[Hello! Sorry I haven’t updated the past couple of days, but I’ve been suuuper busy and only got around to watching the films today. I have seen them, however, and I’ll review them all in one post right here. One of the reasons why I was busy was that I went to see JOHN CARPENTER live with his band playing music from his films and his albums — it was AMAZING! This week I’ll watch some JC films, so stay tuned. And you can check out the photos and videos I took from the gig on my twitter @thefilmology]
dir. Takashi Miike
I was recommended this film by a friend, and then I learned that it was a Takashi Miike film, which made me really happy because I’ve seen The Happiness of the Katakuris and it was such a fantastically weird film that I really didn’t know what to expect with this. Anyway. I watched it, and really quite enjoyed it.
The film had some weird elements, like some of the “dream” sequences set ups were odd and there was a certain surrealism to them that I really liked, but overall it was pretty straight, and by the end there it got genuinely creepy. Not particularly scary, though — I think the torture scene would’ve needed to either be longer or more explicit for me in particular to feel scared or tense during it. But it looked amazing, the effects were fantastic and super realistic-looking.
Another great addition to my growing collection of East Asian cinema!
The Haunting, 1963
dir. Robert Wise
This is like The Innocents with lesbians, no?
Joking aside, fantastic film! I can see why this is Martin Scorsese’s favourite horror film, in a cinematic standpoint, this is absolutely marvellous. (Plot-wise, it’s pretty silly.)
The monochrome is quite eerie, and it gives the film a similar feeling to The Innocents and Psycho. And the camera work is really interesting, how it pans and shakes, the fluid movements of the camera, which are not really common in films from that time, so that was particularly interesting to see.
Even though the plot itself (guy gets some random people to join him in a haunted house to check if the house is really haunted) is a bit on the iffy side, reading through the Trivia of the film I learned that the writer wanted to go on a somewhat different direction, having all the events of the film being part of the lead character’s imagination in a psychiatric institution. Now, with that in mind, the film becomes far more interesting. The doctor who seems aloof but caring; the teasing nurse who likes to rile her up; the custodian who is scary-looking; the maid who keeps to strict schedules — all of those characters would fit really well in a hospital, and if the events of the film were not real but rather a figment of her imagination, all of the surreal sequences involving Eleanor would make much more sense, and generally the film would have a lot more depth to it. So I personally choose to believe that this is what it is, even though the ending negates that somewhat. Oh, well.
Really wonderful film, nonetheless, and I’m glad there’s another pre-1970s horror classic on this list.
The Exorcist III, 1990
dir. William Peter Blatty
To be honest, all I knew about this was that Fabio was in it playing an angel, so I thought it would be hilarious. It turns out, Fabio’s cameo was like six seconds long, and it’s actually quite a scary movie!
The Exorcist is probably one of the few horror films I’ve seen more than once which still scare me. This film borrows a lot from it in terms of tone, but it’s also a detective story, kind of like The Exorcist meets Zodiac, if I’m honest. But that works in its favour, because even though it’s following the events of the first film, and there’s similar elements, because the actual set-up is much different, and there are so many more locations, it doesn’t feel like a rip off, but rather like a fluid continuation of the Georgetown story.
I really didn’t see the twist with Gemini/Patient X coming, and the exorcism scene at the end of the film was genuinely scary! As well as the catatonic old lady, Mrs Clelia, and her as a nurse going to the cop’s house.
In a surprising twist of fate, The Exorcist III happens to do exactly what a sequel is supposed to do, and succeed quite well at it. The only thing I’d change is I’d get Martin Sheen to play the detective guy. George C. Scott is good, but I kept imagining how Martin Sheen would have delivered the lines, and it would’ve been so good!! Oh, well. Too late now. About twenty-six years too late, ha-ha.