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RE: 70s Poll Countdown

 
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RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 8/8/2012 8:43:58 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
54. The Fantastic Planet



(1973; Rene Laloux)
Highest Vote: Spectator of Suicide

The planet Ygam is inhabited by the Draags, a race of giant humanoid creatures. They take mastery over a smaller, wilder race called Oms. The treat the Oms as pets, domesticating some, but exterminating the wild ones as vermin. One of the Oms, Terr, is given to a young Draag, Tiwa, as a pet. He listens to Tiwa's information headset, a device used for learning, and gains knowledge of the Draags plan for 'De-Omisation', a plan to exterminate all Oms. He escapes to join his wild Oms and help them form a rebellion against the Draags.

Laloux created this film alongside one of his fellow Panic Movement artists, the writer Roland Topor. They turned to a sci-fi novel by Stefan Wul for the basis of their film. Oms is of course a wordplay on the French term hommes. And the film puts man in the subjugated position we often put other races in. We decide what animals to keep as pets, which ones to eat, which ones are vermin. The theme of the Draags thoughtlessly killing Oms thoughtlessly is established in the opening scenes of the film. The treatment of the Oms has been used to draw all kinds of political allegories, but I think the strongest allegory is the Nazi parallels. The Draags believe themselves to be superior to the Oms and have no problem in creating a final solution to exterminate them by the use of gas.

Visually the film is astonishing, every bit as surrealist and mindbending as you'd expect from members of the Panic Movement. Both Topor and Laloux allowing their imagination to run wild to create the bizarre world and life forms in the film. In fact, as much as I've talked about the plot, Fantastic Planet would be just as enjoyable if it was watched without dialogue and just appreciated for the savage but beautiful world that Topor and Laloux have created.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 91
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 8/8/2012 8:44:48 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
53. Cabaret



(1972; Bob Fosse)
Highest Vote: Movie Addict

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Post #: 92
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 8/8/2012 8:45:27 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
52. Serpico



(1973; Sidney Lumet)
Highest Vote: Gimli

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Post #: 93
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 8/8/2012 8:46:15 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
51. Deep Red



(1975; Dario Argento)
Highest Vote: Rebel Scum

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Post #: 94
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 8/8/2012 8:48:59 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
50. A Woman Under the Influence



(1974; John Cassavetes)
Highest Vote: Rawlinson

Mabel Longhetti (Rowlands) is an insecure social misfit. She's married to Nick (Falk) a quick-tempered construction worker and she tries her best to make him happy and be a good wife and mother. The problem is she has no idea how to achieve any of these things. When Nick misses dinner one night because he has to work late, she goes to a bar and brings a stranger home with her. The next morning she acts like nothing has happened. When Nick arrives home he thoughtlessly brings his entire crew for breakfast. Her strange behaviour embarrasses Nick, leading to a confrontation in front of his team. Eventually her behaviour deteriorates until Nick has to face the possibility of her being a danger to her children and he has her committed for several months. On her return home, Nick again mistakes her emotional state and invites a lot of people to a welcome home party, leading to another collision.

It's obvious Mabel and Nick love each other, but because it's not what people expect from love and they have no idea how to handle it. These are two realistic and complex people trying to figure out how to relate to each other. There is the question of how mentally ill Mabel really is, if at all. Her behaviour is erratic but that could easily be down to outside stressors as much as a genuine instability. Nick is just as volatile as she is, but his erratic behaviour comes out as rage, something put down to a short temper. But his distanced behaviour with his children reveals he has just as much difficulty raising them as Mabel did.

It's a brave film that never once takes the easy option. The intense and naked way it presents these characters to us can be disturbing at times, it's showing us real people and all their flaws and Cassavetes captures something of the truth about relationships, about marriage, about how we relate to each other. Rowlands gives an explosive performance, a career highlight from the best actress of her generation and she fully deserves the acclaim that's come her way over the years. But she's equalled every step of the way by Falk. He has a less showy role than Rowlands, but he's still mesmerising. This is an incredible, heartbreaking film, my favourite Cassavetes, and one of the greatest films of its era.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 95
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 8/8/2012 8:50:25 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
49. The Shout



(1978; Jerzy Skolimowski)
Highest Vote: Elab

At a Devon mental institution, the villagers gather to play a game of cricket against the patients. Robert Graves (Tim Curry), author of the short story that inspired the film, is written into the film as a character in this wrap-around story. He arrives to act as scorer for the game and is introduced to his opposite number from the asylum, Crossley (Alan Bates). The asylum's doctor (Robert Stephens) tells Graves that Crossley is the most brilliant mind in the place, but that he's far from normal. Within minutes, Crossley has singled out a player on the field (John Hurt) and offers to tell Graves a story about him, a story that he swears is true.

Most of the rest of the film is made up of this story within a story. Hurt is Anthony Fielding, a composer and church organ player in a small village, married to Rachel (Susannah York), but cheating with a girl from the village. Crossley invites himself into the Fieldings' life and tells them tales of his travels, claiming to have lived with the Aborigines in Australia and been taught supernatural powers by them. One such power is the titular shout, a black magic yell that can kill all who hear it. Crossley is soon manipulating the Fieldings, playing games with Anthony's sanity and luring Rachel into his bed.

