Monday, August 20, 2012

High Tension: I'm Fairly Certain the Killer was Quint

Well it only took me 3 years--but I finally watched High Tension the whole way through. Actually come to think of it, I don't think I've told anyone (Not even you GOD) what happened on that night so long ago when I put in the High Tension DVD for the first time. Gather round children, gather round.

Obviously when starting out in my horror movie watching career, I immediately became infatuated with French horror. I hit all the main stops...Martyrs, Inside, Frontiers, Them--and I was ready to round out the set by watching the infamous High Tension. I wasn't that pumped about it..mostly because I had mistakenly watched a Youtube review of it where the reviewer let spill the ending within the first minute or two of the review. Although I thought it an insanely overdone plot twist, I knew I could not ignore watching the film whether I wanted to or not.

Fast forward to one of those lonely and exciting nights of movie watching. Glass of milk, giant cupcake, cats, slipper socks you name it--I was ready to finally watch High Tension so people could stop bothering me about it. And then, a funny thing happened. I got to the part where Alexia's father's head pops off and I turned it off. Not because it was gory but because it annoyed me. Knowing the eventual turn of events made me incredibly sour and dubious of the movie's overall charm. What was the point I thought? And I didn't try again for 3 years.

Recently, I've been getting a few emails from readers who are kind enough to give me movie recommendations. Almost all of them suggest High Tension and every single time someone does I get all guilty in that "What movie? Oh...yeah I LOVE that movie.....that everyone totally loves a lot but I haven't seen" kind of way. I felt like I had seen it because I knew the route things were going so in my mind I pretended that I had seen it and just never talked about it.

I'm not sure what happened to me between then and now but tonight when I finally sat and watched the movie the whole way through--I became extremely intrigued. Instead of being bothered by the eventual ending I became interested in how we got to that ending. I wanted to delve into the why instead of the how the fuck is that possible? And it totally worked.

I'm going to start spouting off stuff about the ending, so unless you want things ruined you can leave now!

People's number one complaint about High Tension is that it doesn't make sense. How on earth can Marie be driving an old rape truck and a flashy sports car at the same time? How can she hit herself in the face with a spiky mallet thing? Why does she never die?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again---as movie watchers we need to be worrying a lot less about the how and more about the why. Why did the filmmaker choose to present the story in this fashion? What purpose does this method of storytelling serve? Okay, I feel like a college professor now but whatever. I'm serious. Turn off the logic button and just think about the bigger picture.

The old rapey guy in the rape truck who strongly resembles Quint is not Marie--but a manifestation of her sexual frustrations and anger. He symbolizes that part of her she so greatly detests. The part of her that thrives on emotions and gets angry at the world because the girl of her dreams is not a lesbian. He also symbolizes a terrorist because he kills a dog for no reason. Oh and a child...I guess.

Just stop taking things so literally audience. Jeez. Yes, the film is great also in that gooey blood and gore way but I think the main drive behind it at least for me, is this more psychological aspect. Has Marie always been a nut job? What is it about Alexia's family that suddenly pushes her over the edge? All these questions and more will visit my head tonight as I drift off into dream world. A magical land where Morgan Freeman buys me sandwiches and narrates my life to make it sound like I have a purpose other than eating sandwiches.

I'm not crazy about the other aspects of the's kind of redundant. Even though it's only an hour and a half long it kind of feels like two hours. There's a lot of hiding and stupid decisions happening. It's not my favorite French film obviously but it does get a lot of points for making me think.

And also now I can join people in actual conversations and say things that are smart and maybe even right. I am also wondering....if it benefits one to know the ending before watching it? Hmmm no.... no I think definitely not. Perhaps it's best to watch it blind the first time--do some jumping jacks to get out the anger and frustration and then watch it again knowing the ending. I think you'll come away with some interesting conclusions and diagnoses on your own. Plus, the killer is totally Quint. Who's kidding who here?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Adding to My DVD Collection: Psycho

When I first began this project or goal of adding to my measly DVD collection, I knew that a secondary goal would be to add to my Alfred Hitchcock collection. A collection that I only started adding to recently when I found out my sister hadn't seen a few Hitchcock staples. The first official Hitchcock purchase during my new goal of course had to be the Hitchcock film that meant the most to me--Psycho.

My love affair with Hitchcock began when I was in the 2nd grade, on a trip to Universal Studios during school vacation week. Obviously Universal Studios presented several rides of sheer terror that I knew to avoid *cough* JAWS., but it also excited me in its movie history nature. The most notable being when my parents took us to the Alfred Hitchcock experience or whatever it was called---a kind of display of the intrigue of Hitchock and most importantly the most groundbreaking Hitchcock film of all: Psycho.

