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21 hours ago, rayban said:

"The Fearless Vampire Killers" or "Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are In My Neck" - Roman Polanski - 1967 -

I hate to offer a negative opinion of this film, because Roman Polanski is one of my favorite filmmakers -

but this film is a very bad spoof of vampire films -

it is extremely energetic and in constant motion -

but it just is not funny -

or even that interesting -

the large cast is serviceable and tries, tries, tries -

I only take issue with one thing you write here, item #3, WHEREIN you refer to the movie as being "energetic and in constant motion"

THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS: OR, PARDON ME, BUT I THINK YOUR MOVIE SUCKS is a film of such TEDIOUS, GLACIAL PACING that even WERNER HERZOG ca. FITZCARRALDO would be looking at his watch and tapping his foot 20 minutes in.

For an ostensible "comedy" (and DEAR LORD is it UNFUNNY!) it is glacially paced, for a Horror movie it is glacially paced, FOR A MOVIE PERIOD it is in the books as one of the slowest deaths ever recorded for 110 minutes (which for all the world feel like six and a half hours.)

CHINATOWN is a perfect film, MACBETH is good, but this one? WOOF.

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Castle of Blood (1964) - Italian supernatural horror from Globe Films International and directors Sergio Corbucci and Antonio Margheriti. Journalist Alan Foster (Georges Riviere) is interviewing Edgar Allan Poe (Silvano Tranquilli) during Poe's visit to England. The two are approached by Lord Blackwood (Umberto Raho), who challenges Foster to spend a night in Blackwood's castle. It's on this night each year that the dead can walk the halls of the castle, yet Foster readily accepts the wager as he doesn't believe in the supernatural. He then embarks on a night of terror and grisly horror. Also featuring Barbara Steele, Margrete Robsahm, Arturo Dominici, Sylvia Sorrente, Giovanni Cianfriglia, and Benito Stefanelli.

This one of the better period-piece Euro horrors to come out of Italy after the success of Hammer Films and Italy's own Black Sunday. The latter film's star Barbara Steele has one of her better roles here as well, and has rarely looked more beautiful. The film has an exaggerated spook-show atmosphere, with howling winds, clinking chains, strange voices, and unearthly visions. It's over-the-top, and occasionally bloody, but horror fans should love it.   (7/10)

Source: YouTube

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Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966) - British science fiction adventure, from British-Lion, Amicus, and director Gordon Flemyng. London policeman Tom Campbell (Bernard Cribbens) enters what he thinks is a police call-box only to discover that it's the TARDIS, the physics-defying home/ship of Doctor Who (Peter Cushing). Campbell is brought along as the Doctor, along with his granddaughter Susan (Roberta Tovey) and assistant Louise (Jill Curzon), travel through time to the year 2150, only to discover a London in ruins. The nefarious alien race known as the Daleks have conquered the Earth, and is rounding up the few surviving people to work as either slave labor, or even worse, as mind-controlled Robo-Men. It's up to the Doctor and his companions to free the human race from bondage. Also featuring Andrew Keir, Ray Brooks, Roger Avon, Keith Marsh, and Philip Madoc.

The sequel to 1965's Dr. Who and the Daleks, which had also starred Cushing in the title role, although neither of these films are considered part of the ongoing Dr. Who canon. From what I've read, most true-blue Who fans detest these movies, although I don't have any special feeling toward the series so these movies didn't bother me in that respect. They are both slightly dopey, with a comical undertone and definite targeting of the younger members of the audience. I've always found the Daleks to be quite silly, and their accented, screamed statements ("Exterminate!") a source of much amusement. However, the movie is generally entertaining, and it doesn't overstay its welcome. Plus, I always like to see something I haven't seen with Peter Cushing, even if he does refer to himself as "Doctor Who".   (6/10)