British horror often gets reduced to merely being the output of Hammer, and then that is dismissed as all tits and fangs. While that in itself is an unfair view of their output, that description also completely ignores the intelligent, subtle and ambiguous work that came out of the country in the sixties and seventies. One of the most interesting areas of British cinema over those decades was the work of some European directors who came to the country and created work that absolutely nailed some aspect of the British psyche. From the likes of Polanski with Repulsion through Jose Larraz with Symptoms and Skolimowsky with films like The Shout and Deep End. These films view their characters and their environment from a distance, yet still feel psychologically penetrating.

It's a powerful film, a masterpiece of mood and atmosphere, helped in no small part by some incredible sound work. The normal and the supernatural are merged to startling effect, especially during the first demonstration of Crossley's shout. Skolimowsky makes simple things like some sand dunes or a cricket match feel like they're part of an alien landscape. But there's also a human connection, we care about these characters, largely thanks to the incredible performances of Bates, Hurt and York. It's a slow-burn of a film, and one that can take several viewings to fully appreciate.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 96
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 2:21:24 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
48. All The Presidentís Men



(1976; Alan J. Pakula)
Highest Vote: Matty

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Post #: 97
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 2:22:24 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
47. Rocky



(1976; John G. Avildsen)
Highest Vote: TRM

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Post #: 98
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 2:23:35 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
46. Stalker



(1979; Andrei Tarkovsky)
Highest Vote: Toast

Stalker is set in a tiny town on the outskirts of 'The Zone', a wilderness that's been cordoned off by the government. The Stalker is a professional guide who works to take people in and out of the Zone, much as a stalker is used in hunting, to a hidden room said to grant someone's deepest wishes. Some previous occurrence has turned the area into a place where the normal rules of physics no longer apply, something that could have been alien in nature. The Stalker's family doesn't approve of his work, his wife hates the legal risks but he goes to meet his clients, the Writer and the Professor, anyway. The Stalker tells them of extreme danger surrounding them at all times and insists on them following his rules and guidelines to the letter, and much of the drama comes from the tension between the seeming lack of danger and the Stalker's safety rituals. The heart of the film however comes in the philosophical discussions between the characters over their reasons for wanting to visit the room. The Writer fears a loss of inspiration, the Professor wants scientific greatness, the Stalker dislikes the lack of faith in modern life and feels he's doing good by taking people to the 'Room'. The Stalker warns them however by implying that our deepest desires are unknown even to ourselves, a variation of 'be careful what you wish for', something illustrated through the story of another stalker, Porcupine, who revealed the darkness in his heart to his great cost.

Along the way we discover that the Professor actually plans to destroy the room with a bomb, out of fear that it could be used for evil. The Professor backs down and they find their way to the room, but we only see them sit outside. As they wait, a rainstorm begins indoors, possibly the film's most beautiful moment. The films ends on the same note of ambiguity that it's played with all the way through, as we're left wondering if we've witnessed some miraculous display of power from the Stalker's child or not.

Compared to the complexity of Mirror, Stalker is quite simple. The Stalker leads two men through a forbidden territory to a room that grants you all your desires. But for all of that, Stalker holds just as many little mysteries and riddles as Mirror. Are the ideas of the traps in the zone true or imagined? Does the room hold any real power? What is the nature of the Zone? Tarkovsky deliberately left the meaning of the Zone ambiguous. The incredible close-ups he films of the faces of the lead trio demonstrates that Tarkovsky's more interested in the human ramifications than of the true nature of the Zone. If the journey is toward anything, it's the chance of inner enlightenment rather than a big dramatic climax.

It's no shock that the men of reason are being led by a man of faith. There's deep spiritual crisis at work in the characters here and the Stalker is the only one suited to survive the Zone because his life revolves around faith. He has to believe that he's doing something good by helping people achieve their desires. You can take the film just for its incredible sensory pleasures, but there's also a great inner purity and beauty in Stalker, but you have to be willing to meet the film halfway. If you're not then this could be a trying experience. I think it's one of the most thought-provoking and astonishing films I've ever seen, even if I haven't discovered all that it means to me yet.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 99
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 2:24:21 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
45. The Rocky Horror Picture Show



(1975; Jim Sharman)
Highest Vote: Rebel Scum

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Post #: 100
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 2:26:38 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
44. Mirror



(1975; Andrei Tarkovsky)
Highest Vote: Fritzl

Tarkovsky's astonishing Mirror is a loosely autobiographical film that mixes childhood memories with newsreel footage to reflect not only his life, but what it meant to be a Russian from his generation. There's no real discernable plot to Mirror, instead Tarkovsky stated he was aiming to reveal things from his memory. He arranges these memory fragments in non-chronological order, making it almost the filmic equivalent of stream-of-consciousness writing. By far Tarkovsky's most personal work, the film draws heavily on his own childhood, especially his wartime evacuation to the country, and he reworked the script over the period of a decade.

The film focuses on the thoughts and emotions of Alexei (Daniltsev) a stand-in for Tarkovsky, reflecting on his relationship with his parents as both child and adult, as well as his with his own wife and child. Alexei's life is shown over three distinct time periods, pre-war, wartime and the post-war 60s. Tarkovsky demands a lot from the audience here. He fearlessly breaks down time barriers and skips quickly and without any seeming order between these time periods, focusing on small moments that had an impact on his life in order to create a strange dream-like state, something approaching the nature of memory. Events are further confused by casting the same actors in different roles, including that of Terekhova as both as his wife and mother, meaning we can never be sure at first exactly where in the chronology we are.

The actual plot would be simple if arranged in chronological order, it's the means that Tarkovsky chooses to present these ideas to us that makes it such a complex proposition, but I can't imagine it would have worked in any other. This isn't trickery or playing with time for the sake of it, he's trying to recreate the nature of human memory here. It could easily have been self-indulgent, but Tarkovsky makes the personal feel universal and makes it an emotional and oddly warm film considering how much of it is about emotional abandonment.

It's also one of the most visually striking films I've ever seen, with scenes designed to reflect artwork, we're given a phantasmagoric film, with Tarkovsky finding the surreal and magical in everyday sights. Things are filmed here to make them seem as if we've never seen the like before, and even the strangest sights take on a tactile quality. But if that makes it sound that the film is all visuals and no character, then I'm not doing it justice. The film is just as much about his family and their inner lives and moments such as his mother's worry over a possible mistake in a book she proof-read at work takes on surprising emotional depths.

I don't think I'll ever fully understand the film, I think it's impossible for anyone who isn't Andrei Tarkovsky to ever have understood all of it, but I do know it's a transcendent and beautiful film, and a true work of art.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 101
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 2:27:53 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
43. Days Of Heaven



(1978; Terrence Malick)
Highest Vote: WifeofRaw

Bill (Richard Gere) accidentally kills a man at his job in Chicago, so along with younger sister Linda (Linda Manz) and girlfriend Abby (Brooke Adams) travels to Texas where the trio get jobs as migrant workers for a rich farmer (Sam Shepard). Realising that the farmer is attracted to Abby, and that he's also dying, Bill comes up with a plan for her to marry him and inherit his fortune, but fate doesn't work out the way Bill had hoped. There's so much to fall in love with in Days of Heaven, Manz's superb narration, the sensual atmosphere, the magic hour visuals (the Locust swarm has to be one of the most astonishing sequences ever filmed), even Gere turns in a great performance. One of American cinema's greatest films, and one that feels like it could have been created in any era.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 102
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 2:30:19 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
42. Manhattan



(1979; Woody Allen)
Highest Vote: TRM

I adore Manhattan. I idolize it all out of proportion. Eh uh, no, make that I romanticise it all out of proportion. Better. To me, no matter what the season is, this is still a film that exists in black and white and pulsates to the great tunes of George Gershwin. Uh, no, let me start this over...

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Post #: 103
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 2:31:54 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
41. El Topo



(1970; Alejandro Jodorowsky)
Highest Vote: Rawlinson

Quite possibly the original theatrical midnight movie, El Topo drew huge counterculture crowds through mostly word of mouth publicity to the midnight shows in NYC's Elgin Theatre. El Topo's reputation built through its popularity with head audiences and later through the obscurity of the bootleg trading circuit. The rights for distribution were bought by John Lennon's manager Allen Klein on the recommendation of Lennon himself, but a disagreement between Jodorowsky and Klein meant Klein kept the film off the market for many years. Its unavailabilty meant that a huge word-of-mouth cult formed both around the film and its charismatic creator. The director and star, Alejandro Jodorowsky, had always wanted to confront his audience, starting with his days as co-founder of notorious guerrilla art group, The Panic Movement. He was also a self-professed mystic who used dreams and hallucinations to power his films. The twin obsessions of mysticism and confrontation would come together in this surrealist spaghetti western to create one of the most original and unique film experiences of all time.

Jodorowsky himself takes the lead role, a black-leather-clad avenger who rides through the desert accompanied by a small naked boy. He discovers a village that has been massacred by a group of bandits led by someone called The Colonel. El Topo seeks revenge and butchers the bandits, disembowelling and castrating the Colonel and taking his slave Mara as his own. Mara tells him about the Four Masters, desert-dwelling gurus who have reached mystical levels of gun-fighting. El Topo decides to face down and defeat them all in a quest for enlightenment and power. The four masters are gifted in different ways and are incapable of being killed in a conventional fashion. Along the way they pick up another woman, this one unnamed, who serves as their guide to finding the masters. After battling and defeating the four masters, El Topo finds himself betrayed by Mara and the other woman and left for dead. After spending years in a comatose state he wakes up and seeks atonement for his previous sins. He becomes a beggar, performing for money and identifying with outcasts, freaks and cripples. He is initially confined to a cave with them and after meditating on the lessons he learned at the hands of the masters, he discovers enlightentment and takes a dwarf girl as his love. He tries to save them by tunnelling out, making the title (El Topo means The Mole) somewhat clearer. But the cultists who live in the nearby town don't want the outcasts to be set free.

There's some pretty clear Judeo-Christian mythology in this film. The religious allegory in El Topo can be seen in the old testament style split of the two halves of the film. The first half is the old testament, filled with vengeance and anger. His death and rebirth in the second half leads to a kinder and gentler El Topo, representing the new testament, the Jesus parallels taken even further with his association with freaks and outcasts. Also thrown into the mix is a jumble of Buddhism and Nietzschean philosophy. You can also argue that the four masters he faces are possibly aspects of El Topo's subconscious. Your interpretation of El Topo is likely to be that which you wish to take away from it, which in a film so loaded with symbolism of all kinds is only natural.

