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RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 15/10/2013 8:48:12 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005
SPOILERS!


Two teenage girls Katie Embry and Becca Kotler discuss a supposedly cursed videotape. According to legend, those who watch the tape get a disturbing phone call and die seven days later. Katie reveals that seven days ago, she went to a cabin at Shelter Mountain Inn with her boyfriend, where she viewed the video tape. Katie’s corpse is found distorted in a cupboard and Becca is institutionalised in a mental hospital. Katie’s cousin Aidan Keller is also hugely affected by Katie’s death. Katie’s mother asks her sister Rachel, a journalist, to investigate Katie’s death, which leads her to discover that two other teenagers who watched the tape died. A photograph of all four victims has their faces weirdly distorted. Rachel finds and watches the tape; the phone rings, and she hears a child’s voice say “seven days”…..

The wave of US remakes of Asian horror films like Ju-On: The Grudge, One Missed Call and The Eye seemed to die out not that long ago, and many horror fans were probably thankful, because the remakes, while usually [though not always] decent in their own right, rarely matched the originals. Often this was because the uniqueness and power of the originals were partly cultural, and therefore you lose quite a bit when you transpose them elsewhere. The one that, for me, actually did better the original was The Grudge, but that may have been because they hired the original director and got him to do an almost identical remake. It was also the only example where I saw the American version before the Japanese, and therefore was frightened a lot more by it. Often whichever version you see first affects you more. The Ring was the film that opened up the floodgates for these remakes, and any quick glance at message boards will tell you that horror fans are constantly in debate as to which is better: The Ring, or the 1998 Ringu, the American picture, unusually, having as many advocates as the Japanese. My opinion on this? Well, you’re just going to have to plough through this review a bit more to find out, but I will say right now that The Ring is a solid chiller in its own right and a surprisingly low-key and intelligent one to both come from Hollywood and do huge business at the box office.

Ringu of course had been a sensation in Japan, leading to not just a direct sequel and a direct prequel but five [so far] other adaptations of the material, even though Koji Suzuki’s original novel had only been a minor success. It was no surprise that Hollywood became interested and Ehren Kruger was hired to adapt the original film. Kruger is something of an anomaly: he wrote the excellent screenplay to Arlington Road but everything else he’s written has been very flawed, and that extends to The Ring‘s script, though much of it was re-written several times at the behest of the studio. Numerous scenes, some of which made it to early previews, were shot and then cut out or re-shot as the story was changed a few times, most notably Chris Cooper as a murderer appearing at the beginning and end of the film, a CGI montage of the deadly tape being actually created, and an alternate ending with Rachel putting the cursed tape in the sleeve for one of her rented movies and returning it to the video store, where it ends up under “employee picks”. Two deaths were also toned down. Some, though certainly not all, of the deleted and re-shot material can be found on the DVD, and I think the inclusion of some of it would have improved the film. All this work paid off at the box office though, and the Asian horror remake craze was born.

The Ring certainly begins in great fashion, the build-up to the death of Katie so well managed that I did think when I watched this at the cinema that this could be an improvement on the original. Being made to think several times that somebody or something could be behind a door that has been opened is so cheap, but it always works, and the unobtrusive yet clever camerawork really lets the tension work up to a head. Katie walks into the room where Becca is and her face starts to change [poor CGI here, but never mind]. Then a few minutes later, at Katie’s funeral, we have a brief flashback to her dead body being found, and she looks just horrid, all withered with her mouth wide open in terror. It’s a great example of horror that makes your mind work overtime in filling in the horrific details. Katie must have crawled into the closet, terrified, as her face was changing, then huddled in there until she died, where her mother then found her. Great stuff, and for a while the film continues like this. The atmosphere is both creepy and melancholy, something enhanced by the sickly green everywhere. The relaxed pace allows for some nice little moments, not essential but adding to the downbeat feel, like when Rachel standing on her balcony looking at the people in the opposite appartment block. The video, when seen, contains some startling imagery and is quite disturbing, haunting images of a tree and the sea remaining in the mind. And the moment when Rachel finds out that her son has watched the tape is a real punch in the gut and very well acted by Naomi Watts, in a role which was first offered to Jennifer Connelly, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale.

Sadly, it soon becomes apparent that Kruger has forgotten to actually give Watts an actual character to play, while David Dorfman plays young Aidan in a far too weird manner right from the offset. He seems to be trying to Haley Joel Osmond in The Sixth Sense, but it’s not really right for this story. The tale gets bogged down in background detail as Rachel investigates the video, and, while the sad feel remains, the film just isn’t very scary. After the early scenes of Rachel suffering things like a nose-bleed and hallucinations, there is little sense of an evil force that is around. Kruger added a scene from Ringu 2 into this film, but seeing Samara in flashback speaking as a young girl helps to ruin her mythos and aura. Still, the direction by Gore Verbinski makes excellent use of lighting and sound effects in many scenes, such as a bit with a [seemingly] possessed horse, even if the sequence is silly and was obviously added to give the film some action. There’s even some subliminal imagery, while the many aerial shots and autumnal colours also make the film interesting to look at and it really does have a unique mood of sadness and muted horror. The pace is ramped again towards the end and you eventually do get a frightening climax.

Well…..it’s frightening if you haven’t seen the original film. No, except for the opening scene and the overall look of the film, I don’t think the remake is as good. This is mostly because of approach. The Japanese film didn’t feel the need to explain everything and was scarier as a result. Kruger and the American producers obviously thought that US audiences not only couldn’t handle the psychic element of the story, but needed everything else to be spelt out for them and in doing actually weakened the story. There is some stuff that is not entirely relevant: in fact, despite all the alterations, you could cut 15 min from the US version and in doing so you would make it better. And as for the ending…well it might be really good on its own but if you compare it with the original’s ending then they actually rather botched it. The Japanese version simply shows an actress coming out of a TV in one long shot, and yet it remains one of the most terrifying scenes ever. The American one cuts away to a car racing around mid-scene, then uses some different angles when it cuts back and, last but not least, weak CGI. The final scene just isn’t as sinister too. The Japanese film waited until the final moment to introduce a nasty plot element. The American one introduced said plot element early on and therefore weakened the ending.

Even though it falters in places, there is a lot to like about The Ring, right down to Hans Zimmer’s moody scoring. Though never a great composer, there was a time when he did seem able to get ‘inside’ a film and his music did add to films. Whether over-elaborated or not, it’s quite an affecting, haunting story. The film could have been a far cruder exercise, going for lots of gore and jump scares. In the end, it’s a solid remake, and if still far inferior, it’s a different enough take on a brilliant concept to more than justify its existence. It remains effective enough to make the simple act of a phone ringing seem like the most terrifying thing in the world.

Rating: 7/10

_____________________________

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

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 15211
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 15/10/2013 8:56:14 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005

Approximately six months after the events of the first movie, Rachel Keller and her son Aidan have moved from Seattle to the quiet coastal community of Astoria, Oregon, where Rachel begins a new job at a local newspaper. A murder occurs and Rachel sees that the victim’s face shows a deformed expression of horror just like the previous victims of Samara’s cursed tape, and has a vision of Samara grabbing her and declaring “I found you.” She finds the tape, takes it deep into the woods and burns it. However, Aidan dreams of being pulled into the TV screen by Samara, and afterwards develops hypothermia, has bruises on his arm and behaves increasingly oddly….

The Ring 2 is generally considered to be a major let down after the first film, and I remember very well the feeling of disappointment in the air that was around when the sequel hit cinemas. It isn’t as good as The Ring, but I think a case could be made for it being more interesting. Hiring the director of the Japanese version Hideo Nakata was a good idea, and it means that it feels far more like the Japanese movies, though plot wise it bears hardly any resemblance to the Japanese Ringu 2. Getting Ehren Kruger to write another script, only this time without an original story to base it on, was not a good idea, though the film’s total lack of logic helps give it an almost dreamlike feel in places. Ridiculous and misjudged scenes often alternate with scenes of great atmosphere and texture. To enjoy The Ring 2 at all, it’s probably best to just ignore the stupid story, otherwise it falls apart right from the first few minutes.

Originally Richard Kelly was asked to direct, and Noam Murro was set to, but he dropped out of the project due to ‘creative differences’. Supposedly, and this may have been nonsense to help promote the film [but this isn’t a first for a horror move and won’t be the last], various strange things happened on set which often resembled scenes fron the film. Most notably, a deer attacked a set costumer, the production office was flooded twice by a burst water pipe and a water jug bursting open respectively, and a swarm of bees attacked the prop truck and then suddenly disappeared. A Japanese purification ceremony by a Shinto priest achieved nothing. The critically poorly received film still managed to be a box office success. The studio cut eight minutes from the film, including a scene where Samera tries to enter Aidan in a public bathroom and some scenes between Rachel and her would-be romantic interest Max. These scenes were put back into the R1 Unrated DVD and also seem to be in the R2 DVD version that was paired with a re-release of The Ring, though I’ve found no claims to substantiate this. One scene was also cut out from this version- Aidan meeting a deer – and that isn’t on my DVD either.