Source: FilmStruck

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"See No Evil" - Richard Fleischer - 1971-

starring Mia Farrow -

This thriller is one of those "lady-in-distress" excursions that tries hard, really hard, to tell its' story purely in visual terms - the screenplay is by the gifted Brian Clemens - however, at evey turn, it really does strain credulity -

for example, if you were a blind girl who lived with her family and you came home to an uninhabited house and then went to bed and woke up the next morning to nobody, wouldn't you call the police -

yes, you would -

but then Miss Farrow wouldn't go through the life-challenging experiences that this film puts her through -

like being locked in a wooden shack -

and being lost in a mud field -

it's painful to say the least -

she's more than game and gives a terrific performance -

but she embraces the film's undeniable misogany -

namely, that a woman, especially a blind one, cannot help herself in any way -

just think of the feistiness of Audrey Hepburn as the blind heroine in "Wait Until Dark" -

the film is exquisitely directed by Richard Fleischer who casts a blind eye on all of the dubious proceedings -

when the identity of the homicidal maniac is revealed, there is no explanation of his slaughter of the heroine's family -

but my guess is that Jacko (Paul Nicholas) wanted the heroine's boyfriend (Norman Eshley as Steve) and, since he couldn't have him, he decided to punish her for it -

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Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955) with Marie Windsor, Richard Deacon, and Michael Ansara. Not as good as them meeting Frankenstein but what is. 6/10

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Ada (1961).

MGM tries a potboiler, and were about as successful as they were a dozen years earlier with East Side, West Side.  Dean Martin plays a dumb singing hick groomed by the machine to become governor.  He meets Susan Hayward along the way, and the two get married.  She gets him to wise up, for which he gets bombed, leading to her becoming acting Governor.

It's an utter mess, but an interesting mess.  6/10

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8 hours ago, rayban said:

His idea of comedy seems to be - keep it in motion - and keep it zany - it will be funny.

I don't think that the scriptwriters - Roman Polanski and Gerard Brach - were conversant in English.

(This set piece is meant to be funny, but it elicits no laughs.)

The scene where our Fearless Killers don't realize they're at the vampire ball, until they look at the huge Versailles mirrors and see an entire ballroom of...two people is one of the great single visual gags of horror comedy, but that's pretty much it for comic timing.

Mostly because it's a visual gag, and nobody struggles to parse English dialogue in it.

3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The sequel to 1965's Dr. Who and the Daleks, which had also starred Cushing in the title role, neither of these films are considered part of the ongoing Dr. Who canon. From what I've read, most true-blue Who fans detest these movies, although I don't have any special feeling toward the series so these movies didn't bother me in that respect. They are both slightly dopey, with a comical undertone and definite targeting of the younger members of the audience. I've always found the Daleks to be quite silly, and their accented, screamed statements ("Exterminate!") a source of much amusement. However, the movie is generally entertaining, and it doesn't overstay its welcome. Plus, I always like to see something I haven't seen with Peter Cushing, even if he does refer to himself as "Doctor Who".   (6/10)

If you want to get fan-nitpicky, the Daleks technically AREN'T robots--They're a mutated creature that took to "survival tanks" to survive the planet's post-nuclear atmosphere, and started developing the robot-like mentality to survive by "Exterminating all inferior species".  However, they're still individually a bit stir-crazy, and capable of going hysterically off the rails in crises, hence the tendency to get too overexcited about invasion, or scream or panic when faced with the Doctor's interference.

And while fans technically don't hate Cushing for being cuddly, they do hold a little fan-grudge against the 60's features that the two movies were rushed into British theaters on the craze for the marketing, and never bothered to even try and explore the Doctor's alien origin...Reducing Cushing's Doctor to just a lovable absent-minded inventor out of a Disney comedy, and his two spunky teen-appeal sidekicks to two kids the matinee audience was expecting.

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The Comedians (1967) - Political drama from MGM, writer Graham Greene, and director Peter Glenville. Brown (Richard Burton) has just returned to Haiti after a trip abroad to find potential buyers for his hotel in Port-au-Prince, but he had no luck. He finds the political climate under dictator "Papa Doc" Duvalier to be even worse than when he left, as the secret police routinely round-up and kill anyone perceived as a dissident. Brown tries to rekindle an affair Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), a married woman with a young son. Brown also gets tied up with the nascent revolutionary movement, as does Major Jones (Alec Guinness), an acquaintance who has run afoul of the Haitian government, as well. Also featuring Peter Ustinov, Lillian Gish, Paul Ford, Georg Stanford Brown, James Earl Jones, Raymond St. Jacques, Roscoe Lee Browne, Gloria Foster, Zakes Mokae, and Cicely Tyson. 

