Archive for October, 2010

The Halloween Shadowplay Impossible Film Quiz

Posted in FILM with tags on October 31, 2010 by dcairns

1) FATAL SHOTS

Four opening shots from four classic films. Name the films.

2) WHOO-OO-OO SAID THAT?

[a] “She does not come peeping with messages from beyond the fucking grave!”

[b] “I’ve not had any macaroni since Wednesday.”

[c] “You don’t have any secrets from the Department of Health, Henri.”

[d] “You put me right off my fresh fried lobster, do you realize that?”

3) SOMETHING HAIRY THIS WAY COMES

[a] What was Lon Chaney Jnr’s wolfman face-fuzz made from?

[b] What did Ray Harryhausen use to coat his woolly mammoth?

[c] Later, how did he solve the problem of fur showing the animator’s finger-indentations?

4) TWO-FACED

Each of the following pairs of JEKYLL/HYDE-inspired movies have something that makes them the exception to usual practice in these sort of things. What’s the exception? (Example: DR JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE and DR JEKYLL AND MS HYDE both use the sex change idea.)

[a] ALTERED STATES and DR JEKYLL ET LES FEMMES

[b] THE TWO FACES OF DR JEKYLL and THE NUTTY PROFESSOR

[c] THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN and VAN HELSING

[d] THE UGLY DUCKLING and DER JANUSKOPF

5) MAD SCIENCE!

Name the films and explain what you’re looking at.

6) IT’S MONUMENTAL!

Here are some monuments — which monster movies used them?

[a] Westminster Abbey

[b] The Colisseum

[c] Jardine House

[d] Big Ben

7) CAST ASUNDER

Which films feature all of the following cast members?

[a] Jeff Goldblum, Tom Berenger, John Carradine, Richard Dreyfuss?

[b] Christopher Lee, Roman Polanski, Yul Brunner?

[c] Ringo Starr, Dennis Price, Shakira Caine?

[d] Bernard Bresslaw, Catriona MacColl, Patricia Quinn?

8) WHERE WOLF?

Here are four representative types of wolfman. From which movies do they originate?

9) CONJOINED!

What slightly abstract things connect the following groups of films ~

[a] MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, SHORT NIGHT OF GLASS DOLLS, THE KNACK… AND HOW TO GET IT, SATAN’S BED.

[b] PRETTY POISON, THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS

[c] EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC, THE RETURN OF DR X, THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS, DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE (1941)

[d] DRAG ME TO HELL, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (remake), GIALLO, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (remake)

10) THE MANY DEATHS OF SIR CHRISTOPHER LEE

Here are the deaths, what are the films?

[a] Set on fire and dropped into an acid bath.

[b] Skewered onto a church lectern.

[c] Falls through hole in ice.

[d] Dymanited in castle.

And which is the odd one out?

BONUS QUESTION

Whaa?

The Halloween Intertitle

Posted in FILM, literature, MUSIC with tags , , , , on October 30, 2010 by dcairns

A post on Epstein’s FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (above) will appear as an addendum to Edgar Allan Poe Week. We saw the movie at Filmhouse a month ago, with splendid live accompaniment. By not-quite-coincidence, we’re just back from Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, where we saw the 1920 DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE, accompanied by a pipe organ bigger than the screen. Which was quite something.

Meanwhile, later today, The Halloween Shadowplay Impossible Film Quiz will flap your way on great leathery wings…

Cats in the Brain

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2010 by dcairns

“The latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree.”

Both Lucio Fulci’s THE BLACK CAT and Sergio Martino’s more memorably titled YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY rework Poe’s “immortal classic” in lurid and rambling fashion, only really returning at the end to play the climax “straight”. Which kind of seems a mistake, since the visualisation of a recognised story flattens the delirium they’re otherwise aiming to evoke.

Bonuses include the charm of Fulci enacting his usual vicious brutality, with familiarly over-exposed, fumbling special effects, in a leafy English village — Fulci seems to have liked England, he set several movies there. There’s also the acting — Patrick Magee hams it up for Fulci (theory: by pushing his actors into extreme and contorted styles of playing, Kubrick may have actually ruined them — Nicholson was never quite the same after THE SHINING, and as for Magee…) in an amusingly out-of-control manner, palsied and weirdly enunciated.

The acting in Martino’s film is more traditionally “good”, with Anita Strindberg and Luigi Pistilli genuinely, uncomfortably unappealing in the leads, and some welcome sex appeal shipping in by the reliably underdressed Edwige Fenech. What disappointed me was the lack of swooning beauty and striking images, which are what I go to Italian horror for. I counted two lovely moments, though ~

When a preposterously over-the-top prostitute shows up in town, her near-instantaneous murder is a depressing inevitability. This disturbing little scene is one of the last things she sees. Love the doll.

Gratuitous lesbian love scene — with rather striking dissolve from two silhouettes.

Fulci being the mad doctor he is, his movie has a more consistent visual quality, with low-flying cat POV shots, and the cat himself is full of personality. Plot revolves — or spins, rather — around Magee’s tendency to astrally project his spirit into the cat and use it to do his murderous bidding, a sort of feline MONKEY SHINES avant la lettre.

By chance, in revisiting Freddie Francis and Robert Bloch’s horror compendium TORTURE GARDEN, for the sake of the third episode, in which Peter Cushing keeps a reanimated Poe in his cellar, churning out new tales of Mystery and the Imagination*, I realised that the film’s first episode was very much Poe-derived. Michael Bryant (a sort of Martin Amis type, crisply fervid with ciggie) murders a supposedly wealthy uncle (enabling Francis to repeat some of the persecuted-person-in-a-wheelchair he tried out first for Karel Reisz when he shot NIGHT MUST FALL) — so far, so Tell-Tale Heart. Then he unearths a coffin with a headless skeleton and a very much alive cat. This one isn’t pure black, so it photographs with more personality. As it psychically brainwashes Bryant, he speaks aloud the transmitted thoughts: as he says “you’re hungry,” Francis cuts to the little fellow licking his chops. Francis’s horrors always have a cheeky sense of humour.

* Cushing and Jack Palance are both huge fun (Cushing gets a drunks scene) and Francis blocks their conversations very nicely, and I don’t mind that the set wall visibly wobbles during their fight and I’m more bemused than annoyed that Palance plays a Brit and Cushing a yank, but really, the ending falls apart disastrously. It’s amusing that the great Poe collector has actually collected Poe himself, but the pay-off ought to involve something of the author’s personality, not just some diabolical double-cross. Still, the rest of the film has magnificent stuff from Burgess Meredith (as Dr Diablo) and Michael Ripper (as the personification of ubiquity).

For Anne Billson.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 390 other followers