Sunday, October 31, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I'd been oddly attracted to seeing Cube ever since I looked up Vincenzo Natali on Netflix to check him out. Back when Splice came out I was supposed to go to a pre-screening of the film with a Q&A afterwards with Natali. Seeing Cube's staggeringly high rating on both Netflix and IMDB was exciting enough but for some reason I never made it to the screening. I have since then of course always been excited to finally see Cube and last night I got my chance.
Cube is a low budget film straight from Canada that centers on the premise of 6 strangers waking up to find themselves trapped in a maze of cube shaped rooms. With no food or water the importance of escaping becomes top priority. However upon further exploration of the cube, the strangers find several of the rooms to be rigged with deadly traps, making their escape that much more difficult. Can they solve the puzzle of the cube and escape with their lives?
I would be remiss if I didn't say that Cube reminded me somewhat of the dreaded Saw series particularly Saw II. However, it is a much smarter, more intriguing take on the idea of waking up in an unknown structure and trying to escape. The film is insanely claustrophobic and does some pretty miraculous things. I wouldn't say that I love films that trap you within one place for the duration movie. They make me insanely antsy and I feel like I need to take a Valium. Cube however manages to keep you invested throughout every new development, and finds a way to make the story interesting without dragging it on and on. The film also does a spectacular job of filling the viewer with an enormous sense of dread. Cube is one of those films that makes you feel sick for no good reason at all. It is a true test of how effective the film is at maintaining both the characters and the viewer inside of the cube structure.
Something else quite miraculous happens that I couldn't even believe for myself. Over the course of the film, each of characters undergoes a sort of transformation. Just as there are 6 sides to a cube, so does there seem to be many sides to each of these characters. We start off in one position just as the cube does, and then slowly we start to notice that both the cube and the characters start to change. We start off greatly liking Quentin for instance then slowly we start falling out of that until we begin to really despise him. The opposite can be said for Leaven and Worth, who we hate in the beginning but then end up liking.
It's all very exciting once you finally understand just how involved the cube theme really is.
The film is also of course wildly intelligent. So much so that it hurts my head because I hate math. In fact, I really hate math. To think that someone logically thought of what the dimensions and patterns of numbers and coordinates and permutations and blah blah I failed geometry in 9th grade---yeah see...things get crazy. All these numbers, and patterns and the idea of rotation is just so incredibly detailed and involved.
Also baffling is that the film was done on a such a low budget. While most of the money must have went to the opening scene
---which is an amazing opening scene I should add, the low budget barely impacts the film at all. The one place it maybe hurts it is in the acting department, but aside from that, Cube is a truly inspiring bit of film work. It is proof that you don't need extravagant set pieces, and big budget special effects. Although the special effects that were used, and the two main instances of gore were pretty stunning,
Cube instead depends solely on the character development and the impending doom of a structure we know very little about.
In fact that is another very important thing to mention. Our knowledge of the cube, who built it and why, never changes. For some this is a major downfall but for others it is a big plus. Sometimes you don't need explanation. Especially in a film like this where everything is confined to one structure. Introducing anything to the viewers that is outside of the cube would almost be detrimental. I guess this is a SPOILER...but yes it is in a way aggravating to know that we will never see what lies outside of the cube. Well, who am I kidding, it's insanely aggravating, but it's necessary. All you need to know about the outside of the cube---is that it is NOT the inside of the cube. And that's all that really matters.
Cube was a truly thrilling experience, and one that I hope continues to impact the way I watch other movies. Check out Cube if you are in the mood for something terrifying in a very unconventional way. While many people were divided on Splice, I think Cube is a film that wins much more appreciation. Give it a shot, but maybe take some Valium along just in case. Oh and chapstick.
