This is the first of two articles riffing on found footage horror and new media. The second is Alexandra Heller-Nicholas’s “Found Footage Horror #2: Textures of Silence and Decay: Marble Hornets and[…]
Man, Turner Classic Movies has gone off the deep end with this erratic last two weeks before the autumnal solstice and sacrifice of the virgin, the spilling of his blood across the fields, the burning of the Barleycorn effigy, the return of Guy Fawkes, the anti-pope in the silver castle, the shambling junkies of Dean Street. and Onwards. As a trained expert in the cinemarcane allow me to steer your DV-R record finger to these off-kilter spook shows:
The discriminating October film enthusiast knows that sometimes bad is better… unless there’s something great you still haven’t seen, and sometimes you can see too much, like the dispiriting amount of torture porn titles on Netflix… Well, HEY! Here’s ten films either free on youtube, AMC, or Netflix Streaming that are MIND-bending, not pliers-bending
And of course, there’s the horror movies. The speeding darkness and chill draws ghosts and candelabras, witches, demons, and monsters to our cinematic desires like a magnet. And TCM is there. As are we at the Bright Lights After Dark, where we turn those bright lights way, way, way down, so you can’t see the thing.
“When Ellen Sands, the land girl who vies for his affections, sees Johnny off, the implication is that she’ll be a soft place for him to land when he comes down from his guilty obsession over Mora; her offer of coffee on his way out is as Ariadne’s gift to Theseus of the thread of consciousness that would lead him out of the minotaur maze.”
” Like the titular beasts in Hitchcock’s The Birds, the zombies invade the home, the city, the culture, but even more importantly in Night, they invade the self, like a disease, an infection that takes root in us and undoes us from the inside out. In this, the story of the zombie is a story of colonization — reverse colonization to be exact, a story where the Other finally has its day.”
“The choppy narrative arc of the film ends up matching the new hybrid of fast-running, fast-changing zombie: like its undead, the film moves too fast. The bitten person turns in twelve seconds in World War Z, which feels like about the same amount of time given to a story line before turning to another.”
“The film’s main focus remains on the body as undesirable, non-ideal, open to external aggression and pollution. In typical Polanski fashion, the audience is trapped in an ‘uncomfortable visual space’ where the concept of a stable individual identity is never a matter of choice, but instead constituted by our surroundings and forces well beyond our grasp.”
Price’s florid hamminess fills in the sparse patches of Corman’s sometimes spare mise en scene, and the sparseness conversely gives Price lots of room to floridly ham. Add Les Baxter’s crazy scores, some good freaky psychedelic California painters to make the portraits of dead and evil
uncles and incestuous sisters and flowing red paint credits, and sharp scripts by Richard Matheson and pre-CHINATOWN Robert Towne, and viola!
“One reason for [Carrie’s] success in both print and film, I think, lies in this: Carrie’s revenge is something that any student who ever had his gym shorts pulled down in Phys Ed or his glasses thumb-rubbed in study hall could approve of. In Carrie’s destruction of the gym . . . we see a dream revolution of the socially downtrodden.”2
For the Halloween devouring Other in you: Here’s a small sampling of films for inciting you or your other to an orgy of castration and Kali-esque bloodletting…