG, Deadly Blessing! That just gave me a massive flashback to watching it at a friends house on... get this... Laserdisc! Who the fuck had Laserdisc? Do you remember how huge and shiny those discs were? Wow.. memories aside, I remember liking that film, might have to check it out.

Now, if someone can put out DEADLY FREIND...

Now your talkig good old LASERDISC,i stillhave the discs but the player is long gone,to the big Disc in the sky.
And Here's ye old review of:
DEADLY BLESSINGS 1981

It takes place on a small farming community deep in the Texan countryside. The narrator informs us that the town has remained untouched by time, which is an evidently honest description as there are no automobiles just horse and carts,and the way of life looks to have remained unchanged since the days of the Lawman and Ranchers.When a farmer is mysteriously killed by his tractor, his wife Martha (Maren jenson) and her visiting friends Vicky (Susan Buckner) and Lana (a very young Sharon Stone) are terrorized by someone or something,while trying to find out who killed her husband,even though the local religious leader claims it's just a tragic accident.Veteran actor Ernest Borgnine is the intimidating/chilling leader of a sect of religious nutters/fanatics,who are up to no good.

Deadly Blessing is a prime example of a horror film that's powered by a superb eerie atmosphere and less by gore,yet there's plenty of spiders,snakes and dark gloved figures(think Argento style here) with flashing blades to keep you on your toes.This is a slasher with a difference,it's got some great nightmare  visions,and shows Wes Craven at his most interesting,rather than the lame movies he now makes,this has plenty of bite.The first hour is excellent with poor Martha stripping off to get changed by an open window(some eye candy always needed in a slasher),but being watched a by a peeping tom who get's a knife in the back for his troubles.Later Martha in in a bath when a snake is dropped in,by the blacked gloved killer,who of course is always dressed in black from head to foot.Next in a great nightmare of a scene we see Laura stalked by the killer,and if that was'nt enough,she's having pretty nasty nightmares about some guy dropping a big spider in her mouth while whispering her name.Next the killer murders two lovers having a good time in there car(till he arrives),and then to be honest it comes to an abrupt end,as the killer revels himself and we have a by the numbers struggle to the death.

This is an excellent Wes Craven movie,and easily ranks in the director's top four horror movies,with a brilliant James Horner musical score which is chilling,and adds big time to the movies more chilling and skin crawling scenes.It's sadly overlooked by many horror fans,and is a hard one to get,but is more than worth it in the end,so what you waiting for it's re released now.7/10

BY THE WAY FOLKS!!



Enjoy !!!


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Mister Coe)
Post #: 14501
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 1/11/2012 10:12:44 PM   
Platter

 

Posts: 114
Joined: 14/8/2010
STANLEY KUBRICK - A REVIEW

This post has duplicate material that you may have read before. Some of these reviews are not recent.

1 and 2 of 13
I've started both Fear and Desire (1953) and Killer's Kiss (1955). They were not worth attempting to watch.


3 of 13
The Killing (1956)
Very fast paced for its day, and still remains quick and fleet footed by modern standards. It's hard to imagine a swiftly paced Kubrick movie since he became a big fan of bloated, overlong, slow pacing in his later movies. The heist itself is surprisingly clever and sensible. It's not just a smash and grab. Visually there are a lot of good bits of camera work (the use of foreground objects in the apartments was stylish). A very strong movie with an excellent script, good actors and a powerful director. The ending was painful to watch as you know he's going to be caught. The last shot was too abrupt as we don't get to see his final reaction to being arrested. Some of the violent parts (usually to do with guns) were poorly filmed, but that might be because of censorship. The jigsaw timeline structure is still fresh and startling today. The film really hasn't dated that much with many elements still feeling very modern. An impressive movie.

9 out of 10


4 of 13
Paths of Glory (1957)
The film is almost perfect in that I can't think of anything that could be really improved upon. Everything hits its target. Also the film hasn't dated much, at least not in the places that matter. For all that though, I can't say I adore the film. It's much easier to admire than to love. Which can be said of many films by Stanley Kubrick. Usually they are fascinating on some level (for good reasons or bad reasons). This one doesn't intrigue or provoke much thought in me. I find it easy to watch it and then forget about it without my mind going over it days later. The story is a little on the slight side, the injustices too obvious and the line between good and bad too clear to make for properly gripping drama. I feel a slight distance between the movie and the viewer that stops me investing too much care in it. I admire it, and I can't pick any meaningful faults with it, but I don't feel it's more than very good.

7 out of 10


5 of 13
I was bored to death by Spartacus (1960) when I watched it over fifteen years ago. I started it for this Kubrick overview. I gave up after about ten minutes. I'm just not interested in it.


6 of 13
Lolita (1961)
About a decade ago I tried to watch this on television. It wasn't bad, just not interesting. I abandoned it at about the 20 minute mark during the dance. This time I got about 50 minutes in, up to when Humbert gets married. That same criticism stands in that it's not so much bad as just not interesting. The role of Lolita has been badly cast. In the book I think she is twelve years old. The film doesn't specify her age but she looks like twenty. I guess it's the fashions of the time, her hair style, her height and her build that conspire to make her look comfortably of age. If she doesn't convince as a kid then the whole story goes out the window. Why shouldn't Humbert date her? Also the actress gives a fake, mannered performance that was pretty bad. There is a distinct disconnect between the script and the actors, who seem to be stranded having to emote a bunch of emotions that don't make any sense. Shelly Winters, as the mother, in particular is given a bunch of inexplicable emotions to run through by the script. Why does she fall for Humbert so quickly? I didn't believe any of it - the script, the acting, the motivations of the characters and especially the whole role of Lolita. It's a very fake, mannered movie. When Mason starts laughing over that weird note Winter's has left him, I felt I was watching an incompetent melodrama. The film doesn't work.

2 out of 10 (I could have sat it out to the end if I had to)

The Blu-Ray looked only okay. The black and white imagine didn't seem notably crisp and impressive with deep blacks and pristine whites.


7 of 13
Dr Strangelove (1963)
Right from the start I played it at x2 speed as the pacing of all Kubrick movies is way too slow. If I had watched it at its proper speed, I think it would be a 5 star movie. It's a film that is easy to admire but hard to love. It's not exactly a laugh riot, and there are many dead spots - mainly in the bomber. It's technically a good film but I can't see many signs of genius beyond Ken Adam's war room set (and I don't see why Kubrick should get the credit for that). It's a film that is clever and innovative in theory (three location structure, Peter Sellers' playing three characters) but in practice it's all rather underwhelming and not much better than average in my own opinion.

7 out of 10

[This is an older review. I did try to watch it again at normal speed for this overview but I just couldn't be bothered with it so I gave up after five minutes.]


8 of 13
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
***BIG SPOILERS***
I watched it at x2 speed on DVD so it only took about 70 minutes to watch. I think I chose wisely as I’m glad I didn’t have to sit there for the proper length. It expects you to sit through so much slow, banal stuff and then it ends with a boring overlong psychedelic light show, an old man dying in a hotel room and then a few shots of a baby in a light bubble. It might be an iconic ending, but it isn’t a satisfying one that justifies all that long, drawn out waiting. The film has something, I can’t deny that – perhaps by saying so little at such length it just feels important. It’s an average movie that doesn’t really need to be so long as so little happens in it. Some very interesting images though, and what little there is of a story is genuinely compelling.

5 out of 10


9 of 13
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The real triumph of this film is that the source novel has a great plot with a lot of substance. This along with a great, iconic lead performance and a playful, inventive director make for a potent combination. The use of slow and fast motion, inventive and eye catching sets, costumes and locations make it a visual feast. The music is also very well used. The pacing was about right with only a few slightly overlong scenes (the guard signing over Alex to the doctors, the demonstration of Alex's cure, Alex returning home to his parents and the new lodger). It was always interesting. A very powerful film. A few complaints I used to have with it didn't bother me this time - such as long boring unbroken takes (the social worker in the bedroom, the library talk with the priest, Alex being drowned by the police) and sections being too wordy (Dim's leadership challenge at the bottom of the stairs, the minister talking to Alex in the hospital).

10 out of 10

The Blu-Ray looks very good. Both sides of the picture have small black bars on them to preserve the original 1.66:1 ratio on a 1.77:1 widescreen television. I noticed the picture was flickering quite badly in the shot were Alex wakes up in the bedroom upstairs after being drugged.


10 of 13
Barry Lyndon (1975)
I first watched this movie over a decade ago. I loathed it and was more than a little bored by it. I hated the passive lead character, wasn't impressed by the candle lighting, didn't like the story and just thought it was a dramatically inert overlong monster with not much of an ending. I swore to myself that I would never try and watch it again. As I happened to buy the movie as part of a Blu-Ray Kubrick box set I thought I might as well give it another shot, much against my better judgement. I only watched fifteen minutes (up to Ryan O'Neal giving his cousin her scarf back) before giving up. I just don't know why Kubrick made this movie. What did he see in the story that interested him? I see nothing that could have attracted him to it. I can only assume he spent so much time on the historical research of the era (for his aborted Napoleon movie) that he was desperate for anything from that period so he could use what he had researched. I suspect Kubrick never cared much for the story and was only interested in the period setting. I don't like period movies as a general rule of thumb, and this just repulsed me right from the start. I consider it to be close to unwatchable. It's a brick of a film.

1 out of 10

The Blu-Ray looks okay. The picture seemed a little soft, and was lacking sharpness. I only watched fifteen minute so what do I know?


11 of 13
The Shining (Two Hour UK Cut) (1980)
The sets look great and they were filmed really well with all those brilliant steadycam shots. The editing of how scenes end was often very clever with sudden title cards or unexpected end points for scenes. You can see a lot of thinking has gone into the film. The acting was a bit over the top but it was all good with Nicholson giving a great performance full of derangement. I particularly liked his tendency to use silly voices. A lot of the dialogue was funny and full of nasty tension. The visuals, the tight to the point script and the big acting performances have an accumulative impact and by about the hour point the film was really cooking. The ending was slightly underwhelming. Clever and correct, but not exactly exciting and satisfying. The pace was a little baggy in places, but overall I think the pacing was alright. Anyway, I felt Kubrick had a good, substantial story and didn't need to dilly-dally in an attempt to artificially bloat the running time. So I wasn't bothered by those individual scenes where things dragged a little (the redrum scene for example springs to mind as being too long). It's a very strong, powerful film with great sets, camerawork, acting and writing. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected.

9 out of 10

The Blu-Ray looks excellent with very strong colours. The widescreen framing looks much better than the previous full screen image as I used to notice how much extra was framed above people’s heads. Frankly many shots looked bad in full screen. The scene when Nicholson is interviewed for the job had the ugliest looking close ups as their eyes were in the middle of the screen and there was a massive amount of empty space above their heads - it looked weird and just really bad. Now the shots look good and are properly proportioned. Honestly, I think the widescreen framing makes a big difference to the prettiness of the visuals.


12 of 13
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
The first forty-five minutes, the Parris Island training section, was brilliant. Very funny dialogue from the drill instructor who steals the film. It was quite beautiful looking with many symmetrical shots and good use of the steadycam. It was a sustained piece of superior filmmaking. It was also sort of non-narrative and documentary like in that it wasn't conventional drama with people having proper conversations with each other. 9 out of 10 materiel. The Vietnam section was good but not a patch on what had gone before. The recreation of that country in London was pretty good except for the grey sky and the tepid natural light. It was fairly interesting and has some very good moments. The to camera interviews the platoon give is a dead spot in the movie. The Tet Offensive sequence remains very underwhelming with all the action happening in the distance. The sniper sequence is good but it's not much of an actual climax. It doesn't have much, if any, thematic resonance that the two journalists kill the sniper, and so it comes across as a very random ending. There is no reason why the movie shouldn't continue to another bigger set piece and have that be the end of the film. The Vietnam section is 7 out of 10 stuff. Overall a good movie with some great material.

