Tuesday, September 2, 2008

CTJ - DJG Horror Fest / Aug. 29-30, 2008

The Wicker Man * * * * *
Directed by: Robin Hardy / 1973

Remember that line in Tim Burton's "Batman" when Alexander Knox, guest to Wayne Manor, jokingly snickers at an ancient art piece/costume with "He must be King of the Wicker People."? It took me almost twenty years, but I now realize it's not a reference to my grandparent's dilapidated, weathered patio furniture. WOW, the original "The Wicker Man" has got to be one of the weirdest movies I've seen and relates darn closely to my personally-penned genre, "Musicals are just kinda bizarrely like-able". Underline that with "Corn rigs and barley..." and a thick-thick, non-washable splash of entertaining creepy-mysterious-awesome and it's sure to be a new yearly must-see for me. When you think about it, religions are weird in general, especially when man tosses odd customs and costumes to dance far from the initial idea of the divine. However, the neo-pagan cult island explored in this 1973 classic is just plain insane, paying human sacrifice for a plumper fruit harvest as naked girls fertilize their wooms while jumping over fire and towns-freak-folks parade and frolic in creative costumes and decor. Apparently a sequel (No, not the so-said terrible remake starring the "I take ANY role" Nicholas Cage.) some 35 years after the original, is in development. "Cowboys for Christ" is the working title, and another giant WOW from me at that. Much like the original, I have no idea what to expect, but it for sure will be entertainingly weird and it better star a giant wicker horse with Nicholas Cage or George W. Bush burning inside of it's guts.


May * * *
Directed by: Lucky McKee / 2002

Since 2002, I've heard from my wife (then girlfriend) to avoid the film "May". And jokingly I tend to give the reply, "I've yet to see January through April!". Naturally, since 2002 I've been highly curious as to why I should avoid a film that she turned off three-quarters into. I like to finish films in order to give a proper response to them (Unless I'm salivating blah through "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" or saving my soul from "The Libertine"). I can see why my wife was turned off with "May" after an awesomely-awful scene involving blind children. It's one of the most difficult things to think of, let alone actually film and then show to others. But, it wasn't bad enough to deploy my interest from this oddball romantic-horror film about a lonely awkward girl named May, her glass-cased doll and knack for sewing. It was fun for a few frames while it lasted, but nothing I wish to see again. Actually, the more I dwell on it as a whole it just wasn't really for me and I'm fairly so-so with it. Perhaps it would be better served as the video for "Doll Parts", by the Courtney Love fronted band Hole? I don't know. See it for yourself.


Black Christmas * * * * 1/2
Directed by: Bob Clark / 1974

First thing, my brain can't help but think the way it thinks when placed in a horror film rooted in reality. It can't help but think, "Uh, ONE: Stupid women, please lock every door and window in your giant house and stop drinking. TWO: Why don't you turn all the lights on in this place? THREE: Leave if there is even the slightest clue to a problem or continual creepy phone calls. FOUR: Stay together and don't go take a nap upstairs nor even go upstairs. Also, don't take naps. And FIVE: Have your stupid father figures, boyfriends and even stupider police check every corner, closet, basement and attic of the place before, after and during this movie." My own personal OCD checkin' self aside, Bob Clark's delightfully fun and frightful "Black Christmas" needs to be aired repeatedly on TBS the day after his "A Christmas Story" is. By then the kids will be more interested in their Red Rider BB Guns than bloody unicorn horn crystal sculptures. I just hope that the late Bob Clark's heartwarming Christmas masterpiece isn't churned out for a remake like this horror one was recently. At least see the original first.


Inferno * * * 1/2
Directed by: Dario Argento / 1980

I really want to see a documentary on Dario Argento's home, or at least take a personal tour. Evidence gathered from only two of his films that I've seen, and my imagination for sure, assures me that it's very uniquely and masterfully artificially lit and decorated. "Susperia" and now "Inferno" have kept me glued to style oversupernatural substance. The lighting, interior/exterior decorating and overall art direction completely floor me as shot-for-shot they must have been creative headaches to conjure. With "Inferno" especially, I think if it weren't for the visuals this movie would have bombed as the story seems to fall apart and run out of steam by the third act. But, keep on lighting and decorating those sets Argento, and I'll eat all of your stuff up with my eyes, as you stab the ones out on screen.


A Bucket of Blood * * * * 1/2
Directed by: Roger Corman / 1959

I love a great film that can sum up it's parts to a whole in a little over an hour. Nearly perfect as not-quite-a-short, "A Bucket of Blood" is one that I actually could have watched for two hours as it has so many lovely parts spilling out that gave me the biggest grin as buckets were kicked. Dick Miller stars as a socially awkward, struggling aspiring artist bullied around as a bus boy cleaning up after "real" artists at a Bohemian coffee and gallery dive. It's a place where people sit around and talk about art instead of actually creating it. I understand and appreciate the idea of an artistic community, the need to get out and socialize and drink coffee, but I never understood the idea of artists just sitting around talking about what they could be doing (Though, I'm guilty...mostly while I'm at the day job.). I just feel that a lot of artists confuse themselves as THE work of art, a dangerous way to work and think. OK, I'll throw out my personal commentary, as "A Bucket of Blood" comically exaggerates (somewhat) the Beatniks and Bohemians of the 1950s-60s American art underworld. But, give me my solo spot to shine anytime in the clubhouse with the personal coffee pot on. Like me, bus boy Walter has listened to one too many metaphorically eye-rolling poetry slams about artists getting born and non-artists not. He hunches home one evening frustrated from killing time and gets instantly to work on a lop-sided bust of clay. Walter then accidently kills the apartment cat stuck behind a wall that he tries to pry out with a steak knife (Stupid idea, yes...but, stupidly-awesome YES!). Through death, the artist is born as night after night Walter finds his identity and fame grow as a great sculptor of realism with dead-living things under the daily clay surface. That is, until he himself becomes the work of art.


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