The Ring 2 opens with a guy trying to get a girl to watch the tape. He’s seen it, but will live so long as he shows it to somebody else before his time is up. This is a little confusing if you haven’t watched Rings. Rings was a short film made at the time The Ring was re-released and The Ring 2 entered cinemas, and, despite some irritating shakycam by director Jonathan Liebesman, it’s actually rather good. It leads up to the first few minutes of The Ring 2, and also introduces some of its motifs like water. Cynics may say it was made because they realised The Ring 2 made little sense and therefore needed to be connected to The Ring a bit more. What is best about Rings is its superb idea, suggested by the last few pages of Kôji Suzuki’s Ring novel, that knowledge of the curse, as well as copies of the videotape, have burgeoned into a bizarre kind of underground subculture fuelled by the internet, with groups of people watching each other’s tapes, especially for new members, to ensure that they can have a “Ring Experience”. What a clever, disturbing and still timely notion this is, and wouldn’t it have been really good if The Ring 2 had explored this subject in more depth? The possibilities were considerable.

Well, we all know that it didn’t, instead opting for a weak possession story of the kind we’ve seen hundreds of times before, except this one’s tamer than many, the possessed Aidan not really doing much at all. Some of the early scenes are quite chilling, like when Aidan is standing in a corner or a room scratching a wall with what are Samara’s finger-nails, the strange black substance resulting forming into a picture of the tree seen in Samara’s video. It helps that David Dorfman has clearly improved as an actor and acts some moments with considerable sensitivity. Unfortunately, he’s obviously three years older than he was in The Ring, despite the events of this film supposedly only taking place six months after. And as the film progresses, it’s obvious that little has actually been thought through. Rachel and Aidan are attacked in their car by [surprisingly convincing] deer. Why? We later have a scene where Rachel visits the farm where Samara was mistreated and died, and finds a load of antlers in the basement. Presumably the deer sensed Samara’s ghost’s presence in Aidan and attacked the car in revenge? But Samara didn’t go around killing deer as a child, did she? And it would have made far more sense if it had been horses, thereby continuing things from the first movie, wouldn’t it? And let’s not just get into the inconsistency of Samara’s abilities or powers. For God’s sake she can now seemingly climb up the wall of her well, so why couldn’t she have stopped Rachel from closing the well entrance?

Now I know I mentioned in my review of The Ring that Ringu left a lot to our imagination, but much of The Ring 2 just smacks of carelessness. A doctor suspects Rachel is abusing Aidan, but this is soon forgotten about. Like The Ring, it soon becomes bogged down in Rachel investigating the back story, though this does lead to a rather quietly powerful scene between Rachel and Samara’s real mother, played with painful conviction by Sissy Spacek. The mother-child bond from Nakata’s Dark Water, plus its water imagery [though even this is silly, because we’re never told why Samara hates water], are partially rehashed but to lesser effect, and the potentially touching elements of the story don’t become anywhere near as moving as they should be. Though some will disagree, there is more horror than in the first film, with at least one really good shock of Samara’s arms showing up in a bath, and there’s a really intense climax where mother has to drown child. Nakata creates some amazing suspense in the drawn out final section set in Rachel’s house, suspense which is comparable to what he created in Ringu with its careful camerawork and use of sound [and silence], only for it to be weakened with a silly occurrence or a poor bit of dialogue. In the end, it mostly comes down to a good director and cast battling valiantly against a terrible script, creating a very uneven picture.

Noami Watts is as good as before and the score, not credited to Hans Zimmer but with Henning Lohner and Martin Tillman utilising the same music, is again effective, though some more emotive scoring would have probably been a good idea. I am quite fond of The Ring 2 despite its many problems, there are parts of it which work really well and it has a certain oddness which is rather appealing. It remains a seriously flawed exercise though, and if only they had used the premise of Rings…..

Rating: 6/10

_____________________________

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

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15212
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 17/10/2013 7:32:44 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6707
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

SPOILERS!


There is some stuff that is not entirely relevant: in fact, despite all the alterations, you could cut 15 min from the US version and in doing so you would make it better. And as for the ending…well it might be really good on its own but if you compare it with the original's ending then they actually rather botched it. The Japanese version simply shows an actress coming out of a TV in one long shot, and yet it remains one of the most terrifying scenes ever. The American one cuts away to a car racing around mid-scene, then uses some different angles when it cuts back and, last but not least, weak CGI. The final scene just isn't as sinister too. The Japanese film waited until the final moment to introduce a nasty plot element. The American one introduced said plot element early on and therefore weakened the ending.

Even though it falters in places, there is a lot to like about The Ring, right down to Hans Zimmer's moody scoring. Though never a great composer, there was a time when he did seem able to get 'inside' a film and his music did add to films. Whether over-elaborated or not, it's quite an affecting, haunting story. The film could have been a far cruder exercise, going for lots of gore and jump scares. In the end, it's a solid remake, and if still far inferior, it's a different enough take on a brilliant concept to more than justify its existence. It remains effective enough to make the simple act of a phone ringing seem like the most terrifying thing in the world.

Rating: 7/10

Great review Doc, and must say I liked the US version but like you felt it was overlong, and lacked the bite of the original Japanese film, which I had seen before this one, and it was by far the more creepy and worked as a great chiller even with the subtitles. But for those that struggle with subtitles, the US version is a good thrill ride and has some good acting, as well as great direction, and like the US remake of Let The Right One In works well, even though there only a few years after the originals. 
quote:


 

Number two was pointless, an exorcise in the suits out to make another few dollars from a doomed franchise, that just did not work well enough to keep us horror fans on board.

Now i'm thrilled my Blu-Ray steelbox of THE BEYOND is on it's way .Now I have it on bootleg VHS, DVD cut version, and DVD uncut, but this is what I want for this Halloween.

Oh also just noticed this thread has now had over half a million hits, WOW!!!! hard to believe it, never in my wildest dreams did I think it would last this long or have this many hits, but in the end it's THANKS to all who have entered this vault of darkness, as visitors or better still have joined in adding there own reviews or just views. CHEERS!!! keep up the good work, and ENJOY those films that sometimes just don't get the love they deserve.


< Message edited by evil bill -- 17/10/2013 7:43:07 PM >


_____________________________

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

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15213
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 18/10/2013 2:52:28 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005
No worries me old matey. I know that DJ, HR and DG are too busy on HCF these days to contribute much any more. I still try to post anything on here that I think is appropriate, though it's getting harder with HCF getting bigger and the increasing amount of work that comes with it!!

_____________________________

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

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 15214
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 19/10/2013 1:27:35 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5142
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
As it's 12 days away, how are we all spending Halloween? I'm going to my local cinema on Friday 1st November for a horror movie marathon: Friday the 13th, Evil Dead 2 and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre... all originals! I've always wanted to see Tobe Hooper's classic on the big screen! One to cross off the bucket list !

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15215
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 19/10/2013 1:35:11 PM   
Whistler


Posts: 3079
Joined: 22/11/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

As it's 12 days away, how are we all spending Halloween? I'm going to my local cinema on Friday 1st November for a horror movie marathon: Friday the 13th, Evil Dead 2 and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre... all originals! I've always wanted to see Tobe Hooper's classic on the big screen! One to cross off the bucket list !


That sounds awesome

There's an All Night Horror Madness at the Cameo in Edinburgh tonight, with screenings of Hardware, Carrie, Stage Fright, Frankenhooker & The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but unfortunately I'm out of town for a few days...

But I'm going to see A Nightmare On Elm Street on the 31st.

(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 15216
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 19/10/2013 11:00:13 PM   
Shifty Bench

 

Posts: 15398
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Land of the Scots
I may watch a horror film. May not.

_____________________________

Extended Edition Podcast- Episode 46:Threads Of Destiny (Star Wars Fan Film)

(in reply to Whistler)
Post #: 15217
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 20/10/2013 12:22:37 AM   
CORLEONE

 

Posts: 4695
Joined: 2/11/2005
From: Nakatomi Plaza
I'm gonna make it a Halloween week. Going to watch 3 modern horrors I haven't seen each night leading up to the 31st (Mama, The Conjuring and The Purge) - the on the actual night, my usual of Halloween (1978), The Shining, then culminating with the best horror film of all time, The Exorcist.

_____________________________

Al Swearengen: "Pain or damage don't end the world. Or despair or fucking beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man... and give some back".

(in reply to Shifty Bench)
Post #: 15218
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 20/10/2013 8:39:57 PM   
Mister Coe

 

Posts: 1566
Joined: 20/10/2012
Personally, I'll be avoiding Halloween like the plague, thanks to living next to a truly rough Northern area where simian-looking chav scum (way past the natural age of trick-or-treating) pound on your door wanting money (not sweets, MONEY) and think it's their divine right to perform acts of vandalism if you refuse because, hey, it's HALLOWEEN...



Getting back to movies... I was flicking through Netflix and watched PSYCHO 2 for the first time since I saw it originally, back in the 80's... really liked it!  It should have been an impossible trick to follow up such a classic, but Richard Franklyn really pulled it off. Anthony Perkins was excellent, the supporting cast did a sterling job and the story has plenty of twists and turns that lead up to a genuinely worthy finale.  Highly recommended!

Mind you, I seem to remember that PSYCHO 3 was pretty awful...

_____________________________

Say what now?

(in reply to CORLEONE)
Post #: 15219
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 20/10/2013 11:10:34 PM   
CORLEONE

 

Posts: 4695
Joined: 2/11/2005
From: Nakatomi Plaza
I feel your pain on the little bastards ruining Halloween for you. We only moved in our house last November so not sure if any urchins will be knocking on our door. I might get a bag of Maoams in just in case. If any do decide to mess about, the door will be answered by my lovely Doberman Pinscher, Nero.