7 out of 10

The Blu-Ray looks excellent. The widescreen framing looks better than the previous full screen image.


13 of 13
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
I first watched this film with my brother on DVD. It was so slow and boring that we were not on our knees praying for the film to end, but for each and every overlong scene in turn to finish. As it was Kubrick's first film in 12 years we sat through it all. We loathed it. A tiny 40 minute non-story bloated out by the slowest pacing ever to create a two and a half hour monster. The uneventful story itself is also revealed to be tiny with very low dramatic stakes. What is the point of this film?

Some critics have the audacity to call it a flawed masterpiece. Flawed piece of [censored] is too kind.

The best thing I can say about it is that some of the lights have a nice burned into the film-stock look to them. Yes, that is literally the best thing about the film. Curiously the exact same complaints and minor praise can be applied to his 1975 historical dud Barry Lyndon. Another incredibly slow, overlong, dramatically inert monster with pretty looking lighting created by real candles (a technical marvel at the time).

It's astonishing to think that it took about twenty years to adapt from a novella, a year and a half to film and a year to edit (my numbers might not be super accurate). The film could easily have been filmed within a month like a normal film. When I saw the extended argument in the apartment in the film Le Mépris (aka Contempt) by Godard, I thought, that's it. That is how they should have shot Eyes Wide Shut. They should have just quickly and messily shot a semi-improvised deliberately pretentious film over a few weeks for less than a million dollars. As it's so cheap who cares if no one beyond a few film critics see it and roast it? Instead they had to make a big budget production out of such slight material.

For reasons of masochism I have returned to the movie two more times over the last nine years. And it remains a colossal dud. If you accept the painful inert pacing and the tiny storyline then it's not too painful, but it's still far from being even borderline okay.

I decided to try something a little bit out of the box in an attempt to make it watchable for my fourth viewing. I decided to watch the whole thing at x2 fast forward. 95% of the dialogue remained intelligible, and the 5% I didn't pick up I either didn't care about or I could work out the gist from the dialogue surrounding it. This way the awful draggy pace will be picked up and the running time halved to a more realistic 75 minutes.

And the film was bearable. The crap story and banal dialogue etc didn't suddenly burst into life, but at least things moved at a reasonable non-patience trying speed. For the majority of the film I was thinking it was a tepid two star [out of five, this is an older review] movie.

And then the last post-orgy stretch turned up. If anything, the film SLOWED DOWN even further as Tom Cruise revisited the previous scenes. Seriously, what film slows down as it reaches its climax? A normal film is always gathering speed so that by the end it's racing towards the end. Kubrick and the Coen Brothers are about the only filmmakers I can think of who start slow and stay at that exact same pace from start to finish. It's just wrong.

The Coen Brothers movies used to drive me up the wall with the slow pace of all of their films until I learned to expect, and accept it. Fargo for example was such a horrible viewing experience first time I saw it as it took forever to get anywhere. Now whenever I put one of their films on I say to myself to expect that it will be slow from start to finish. If you expect it to take forever to get anywhere then it can't frustrate you as it's exactly what you expected (it's not the traffic jam that's making you angry, it's your expectations of getting to your destination quickly that is causing you to lose your temper).

I can sit happily through almost any Coen Brothers film now, as long as it's actually a good film like Fargo, but Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut is way beyond the pale. Even at x2 speed the film drags at its climax. So the two star review ended up as one star because the story really is so small and insignificant and the pace is too patience trying. As entertainment it really, really fails. As "art" it fails because it's rubbish with nothing to say that can be mistaken as profound, unlike 2001, which at least suggests or hints at something being said.

Some arthouse film snobs say that some films are not meant to be entertaining, and work on a different level. I don't buy it. A film is meant as entertainment. If it doesn't engage on some sort of entertainment level then it's not very good. Well I'll happily be the philistine who stands up and says that Kubrick is a so-so director with a knack for finding interesting novels to adapt and then stepping back into the limelight and allowing others to big him up in order to create a legendary reputation.

Two of my favourite films deal with mildly similar subject matter. For a superior viewing experience I fully recommend Belle de Jour and Les Choses Secrets.

1 out of 10 stars

Additional:
The next day I re-read a substantial chunk of Frederick Rafael's memoir of writing Eyes Wide Shut, titled Eyes Wide Open. He indicates that he tried to write a denser, funnier, more detailed film with semi-interesting characters. And he would hand his drafts in and have Kubrick ask him to remove any new details not in the novella, junk anything resembling humour and flat line the characters to make them as nondescript and empty as possible*. Kubrick was also not keen for a long time in having the events at the start connecting with the ending in order to create another shapeless random film like Full Metal Jacket. He took a lot of convincing to bring Sydney Pollack's character back for the climax. And the "reveal" billiard-room scene that Rafael wrote was dismissed as too Bogart-Greenstreet, so it was blanded down with each new draft until it was just more banal nuts and bolts dialogue.

I get the impression that if the film had been made from one of Rafael's earlier drafts then a much more fuller, more entertaining and substantial film would have been made. He tried to bring life to it and Kubrick sucked it all out.

Rafael seems to think Kubrick deliberately removed anything interesting and quirky in order to create as blank a script as possible so he could later apply his directorial imagination to it. Unfortunately he had no imagination beyond how to light it. The problem with a good script, according to Rafael, is that it usually directs itself. There's an obvious way to shoot it and so the director ends up being told what to do by default. Kubrick preferred to have no obligations such as these.

So I think it's fair to say that Kubrick sucked more life out of the film than any other director would have.

A shame the book ends before the film was released so I don't know what the screenwriter thinks of the finished film.

* For example there was a fascinating idea for a line of dialogue. Kidman asks Cruise if he has ever fantasised that she was a boy? A show stopping line but Kubrick dismissed it straight away.

< Message edited by Platter -- 3/11/2012 10:53:30 PM >


_____________________________

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/This-Cuckoo-Island-ebook/dp/B00EIP4ZVS/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377097535&sr=1-4

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 14502
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 2/11/2012 12:02:43 PM   
Platter

 

Posts: 114
Joined: 14/8/2010
Kubrick asks too much of the average viewer. Why should we automatically give him the benefit of the doubt that we don't give to everyone else? He gets enough special attention due to his reputation (I've seen Eyes Wide Shut FOUR times!, I have seen only the first 45 minutes of Heaven's Gate). If viewed without the cult of personality and looked at purely on their own artistic merit, which is what I did, then a lot of these films do not hold up in my opinion.

A lot of people are working backwards from the premise that he was a genius. So they forgive almost anything on the assumption that he was almost incapable of being wrong or bad. They don't want to look dumb by pointing out the emperor's nakedness incase he's not, and they've just misunderstood or not appreciated it fully. Anything crap must be deliberate and artistic. I work the other way. I assume he's just average like the rest of us, and then I try and find evidence to back up his inflated reputation. Overall I can sum up his career up by saying that when he was good, he was very good. When he was bad, he was very, very bad.

To clarify a point. All these movies I watched at x2 speed I have seen at normal speed in the past. Also x2 speed does not turn the soundtrack into Pinky and Perky squeaky voices. It just speeds things up, which I don't think is a bad thing with some movies that aren't justifying their bloated running times.

--------------------------------------------

I got this response from elsewhere to my review:

"Apart from feeling a little exasperated by the apparently evident disinterest you have in Kubrick's work, hence wondering why you bothered .. I actually found myself agreeing with a lot of your judgements, but also feel that what you've written does miss the point of what he's up to a lot of the time. They are long films, and sometimes the duration of sequences isn't wholly justified. Part of the problem is that you're watching them to see whether they stand up today, and whether they're entertaining by comparison with the way films are made nowadays. True, they're no modern Skyfall. But, to be very pretentious about it, this prolonged way of looking, of accepting a style over content was part of what we learnt as viewers from Kubrick; and, it simply isn't fair to judge an old film by today's standards. 2001 was outstanding at its first release, and remains incredibly influential. Yes, the CGI today makes the filming of models used in 2001 almost look like old Flash Gordon films, but at the time they were completely convincing and stimulated thoughts and ideas that just didn't happen in the cinema in those days. I was there, about fifteen years old, and it really was impressive stuff then. Suppose for the moment that either Inception or Prometheus are much better made films )haven't yet seen either, confession), are they likely to stand up over the next 50 years in the way you're asking Kubrick's films to do. Let's wait and see, shall we.

As for Lolita: everything you say is probably true, but I remember coming back from the pub many years ago, switching on the telly and that film was on, probably I was joining the film about five or ten minutes in. I hadn't read the book, never even heard of it at that time, but was absolutely hooked by the whole Shelley Winters and James Mason vitriolic hatred, and then mesmerized, but not outraged by the on-the-road with the teenage girl thing that ran to the end. The final sequences with Peter Sellers were just surreal and weird. Now, this was a great film for all of these reasons: I'd never seen anything quite like it. It was fantastically photographed and lit, hypnotic and gripping, with great acting performances, and a shocking tragic end. At the same time, it was all very strange. I know now that it was all shot in England, and not in America: the small time home town atmosphere was 'untrue' in any realistic sense, but cinematically gripping. Kubrick is strange because he sometimes seems arthouse, but in comparison with some others, just isn't profound, and sometimes he's movieland entertainment, but not Spielberg, either. I think, in the end, there are quite a few scenes that just stick in the memory, and an attitude, a kind of forensic looking that remains. In 2001 they most important shape is not the oblong monolith, but the circle. Watch the film again: circles are everywhere, including the big red eye of HAL, and that eye is the most important thing in the film. When Kubrick is good, it's seeing with the director's eye that conveys something unique. The best image in Clockwork Orange is what happens to Alex's eye(s), when he's forced to watch films he doesn't want to see. In Barry Lyndon the fuss at the time was all about filming in candlelight: filming to see things the way they are. You're always very aware of the camera in Kubrick films, sometimes that's good, often not.

One of the great directors, Tarkovsky, known for long shots and boring films that go nowhere called his manifesto for his own films 'Sculpting in Time'. Film, like music, manipulates time and the experience of time: double-speed makes a mockery of it: Let's cook the food twice as fast and then judge whether it's up to standard -- not really a fair way to judge a meal. By the way, if you're looking to offload that box set, I'll send you an address."

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(in reply to Platter)
Post #: 14503
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 2/11/2012 7:25:34 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6742
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk

quote:

ORIGINAL: Platter

STANLEY KUBRICK - A REVIEW

This post has duplicate material that you may have read before. Some of these reviews are not recent.

1 and 2 of 13
I've started both Fear and Desire (1953) and Killer's Kiss (1955). They were not worth attempting to watch.
Ok you decided not too watch these two fair enough.But to say there not worth watching??


3 of 13
The Killing (1956)
Some of the violent parts (usually to do with guns) were poorly filmed, but that might be because of censorship. The jigsaw timeline structure is still fresh and startling today. The film really hasn't dated that much with many elements still feeling very modern. An impressive movie.

9 out of 10
Nice one i'd be more an 8/10.


4 of 13
Paths of Glory (1957)
The story is a little on the slight side, the injustices too obvious and the line between good and bad too clear to make for properly gripping drama. I feel a slight distance between the movie and the viewer that stops me investing too much care in it. I admire it, and I can't pick any meaningful faults with it, but I don't feel it's more than very good.

7 out of 10
Here i disagree it's an excellent anti war film which is well acted and directed.8/10


5 of 13
I was bored to death by Spartacus (1960) when I watched it over fifteen years ago. I started it for this Kubrick overview. I gave up after about ten minutes. I'm just not interested in it.
BOLLOCKS it's a classic 9/10

6 of 13
Lolita (1961)
It's a very fake, mannered movie. When Mason starts laughing over that weird note Winter's has left him, I felt I was watching an incompetent melodrama. The film doesn't work.

