Author Topic: Shocktober 2020  (Read 384 times)

Junior

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Re: Shocktober 2020
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2020, 12:41:10 PM »
Exactly. And 2021 too, probably.

I probably won't do this for every episode, but this one was special:

Lovecraft Country S01E05: "Strange Case"

Lovecraft Country has been a show of unevenness. For every great scene, there's one that feels too rushed and a little underwritten. For every fun horror trope it indulges in (a new one every episode!), there remains a feeling of missed opportunity. Basically, it feels like every episode could easily be a 90 minute movie, which would give everything some space to grow.

But the latest episode, which focuses on Ruby (Wunmi Mosaku), Leti's (Jurnee Smollett) sister who finds herself in possession of a tincture which allows her, a black woman, to turn into a white woman for a few hours. When she is the white woman (Jamie Neumann), she experiences the carefree life she has never been able to enjoy, especially not in the white spaces like the department store she's wanted to work at for forever. They recently hired a skinnier, more conventionally attractive black woman, and when Ruby gets a job there (incredibly easily, of course), she uses her position to berate that woman for not being an exemplar of her race. In this way, the show tackles the difficult subject of of respectability politics and intersectionality.

But the real reason why I'm telling you all of this is because Ruby's transformations back into her normal body are CINECAST!ing ROUGH. Like, maybe the grossest thing I've seen since the C-section scene in Prometheus. The CGI is impressive, and I couldn't really spot a problem with it, though they were smart to mostly do it in half-lit environments or out-of-focus in the background or foreground of images. Still, it's a truly revolting sight as Ruby's real self tears through the skin of her temporary white self. It's a traumatic transformation that really drives home how different these two selves are, how thin and transient her white-self is and how insistent her blackness is. Invoking Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the episode's title does some preparation for what you're about to witness, but I've not seen a version of that story told so profoundly nor with such vigor.

I was surprised and delighted, then, when the director's name appeared at the top of the end credits and I found out that The Watermelon Woman's Cheryl Dunye was responsible for the horrific hour I had just endured. There's not much in The Watermelon Woman to suggest such ability with body horror, but I'd like to see her tackle a movie-length body horror story now. She clearly has the skills to incorporate the truly gross with the thematically interesting. A modern Cronenberg, I'd say, and that's as high praise as I can give a director.

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Re: Shocktober 2020
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2020, 12:54:07 PM »
Getting back into American Horror Story, I'm expecting someone to tell me Lovecraft Country is superior product, but I don't see myself leaving AHS because I'm most excited for Seasons 6-9. It's good to read your thoughts for what I will get to some day. 
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oldkid

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Re: Shocktober 2020
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2020, 04:37:55 PM »
My offspring and I plan to watch the following:
Bride of Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein
Prometheus
Alien: Covenant

I'd like to personally catch up with:
The Invisible Man
Host
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Antares

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Re: Shocktober 2020
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2020, 06:24:29 PM »
Carnival of Souls (1962) 60/100 - Cult classic? OK, I can see why, but it doesn't make it a great film. To be honest, it reminded of a protracted version of "The Hitch-Hiker" episode of The Twilight Zone from its first season with Inger Stevens. Yet, I can see this film's influence in other films that were to be made in the future. Polanski must have seen it before he made Repulsion and maybe Kubrick was influenced by it in The Shining. The one thing I did like and noticed right from the start, was the homage to silent films every time "the Man" appeared. I don't think I could sit through it a second time, but by the end, I wondered what I may have missed in this viewing. There were some very interesting shots used to depict her losing her grip on reality.

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« Last Edit: September 19, 2020, 05:12:45 PM by Antares »
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Re: Shocktober 2020
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2020, 10:08:04 PM »
I think you got it, and it also reminds me of that ep of Twilight Zone. It's a film that isn't great enough to stand on its own, but with a lot of great ideas for the carcass to be pecked apart by more talented and budgeted filmmakers. In a similar vein, read my post on Dementia (1955), which looks and sounds interesting and is highly influential, but for you probably not entirely successful by itself.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Shocktober 2020
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2020, 10:49:53 PM »
I think you got it, and it also reminds me of that ep of Twilight Zone. It's a film that isn't great enough to stand on its own, but with a lot of great ideas for the carcass to be pecked apart by more talented and budgeted filmmakers. In a similar vein, read my post on Dementia (1955), which looks and sounds interesting and is highly influential, but for you probably not entirely successful by itself.

Looking at that post, I see it was you who got me to add it to my watchlist. I watched it recently, it was okay. An interesting experiment but the tone of it didn't really click with me.
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Re: Shocktober 2020
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2020, 09:31:17 AM »
I would love to read someone explain why Dementia isn't equal to A Page of Madness. To me it comes down to personal inclination and mood at the time of watching.


FYI, Dementia is in public domain and less than an hour long, so  it's easy to find online.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Shocktober 2020
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2020, 10:24:19 AM »
I found the acting rather extreme, overcompensating for the lack of dialogue.
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Antares

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Re: Shocktober 2020
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2020, 01:49:25 PM »
I would love to read someone explain why Dementia isn't equal to A Page of Madness. To me it comes down to personal inclination and mood at the time of watching.


FYI, Dementia is in public domain and less than an hour long, so  it's easy to find online.

Found them both on YouTube, I'll be watching them both in the next few days.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Shocktober 2020
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2020, 03:41:05 PM »
(this isn't really horror at all, but it's one of the few films on my watchlist classified as Horror on IMDb, so what the heck....)


The Hourglass Sanatorium - Jozef (Jan Nowicki) goes to visit his father in the sanatorium. In the outside world, his father is dead, but inside, time works differently. He travels in and out of memories and has a bizarre series of encounters.

In The Saragossa Manuscript, Wojchiech Has toyed with narrative by inserting flashbacks within flashbacks, sometimes going as far as five layers deep. Here, his protagonist wanders in and out of time and space, sometimes leaving a character in a room only to meet him again in the next room. Saragossa had a fun sense of playfulness. This tries to achieve something similar, but for me it utterly failed. Bouncing from one non-sequitur to another was just annoying to me. I never had any sense of what anyone was talking about or why they acted the way they did. Few of the bizarre incidents were bizarre in any enjoyable or meaningful way. I feel certain there's a lot of political allegory here, but it flew way over my head most of the time. While it had a Kafkaesque feel, it didn't have any of the grounding that makes Kafka connect.

Aesthetically, however, the film is a wonder. The cinematography is lovely and pops with splashes of bright color, often in complicated camera moves. The production design as well is exquisite, and evokes the same kind of "abandoned civilization" that Stalker does. It certainly must have taken a lot of thought and work to pull off some of the sights and transitions from one scene to another. It's a beautiful film to look at.

Unfortunately, the lack of anything to grasp on to -- as well as the rather obnoxious acting -- made it a real chore to get through. Rating: Poor (57)
« Last Edit: September 18, 2020, 08:17:06 PM by MartinTeller »
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