Jodorowsky, like many great artists, is filled with conceit and it shows in his work. What else can you say about a man who casts himself as Jesus other than he's on one hell of an ego-trip? But despite his hubris, it comes across as confidence rather than arrogance and it just makes the film work. El Topo is a man making a film for himself rather than for an audience and as a result he's opening himself to us. It could be argued that Jodorowsky is a misogynist director and there is a mistrust of women in the film, Jodorowsky has even claimed the on-screen rape of Mara was for real, something the actress in question has never commented on, but it seems more like Jodorowsky attempting to myth-make than the actual truth. And as for the sexism itself, with film-making this personal it's difficult to determine what are the director's feelings and what are the character's feelings and not all women are presented in a negative light. The trouble with cinema of this type is that you have to leave your morality at the door. By accepting this film as great you're not agreeing with everything it presents, you're just seeing it as someone else's vision and someone else's values. You don't have to agree with the viewpoint of the film and at least it's not trying to hide them beneath a fuzzy exterior, the way something like Forrest Gump does. So yes, there is disturbing imagery in El Topo. Yes, Jodorowsky probably wasn't the nicest person in the world when he made it. And yes, he at times says things for controversy that seem idiotic at best. But the man is one of the art world's true originals and El Topo is intoxicating, mesmerising, bizarre, brazen and unforgettable.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 104
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 2:34:54 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
40. The Last Picture Show



(1971; Peter Bogdanovich)
Highest Vote: TRM

The period is 1950's America. Its a period where theatre houses would start to die out as the boom of the television started to hit, and the small towns would begin to have very little to keep their inhabitants. Anarene is just one of these towns. One of its locals is Sonny, is one of the high school seniors who now has to work out what to do with his life.

During the early 70's, a new breed of American filmmakers were starting to make great strides in Hollywood. Coppola was reinventing the gangster film, Spielberg redefining the rules of the blockbuster, Scorsese a series of raw films about outsiders in America, along with several others who were starting to make their mark. One of these other few which doesnt seem to get the credit he deserves is Peter Bogdanovich.

When The the last picture show came out, the films around it were pushing boundaries as far forward as they could, pushing the limits of the freedom studios could give and trying to get as far away from old hollywood and the studio system as possible. Bogdanovich was an exception. After his breakthrough , Targets, came The Last Picture Show. Here was a film which couldnt escape its connections to the golden age of hollywood. Filmed in black and white, following the every man, the realisation of lost dreams and a feel that is quintessentially old hollywood. Along with the style and the look, this all seems like a film which could have been made during that time, and yet, the startling thing is how fresh it all feels.

Bogdanovich may have restricted himself by aiming for a type of look and feel of a period long gone, but yet he doesnt obey their rules. The rules of where cameras are positioned, the pacing of the film, the types of music used, the nudity, these are all gone. With The Last Picture Show Bogdanovich has tried to create the film that old hollywood could have become.

Its a very unique vision, and a type of film that only Bogdanovich at the time seemed to worry about. Most of the directors would show their influences within small snippets of the films. Bogdanovich created a new great of the genre. Its something that not only did he do here, but would come back to try time and time again within his career.

Leaving this history aside though, The Last Picture Show is an exceptional film. Within Sonny, we have a boy most of us can relate to at some point or another. Here is a boy who cant help but love the place in which he has grown up, have feelings for the popular girl at school, want to keep his friends around him, is trapped by the well meaning intentions of his close friends, and desperate to find a purpose in life. The town around him is essentially dying. Sonny is a man who wants more, but knows that his chance of escape are non-existent.

Its this fact which makes The Last Picture Show so depressing. You can see Sonny wants to be able to be free, but there is always something holding him back. His choices never work out the way he intended, and he falling further and further away from his dreams all the time.

This fall is of course tragic, and one of the high points of 70's cinema. Its the fall of the American Dream, as we know Sonny's life is going to end up the same way as the picture house and the town, and there is nothing he can do to prevent it.

- TRM

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Post #: 105
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 2:36:45 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
39. Hedgehog in the Fog



(1975; Yuri Norstein)
Highest Vote: TRM

The Hedgehog is going to see his friend The Bear. Every night they meet, drink tea together, talk and count the stars. This night he also takes some raspberry jam. Along the way he sees a white horse standing in the fog. He begins to wonder if the horse will die if it lies down in the fog, and he decides to take a detour into the fog himself. He finds the fog a frightening place, filled with bats, owls and other terrors. But it's also a place of beauty, with butterflies, leaves that float on the wind and a giant tree that stands watch over the forest like an ancient guardian. In his awe over the tree he misplaces his bundle of jam. When he realises, his panic leads to him getting lost even further in the forest. He improvises a torch from a stick and a firefly. When the firefly flies away he finds himself pursued by predators and rescued by a friendly dog. The dog helps the hedgehog find his jam but when the hedgehog hears the bear calling to him his excitement leads him to fall into the river. Thinking he's about to drown, the hedgehog accepts his fate and floats calmly along with the water. He is rescued by an unseen someone in the water and finds his way to his friend the bear, with his life forever changed for his experiences.

On the face of it, it's a very simple story, but it's filled with deeper meanings and a beautiful, philosophical outlook on life. The hedgehog undergoes a range of emotions from fear to hope to the joy of friendship, all the way to acceptance of death. The fog is a metaphor for life, for unknown paths. The hedgehog is almost like a child, growing and developing during his time in the mist. They give the hedgehog the innocence of a small child and we get that childlike, inquisitive view of an unfamiliar world. The hedgehog is melancholy, shy and excitable. His awe at the mist, the tree, the white horse and all the other creatures of the fog is both wonderful and infectious. He's a wondrous, charming creation that deserves to stand among the greatest characters.