I found this to be a rather anemic look at the Haitian condition in the brutal grip of the Duvaliers. I understand why the romantic subplot was deemed necessary for commercial purposes, but it's easily the worst part of the film, and it drags things down to a tedious slog. Guinness was a hoot, playing against type as a boozy, shady character of dubious character. Ustinov is stuck with the most thankless role as Taylor's cuckolded hubby. I liked seeing such great performers as Jones, Brown, Browne, St, Jacques, and Tyson in early roles. At over two and a half hours, the movie is certainly bloated, but one could do worse, given they have the time to spare.   (6/10)

Source: FilmStruck

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David Holzman's Diary (1967) - Prescient "mockumentary" from director Jim McBride. David (L.M. Kit Carson) is a 26 year old New Yorker with little ambition and fewer prospects. He decides to start documenting his mundane daily life on film, and alienates the few friends he has in the process. Also featuring Eileen Dietz, Lorenzo Mans, Louise Levine, Robert Lesser, and Fern McBride.

This ultra-low-budget DIY independent arthouse film prefigures the modern social media obsession with validation via narcissistic video documentation. I watched the movie on Amazon, but it should be on YouTube, as that's what it is: a paleo-technical YouTube video. There are a number of experimental film techniques on display. A section shot with a fish-eye lens looks like any number of music videos from the early 90's. The film, being scripted, could have gone further with its conceit, but perhaps by lacking a final thought or central tenet it even further resembles the celebration of banality that is modern social media.   (7/10)

Source: Amazon video

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The Best of Times (1981) - I watched this pilot for a TV series that never happened as it features the screen debuts of Nicolas Cage and Crispin Glover. Both were only 17 at the time, and Cage was still billed as Nicolas Coppola. The format of the show was very loose, basically a bunch of short, filmed sketches that follows the daily activities of the show's cast of teen characters. Glover was the star, and introduced the show. Cage was the body-builder buddy that the others were kind of afraid of, while Glover was rather sedate compared to his later lunacy. One exception is a scene where bugs shop-owner Jackie Mason about buying the newest cassette tape release from the Talking Heads.

The show is very early 80's in fashion and humor, as one would expect, and it hasn't aged very well. Cage looks much different, as this was before he had a nose job and got his teeth fixed. Still, he's easily the most memorable cast member. The only one of the others that I recognized was Jill Schoelen, who went on to appear in a few horror movies in the 80's.    (5/10)

Source: YouTube

Nicolas Cage, looking like a Muppet.

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Crispin Glover gets intense.

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The Navigator ('86) last night on TCM.  

Haven't seen this one since it came out on video later the same year it was released.  I then (and still do) did think of it as a fun bit of escapism, not having ever expected a futuristic space travel documentary.  I did too, think of the spaceship they displayed and designed for the movie an excellent idea for a remake of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, a ship made of what we Earthlings thought was an undetermined metallic material, seamless in structure, able to go from being solid to fluid, with a spare interior, uncluttered by instrumentation etc., etc., etc.  And the '53 WAR OF THE WORLDS looking mechanical "co-pilot" of the craft(named "Max") voiced by PAUL REUBENS was a hoot too.  

Certainly did call for a lot of "suspension of disbelief" , but, don't ALL science fiction movies?  ;) 

Sepiatone

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7 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Best of Times (1981) - I watched this pilot for a TV series that never happened as it features the screen debuts of Nicolas Cage and Crispin Glover.]\

The only one of the others that I recognized was Jill Schoelen, who went on to appear in a few horror movies in the 80's.    (5/10)

Nicolas Cage, looking like a Muppet.

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Damn, he really does look like a Muppet! I'm getting Animal + Dr. Teeth with a little of the crazy bomber guy.

JILL SCHOELEN, it deserves to be said, was a uniquely bad actress. There is something so unforced and genuine about her inability to process or convey emotion onscreen- a real pioneer for the art.