2 out of 10 (I could have sat it out to the end if I had to)

Now your testing my better side of giving folks the benefit of the doubt,though i'd give this a 6/10


7 of 13
Dr Strangelove (1963)
I can't see many signs of genius beyond Ken Adam's war room set (and I don't see why Kubrick should get the credit for that). It's a film that is clever and innovative in theory (three location structure, Peter Sellers' playing three characters) but in practice it's all rather underwhelming and not much better than average.

7 out of 10
Now come on average no way but you gave it above average score




8 of 13
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
***BIG SPOILERS***
I watched it at x2 speed on DVD so it only took about 70 minutes to watch. Some very interesting images though, and what little there is of a story is genuinely compelling.

5 out of 10

BLOODY HELL!!!it's the greatest sci/fi film ever
9 of 13
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The real triumph of this film is that the source novel has a great plot with a lot of A very powerful film. A few complaints I used to have with it didn't bother me this time - such as long boring unbroken takes (the social worker in the bedroom, the library talk with the priest, Alex being drowned by the police) and sections being too wordy (Dim's leadership challenge at the bottom of the stairs, the minister talking to Alex in the hospital).

10 out of 10
And you gave this top marks,well i agree on this one.




10 of 13
Barry Lyndon (1975)
I don't like period movies as a general rule of thumb, and this just repulsed me right from the start. I consider it to be close to unwatchable. It's a brick of a film.

1 out of 10
"NO I SAY NO"




11 of 13
The Shining (Two Hour UK Cut) (1980)
It's a very strong, powerful film with great sets, camerawork, acting and writing. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected.

9 out of 10
Agree again to my surprise.



12 of 13
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Overall a good movie with some great material.

7 out of 10
No 9/10 without a doubt.

The Blu-Ray looks excellent. The widescreen framing looks better than the previous full screen image.


13 of 13
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)


1 out of 10 stars
Already disagreed on this one big time.

You got to fucking stop this 2X speed for watching films,i know in your defence you have watched some of these at normal speed,but get a grip,if you don't like it don't suffer it.But don't FUCK with the way the film was made,by speeding it up for fucks sake.

_____________________________

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(in reply to Platter)
Post #: 14504
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 5/11/2012 7:13:53 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6742
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera



Egypt 1947, the Valley of the Sorcerer. A young boy is carrying out a bit of tomb robbing and witnesses another robber open the tomb of Queen Tera and something burning the man's face. Marin County, California, the Present Day. Egyptian artifact collector Abel Trelawny starts to put a broken stone tablet back together while he reads out loud the incantation on it. Something attacks him and tears his arm, after which he is found in a coma by his daughter Margaret. Worried and unsure what to do, she contacts her ex-boyfriend Robert Wyatt to help and he finds a set of bizarre instructions Trelawny apparently left behind to be followed to the letter. When the maid is attacked by an unseen force which almost disfigures her, Robert seeks the advice of John Corbeck, an expert in Egyptology who was with Trelawny when he excavated Tera's tomb, while Margaret is possessed by Tera……


[proof that this film is not much talked about, this is the only pic I could obtain of it!]


The 1903 novel The Jewel Of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker [ best known, of course, for Dracula] is not a particularly well known or read book. For some reason though, it has had four film versions and even two adaptations for TV and radio respectively. Then again the premise of an ancient Egyptian queen taking revenge and one man's plot to resurrect her is a pretty exciting one. The first cinematic version was entitled Blood From The Mummy's Tomb, made by Hammer in 1971 and was by far the best. The Awakening from 1980 was a bit weaker and 1986's The Tomb a lot weaker, which brings us to The Legend Of The Mummy, sometimes called Bram Stoker's The Legend Of The Mummy.

the acting by the younger cast members is Neighbours wooden though Louis Gossett Jr, who despite being top billed doesn't appear until half way through, overacts with relish, delivering lines like "there are forces here far greater than you would ever understand” like he totally realises what kind of film he's in. Unfortunately few others involved in this film seem to, especially the writer/director. When we get to the climax and it seems to take forever yet hardly any suspense is being created, you have proof that The Legend Of The Mummy is a loser. What a shame, because at the very least, this should have been fun.

Rating: 3/10

I have seen Hammers version and the 1980 version,but not this or it's sequal but going by your reviews they are not worth the viewing.Still someone has to warn us off of trash films,and like you i'm a fan of ye old monster films,like Dracula,Frankenstein and the Mummy,and i've found an old short review of;

The Awakening (1980)

English archaeologist Matthew Corbeck ( Charlton Heston) and his assistant Jane Turner (Susannah York)undertake an expedition to find the tomb of the Egyptian princess Kara, despite his awareness of a nefarious curse that is said to befall anyone who disturbs the tomb. Eighteen years after Corbeck's discovery of the burial site, his teenage daughter Anne (Jill Townsend) (who was born at the very moment of the tomb's violation) begins to behave strangely. Turns out she's been possessed by Kara's malevolent spirit, carrying out the princess's revenge by causing several deaths.

Based very loosely on Bram Stoker's novel The Jewel of Seven Stars,which was inspiration for Hammer's far superior Blood from the Mummy's Tomb(1971) which to be honest even on it's low budget and age still out shines this one.I even payed to see this in the cinema many moons ago,and for some twisted reason watched it again on DVD,thankfully never bought the damn thing.Now for what i remember EMI decided they needed big budget horror film in the wake of The Omen films staggering success.


This was director Mike Newell's first feature film,he'd mainly work on television up until this film's release,and though this is a moody chiller with elaborate sets, lush cinematography and a sweeping musical score,it lacks suspense and real chills. This is down to a lack lustre script,that goes through through the motions.with the usual Egyptian tombs, curses, possessions of loved ones and an archaeologist's obsession to his work.The cast do there best with Susannah York on top form but wasted in this,and Charlton Heston was just Charlton Heston,and Stephanie Zimbalist is decent as Heston's possessed daughter,plus Jill Townsend as her mother also keeping the acting pretty real.

This film has some beautiful location shots in Egypt,and as i said looks lush visually impressive well directed,and i loved all the talk from the leads about queen, mummification,jars used for organs,how the organs where removed etc.Plus there are some very gruesome deaths along the way,but that's if you can keep yourself awake,it's just so slow,and lacks some real chills and suspense to keep you on your toes. I would love to say i'd recommend the film,for it is a decent mummy movie,but there's been a better take on this story by Hammer so; 5/10

< Message edited by evil bill -- 5/11/2012 7:15:34 PM >


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 14505
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 5/11/2012 8:31:12 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6742
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
CORMAN/POE the AIP years.
Well guy's/girls it's time we went back in time for the first of Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe films, Fall of the House of Usher which was originally released as simply House of Usher.This AIP release was a great beginning to a varying but always interesting series of horror films,that for such low budgets look and sound like epic horror films.This is my personal look back at a bunch of films i fell in love with back in the days when in the UK/Ireland there where only a few channels on the box.This was the time of year many moons ago when as a child i looked forward to Friday Nights double bill of Horror on BBC 1,it introduce me to Hammer,Universal horror films of the 30's-70's,but it was AIP and Corman doing Edgar Allen Poe that blew my mind.So lets start at the beginning,when Corman had the crazy idea to take on Hammer with his Poe films,full of premature burials,murder,mystery and dark Gothic settings of a time gone by.

Fall of the House of Usher (1960)

Vincent Price stars as the foredoomed Roderick Usher. Living in his decaying family mansion with his young sister Madeline (Myrna Fahey), Roderick does his best to shoo away Madeline's fiancé Philip Winthrop (Mark Damon). He tells the young swain that Madeline suffers from the family curse of encroaching madness, and thus cannot be permitted to bear children. After a series of suspicious, near-fatal accidents, Phillip insists that Madeline be allowed to leave with him at once. But Roderick sadly announces that this is impossible: Madeline has died, and is slated to be entombed. Informed by the family butler that Madeline has previously been prone to near-catatonic spells, Phillip angrily insists that the girl may very well have been buried alive.

For me no one has ever matched Corman for the way he brought Poe's work to the big screen,and no remake has even come close to getting the Gothic feel,the suspense and chills delivered by these films.They also provides a tour de force for Vincent Price,in fact to most this is his best Poe film and highlight of his long career in Horror.It was this film that turned him into one of the biggest Horror stars to come out of the USA,and also establishes him as a great actor.Price was born to play roles like Roderick Usher, and when you see this film you'll understand why i and many others love this guy.He delivers his lines with just the right tone in order to make him obviously evil, but yet pathetic,sad and lost in his own mad mind.Is it he loves his sister so much he can't stand to see her with another man,or is it his own fear of being left alone that drives his mad decent into hell.Vincent is helped big time by the wonderful Myrna Fahey as his sister Madeline,i love the way they play off each other,and the twisted tale of them being the last of their bloodline, as he believes the family is doomed to all eventually go mad. He also suffers from hyper-sensitivity, and must have quiet, dim light, soft clothing and bland food, otherwise he suffers extreme pain.But when Madeline's fiancé Philip (Mark Damon) comes to the house to claim Madeline as his wife. Roderick forbids it, believing he and his sister should die together, thus ending the Usher line of insanity.Damon is the weakest here but against these two he hadn't much chance,but still decent actor who was well suited to this role.

The film was shot on a budget of $270,000 which even back then was B Budget money,yet it looks awesome,with superb sets,rich colours with superb use of lighting.It is also Corman's first film in CinemaScope,and gives it an epic feel and look of a big budget film,and this is how skilled this director is,able to create complex and worthwhile compositions in the widescreen frame.Yet he spent most of his filming life before this in B&W and 4;3 ye old box look,but explodes in an all togetter arthouse style with this film and the next lot too.This is also due to Floyd Crosby's CinemaScope photography which has a nightmarish atmosphere, and the horrific decors by Daniel Haller,who's elaborate sets make this look more expensive than it really is.There's a wonderful dream scene where Madeline is running for her life,shot in a blue tone with fog bellowing across the floor,which was stolen for a certain Bat Out Of Hell,IE Mr Meat Loaf video,and every time i see it i think of this film. Now thanks to DVD wdescreen we can now see these films the way they where meant to be seen,as when i first saw them it was on ye ols box,with pan scan used to fill the screen,hopefully Blu-Ray releases soon fully restored of course.

For a film that runs 85 minutes House of Usher packs a hell of a punch with the house itself as a great piece of horror imagery,and responsible for most of the atmosphere that is present in this Gothic horror masterpiece.The awesome House of Usher infamous "Burning Rafters" sequence is one hell of an ending,and so good Corman repeats it in Tomb of Ligeia and The Raven. It is a my only criticism, but it is such a great sequence and it is so effectively shot that i forgive his way of saving money,after all Hammer also reused sets and clips.But let's not forget the power behind this film,it is Poe's story,which screenwriter Richard Matheson transforms into a wonderful detailed script,though he did take some liberties,but what film adaptation stays fully faithful story or book.

