Director: Bryan Singer Writer Christopher McQuarrie.
Starring. Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, Pete Postlethwaite, Sizy Amis, Benicio Del Toro. USA. 1h 44m.
First time I saw the Usual Suspects I was lucky enough to see it alongside a piece by Mark Kermode and the film finished with a short from writer Christopher McQuarrie about how he brainstormed the story, not that I needed any more convincing that the film is totally awesome the extra depth really cemented the film as being one of my all-time greatest and one I find myself returning to from time and time again.
Starting with a dark film noir style introduction which is slightly confusing, two silhouetted men talk, light a cigarette, one is injured and the other walks away as an explosion engulfs a ship and the wounded man.. the dark undertones shift to something more gangster as the film opens and builds in two timelines, Verbal (Spacey) has been pulled into a police office to be questioned by the sly agent Kujan (Palminteri), the shifty club footed criminal is forced to give up valuable information before he’s set free, reluctantly he begins to talk but once he gets started he lives up to his name sake and the verbal diarrhea starts to flow. After some threats from Kujan, the past is unlocked up in audacious little chapters, almost like a 50’s crime comic, it’s slick and witty, and at times it’s on a higher level of brainy than the average movie. Continue reading The Usual Suspects (1995)
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)
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)
Director: Anthony Hickox
Starring: Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman, David Warner, Michelle Johnson, Patrick Macnee, Dana Ashbrook, John Rhys-Davies . USA . 1h 35m
The 80’s was a decade of goofy horror, obviously there were some real shockers out there which really upped the ante and changed the game forever but I feel that the number of cheesy comedy horrors was possibly at an all time high, but some were presented in a way which really captured the hearts of horror fans and like this, made themselves into the cult classic year book. Waxworks have always thrilled and entertained but in this epic terror things get more creepy than usual when a mysterious exhibit appears from nowhere with a staff of misfits at its helm. Continue reading Waxworks (1988)
Director: Anthony Hickox
Starring: Julian Sands, Paula Marshall, Chris Young, R G Armstrong . USA . 1h 38m
Warlock (1988) was an amazing film, with a host of rich histories and wonderful effects which became the dawn of a gripping new evil villain with charm and tons of sex appeal; while this film really broke the horror fantasy world apart, it’s sequel, while being a bit more soppy and sentimental, did deliver some gruesome body horror for it’s delightful bad guy, acted by the amazing Julian Sands but without a fiesty hero originally played by Richard E Grant, the film lost some of it’s edge for a more whimsical teen duo who think they can outsmart the Warlock.
The original Warlock film started in the dark ages in Britain, but the keyword for Warlock 2 is Druids and magical stones, an aspect which would make most horrors laughable but Hickox managed to rein back the wands and fairy dust for a touch of the macabre. Continue reading Warlock 2 – the Armageddon (1993)
Director: Jack Smight
Starring: Rod Steiger, Claire Bloom, Robert Drivas . USA . 1h 43m
Based on the Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (1951)
A bold adaptation of an amazing groundbreaking anthology book from the legendary Ray Bradbury, really this film couldn’t go wrong, especially when you mix Rod Steiger into the mix, the classic actor is enormous in any role he puts his mind and body into and was a dramatic baluster in the many roles he played in this sometimes difficult science fiction movie.
The original book was a collection of 18 Science Fiction Stories, only 3 made it into the film, sadly the least provocative but certainly not the least shocking. The Veldt, The Long Rain and The Last Night of the World, along with some of the wrap around story were all adapted using the same three characters. For me the movie was very influential, as a child I marveled over the amazing illustrations especially the rose in the palm, the first tattoo, although I chose a slightly different tattoo when I eventually got to that rather sensitive area myself. But even after seeing the demise of a once strong man, the lovely Felicia and her amazing mysteries still enchant audiences today. Continue reading The Illustrated Man (1969)
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Based on: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Starring:Tatsuya Fujiwara, Takeshi Kitano, Aki Maeda, , Chiaki Juriyama. Japan. 1h 54m
Battle Royale is Japan’s ultimate dystopian thriller, which follows a group of junior high schoolers who are forced to fight to the death by the Japanese government. due to the ultra violent nature of the film and the age of most of the cast it was met with widespread repulsion and band in excluded from distribution in several countries.
Veteran director fukasaku, at the tender age of 70, managed to put everything we had into this film. and while it’s often not easy to watch, stark, angsty and the incredibly unnerving it still remains an influential genre masterpiece, that takes place in a difficult near future, that we pray is an alternative universe to the one that we’re all comfortable with. Continue reading バトル・ロワイアル (Batoru Rowaiaru) Battle Royale (2000)
Director: Don Mancini
Starring: Brad Dourif, Fiona Dourif, Danielle Bisutti, Alex Vincent, A Martinez, Brennan Elliott, Summer H. Howell, Maitland McConnell, Jennifer Tilly . USA. 1h 33m
It’s hard to believe that this horror franchise is still going, but with this thrilling 6th installment there is a huge step made back to the traditional story with less of the comedy antics. The first direct to DVD movie sees Chucky arrive as a gift to the home of the paraplegic Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) and her mother Sarah (Quesnei), later on Sarah is found dead from a stab wound and it’s ruled as suicide. Later Nica, is visited by her domineering older sister, her husband, daughter Alice and a nanny. Alice soon finds Chucky and begs to keep him, they agree, but after some googling Nica becomes aware of the history of a particular killer Good Guy doll but no one listens to her theories until Chucky is in full swing and picking off the family one by one. Buy why this family? Can Nica work out the history before Chucky comes knocking. Continue reading Curse of Chucky (2013)
Director: George Miller
Starring: Mel Gibson, Hugh Keays-Bryn, Joanne Samuel, Steve Bisley, Tim Burns, Roger Ward, Geoff Parry. Australia. 1h 35m
Let me just start this off with a short introduction to explain that I absolutely live for this film and can’t even come close to express my obsession with it with mere words, I’m going to try and remain as calm as possible while writing this short review as I feel I need to put something on my blog but there will be a Post Discussion where I’ll get into much more details and pour my heart out even more..
This bleak dystopian thriller stars Mel Gibson as “Mad” Max Rockastansky, a seasoned police officer who prefers to work alone but begins to fear that he’s becoming as crazy as the people he hunts down in high speed chases across the Australian desert roads. Continue reading Mad Max (1979)
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)