There's a dreamlike, magical quality to the short, it has the timeless feel that is so difficult to capture in art. The film may be based on an old Russian folk tale, but it could take place anywhere in the world at any time in history. This quality is thanks in no small part to the exquisite animation, all soft pastels except when the hedgehog is panicked when it becomes a rush of images. The talent involved in The Hedgehog in the Fog, the simple beauty that Norshteyn is able to capture, is humbling and inspiring. It's one of those rare creations that manages to evoke childhood perfectly, even though the events wouldn't be part of anyone's childhood, the feelings are. It's a perfect short film.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 106
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 2:38:20 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
38. Donít Look Now



(1973; Nic Roeg)
Highest Vote: Rebenectomy

Don't Look Now is a chilling supernatural thriller crossed with a intense psychological portrait of loss and the way grief affects us. A young couple, Laura and John Baxter (Christie and Sutherland) lose their young daughter Christine when she accidently drowns in a pond in their garden. He and Laura travel to Venice in order to recover, holiday and for John to work on a restoration of an old church. They meet a pair of eccentric English sisters, one of them is blind and a psychic and she tells them of a message from their dead child warning of danger in Venice. While Laura wants to believe, John is deeply sceptical until he begins to be haunted by visions of his little girl wandering the streets of Venice in the red coat she drowned in.

It's a surprisingly restrained film, there are few moments of overt horror and considering that the film is powered by grief, the depictions of that grief, while intense in emotional power, are also restrained. Christine casts a shadow over everything in the story and you can feel the weight of the tragedy crushing the characters, even as they struggle to express it. While the film remains one of the spookiest and most enigmatic of all horror films, the horror doesn't come from sudden scares. Instead it stems from the hypnotic quality of the film and of the power that memories can hold. The horror comes from associations for the characters, triggered by water, shattered glass, the colour of a raincoat, anything that links back to the loss of Christine.

There's a dark sense of foreboding about the film, especially in Roeg's depiction of Venice. Through his eyes Venice feels like a portal to another world, the perfect place for a little girl to resurrect. It's notable that after their daughter drowns, they seek solace in a city covered with water. Venice is one of the most important characters in the film. It's a world of dark canals, crumbling scenery, imposing churches, and a labyrinth of alleyways. It's also a world where all the colour seems to have disappeared, except for the bright red of the raincoat.

Easily the most successful adaptation of a du Maurier story, Don't Look Now worms its way under your skin, lingering in your subconscious and bringing itself back to your attention at odd moments. It's a startlingly effective film, with career best turns from Sutherland and Christie, and it deserves special praise for turning the romantic Venice in a city of nightmares and lost hope.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 107
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 4:26:45 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
37. The Conversation



(1974; Francis Ford Coppola)
Highest Vote: Harry Tuttle

Superior to Coppola's other 74 offering, The Conversation has always been neglected in comparison. Gene Hackman stars as Harry Caul, a surveillance expert who takes an assignment to record a woman cheating on her husband, only to find he may have stumbled into a murder plot. As Caul finds himself drawn deeper into the case, his own paranoia begins to tear him apart. Made in the wake of Watergate, The Conversation could have simply been a film of its time, but intelligent scripting, some of Coppola's finest work as a director, and an astonishing performance from Hackman make The Conversation into one of the most powerful and rewarding films of the 70s.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 108
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 4:45:19 AM   
rawlinson

 

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36. The Sting



(1973; George Roy Hill)
Highest Vote: TRM

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 109
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 5:09:06 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
35. Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia



(1974; Sam Peckinpah)
Highest Vote: Rawlinson

The film opens with Teresa, the teenage unmarried daughter of a Mexican gang boss being interrogated by her father, El Jefe, about the identity of her own child's father. During the torture she names Alfredo Garcia, one of the bosses deputies, as the father. El Jefe puts a $1 million bounty on Garcia's severed head, leading his own men as well as independent bounty-hunters to look for Garcia. Eventually two of El Jefe's men, Sappensly (Webber) and Quill (Young) encounter Bennie (Oates) a piano player who knows Garcia but doesn't give them any answers. Bennie's girlfriend Elita had been having an affair with Garcia and she informs Bennie that he had died in a car crash a week earlier. Knowing that he can claim the reward simply for digging up Garcia's body, he convinces Elita to go on a road trip with him to find the grave. Along the way they're assaulted by two rapist bikers who are then murdered by Bennie. They eventually find the grave, but Bennie finds himself attacked from behind and when he awakes, Garcia's corpse has been decapitated, Elita is dead and Bennie was left nearly buried in Garcia's grave. Bennie catches up with his attackers, kills them, and reclaims Garcia's head. He takes the head back to El Jefe, striking up a bizarre relationship with his former love-rival's decapitated head along the way.

One of the bleakest films I've ever seen. Bennie descends deeper into madness as the film progresses and the weird nature of the relationship between Bennie and Garcia's head seems a dark parody of the buddy movie. Oates talking to the head is actually a man rediscovering his morality. The film is actually all about the nature of honour, the limits you have to go to in order to survive, the problems of greed, and the self-destructive nature of mankind. When you're punished in this world, it's probably because you somehow deserve it and you certainly don't fight it.