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I just watched The Picture of Dorian Gray the 1945 movie from Oscar Wilde's only novel. It was great. The cast was fairly well known, but lead actor, Hurd Hatfield, was new to me. I guess I'll have to do a search on him. I believe it's been remade at least once. However, I haven't seen the re-make as yet. I really like George Sanders and it's fun seeing a very young Angela Lansbury. 

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Tonight for Sure (1962) - "Nudie cutie" adults-only comedy from Premier Picture Company and director Francis Ford Coppola. A cowboy (Don Kenney) and a moral crusader (Karl Schanzer) plot to blow up a "burlesk" club in Las Vegas. While they wait for the right moment, they regale each other with personal tales of encounters with nude ladies. 

Coppola, working with cinematographer Jack Hill, shot the bomb-plot book-ends and interstitial footage in order to combine both Coppola's own student-film nudie short The Peeper with a nudie western entitled The Wide Open Spaces, which was shot by others and never released. The entire enterprise is silly, stupid, and embarrassing, like most "nudie cuties", when adults-only theaters specialized in showing these striptease revues coupled with very juvenile and simplistic comedy antics. It all seems very innocent and tame in comparison to the hardcore stuff that started appearing in the next decade. After this, Coppola and Hill re-teamed for Dementia 13.   (3/10)

Source: YouTube. The print is terrible, carried over from the sole VHS release in the 1980's. Someone should try to clean this up and put it out on disc with Coppola's other early nudie pic, The Bellboy and the Playgirls (1962).

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1 hour ago, Hoganman1 said:

I just watched The Picture of Dorian Gray the 1945 movie from Oscar Wilde's only novel. It was great. The cast was fairly well known, but lead actor, Hurd Hatfield, was new to me. I guess I'll have to do a search on him. I believe it's been remade at least once. However, I haven't seen the re-make as yet. I really like George Sanders and it's fun seeing a very young Angela Lansbury. 

The most famous re-make (1970) is the Italian film, "The Secret of Dorian Gray", with Helmut Berger.

secret-of-dorian-gray-3.jpg

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The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1967) - Third in the series of exotic thrillers, from Anglo-Amalgamated, Warner Brothers, producer Harry Alan Towers, and director Jeremy Summers. Chinese super-villain Fu Manchu (Christopher Lee) plots his revenge against Scotland Yard detective Nayland Smith (Douglas Wilmer) by framing him for murder using a lookalike double. Meanwhile, Smith is helping to organize an international law enforcement agency to be called INTERPOL, something Fu Manchu can't abide. Also featuring Tsai Chin, Tony Ferrer, Maria Rohm, Wolfgang Kieling, Suzanne Roquette, Horst Frank, Noel Trevarthen, Peter Carsten, and Howard Marion-Crawford.

I found all of these Lee/Fu Manchu movies to be rather dull, despite the outrageous plots and costumes. This one isn't quite as bad as the following two (directed by Jess Franco), but it's not good, either. This does feature some of the absolute worst fight scene choreography that I've ever seen. So there's that, I guess. This was the only entry in the series that I hadn't watched, so at least I'm done with them now.  (4/10)

Source: Amazon video

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1967)

I found all of these Lee/Fu Manchu movies to be rather dull, despite the outrageous plots and costumes. This one isn't quite as bad as the following two (directed by Jess Franco), but it's not good, either. This does feature some of the absolute worst fight scene choreography that I've ever seen. So there's that, I guess. This was the only entry in the series that I hadn't watched, so at least I'm done with them now. 

 

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"No, you have NOT seen the last of Fu Manchu. You will repeatedly dream about me, and I will have you tied to a chair in those dreams beside a broken DVD player. You will hate going to sleep at night for fear of seeing my face again. NO MOVIES FOR YOU, Florida boy!!! Fu Manchu has spoken."

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The Brotherhood (1968) - Crime drama from Paramount Pictures and director Martin Ritt. New York gangster Frank Ginetta (Kirk Douglas) likes to do things the old fashioned ways taught by the elder Mafia of his father's generation, but his younger brother Vince (Alex Cord) prefers the newer methods espoused by the Syndicate bosses. This sets the brothers for up for eventual conflict. Also featuring Irene Papas, Susan Strasberg, Luther Adler, Murray Hamilton, Val Avery, Joe De Santis, Val Bisoglio, Barry Primus, Alan Hewitt, and Eduardo Ciannelli.

