Category Archives: Black and White

Repulsion (1965)

Director: Roman Polanski
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser and Yvonne Furneaux. UK. 1h 45m

In Polanski’s highly thrilling black and white drama that kick started his tenant trilogy (which consists of  two other classic films  The Tenant (1976)  starring Polanski himself,  and the Cult classic Rosemary’s Baby (1968) ,  and this dark thriller, a young beautician drops deep in a claustrophobic insanity possibly spurred on by a suppressed family trauma as her feline sexuality sparks great interest from many suitors.

Repulsion is strangely enjoyable, and is a deep internal  nightmare that transpires through any age, and is easily relatable to. Adapted by Gérard Brach it is fantastically brought to life by Polanski and on a meager budget of £65,000, this debut  English film the budding director lost his footing at first, but as the dialogue vanishes he turns up the atmospherics and the results are quite dark and bold.

A beautiful timid girl Carole (Deneuve) is left alone in an apartment shared by her sister and her sisters husband, they are off to Europe for their holiday, leaving her some outstanding rent money for an angry landlord they skip town. Instantly the first cracks start to show in the relationship with her boyfriend  and soon she starts making mistakes at work. Very slowly we see the layers of Carole’s psyche peel away leaving a vulnerable kitten and murderous vixen.

It’s quite easy to write off Carole in the early throes of the films, you hardly notice the little mouse in contrast of her sisters sultry boldness overwhelms her and she spends a lot of the time hiding behind her bleached blonde 60’s bouffant hair, but as her character changes, she starts to give up the goods and her performance is tremendous, her charisma teamed with the reclusive scenes of the apartment and shocking effects persuades the

viewer to miss the realities of what’s going on. Blending themes from Dementia 13 (1963) and Persona (1966).

The ingenuity of the effects are really beautiful not only do you literally see the cracks appearing in Carole life but her fears are coming out of the walls and dark shadows of her apartment. Polanski plays the art house card now and again, there are silent shots of rotten vegetables and dirty plates that co exist with the knife wielding madwoman episodes, but

these are short and frantic, but cause as many ripples as any Hitchcock Psycho scene and emphasis her meltdown and the effects it’s having on the real world.

It’s hauntingly stark at times but a real tour de force once it gains momentum, the horrific faces of the returning couple finding their apartment in disarray reflects the faces of any avid viewer. It’s very unusual for this style of horror/ thriller to have a knife welding psychotic serial killer but with several hints at previous sexual abuse and possible incest it’s no real shocker that this girl is this fucked up.. Her next step would be Haute Tension (2003)

Rating 8/10

R: Haute Tension (2003) , Dementia 13 (1963), Persona (1966), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Tenant (1976)

L: Black and White Thrillers, Femme Fatals
5s : Roman Polanski

Post Discussion.

 

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Die Bülchse der Pandora / Pandoras Box (1929)

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Starring: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Franz Lederer, Carl Goetz, Alive Roberts. Germany / Austria. 1h 49m

This iconic film is deeply based on Frank Wedekind’s play “Lulu”, and despite it not being popular at the time of release, it now remains; nearly 90 years after its release; one of Europe’s silent cinema’s crowning achievements. A catastrophic portrait of sexual obsession, that the American actress Louise Brooks provided an outstanding performance as the prostitute Lulu, a femme fatale who unleashes uncontrollable desires in the people around her. Continue reading Die Bülchse der Pandora / Pandoras Box (1929)

Man Walking around the corner (1887)

 

This is the first ever film, 16 frames made by the LPCC Type-16 camera by the godfather of film, Louis Le Prince before his mysterious disappearance in 1890. You can find out more about the great man here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Le_Prince#Man_Walking_Around_a_Corner_(LPCC_Type-16). The film has been amaturely put together and if you’ll blink you’ll miss it! But it shows a man walking around the corner as advertised in the title.

It’s amazing just how far we’ve come…

 

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Day 8 – Carnival of Souls

Director: Herk Harvey.
Starring. Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison, USA. 1h 24m.

