Sunday, August 10, 2008

Craftmatic adjustable morals

Movie • THE CRAFT • 1996
I didn’t realize until I looked up the date the The Craft was out in 1996. That seems like ages ago! I have a special affinity to The Craft and its characters because I, for one, am seduced by the powers of magic. I am often tempted to sprinkle a little magical sugar on my baked goods because I am secretly scared no one will like them. Power is a seductive mistress, and cookies aren’t always as delicious as you fancy they might turn out.
I certainly fancied The Craft. Sure it took witchcraft a little over the top. It seems all too easy for movies to play off magic as an easy to come by talent that you can master in an afternoon. This picture was guilty of that too, but it was important that it set a moral code. There are consequences to using hate and anger as your energy source when you dabble with the unknown. What comes around goes around, and what goes around comes around three-fold.
North, South, East, West, the Craft was good, but not the best. When you come around to it, take a listen to the soundtrack. It’s chock full of goodies :)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The found masterpiece

Movie • THE LOST WORLD • 1925
How was I to know that without seeing this movie, I’ve not seen one of the greatest pictures ever made? By today’s standards it would be laughed at, but snotty-nosed kiddies with no appreciation for the endeavor and effort that went into something this big think CGI has existed forever. In my opinion stop-motion was one of the best inventions related to film. It was what brought magic into the eyes and imaginations of children and adults alike. The original classic based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s book, The Lost World was a milestone that stands as a masterpiece. Done long before King Kong, and other stop-motion favorites, The Lost World was silent, but resonated in film history.
Given our knowledge of the scary creatures from prehistory, I’d say that they came pretty close. Sure, they looked goofy at times. Sure, some of the dinosaurs depicted never actually existed. Never mind the Chaka type fellow and his monkey cohort. These were characters to bring personification to the lost place they found in the deep jungles of South America.
The Lost World includes a contrived and convenient love story, but I wasn't here for that. You could almost skip the narration and dialog cards, and still enjoy this picture for the brilliance!
I loved the overzealous Allosaurus and all the veggie-sauruses who fought like predators.
The only thing I didn’t like, but I guess was a sign of the time, was the black-face white actor who played the black man. That was a little weird. That, and the fact that the terrorizing dinosaur in the end is a brontosaurus!
I’ll enjoy this one again.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Eaten Alive needed spicing up

Movie • EATEN ALIVE • 1976
The 70’s were a time when films were being made that could offend you with the title alone. Then, if you bothered to watch you’d either see something so cheesy and poorly acted, any gore that might be present looks like camp.
Eaten Alive (from the director of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre) begins with a naughty scene the boys might enjoy. It’s accompanied with some cheap synthesizer music. A Louisiana hotel owner is the reddest neck hick with a taste for watching his croc fill his belly. Having been attacked in the past, I’m guessing he sees his thrill as justified.
This movie is grotesquely violent, and crosses the line between campy gore and cheap shock. The killer is out of his mind! I just know this picture was one of Rob Zombie’s influences.
Everyone is crazy in Eaten Alive, including the victims and heroes. I had to check the credits to be sure, but an interesting hunky surprise is that the dreamy boy, Freddy Krueger has a role. Actually it’s Robert Englund looking surprisingly buff and pretty. He plays a sassy mouth local who is too tough to let the hotel manager scare him.
If you decide to watch this one keep the remote in your hand. You’ll be turning it down pretty often when the screechy screams take over the poor sound quality.