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Lemon-Shaped Rock

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Posts posted by Lemon-Shaped Rock

  1. I finished the series about a week ago. Overall, it's pretty good. I still think it's better than Hill House. However, similar to Hill House, I did not care for the ending of Bly Manor. The tone felt too drastically different in comparison to the previous episodes.

    • Like 1
  2. On 10/25/2020 at 11:45 AM, cinemaspeak59 said:

    Ginger Snaps (2000) The recipe for the werewolf sub-genre is spiced up with a few additional ingredients: teen comedy, coming-of age story, and the curse of being outcast girls in high school. The curse is courtesy of a lycanthrope bite. But the film also has some fun with the onset of menstruation. Ginger and her younger sister Brigitte are death-obsessed goths, who like photographing themselves in gruesome reenactments: impaling, hangings, etc. Unfortunately, there is real death occurring in their small town, by an unidentified animal blamed for killing pet dogs. This setup works fine for most of the movie. Credit that  to the performances of Emily Perkins as the sweet but tough Brigitte, and Katharine Isabelle as her wild sister Ginger.  A handsome bad boy pot dealer, who forms an unlikely bond with Brigitte, brings out jealousy in the “popular” girls. Lest you think we’re taking a turn at the John Hughes exit, the wicked black comedy sensibility of Ginger Snaps obliterates that notion. Also with Mimi Rogers, hilarious as Ginger and Brigitte’s well-meaning but clueless mother.   In fact, most of the adults are so out of touch it’s as if they time-leaped from the 1950s to the new millennium.  As for that werewolf, it doesn’t make a full appearance until late.  It’s not the best werewolf I’ve seen, at least compared to Silver Bullet, The Howling, and An American Werewolf in London. But, if you have a soft spot for werewolves, like I do,  Ginger Snaps is worth checking out.    

    Love this one. Great take on the monstrous feminine. It's an especially excellent watch during October!

    • Like 1
  3. I've watched the first two episodes and I'm actually enjoying this more than Hill House. I liked Hill House, aside from the ending which I thought was a tonal contrast to the test of the story--way too schmaltzy. I like the ambiguity of the book/1963 film far better.

    I actually find Bly Manor scarier. It focuses less on jump scares and more on subtle visual details to create genuine unease. That's just my initial reaction though. I'm curious to see how the rest of the series plays out.

    • Like 1
  4. The Trip (1967)

    I'm a big fan of Roger Corman, though I had never watched this one. I had a lot of fun with it. It's now probably my favorite psychedelic drug film from that era. There's lots of trippy imagery and the story is actually pretty funny in places. I was also surprised at the amount of arthouse influence present. Corman has cited figures like Ingmar Bergman as being big inspirations, though I was taken aback by just how abstract and/or disturbing some of these scenes are.

    • Like 2
  5. The Unknown (1927), dir. Tod Browning

    I had always read about this one and finally checked it out on the Criterion Channel. It definitely deserves all of the praise it's received. It's one of the most provocative films I've seen in a while. Lon Chaney plays Alonzo the Armless, a circus performer with a knack for throwing knives with his feet, who seeks to win the affection of Nanon (Joan Crawford), a fellow performer. However, Nanon also catches the attention of Malabar the Mighty (Norman Kerry), the circus strongman, and what ensues is a twisted, ultimately violent love triangle.

    This film is certainly an excellent representation of the post-WWI body anxieties prevalent in America during that period. The Unknown carries many thematic similarities to Browning's later masterpiece, Freaks (1932), one of my all-time favorites.

    • Like 2
  6. 4 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

    LEMON, I'd say it was more a matter of the STORY and how it's presented.  For instance, a friend of mine suggested a coining of a new word for today's "horror" movies.  That word is "Gore-or" movies as they seem to rely more on blood and guts for the "horror".  And if one is into that sort of thing, it's probably better in color than seeing all that chocolate syrup being wasted.  ;)   But you really shouldn't need buckets of blood to make a movie scary.  And really, it's a personal matter.  Some would prefer color to B&W for whatever reason.  And some might think other color movies might have been better in B&W...  for instance...

    I think this is an inaccurate generalization of contemporary horror. When you look at some of the most popular films of the 2010s like The VVitch (2015), Get Out (2017), Cam (2018), Hereditary (2018), and Us (2019), none of those are necessarily gory films. They're certainly not as extreme as the torture porn craze of the mid/late 2000s. This new trend of slowburn horror seems far more reliant on tone and atmosphere to convey scares rather than sheer shock value.