In short, The Exorcist is a fantastic piece of literature. Perhaps most surprising however is that the exorcism is confined to what feels like just a few pages. There's also a whole other plot point about figuring out whether or not Regan really is possessed or if she just has some serious psychological issues. The evidence is presented to us in such a way that even we begin to question her validity. Yes, The Exorcist is surely worth reading and it goes by quick. Give it a look see, especially if you love the Exorcist and want to get deeper inside that terribly horrifying world.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Luckily, Tombs of the Blind Dead was more than a pleasure to watch. And well I mean, you know how the Italian language is pretty close to Spanish? Well the same goes for their films more or less--as several points throughout the film I thought for a minute I saw a flash of Bava. We are immersed into a similar atmosphere where the hollowing wind provides a steady soundtrack, the only difference is that rotting skeletons are the be all, end all of bad guys. Thank God for this movie.
While on vacation, Virginia runs into Betty (Bet), her old roommate from boarding school. Virginia's sort of boyfriend Roger, invites Bet along for a train trip and is not so subtle about his immediate attraction to the new woman. While on the train, Virginia grows uncomfortable and embarrassed over Roger's forwardness. After recalling a painful memory where an innocent night of bedtime ballroom dancing evolved into a lesbian romp,
Virginia jumps off the train and spends the night in a strange place. Of all the town ruins, Virginia picked the burying grounds of the Knight Templars to camp out in. The knights were accused of being satanists, were executed and then left outside so that the crows would peck out their eyes.
While sleeping, Virginia is awoken up by the sounds of the knights rising from their tombs, and killed. After feeling guilty, Betty and Roger soon embark on a journey to find out what the hell happened to Virginia, and why other people keep turning up dead.
Remember that time when I commented on how cool skeletons that rise from the grave are? Well this movie may in fact be the poster child for dead bodies that actually decay the way they are supposed to.
There's just something so eerie about seeing a skeleton, amble out with his gross stick fingers, and his sick corpsey head.
I love it. I'm still trying to figure out what makes the knights such a threat when they are just a bunch of bones though. Perhaps they have evil satanic power. I had an even harder time figuring out where all their horses came from but what the hey--skeletons riding horses? Amazing.
The knights were pretty frickin fantastic, and they definitely reminded me of the Nazguls from Lord of the Rings.
The Knights due to their eyes being pecked out were blind, and the way that they locate their prey is by listening to their heart beat, or if you're an idiot and make a lot of noise, than that's an alternative. In any case, I love how the knights need only slowly descend on entire trains as slow as snails and everyone just stays where they are and screams. You may think this is a sign of a bad film but quite the contrary, because that's what makes this film so wonderful.
Most importantly however, Tombs of the Blind Dead is filled with the kind of imagery that I thrive on.
From simply creepy things like the mannequin store,
to that amazing shot of the woman walking down the hall lined with mannequins.
There's even a most glorious indication of beautiful blood!
The best moments though was when the dead Virginia would creep up behind people. Every scene like that filmed in such a way that practically every screen shot was a work of art.
Her movements are so subtle, and so slow--the way the morgue sheet is draped over her makes it look like some glorious Grecian dress.
Granted I'm still a little fuzzy on the details of how the knights turn their prey into the walking dead. Since the director insists they are not zombies...and Virginia bites people on the neck like a vampire.......a plus b....equals c...divided by.... right. I have no clue what's going on. What I do know however is that Amando de Ossorio has a new fan. Tombs of the Blind dead is actually the first film in the Blind Dead series, so I look forward to watching more. Also his other film Demon Witch Child is apparently an underrated must see horror classic. As is customary it's almost impossible to find anywhere--so if someone knows where I can see that tell me ASAP. If you need more proof see the video at the bottom.
My recommendation is that you seek out this film immediately. Especially if you are a fan of Bava. As a bonus you will get to see what is perhaps the fakest boobs I have ever seen. And by fake I don't mean silicone, I mean they made a wax double of a girl's chest so that they could slash it with swords. I wouldn't have noticed if they had had the hindsight to paint the nipples a different color. Gosh how I hate women with flesh toned nipples!
P.S. Why is this knight wearing a big silver mitten?
Dear God I hope that is a goof, because it may possibly be the greatest goof that there ever was.