Here is a film light on gore but high on tension,where Corman succeeds in creating a constant sense of intrigue and wonder,with you hanging on every moment, as we can't wait to see what happens next.There some great dream shots which are surreal yet chilling as Madeline is already showing signs of of losing her mind,and Roderick has some pretty twisted ideas of how to stop that from happening,with being buried alive top of the list.Of course what Edgar Allen Poe story has not some surreal madness in it,and here it is used to full effect,as the story/script twists and turns so we are never sure if this is a physical or psychological illness.Poe hasd  never looked better on the big screen,and it's down to a great team,with top marks to Corman and his muse Price,who like Scorsese and his muse De Niro are now legends of cinema history.All in a very powerfully well directed intelligent horror film,which sadly we seem no longer to get except for the odd one every so often,To his credit Corman with the help of his screenwritter,cinematography and designer comes off looking more than just good,as well an awesome producer,it is his direction that makes the story so consistently thrilling/chilling with next to no blood in sight,and worth watching time and time again.I can't fault this film on any level,except they a better actor for Madeline's fiancé Philip,but it's a minor fault and as someone once said to me,"there's no such thing as a perfect picture,only what you belive is"so this is my second favorite of the Corman/Poe films,maybe more because it was the first i saw,but i love it so;9/10

< Message edited by evil bill -- 6/11/2012 7:45:59 PM >


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 14506
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 6/11/2012 8:36:17 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 4037
Joined: 19/10/2005
Bill I only need to mention an old horror movie and you have a review of it knocking about . I haven't seen The Awakening for about 25 years, it used to turn up on TV quite often, like you I sat through it twice probably hoping it would be better second time round, and it remained distinctly average!


quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

CORMAN/POE the AIP years.
Well guy's/girls it's time we went back in time for the first of Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe films, Fall of the House of Usher which was originally released as simply House of Usher.This AIP release was a great beginning to a varying but always interesting series of horror films,that for such low budgets look and sound like epic horror films.This is my personal look back at a bunch of films i fell in love with back in the days when in the UK/Ireland there where only a few channels on the box.This was the time of year many moons ago when as a child i looked forward to Friday Nights double bill of Horror on BBC 1,it introduce me to Hammer,Universal horror films of the 30's-70's,but it was AIP and Corman doing Edgar Allen Poe that blew my mind.So lets start at the beginning,when Corman had the crazy idea to take on Hammer with his Poe films,full of premature burials,murder,mystery and dark Gothic settings of a time gone by.

Fall of the House of Usher (1960)

Vincent Price stars as the foredoomed Roderick Usher. Living in his decaying family mansion with his young sister Madeline (Myrna Fahey), Roderick does his best to shoo away Madeline's fiancé Philip Winthrop (Mark Damon). He tells the young swain that Madeline suffers from the family curse of encroaching madness, and thus cannot be permitted to bear children. After a series of suspicious, near-fatal accidents, Phillip insists that Madeline be allowed to leave with him at once. But Roderick sadly announces that this is impossible: Madeline has died, and is slated to be entombed. Informed by the family butler that Madeline has previously been prone to near-catatonic spells, Phillip angrily insists that the girl may very well have been buried alive.

For me no one has ever matched Corman for the way he brought Poe's work to the big screen,and no remake has even come close to getting the Gothic feel,the suspense and chills delivered by these films.They also provides a tour de force for Vincent Price,in fact to most this is his best Poe film and highlight of his long career in Horror.It was this film that turned him into one of the biggest Horror stars to come out of the USA,and also establishes him as a great actor.Price was born to play roles like Roderick Usher, and when you see this film you'll understand why i and many others love this guy.He delivers his lines with just the right tone in order to make him obviously evil, but yet pathetic,sad and lost in his own mad mind.Is it he loves his sister so much he can't stand to see her with another man,or is it his own fear of being left alone that drives his mad decent into hell.Vincent is helped big time by the wonderful Myrna Fahey as his sister Madeline,i love the way they play off each other,and the twisted tale of them being the last of their bloodline, as he believes the family is doomed to all eventually go mad. He also suffers from hyper-sensitivity, and must have quiet, dim light, soft clothing and bland food, otherwise he suffers extreme pain.But when Madeline's fiancé Philip (Mark Damon) comes to the house to claim Madeline as his wife. Roderick forbids it, believing he and his sister should die together, thus ending the Usher line of insanity.Damon is the weakest here but against these two he hadn't much chance,but still decent actor who was well suited to this role.

The film was shot on a budget of $270,000 which even back then was B Budget money,yet it looks awesome,with superb sets,rich colours with superb use of lighting.It is also Corman's first film in CinemaScope,and gives it an epic feel and look of a big budget film,and this is how skilled this director is,able to create complex and worthwhile compositions in the widescreen frame.Yet he spent most of his filming life before this in B&W and 4;3 ye old box look,but explodes in an all togetter arthouse style with this film and the next lot too.This is also due to Floyd Crosby's CinemaScope photography which has a nightmarish atmosphere, and the horrific decors by Daniel Haller,who's elaborate sets make this look more expensive than it really is.There's a wonderful dream scene where Madeline is running for her life,shot in a blue tone with fog bellowing across the floor,which was stolen for a certain Bat Out Of Hell,IE Mr Meat Loaf video,and every time i see it i think of this film. Now thanks to DVD wdescreen we can now see these films the way they where meant to be seen,as when i first saw them it was on ye ols box,with pan scan used to fill the screen,hopefully Blu-Ray releases soon fully restored of course.

For a film that runs 85 minutes House of Usher packs a hell of a punch with the house itself as a great piece of horror imagery,and responsible for most of the atmosphere that is present in this Gothic horror masterpiece.The awesome House of Usher infamous "Burning Rafters" sequence is one hell of an ending,and so good Corman repeats it in Tomb of Ligeia and The Raven. It is a my only criticism, but it is such a great sequence and it is so effectively shot that i forgive his way of saving money,after all Hammer also reused sets and clips.But let's not forget the power behind this film,it is Poe's story,which screenwriter Richard Matheson transforms into a wonderful detailed script,though he did take some liberties,but what film adaptation stays fully faithful story or book.

Here is a film light on gore but high on tension,where Corman succeeds in creating a constant sense of intrigue and wonder,with you hanging on every moment, as we can't wait to see what happens next.There some great dream shots which are surreal yet chilling as Madeline is already showing signs of of losing her mind,and Roderick has some pretty twisted ideas of how to stop that from happening,with being buried alive top of the list.Of course what Edgar Allen Poe story has not some surreal madness in it,and here it is used to full effect,as the story/script twists and turns so we are never sure if this is a physical or psychological illness.Poe hasd  never looked better on the big screen,and it's down to a great team,with top marks to Corman and his muse Price,who like Scorsese and his muse De Niro are now legends of cinema history.All in a very powerfully well directed intelligent horror film,which sadly we seem no longer to get except for the odd one every so often,To his credit Corman with the help of his screenwritter,cinematography and designer comes off looking more than just good,as well an awesome producer,it is his direction that makes the story so consistently thrilling/chilling with next to no blood in sight,and worth watching time and time again.I can't fault this film on any level,except they a better actor for Madeline's fiancé Philip,but it's a minor fault and as someone once said to me,"there's no such thing as a perfect picture,only what you belive is"so this is my second favorite of the Corman/Poe films,maybe more because it was the first i saw,but i love it so;9/10


Wow, you've got your reviewing 'mojo' back big time here, very impressive. I must admit I prefer Masque Of The Red Death and Tomb Of Ligeia [which is my fva Poe story] to this film, but it's still a classic, of a kind you just don't get today. A beautiful, gorgeously atmospheric horror film, these Corman/Poe films are highly artistic and are much underrated in general I think.

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 14507
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 6/11/2012 8:40:36 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 4037
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Platter

Kubrick asks too much of the average viewer. Why should we automatically give him the benefit of the doubt that we don't give to everyone else? He gets enough special attention due to his reputation (I've seen Eyes Wide Shut FOUR times!, I have seen only the first 45 minutes of Heaven's Gate). If viewed without the cult of personality and looked at purely on their own artistic merit, which is what I did, then a lot of these films do not hold up in my opinion.

A lot of people are working backwards from the premise that he was a genius. So they forgive almost anything on the assumption that he was almost incapable of being wrong or bad. They don't want to look dumb by pointing out the emperor's nakedness incase he's not, and they've just misunderstood or not appreciated it fully. Anything crap must be deliberate and artistic. I work the other way. I assume he's just average like the rest of us, and then I try and find evidence to back up his inflated reputation. Overall I can sum up his career up by saying that when he was good, he was very good. When he was bad, he was very, very bad.

To clarify a point. All these movies I watched at x2 speed I have seen at normal speed in the past. Also x2 speed does not turn the soundtrack into Pinky and Perky squeaky voices. It just speeds things up, which I don't think is a bad thing with some movies that aren't justifying their bloated running times.

--------------------------------------------

I got this response from elsewhere to my review:

"Apart from feeling a little exasperated by the apparently evident disinterest you have in Kubrick's work, hence wondering why you bothered .. I actually found myself agreeing with a lot of your judgements, but also feel that what you've written does miss the point of what he's up to a lot of the time. They are long films, and sometimes the duration of sequences isn't wholly justified. Part of the problem is that you're watching them to see whether they stand up today, and whether they're entertaining by comparison with the way films are made nowadays. True, they're no modern Skyfall. But, to be very pretentious about it, this prolonged way of looking, of accepting a style over content was part of what we learnt as viewers from Kubrick; and, it simply isn't fair to judge an old film by today's standards. 2001 was outstanding at its first release, and remains incredibly influential. Yes, the CGI today makes the filming of models used in 2001 almost look like old Flash Gordon films, but at the time they were completely convincing and stimulated thoughts and ideas that just didn't happen in the cinema in those days. I was there, about fifteen years old, and it really was impressive stuff then. Suppose for the moment that either Inception or Prometheus are much better made films )haven't yet seen either, confession), are they likely to stand up over the next 50 years in the way you're asking Kubrick's films to do. Let's wait and see, shall we.

As for Lolita: everything you say is probably true, but I remember coming back from the pub many years ago, switching on the telly and that film was on, probably I was joining the film about five or ten minutes in. I hadn't read the book, never even heard of it at that time, but was absolutely hooked by the whole Shelley Winters and James Mason vitriolic hatred, and then mesmerized, but not outraged by the on-the-road with the teenage girl thing that ran to the end. The final sequences with Peter Sellers were just surreal and weird. Now, this was a great film for all of these reasons: I'd never seen anything quite like it. It was fantastically photographed and lit, hypnotic and gripping, with great acting performances, and a shocking tragic end. At the same time, it was all very strange. I know now that it was all shot in England, and not in America: the small time home town atmosphere was 'untrue' in any realistic sense, but cinematically gripping. Kubrick is strange because he sometimes seems arthouse, but in comparison with some others, just isn't profound, and sometimes he's movieland entertainment, but not Spielberg, either. I think, in the end, there are quite a few scenes that just stick in the memory, and an attitude, a kind of forensic looking that remains. In 2001 they most important shape is not the oblong monolith, but the circle. Watch the film again: circles are everywhere, including the big red eye of HAL, and that eye is the most important thing in the film. When Kubrick is good, it's seeing with the director's eye that conveys something unique. The best image in Clockwork Orange is what happens to Alex's eye(s), when he's forced to watch films he doesn't want to see. In Barry Lyndon the fuss at the time was all about filming in candlelight: filming to see things the way they are. You're always very aware of the camera in Kubrick films, sometimes that's good, often not.

One of the great directors, Tarkovsky, known for long shots and boring films that go nowhere called his manifesto for his own films 'Sculpting in Time'. Film, like music, manipulates time and the experience of time: double-speed makes a mockery of it: Let's cook the food twice as fast and then judge whether it's up to standard -- not really a fair way to judge a meal. By the way, if you're looking to offload that box set, I'll send you an address."