_____________________________

Al Swearengen: "Pain or damage don't end the world. Or despair or fucking beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man... and give some back".

(in reply to Mister Coe)
Post #: 15220
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 22/10/2013 8:56:50 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005
I've drawn the short straw and have to work on the evening ! They are showing Exorcist at my local for a few nights but I've seen it twice at the cinema, and I've never been quite as fond of the Director's Cut.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to CORLEONE)
Post #: 15221
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 22/10/2013 9:01:44 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005
IN SELECTED CINEMAS: 25th October


Estate agent Thomas Hutter is sent from his German home in Wisborg to Transylvania to visit a new client named Count Orlok. Nearing his destination in the Carpathian mountains, Hutter stops at an inn for dinner where the locals become frightened by the mere mention of Orlok’s name and discourage him from travelling to his castle at night, warning of a werewolf on the prowl. His coachman declines to take him any further than a bridge, but a black-swathed coach appears to take Hutter the rest of the way. At the castle, Count Orlok, tries to suck the blood out when Hutter cuts his thumb. Hutter wakes up to a deserted castle the morning after and notices punctures on his neck, which he attributes to mosquitoes or spiders. That night, Orlok signs the documents to purchase the house across from Hutter’s own home. Reading a book about vampires that he took from the local inn, Hutter starts to suspect that Orlok is Nosferatu, the ‘Bird of Death’….

F.W.Murnau’s Nosferatu is often regarded as the greatest of all vampire films, and has even appeared on quite a few ‘best film’ lists like Sight & Sound’s Critic’s Poll of the hundred greatest films in world cinema. Countless films have taken scenes and shots from it, from the 1931 Dracula [I don’t think enough has been written about how much it borrows from Nosferatu, with certain scenes, like one set in a inn, almost exactly the same] all the way to the 1992 Dracula, while it has been an inspiration for countless more. It laid the ground roots for the modern vampire legend even more than Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, a good example being the issue of daylight. In Dracula, the title character can walk about perfectly fine during the day, only that his powers are diminished. In Nosferatu, sunlight can kill him [though if you watched one of the many inferior prints of the film you could be confused by the day-for-night footage of him and think it was meant to be during the day!]. What is also interesting is what has not been used much from Nosferatu, in particular the portrayal of Dracula himself. Starting right from Bela Lugosi, the Count became an attractive and even sexy figure, and this was taken further later, but Orlok is thoroughly loathsome and repulsive, and this, ignoring the 1979 remake, was rarely repeated, though the make-up, with claw-like nails, fangs that are in the middle of his mouth like a rat’s, and bat ears, did turn up in the 1979 version of Salem’s Lot and was virtually recreated in The Descent.

Historically then, and I must add that the film also perfected certain cinematic techniques such as montage and virtually introduced others like matched action cuts, Nosferatu is immensely important. Now this writer is going to be controversial and state a slight preference for Werner Herzog’s remake over this film, but that is not to denigrate the 1922 picture: it’s just a matter of personal enjoyment more than anything else. It goes without saying that Nosferatu should be seen by any horror fan, and actually has been an instance of a silent film that, since the advent of home viewing, has always been in circulation in differing versions, but is it enjoyable? Well, it certainly needs to be viewed in the right environment, probably at midnight with all the lights off. Then, the film’s nightmarish feel can come to the fore and seep into the viewer. By today’s standards you probably can’t call it scary, but if you are tiring of gore and jump scares, you may the find the more subtle chill of Nosferatu very pleasing and still rather effective. Watching Eureka’s fabulous restoration last night, it occurred to me, far more than before, that I was almost virtually watching the vampire, and even the horror, genre being invented before my eyes. And it must have absolutely terrified audiences of the time who hadn’t seen anything like it, even if German Expressionism had already produced striking work like The Cabinet Of Dr.Caligari and The Golem.

Nosferatu was the only production of Prana Film, founded in 1921 by Enrico Dieckmann and Albin Grau. Grau was inspired by make a vampire film by an experience he had whilst serving in World War 1, where a Serbian farmer told him that his father was a vampire and one of the undead. Now it has been debated whether Nosferatu actually was the first Dracula film: many sources that the Hungarian picture Drakula halala [The Death of Dracula] got there first, though that film, which is lost, doesn’t appear to be an actual adaptation of Stoker’s book. Now the producers of Nosferatu didn’t buy the rights to the book and changed the names of the characters to try to get away with it, but there was no doubt that, despite the removing of some characters and a new ending, here were the first two thirds of the novel. The Stoker Estate sued Prana and as a result the film was removed from circulation, though some prints survived. They were usually of poor quality and often heavily cut [I once saw one that only ran for an hour, and this ‘cut-to-the-bone’ Nosferatu actually wasn’t bad], while the loss of the original score meant that several different musical soundtracks accompanied the film, my favourite being the one by Hammer composer James Bernard. Eventually the Murnau Estate embarked on a huge restoration for the film and not only pieced together the complete film but found the original intertitles and score, which was re-recorded. This version is the one Eureka present here.

The film takes its time for a while, not letting us see Orlok for half an hour, but there is a strong sense of foreboding, whether it be the scenes with Hutter’s creepy employer Knock [the Renfield character] who looks a bit like a ‘nosferatu’ himself, or certain detail like Hutter giving his wife Ellen some flowers which immediately die. Eventually we arrive at Nosferatu’s castle, and for the outside shots they used a real dilapidated castle in Slovakia. The interior isn’t quite as sinister as Lugosi’s, but Orlok is genuinely freaky from the moment he appears, walking stiffly like a corpse towards the camera [well, that’s not entirely true, we’ve already seen him disguised as a coachman!] in a most unnerving manner. Rumours abounded, perpetuated by the director [proving hype has always gone hand in hand with the cinema], that actor Max Schreck [his name translates as ‘Maximum Terror’!], who never appeared out of character or without makeup, was an actual vampire, and you can almost believe it watching him. Like Hammer with Christopher Lee, Orlok’s appearances are short and few in number, but used for great impact. In one great shot which must have had 1922 viewers climbing the walls, he suddenly rises out of his coffin while keeping his feet on the ground. It is an earlier scene which is probably more impressive though, as Murnau intercuts Orlok approaching the terrified Hutter with Ellen sleepwalking and reaching out her arms towards….something….maybe Orlok. The editing and narrative patterning tieing the two events together was very advanced for its time, and, along with some really odd experimental bits like speeded up motion when Orlok is building his coffin, must have confused as many cinema-goers as scared them!

The story proceeds much like the novel, with Orlok taking over a ship heading for the town where Ellen lives and purchasing a house opposite hers, except that this vampire doesn’t create other vampires, he just feeds, and it is the plague [and rats!] that he brings to Wisborg with him that ends up virtually decimating the town. And finally we get the astounding climax that had been copied a million times and never matched, as Orlok goes to feed on Ellen, his misshapen shadow on the wall resembling the Devil and the shadow of his arm moving up from between her legs in a striking image of rape and carnal fear which is more powerful than a hundred graphic of sexual assault. Despite his hideousness, this vampire still has a strong sexual aspect to him, only it’s a thoroughly repulsive one. One of the main attraction of the vampire legend is that it somehow makes attractive and even romanticises things like necrophilia and sadomasochism. Nosferatu still has those hinted at, but a totally repugnant, fearful way. It also has very little of the religious imagery and themes that one associates with Dracula.

Henrik Galeen’s script is sometimes awkward and contains a few scenes which don’t seem necessary, but Murnau fills the film with devices which enhance the feel of a Gothic dream world, from characters emerging from shadows to spider webs all over the place, yet his use of real locations and authentic looking extras somehow give it an almost believable feel too. I say almost, because of course much of the acting is extremely over-the-top to modern eyes. Gustav Won Wangenheim, as Hutter, is especially given to exaggerating every little gesture, but this is how acting was in those days, especially in German Expressionism. More difficult, perhaps, is the Hans Erdmann score, which is often oppressively heavy and certainly wasn’t too easy on this critic’s ears. It’s fantastic that we can see and hear Nosferatu pretty much as it originally was, but it might be preferable to some to turn the sound down when this version comes onto DVD and Blu-ray. This is something actually that I often do with silent films, especially those accompanied by music which doesn’t seem to go with the images very well. In any case, Nosferatu has a primal quality that will stick with you far longer than most modern horror films which may be initially terrifying but are soon forgotten and diminish with successive viewings. Nosferatu will never diminish, because it seems to get closer than most other films to the roots of why we love the dark, why we love its phantoms, and why we love being made to feel emotions that any sane person ought to find stupid.

Rating: 9/10

_____________________________

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

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15222
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 22/10/2013 4:16:15 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5142
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

IN SELECTED CINEMAS: 25th October


Estate agent Thomas Hutter is sent from his German home in Wisborg to Transylvania to visit a new client named Count Orlok. Nearing his destination in the Carpathian mountains, Hutter stops at an inn for dinner where the locals become frightened by the mere mention of Orlok’s name and discourage him from travelling to his castle at night, warning of a werewolf on the prowl. His coachman declines to take him any further than a bridge, but a black-swathed coach appears to take Hutter the rest of the way. At the castle, Count Orlok, tries to suck the blood out when Hutter cuts his thumb. Hutter wakes up to a deserted castle the morning after and notices punctures on his neck, which he attributes to mosquitoes or spiders. That night, Orlok signs the documents to purchase the house across from Hutter’s own home. Reading a book about vampires that he took from the local inn, Hutter starts to suspect that Orlok is Nosferatu, the ‘Bird of Death’….