This is one of the last good mobster movies from before The Godfather changed everything for the genre. It seems a bit quaint now, and the lack of authentic Italian actors is noticeable, but it's forgivable for the time. I thought Douglas gave a very fine performance as the tragically conflicted brother. Luther Adler and Eduardo Ciannelli are also noteworthy in support. This may also seem a bit too sedate for fans who expect a shoot 'em up violent affair like the more modern gangster films, or even those from the Pre-Code era.   (7/10)

Source: Amazon video

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Army of Shadows (1969) - French Resistance war drama from Valoria Films and director Jean-Pierre Melville. The story follows various members of the French underground resistance movement during the German occupation of France in WW2, including field commander Philippe (Lino Ventura), new recruit Jean Francoise (Jean-Pierre Cassel), and brilliant strategist Mathilde (Simone Signoret). Also featuring Paul Meurisse, Claude Mann, Paul Crauchet, and Christian Barbier.

The acting is impeccable, the direction tight and suspenseful, and the plot unpredictable. This is arguably the greatest movie on the subject of the French underground that I've seen. My only two nitpicks would be an obvious lack of resources on the part of the filmmakers during the London sequence, which has an artificial quality that's not present in the rest of the film. Now that I think about it, though, one could count that as intentional, as the journey there was a disorienting experience for Ventura's character. My other issue was with the contrivance of a late-in-the-film escape plan that just didn't seem plausible. However, neither issue is enough to dissuade one from seeking this one out. Recommended.     (8/10)

Source: FilmStruck

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NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE (1979) showed up on amazon prime.

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it's funny, because I've seen it quite a few times yet remember the details of it so badly [outside of the finger sucking scene, the slo mo bats with the POPOL VOHL (sp?) music, and the ending straight out of an Ealing comedy.]

it's nearly silent itself (a wise choice) and it is also tedious, ponderous and glacial: BUT I MEAN ALL OF THOSE IN A GOOD WAY (FOR ONCE) (NO SARCASM) (HONEST.)

for while the proceedings are a slow dirge, it's a deliberate, compelling, well-done dirge and the visuals (and sound effects) are superb.

it's an engrossing iceberg of a movie and compares quite favorably to THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS: OR PARDON ME BUT MY PATIENCE IS WEARING THIN and it is also (and again, I mean this with admiration and no sarcasm) A [FAR] MORE SUCCESSFUL COMEDY THAN THAT MOVIE. And I don't just say that because THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS isn't funny, I say that because there is an undeniable element of comedy in NOSFERATU, Pitch black and soaked in weltschmirtz (sp?), but comedy of the tragic and absurd WHICH IS CAPPED OFF BY A TRULY MEMORABLE ENDING.

The leads are marvelous, but it's worth noting just how good (and how lovely) ISABELLE ADJANI is in every scene of this movie.

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The Vice Squad (1931)

An intriguing crime drama from Paramount, as well as an indictment of real life vice squad corruption ripped from contemporary newspaper headlines. SPOILER: Lost in the drama of this pre code production is a murder committed in the film's opening minutes in which, after the film ends and you stop to think about it, the killer gets away with it.

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Paul Lukas plays a diplomat, innocently involved in a murder, who is coerced by a corrupt vice squad officer into working for him as a stool pigeon. Lukas will use his gentlemanly demeanour to lure innocent girls (possibly, but only possibly, flirting with prostitution) into inviting him into their homes. Once inside he will give a signal to vice outside. Lukas will disappear as the girl is arrested for vagrancy and faces time in prison. In real life bribes would be accepted by the vice officers to let the girls off. This part of the scheme, for some reason, however, is never fleshed out in the film.

Two years pass and Lukas, filled with self contempt for his role in framing young women, breaks off an engagement with society dame Kay Francis, and becomes a lush, living in a small flat. In a bar one night he drunkenly chases off some would-be molesters of a young girl (Judith Wood), the latter feeling an indebtedness to him and following him after he staggers out of the place. She saves the despairing man from suicide by subway and takes him back to his place where a doctor tells her that he needs nursing for a couple of days. Wood agrees to do this.