I love reading your reviews and opinions mate, even if they're different from the norm, because I have odd opinions too, but like Bill says, I don't understand how one can watch a film at double speed and then have a proper opinion about it. You may hear dialogue, sound effects, music etc.but it's not how the director intended. If a film is so boring that I feel the need to speed up the DVD, I just turn the bloody thing off

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Platter)
Post #: 14508
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 6/11/2012 8:40:53 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6742
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
CORMAN/POE the AIP years.
The Fall Of The House Of Usher was released in June 1960,and its box office success took AIP's James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff by surprise. Corman admitted, "We anticipated that the movie would do well, but not half as well as it did." According to screenwritter Richard Matheson, "When the first film was a hit, they still didn't consider doing a Poe series. They just wanted another movie with a Poe title fixed to it".Of course this changed with this second film,which was an even bigger critical and box office hit,and convinced AIP and Corman to continue with more Poe stories for another six films, five of them starring Price.There influence on the Italian directors is so powerful,the way Corman and his team used widescreen and colour.This second film alone can be seen in Dario Argento's Deep Red ,and Mario Bava's The Whip And The Body,both in style and story.What film am i talking about,well;
The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)


Nicholas Medina (Vincent Price),is the son of a notorious Spanish Inquisition torturer,his wife Elizabeth (Barbara Steele) has died under mysterious circumstances, prompting Elizabeth's brother Francis (John Kerr) to arrive at the Medina castle to investigate. The tormented Medina believes that Elizabeth was buried alive, and is convinced that he can hear his wife's voice calling out to him. In truth, Elizabeth has faked her death, part of a plan concocted with her lover Dr. Leon (Anthony Carbone) to drive Medina mad. She succeeds in this goal (albeit to her own grief, as the film's very last shot reveals), pushing Medina over the brink. Convinced that he's his own father, Medina dons Inquisition robes, straps Francis to a table,and arranges for a huge steel-bladed pendulum to descend on his helpless victim.

The Pit & The Pendulum was also shot on the budget and schedule of a B film,and to make sure it all went smoothly the production's shoot was kept short with a comprehensive pre planning.Once again he used Floyd Crosby director of photography and Art Director Daniel Haller,so everyone knew exactly what to do, barring any last minute inspirations on the set.So when they moved into the studio it took just for fifteen days of shooting,which i can't imagine any modern horror being shot in such a short space of time.Plus still look awesome with eerily evocative color camera work and sumptuous art direction,all for just $300,000,though as usual the costs where kept down by using old discarded set's and stock footage.

For the climactic torture sequence they built the pendulum eighteen feet long and weighed over a ton, and was constructed with a realistic rubber cutting blade. The pendulum was rigged from the top of the sound stage thirty-five feet in the air and would later find its way into the 1966 spy spoof Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, which also starred Vincent Price.The haunted castle was owned by American-International and is used to full advantage in Roger Corman's Pit & the Pendulum,though the climax in Richard Matheson's script bears little resemblance to the Edgar Allen Poe original story, though there are echoes throughout of Poe's The Premature Burial.It's the reoccurring theme of being buried alive,which is something that appears to have fascinated Edgar Allen Poe as it appears in a number of his stories.It fascinates me also to imagine the terror of being alone in an enclosed space with nobody or nothing to help you escape and that's what makes it so horrifying, and such a great springboard for a Gothic horror film.This is what truly great end Gothic horror films do,and this is Corman's Poe homage in a grandiose way,that only Corman and his team could do.

The cast this time is even better than the House Of Usher,with Vincent Price once again taking the lead role,making his powerful presence even more twisted,as he goes from melodrama to utter horror,some find this ham over-the-top melodrama but it suits Poe's adaptations,giving them that Shakespearean feel. John Kerr makes a terrific counterpart and his performance is very believable,as Englishman Francis Barnard,who on his trip to Spain he has received news of the death of his beloved sister Elizabeth (Barbara Steele).Barbara Steele unfortunately, doesn't get a lot of screen time and it's a shame because the aura of mystery round her suits perfectly the atmospheric horror of the film.Though a small role in this she did become a big star of horror in Mario Bava's Black Sunday,which also suited her ample talents.Luana Anders like Steele not only shows off her beauty,but also her talent for melodrama as Medina's sister Catherine,though for me she never out shines Steele.

Overall the film is near perfect and a great joy to watch,even though Richard Matheson script is not really a faithful adaptation,it is a cleverly written story that blends many different Poe stories into one.The characters are the film's soul and Matheson knows this as he forms the bonds and relationships between them which powers on the story and actors talents to there limit. The mystery of Elizabeth's death and Medina's castle is very well-handled and the unexpected climax is a classic horror moment that captures Poe's obsession with death,love,ancient buildings and Gothic settings.Corman's lavish Gothic set's once again give this an epic feel,and the unique use of color only add to the overall effect of the film.The last 20 minutes is horror film pure gold as Corman orchestrates flashback sequences in a blue red bloody tint,as he closes the camera's eye in on a character retelling a past occurrence.This is this film's flagship sequence the pendulum scene,where Corman took out every other frame to give the impression that the pendulum was swinging faster than it actually was. The way the pendulum swings across and gets lower every time depicts another horrible way to die,with the click click in the swing reminding us of a ticking clock and impending doom/death.Pit and the Pendulum is a masterpiece of low-budget film-making, a movie that looks even better than most of the big studios productions of even today even with all there CGI.10/10

_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Nexus Wookie)
Post #: 14509
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 6/11/2012 8:46:44 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 4037
Joined: 19/10/2005



Michael Williams, who works for the BBC, is working on a documentary entitled Diabolical Art: A Documentary. Since his wife’s mysterious death, his daughter Emily has been emotionally disturbed and her father gives her a medallion that belonged to her mother, but she start to have flashbacks where she is a witch about to be executed. When a curious art slide of a painting turns up with no form of identification accompanying it, Williams chases the trail, which leads him to the town of Spoleto in Italy, where a local countess (who doubles as a psychic) warns him about pursuing the truth behind the painting. Of course, he doesn’t heed the warnings…..

The 1970’s and the first half of the 1980’s were undoubtedly the Golden Age of Italian horror, where there was the impression that the country seemed to consist of little more than black-gloved killers, sexy models trying to be actresses, American and British actors trying not to look lost, ambiguous psychics, outlandish fashions, groovy music, bilious colours and, last but not least, imitations of popular American hits. William Friedkin’s The Exorcist spawned a large number of Italian imitations like Beyond The Door and Enter The Devil. Mario Bava’s arthouse horror masterpiece Lisa And The Devil was re-edited into House Of Exorcism. The Night Child just about belongs in that category as it features a girl who get possessed, but it’s actually nothing like Friedkin’s film. Not knowing much about the film, I expected lots of pea soup, swearing and blood, and instead got a more subtle, graceful effort which may disappoint some, but which, once I adjusted to the mood of the film, I found quite pleasing.

Indeed ‘graceful’ is probably how I would most describe this film which moves at a very slow pace but almost immediately creates a subtly chilling mood with its beautiful photography by Franco Delli Colli, careful direction by Massimo Dallamano [probably best known for his gloriously sleazy giallo What Have They Done To Solange? and not a filmmaker I’ve had much experience of] and ambiguous story which is content to hint rather than explain. The possession aspect doesn’t really come into the film until half way through and even then it’s not made clear if it is actual demonic possession or not. Important things such as the painting and the medallion are not satisfactory explained, and this is clearly intentional. The film does take a laboriously long time to get going, with Michael’s affair with his agent something in particular that could perhaps have hit the cutting room floor, though it helps show Emily’s frustration with what is going on around her. If you enjoyed Don’t Look Now though, I reckon you’ll enjoy The Night Child. There’s even some chasing around nocturnal town streets very reminiscent of Nicolas Roeg’s Venice [though the town is just like the one in Bava’s Kill Baby Kill.

Dallamano seems to emphasise beauty rather than horror, or combine the two. Emily appears to the Countess playing the piano as light streams in on her through a window, bathing her in white and making her look like a porcelain doll of an angel. A woman's charred body waves for help atop a balcony as her room burns behind her. Emily’s ‘visions’ are in dreamlike soft focus even though she is being pursued by people who usually have long noses. There are individual shots of immense complexity, such as somebody's reflection appearing in front of the painting while still casting a black shadow. The painting itself is almost a character in the film with the way it is constantly referred to and shown, casting its spell over every scene even when it’s something innocuous like people having breakfast. And all the time, Stelvio Cipriani’s score repeats the same haunting, gorgeous theme over the over again, helping to create the rather nostalgic mood of the piece. Its constant repetition might drive some viewers mad though, of course.

The second half does seem to build up to excitement which doesn’t really occur. Emily’s possession is mostly limited to her getting angry and smoking a cigarette. Two murder scenes are interestingly shot, with the camera 'falling' with the victim, but the effect looks awful and here, as occasionally elsewhere, Dallamano’s ambitions exceed his capabilities. Certain Freudian aspects become omni-present and are perhaps one half-explained ingredient too many, while the climax is over before you know it. The eagle-eyed will easily spot some continuity mistakes such as scenes going back and forth from night to day. Dallamano’s efforts in making an artistic film were obviously constrained by the short amount of time he had in which to make it.

The Arrow DVD contains both English dubbed and Italian and English subtitled versions, and I watched the dubbed one; most of these movies were shot silent with different audio tracks added later so even the Italian version is not automatically the most ‘authentic’ one. The dubbing is okay and not really distracting. Sometimes the print goes into Italian with English subtitles; these were bits obviously removed for the US version and now put back in. One of the things that I was most looking forward to in this film was seeing Nicoletta Elmi in a major role. You may not know the name, but if you’ve watched lots of old Italian horrors and thrillers you’ll certainly recognise her. She made a number of small but memorable appearances in films like Deep Red [remember the little girl who has a problem with lizards?] and Flesh For Frankenstein. A distinctly odd, rather scary-looking child who actually grew up to be quite a beauty though doesn’t appear to have been in anything since 1988, she proves herself in The Night Child to have been a great little actress, giving the part of Emily a certain depth while still not letting on too much what is actually happening.

The cast in general should interest cult movie fans with Zombie Flesh Eaters’ s doctor Richard Johnson acting alongside Blade Runner beauty Joanna Cassidy [and she really is a stunner in this film] and faded Hollywood ‘near’ star Edmund Purdom. The Night Child doesn’t really succeed in becoming the great art house/ horror movie it’s straining to become, but it’s full of interest, has much to recommend it, and I would definitely recommend it if you’re after something a little different. And before you ask, yes; the obligatory [to 70’s Italian films of this ilk] bottle of J & B whisky is present and correct, in fact it appears four times in this one!

Rating: 7/10

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 14510
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 6/11/2012 8:52:55 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 4037
Joined: 19/10/2005






A man is shot in Beirut from a distance by a man with a rifle. The culprit is Cliff, supposedly a gangster but actually working undercover for the police. The next task he is given is to infiltrate a London escort agency run by Morell. This establishment has a particular scam that it likes to play; secretly filming its VIP clients in potentially embarrassing situations and then blackmailing them into carrying narcotics across the border. The main purchaser of their goods is Marco, the representative of an American outfit which is involved in a complex turf war with another gang led by Mamma the Turk. Cliff has already began a relationship with Joanne, one of the women working in the escort agency……

If you think of Italian commercial cinema of the 1970’s, one automatically thinks of horror films and thrillers, especially that unique subgenre the giallo where black gloved assassins slashed their way through convoluted and sleazy plots. The county also turned out quite a few gangster and police thrillers which were popular at the time but and also comprised their own subgenre called the poliziotteschi , but which are not much known nowadays except by really dedicated fans of Italian films. These pictures usually dealt with organised crime, corruption up to the highest levels, graphic violence, vigilantism and lots of gun fights. Fernando Di Leo and Umberto Lenzi were probably the masters of the form, but most [if not quite all] Italian directors of the time had a go, and Super Bitch is one of two efforts by Massimo Dallamano [the other being Colt .38 Special Squad]. It’s an enjoyable movie which keeps the attention throughout and has a few interesting quirks, though there’s little outstanding about it and it isn’t really amongst the best of its genre.

It opens with a superbly staged killing in Beirut, with some fine camerawork and good use of the locations, then continues with a car chase which is simple and straight forward compared to the similar sequences we see in films today but is quite refreshing in its lack of gimmicks and it’s editing that ensures you can properly see what is going on. And of course, you know people are doing all the driving for real. The film soon switches to London where it then stays, and I personally always love seeing old films set in a city which I know so well and has in some ways changed so much over the years and in some ways is almost the same. The locales often seem shot through a mist or a fog with colour minimised, giving London a rather mysterious and sinister feel. This often seems to be the case when European directors film in the city, such as Lucio Fulci with A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin.

