Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Woman in Black (1989)

My desire to see the original TV movie The Woman in Black started when my blogging friends posted pictures of a very ominous woman in black, standing in the distance and looking....peaky. Then, after seeing The Innocents, I developed a strange aversion to scary women standing in the distance glaring menacingly. Clearly, the only thing to do now was to face my fears head on and watch the Woman in Black.

Well, as it so happens, the Women in Black was available only on VHS and I didn't have a VHS player--believe me I want one, because how else am I going to watch Baby Andre 1 and 2? Saddened, but secretly glad, I continued my watching of films not called The Woman in Black.

THEN one magical day I learned that Daniel Radcliffe would star in the remake of the Women in Black.

Hooray a temporary solution to my ignorance of the Women in Black I thought. And it turns out, the remake wasn't so bad. BUT, it made me want to see the original even more.

So what's a girl to do?

Watch it illegally on Youtube of course! Which brings me to today where I can proudly state that I have finally seen The Woman in Black. The way that God and Kurt Russell intended.

For the most part, The Woman in Black is a thrilling tale shrouded in atmosphere. Well, maybe thrilling is the wrong word. Lightly misting with atmosphere? It's like the whole dreadful feeling of the doom and gloom of the small town and the marsh get attached to your heart and stay there. It almost brings you down physically due to its weight. If you want to study atmosphere in horror films---The Woman in Black should be on your list. Isolated creepy old mansions in the middle of a marsh. Howling winds. Misty sea fog, the screams and laughter of children, creepy dolls, stubborn little soldier men that won't leave you alone. It has it all!

The story is more or less the same as the remake which makes me appreciate the remake even more. Arthur Kidd journeys to the old creepy home of the deceased Alice Drablow, only to find that the townspeople are terrified of the place. No one will tell him why, but it could have something to do with the mute scary lady who looks dead that's always standing around staring at Arthur. As such, Arthur finds himself drawn to the mansion and slowly but surely finds out the true horrors within.

The Woman in Black is overall fairly simple in its scare approach. Simple yes, but extremely effective. The women's first appearance in the film is subtle and at first may not even seem all too menacing.

 It IS a funeral after all. Sad women in black clothing are allowed right? But then her consistent lurking and staring and disappearing really starts to get to us.

Then, it's the sounds that get to us---quietly at first then it's like they torment us. Or maybe I'm just thinking of Arthur. Poor Arthur.

By far the eeriest scene for me was in the child's nursery. After hearing strange noises, Arthur enters to find an old football. Then out of nowhere a child says, "Hello?" and giggles all sweetly. I didn't expect the child to actually make his presence known like that. It's uncommon really. Today it's all about--ooooh doors slamming shut suddenly, maybe a whisper or two there but this kid was pretty much ready to have a full on conversation.

As for pee your pants scary scenes---look no further than when Arthur is in bed and hears the child's voice again. At first there's a sense of hope there. Might we'll finally figure out just what the hell is going on? And then....






Basically that's what happened inside my pants anyways.

My one major gripe with the movie is how easily Arthur gives up on cute little Spider, the trusty dog his friend LOANED him so he wouldn't be alone. After hearing children's screams in the distance, Spider runs off into the Marsh. Arthur yells SPIDER!! then looks around him for 2 seconds and then rushes inside and bolts the door. I mean didn't even try. You have a lantern, the least you could do is try looking for him and rescuing him from the cold marsh right?  Despicable. Luckily for you Arthur, Spider turns up eventually so you can go back to recording yourself , playing it back and then laughing about how cool you are.

Ultimately though, The Women in Black is definitely something to see. It holds up surprisingly well as a solid TV movie---worthy of a few good scares and just an overall feeling of spooky. A good Halloween view that's for sure. I do understand now why the remake had such a fantastical notion behind the woman in black and her purpose. It was definitely an attempt to make sense of what she truly stood for--as it's not greatly explained in the original.

I also wondered if the original would end as abruptly and sadly as the remake did. Lucky for me.

It did.

By the way how magical is it, that the original Arthur was James Potter in Harry Potter and Daniel Radcliffe played Arthur in the remake?! There was probably a much better way to type that but I got lazy and gave up. You know what I meant.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Things That Make Me Uncomfortable About Ghostbusters

1. Demonic dog/beast sex

Alright that's all I got. But seriously, doesn't it make anyone else uncomfortable to see Zuul parading around in a provocative curtain dress, flaunting his (her?) newly acquired female parts for the benefit of getting it on with the Key Master?

 I just don't picture those demon dogs being too knowledgeable in the sex department. Not to mention I'm still confused about why Vinz Clortho is such a moron and Zuul is like the sexual demonic equivalent of Jenna Jameson.

 Also---how did Zuul whip up that provocative curtain dress so quickly? Does he/she have a sewing machine handy in the refrigerator? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Oh wait I do have more things that make me uncomfortable.

2. Dana Barrett is a fame whore.

Isn't it funny how Dana wants absolutely nothing to do with Peter Venkman prior to the Ghosbusters' super success montage? After unceremoniously throwing Peter from her apartment she then begins a steady incline towards the Venkman fanclub. First while doing crunches in front of her TV set, next, chopping veggies with a smile on her face listening to Casey Kasem and finally engaging in full on flirtation after a strenuous orchestra rehearsal. She even flaunts her flirtation for her musician friend to witness. Why the change Dana? Could it be that now that Peter Venkman is famous you suddenly want a piece of that sarcastically awesome pie?

Why did I never spot this before? Their relationship is a sham I tell you. A sham!

3. Raymond Stantz's sexual ghost dreams.

No explanation necessary.

Okay that's really it is this time. Listen, Ghostbusters is probably one of my top 10 all time favorite movies, but on my last viewing I just couldn't shake these uncomfortable thoughts. It also got me thinking--instead of a Ghostbusters 3----can we have a prequel that details the life and times of Ivo Shandor--the architect behind Dana's apartment building in NYC?!

Read this exchange about the building's history and just try to tell me that this would not make an amazing movie.

Dr. Egon Spengler: The architect's name was Ivo Shandor. I found it in Tobin's Spirit Guide. He was also a doctor, performed a lot of unnecessary surgery. And then in 1920, he started a secret society...
Dr. Peter Venkman: Let me guess: Gozer worshippers.
Dr. Egon Spengler: Right.
Dr. Peter Venkman: [to Ray] No studying.
Dr. Egon Spengler: After the First World War, Shandor decided that society was too sick to survive.
[He pauses, glancing nervously around at the holding cell crowd]
Dr. Egon Spengler: And he wasn't alone, he had close to a thousand followers when he died. They conducted rituals up on the roof. Bizarre rituals, intended to bring about the *end of the world*, and now it looks like it might actually happen.

According to the IMDB Trivia, the original form that Gozer was supposed to take was of Ivo Shandor and Paul Reubens was supposed to play him. SOMEONE MAKE THIS MOVIE RIGHT NOW.