Initially rejected by critics and included by the loathsome Michael Medved in one of his worse movies books, Garcia has found a fresh audience in recent years and has begun to be acclaimed as Peckinpah's most personal film. Oates was certainly playing Peckinpah as much as he was Bennie. This is director and star working in complete harmony and creating a true masterpiece, one of the greatest films I've ever seen and pretty much a window into Peckinpah's own mind. It's a howl of rage and dread, where dreams can only lead to death and the best you can do is to fight to live by your own values. Oates was never better than here, projecting the same kind of hidden sensitivity that he did in Blacktop, the moral code of Cockfighter, but touched with an insanity and desperation that has rarely been seen in cinema.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 110
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 5:16:36 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
34. F for Fake



(1974; Orson Welles)
Highest Vote: Toast

Taking its cue from a line from Picasso - "Art is a lie that makes us realise the truth", Welles constructs his unique and amusing documentary around three forgers, Elmyr de Hory (an art forger), Clifford Irving (creator of the Howard Hughes hoax) and Welles himself. The film began with a documentary shot by Francois Reichenbach about de Hory and Irving, who then handed the footage to Welles. Welles saw the potential for more than a mere documentary, but used the footage of the two men chatting in order to film a larger tribute to his love of deception.

Welles is a confessed charlatan and with War of the Worlds he conducted one of the most infamous hoaxes ever to hit the general public, so it's fitting that the film opens with a magic trick from the director. He's setting us up, letting us now right from the start that the film is going to confound our expectations. Welles lets us in on the deceptions that have run through his life, from his personal to his artistic worlds as combines his love for magic and misdirection with film-making and philosophy. But even as he's being honest about his own deceptions, he's still deceiving us, the excerpts from War of the Worlds were not part of the original broadcast. But does that matter? We know the truth of the situation, is it important if some of the details he presents us with are inaccurate?

The most magical episode of the movie, a lecture from Welles on the cathedral of Chartres, goes towards emphasising one of his recurring points. Is a work of art more interesting when we know it has an authentic signature? Is the original art more interesting than the counterfeit? All films are based on illusion and trickery, all art is to an extent, we're never experiencing something real, we're experiencing the way the artist manipulates us and by accepting it as a realistic rendition of something we become involved in the fabrication. We are implicit in the deception. But that should be applauded because the truth can be revealed through these lies and misdirections. It may sound perverse, but this tribute to forgery is one of the most honest films you could hope to see.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 111
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 5:25:16 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
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32. Annie Hall



(1977; Woody Allen)
Highest Vote: Movie Addict

First things first, this deserved to beat Star Wars to the Oscar. Star Wars is a fun piece of sci-fi that everyone should see because of its impact, preferrably when they're young enough to really appreciate it, it's nostalgic fun, little more. Annie Hall is a comedy masterpiece. It's not Allen's masterpiece, or even in his top three films, but it's a masterpiece just the same. Much has been made of the autobiographical nature of this film and you have to wonder how painful much of this was for Allen and Keaton. I think Allen's fall from grace has to do with his loss of a muse. His funniest period came with Keaton as his inspiration, his most intriguing with Farrow. Since then, as beautiful as Scarlett is, I doubt she's many people's inspiration. Maybe he should get Penelope Cruz to star in more of his work. Or on the basis of Midnight in Paris, Owen Wilson. Allen stars as Alvy Singer, in a stretch for Woody, Alvy is a neurotic Jewish comedian, the film traces his relationship with the titular Annie (Diane Keaton), a charming but ditzy wannabe singer. Keaton won the Oscar for her work here, and deservedly so, she'd never be this brilliant, funny, or effortlessly adorable again. Annie Hall was Allen's crossover movie, moving away from the more wandering feel of much of his earlier work to something more coherent and mainstream in turns of plotting, even though it retains the episodic feel of his earlier films and he experiments with the medium in small ways (The famed Marshall McLuhan scene, the subtitles revealing what Alvy and Annie really think). It also adds more depth to his characters than in earlier work, they're not just vehicles for Allen's witty dialogue, they're fully rounded individuals. There's a lot of pain and loss to this couple, mostly triggered by Alvy's self-destructive behaviour. Throw in a brilliant, demented, supporting turn from Christopher Walken and some of the funniest scenes Allen ever wrote and you have the makings of a true work of comedy genius.

- Rawlinson

32. The Long Goodbye



(1973; Robert Altman)
Highest Vote: Elab

"I have two friends in the world. One is a cat. The other is a murderer."

Shambolic, unshaven, crumble suited cat owner and private dick Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) has no problem whisking his best and only friend Terry Lennox (Jim Boulton) from the sleazy streets of Los Angeles to the Californian/Mexican border at Tijuana. His friend seems in a bit of a tight spot but no questions are needed between comrades. Returning home Marlowe is greeted by a couple of cops and he is imprisoned for aiding and abetting a murderer. Obviously Marlowe doesnít believe his mate killed his wife and thatís his Ďcaseí trying to figure out what happened to Terry Lennox and thereís a blonde lady with a missing husband who may or may not be connected.

When I first sat down and watched The Long Goodbye I struggled for the first several minutes and turned the damn film off. I went and had a cup of tea and came back a few years later and realised I was an idiot and needed to get myself a cat. I tell you this riveting anecdote because for the first ten minutes Elliott Gould shambles around, mumbling to himself trying to purchase some cat food and though you might not agree with me at first youíll soon realise itís a brilliant opening.

