The Blake Edwards Void

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on October 23, 2019 by dcairns

Blake Edwards understood the graphic value of the pitch-black background, let’s leave it at that. No need to get all psychological and dwell on the spiritual emptiness aspect of things.

But it is quite pleasing to observe the visual rhyme between SKIN DEEP’s “celebrated” luminous condom scene, and the unpleasant protagonist’s experience of Limbo in SWITCH. Well, he is a total dick.


The Lone Granger

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on October 22, 2019 by dcairns
No, YOU’RE the idiot. No YOU are. No YOU are.

Poor Farley Granger! In SO SWEET, SO DEAD, he’s a disgruntled detective tracking a serial killer, and no wonder he’s so miserable: he’s a policeman trapped in a film where nobody ever calls the police. A murder victim’s secret lover consults his lawyer: should I contact the police so they can eliminate me from their list of suspects? No no no, advises the professional. A teenager witnesses her neighbour being stabbed to death. She waits until next morning to tell her boyfriend, then says she’ll mention it to her dad later. Her dad the lawyer.

One of the lovers (all the victims are adulteresses) visits his mistress and finds the bath overflowing and the woman dead, and has a tussle with the killer, and then we never hear about him again. Did he call the police? Or did he just have a bath, since it was already run and it would be a shame to waste it?

Even when Farley Granger gets a call from the killer saying who the next victim will be, HE doesn’t call the police. And he IS the police.

In fact, the only people to call the police in this film are a lunatic pretending to be the killer, and the killer.

Argh no what

A lot of gialli seem to be about anomie — it’s a practically an unspoken genre convention to have unsympathetic characters, maybe so we won’t mind seeing them killed? This sordid and inept little film heightens the disaffection until it almost seems meaningful. Everyone is cheating, nobody is a solid citizen. But it might equally be that the film just didn’t have the imagination to come up with anyone other than love rats, cuckolds, a necrophile mortician, and poor Farley Granger.

This is the sort of considerate coroner who will not only examine your murder victim, he will reconstruct the crime right in the operating theatre using his glamorous assistant as victim.

A general’s wife has been murdered, you say? Round up the usual suspects.

“STAY CALM? With that wallpaper?”

There’s no trace of Dario Argento artistic design in this movie. Only Georgio Gaslini’s music impresses — mostly swooning love themes, highly inappropriate, but that’s the giallo for you. Violence being sexualised is basically what it’s for. Gaslini is gaslighting us.

I guessed the ending in this one, but only because the movie kept showing us closeups of the killer’s face, and his stocking mask didn’t disguise his unusual chin cleft. Still, usually the more misogynistic the violence, the more likely the killer will turn out to be a woman — a kind of projection.

Who is murdering the unfaithful wives of the rich? Farley Granger considers a startling new theory. He is shocked – SHOCKED! – at such a possibility.

What, indeed?

I was originally watching this for PROJECT FEAR but it cemented my view that gialli are not horror movies, for all the violence. They might not even be thriller.

It’s All Happening

Posted in FILM with tags on October 21, 2019 by dcairns

Well, here we are. I had hoped that by the time mid-October rolled around, our Project Fear mini-quasi-blogathon would be a sort of relic, the October 31st Brexit deadline having been abandoned as unworkable, rendering the festivities at Shadowplay a mere nostalgic reverberation from a canceled timeline, but that has not yet happened.

With everything to play for, we shuffle forth.

(The phrase “project fear,” by the way, is one beloved of the Tory right, who have used it to dismiss all well-founded warnings about the negative effects of Brexit as being part of a disinformation campaign to put the shits up the Great British Public. What with Boris (Johnson, not Karloff) focussing all his shambling zombie energies on Halloween as death day for EU membership, I thought somebody ought to do something with the words Project Fear. So I’m celebrating European horror movies, especially those with a tiny British component.)

Festivities start on the 27th.