Author Topic: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017  (Read 4762 times)

Bondo

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 20206
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #260 on: November 08, 2017, 09:26:07 PM »
Well, Lynch films are a personal horror, but I'm not sure most of them fit the genre.

pixote

  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 32667
  • Up with generosity!
    • yet more inanities!
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #261 on: November 11, 2017, 01:05:03 PM »


An American Werewolf in London  (John Landis, 1981)

I'd never been that keen to see this, but it's actually a very interesting production, in terms of tone and setting. Made years before the PG-13 rating existed, the film embraces its R-rated nature to a surprising degree especially when it comes to gore but still includes some welcome bursts of whimsy. I really appreciate that effort, even if the various tones don't always harmonize.

The script was a decade old by the time Landis got to film it, yet it still feels like an incomplete vision, one in need of another draft or two. Much of the plotting consists of borrowed tropes that aren't stitched together with full coherence. That is the movie's primary flaw, rivaled only by some awful lighting (especially in the scenes on the moor). I didn't actually like the look of the werewolf itself either which looks less like a man-wolf hybrid than a bear-Predator hybrid though the centerpiece transformation scene is pretty good. The best shot is in the London Underground, when we see the stalking beast of a werewolf from a distance; that's much more effective than all the closeups.

Much better excellent, even is the makeup that turns Griffin Dunne into a walking, rotting corpse. Dunne makes for a good sidekick, at least in the moments when he gets to be just a wry, offbeat presence. He's less successful when he's burdened with trying to drive the story forward, but that's more a problem with the script than with his performance. David Naughton is a bit of an awkward lead, but that might just be because he's so very 80s. The supporting cast, meanwhile, is a British 'that guy' scavenger hunt.

An American Werewolf in London isn't a film I can quite recommend, but it's still way better the The Howling.

Grade: C+

pixote
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017, 01:06:41 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 32667
  • Up with generosity!
    • yet more inanities!
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #262 on: November 11, 2017, 06:08:17 PM »


Quote from: Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide
Pyx, The (1973-Canadian) C-111m. ★★★ D: Harvey Hart. Karen Black, Christopher Plummer, Donald Pilon, Lee Broker, Yvette Brind'amour. Excellent blend of horror, science-fiction, and detective thriller with a mystical theme. Police sergeant Plummer investigates prostitute Black's death, finds a devil cult, numerous decadent suspects, and a new twist on Catholic guilt. Aka THE HOOKER CULT MURDERS. Panavision. [R]

The Pyx  (Harvey Hart, 1973)

This movie opens on maybe its highest note, with Clark's ethereal voice setting the perfect atmosphere while, out of the corner of our eye, we see a body fall from the top of a high-rise. It's a nicely unexpected, wonderfully downplayed moment that does well to set the stage for this slow-burn thriller. The ensuing film plays out like a cross between a Dirty Harry movie and prestige 70s horror like Don't Like Now and The Omen. The story moves back and forth between Clark's story in the weeks leading up to that fall and Plummer's investigation thereof. Neither strand is especially compelling, but the movie as a whole is rarely boring either. It's the rare film that I didn't form any clear opinion about until the end credits rolled. Had the story added up to something more, I might have rated it a full grade higher.

Grade: C

pyxote
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017, 07:52:24 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 30117
  • Marathon Man
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #263 on: November 11, 2017, 07:36:36 PM »
Excellent take on Werewolf, another horror where my mild admiration is far below the majority's rapturous praise. You watched the movie I've always seen.

The Pyx is not a film I've heard of. Not on my Horror radar and I pull from a lot of lists.

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 18057
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #264 on: November 11, 2017, 09:38:52 PM »
Funny Games (1997)

I'd already seen the English 2007 version, so there were no surprises in this scene-for-scene-by-the-same-director. But it was more horrible knowing what was going to happen.

This is a perfect horror film, in that it is drenched in the horrible.  Throughout this film my shoulders are tight, my stomach muscles clenched, my eyes narrowed as if dimming the light would reduce the gut-wrenching evil.  I've had films that scared me more, but few that offends me to this degree.   Not "offends" as if I hate the film, but "offends" my sensibilities, my idea of what is right in the world.

As usual, Haneke is using a horrible situation to poke holes in the middle class.  Yes, the two young men are the aggressors, but as they point out multiple times, they aren't the first ones to be aggressive, to overreact.  But the real point seems to be to point out that our lordship, our cloak of authority is only as powerful as the person we are opposing.  There is a social contract of personal property and authority, in which police officers and city zoning are supports of that structure.  So the middle class acts as if they have all power on their space, but what if someone determines not to act in accordance with that unwritten contract, to counteract it?  Something as simple as a golf club and a dropped phone can displace the thin nail on which our security hangs.  And our confidence unravels.

Of course, there is the playing with the audience, the recognition that the movie must lengthen the stay of the horrible until it has gone the appropriate length, where the antagonists pulls us into blame for this terror as much as they do the victims. In the end, objectively, we are all participants in this play, partners in this staged murder. I, moreso, since I am watching it again.

4/5
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Sam the Cinema Snob

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 24142
  • A Monkey with a Gun
    • Creative Criticism
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #265 on: November 12, 2017, 08:57:43 AM »
I think this film only works for me because of that self-reflexive nature that constantly teases and toys with the audience. Without that I think the film would be too bleak for me.

pixote

  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 32667
  • Up with generosity!
    • yet more inanities!
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #266 on: November 12, 2017, 03:52:04 PM »


We Are What We Are  (Jorge Michel Grau, 2010)

What a murky film. A cannibalistic family must deal with the loss of their patriarch. Why are they cannibals? I couldn't tell you. At first it seems driven by poverty with a throwaway mention that many families have resorted to eating human flesh but there are also suggestions that the cannibalism is part of some magical ritual that will make everything better. Perhaps that's just one of those lies parents tell their kids. There are also overtones of addiction, with a suggestion that the characters will get the shakes if don't partake in some yummy humans at regular intervals.

Whatever the case, there's certainly some rich, metaphorical soil to be mined in all this, but it's hard to care when the characters are so unpleasant. In a pure horror film, that might not matter, but We Are What We Are is simultaneously a coming-of-age film about family, identity, masculinity, and tradition, so the poorly handled characterizations severely hinder things. It doesn't help that the teenage actors in the cast all just seem to have a single look of "I'm acting!" Carmen Beato is much more successful as the family's matriarch, partly because the story allows her to be almost purely monstrous, both in character and in actions. She's legitimately scary.

I really liked that idea that cannibalism, as a ritual, might be a metaphor for empty traditions that stand in the way of human evolution but, again, the unsubstantial narrative makes it hard to care. Maybe the American remake improves on all this (it's available on Amazon Prime), but I'm not curious enough to find out.

Grade: C-



That finally wraps up my Shocktober. Thanks for hosting, 1SO!

pixote
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 03:53:42 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 30117
  • Marathon Man
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #267 on: November 12, 2017, 07:49:11 PM »
Funny Games 1997 was my introduction to Haneke and perhaps his most blunt movie and not one I would expect him to revisit. Similar to what Sam said, it's the meta aspect that makes it so memorable because it shows how completely hopeless the situation is and holds the mirror up to us for continuing to watch.

I believe oldkid and I were supposed to watch We Are What We Are, but what you describe doesn't seem too different from the remake, except I thought the acting in the remake was just fine.

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 18057
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #268 on: November 12, 2017, 08:06:12 PM »
It was hard for me to get the earlier version, but I'm still thinking about watching it for a belated Shocktober.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky