Category Archives: Black and White

Spalovac Mrtvol / Cremator (1969)

Director: Juraj Herz
Starring: Rudolf Hrusinsky, Vlasta Chramostova, Jane Stehnova. Czechoslovakia. 1h 47m
Based on : The Cremator by Ladislav Fuks

A darkly comedic gothic misadventure into the psyche of a brilliant deranged lunatic. After being lost for several years, Cremator has been resurrected by the Brothers Quay, who painstakingly sourced the film and worked on its resurrection, this extraordinary intense meditation of the political horrors of 1930’s Europe are fantastically chilling in this early Czech New Wave film. Continue reading Spalovac Mrtvol / Cremator (1969)

ABC’s of Death 2.5 (2016)

Director:Various.
Starring. A lotta people WORLDWIDE. 1h 25m.

There aren’t many movies series that I fangirl over but the ABCs of Death and VHS are certainly anthologies that I got my teeth firmly into. I had lost hope for a 3rd part to turn the duo into a trilogy, and in my haste I didn’t realise this strange collection has been compiled. It definitely seems to be a marmite movie, but if you enjoyed the previous then you’ll probably see a lot of charm in this selection of movies which seem to be just as creative and diverse as the rest.

During the original submissions, there was an outstanding amount of M’s submitted, and this ABC, is really an MMM as it complies the 26 favourites from the M list, which begs me to ask why the hell isn’t there a box set of 26 movies for each letter in an epic box set, but alas we have the MMM’s of death to enjoy for now. Continue reading ABC’s of Death 2.5 (2016)

The Neanderthal Man (1953)

Director: Ewald André Dupont
Starring: Robert Shayne, Joyce Terry, Richard Crane, Doris Merrick, Beverly Garland, Tandra Quinn USA/Germany. 1h 18m

One of my movie weaknesses is vintage sci fi movies, I just adore the heroism and pure wonderment and moral dilemmas they still offer, the 50’s were a golden age for the beginning of big scale science fiction, from mad scientists to space exploration, monsters and space exploration. Things might not really work how they were depicted, the same generation who were sure radioactive insect bites would only enhance a man also encouraged their kids to smoke, but sci fi wouldn’t really be sci fi without a level of taking things too far and being outlandish.

The Neanderthal man is a prime example of a down trodden scientist who pushes the envelope and takes things to the extreme The mockery of a brilliant scientist Prof. Clifford Groves (Shayne) by his peers, pushes him to the dangerous edge of self exploration, after being publicly ridiculed the professor continues his feverish work to prove that our cells remember their prehistoric past and turns himself into a Neanderthal man, his cat into a Sabretooth and his housekeeper into some scary beastly wild woman. The trio have little recollection of their primal actions and terrorise the wildlife and residents of their small town. Continue reading The Neanderthal Man (1953)

Der Hauptmann / The Captain (2017)

Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Max Hubacher, Frederick Lau, Bernd Hölscher, Waldemar Kobus, Alexander Fehling, Samuel Finzi. Germany. 1h 50m

Here is another chilling nightmare from the German home front, as the end of the war begins to loom into reality and defeat is imminent, a lone German runs deep into the woods while being chased by some overprivileged soldiers blowing horns and taking pot luck shots at him. The man manages to evade death and recapture and eventually stumbles on an abandoned car and uniform of a high ranking officer.

This crystalline black and white brutal masterpiece, possible shot in this style inspired by Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993) shows that the talented director Schwentke has gone back to basic and delivered something beautifully stark and somewhat monstrous. Continue reading Der Hauptmann / The Captain (2017)

The Missing Sun (2017)

Director: Brennan Vance.
Starring. Gera Pobuda, Sally Wingert, Peter McLarnan, Lawrence Sutin. USA. 1h 19m.

The journey is sometimes more interesting than the destination, and in this curious black and white drama, the journey is both beautiful and at times deeply bizarre. Looking back on the movie a dark and scary experience is definitely portrayed as something pure and wonderful, much like how Death can be seen as a goodbye or indeed as a celebration of life.

Alma wakes up one fateful morning to find her husband comatosed in the sunroom, a beer bottle and glass by his bed, but he’s not responding to her calls, all the electrical items have shorted, and she assumes they have been hit by another solar flare. Continue reading The Missing Sun (2017)

Metropolis (1927)

Director:Fritz Lang
Starring: Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, Rudolf Klein Rogge, Fritz Rasp, THeodor Loos, Brigitte Helm. Germany. 2h 28m

Despite the age and the various cuts of this groundbreaking movie it’s still a powerful and disturbing film, it’s one of those titles that a lot of people are aware of but haven’t really watched and I have to admit that I’ve only seen it 3 times and each time it’s been a different cut but the darkness of the story remains constant, Regardless of HG Wells comments about the plot being “silly” it’s hard not to see how it’s a forerunner for those stark dystopian projects such as 1984 (1949), High Rise (1975-2015) and dare I even say Terminator (1984).

Opening with lavish scenes of an efficient and idealist future cityscape, the Metropolis is busy and filled with beautiful people, one of these stunning hipsters is Freder (Frohlich) his father Joh Fredersen,   is a rich and powerful man who basically owns the city and runs the world above and below from his penthouse office. While Freder is playing with his friends in a pleasure garden, their playtime is interrupted when Maria (Helm) intrudes with a group of children who exist in the underground, who have come to see how the other half live, Freder is bewitched by Maria’s beauty and follows her into the depths of the city, and into a world which he’d been kept apart from all of his privileged life by this rich father who just happened to own the city.. Continue reading Metropolis (1927)

Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1988)

Director: Guy Maddin
Starring: Kyle McCulloch, Michael Gotti, Angela Heck . Canada . 1h 12m

With a lot of surreal movies, I don’t assume to fully understand them, but I do find their unpredictability evocative. While this film is visually different there’s a lot to puzzle over with the linear but a bashitcrazy story.