Circumstances will soon lead to Wood becoming an innocent girl that the vice squad wants to frame, and it will be up to Lukas as to whether or not he will expose himself as a stool pigeon (and public ridicule) to save her from prison.

This expose of real life police corruption is well paced and involving. Lukas works well in his role, though original casting choice William Powell might have been better. Kay Francis is largely wasted in a shallow part, under utilized and with her character ill defined. Rockliffe Fellowes is granite jawed slime as the vice squad cop blackmailing Lukas.

Third billed Judith Wood, an actress with whom I was unfamiliar and who disappeared from the film industry by the late '30s, is pretty and appealing as the real leading lady of the film, an innocent victim of the vice squad. Wood makes her character likable and vulnerable, and a genuine moral dilemma for Lukas at the end to do the right thing even if it may ruin himself in the process.

Wood's warmth and wide eyed appeal in this film makes me intrigued that her film career didn't go more places. She was talented enough that she played the role of Kitty Packard in the original 1932 Broadway production of Dinner at Eight, the role that would go to Jean Harlow in the film version the following year.

Wood had a auto accident which required a lengthy period of recuperation, as well as a number of affairs (including one with William Powell, her none co-star of The Vice Squad). She would, in fact, have only three tiny films roles after the '30s, her next to last an unbilled part as a waitress in Bette Davis' Beyond the Forest. After failing to break back into the movies, she worked as a costume designer on everything from opera to porno films. She once called her entire life a "near miss." She at least did have a lengthy one, though, dying at 95 in 2002.

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The pretty and talented "near miss" Judith Wood, with Paul Lukas.

3 out of 4

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One small addendum to my NOSFEREVIEW-

One thing I was surprised by in 1979 NOSFERATU was the (relative) brevity of the sequence where the vampire travels on the ship and slowly kills off the crew. And there wasn’t a lot of actual depiction of said murders.

That’s really one of the most terrifying parts of the whole story, if you think about it-  Being trapped on the ocean with a vampire And for whatever reason I don’t think Herzog and company *fully* realized its onscreen potential.. It’s realized to it’s fullest potential only twice in tellings of the tale I think, once in Orson Welles radio adaptation and the other time in the Spanish language 1931 version.

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58 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

One small addendum to my NOSFEREVIEW-

One thing I was surprised by in 1979 NOSFERATU was the (relative) brevity of the sequence where the vampire travels on the ship and slowly kills off the crew. And there wasn’t a lot of actual depiction of said murders.

That’s really one of the most terrifying parts of the whole story, if you think about it-  Being trapped on the ocean with a vampire And for whatever reason I don’t think Herzog and company *fully* realized its onscreen potential.. It’s realized to it’s fullest potential only twice in tellings of the tale I think, once in Orson Welles radio adaptation and the other time in the Spanish language 1931 version.

The Last Voyage of the Demeter has been in pre-production for several years. It's an entire film based around that short sequence. The last director attached was Neil Marshall, and he's been linked to various other things lately, so I don't know if or even when the movie will get made. Viggo Mortensen was at one time set to star as the ship's captain.

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The Housemaid (1960) - South Korean melodrama from writer-director Kim Ki-young. Married man and father of two Kim (Kim Jin Kyu) works part time as a music teacher at an after-hours program at a local factory. A worker falls in love with him and begins taking private piano lessons at his home. She later brings her roommate Myong-sook (Lee Eun-shim) to the Kim residence to work as a live-in maid. Only Myong-sook is even more unbalanced, and her obsession with Kim leads to deadly delirium. Also featuring Ju Jeung-nyeo, Eom Aeng-ran, Ko Seon-ae, Wang Sook-rang, Ahn Sung-ki and Lee Yoo-ri.

This lurid, crazed drama piles one extreme situation on top of another. Just when I thought it had climaxed with its depiction of the maid's insane behavior, she does something else that takes it even further into lunacy. I found a lot of it darkly comic, but I'm not sure that was the intention. Reportedly, the film had such a huge impact on South Korean cinema-goers that Lee Eun-shim, who played the title character, could never get work again, as her character was so despised.   (7/10)

Source: TCM

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