F.W.Murnau’s Nosferatu is often regarded as the greatest of all vampire films, and has even appeared on quite a few ‘best film’ lists like Sight & Sound’s Critic’s Poll of the hundred greatest films in world cinema. Countless films have taken scenes and shots from it, from the 1931 Dracula [I don’t think enough has been written about how much it borrows from Nosferatu, with certain scenes, like one set in a inn, almost exactly the same] all the way to the 1992 Dracula, while it has been an inspiration for countless more. It laid the ground roots for the modern vampire legend even more than Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, a good example being the issue of daylight. In Dracula, the title character can walk about perfectly fine during the day, only that his powers are diminished. In Nosferatu, sunlight can kill him [though if you watched one of the many inferior prints of the film you could be confused by the day-for-night footage of him and think it was meant to be during the day!]. What is also interesting is what has not been used much from Nosferatu, in particular the portrayal of Dracula himself. Starting right from Bela Lugosi, the Count became an attractive and even sexy figure, and this was taken further later, but Orlok is thoroughly loathsome and repulsive, and this, ignoring the 1979 remake, was rarely repeated, though the make-up, with claw-like nails, fangs that are in the middle of his mouth like a rat’s, and bat ears, did turn up in the 1979 version of Salem’s Lot and was virtually recreated in The Descent.

Historically then, and I must add that the film also perfected certain cinematic techniques such as montage and virtually introduced others like matched action cuts, Nosferatu is immensely important. Now this writer is going to be controversial and state a slight preference for Werner Herzog’s remake over this film, but that is not to denigrate the 1922 picture: it’s just a matter of personal enjoyment more than anything else. It goes without saying that Nosferatu should be seen by any horror fan, and actually has been an instance of a silent film that, since the advent of home viewing, has always been in circulation in differing versions, but is it enjoyable? Well, it certainly needs to be viewed in the right environment, probably at midnight with all the lights off. Then, the film’s nightmarish feel can come to the fore and seep into the viewer. By today’s standards you probably can’t call it scary, but if you are tiring of gore and jump scares, you may the find the more subtle chill of Nosferatu very pleasing and still rather effective. Watching Eureka’s fabulous restoration last night, it occurred to me, far more than before, that I was almost virtually watching the vampire, and even the horror, genre being invented before my eyes. And it must have absolutely terrified audiences of the time who hadn’t seen anything like it, even if German Expressionism had already produced striking work like The Cabinet Of Dr.Caligari and The Golem.

Nosferatu was the only production of Prana Film, founded in 1921 by Enrico Dieckmann and Albin Grau. Grau was inspired by make a vampire film by an experience he had whilst serving in World War 1, where a Serbian farmer told him that his father was a vampire and one of the undead. Now it has been debated whether Nosferatu actually was the first Dracula film: many sources that the Hungarian picture Drakula halala [The Death of Dracula] got there first, though that film, which is lost, doesn’t appear to be an actual adaptation of Stoker’s book. Now the producers of Nosferatu didn’t buy the rights to the book and changed the names of the characters to try to get away with it, but there was no doubt that, despite the removing of some characters and a new ending, here were the first two thirds of the novel. The Stoker Estate sued Prana and as a result the film was removed from circulation, though some prints survived. They were usually of poor quality and often heavily cut [I once saw one that only ran for an hour, and this ‘cut-to-the-bone’ Nosferatu actually wasn’t bad], while the loss of the original score meant that several different musical soundtracks accompanied the film, my favourite being the one by Hammer composer James Bernard. Eventually the Murnau Estate embarked on a huge restoration for the film and not only pieced together the complete film but found the original intertitles and score, which was re-recorded. This version is the one Eureka present here.

The film takes its time for a while, not letting us see Orlok for half an hour, but there is a strong sense of foreboding, whether it be the scenes with Hutter’s creepy employer Knock [the Renfield character] who looks a bit like a ‘nosferatu’ himself, or certain detail like Hutter giving his wife Ellen some flowers which immediately die. Eventually we arrive at Nosferatu’s castle, and for the outside shots they used a real dilapidated castle in Slovakia. The interior isn’t quite as sinister as Lugosi’s, but Orlok is genuinely freaky from the moment he appears, walking stiffly like a corpse towards the camera [well, that’s not entirely true, we’ve already seen him disguised as a coachman!] in a most unnerving manner. Rumours abounded, perpetuated by the director [proving hype has always gone hand in hand with the cinema], that actor Max Schreck [his name translates as ‘Maximum Terror’!], who never appeared out of character or without makeup, was an actual vampire, and you can almost believe it watching him. Like Hammer with Christopher Lee, Orlok’s appearances are short and few in number, but used for great impact. In one great shot which must have had 1922 viewers climbing the walls, he suddenly rises out of his coffin while keeping his feet on the ground. It is an earlier scene which is probably more impressive though, as Murnau intercuts Orlok approaching the terrified Hutter with Ellen sleepwalking and reaching out her arms towards….something….maybe Orlok. The editing and narrative patterning tieing the two events together was very advanced for its time, and, along with some really odd experimental bits like speeded up motion when Orlok is building his coffin, must have confused as many cinema-goers as scared them!

The story proceeds much like the novel, with Orlok taking over a ship heading for the town where Ellen lives and purchasing a house opposite hers, except that this vampire doesn’t create other vampires, he just feeds, and it is the plague [and rats!] that he brings to Wisborg with him that ends up virtually decimating the town. And finally we get the astounding climax that had been copied a million times and never matched, as Orlok goes to feed on Ellen, his misshapen shadow on the wall resembling the Devil and the shadow of his arm moving up from between her legs in a striking image of rape and carnal fear which is more powerful than a hundred graphic of sexual assault. Despite his hideousness, this vampire still has a strong sexual aspect to him, only it’s a thoroughly repulsive one. One of the main attraction of the vampire legend is that it somehow makes attractive and even romanticises things like necrophilia and sadomasochism. Nosferatu still has those hinted at, but a totally repugnant, fearful way. It also has very little of the religious imagery and themes that one associates with Dracula.

Henrik Galeen’s script is sometimes awkward and contains a few scenes which don’t seem necessary, but Murnau fills the film with devices which enhance the feel of a Gothic dream world, from characters emerging from shadows to spider webs all over the place, yet his use of real locations and authentic looking extras somehow give it an almost believable feel too. I say almost, because of course much of the acting is extremely over-the-top to modern eyes. Gustav Won Wangenheim, as Hutter, is especially given to exaggerating every little gesture, but this is how acting was in those days, especially in German Expressionism. More difficult, perhaps, is the Hans Erdmann score, which is often oppressively heavy and certainly wasn’t too easy on this critic’s ears. It’s fantastic that we can see and hear Nosferatu pretty much as it originally was, but it might be preferable to some to turn the sound down when this version comes onto DVD and Blu-ray. This is something actually that I often do with silent films, especially those accompanied by music which doesn’t seem to go with the images very well. In any case, Nosferatu has a primal quality that will stick with you far longer than most modern horror films which may be initially terrifying but are soon forgotten and diminish with successive viewings. Nosferatu will never diminish, because it seems to get closer than most other films to the roots of why we love the dark, why we love its phantoms, and why we love being made to feel emotions that any sane person ought to find stupid.

Rating: 9/10

Classic film, a proper masterpiece of horror cinema. Grew up on a version that was scored by Hammer's own James Bernard. Unfortunately his music isn't featured in the recent BFI DVDs.

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15223
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 23/10/2013 2:04:43 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005

Estate agent Jonathan Harker is sent from his German home in Wisborg to Transylvania to visit a new client named Count Dracula. Nearing his destination in the Carpathian mountains, Harker stops at a village where the locals become frightened by the mere mention of Dracula’s name and discourage him from travelling to his ruined castle. His coachman declines to take him any further than a bridge, so Harker has to walk the rest of the way. At the castle, Dracula tries to suck the blood out when Harker cuts his thumb. Harker wakes up to a deserted castle the morning after and notices punctures on his neck, which he attributes to mosquitoes or spiders. That night, Dracula, enamoured by a picture of Harker’s wife, signs the documents to purchase the house across from Harker’s own home. Reading a book about vampires that he took from the local inn, Hutter starts to suspect that Dracula is one….

Nosferatu The Vampyre is that rarity: a close remake that totally and utterly justifies its own existence. It often copies the 1922 Nosferatu very closely, but adds its own elements and has a very different feel so that you really do get the best out of one great German filmmaker paying tribute to another. In a way, you have to see the F.W. Murnau’s film to fully appreciate this one, though I actually did it the other way round and saw this version before. This might be why, while the first film is a greater achievement, of hugely greater historical significance and actually tries to be scary [it may not scare jaded viewers these day, but it must have totally and utterly terrified them in ‘22], I have a slight preference for the ’79 version. It’s one of the strangest of Dracula films, not trying to frighten, but instead having a somewhat trance-like effect, almost meditative, and yet truly full of despair and darkness. Unusually amongst versions of Bram Stoker’s novel, the ending is as downbeat as can be. It’s also my opinion that it gets closer to the essence of vampirism than any other film.