Seemly inspired by the Directors childhood memories heightened by a DMT trip, there’s a lose connection. Madden does have Icelandic heritage and a lot of vocal history does get tainted over the years but for part it’s a realistic situation at first..

While their mother lays dying in a hospital bed, a pair of siblings are being confronted in the modern Gimli, Manitoba hospital by their grandmother. She tells the children a long and convoluted story about the Gimli of old, a tale about Einar the Lonely and his best friend Gunnar and the angelic Jofridur.

Einar (McCulloch) has contracted smallpox and is resting in the old Gimli Hospital when he makes friends with Gunnar (Gotti), the pair really appreciate the company in their time of sickness and the bond grows between them, but only for  a short time.

While divulging personal information with each other their tales start to get weirder and the men’s testosterone really gets them going once a sexy nurse catches their eye and they really start to outdo each other to gain her adoration.

Independent movies with a surreal flaire are fairly popular but none of them quite have the same creepy and yet riveting atmosphere as the Gimli Hospital. It’s dark and at times intensely creepy but at times it has a bit of razzmatazz slapstick.

Some scenes are filled with characters babaliese with a gentle overture and smooth poetic voice overs. Juxtaposed with the harsh black and white shadowy photography that flickers as if lit by candle, the film “feels” scary but nothing will jump out at you.. Apart from some of the most bizarre but engaging cinema you’ve ever seen.

It’s impossible to guess what’s coming next and there’s no sense in trying to look for themes, it’s erratic but yet at the same time you begin to expect the unexpected. The imagery is pretty powerful, from buttock bloody manly wrestling (not like that you fiend) and milk dripping from the ceiling of the hospital, there’s a deep motherly aspect that runs throughout the film but if you didn’t guess it’s in the strangest way.

Guy Maddin seems like a pretty laid back normal guy, and has a very fine tuned appreciation of film and the arts.It really shows in his works, the detailed attention and courageous scenes are out of bounds with what it usually attempted to be shown on film. Definitely not something easily forgotten and certainly something new, no matter what you’ve seen in the past.

Rating: 7/10

R: Eraserhead (1977), Archangel (1990), the Heart of the World (2000)

A: Where’s the fish a short and incomplete guide to surrealist cinema Vol. 1

 

The Bunny Game (2011)

Director: Adam Rehmeier
Starring: Rodleen Getsic, Jeff F Renfro, USA. 1h  16m

Bunny Game is one of those movies I kept seeing when asking for a list of Disturbing movies but not one that anyone really rated. Supposedly based on a true story experienced by the leading lady Rodleen Getsic, who co wrote the story, there’s a harrowing experience laid out that I feel deserves a lot of credit.
The broad stroke of the  movie details a terrible event for a young prostitute looking for her next date and a hot meal. Bunny, as she’s later known, opens the film with a blowjob, it’s an actual blowjob which is probably the reason why this film is so unliked, there’s some real sex involved, something you’d expect from a movie about a prostitute right? But obviously not something film goers actually want to see?

Bunny is doing ok, scoring some dates and drugs, she take a break, has a snack and gets back to work, later on in the day she does a bit too much oh the ole white and is robbed, coming around she realises her last date took all her cash and stash. Devastated she sobers up a little and heads out to start all over again. But her luck has run out and she end up climbing into a van with Hog. At first he appears to be a an old trucker who might be interested in a bit of old relish but soon he’s huffing gas, and chasing Bunny through the desert wearing his leather pig mask. Continue reading The Bunny Game (2011)

Eraserhead (1977)

Director: David Lynch
Starring: John Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Judith Anna Roberts. USA . 1h 49m

A cult classic surreal black and white masterpiece… to some.. But not for me! I’m not going to bullshit, I’ve never been really into Eraserhead, I adore black and white movies and I really love surreal art (something I paint myself) and films. I’ve never been heavily into Lynch and for me this film is creepy, unusual but nothing all that special. I feel that there are two types of surreal movies, the first is a movie which is all out surreal, no easy to follow story line and completely wacky, for argument sake Dali’s Un Chien Andalou (1929), and there are other films which have a pretty liner storyline but just go about it in random ways.. Much like this one. Continue reading Eraserhead (1977)

November (2017)

Director: Rainer Sarnet
Based on Rehepapp ehk  by Andrus Kivirähk
Starring: Rea Lest, Jörgen Liik, Arvo Kukumägi, Katariina Unt, Taavi Eelmaa, Dieter Laser, Jette Loona Hermanis. Estonia. 1h 55m

I’d like to think that I don’t award too many 10/10’s although I am always searching for perfect films and I believe I have just found another one, possibly the one. There’s so much to fall in love with in Sarnet’s November, based on a deeply chrasamisc novel Rehepapp by Andrus Kivirähk who’s possibly one of the most influential folk writers since Estonia’s classical epic Kalevipoeg and is just as extraordinary.

The film starts out curiously, a cow skull mounted on farming tools is captured rolling and creaking across the landscape using a chain it steals a cow, by grabbing the beast and flying into the air like a folklore chopper, the mechanism lands with the cow, on a farm miles away across the forest, the owner coming out to retrieve the animal and kicks the machine away, but it talks to him, asking for more work so he gives it an impossible task and it explodes. This “thing” is a Kratt and you’ll see a lot of these throughout the movie, and you can see the Kratts screen test here (https://vimeo.com/66493993)  

The villagers find it hard to survive throughout the dark Estonian winters and often end up stealing from each other and the German nobility who are taking over their lands. In order to make a Kratt the villagers first have to go into the forest and make a pact with the devil written in blood in His book. Continue reading November (2017)