Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hall of Strangeness Part XIV

Heathers – (Michael Lehmann) The reigning masterpiece of jaded high-school rebellion films, Heathers features Veronica (Winona Ryder) as the newest inductee into the exclusive clique of cruel, preppy girls all named Heather. When Ryder falls for brooding bad boy JD (Christian Slater) they rapidly escalate from joking about jerks and valley girls to killing them. With the murders masked as teen suicides, the parents and teachers are all too ready to believe the deceased were really troubled, torn souls and not just shallow and mean. Adding to the fun is fictional slang amusingly close to the real thing.
Artistry: *** Fun: **** Strangeness: **

High Strung – (Roger Nygard) A virtually unknown, low-budget comedy that would be all-but-lost in oblivion if it didn’t contain a small role by Jim Carrey (as Death) immediately before he became famous. The film takes place in a single apartment building with a minimal cast and nearly no dialogue. The film records the hilariously cynical, pessimistic rants of a very high strung tenant. Like standup comedy but actually good.
Artistry: * Fun: **** Strangeness: ***

The Hole (1998) – (Tsai Ming-Liang) This incredibly oblique tale of a virus-plagued dystopic Taiwan in the year 2000, echoes the fears and anxieties of the approaching millennium channeled through the lives of two lethargic apartment tenants. Abhorrently bad trash disposal and even worse plumbing has led to hole in the upper room peering into the apartment below. The man and woman struggle to deal with their boredom, lack of privacy and a deadly virus that causes roach-like behavior. The depressing story is intercut with peppy lip-synched musical sequences.
Artistry: **** Fun: ** Strangeness: *****

Hour of the Wolf – (Ingmar Bergman) Swedish art film director Bergman’s version of a vampire film (his only flirtation with traditional horror) is a chilling lesson in bleakness and soul-crushing madness. Filled with gloomy dialogue and the logic of nightmares.
Artistry: **** Fun: * Strangeness: ***

I Walked with a Zombie – (Jacques Tourneur) One of the most under-appreciated films from the classic studio horror era, this low-budget Val Lewton/RKO deserves credit for its early use of psychological terror. A skeptical nurse is hired to come to West Indies to and cure the comatose wife of a rich landowner, only to discover that voodoo magic may be involved. Much better than Tourneur’s other major gothic horror: Night of the Demon.
Artistry: *** Fun: *** Strangeness: *

9 comments:

Kathryn said...

"I love my dead gay son!"

Kathryn said...

"Grow up, Heather. Bulima's SO '87."

Kathryn said...

"I say we just grow up, be adults, and die."

Kathryn said...

"F*** me gently with a chainsaw!"

Mad Dog said...

Who would've thought Bergman would score low on fun.

Patrick said...

Man, I'm glad I finally got around to watching Heathers.

Walrus said...

John,

I hear Will Smith has been cast in the dual role of the 10-year-old Scandanavian brother and sister for the upcoming Michael Bay remake of "Fanny and Alexander." That should be fun.

Also, how about a Pixar remake of "Wild Strawberries" featuring a an actual strawberry with a heart of gold. Perfect for the youth market!

What about "Scenes from a Marriage" done as a romantic comedy with Hillary Duff and Jason Biggs?

I think there is a lot of money to be made by someone who can see the potential for big-budget fluffy entertainment in Bergman's work.

exactly why said...

I'd like to add a couple of cheers for I Walked With A Zombie. Hooray!! Hurrah!!

Walrus said...

Speaking of putting Will Smith in movies (always a bad idea), I just saw the trailer for "I Am Legend." I wish Hollywood would just leave that book alone. At least the trailer, which does not even really show the vampires, is crappy enough to keep people disinterested.

I'm crossing my fingers that the other upcoming vampire film, "30 Days of Night" is not a flop. The trailer looks mediocre but the premise (Vampires in the months long night of Alaska) is just so brilliant!