This was the second of the five collaborations between director Werner Herzog and star Klaus Kinski. Because the copyright had long since expired, Herzog decided to restore the original name of Stoker’s characters, and, while it was primarily filmed elsewhere, it used the same Slovakian mountains that Murnau did to represent Transylvania. The volatile Kinski didn’t cause as much trouble on set as normal despite having to spend four hours each day having his makeup put on and taken off. For the most part, they would shoot each scene in German, then the same scene in English with the same cast and crew, though Isabelle Adjani and Roland Topor had to be dubbed for both versions and there are minor differences in some scenes. Herzog, not always the’ nicest’ of directors, decided to dye all the white rats he imported grey, and did it by submerging their cages in boiling water containing the dye. Many of them died, while the rest just licked themselves clean of the dye. Herzog himself cut ten minutes [mostly featuring Renfield] for export release as the distributors considered the film too slow. Released at a time where there seemed to be a mini craze for vampire films [there was also the John Badham Dracula, the spoof Love At First Bite, Nocturna, Salem’s Lot and Thirst], It managed to attract both the art-house and horror film audience and was Herzog’s biggest commercial success. Looking very different, Kinski would to go on to play the title role in Vampire In Venice, though actually called Nosferatu.

So the distributors thought Nosferatu The Vampyre to be too slow and there’s no doubt that it is a very slowly paced film, even more so than the original, but a slow film can be as rewarding as a fast film if you’re in the right mood, and for the viewer who is willing to relax and let the film’s atmosphere slowly envelope him or her, this one gets positively hypnotic. The uneasy title sequence perfectly sets the mood, as the camera slowly moves along some mummified bodies [these were actually Mexican and victims of a 1833 cholera epidemic] while Popol Vuh’s gloomy music plays. The bodies are ugly yet fascinating and we certainly can’t take our eyes off them while the film’s main themes of decay and death are being set up. After this, the film proceeds in the manner of the silent film for a while, except that the scenes at the Transylvanian village have an almost documentary feel to them. Then we have a truly great scene where Harker travels to the castle by mountain pass, a scene which shows Herzog’s brilliance at capturing the feel of a location and creating a certain mood which is both ominous and beautiful. The title music plays again as Harker makes his way up the winding path, then switches to Richard Wagner’s glorious opening to Das Rheingold when Harker stands and sees the true majesty of the Carpathian mountains and the clouds darken and start to move fast, eventually revealing Dracula’s ruined castle. What a stunning moment this is, beautiful and full of awe, yet also telling us that Harker, and we, have entered the realm of the fantastic and there is no going back.

Dracula’s castle is fascinating and very different from the norm. It seems to be little more than ruins from the outside but is clearly not that way when you are inside it. The interiors are mostly white, while the main hall is small and cramped. Most oddly, a boy playing a violin sometimes stands in a doorway. Then there’s Dracula himself. Kinski’s makeup is obviously modelled on Max Schreck’s, but slightly modified to give the impression that Dracula is actually suffering, while Kinski’s performance, which doesn’t really copy Schreck’s very much, simply exudes pain. This is a Dracula who is cursed by his immortal existence. I’ve always thought that if vampires ever did exist, they would not only be repulsive but would actually be ill because of their affliction. They wouldn’t be hip or cool, they would be pathetic, pitiful and revolting. Nosferatu The Vampyre even gives its Dracula scenes in which he bemoans his lot and ask his victim-to-be for love and compassion. The downfall of this approach is that Kinski’s vampire isn’t scary. He’s loathsome, but doesn’t give you the creeps like Schreck’s Dracula did except when Herzog has him recreate certain shots from the older film. Herzog makes up for this by making the climactic Dracula/Lucy scene possibly the most erotic in vampire movie history, even if there have been many that have been more explicit. Look at the way he keeps his hand on her breast as he feeds, or the way she brings his head back down to hers so he can continue feeding. It’s possibly the best evocation of the whole ‘beauty and the beast’ idea on film.

The cinematography by Jorg Schmidt-Reitwein is absolutely astounding. This is one of those films where almost every shot has been worked out and thought through. The positioning of characters within the frame is especially perfect. Some of the film’s best bits occur when there is no dialogue and we just have the images and the music, like when the deserted ship slowly glides into Wisborg. In many other films, most of these scenes would have been cut down or even removed because they aren’t important to the narrative. Herzog makes these dreamlike scenes essential to the film. Plotwise things progress much like the ’22 picture, though some are enhanced, and not just the rats, of which there are hundreds here. There is more emphasis on the plague that Dracula brings with him, climaxing in a stunning aerial shot of Lucy making her way through the plague-stricken main street of Wisborg amidst pyres, rubbish, people dancing insanely and even some animals [it looks like one guy tries to mount a sheep]. There’s even a twisted variant on the Last Supper as some rich folk decide to have a nice meal at a long table. A few elements from Stoker’s novel not in Murnau’s film are added, including Dracula vampirising Lucy’s [yes, they switched the names around for some reason] cousin before he gets to her. The ending though, while it may end in a weirdly grand manner with someone riding a horse into the distance through a desert, is striking in its nihilism. Lucy’s self-sacrifice all ends up being for nothing, while don’t we feel sorry for Dracula, given that he dies because he gives into his feelings and spends longer with Lucy than he needed to?

Most of the cast play their parts in a manner approaching that of silent film acting. This works for the gorgeous Isabelle Adjani and mostly works elsewhere except for Topor’s Renfield, who has a maniacal laugh that gets annoying very quickly, but then he was dubbed anyway. There is an argument that the approach taken by this film doesn’t work for the material and suffocates it. It’s certainly not one to watch for your typical vampire thrills and doesn’t even have any blood except for one oddly out-of-place comical scene near the end. There are other Dracula films which are more frightening, or exciting, or just plain entertaining. But I don’t think there is one as purely artistic as Nosferatu The Vampyre.

Rating: 9/10

_____________________________

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

(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 15224
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 23/10/2013 5:19:02 PM   
UTB


Posts: 9776
Joined: 30/9/2005
Great reviews. With any viewing of either Nosferatu I highly recommend a double bill with Shadow Of The Vampire

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15225
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 23/10/2013 6:37:54 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6707
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: CORLEONE

I'm gonna make it a Halloween week. Going to watch 3 modern horrors I haven't seen each night leading up to the 31st (Mama, The Conjuring and The Purge) - the on the actual night, my usual of Halloween (1978), The Shining, then culminating with the best horror film of all time, The Exorcist.

Nice line up of horror for Halloween, and having just watched MAMA I can see why you picked it along with The Conjuring( the best horror film of this year) and The Purge.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to CORLEONE)
Post #: 15226
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 23/10/2013 6:50:12 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6707
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

As it's 12 days away, how are we all spending Halloween? I'm going to my local cinema on Friday 1st November for a horror movie marathon: Friday the 13th, Evil Dead 2 and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre... all originals! I've always wanted to see Tobe Hooper's classic on the big screen! One to cross off the bucket list !

Awesome line up for the big screen, sawq two of them on there release dates in the cinema, but never saw Texas Chainsaw on the big screen, though I now have the uncut Blu-Ray which is wonderful. I'll go for Halloween, Halloween II and H20 for Halloween night, with Sleepy Hallow early on for the kids, and talking of which  have you seen the new Sleepy Hallow TV series on Universal HD, it's awesome. Also watching Bates Motel, Walking Dead, True Blood and Under The Dome, and soon American Horror: Coven which starts next week.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 15227
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 23/10/2013 7:01:41 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6707
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

IN SELECTED CINEMAS: 25th October


Estate agent Thomas Hutter is sent from his German home in Wisborg to Transylvania to visit a new client named Count Orlok. Nearing his destination in the Carpathian mountains, Hutter stops at an inn for dinner where the locals become frightened by the mere mention of Orlok's name and discourage him from travelling to his castle at night, warning of a werewolf on the prowl. His coachman declines to take him any further than a bridge, but a black-swathed coach appears to take Hutter the rest of the way. At the castle, Count Orlok, tries to suck the blood out when Hutter cuts his thumb. Hutter wakes up to a deserted castle the morning after and notices punctures on his neck, which he attributes to mosquitoes or spiders. That night, Orlok signs the documents to purchase the house across from Hutter's own home. Reading a book about vampires that he took from the local inn, Hutter starts to suspect that Orlok is Nosferatu, the 'Bird of Death'….

.
Henrik Galeen's script is sometimes awkward and contains a few scenes which don't seem necessary, but Murnau fills the film with devices which enhance the feel of a Gothic dream world, from characters emerging from shadows to spider webs all over the place, yet his use of real locations and authentic looking extras somehow give it an almost believable feel too. I say almost, because of course much of the acting is extremely over-the-top to modern eyes. Gustav Won Wangenheim, as Hutter, is especially given to exaggerating every little gesture, but this is how acting was in those days, especially in German Expressionism. More difficult, perhaps, is the Hans Erdmann score, which is often oppressively heavy and certainly wasn't too easy on this critic's ears. It's fantastic that we can see and hear Nosferatu pretty much as it originally was, but it might be preferable to some to turn the sound down when this version comes onto DVD and Blu-ray. This is something actually that I often do with silent films, especially those accompanied by music which doesn't seem to go with the images very well. In any case, Nosferatu has a primal quality that will stick with you far longer than most modern horror films which may be initially terrifying but are soon forgotten and diminish with successive viewings. Nosferatu will never diminish, because it seems to get closer than most other films to the roots of why we love the dark, why we love its phantoms, and why we love being made to feel emotions that any sane person ought to find stupid.