A cult classic that still influences a host of modern directors, this independent horror film manages to create a bizarre ghostly atmosphere that has been difficult to re-create since.

A few girls are out for a lark, when then encounter some greasers who challenge them to a drag race over a bridge, the girls car crashes in the river and they get pulled along by the rapids, the rescue mission fails to find anything but a shabby and bemused young blonde bombshell emerges from the water the only survivor from this tragic misadventure. Mary’s life is never quite the same after the accident. The church organist relocates to Utah, where she finds herself set apart from the locals and stalked by a strange pasty faced ghoulish man (Harvey) as she’s drawn towards a mysterious carnival on the outskirts of town near the river,  where she’s inclined to dance. Continue reading Carnival of Souls (1962)

Horror hotel / City of the Dead (1960)

horror-hotel-city-of-the-dead

Director: John Llewellyn Moxey
Starring : Christopher Lee, Venetia Stevenson, Dennis Lotis, Betta St. John, Dyall, Patricia Jessel. UK.  1h 16m.

This is how you make a decent horror movie, a decent time I’ve only 76 minutes it dives straight into the point, is filled with deep deathly atmospherics and has an intriguing and mysterious plot. Continue reading Horror hotel / City of the Dead (1960)

The End (2008)

theend

 

Director:Nicola Collins
Starring:Les Falco, Mickey Taheny, Danny Woollard. UK. 1m 21m

While recently trying to work out the criteria of distinguishing a documentary from something that is merely something shown on the TV rather than in the cinema, and putting it down to just how gripping they might be, I start reeling through a pantheon of documentary movies that I adore and one of the more difficult ones to find and the one I enjoyed the most is The End.

After twigging the 1 minute advert on an old DVD it had me hooked and yet I could never actually catch the title until I realised that the caption at the end of the preview wasn’t simply signifying the end of the advert but it was actually the title…*doh* after working out that little gem I was away to find a copy. Continue reading The End (2008)

Dementia 13 (1963)

DEMENTIA131Director: Francis Ford Coppola.
Starring: William Campbell, Luana Anders, Bart Patton. USA. 1h 15m.

An early gem from a powerful director this early 60’s murderous thriller is both creepy and is it absorbing, it swings between being the supernatural and an episode of Columbo, an extremely dark and broody type of Columbo.. except columbo is more of a fastidious olde gent. So the film begins with a tragic accident that couldn’t have come at a worse time for the beautiful Louise (Luana Anders), her nasty partner  John Haloran (Peter Read) has a heart attack and drowns just after teasing her that if he dies she’ll not get any of his inheritance.. from the bottom of the river the creepy ghostly animated credits roll . Louise comes up with a cunning plan to pretend that John has been delayed then makes friends with his family in Ireland, especially his mother and try to weasel her way into some inheritance. To her luck the mother is currently going through a dramatic grieving process after losing her youngest daughter Kathleen to a tragic drowning accident, Louise devises another crafty plan to pretend that the girl is trying to contact her mother through her, so she collects some of her toys from the attic and aims to plant them in the pond where she drowned the aim is that they will surface at an opportune moment, but while planting the toys she notices movement in the underwater tomb and then she’s brutally murdered while trying to escape the water. Continue reading Dementia 13 (1963)

Creative Control (2015)

CREATIVE1

Director:Benjamin Dickinson .

Starring: Benjamin Dickinson, Nora Zehetner, Dan Gill, Alexia Rasmussen, Reggie Watts. USA. 1h 37m.