I really donít know what to say about The Long Goodbye purists are inclined to hate this interpretation of Raymond Chandlerís work and upon its initial release it was pretty much loathed and accused of being mean spirited and lacking in affection for its source and some even criticised the film for not understanding the genre it so richly and subtly undermined. I find it hard to believe that any filmmaker (let alone heyday Robert Altman) could produce such a unique, complex, visually exquisite piece of neo noir cinema without understanding its roots and not having any warmth for it. The shadows may have been replaced by moonlight and sun dried streets but they are just as dangerous and dirty as they were in the dark. The film and Altman may take Philip Marlowe and dump him in the sun-drenched, corrupt, me now of nineteen seventies America and though it may appear on the surface and a little under that Gouldís Marlowe is about as far as you can get from Bogart many things remain the same, theyíre both outsiders, they both have the same ideals (Gouldís values just donít fit anymore) and they both make for compelling leads. There is also a healthy dose of murder, blackmail, betrayal, girls and violence as well as several astonishing set pieces, explosive moments of viciousness that remind you that as laid back as everything and everyone appears, the world isnít.

Is it a parody, a revisionist interpretation, a deconstruction, a subtle critic of the genre, of the man, of Hollywood, of America itself? Whatever you want to say The Long Goodbye is in my belief a stone cold, if lightly warmed by the sun classic.

- Impqueen

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 112
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 5:40:40 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
31. Dirty Harry



(1971; Don Siegel)
Highest Vote: Rebel Scum

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 113
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 6:06:57 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
30. The Omen



(1976; Richard Donner)
Highest Vote: Gimli

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Post #: 114
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 6:10:10 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
29. Picnic at Hanging Rock



(1975; Peter Weir)
Highest Vote: Elab

On a hazy day in 1900, an exclusive private school for English girls, located in the Australian outback, takes a trip to a local beauty site, Hanging Rock. The rock is a sacred Aboriginal site and from the start Weir establishes an otherworldly feel to the location, the rock itself is unsettling and eerie and an early sign of some form of supernatural element is given when everyone's watch stops as they arrive. Four of the girls explore the rock and three of them, along with a teacher, disappear into a recess. One girl witnesses the disappearance and lapses into hysteria and is unable to recall much of the incident, the school then begins to slowly fall apart under the strain of the mystery.

Picnic At Hanging Rock doesn't work because of its plot, that much should be obvious from the synopsis. It works because of the mystical atmosphere that Weir somehow manages to summon up. Like many Australian films of the new wave of the 70s, the film is concerned with the clash between nature and civilization, the ancient world and the modern world that encroaches upon it. The lyrical beauty of the environment is apparent, as are its mysteries and hidden dangers. The other thing apparent is that maybe these people shouldn't actually be there, they're invaders in a world that doesn't always respond kindly to them. Weir takes his beautiful environment and makes it seem like an alien land, emphasising how ancient and hostile to humanity it actually can be. The school is an English tradition transplanted to this wilderness, a sign of the oppressors domination over the oppressed and the oppressed fights back by taking its children. The natural world seeps into this alien construct until a mass hysteria contaminates and consumes the school. The townsfolk are angry and demand answers, parents remove children from the school and the teachers and the pupils start to crumble.

Weir also examines suppressed sexuality. The school is headed by Mrs. Appleyard, an unbending authoritarian who takes on some of the characteristics often associated with male figures. One of the other teachers is described as having a masculine intellect, she vanishes with the pupils while the loss of the girls destroys Appleyard. Miranda, a beautiful young pupil, is a fixation point for the school to the extent that Sara, another pupil, appears to have a deep crush on her. The disappearance of the girls, all of them swooning before walking towards a recess in the rock, also could be seen to have sexual implications. But the film itself refuses to succumb to the potential hysterical nature of the material. It's a thoughtful piece, remaining sedate in the face of mounting panic and always attempting to look beyond the sensational. The beautiful look of the film, soft and ethereal just adds to the haunted but sedate feel of the film.

The film offers no explanation for the mystery, something that can either delight or infuriate you. There's no explanation in the novel either, although one was written, cut, and then later published. I think even if there was an explanation available then Weir would have had the sense and the taste to cut it. Any explanation would seem flimsy and disappointing, this is a mystery that shouldn't be solved, just experienced.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 115
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 6:15:38 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
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28. Star Wars



(1977; George Lucas)
Highest Vote: Gimli

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Post #: 116
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 10:35:47 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
26. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three



(1974; Joseph Sargent)
Highest Vote: Rebenectomy

A colour coded team of criminals, Mr. Blue (Robert Shaw), Mr. Green (Martin Balsam), Mr. Grey (Hector Elizondo) and Mr. Brown (Earl Hindman) hijack a NYC subway train and hold the passengers hostage, threatening to kill them unless their ransom demands are met. Blue thinks he has the perfect plan, but first he has to deal with the dogged hostage negotiator in the form of transit cop Lt. Garber (Walter Matthau), and tensions within his own group.

Pelham is a lesson in the need for strong characters in great thrillers, the reason the film works so well is not just because of the claustrophobic, tense atmosphere (although it does give a masterclass in how to create a thrilling film with limited locations) but also because of the interaction between the actors. Matthau and Shaw butting heads is the obvious stand-out, but there also excellent support turns from Elizondo, Balsam, and Jerry Stiller as another transit cop.