Rating: 9/10

One of my all time favourite silent films next to Phantom Of The Opera, and both superb chillers/horror films that still work at giving me the chills, and have not seen in a long time. I remember them being on Channel4 many moons ago after being remastered and music added, and they where both breath taking, very scary, though I think F.W.Murnau’s  Nosferatu  wins hands down in the chills department, and lon Chaney's Phantom in full on Gothic horror.
quote:


 
The cinematography by Jorg Schmidt-Reitwein is absolutely astounding. This is one of those films where almost every shot has been worked out and thought through. The positioning of characters within the frame is especially perfect. Some of the film’s best bits occur when there is no dialogue and we just have the images and the music, like when the deserted ship slowly glides into Wisborg. In many other films, most of these scenes would have been cut down or even removed because they aren’t important to the narrative. Herzog makes these dreamlike scenes essential to the film. Plotwise things progress much like the ’22 picture, though some are enhanced, and not just the rats, of which there are hundreds here. There is more emphasis on the plague that Dracula brings with him, climaxing in a stunning aerial shot of Lucy making her way through the plague-stricken main street of Wisborg amidst pyres, rubbish, people dancing insanely and even some animals [it looks like one guy tries to mount a sheep]. There’s even a twisted variant on the Last Supper as some rich folk decide to have a nice meal at a long table. A few elements from Stoker’s novel not in Murnau’s film are added, including Dracula vampirising Lucy’s [yes, they switched the names around for some reason] cousin before he gets to her. The ending though, while it may end in a weirdly grand manner with someone riding a horse into the distance through a desert, is striking in its nihilism. Lucy’s self-sacrifice all ends up being for nothing, while don’t we feel sorry for Dracula, given that he dies because he gives into his feelings and spends longer with Lucy than he needed to?

Most of the cast play their parts in a manner approaching that of silent film acting. This works for the gorgeous Isabelle Adjani and mostly works elsewhere except for Topor’s Renfield, who has a maniacal laugh that gets annoying very quickly, but then he was dubbed anyway. There is an argument that the approach taken by this film doesn’t work for the material and suffocates it. It’s certainly not one to watch for your typical vampire thrills and doesn’t even have any blood except for one oddly out-of-place comical scene near the end. There are other Dracula films which are more frightening, or exciting, or just plain entertaining. But I don’t think there is one as purely artistic as Nosferatu The Vampyre.

Rating: 9/10

Now this I have on DVD and loved from day one, plus I scored it the same as you when I reviewed this many moons ago on this thread, it as you said is not great for gorehounds, but wonderful for us lovers of Gothic art house films.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15228
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 23/10/2013 7:37:06 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6707
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: UTB

Great reviews. With any viewing of either Nosferatu I highly recommend a double bill with Shadow Of The Vampire

Yes I too highly recommend SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE, I dug out this very short review of it for those that know noting of it:

SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE (2000)

This amazing film about the making of  the classic 1922 vampire film Nosferatu ,a superbly stylized account of director F.W. Murnau and his obsession with creating a realistic horror film by any means necessary. The film begins as the awesome John Malkovich as F.W. Murnau is ready to make his unauthorized interpretation of the Bram Stoker tale on location in Czechoslovakia. There, the director has arranged for his cast and crew to live in the same castle in which they will shoot their parts, as they all wait for their co-star to arrive. Well another top notch actor right on his game appears in this film, it's Willem Dafoe as actor Max Schreck who is to play Count Orlok and by god he's also awesome in this film. And this is where the fun begins as F.W.Murnau has warned them that Schreck is a student of the Stanislovsky method of performance and will not respond to them out-of-character. Well Nothing, however can prepare them for the real thing as the actor arrives, he's already in full Gothic regalia, and asserting that he is indeed a vampire. Well all hell breaks loose as he makes good on his claims by terrorizing the cast and crew, attacking Murnau's original cinematographer (Wolfgang Muller) and plucking bats out of the air for midnight snacks.

This is so full of wonderful macabre humor, that it had me glued from start to finish, it's also full on Gothic Horror with a twist, IE what is real and what is not, plus a great way to get to know the silent movie Nosferatu and how it became the definitive expression of the timeless story of Count Dracula. There have been, of course, endless renditions of the 1896 Bram Stoker tale; however, Nosferatu was unique in that the medium of cinema was extremely new in 1924,and horror was leading the way in this new art form. Of course it's the two main leads who are just outstanding, and carry this film to a high end art film, without getting too arty that the sense of fun is lost, and yes some blood letting missing in the orginal film and the remake is also on show here. 8/10

_____________________________

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

(in reply to UTB)
Post #: 15229
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 24/10/2013 10:03:19 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: UTB

Great reviews. With any viewing of either Nosferatu I highly recommend a double bill with Shadow Of The Vampire



Thanks.

And review of Shadow Of The Vampire actually coming up [though I reckon Bill hit the mark as usual!], actually watching it for the first time tonight!

_____________________________

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

(in reply to UTB)
Post #: 15230
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 24/10/2013 11:18:47 PM   
losthighway


Posts: 3248
Joined: 25/1/2006
From: Manchesterford
OK, so my CHUCKY: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION BR box set has arrived but I haven't watched Curse as yet and I might wait a week or so too as I'm planning on working through them in order and the local AMC is showing the original Child's Play over the Halloween season so I'm going to see it on the big screen instead and will then continue with the rest of the franchise

WORLD WAR Z: Finally saw it last Monday in its extended cut. It wasn't terrible but it wasn't great either but having said that the book was hardly the masterpiece many say it is. In fact I found it rather dull in parts and a bit of a chore to finish. Muse's Matt Bellamy doing the score was inspired but fell seriously short by using the same track non-stop throughout the entire film! The film's other shortfall was its insistence on gaining a PG-13 rating which meant all the gore was off screen, it just didn't work. How can you have a non-gruesome WWZ film FFS! On top of that the zombies run in the film; in the book they walk/stumble. Oh and the film itself had very little to do with the book and actually felt like a set up for a franchise. It was OK but I wouldn't watch it again! Overall: 2.5/5

THE PURGE: Just watched this tonight and whilst it suffered from being incredibly rushed (the intruders seemed to get knocked off rather speedily!), I was genuinely tense throughout. It's a truly damning indictment of American gun/violence culture and you can see why it got such poor reviews. Again, not a film I would watch again but certainly one I would recommend. Overall: 3/5

And finally I picked up THE PUPPET MASTER TRILOGY box set (the recent 88Films releases) from Fopp for £8! Plus, it doesn't appear to be available on Amazon or the 88Films website!?

_____________________________

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

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15231
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 25/10/2013 9:50:33 AM   
Platter

 

Posts: 112
Joined: 14/8/2010
I’ve published a second novel on Amazon for the Kindle.

It’s free to download worldwide from today until Tuesday 29/10/13.

The download will work on computers, mobile phones and iPads with a Kindle app.

I Travel Inn



An exiled biker washes ashore on the banks of the I Travel Inn.

She soon finds herself ensnared in a plot to find and capture a wayward soul.

Before the situation is resolved she will experience nudity, mass murder, self-mutilation, time travel and a possible orgy.


Enthusiasts of surrealist films by David Lynch (Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, Wild at Heart, Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive), Luis Buñuel (The Exterminating Angel, Diary of a Chambermaid, Belle de Jour and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie) and Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain and Santa Sangre) should find a lot to enjoy in this novel.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/I-Travel-Inn-Peter-Englebright-ebook/dp/B00FCA8XM0/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_t_4_F3FP


Also two previous novellas are free for the same length of time.




http://www.amazon.co.uk/Music-Parade-Whores-Peter-Englebright-ebook/dp/B00BWFJ47M/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381915531&sr=1-4




http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eyes-Drift-Back-Peter-Englebright-ebook/dp/B00CJT5BTA/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1382628025&sr=1-4

_____________________________

My novel:

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 losthighway)
Post #: 15232
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 26/10/2013 2:24:44 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6707
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: losthighway

OK, so my CHUCKY: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION BR box set has arrived but I haven't watched Curse as yet and I might wait a week or so too as I'm planning on working through them in order and the local AMC is showing the original Child's Play over the Halloween season so I'm going to see it on the big screen instead and will then continue with the rest of the franchise

WORLD WAR Z: Finally saw it last Monday in its extended cut. It wasn't terrible but it wasn't great either but having said that the book was hardly the masterpiece many say it is. In fact I found it rather dull in parts and a bit of a chore to finish. Muse's Matt Bellamy doing the score was inspired but fell seriously short by using the same track non-stop throughout the entire film! The film's other shortfall was its insistence on gaining a PG-13 rating which meant all the gore was off screen, it just didn't work. How can you have a non-gruesome WWZ film FFS! On top of that the zombies run in the film; in the book they walk/stumble. Oh and the film itself had very little to do with the book and actually felt like a set up for a franchise. It was OK but I wouldn't watch it again! Overall: 2.5/5

THE PURGE: Just watched this tonight and whilst it suffered from being incredibly rushed (the intruders seemed to get knocked off rather speedily!), I was genuinely tense throughout. It's a truly damning indictment of American gun/violence culture and you can see why it got such poor reviews. Again, not a film I would watch again but certainly one I would recommend. Overall: 3/5

And finally I picked up THE PUPPET MASTER TRILOGY box set (the recent 88Films releases) from Fopp for £8! Plus, it doesn't appear to be available on Amazon or the 88Films website!?

