A little parental advisory warning goes out to start this article, because I'm dropping the f-bomb like a crazy mo-fo on "Babel", the movie that will most definitely win the Oscar for best picture this year.
I was moderately aware of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland before "Battle of the Bone", not necessarily in detail, but I did have a meager understanding of the Protestant vs. Roman Catholic kerfuffle, and that it had been going for quite some time. I later learned that “The Troubles” was a proper name, and that it was an issue that regardless of being somewhat resolved, is still a forefront part of Northern Ireland's social and political culture. Which makes sense when one considers that the crux of “The Troubles'” violence occurred in the mid-1970's, and that many of the people involved in the military conflict would still be alive today.
In the beginning, God slices his stomach open slowly with a straight edged razor and then dies to give birth to Mother Earth. Her son (credited as “Son of the Earth - Flesh on the Bone”) is some type of bizarre naked freak that screams and writhes on the ground. This is the opening to "Begotten". I have to admit I was very lucky to get a hold of this film, being that it's my impression that the film is not available for distribution in America. Not for “graphic” content, but mostly likely because it's a black and white silent film made by Edmund E. Merhige who also directed "Shadow of the Vampire".
A brief yet tense phone conversation between politically connected powerhouse Tom Buchanan (Mark Grant) and a desperate lower class thug named Judd (Eric Scheiner) over Buchanan's bisexual wife Daisy (Jennifer McCartney), her working class lover Lolita (Christy Scott-Cashman) and Bartlesby (Angel Connell), the enigmatic head of Buchanan's personal security force, results in an interlocking series of actions which culminates in a brutal murder. Thereafter the Buchanans in a subsequent phone conversation grapple with the fallout from the crime, its alleged resolution, and the effect the incident has had on their open marriage.
After so much wonderful cinema from Stuart Gordon, I have to admit, I'm a sucker for movies that are based on H.P. Lovecraft's work. Gordon created some of the most fun, over-the-top, and overall finest examples of movie horror with other Lovecraft stories like "Re-Animator", "From Beyond", and "Dagon". I like the subject matter of Lovecraft's work so much, that even though these films strayed a lot from his original material, the spirit remained intact and that's all I asked for. You wouldn't think that stories that are only three to five pages long would be adaptable film material, but Gordon made them so, and some of my favorite movies ever were created because of that.
I want to start this article by saying just how much I love Peter Stormare. This guy doesn't get near the amount/type of acting roles that he should. He is slightly type-cast as a silly over-actor in (not very) comedic parts in movies like "Million Dollar Hotel", and "The Brothers Grimm". I don't know why people can't see his brilliance. In "Birth", he is given the task of establishing mood for the rest of the movie. For the first five minutes of screen time, the camera doesn't leave his face, and he creates a feeling of dread and discomfort that I can't imagine another modern actor duplicating. It is a perfect casting decision, and I applaud whosever idea it was. Without the Stormare introduction, this movie doesn't achieve (to the fullest) what it wishes to.
If you look back to the original films that set the standard, and best define the modern slasher film, a number of titles will no doubt be mentioned. "A Nightmare on Elm Street" was released in 1984, and is often unfairly grouped within this particular sub-genre. The film is a little too intelligent to be pigeonholed within any particular group, yet is considered one of the most influential horror/slasher films of all time. Prior to that, in 1980, the original "Friday the 13th" was released, and is considered by many to be the quintessential slasher film. It has all the basic characteristics of a successful slasher: extreme violence, a healthy dose of nudity, and in the later instalments, what would be considered the most recognizable horror villain of all time. The original film played out more as a thriller, as the identity of the killer was kept secret until the end of the film.
For as much as I admire Brian De Palma's bravado filmmaking style, he hasn't really done much to impress me in recent years. It has been ten years since he directed the first "Mission: Impossible", and at the time he did that, I believed him to be uneven as a director, but overall I had faith that a De Palma movie was a good movie, and that he really couldn't do too much wrong.
Then movies like the utterly predictable "Snake Eyes" and the all-around lousy Mission to Mars were released. And even though I found myself really looking forward to "Femme Fatale", I still walked away feeling disappointed, as though De Palma had left something on the editing table. With subject material like "The Black Dahlia", I didn't know what to expect.
Martin (Kane John Scott) and his wife Jane (Marysia Kay) are taking some time off, trying to put the past behind them, trying to appreciate each other again. But when they get to their holiday cottage, they find that they're got little love left for each other. Jane attracts the attentions of another man, Seth (Benjamin Green), a vampire who sees something that he want in Jane. Jane wants it too, but be careful what you wish for...
After one night with Seth, Jane undergoes a painful transformation. A change that gives her more than she ever thought possible. A change that opens her eyes to a conspiracy that has been kept secret from her. But to finalise this transformation Jane must feed. Can she take a life to secure her own? And how about that delightful husband of hers?
"Blood of the Beasts" is a short documentary, produced in 1949, and shot in glorious black and white, which documents what occurs in the slaughterhouses of Paris . Director George Franju made the decision to shoot in B&W, so as to not horrify the audience with the events that occur onscreen throughout the 22 minute film. His intention was to create a film which affected the viewer aesthetically, not physically. After watching the film, I do believe that if I were to see the film in full color, I wouldn't be able to handle it.