    Again, this isn't to say that color or black & white is more effective. It depends on how they are being used. For instance, take Midsommar (2019) and The Lighthouse (2019). Midsommar was filmed in color because it uses its colorful palette to stress it's connections to folk horror, specifically The Wicker Man (1973) which uses its bright schemes to contrast its darker narrative. The Lighthouse, on the other hand, uses its black & white imagery to show its influences in older surrealist cinema, as well as perhaps draw comparisons to Ingmar Bergman's approach to psychological horror in films like Persona (1966) and Hour of the Wolf (1968) (at least that's what I got in my reading of the film).

    Both Midsommar and The Lighthouse are effective, but they use their visual design in different ways when telling their narratives.

    • Like 1
  7. I don't think black & white is necessarily scarier than color. It moreso depends on how the lighting and cinematography are used. Sometimes black & white can be more effect. For example, the colorized version of Night of the Living Dead (1968) loses much of its bite because it's missing that key chiaroscuro effect that made the original so visually eerie.

    In contrast, specific subgenres like giallo films, for example, would become far less effective if they had been shot in black & white because those films rely on their bright color schemes to reinforce the gore effects.

    • Like 1
  8. On 9/20/2020 at 6:05 PM, jaragon said:

    Yeah I know what you mean it's starts off really good

    The first half was fairly entertaining, particularly in how it poked fun at the ideal Reaganite nuclear family that was so heavily promoted in the 1980s, but the latter half quickly became banal. Cohen often had interesting ideas, though the execution didn't always work out.

  9. The Stuff (1985)

    I'm a fan of both body horror and Larry Cohen (specifically his 1970s output) so I was intrigued by this one. I had always heard is was a fun horror/comedy that satirized the abundant consumerism in 1980s America. Although it has some fun parts (the scenes with Garrett Morris are pretty entertaining), there wasn't much else I enjoyed. The latter half grew a bit stale, particularly when the military characters show up. Some decent gross-out effects, though I'll stick with Cronenberg or Stuart Gordon if I'm in the mood for body horror.

    • Like 2
  10. On 9/14/2020 at 11:29 AM, TikiSoo said:

    Last night I watched CARMEN JONES '54 on TCM. I'm a Dandridge/Bizet/Preminger fan so figured  this would be good. I was turned off by the vocal dubbing and offended by the racist pronunciations & grammar used. (exactly like Charlie Chan movies) I wasn't for Carmen nor the charactor played by handsome Harry Belefonte, just didn't like them.

    Very sorry for my personal reaction, maybe others would like this film. It was visually beautiful, well photographed. I absolutely LOVED Saul Bass' opening credits of a red flame over the outline of a rose-simple, elegant, wonderful!

     

    I watched Carmen Jones a few years ago and had the same reaction. Parts of it are alright, particularly the decision to change the opera's climactic arena scene to a boxing match. However, much of the film hasn't aged well. That dubbing is certainly distracting. Overall a decent watch for fans of Dandridge and/or Belafonte, but nothing anyone needs to immediately see.

    • Like 1
  11. Branded to Kill (1967)

    This is another Japanese New Wave film I hadn't previously seen. It notoriously got director Seijun Suzuki fired from Nikkatsu due to how provocative it is. Having watched it, it's easy to understand why the studio disliked it. It features graphic sex and violence paired with a fair amount of arthouse influence, though it's also evidently not taking itself too seriously. The story revolves around a yakuza hitman with a fetish for smelling steamed rice. Again, this film can be tongue-in-cheek in places, albeit with some hefty dark humor.

    I enjoyed it. It's stylish in its visual design and the narrative throws quite a few curveballs at you. Suzuki draws quite a lot of inspiration from film noir, thus the film's portrayals of women are... questionable. Nonetheless, it's a fun, engaging watch. You can certainly see how it inspired folks like Tarantino and Park Chan-wook.

    • Thanks 1
  12. I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

    I fully knew what to expect heading into this film. With Charlie Kaufman at the helm, I certainly expected a thematically dense, meta narrative, for better or worse.  And even though I'm not as big of a Kaufman fan as I once was, I still enjoy films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and Being John Malkovich (1999), even though they definitely deserve the "pretentious elitism" label often thrown at them. 

    But even though I knew what I was getting myself into, I still wound up hating this film. It's pretentious even by Kaufman's standards. While the first half is somewhat engaging, the last hour completely goes off the rails  and the end result is a thematically disjointed mess. There are points where the film becomes so self-referential that some scenes felt more like parodies of arthouse cinema. Throughout the entire final act I was just waiting for it to be over.