I had never heard much about Psycho prior to 2nd grade. The "ride" highlighted the shower scene, and re-enacted it in live performance form (the Janet Leigh character donning a nude body suit and horrible blonde wig). I was terrified and intrigued all at the same time. Therefore it was much to my excitement that my parents suggested we rent Psycho upon returning to the hotel. The film was like nothing I had ever seen before. Black and white, violence, cross dressing sociopaths, dead bodies in fruit cellars. I didn't realize the extent of my excitement until I had to take a shower the next day. It took me probably double the amount of time it usually would because I couldn't stop looking out from the curtain to make sure a man wearing a wig wasn't coming at me with a giant knife. And also I was 98% positive that my older sisters were going to play a mean joke on me.

From that moment on--I was hooked. I immediately began acquiring a fascination for all things Hitchcock. I rented just about every Hitchcock movie from my public library that summer and absorbed myself in the fabulous Hitchcock book my parents bought me for Christmas that year.

So naturally, when wanting to add to my Hitchcock collection, Psycho was the film that I had to have immediately. It means so much to me as both a horror fan and young lover of movies. I would frame it if I could, like one of those infuriating toy collectors who keeps all the good stuff locked away from prying hands. I won't of course--because I need to watch it at least once a month, so I can stay captivated and intrigued for the rest of my life.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Adding to My DVD Collection: Martyrs

Sometimes you need to take a 3 year break before you watch a movie for the 2nd time. Martyrs is one of those films. My new goal that involved growing my DVD collection back again took its start about a month ago when I purchased Martyrs.

Martyrs is probably the film that has affected me the most since I first watched it back in 2009.  Therefore, it made perfect sense that I would choose it to be the first new film to add to my horror collection. As it so happens, although I watched it only once in 2009---the film not only shot to the top of my most disturbing movies list, it also crept into my top 3 horror films of all time list.

The experience of re-watching the film was a journey in and of itself. I was terribly excited to finally re-watch it, but there was also a part of me that dreaded the 2nd watch. The film if you don’t know, is extremely heavy. Filled to the brim with explosive ideas about life, religion, morality and pain—the film is almost like an entire lifetime of agony summed up in an hour and 40 minutes. It’s one of the most tiring movie watching experiences you’ll ever go through.

Yes it’s gory, and hard to stomach at times. But it’s also beautiful in its own grotesque way, sad, hopeful and insane.

 It takes twists and turns down extremely windy and dangerous roads. You’ll never anticipate where the film is going and you’ll be surprised, intrigued and perplexed by the time the credits roll. You could spend a whole year going over the film and unraveling the possibilities but I doubt you’ll ever come to a conclusion that you’ll be happy with.

There’s so many ways to interpret the film—especially the ending. People have been discussing and arguing about it ever since the film premiered. I even fight with myself about the ending on a daily basis. There I’ll be in my shower lathering up my hair and actually trying to defend both sides of the coin. It’s so frustrating! Now after my 2nd watching I am more lost than ever. I went into it with a very clear idea of what I thought and now I come out of it with shaken view points on the afterlife.

God damnit Martyrs. You’re so damn complex. Suffice to say—I am 100% pleased that I made this my first movie purchase. I may just watch it again in another 3 years and then cry a little thanks to the probably new set of questions and concerns I’ll have.

Plus, I still haven’t given up on making my Halloween costume be Lucie with a shotgun.

What’s not to love? It’s warm, casual and I get to play with fake blood. Hooray!

Monday, August 6, 2012


Today something really, really exciting happened. So exciting, that I almost peed my pants---on an elliptical machine. Today two of my greatest loves of all time, combined to make one gigantic bomb of awesome. The Olympics and Suspiria. Probably it was the 2nd most excited that I've been on a treadmill. Okay, I can tell you really want to know why I was so excited so here it is.

Today was the synchronized swimming duet, free routine day. Whilst working out, those meanie and poor sport Russians got up to do their routine. I say meanie and poor sports because when they lost the gold medal during the team gymnastics event, they cried like a bunch of babies.And also there was a lot of this from stinky face McGee.

 Therefore---Russia and I were not friends.

Just when I started making Russia stinks faces, their music kicked on and I gasped out loud. The Russians were actually doing a synchronized swim routine to Goblin's music from SUSPIRIA.

Okay, so their routine made it seem like they were these weird cheery dolls yeah yeah, still. SUSPIRIA. AT THE OLYMPICS. I could hardly contain my excitement. I even had to cut my work out short so I could  write about it.

Here is a shaky cam representation of it

I'm obsessed!

I guess this means Russia and I can be friends after all.