Tuesday, September 25, 2012

[Archive Esoterica] The Potheads: Let's Get Nice

While browsing through the Internet Archive, I stumbled across this 1968 short film from director Alfonso Sanchez, Jr.

Supposedly it "effectively captures the hallucinatory nature of marijuana smoking", but there's not a Cherry Slurpee or a bag of Cheetos to be found.  Regardless, as an esoteric art piece, it's pretty happening.  Dig that crazy beat, man!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Goodies in the Mail

Thanks Full Moon!
...reviews coming soon...


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Night Child (1972)

Night Child

Written by Andrea Bianchi & Erich Krohnke
Directed by Andrea Bianchi & James Kelley

Elise...Britt Ekland
Marcus...Mark Lester
Paul...Hardy Kruger

Twelve year old Marcus arrives home from prep school a week early, due to an extreme outbreak of chicken pox. He meets his new stepmother Elise for the first time and instantly takes a liking to her. Too strong of a liking, actually, as he fondles her sexually from behind.

Working on a suspicion that Marcus wasn't being entirely truthful about the reason for his early return, Elise makes a visit to his headmaster and learns that Marcus was expelled for a number of instances of deviant behavior.

Well, no shit.

Marcus's father, the wealthy author Paul, won't listen to her, so she continues her investigations alone, uncovering damning and damaging information about the boy's true nature.

Elise doesn't necessarily act like you would expect a real person to. She doesn't seem to be too upset by the fact that her new stepson molested her a few short hours after their first meeting, and in fact later goes out of the way to towel dry his half-naked body when he gets out of the pool, seemingly encouraging his indecent attraction.

The other characters behave in similarly unbelievable ways, too. I'll forgive the strange behavior from Marcus (even if he's not altogether convincing as the dangerous savant), because without them we wouldn't have much of a movie, but his father seems equally prone to inappropriate touching. He caresses Elise's body while she's driving--and right in front of his son--almost causing a car accident that could have killed them all. But then again, maybe the old adage of 'like father, like son' is particularly fitting here.

The pacing is fairly slow at times, and the 95 minutes seems pretty padded. It is, at least, padded in part with sexiness and nudity, so I'm not complaining too much. Elise is portrayed by Britt Eckland, who genre fans will remember for her awkwardly-erotic pagan dance in the Wicker Man, and she is a real piece of art in and of herself. The musical score is composed mostly of suitably sultry synth-pop, just as one would expect from the era and area.

A rather obscure entry in the Evil Child category of films, this one is much less fun than most of the others, but also infinitely sleazier and wildly inappropriate. It exists under multiple names in multiple running times with some versions editing out the more "inappropriate" material, but the 95 minute version reviewed here seems to be the most complete cut available. The lead-up to the ending is trippy and nonsensical...I mean, open to interpretation, and the finale a twisted gasper.

Warning: Watching Night Child will leave you as uncomfortable as it does unfulfilled.

Rated R
95 Minutes
Spain/UK/Italy/USA/West Germany

ALSO KNOWN AS: Night Hair Child; What the Peeper Saw;

"You're mysterious this afternoon."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Straw Dogs (1971)

Straw Dogs

Written by Sam Peckinpah & David Zelag Goodman
Directed by Sam Peckinpah

David Sumner...Dustin Hoffman
Amy Summer...Susan George
Charlie...Del Henney
Janice...Sally Thomsett

David Sumner is not quite the man his wife Amy wishes he would be. He's not exactly macho, he's an intellectual--an astrophysicist--whose work requires much silence, solitude, and ponderous thought. Although she tries to "mature" herself for him in small ways, such as learning chess, she is still very girl-like, flirtatious and desiring more of his attention. The majority of the attention she receives, though, is unwanted and comes from the help, a group of rowdy locals who spend more time leering at her and sniffing her panties than they do finishing the barn they were hired to rebuild.

After their advances go too far--which appears to be an epidemic in this rural community--David is forced to man-up to protect his home, his wife, and himself. The tag line says it all: "The knock at the door meant the birth of one man and the death of seven others!"

It's a beautiful-looking film, expertly crafted for maximum effect. The inherent differences between Amy and David create genuine affection and strife, and we find ourselves caring about both characters. There is a great deal of violence always bubbling just beneath the surface, and nearly all of the townsfolk come across as menacing.

The best character moment was between David and the local pastor, as a man of science and a man of faith engaging in a battle of wits. It was, sadly, far too short-lived of a moment. I would have loved an expanded scene.

It's a complex film that is undeniably the work of a genius, and yet I'm left unsure of how I feel about it. It can easily be viewed as misogynistic--even more-so than your typical Rape-Revenge film--and Peckinpah seems to be making some rather unsettling comments about the sexual nature of women. To go into it any further would run the risk of spoilers, but suffice it to say that Straw Dogs requires a much deeper analysis than I can give after only a single viewing.

And frankly, I'm not certain that I can wrap my head around another viewing. At least not for a while.