The story of Super Bitch gets complex quite quickly and to be honest, a little hard to follow. The plot is actually not that different from A Fistful Of Dollars [or, if you like, Yojimbo], which Dallamano had actually been the cinematographer on, but it soon becomes hard to work out who is working for who. There were a couple of times the plot ‘lost’ me and I was doing my damndest to concentrate, but it’s all nicely explained at the end. A number of bloody shootings keep things ticking over nicely and there is one in particular which is especially well done, as a guy reading a newspaper is shot on a bench in Regent’s Park, the blood drenching the paper in the red stuff and us not seeing the bullet hole until a few seconds later. There is another bit during a shoot out where one man is shot and seems to take ages to die, the audience being asked perhaps too feel his agony and have pity perhaps, even though this is a violent man we are watching dying. Overall though this is a less vicious film than many others of its ilk.

It’s not really the confusing plot or the meagre action which saves Super Bitch from being a mostly mundane thriller. It’s the many crazy details. There’s the gang which runs an escort service which it uses to film powerful men in compromising positions with girls (and boys) and then blackmail them into helping out with the narcotic trafficking via a scheme involving art auctions. Got that? Okay, so I’ll now move onto the other gang which is led by an old lady called “Mama” hilariously played by Patricia Hayes in a part that for me far outshines her role in A Fish Called Wanda, and who are not only aspiring musicians but could be her children. Scenes where the gang sing a song beginning with the lines ’Mamma, Mamma, Mamma, Mamma, You can handle guns better than any man’, and one where one of the gang, who fancies himself as a mariachi, tortures the heroine with music, have to be seem to be believed. This guy even sings and plays when the others are beating someone to death. Then there’s the brothel which has a huge TV screen in the reception room with shapes moving around in psychedelic fashion, and if you think Stephanie Beacham seemed out of place in the bondage scenes in The Nightcomers, then wait until you’ve seen her with an elderly client playing at being rabbits, replete with carrot!

Fans of Ms Beacham will be pleased to know that she sheds her clothes a few times especially during a real tease of a scene where co-star Ivan Rassimov is in the foreground and she is having a shower in the background, but you have to strain to see it! Like the violence, the sexual content is actually quite tame. Rassimov’s ‘hero’ is rather interesting. He’s mid way between being the archetypal tough cop who does things ‘his way’ and a real unscrupulous sod with no morals whatsoever. Not perhaps a stretch for Rassimov really but a juicy role nonetheless though as usual the actor seems to be more concerned with just looking cool. Beacham, by contrast, seems to play one of the ‘happiest’ hookers in history and her role is not convincing in the slightest. I should point out that, unlike on Arrow’s DVD of The Night Child which I reviewed this morning, the dubbed version of Super Bitch is not too good and the Italian version is preferable even though you don’t hear Beacham’s voice. As before, Arrow have restored some footage unseen outside Italy, though it’s makes so little difference it’s a wonder it was cut in the first place.

Super Bitch, which is set to some great groovy soundtrack stylings by Riz Ortolani, has the typical caricatured 70’s homosexual characters, and the fashions are atrocious, but isn’t that part of the fun of movies like this? A touch dull at times but with something amusing or exciting coming along every now and again to perk things up, plus a rather surprising ending, this is certainly worth a look if, in the end, not quite as good as it promises to be. Look out for four J&B whisky sightings in this one, including one guy going out to his car and bringing in a whole box of the stuff!

Rating: 6.5/10



_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 14511
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 6/11/2012 8:56:52 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6742
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

Bill I only need to mention an old horror movie and you have a review of it knocking about . I haven't seen The Awakening for about 25 years, it used to turn up on TV quite often, like you I sat through it twice probably hoping it would be better second time round, and it remained distinctly average!


quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

CORMAN/POE the AIP years.
Well guy's/girls it's time we went back in time for the first of Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe films, Fall of the House of Usher which was originally released as simply House of Usher.This AIP release was a great beginning to a varying but always interesting series of horror films,that for such low budgets look and sound like epic horror films.This is my personal look back at a bunch of films i fell in love with back in the days when in the UK/Ireland there where only a few channels on the box.This was the time of year many moons ago when as a child i looked forward to Friday Nights double bill of Horror on BBC 1,it introduce me to Hammer,Universal horror films of the 30's-70's,but it was AIP and Corman doing Edgar Allen Poe that blew my mind.So lets start at the beginning,when Corman had the crazy idea to take on Hammer with his Poe films,full of premature burials,murder,mystery and dark Gothic settings of a time gone by.

Fall of the House of Usher (1960)

Here is a film light on gore but high on tension,where Corman succeeds in creating a constant sense of intrigue and wonder,with you hanging on every moment, as we can't wait to see what happens next.There some great dream shots which are surreal yet chilling as Madeline is already showing signs of of losing her mind,and Roderick has some pretty twisted ideas of how to stop that from happening,with being buried alive top of the list.Of course what Edgar Allen Poe story has not some surreal madness in it,and here it is used to full effect,as the story/script twists and turns so we are never sure if this is a physical or psychological illness.Poe hasd  never looked better on the big screen,and it's down to a great team,with top marks to Corman and his muse Price,who like Scorsese and his muse De Niro are now legends of cinema history.All in a very powerfully well directed intelligent horror film,which sadly we seem no longer to get except for the odd one every so often,To his credit Corman with the help of his screenwritter,cinematography and designer comes off looking more than just good,as well an awesome producer,it is his direction that makes the story so consistently thrilling/chilling with next to no blood in sight,and worth watching time and time again.I can't fault this film on any level,except they a better actor for Madeline's fiancé Philip,but it's a minor fault and as someone once said to me,"there's no such thing as a perfect picture,only what you belive is"so this is my second favorite of the Corman/Poe films,maybe more because it was the first i saw,but i love it so;9/10


Wow, you've got your reviewing 'mojo' back big time here, very impressive. I must admit I prefer Masque Of The Red Death and Tomb Of Ligeia [which is my fva Poe story] to this film, but it's still a classic, of a kind you just don't get today. A beautiful, gorgeously atmospheric horror film, these Corman/Poe films are highly artistic and are much underrated in general I think.

Now Dr you did catch me out on the Bram Stoker Mummy films,so i don't always have a hidden review,though that one i had on another Film Mags forum,which i'd forgotten about tillyou mentioned it,so you've only yourself to blame.
Anyway glad you liked the first of the Corman/Poe AIP years,and though Masque Of The Red Death and Tomb Of Ligeia are brillant,i gave an extra point to House of Usher because it was the first of Cormans films i ever saw,and blew me away on first viewing.I'm realy enjoying re watching them in the order they where made.and might have to adjust the scores by the end,but i'm going on gut feeling,and memory of my first vist on ye old BBC.Got number two up,hope you enjoy it,and maybe give at a rewatch yourself,or better still do a review of the Corman/Poe years on HCF too as well as here.

P.S I'll read your two new reviews as soon as i can mate.

< Message edited by evil bill -- 6/11/2012 8:59:18 PM >


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 14512
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 8/11/2012 7:43:53 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6742
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera




the cast in general should interest cult movie fans with Zombie Flesh Eaters' s doctor Richard Johnson acting alongside Blade Runner beauty Joanna Cassidy [and she really is a stunner in this film] and faded Hollywood 'near' star Edmund Purdom. The Night Child doesn't really succeed in becoming the great art house/ horror movie it's straining to become, but it's full of interest, has much to recommend it, and I would definitely recommend it if you're after something a little different. And before you ask, yes; the obligatory [to 70's Italian films of this ilk] bottle of J & B whisky is present and correct, in fact it appears four times in this one

!Rating: 7/10

I was'nt going to askbut as one alco to another i still prefer JDand yes i noticed,and it's a real cult classic of Italian horror at it's best.I felt it was very Mario Bava in style very much Lisia and The Devil,also as you said a"something a little different" from the norm,worth the watching YES!!.
Your second pick of Italian Horror i've yet too see???
 


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 14513
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 12/11/2012 1:51:14 PM   
DAVID GILLESPIE


Posts: 2888
Joined: 27/2/2007
From: Glasgow

quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

CORMAN/POE the AIP years.
The Fall Of The House Of Usher was released in June 1960,and its box office success took AIP's James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff by surprise. Corman admitted, "We anticipated that the movie would do well, but not half as well as it did." According to screenwritter Richard Matheson, "When the first film was a hit, they still didn't consider doing a Poe series. They just wanted another movie with a Poe title fixed to it".Of course this changed with this second film,which was an even bigger critical and box office hit,and convinced AIP and Corman to continue with more Poe stories for another six films, five of them starring Price.There influence on the Italian directors is so powerful,the way Corman and his team used widescreen and colour.This second film alone can be seen in Dario Argento's Deep Red ,and Mario Bava's The Whip And The Body,both in style and story.What film am i talking about,well;
The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)


Nicholas Medina (Vincent Price),is the son of a notorious Spanish Inquisition torturer,his wife Elizabeth (Barbara Steele) has died under mysterious circumstances, prompting Elizabeth's brother Francis (John Kerr) to arrive at the Medina castle to investigate. The tormented Medina believes that Elizabeth was buried alive, and is convinced that he can hear his wife's voice calling out to him. In truth, Elizabeth has faked her death, part of a plan concocted with her lover Dr. Leon (Anthony Carbone) to drive Medina mad. She succeeds in this goal (albeit to her own grief, as the film's very last shot reveals), pushing Medina over the brink. Convinced that he's his own father, Medina dons Inquisition robes, straps Francis to a table,and arranges for a huge steel-bladed pendulum to descend on his helpless victim.

The Pit & The Pendulum was also shot on the budget and schedule of a B film,and to make sure it all went smoothly the production's shoot was kept short with a comprehensive pre planning.Once again he used Floyd Crosby director of photography and Art Director Daniel Haller,so everyone knew exactly what to do, barring any last minute inspirations on the set.So when they moved into the studio it took just for fifteen days of shooting,which i can't imagine any modern horror being shot in such a short space of time.Plus still look awesome with eerily evocative color camera work and sumptuous art direction,all for just $300,000,though as usual the costs where kept down by using old discarded set's and stock footage.

For the climactic torture sequence they built the pendulum eighteen feet long and weighed over a ton, and was constructed with a realistic rubber cutting blade. The pendulum was rigged from the top of the sound stage thirty-five feet in the air and would later find its way into the 1966 spy spoof Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, which also starred Vincent Price.The haunted castle was owned by American-International and is used to full advantage in Roger Corman's Pit & the Pendulum,though the climax in Richard Matheson's script bears little resemblance to the Edgar Allen Poe original story, though there are echoes throughout of Poe's The Premature Burial.It's the reoccurring theme of being buried alive,which is something that appears to have fascinated Edgar Allen Poe as it appears in a number of his stories.It fascinates me also to imagine the terror of being alone in an enclosed space with nobody or nothing to help you escape and that's what makes it so horrifying, and such a great springboard for a Gothic horror film.This is what truly great end Gothic horror films do,and this is Corman's Poe homage in a grandiose way,that only Corman and his team could do.

The cast this time is even better than the House Of Usher,with Vincent Price once again taking the lead role,making his powerful presence even more twisted,as he goes from melodrama to utter horror,some find this ham over-the-top melodrama but it suits Poe's adaptations,giving them that Shakespearean feel. John Kerr makes a terrific counterpart and his performance is very believable,as Englishman Francis Barnard,who on his trip to Spain he has received news of the death of his beloved sister Elizabeth (Barbara Steele).Barbara Steele unfortunately, doesn't get a lot of screen time and it's a shame because the aura of mystery round her suits perfectly the atmospheric horror of the film.Though a small role in this she did become a big star of horror in Mario Bava's Black Sunday,which also suited her ample talents.Luana Anders like Steele not only shows off her beauty,but also her talent for melodrama as Medina's sister Catherine,though for me she never out shines Steele.

Overall the film is near perfect and a great joy to watch,even though Richard Matheson script is not really a faithful adaptation,it is a cleverly written story that blends many different Poe stories into one.The characters are the film's soul and Matheson knows this as he forms the bonds and relationships between them which powers on the story and actors talents to there limit. The mystery of Elizabeth's death and Medina's castle is very well-handled and the unexpected climax is a classic horror moment that captures Poe's obsession with death,love,ancient buildings and Gothic settings.Corman's lavish Gothic set's once again give this an epic feel,and the unique use of color only add to the overall effect of the film.The last 20 minutes is horror film pure gold as Corman orchestrates flashback sequences in a blue red bloody tint,as he closes the camera's eye in on a character retelling a past occurrence.This is this film's flagship sequence the pendulum scene,where Corman took out every other frame to give the impression that the pendulum was swinging faster than it actually was. The way the pendulum swings across and gets lower every time depicts another horrible way to die,with the click click in the swing reminding us of a ticking clock and impending doom/death.Pit and the Pendulum is a masterpiece of low-budget film-making, a movie that looks even better than most of the big studios productions of even today even with all there CGI.10/10

Totally agree with you on this, a timeless classic. Certainly does not look low budget. Spot on review, mate.

_____________________________

Cludge Judge * Cold Fish

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 14514
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 13/11/2012 8:16:07 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6742
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: DAVID GILLESPIE


quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

CORMAN/POE the AIP years.
The Fall Of The House Of Usher was released in June 1960,and its box office success took AIP's James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff by surprise. Corman admitted, "We anticipated that the movie would do well, but not half as well as it did." According to screenwritter Richard Matheson, "When the first film was a hit, they still didn't consider doing a Poe series. They just wanted another movie with a Poe title fixed to it".Of course this changed with this second film,which was an even bigger critical and box office hit,and convinced AIP and Corman to continue with more Poe stories for another six films, five of them starring Price.There influence on the Italian directors is so powerful,the way Corman and his team used widescreen and colour.This second film alone can be seen in Dario Argento's Deep Red ,and Mario Bava's The Whip And The Body,both in style and story.What film am i talking about,well;
The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)


Nicholas Medina (Vincent Price),is the son of a notorious Spanish Inquisition torturer,his wife Elizabeth (Barbara Steele) has died under mysterious circumstances, prompting Elizabeth's brother Francis (John Kerr) to arrive at the Medina castle to investigate. The tormented Medina believes that Elizabeth was buried alive, and is convinced that he can hear his wife's voice calling out to him. In truth, Elizabeth has faked her death, part of a plan concocted with her lover Dr. Leon (Anthony Carbone) to drive Medina mad. She succeeds in this goal (albeit to her own grief, as the film's very last shot reveals), pushing Medina over the brink. Convinced that he's his own father, Medina dons Inquisition robes, straps Francis to a table,and arranges for a huge steel-bladed pendulum to descend on his helpless victim.


Overall the film is near perfect and a great joy to watch,even though Richard Matheson script is not really a faithful adaptation,it is a cleverly written story that blends many different Poe stories into one.The characters are the film's soul and Matheson knows this as he forms the bonds and relationships between them which powers on the story and actors talents to there limit. The mystery of Elizabeth's death and Medina's castle is very well-handled and the unexpected climax is a classic horror moment that captures Poe's obsession with death,love,ancient buildings and Gothic settings.Corman's lavish Gothic set's once again give this an epic feel,and the unique use of color only add to the overall effect of the film.The last 20 minutes is horror film pure gold as Corman orchestrates flashback sequences in a blue red bloody tint,as he closes the camera's eye in on a character retelling a past occurrence.This is this film's flagship sequence the pendulum scene,where Corman took out every other frame to give the impression that the pendulum was swinging faster than it actually was. The way the pendulum swings across and gets lower every time depicts another horrible way to die,with the click click in the swing reminding us of a ticking clock and impending doom/death.Pit and the Pendulum is a masterpiece of low-budget film-making, a movie that looks even better than most of the big studios productions of even today even with all there CGI.10/10

Totally agree with you on this, a timeless classic. Certainly does not look low budget. Spot on review, mate.

Thanks mate glad to see your still floating around,and hope to get up the next couple of reviews soon,as i'm just about to watch??? now that would be telling.

_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to DAVID GILLESPIE)
Post #: 14515
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 13/11/2012 8:31:25 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 4037
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

Bill I only need to mention an old horror movie and you have a review of it knocking about . I haven't seen The Awakening for about 25 years, it used to turn up on TV quite often, like you I sat through it twice probably hoping it would be better second time round, and it remained distinctly average!


quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

CORMAN/POE the AIP years.
Well guy's/girls it's time we went back in time for the first of Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe films, Fall of the House of Usher which was originally released as simply House of Usher.This AIP release was a great beginning to a varying but always interesting series of horror films,that for such low budgets look and sound like epic horror films.This is my personal look back at a bunch of films i fell in love with back in the days when in the UK/Ireland there where only a few channels on the box.This was the time of year many moons ago when as a child i looked forward to Friday Nights double bill of Horror on BBC 1,it introduce me to Hammer,Universal horror films of the 30's-70's,but it was AIP and Corman doing Edgar Allen Poe that blew my mind.So lets start at the beginning,when Corman had the crazy idea to take on Hammer with his Poe films,full of premature burials,murder,mystery and dark Gothic settings of a time gone by.

Fall of the House of Usher (1960)

Here is a film light on gore but high on tension,where Corman succeeds in creating a constant sense of intrigue and wonder,with you hanging on every moment, as we can't wait to see what happens next.There some great dream shots which are surreal yet chilling as Madeline is already showing signs of of losing her mind,and Roderick has some pretty twisted ideas of how to stop that from happening,with being buried alive top of the list.Of course what Edgar Allen Poe story has not some surreal madness in it,and here it is used to full effect,as the story/script twists and turns so we are never sure if this is a physical or psychological illness.Poe hasd  never looked better on the big screen,and it's down to a great team,with top marks to Corman and his muse Price,who like Scorsese and his muse De Niro are now legends of cinema history.All in a very powerfully well directed intelligent horror film,which sadly we seem no longer to get except for the odd one every so often,To his credit Corman with the help of his screenwritter,cinematography and designer comes off looking more than just good,as well an awesome producer,it is his direction that makes the story so consistently thrilling/chilling with next to no blood in sight,and worth watching time and time again.I can't fault this film on any level,except they a better actor for Madeline's fiancé Philip,but it's a minor fault and as someone once said to me,"there's no such thing as a perfect picture,only what you belive is"so this is my second favorite of the Corman/Poe films,maybe more because it was the first i saw,but i love it so;9/10


Wow, you've got your reviewing 'mojo' back big time here, very impressive. I must admit I prefer Masque Of The Red Death and Tomb Of Ligeia [which is my fva Poe story] to this film, but it's still a classic, of a kind you just don't get today. A beautiful, gorgeously atmospheric horror film, these Corman/Poe films are highly artistic and are much underrated in general I think.

Now Dr you did catch me out on the Bram Stoker Mummy films,so i don't always have a hidden review,though that one i had on another Film Mags forum,which i'd forgotten about tillyou mentioned it,so you've only yourself to blame.
Anyway glad you liked the first of the Corman/Poe AIP years,and though Masque Of The Red Death and Tomb Of Ligeia are brillant,i gave an extra point to House of Usher because it was the first of Cormans films i ever saw,and blew me away on first viewing.I'm realy enjoying re watching them in the order they where made.and might have to adjust the scores by the end,but i'm going on gut feeling,and memory of my first vist on ye old BBC.Got number two up,hope you enjoy it,and maybe give at a rewatch yourself,or better still do a review of the Corman/Poe years on HCF too as well as here.

P.S I'll read your two new reviews as soon as i can mate.


Look forward to reading, yeah the Corman Poe series is a great idea for a feature as it's not too long, will get to one day. Got Universal horror to finish [almost there!], abit behind posting it on Empire but it takes me ages at the moment, am writing a Lord Of The Rings lookback for HCF, and of course intend to begin Hammer early next year, which will include all their suspense thrillers and fantasy adventures as well as horrors; just have a few films to obtain first!

And JD better than J and B? No way, though I believe you're more a Vodka man?

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 14516
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 13/11/2012 8:45:54 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 4037
Joined: 19/10/2005
GUILTY PLEASURE MARS DOUBLE BILL


In 2020, on the evening before the first manned mission to the planet Mars, astronauts Woody Blake and Jim McConnell say farewell to Luke Graham, who is the leader of the mission. Upon arrival, the team discover a crystalline formation within a mountain in the Cydonia region. Hearing a strange sound on their communications system, which they assume to be interference from their planetary rover, they are then attacked by a large whirlwind made of sand which kills them all except for Luke. After the vortex subsides, a large humanoid face is exposed. Luke manages to upload an emergency transmission and a second ship is hastily readied for a rescue mission, headed by Woody and Jim…..

While the second film on this double bill is unashamedly a B-movie and needs to really be treated as such, Mission To Mars is something else, a would-be Hollywood blockbuster with a big budget, major stars etc. It’s a glorious folly, a wonderfully strange and rather brave film that doesn’t really deliver what you might expect, but is very interesting and certainly attempts to be more intelligent than most other science-fiction films of the time. At times it’s somewhat poor, but on other occasions it’s quite magnificent and certainly isn’t a blot on director Brian De Palma’s CV, though it is often treated as such. It’s certainly better than the other Mars movie of 2000, the dull Red Planet, and even if you hate it, you have to admire its sheer cheek. It seems to blithely ignore commercial considerations, and its ambition cannot be faulted. In aiming for the stars, De Palma doesn’t quite reach them, but he fails with honour.

Mission To Mars was, believe it or not, inspired by a Disney theme park ride with the same name. It was originally planned as a medium budget film with Gore Verbinski, then not much of a name, at the helm, but Touchstone Pictures, sensing a hit, upgraded the budget and Verbinski, at the time not comfortable with such a big movie, left [though he would later make a certain three films about pirates based on another Disney ride], and De Palma took over. He seems to have instigated some script rewrites but when the film was almost completed, the studio, not really liking what they were seeing, cut the budget, meaning that the ending, which was intended to be an enormous spectacle, had to be cut down and rushed. The picture was something of a flop and received mostly poor reviews. De Palma was even nominated for a Golden Raspberry award, something I find very bizarre. Interestingly though it was a success in France, where the magazine cahiers du cinema named as the fourth best film of 2000. I’m not sure I would go that far, but it does prove once again how perceptive of cinema they are in France.

Mission To Mars begins with a long conversation between three astronauts, and I should say right away if you haven’t seen it, this film has an awful lot of chat and can be very slow at times. Is this automatically a flaw? I personally think the film could have done with a bit of tightening here and there but it looks great throughout and, though many disagree, the dialogue is also rather good in its comic book way. “Let’s light this candle” may sound corny, but it was actually said by Alan Shepard, the first American in space, just before lift-off. To me Mission To Mars looks and sounds very authentic, with even the scenes on Mars really looking like they were filmed on the red planet. The giant face that appears in the film was actually based on a photograph taken from one of the Viking missions in the 1970s, which revealed what appeared to be a face-like shape in the surface features. The special effects convince for the most part, and you can say all you want about the CG sandstorm that appears near the beginning [including the fact that it had not long been done better in The Mummy], but it wouldn’t automaticaly look any better now; in many ways CGI has not improved at all. in fact sometimes it’s got worse as more and more things are done digitally.

