Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bound to the Past #1

I had never gotten the chance to see "The Empire Strikes Back" theatrically. Life was as Billy Crystal's Fernando called it, "Crazy-go-nuts". My Dad, who had taken several of us to see the original "Star Wars" in its initial run, had passed away. There wasn't time to go "to the show" anymore during that period, really.

I did catch "Empire" theatrically in a re-release sometime in the summer of 1981 in Marshfield, Wisconsin, but that, my friends, is truly irrelevant and sadly anti-climactic.

Anyway, in a drug store somewhere, my Mom and I had stumbled across a paperback-sized version of the Marvel Comics graphic-novel styled novelization. I was exceedingly thrilled. At least I would know what the hell happened. I guess you could call what I was feeling relief, really.   I began reading it on the ride home, and thanked my dear mother about 235 times in the process.

When discussing the epic film (which has since become my favorite in the long-winded series) at school with my chums, I would now at least know what the Hoth I was talking about. I still acted as though I had seen the film going forward. For the opposite to be true would be a disgrace.

Several years prior, I had an over sized (what comic book nerfherders call "Treasury-sized") edition of the whole Marvel schpiel of the original 1977 classic. I loved that thing. I brutalized it in the process. Alas, at the age of 6, you didn't prospect comic books, man. You read the damn things.

Over and Over.

I can now glowingly re-read that masterpiece thanks to Frank and Mary, my mother and father-in-law, as last Christmas they purchased me the entire thing in a glorious hardbound edition. When I re-read it, I physically experienced an explosive wave of nostalgia. I wish there was a single-word encapsulation of that emotion. Sorry I can't do that for you, but my regret is overcome by my sadness at my own verbal ineptitude.

The "Empire" paperback isn't quite as cool as the original, but it still means a lot to me to this day. Great work by writer Archie Godwin, whose name comes up to this day as creator of the great Luke Cage character, a superhero who has a great show running on Netflix.  The pencils by Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon were pretty slick. Yeoman's work by all 3 gentleman.

I also loved the paperback size as opposed to the Treasury, it's one distinct advantage. For that sizing made lugging it around easier and less damaging.  After all, this was the melding of Comic Books and the Star Wars universe, and it aint to be played with.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Spectrum Files #1: In Which I Salute Chuck Barris

Volume 1:  The Gong Show Movie


Not too long ago my wife and I sat down to watch George Clooney's "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind".  It's the supposed autobiographical journey of one Chuck Barris. 

Yes, he of "The Gong Show" fame.  

Now it's pretty well known that he wrote the hit song "Palisades Park" that Freddy Cannon made famous and was a game show genius producer being behind "The Dating Game" among others including "The Gong Show".  What this film (based upon Barris' own book) is trying to tell you is that besides all of those credit-deserving ventures, he was once a highly successful assassin for the CIA. 

I won't give any more credence to that voluminous tidbit other than acknowledging that it made for a hell of a premise and an even greater movie. 

As a kid in the early 80's Spectrum showcased "The Gong Show Movie".  I was completely confused, as other than catching a few moments at the end of an episode that was an early evening lead-in to prime time television, I had never seen the show.  (Later when my parents eventually got cable, I caught some reruns on the fledgling USA Network, however.)


The movie mystified it me.  The premise of "The Gong Show Movie" is that it is a fictional week in the life of Barris, as he tries to put together episodes of the show for impending broadcast.  I remember a lot of weird things happening including bizarre auditions,  Jaye P. Morgan with a ridiculous strip-tease, and a "Doors"-like venture into the desert as a result of a nervous breakdown for Mr. Barris.  Also, one of the auditioners sang a song about legalizing prostitution that his wife danced to, resulting in my friend and I getting into trouble for singing later.

Hey, I had no idea what we were singing about. I was 10. 

I didn't make much out of the film other than the fact that Barris was a really strange guy.  Overall,  he confused me as a kid, entertained me as a teen later in those affore-mentioned reruns, and then completely had me twisted around as an adult thanks to "Confessions".  

What an INSANE story!!  CIA??  Really?  I think he claimed something like the CIA never came down on him for speaking up, as no one would believe him anyway.  Seems unlikely,  but I digress.

Chuck Barris passed away this past week at the age of 87.  Say what you will about the man, but he accomplished several lifetimes worth of craziness (minus the CIA assassinations, you include those, it's a whole nother story) in his single one.  Plus, he made me laugh. I will always see him doing that repetitive and predictable clap that the audience did with him as he introduced guests.  I'm sure they did it out of insult and affection both.  The way he tipped his head back during the intros like Drew Brees does just before a throw.  The difference being I think Barris' eyes were closed. 

I guess you could say I admire him in a weird way for all of that, and he entertained millions during his lengthy show biz career.  I'm no Chuck Barris expert, but I know a dynamo when I see one. 

Now here's some Gene Gene the Dancing Machine:  (For a late 70's variety show, the editing here is big-league)






Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Spectrum Files




Growing up in Southern Wisconsin, "out in the county" as it was referred to by family and friends, caused limitations.  As gorgeous as the surroundings were, the limitations could be irritating in the entertainment department for a kid my age.

It's not like there was never anything to watch, though.