    • Like 1
  13. The Blob (1958)

    I'm a fan of kitschy '50s science fiction films though I had never seen this one until last night. I unfortunately didn't care for it. The scenes with the alien are fun, though they are scarcely scattered throughout a narrative that really wants to be Rebel Without a Cause. Even the presence of Steve McQueen didn't do much for me.

    I'll stick with I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958)

    • Like 2
  14. 20 hours ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

    Tentacles (1977) Another ersatz Jaws ripoff from the 1970s. This one is about a giant octopus terrorizing a coastal resort.  To be fair, there are some good scenes, the best one involving a woman stranded on her boat as the octopus hungrily stalked her from below.  Of course, any movie set in the ocean has a built-in scare factor, because the ocean itself is a foreboding place.  The new-age/prog rock music was certainly original for a horror movie, but I found it distracting and not enhancing the mood. The special effects are rather pedestrian, and the cast, which includes Henry Fonda, John Huston and Shelley Winters seem to be afflicted with inertia. They must have known this would not be one of their career hallmarks. Bo Hopkins playing a marine biologist was the only one generating some spark.

     

      

    I'm a fan of those '70s eco-horror films, though I still need to watch this one. Even the blatant Jaws ripoffs like Orca: The Killer Whale (1977) can be pretty fun. My favorite from that period is Frogs (1972), which has one of my favorite movie posters of all time.

    Frogs (1972) - IMDb

    • Like 3
  15. Woman in the Dunes (1964)

    In this Japanese New Wave film, an entomologist becomes trapped in a sand dune with a widow and nearby villagers force them to continuously dig the sand for their profit in exchange for rations. Director Hiroshi Teshigahara incorporates a fair amount of avant-garde influence to create a pretty unnerving experience for the viewer (seriously, the last 30 minutes of this film are pretty disturbing). Toru Takemitsu's jarring score only heightens the film's eeriness. Very, very effective film. I need to check out The Face of Another (1966) next, as I hear that's Teshigahara's take on Eyes Without a Face (1960).

    • Like 1
  16. Possum (2018)

    This is the directorial debut of Matthew Holness (of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace fame) and I was impressed with it. It's a solid piece of British folk horror. Holness draws heavy inspiration from German Expressionism, as he utilizes brown and yellow color palettes and emphasizes visual storytelling. It's available on Amazon Prime if you're in the mood for some creepy imagery.

     

    • Like 1
  17. 4 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

    I noticed Universal's logo was still on CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF, so I bet it would be on Le Peacock. For some reason I cannot get Peacock on my TV, and it worries me I might miss out on some Universal titles...MURDER, SHE WROTE as well (which I saw is offered.)

    I say this as a big fan of HAMMER HORROR: in my opinion, the studio never made a completely satisfying film- there is always something a little lacking, which is part of why I watch them so often (I have the mind of a revisionist and I can see room for improvements in the scripts.) there is a tendency in a lot of horror film historians to lay it on a little thick when discussing HAMMER and overpraise them, whereas I have come to  enjoy their output for their faults and merits.

    the best film HAMMER made, in my opinion, is BRIDES OF DRACULA, if you have not seen it, I would say start there.

    There are also a lot of very good HAMMER HORROR DOCUMENTARIES (some with interviews by LEE and CUSHING) on the internet.

    That's always been my understanding. Many scholars/historians have praised Hammer, though many of their films were hindered by small budgets.

    Yes, Brides of Dracula is enjoyable. I recently watched The Phantom of the Opera (1962) which was decent. I believe that film had a larger budget than many of Hammer's other titles. The theatricality worked well with the Technicolor visual design.

  18. 12 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

    from April of 2019 to April of 2020, I had a lot more fun than I thought I would writing (and completing!) a screenplay which I jokingly saved on my computer as SOME **** ABOUT VAMPIRES, that is not the actual title. in writing it, i felt as if a governor had been taken off me engine and I had an awful lot of fun paying various homages to CLASSIC HORROR FILMS- of which I have been a lifelong, passionate fan.

    On finishing it, I have tried to return to a screenplay I was previously working on which is grounded in reality- no horror or fantasy elements- and I am having a DEVIL OF A TIME getting back into it...

    So I have been kicking around the notion of writing SOME **** ABOUT WEREWOLVES, and as such I finally got around to watching WEREWOLF OF LONDON (1935)- which is my third favorite horror film of all time and which I just adore. I could go on about it forever, but I won't.

    Werewolf-of-London-1935.jpg

    And then I rented THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (1961) on amazon prime.