Said sandstorm scene, replete with a rather gruesome death for a ‘PG’ film, is the only thrill in the first third, and the film does drag for a while, but the performances are good [even if Gary Sinise wears some very odd eye makeup that makes him look like a drag queen] and De Palma’s usual cameraman Stephen H. Burum gives us some great camera moves which show us around the ship. Then a gas leak occurs, and for the next twenty minutes or so we are treated to a master class in sustained tension as things just get worse and worse. The special effects are superb, the editing is perfect and Ennio Morricone’s scoring, a simple synthesised beat with an organ that sometimes goes into full-blown orchestral emotion, perfectly backs up the action. This is De Palma working near his best, technically astounding, totally riveting and rather emotional. He also shows himself entirely comfortable in the world of special effects, never ignoring the human element and conveying a realistic sense of peril amongst all the spectacle.

It’s fair to say that after this the film never reaches those giddy heights again. There’s a considerable amount of suspense as the astronauts near the secret on Mars that will reveal everything, and a hugely entertaining performance from the underrated Don Cheadle to enjoy as Luke the survivor of the opening sequence, but the film refuses to give us the expected action climax. Then again, Mission To Mars often perversely refuses to show us what we might expect; for instance we don’t see any of the rockets taking off. Instead it gives us a potted evolution history and a possible explanation of our origins. The visuals alternate between being tacky and being rather cool, while the ideas are perhaps not as original as all that; Quatermass And The Pit offered up pretty much the same thing, and it seems that Prometheus, in turn, used the same basic concept. I love the ending anyway for its plain bizarreness and its ambition though I can’t stop wondering what the original conception would have been like.

Typically for De Palma, Mission To Mars echoes many other films while still being entirely its own movie. The Abyss and 2001: A Space Odyssey are two which especially came to mind when I last viewed the film. Now an especially criticised aspect of the picture is Morricone’s score, perhaps because it’s so different to the typical ‘sound’ of a film of this kind, but to me that just sums up the narrow-mindedness of some critics. The composer seems to emphasise the wonder and beauty of space and other worlds with some gorgeous pieces, while often using atypical instruments such as the electric guitar and the organ. His music for the final scenes is truly beautiful and uplifting. Maybe it’s a little corny, but some corn is good for you once in a while. There is a lot about this movie that doesn’t really work, but there are some very good things in it, it had ambition to spare, and I’m not sure I would want it any other way.

Rating: 7/10



It is the year 2176 and Mars has been colonized by a high-tech company which has been 84% terraformed, allowing humans to walk on the surface without wearing pressure suits. Melanie Ballard, a police officer, went on an expedition to a Mars mining camp to bring back a murderous prisoner called Desolation Williams, and returned with most of her companions dead. An inquest is held to find out what happened and Melanie tells her terrible story, a story in which she and her team found the camp a ghost town. It seems that the miners had discovered an underground doorway created by an ancient Martian civilization which, when opened, released disembodied spirits which possessed the miners……

Ghosts Of Mars is usually considered John Carpenter’s worst picture, a perfect example of how low a once-great filmmaker can sink. It’s a truly nonsensical film that is easy to pick apart, and yet I always enjoy watching it. In fact I prefer it, in terms of sheer entertainment, to at least three other Carpenter movies. It’s a classic ‘so bad it’s good’ film, a film you watch because it’s poor, and I would even go as far to say that its total illogicality gives it a certain edge. No, it’s not scary, but it does have a strange atmosphere, almost like that of a bad dream, which I find quite infectious. And even though it contrasts nicely with Mission To Mars in that it’s a ‘B’ picture through and through, it does have some curious elements which show Carpenter experimenting somewhat when he isn’t riffing on his own back catalogue….though of course he falls flat on his face.

Ghosts Of Mars had a slightly higher budget than usual for Carpenter even if the result still ended up looking like a relatively low budget production. Originally Courtney Love and Jason Statham were going to star as the two main lead characters Melanie Ballard and Desolation Williams, but Love had her foot ran over by her boyfriend’s ex-wife and Statham wasn’t considered a hot enough property at the time so was moved to a secondary role and replaced in the lead by Ice Cube. Filmed entirely at night with the main location being a gypsum mine near Albuquerque, New Mexico, it came in under budget as usual for a Carpenter film. Typically, he also composed the score and this time employed the services of various rock musicians including members of Guns N’ Roses, Anthrax and Steve Vai. Though not an outright flop, Ghosts Of Mars was received mostly with derision, something which was probably instrumental in Carpenter not making another full feature film for nine years.

The first thing that will probably strike a first-time viewer of this stupid but hard-to-dislike film is the odd way the story is told and the script by Carpenter and Larry Sulkis is structured. The picture opens with our heroine about to tell her story in a court, so we soon accept that the majority of what we will see is a flashback. The trouble is, is that the film keeps on flashing back to the court room at inopportune moments, usually ruining what little tension there is. Then, in the main part of the story, characters keep telling of what happened to them a while back and we are treated to more flashbacks, flashbacks within flashbacks as it were. It’s weird to see someone once a master of lean, economical storytelling do this kind of thing and he botches it, but then you also have things like random dissolves in the middle of some scenes, so maybe we should admire John here for indulging his ‘arty’, experimental side…….or maybe not.

The second thing that soon becomes apparent is how much it copies earlier Carpenter works. There are echoes of Escape From New York and The Thing, but more than anything else the film comes across as a semi-remake of Assault On Precinct 13, with the relationship between the two leads being almost exactly like the relationship between Napoleon Wilson the death-row inmate and Ethan Bishop the law-enforcement official in the earlier movie. Sadly all this just constantly reminds of how much better a filmmaker Carpenter was in the old days, though what with the copying of classic westerns like Rio Bravo, the film actually comes across much better if you just think of it as an updated western. Ghosts Of Mars is also saddled with lots of comical hard-boiled dialogue delivered by a cast who, except for Jason Statham who realises exactly what kind of film he’s in, take it absurdly seriously. It’s a cast to die for though, so you could almost say so what that Pam Grier’s character is yet another lesbian who is patronisingly introduced by giving the ‘come on’ to another woman, or that Henstridge’s heroine, after fighting off Statham’s ‘offers’ for an hour, gives in like all good Hollywood heroines should. Joanna Cassidy doesn’t appear to have aged a day since Blade Runner.

Much of the first half involves good old wondering around corridors though Carpenter is still able to demonstrate his ability to perfectly time a shock with some decent ‘jumps’ as possessed folk suddenly move into the frame. There’s lots of point of view shots of the alien ‘spirits’ moving around and some hilariously inept action scenes with badly done stunts and blows that clearly miss their targets. The pumped-up heavy metal guitar music gives the sequences some manic energy and certainly adds to the fun factor. You may wonder why all the possessed miners have the same Goth/Punk look as Carpenter’s Vampires, and may also sit there aghast at some gob-smacking bits of writing, such as a bit where Melanie is possessed and decides to take the drug she seems to periodically take, hoping it will [somehow] flush out the evil inside her. She has a brief flashback to what seems like the ancient Martian civilisation, than the misty nastiness exits out of her mouth and she is fine! In that case I know what to do when I next have an infection; I’ll just smoke a joint and I’ll be right as rain.

Ghosts of Mars is quite a gory film though the decapitations etc. are mostly of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them type. Overall it doesn’t exhibit much imagination in its look except for one scene in a room full of dead bodies which is lit with Mario Bava-style hues. It shows laziness all-round. At the beginning, a point is made of stating that the film takes place in a matriarchal society, but it has no bearing on the rest of the film, a good summing-up of the attitude that makes up the whole film. And yet a bit of me wonders if this is actually a not-exactly misunderstood but maybe the most purely personal picture Carpenter ever made, and how can you not like a film which finishes with the lines:

Let’s go kick some ass

[reply] It’s what we do best

Rating: 4.5/10

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 14517
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 14/11/2012 1:35:48 AM   
Mister Coe

 

Posts: 1561
Joined: 20/10/2012
Good call, Dr Lenera, I really like MISSION TO MARS. It's not perfect but there's some damn good stuff there, not least the scene where one of the headlining actors exits the film halfway through. Deffo not deserving of the terrible reviews it got.

And Morricones score is excellent.

_____________________________

Say what now?

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 14518
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 14/11/2012 5:04:35 PM   
losthighway


Posts: 3251
Joined: 25/1/2006
From: Manchesterford
I'm still around just been silly busy... most recent watch was ROOM 237. A documentary regarding various theories/hidden meanings within The Shining. As the film is one of my favourite films ever I was intrigued to see it. Sadly a good 70% of it is utter bullshite but there's three theories which actually make some sense and one in particular is downright creepy (if indeed it was Kubrick's intention!?)... All i'll say is forwards and backwards. If you've not had chance to see it, it hits DVD in Feb 2013. Worth a watch at least once. Overall: 3/5

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The secret to becoming a star is knowing how to behave like one.

(in reply to Mister Coe)
Post #: 14519
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies fan base? - 14/11/2012 7:12:51 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6742
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera


quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

Bill I only need to mention an old horror movie and you have a review of it knocking about . I haven't seen The Awakening for about 25 years, it used to turn up on TV quite often, like you I sat through it twice probably hoping it would be better second time round, and it remained distinctly average!


quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

CORMAN/POE the AIP years.
Well guy's/girls it's time we went back in time for the first of Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe films, Fall of the House of Usher which was originally released as simply House of Usher.This AIP release was a great beginning to a varying but always interesting series of horror films,that for such low budgets look and sound like epic horror films.This is my personal look back at a bunch of films i fell in love with back in the days when in the UK/Ireland there where only a few channels on the box.This was the time of year many moons ago when as a child i looked forward to Friday Nights double bill of Horror on BBC 1,it introduce me to Hammer,Universal horror films of the 30's-70's,but it was AIP and Corman doing Edgar Allen Poe that blew my mind.So lets start at the beginning,when Corman had the crazy idea to take on Hammer with his Poe films,full of premature burials,murder,mystery and dark Gothic settings of a time gone by.

Fall of the House of Usher (1960)



Wow, you've got your reviewing 'mojo' back big time here, very impressive. I must admit I prefer Masque Of The Red Death and Tomb Of Ligeia [which is my fva Poe story] to this film, but it's still a classic, of a kind you just don't get today. A beautiful, gorgeously atmospheric horror film, these Corman/Poe films are highly artistic and are much underrated in general I think.

Now Dr you did catch me out on the Bram Stoker Mummy films,so i don't always have a hidden review,though that one i had on another Film Mags forum,which i'd forgotten about tillyou mentioned it,so you've only yourself to blame.
Anyway glad you liked the first of the Corman/Poe AIP years,and though Masque Of The Red Death and Tomb Of Ligeia are brillant,i gave an extra point to House of Usher because it was the first of Cormans films i ever saw,and blew me away on first viewing.I'm realy enjoying re watching them in the order they where made.and might have to adjust the scores by the end,but i'm going on gut feeling,and memory of my first vist on ye old BBC.Got number two up,hope you enjoy it,and maybe give at a rewatch yourself,or better still do a review of the Corman/Poe years on HCF too as well as here.

P.S I'll read your two new reviews as soon as i can mate.


Look forward to reading, yeah the Corman Poe series is a great idea for a feature as it's not too long, will get to one day. Got Universal horror to finish [almost there!], abit behind posting it on Empire but it takes me ages at the moment, am writing a Lord Of The Rings lookback for HCF, and of course intend to begin Hammer early next year, which will include all their suspense thrillers and fantasy adventures as well as horrors; just have a few films to obtain first!

And JD better than J and B? No way, though I believe you're more a Vodka man?

AHHH!! yes ye old Vodka,real Russian Vodka unbeatable,but now and again when i'm out at a concert or rock club,ye old Jack for me.
A look back at Lord Of The Rings sounds excellent,and i look forward to you doing some non Hammer horror films??



_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 14520
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