This IS a movie that should be watched, preferably with other film fans. However be prepared for hours of serious debate. It is a movie that was designed for discussion.

Rated R
118 Minutes

"I will not allow violence against this house."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds Returning To Theaters

Turner Classic Movies, in conjunction with Fathom Events, is bringing Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror flick The Birds back to theaters for one day and one day only.  September 19th is the big day, so click HERE to see if it's coming to your town and purchase tickets.

More events that may be of interest:

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial returns for a likewise limited engagement on October 3rd, in honor of the film's 30th anniversary. Click HERE for further information.

Now THIS one is not to be missed, hipsters.  Returning to theaters on October 24th is a double-feature the likes of which have not been seen in generations: Universal's Frankenstein coupled with The Bride of Frankenstein.  Fan....freaking....tastic.  Click HERE.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vile: A Love Story Seeking Producer

While researching a review for the film Vile, I accidentally tripped over a hyperlink and wound up at the webpage for a different movie with a similar title: Vile - A Love Story.  The site was clever but deceptively simple, and offered little beyond the synopsis.  The synopsis was enough to intrigue me, however, and I set out to find more information about the movie.

There was no entry on Wikipedia.  No entry on the IMDB.  No entry at AllMovie.

In fact, it seemed like the only information about this movie was contained at its website.

A little lightweight detective work, and I had located the filmmaker's email address.  I requested further info and asked where I could see this mysterious movie, but my hopes were immediately dashed.

This film does not exist.  Or, at least...not yet.

Vile - A Love Story is looking for a producer.  And let me tell you, folks.  This movie needs to be made.

There are two monsters prowling the streets of LA — one, a serial killer raised to believe that women are “demonic sexual predators”; and the other, a peculiar young woman who also happens to be a Demonic Sexual Predator — and when they meet, love inspires them to focus their dark attentions on those who deserve it most.
Albin Gerber doesn’t want to kill the prostitutes he finds irresistible; it’s just that Mother raised him to believe that any woman who arouses him is most likely a demon, bent on draining his life force. So when this troubled serial killer meets Frankie — an odd girl who happens to be the literal embodiment of everything Mother warned Albin about — it isn’t long before the situation turns ugly.
     But when Albin makes a startling discovery that suggests Frankie might possibly be family, it is the one thing that allows Albin to push past his violent urges and get to know her. The result is, well, messy... But despite some serious bumps along the way, Love blossoms. When Frankie’s wayward caretaker suddenly returns and drives Albin away, he decides to pursue his family history, despite Mother’s claims that they are the only remaining survivors. After making some disturbing discoveries, Albin returns to rescue Frankie, then does what any other boy in love would do: He takes her home to meet Mother, an act of defiance that leads to a fiery confrontation between a woman driven mad with guilt and the boy she raised to be a monster.
     As it turns out, a monster made is not the same as a monster born. Frankie’s needs are quite different, and even as a police investigation closes in around him, Albin does his best to redeem himself with a final act of kindness for the strange creature he has come to love, and who has set him free.

Any producer or production company interested in hearing more?  Drop me a line at JonnyxMetro [at] hotmail [dot] com, and I'll forward it on to the Vile folks.  They already have a completed script, and are now just looking to get the ball rolling.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Vile (2011)


Written by Eric Jay Beck & Rob Kowsaluk
Directed by Taylor Sheridan

Nick...Eric Jay Beck
Tayler...April Matson
Tony...Akeem Smith
Sam...Greg Cipes

"The root of violence is science without humanity..."--Mahatma Gandhi

A group of attractive young people (of course) awaken to find themselves prisoners in a mysterious house with no means of escape. They are each outfitted with new accouterments--electronic devices attached to the base of their skulls--and a recording on a television screen alerts them of their task.

In order to escape, they must hurt themselves and each other. The chemicals that the brain produces when in pain are collected by the devices, and when it collects a predetermined amount, the doors will be opened. Fail to do it in time, and everybody dies.

Quite quickly, simple beatings evolve into full-on torture sessions--both voluntary and otherwise--as they are all forced to come to terms with what they are willing to do to survive.  The reasoning behind the whole ordeal is really pretty stupid, but it's a minor plot point at best.  Most of the time is spent with the characters interacting in increasing twisted ways, offering up the occasional flinch-worthy onscreen moment.

Strangers held in a house by an evil mastermind, forced to do unspeakable things in order to survive--sounds an awful lot like Saw 2, doesn't it? And no, there aren't enough distinguishing characteristics to set it too far apart. In fact, if Jigsaw mated with the Hostel franchise, it would look a lot like Vile.

Just like if David Spade mated with Shaun White, he would look a lot like this guy.

This is unapologetic torture porn, no doubt about it. There's no implied moral, no life lesson to be learned. This is shock and awe for shock and awe's sake. And I don't fault it for that. It is what it is, and doesn't put on too many fronts or pretensions.

It's down and dirty, guilty entertainment. It's not for everyone, and it's not for every day, but sometimes you just want to squirm while watching other people scream, and Vile has that in spades.

Not Rated
United States



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