If a film was shot in New York in the 70s, it already has a leg up on most other films, but Pelham is also tightly plotted, wonderfully acted, and has a tense atmosphere that pushes it into the territory of being one of the greatest films ever made. Just avoid the abominable remake.

- Rawlinson

26. Close Encounters of the Third Kind



(1977; Steven Spielberg)
Highest Vote: Gimli

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Post #: 117
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 10:39:10 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
25. Young Frankenstein



(1974; Mel Brooks)
Highest Vote: WifeofRaw

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein is a respected doctor and lecturer, he's happily engaged, he has a good life. The only slight problem is his family tree. His grandfather was a mad scientist, the infamous Frankenstein. Frederick has worked so hard to distance himself from the family legacy that it's understandable that he gets a little angry whenever people mention his family's dark past. Then one day, he's informed that he's inherited his family estate. When he travels to his Grandfather's castle, he meets his hunchbacked servant, his beautiful lab assistant and his sinister maid. He also discovers his grandfather's secret laboratory and his private journals. Once he's reads them, the same madness that took over his grandfather engulfs him and he decides to continue his work in re-animating the dead.

It sounds almost as if it could be an entry in the classic Universal series of Frankenstein films, doesn't it? And that's what makes Mel Brooks madcap comedy work so well. It could easily have been a silly parody, taking cheap shots at films far better than it. But Brooks at his best was not only a comedic genius, he was also a great director. Young Frankenstein is more of a comedy homage to the great Universal films rather than a parody of them. Brooks aimed for authentic all the way, it was film in black & white with period style music, style, credits, they even used props from the original Universal films.

The casting is incredible, Wilder does possibly his best work as Frederick, alternating between uptight repression and manic energy with ease. Madeline Kahn is divine as his fussy fiancee. Marty Feldman is a riot as Eye-Gor, the faithful, if not too intelligent, servant. Teri Garr has some great moments as his beautiful assistant. Cloris Leachman nearly steals the film as Frau Bleucher, the woman whose mere name strikes fear into animals. Kenneth Mars is great fun as the local police chief. Gene Hackman puts in a wonderful cameo as the blind hermit from Bride Of Frankenstein. And that just leaves the Monster himself played by the late great Peter Boyle. Boyle gives the performance of his career (yes, even better than Joe) and comes close to being a rival for Karloff as the greatest screen monster. He's touching, funny, and by all accounts he has a huge schwanstucker.

The film is packed with great scenes as well. The most famous scene is Wilder and Boyle's rendition of Putting On The Ritz (rightly so). That scene alone would make sure Young Frankenstein is remembered as a comedy classic, but add to that Freu Bleucher and the horses, Kenneth Mars playing darts, Marty Feldman and Abby Normal's brain, Madeline Kahn's transformation into the Bride or Gene Hackman nearly maiming the Monster while trying to be his friend.

Brooks later career decline was such a sad thing. His work in the 60s and 70s justify the use of the term comedic genius. His 2000 Year Old Man comedy albums would make sure his legacy was always remembered, but if you add into the mix films like Young Frankenstein, The Producers, Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety and The Twelve Chairs then you can see why he really was one of the greats. He was a much more subversive figure than people gave him credit for as well. He always had one eye on the future and another on the past. He celebrated the golden age of Hollywood (Musicals, Hitchcock, westerns, horror) while he tore down their conventions. Forget all the claims about being the Godfather of bad taste comedy, Brooks was funny in a way few people ever have been, and Young Frankenstein is, IMO, his finest work.

- Rawlinson

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Post #: 118
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 10:41:32 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
24. Blazing Saddles



(1974; Mel Brooks)
Highest Vote: Rebenectomy

Mel Brooks best film still hits the funny bone. A western comedy that doesn't just break the 4th wall, it kicks it in and beats the crap out of what's on the other side,

When a railroad needs rerouting, Hedley Lamarr tries to buy up Rock Ridge to make a profit selling the land on. The locals demand a new sheriff and Lamarr persuades the Governor to send a condemned black man (Cleavon Little). Joining up with alcoholic gunslinger Gene Wilder he decides to help the racist townspeople take on Lamarr.

The film is full of memorable one-liners and iconic scenes (although I'm not a great fan of the campfire one tbh, it's far from the funniest part of the film). Cleavon Little is a more than able replacement for the initially planned Richard Pryor and the likes of Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn and (in a slightly more confident character than the norm) Gene Wilder are brilliant.

Not content with the western Brooks also stages a rather impressive dance set-piece, which he demolishes spectacularly, and the break out to the studio lot still feels fresh.

- Elab

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Post #: 119
RE: 70s Poll Countdown - 9/8/2012 10:44:39 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
23. Suspiria



(1977; Dario Argento)
Highest Vote: Movie Addict

Susan (Jessica Harper), an American student, has joined an exclusive European ballet school. But the prestigious institution plays host to a series of terrifying events. Susan is thrown into a living nightmare and to survive she has to discover the true purpose of the school. Horror fans adore Suspiria, yet it seems to split more mainstream viewers. If you go in expecting the plot to be the focus, then you'll be disappointed. Like most of Argento's films, it's actually a masterpiece of atmosphere. A colourful, lurid experience that throws the viewer from one superb set-piece to the next. Add Goblin's classic score to the mix and you're left with a film that assaults the senses to create a sustained air of terror. It's a near perfect horror film.

- Rawlinson

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 120
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