Night Eleven: The Invisible Man
“Power, I said! Power to walk into the gold vaults of the nations, into the secrets of kings, into the Holy of Holies; power to make multitudes run squealing in terror at the touch of my little invisible finger. Even the moon’s frightened of me, frightened to death!”
This was a good one. Dated, but more than worth 71 minutes. Claude Rains was awesome, even though you never see his face while he is delivering lines. The special effects were crazy impressive for a movie from 1933. All-in-all it was just a solid way to spend a little over an hour, catching up on some movie history from the early days of “talkies.”
Night Twelve: Ringu
“It’s not of this world. It’s Sadako’s fury. And she’s put a curse on us.”
Having only seen the American remake, I was looking forward to checking out this cult classic. It’s a hugely celebrated film internationally. Sadly, I only thought it was ok. Part of that was because there were no surprises, and the low budget scares in Ringu just weren’t as jarring as the big budget ones in The Ring (at least in college when I last saw The Ring). That may be blasphemous, but I can’t control what scares me and what doesn’t.
I didn’t dislike the movie, I just didn’t fall in love with it the way so many have. It was a decent story, told fairly well, with strong acting throughout.
And of course, it can’t be all bad. Hiroyuki Sanada is in it, and if I was a woman I would totally be willing to have his babies. Which makes me want to watch the rest of his movies I’ve seen again.
Night Thirteen: The Exorcist
Father Damien Karras: Where is Regan?
Demon: In here. With us.
I’ve finally seen The Exorcist. I’d put it off for so long, even though it is by far one of the most celebrated horror movies of all time. For so long, I was scared to watch it, or at least part of me was. Alas, I finally saw it, and it wasn’t even that scary, what with the aging process and all.
However, while it isn’t that scary anymore in 2012, it is still a really great movie. I think people miss so much beauty and great filmmaking because they are caught up on whether or not it should be called the scariest movie of all time. Sure, they could have fleshed some stuff out a little better, engaged a few topics with more skill, but it was still really good. The story of Father Karras, a brilliant psychiatrist who has lost his faith, was genuinely compelling to me. I wasn’t engaged by the movie because of the scary demon moments, I was engaged because of the relationships, because of the quiet way William Friedkin told the story in between the shocking demon outbursts.
**Spoiler, in case you plan to watch it eventually
I know it was a bit melodramatic, but I really loved the scene when Father Karras is downstairs because the demon had been pretending to be his dead mother, and he was too shaken to continue. Then Regan’s mother, Chris, walks in and asks if it’s over, he says no. Then she asks if Regan is going to die, and in that moment we see his resolve stiffen, and he remembers the innocent life at stake, and he looks back at Chris and firmly says, “No.” Then he decisively walks back upstairs to face all the forces of hell, eventually sacrificing his own life to save the young girl’s.
Night Fourteen: The Fog
“Nick, his wounds are covered with algae, his lungs are full, and there’s silt in his fingernails. I tell ya, I saw Dick Baxter three days ago in Salinas. Now he’s lying there on the table looking like he’s been underwater for a month.”
I was supposed to watch The Descent, but a barely discernibly crack on the disc made the Blu-ray start part way through the movie on one player, and made it so the PS3 wouldn’t even acknowledge there was a disc in it. Thus, the night’s film became John Carpenter’s The Fog instead.
Holy shit balls was this movie stupid. Every single moment of it. From the ridiculous and farfetched story at its core, to the complete failure to build tension or deliver a single moment of entertainment. There is always the chance it was just my mood last night, since we always ignore that far too much when engaging any sort of art. Still, I think I would have hated this one no matter what.
The fact that this movie is on two lists on iCheckMovies and Pontypool is on zero is proof life isn’t fair.
Night Fifteen: Zombieland
“You are like a giant cock-blocking robot, like, developed in a secret fucking government lab.”
Finishing with two of my favorites, in a zombie movie mini-marathon, on Halloween night.
Zombieland is a cocktail of just the right parts funny, sweet, and gross. I’ve seen it four or five times now, and I am sure it will be a part of many Halloween Movie Fests to come.
Night Sixteen: Pontypool
“The whole world can hear you breathing. It’s fine, you’re breathing. That’s your top news story.”
Hot damn, this movie is so good. I love it. This was my third time seeing it, and it is still just as good. It is a wildly original riff on the zombie sub-genre, based on Tony Burgess’s book Pontypool Changes Everything. It doesn’t get the respect and attention it deserves, perhaps because it is from Canada and all, but that’s just not fair.
The Rotten Tomatoes synopsis states that Pontypool is: “Witty and restrained but still taut and funny, this Pontypool is a different breed of low-budget zombie film.” I think that is actually a pretty great synopsis based on my experience of the film.
Some folks might bitch about the liberties taken with the zombie genre, like folks did after 28 Days Later, but that’s how genres and sub-genres are supposed to work. That’s what happens when a genre is healthy and vibrant. People take the rules and tropes of a genre, and they move things around and imagine new ways of seeing things. A genre is supposed to be a conversation, allowing different themes and ideas to be explored within a certain framework, like jazz… it isn’t supposed to be sheet music that everyone has to play note for note over and over and over.
Also, some folks associated with Pontypool have said, “Oh, this isn’t a zombie movie. We call them ‘conversationalists.'” Still, it clearly is a riff on the zombie genre, whatever they want to say. You don’t have a cameo appearance by one of the most famous zombie actors in history, Boyd Banks, if you aren’t trying to draw comparisons.
The film is tense and troubling more than it is scary, and most of the violence happens off-screen.
You should watch this movie. I’ll watch it with you. I’ll even hold your hand if that makes you feel better.