    I am a big aficianado of HAMMER HORROR and- oddly I don't recall ever sitting through this film in its entirety. I recall finding it online and TCM and in both cases, for whatever reasons, I did not finish.

    I really wonder why, BECAUSE ITS A FASCINATING FILM- made all the moreso by the bottom-line dictated "artistic" decision to set the whole tale in SPAIN (Hammer had redressed THE BRAY STUDIOS BACKLOT for a SPANISH INQUISITION FILM that never ended up getting made [ed note- bet they did not expect that!] and the decision works- although these are THE MOST BRITISH SPANISH PEOPLE EVER.

    This film is shocking for 1961- and holds up well today- allegedly the box office was not good (although i always take box office receipts from ye olde days with a grain of salt) Still, for a while after this film, I think HAMMER did pull back on the blood and sex. there are some really well-done jump cuts and scares in this, the make-up is excellent, and there are moments (as there often are in the best of horror films) where it totters on the brink of being a BLACK COMEDY- especially the scenes from the titular werewolf's childhood (authors note- did you know that being r a ped by a hirstute maniac, getting pregnant and then having the baby on Christmas Day will make it a werewolf? neither did I.)

    YOUNG SMOKING HOT OLIVER REED EVENTUALLY SHOWS UP OVER AN HOUR IN, his performance may seem a little intense and erratic, but it makes sense.

    there is also THIS which, WOOF!!!!!:

    OIP.OuI_F8Ac2NCBIGF8IC4dHgHaD_?pid=Api&r

    There are some men who just had no choice but to become MOVIE STARS because, had they been an electrician or a dentist or a highway patrolman, 9 out of 10 women and 1 out of every 10 men they encountered in the course of a day's work would literally THROW THEMSELVES AT THEM SHOUTING "TAKE ME HERE! TAKE ME NOW!"

    OLIVER REED was one such man.

    I really enjoy Werewolf of London. I rewatched it not too long ago and I think it holds up quite well. I need to watch more Hammer films. I've read so much about them yet I've only seen a handful of their titles. I'll probably check out The Curse of the Werewolf soon since it's on the new Peacock app.

    • Thanks 1
  19. 4 hours ago, SadPanda said:

    I'm very much enjoying the commentary you provide on films that are not commented upon by many (any?) of the members here.

    By the way, I recently obtained the 2-disc Criterion edition of In the Mood for Love. Haven't watched it yet, though - so I haven't anything to say about it at this point.

    I appreciate the kind words. In the Mood for Love is definitely worth owning through Criterion. The visual design is absolutely stunning.

    4 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

    I saw "Chungking Express" years ago, shortly after it first came out.  Haven't seen it since, so I don't remember the details, but I do recall I liked it, I thought it was really engaging and  interesting.  Kind of a Chinese Quentin Tarantino action film, although there was more than just "action" going on in it. 

    Chungking Express is often regarded as one of Wong's best films, right up there with In the Mood for Love, so I really need to check it out soon. Funny that you mention the connection to Tarantino because I also recently watched Ringo Lam's City on Fire (1987), a classic Hong Kong crime film that greatly influenced Reservoir Dogs. It's definitely up there with A Better Tomorrow (1986) as one of the best action films from that period.

    • Like 1
  20. In the Mood for Love (2000)

    There's not much I can say on this film that hasn't already been said. Wong Kar-wai is brilliant and this is certainly one of his best works (I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't yet seen Chungking Express though). Wong's use of offscreen space is particularly noteworthy -- very reminiscent of Ozu. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung both give subdued, heartbreaking performances. Just beautiful.

    • Like 1
  21. I appreciate Glen or Glenda. Yes, it's marketed as exploitation, but Ed Wood makes a genuine effort in discussing the complexities of gender identity and sexual identity which is pretty impressive for 1953.

    I admire Doris Wishman's Let Me Die a Woman (1977) for similar reasons. It's another exploitation film but it provides a surprisingly in-depth look at gender dysphoria and features actual trans men and women telling their stories.

    • Like 1
  22. Newbie here!

    Terrorizers (1986)

    I've recently began exploring New Taiwanese Cinema -- a movement that I don't know too much about. Edward Yang is one of the key filmmakers from this era and Terrorizers is considered to be one of his most provocative titles. I really enjoyed it. The narrative revolves around three groups of people and how their lives change following a shooting that takes place in their neighborhood. It's an eerily quiet film that progressively becomes more unnerving with each scene. The film has been cited as one of the best representations of the growing uncertainty Taiwan was experiencing due to their shifting political structure at that time. It's certainly an effective film, though I definitely need to rewatch it soon to better absorb everything.

    • Like 2
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