CHILDS PLAY on the big screen wow!! great for a Halloween warm up, I too am a big fan of this franchise too, it's just so much fun even the not so good films, looking forward to watching Curse when I get it off LoveFilm. Now I have WORLD Z on my rental list, it's seems to have split zombie fans down the middle, for and against, i'll give it a go anyway. THE PURGE i'm looking forward too, and good to see you gave it a decent score, and yeah I can understand why the US critics did not like it. I have THE PUPPET MASTER films on DVD, and they cost me a lot more than £8 for the lot, great bargain there mate, enjoy your viewing.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to losthighway)
Post #: 15233
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 27/10/2013 10:47:09 AM   
losthighway


Posts: 3248
Joined: 25/1/2006
From: Manchesterford
I watched CURSE OF CHUCKY last night. It's a slow starter for sure but once it gets going it really good, plus towards the very end there is some seriously nice tie ins with the previous films in the franchise. Oh and stick around for after the end credits because it essentially finalises the franchise... you'll see what I mean! ;)

Overall: 4/5

_____________________________

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

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 15234
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 28/10/2013 12:24:08 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005
Finally saw it and wasn't as keen as some others on this thread, is just my opinion though!



In 1921, German director Frederich Wilhelm Murnau takes his cast and crew on location in Czechoslovakia to shoot Nosferatu, an unauthorised version of Dracula. Murnau keeps his team in the dark about their schedule and the actor playing the vampire Count Orlok. He appears to be an obscure German theatre performer named Max Schreck. To involve himself fully in his role, Schreck will only appear among the cast and crew in make-up and will never break character. Murnau’s team travels to an inn where Murnau removes crucifixes around the inn, the cameraman falls into a strange, hypnotic state, Gustav discovers a bottle of blood amongst the team’s food supplies, and Murnau delivers a caged ferret to a cellar in the middle of the night….

Hype concerning films is nothing new. During the production of Nosferatu, the director F.W. Murnau spread rumours about Max Schreck, who played Count Orlok the Dracula substitute in the film, about him actually being a vampire. A respected actor, though one with a particular skill in playing grotesque and odd characters, he was apparently a loner with a strange sense of humour, but was of course not a vampire. He was even happily married. Shadow Of The Vampire doesn’t portray Schreck as he actually was. Instead it decides to ‘print the legend, not the truth’, and go along with the idea that he was a vampire. This achieves somewhat awkward results. Shadow Of The Vampire is a generally respected film, but it didn’t entirely work for me. As a detailing of how one of the seminal horror films was made, it’s fascinating and presents certain things with great accuracy, but this accuracy jars with the total fantasy of everything else, with not just Schreck but Murnau and others presented in a totally different manner to what they were actually like. Murnau is presented as your typical tyrannical director for whom to price is too high in the creation of art. He’s also straight, which would have been news to the real Murnau.

The original title was actually Burned To Light and both Steven Katz’s screenplay and the first cut of the film were very different from what ended up on the screen. Most notably, there was more detail about Schreck’s background. Murnau’s girlfriend turns out to be the vampire who turned Max hundreds of years ago and gets burned to death. This was all omitted and Schreck’s vampiric origins only mentioned obliquely, a good decision. We don’t even see much vampirism, and many of Willem Dafoe’s best scenes as Schreck are when he is alone or just talking about what it is like to be a vampire. One especially poignant moment has him alone with the cinematic apparatus and, cranking the projector by hand, looks at the one thing he wants to see a second time above all else but can’t properly without dying – a sunrise. Another one has him complain how Bram Stoker’s book has misinterpreted the hell of his existence. There is also some fine dark humour throughout, often revolving around Schreck’s inability to control his vampiric urges and causing the production much trouble, such as having to get a new cinematographer. This all the better for being understated, with often Schreck saying something that is amusing such as “I’ll eat her later” and somebody else replying with immense seriousness. Sadly there isn’t really any tension in the film though.

Shadow Of The Vampire has a striking title sequence where we are shown lots of grotesque paintings. Do they represent Schreck’s past, when he was once a ruler in charge of a kingdom? They seem to be showing the new trampling over the old. Together with Dan Jones’s sinister music, this gets the film off to a fine start. Throughout it has a very artistic look and feel to it, Lou Bogue’s photography giving most shots a touch of sepia and the segues from the colour film to the black and white recreations of Nosferatu scenes and back again very well managed. These recreations are generally done very well but there are some careless technical details that let the side down, like this vampire not having a reflection while Murnau’s vampire did, and a stake which certainly did not appear in Murnau’s climax. Dafoe doesn’t look that much like Schreck, and even if some of that is due to their heads having different shapes, other things differ like the size of the ears. Dafoe’s much-praised performance seems a little ‘off’ to me. He’s interesting to watch, but sometimes his mannerisms and expressions, like an extreme frown, tend to come across as more comical than they should. Meanwhile John Malkovitch convinces as an obsessive director, but doesn’t really pull off the German accent.

Shadow Of The Vampire is constantly intriguing, but doesn’t really hit the mark and falls apart especially in its contrived climax. Okay, it’s a fantasy and not meant to be realistic, but I didn’t buy what was happening, which means it wasn’t really working for me. There’s a lot to enjoy, including a surprising restrained Udo Kier [though he isn’t playing a vampire this time], nice little touches throughout like the use of silent film-style title cards, and it does make some sound points, such as the fact that a movie director can be a far worse monster then a vampire. But isn’t there something distasteful about the way it makes up almost everything? Fantasy re-tellings of history only really come off, and are in my opinion only acceptable, when they work within the known facts. Shadow Of The Vampire doesn’t bother doing that at all, and it also comes across as something of an insult to Schreck. For me, the most interesting thing about the man is that Nosferatu is the only film of his that has survived. You can do a good film about that and invent a hell of a lot of fantasy without ignoring stuff that really happened.

Rating: 6/10

_____________________________

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

(in reply to losthighway)
Post #: 15235
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 28/10/2013 12:43:40 PM   
Whistler


Posts: 3079
Joined: 22/11/2006
Some fine reviews posted there, Dr. Out of them I've only seen Murnau's Nosferatu, which I love, but I'll try and check out the others soon.

Been super, duper busy this week so haven't caught a SINGLE film, let alone anything weird or strange, but I have a bit of time now and am getting into the Halloween spirit with an ever-growing list of horror flicks. I'm also writing a review for A Nightmare On Elm Street to celebrate its return to the big screen on the 31st, which I'll probably post on here later today.

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15236
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 28/10/2013 2:27:56 PM   
Whistler


Posts: 3079
Joined: 22/11/2006
Here it is.



Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Wes Craven
Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Ronee Blakely, John Saxon, Amanda Wyss
Running time: 91 minutes
Certification: 18

A group of young teenagers find themselves being haunted in their dreams by a strange scarred man with knives for fingers, known as Freddy Kreuger. As they hunt for the truth about him, the only way avoid his grasp is to stay awake…

The terrified audiences of 1984 could hardly have known that Wes Craven’s A Nightmare On Elm Street would end up being one of the most iconic horror films of all time. At the time of release it reduced the masses to shivering wrecks in fold-up seats because there had never been anything quite like it. Oh sure, there had been slasher movies before, but the genius of what Elm Street did was that it took the genre into territory never before ventured. No longer was the killer trying to break in the front door; he was waiting for you in your dreams, a place where you can’t run, you can’t hide, you can’t scream and you can’t escape. Craven knew we’ve all experienced the sheer terror of a nightmare, and he played on that fear by creating what has become one of the most iconic characters in not just horror, but film, history: Freddy Kreuger.

Every slasher movie needs a good killer – nay, a great killer. More often than not, the reason for a slasher not working is because there’s nothing interesting or unique about the bad guy (and oh, how many bad slasher movies there are), it’s just all slash, hack and gore. The tremendous success of Elm Street is largely down to how well planned and executed Freddy was, yet these days, Kreuger is often seen as something of a gimmick, having spawned an array of Freddy merchandise, starred in countless, increasingly-silly sequels, and even sung in his own music video. The character basically became an entertainer and celebrity, which is odd, given his roots. In Craven’s film, Kreuger is a murderer and pedophile seeking revenge on the parents who burned him alive by slicing and dicing their children while they sleep. There’s distinctly nothing gimmicky about him as he cackles in that way he does while racing up Elm Street behind a terrified Amanda Wyss with those elongating arms. While some of the sequels are entertaining, and the jokey Freddy vs Jason is surprisingly good fun, Freddy Kreuger, in my mind, has never been more sinister, terrifying and brilliant than in his first iteration.