In the near future a Brooklyn ad executive uses a a program to conduct an affair with his best friends girlfriend in virtual reality. Creative Control is an ultra modern, hipsterish sci fi romantic comedy with drastic connotations, David (Benjamin Dickinson) is tasked to come up with an advertising campaign for a virtual reality system called Augmenta. David gets to try it out to perfect the campaign that he’s working on with his team and Reggie Watts (Reggie Watts) but the amazing system starts to pull david into the darker recesses of his sexual psyche as he begins to obsess over his best friends girlfriend Sophie (Alexia Rasmussen) His long time suffering girlfriend, despite her outer calm as a Yoga instructor is totally out of synch with David and beings falling for a colleague, David often has to cover for his bestie Wim (Dan Gill) and he doesn’t think twice about cheating on Sophie but somehow David has to keep this all together (with the help of lots of pharmaceuticals and other recreationals) in order work in a highly prestigious project with a incredibly opinionated team, look out for the pilot advert scene.. it’s GOLD. Continue reading Creative Control (2015)

The Bat (1959)

The-Bat-(1)

Director: Crane Wilbur.
Based on: The Circular Staircase (1908) novel by Mary Roberts Rinehart and The Bat (1920) play by the same author
Starring: Vincent Price, Agnes Moorehead. USA. 1h 20m

A crazy Murder She Wrote style story with an intricate and convoluted plot that just seems to drag on and on.. The Bat does show how influential Vincent Price can be without really have a LOT of screen time.

Cornelia Van Gorder (Agnes Moorehead) is a crime writer who lives in a town being plagued by a sinister character called the Bat who kills women by night, by ripping out their throats with steel claws. Meanwhile a local doctor (Vincent Price) and banker render a plot to steal some bonds but things don’t quite go to plan and the doctor kills his old friend with the belief that he knows where the money is hidden. While the crime writer and her trusty sidekick/maid are going to bed the Bat attempts a breakin and a night of mystery ensues.

It’s always crazy fun watching a caper of this type from back in the 1950’s where a sense of horror and adventure was totally different. While this movie is a whodunit it’s hard to call it a thriller or horror as such only because by today’s standards it’s so tame. But in essence it’s a modern day Clue (1985), a mystery with a touch of comedy.

Obviously adapted from a play, it has a similar setup and design. Lots of room by room investigations and mostly based within the home of the Ms Van Gorder. The shenanigans are whimsical more than terror filled, but a few scenes do leap out as being slightly disturbing, the Bat wears gloves with metal talons which have a Freddy Kruger look to them and do have a creepy feel in the scenes where he’s breaking and entering, and there is a lot of use of silhouettes and long shadows which in black and white always work so well to produce a psychotropic and stark effect. The bats identity is kept secret until the very end but on a second watch you’ll be able to follow the clues, I’m never the best person to work out the murderer, honestly this mysteries just do my head in but this has enough entertainment, mostly off the back of Price to keep the viewer entertained even if they loose track on the mystery.

Agnes, yep the mother in law from Bewitches is okay as the lead but is often out acted, the story seems to go on longer than it needs to, towards the end but it does offer the opportunity to kill a few more suspected killers, which got me re thinking but I was kinda “done” with the movie by then, for a 50’s mystery it’s okay, not film noir and not gripped by violence but there is a genuine scooby do o mystery here that you won’t see coming. This film is now in the public domain so it’s highly accessible and one for the collection of any Vincent Price Fan, it certainly does have some charm and an strange message at the finale.

aofa04

Rating 4/10

RClue (1985)
LOne House, a list of selected films based in one location.
AHome Sweet Home – can your home be the setting for an entire movie and how does this thrill us.
5S – Vincent Price

the film is now in the public domain so here is the full legal film..

Nadja (1994)

nadja

Director: Michael Almereyda
Writer: Michael Almereyda
Starring: Elina Lowensohn, Peter Fonda, Nic Ratner, David Lynch. USA. 1h 33m.

Taking on all the style and charm of a music video from the primary band in the soundtrack Portishead this chillaxed surreal vampire film starts off in curious way but evolves into something very familiar. This delicate black and white melodic drama follows the aftermaths of the death of an aged vampire, and the coming of age and awakening of his two children, Nadja (Elina Lowensohn) and her brother Edgar (Jarred Harris) while being hunted by professor Van Helsing and his hapless assistant. Continue reading Nadja (1994)