Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hall of Strangeness Part IX

Dead Alive – (Peter Jackson) Before hitting it big with mainstream fare like Lord of the Rings, Jackson directed this ultra-campy zombie flick. Lionel’s life is made worse than it already was after his mother is bitten by a Sumatran Rat Monkey and mutates into a vicious zombie. Soon she isn’t the only one. One of the goriest movies of all time and one of the few that can claim that the hero literally mows down endless hordes of the undead. Features a pile of internal organs begging for mercy with a contrite pair of lungs upraised and a look of remorse on its severed-ventricle face.
Artistry: ** Fun: **** Strangeness: **

Dead Man – (Jim Jarmusch) This B/W, existential take on the western remains one of the most unusual and yet compelling entries into the genre ever made. William Blake (Johnny Depp) plays a scholarly character completely out of his depth in the frontier. After killing a man, he escapes into the woods and becomes reliant on an Indian named Nobody. Humor, staccato violence, surprise cameos and religious imagery soon follow.
Artistry: **** Fun: *** Strangeness: *****

Death Race 2000 – (Paul Bartel) In the near future, benevolent dictator Mr. President hosts America’s most popular sport: the Death Race. The object isn’t who comes in first but who can kill the most civilians along the way (bonus points for women, children and the elderly). Cyborg hero Frankenstein (David Carradine) is favored to win but Machine-Gun Joe Viterbo (Sylvester Stallone), cowgirl Calamity Jane, neo-Nazi Mathilda the Hun and gladiator Nero the Hero are all hungry for victory. Meanwhile, a group of rebels attempt to halt the proceedings. Personalized cars, over-the-top violence, quotable quips and sexism made this an instant cult classic.
Artistry: ** Fun: ***** Strangeness: ****

Dead Ringers – (David Cronenberg) Although Elliot and Beverly Mantle, twin gynecologists, have identical bodies, their personalities are very much divergent. Confident Elliot seduces patients and then secretly switches places with shy Beverly. An encounter with a rare abnormality in an alluring patient brings tension to the relationship and before long the brothers’ personalities begin to merge and disintegrate in an unhealthy manner. Based on a true story.
Artistry: *** Fun: ** Strangeness: ****

Delicatessen – (Jean-Pierre Juenet) In a desperate portrait of near-future France, the hungry residents of a run-down apartment secretly agree to hire handymen and then kill them to be sold at the ground floor butcher shop. Macabre and delightfully humorous, Juenet uses music, idiosyncratic characters and an impeccable detailed mise-en-scene to create a world uniquely his own.

Artistry: **** Fun: ***** Strangeness: *****


Mad Dog said...

It looks like your post got cut off. Anyways, right after watching Grindhouse with some friends Friday, we went to a used DVD place and found Death Race 2000, purchased it and viewed it for maximum campy entertainment. Also I hope your comment on Delicatessen makes note of Jeunet's fetish for water. I'd noticed that both Alien Resurrection and City of the Lost Children looked hopelessly wet all the time, and the flood at the end of Delicatessen only further strengthened my opinion that Jeunet loves the stuff.

FilmWalrus said...

Interesting observation. Does it hold for "Amelie"? I seem to recall that almost all the war footage for "A Very Long Engagement" takes place in the rain with thick wet mud everywhere. I think he must like the way water changes textures since he is clearly a fan of debris, patina and grit as well.

I love Death Race 2000 and I'm glad you bought it. Though it isn't nearly as good, you should check out "Eating Raoul" a cannibal comedy by the same director.

Mad Dog said...

Oh, it wasn't me that bought it. A friend did and I just mooched.

And I don't think the water thing holds for Amelie, save for that one scene where the grocer arrives to his store early. I think that might've had a bit of early-morning wetness to it. Otherwise it seemed pretty dry.