By setting large portions of the film in a dream it opened up a whole armada of possibilities to Craven’s fantastical, inventive mind. If he wasn’t creative enough already with his startling work on films like The Last House On The Left and The Hills Have Eyes, this time there were absolutely no restrictions, no reality checks. Anything can happen in a dream, and does, which makes Krueger’s torments that much more unbearable. Whether it’s Freddy chopping off his own finger to mess with his victim or the victims themselves being unable to run away, there’s a definite sense of fun behind the camera in that they know they’ll get away with whatever they’re doing. The dream sequences themselves also look and feel great thanks to Jacques Haitkin’s vividly eerie, musky cinematography. When in Freddy’s lair we feel as trapped as the victims, suffocated by the billowing steam and vision-less, all making for even more excruciatingly frightful death sequences. So much care and attention has gone into making us really believe that we’re in a dream, where it’s absolutely no holds barred.

Often forgotten is that A Nightmare On Elm Street also boasts the accolade of hosting the debut role of one of today’s biggest stars. We know him best as a mumbling, drunk pirate who likes to sing songs about rum, but Johnny Depp first came onto the scene as a quiet, straight-faced, fashion-impaired pretty boy trying to escape the slashes of Freddy’s knifed glove. Playing the boyfriend of Krueger’s favourite victim, Nancy, he’s the typical 80s clean-faced, naive heart-throb who was always going to go on to do bigger things. The DiCaprio of Titanic, say, or the Brad Pitt of Thelma & Louise (who, incidentally, also starred in the Freddy TV series, Freddy’s Nightmares). Heather Langenkamp surprisingly never went on to do much else, with her biggest roles coming in Elm Street sequels and a small part in this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness. But she’s great in this, playing against the typical slasher teen scream heroine and providing Nancy with a strong sympathetic edge as well as reminding us that she’s able to hold her own against a dream-dwelling psychopath. There’s nothing like a strong, kick-ass female lead.

For me, A Nightmare On Elm Street stands the tallest amongst its contemporaries. Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and John Carpenter’s Halloween are generally cited as the best slasher movies ever made, only rivaled by their inspiration Psycho, and occasionally Peeping Tom. While Carpenter’s and Hooper’s classics are brilliant and strong influences on Elm Street, they hail from a different decade so it doesn’t feel quite right to rope them into the same group. Elm Street’s biggest contender, really, is Friday The 13th, which doesn’t hold up through the fact that, in the opposite way from Elm Street, many of its sequels are much better. It just doesn’t hold the same enjoyment factor while watching it; that unique sense of real dread and fear mixed with genuine fun that Craven does so well.

A whole after 29 years after general release, horror-master Wes Craven’s iconic, decade-defining classic hasn’t lost the slightest touch of quality. Despite the multitude of spinoffs, sequels and wannabes, it remains totally unique in the genre, and as shocking, entertaining, scary and insomnia-inducing as ever. Just fewer of the low-cut tops, Johnny.

5/5

< Message edited by Whistler -- 28/10/2013 2:35:35 PM >

(in reply to Whistler)
Post #: 15237
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 28/10/2013 6:07:10 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5142
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Watched Lifeforce on Saturday night. Never in a million years would I have expected Tobe Hooper to direct a film about naked space vampires. From start to finish, it is utterly barmy, but quite enjoyable. I can see why it's a cult classic.

Also watched the remake of Last House on the Left. Good, but I felt the violence was too prolonged, it's best to leave some things to the imagination. However, Garret Dillahunt was very good as Krug.

(in reply to Whistler)
Post #: 15238
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 31/10/2013 9:55:37 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Whistler

Here it is.



Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Wes Craven
Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Ronee Blakely, John Saxon, Amanda Wyss
Running time: 91 minutes
Certification: 18

A group of young teenagers find themselves being haunted in their dreams by a strange scarred man with knives for fingers, known as Freddy Kreuger. As they hunt for the truth about him, the only way avoid his grasp is to stay awake…

The terrified audiences of 1984 could hardly have known that Wes Craven’s A Nightmare On Elm Street would end up being one of the most iconic horror films of all time. At the time of release it reduced the masses to shivering wrecks in fold-up seats because there had never been anything quite like it. Oh sure, there had been slasher movies before, but the genius of what Elm Street did was that it took the genre into territory never before ventured. No longer was the killer trying to break in the front door; he was waiting for you in your dreams, a place where you can’t run, you can’t hide, you can’t scream and you can’t escape. Craven knew we’ve all experienced the sheer terror of a nightmare, and he played on that fear by creating what has become one of the most iconic characters in not just horror, but film, history: Freddy Kreuger.

Every slasher movie needs a good killer – nay, a great killer. More often than not, the reason for a slasher not working is because there’s nothing interesting or unique about the bad guy (and oh, how many bad slasher movies there are), it’s just all slash, hack and gore. The tremendous success of Elm Street is largely down to how well planned and executed Freddy was, yet these days, Kreuger is often seen as something of a gimmick, having spawned an array of Freddy merchandise, starred in countless, increasingly-silly sequels, and even sung in his own music video. The character basically became an entertainer and celebrity, which is odd, given his roots. In Craven’s film, Kreuger is a murderer and pedophile seeking revenge on the parents who burned him alive by slicing and dicing their children while they sleep. There’s distinctly nothing gimmicky about him as he cackles in that way he does while racing up Elm Street behind a terrified Amanda Wyss with those elongating arms. While some of the sequels are entertaining, and the jokey Freddy vs Jason is surprisingly good fun, Freddy Kreuger, in my mind, has never been more sinister, terrifying and brilliant than in his first iteration.

By setting large portions of the film in a dream it opened up a whole armada of possibilities to Craven’s fantastical, inventive mind. If he wasn’t creative enough already with his startling work on films like The Last House On The Left and The Hills Have Eyes, this time there were absolutely no restrictions, no reality checks. Anything can happen in a dream, and does, which makes Krueger’s torments that much more unbearable. Whether it’s Freddy chopping off his own finger to mess with his victim or the victims themselves being unable to run away, there’s a definite sense of fun behind the camera in that they know they’ll get away with whatever they’re doing. The dream sequences themselves also look and feel great thanks to Jacques Haitkin’s vividly eerie, musky cinematography. When in Freddy’s lair we feel as trapped as the victims, suffocated by the billowing steam and vision-less, all making for even more excruciatingly frightful death sequences. So much care and attention has gone into making us really believe that we’re in a dream, where it’s absolutely no holds barred.

Often forgotten is that A Nightmare On Elm Street also boasts the accolade of hosting the debut role of one of today’s biggest stars. We know him best as a mumbling, drunk pirate who likes to sing songs about rum, but Johnny Depp first came onto the scene as a quiet, straight-faced, fashion-impaired pretty boy trying to escape the slashes of Freddy’s knifed glove. Playing the boyfriend of Krueger’s favourite victim, Nancy, he’s the typical 80s clean-faced, naive heart-throb who was always going to go on to do bigger things. The DiCaprio of Titanic, say, or the Brad Pitt of Thelma & Louise (who, incidentally, also starred in the Freddy TV series, Freddy’s Nightmares). Heather Langenkamp surprisingly never went on to do much else, with her biggest roles coming in Elm Street sequels and a small part in this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness. But she’s great in this, playing against the typical slasher teen scream heroine and providing Nancy with a strong sympathetic edge as well as reminding us that she’s able to hold her own against a dream-dwelling psychopath. There’s nothing like a strong, kick-ass female lead.

For me, A Nightmare On Elm Street stands the tallest amongst its contemporaries. Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and John Carpenter’s Halloween are generally cited as the best slasher movies ever made, only rivaled by their inspiration Psycho, and occasionally Peeping Tom. While Carpenter’s and Hooper’s classics are brilliant and strong influences on Elm Street, they hail from a different decade so it doesn’t feel quite right to rope them into the same group. Elm Street’s biggest contender, really, is Friday The 13th, which doesn’t hold up through the fact that, in the opposite way from Elm Street, many of its sequels are much better. It just doesn’t hold the same enjoyment factor while watching it; that unique sense of real dread and fear mixed with genuine fun that Craven does so well.

A whole after 29 years after general release, horror-master Wes Craven’s iconic, decade-defining classic hasn’t lost the slightest touch of quality. Despite the multitude of spinoffs, sequels and wannabes, it remains totally unique in the genre, and as shocking, entertaining, scary and insomnia-inducing as ever. Just fewer of the low-cut tops, Johnny.

5/5


Excellent review! I'm going to go on record and say I like Elm Street 3 better than the first movie, and also the first two thirds of Wes Craven's Final Nightmare, but number one is a classic nonetheless.I remember how everyone at school was talking a about it when it came out on video, it was a Must See movie, and those whose parents weren't cool enough to let us hire it out [some vidoe shops were so lenient in those days, my local one let me hire anything despite my young age!] just went round other people's to watch it.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to Whistler)
Post #: 15239
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 31/10/2013 9:57:09 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

Watched Lifeforce on Saturday night. Never in a million years would I have expected Tobe Hooper to direct a film about naked space vampires. From start to finish, it is utterly barmy, but quite enjoyable. I can see why it's a cult classic.

Also watched the remake of Last House on the Left. Good, but I felt the violence was too prolonged, it's best to leave some things to the imagination. However, Garret Dillahunt was very good as Krug.


Lifeforce is nuts, but such fun. LHOTL remake - I would say it's more enjoyable than the original but less disturbing and certainly didn't feel as 'real'.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 15240
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