This was the early 80's, well before most had cable television.  Mind you, we picked up Chicago's 5 & 7, NBC and ABC affiliates respectively, with Milwaukee's 4 and 12 doing the same.  CBS was channel 6 out of Milwaukee and remained that way until it converted to Fox in the 90's. (VHF upstart 58 took CBS reins at that point.)  With the benefit of a rotary antenna towering some 12,000 feet above our house, excellent reception of these channels was almost never an issue.

Speaking of VHF, Chicago's 32 and 44, coupled with Milwaukee's 24 and 18 brought some other options, which is where a lot of my early movie watching  and cartoon connosieuring were derived from.  Black Belt Theatre, Svengoolie, and Creature Feature were awesomeness personified. (a certain joy was brought to me this last Christmas season when I found that Svengoolie is still alive and kicking and carried on ME TV, in all it's syndicated glory, down here in my current home in Texas.)   Mind you, I was about 10 or 11 at the time in Wisconsin, and had no clue what I was looking for to expand my viewing horizons.

One day in the fall of 1981 my parents decided to get Spectrum TV.  Spectrum was, along with ONTV, and SelecTV, also available at the time, a one channel movie subscription option.  Spectrum was broadcast from UHF Channel 66 located on the John Hancock center in Chicago.  You had to buy a descrambler box and pay a monthly subscription fee to receive the signal unfettered.

Spectrum was a mixture of first-run movies, uncut older films, and an "after midnight" viewing window that featured "adult" material.  (It wasn't all what you're thinking, however).  After the late night adult/cutting edge material ended, the channel shut down until the next morning.  Some woman doing calisthenics for 20 minutes opened the following broadcast day, before the channel itself took the air.

Initially I was disappointed in that first month. The featured movie was "The Four Seasons", and Alan Alda/Carol Burnett opus, that did not really fit my demographic.  Nothing else that month must have been very watchable either, for I don't remember anything beyond that.  I complained to my brother who told me that I "never appreciate anything".

"I don't appreciate the smell of marijuana in my pajamas either, Einstein, but we can discuss that later",  I replied.

 I'm sure he smacked me or put me in an arm bar or something at that point.  Whatever.

What I didn't know at that age as I watched Spectrum, often by myself, was that the programmer must have been some kind of cinephile genius.  Yes, I'm sure they had to satisfy a sales department, which explained a lot of the first-run claptrap that aired on there. But hidden in-between the cracks, between the "attraction" showings were a lot of what current movie afficianados call gems. (Remember, this was 1981.  Dude (or dudette) was way ahead of their time.

Spectrum was where I first saw Bruce Lee's The Big Boss, the seminal horror works of Wes Craven, long before Nightmare on Elm Street, and the current cult diamond Vice Squad, among tons of others which I will wax nostalgic about here on my blog.  But it wasn't just low budget action/horror fare that filled it's time slots. Here I saw Fantastic Planet in its bizarre animated glory, as well as the German nightmare fuel drama, The Tin Drum, which still has me disturbed to this day.  Was I ready for some of this stuff?  Probably not, but a whole world was opening to me.  I was watching foreign gems like the Jean-Paul Belmondo flick, High Heels, Lindsay Anderson's O Lucky Man!, and the almost-forgotten but still cult Australian flick The Long Weekend. 


Sometimes windows of time will be filled by short films, like Sam Raimi's student film Cleveland Smith (Indiana Jones parody), a bizarre short film with Don King in it, among many others.


Did I have any clue what I was watching half the time?

Probably not.

However, I think my love of cinema was deeply refined by the (possibly too intense) cinematic primer I was getting from that programming genius down at Spectrum.

Anyway, I will be writing reviews and rememberances of the films I viewed on Spectrum here on the blog, and an inkling of how the film affected my young psyche.  Yes, you will wonder how responsible my parents were for letting a 10 year old kid watch Last House on the Left or Shogun Assassin by himself, but I'm grateful I had the opportunity.
















Monday, January 23, 2017

Rob, The Fights Are On

November 1982:   I never even considered boxing, really.

 As a kid, not at all.....But one day, out of the corner of my eye I saw a couple of dudes boxing on the television screen. I believe it was an Alexis Arguello/Aaron Pryor fight.

Out of both curiosity and a wanting to bond, I asked my dad "Who you going for?"

"Neither, really. They're both really good fighters. I just want to see how this plays out."

I was in.

I watched one hell of a fight that Saturday afternoon, one that would be the first of many. Hundreds probably.   I took a seat on the floor to the left of my Dad's recliner, comic books in hand, and absorbed.

The man taught me everything he knew about the fight game, which was a lot. He observed like an objective scientist, taking in the art of it all, while I usually found someone to root for, because that was how my mind worked. Like a moron, I usually asked one too many questions, and got the old chestnut: "Rob, I'm trying to hear the commentary!" which was followed by a knowing glance of sympathy with a twist of "You oughta know" from my Mom.  But this boxing tutelage was among the great unfolding stories of my life.

Dad loved the game. "The Sweet Science", it was poetically called, and I love that phrasing for it. Unlike today's MMA, boxing has a balletic approach, at least when it's done right. There's a strategy, a humming fluidity to it, a savage beauty, that is amplified over it's sometime brutality.

There are rules, he told me decades before UFC, there is an artful game plan.

We did this every Saturday.  I learned and chose sides for the names of Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini (who brought me to a conscience-twisting moment, as an opponent of his died after hitting his head on the ring apron during a knockdown), Bobby Chacon, Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whittaker, Johnny "Bump City" Bumphus, and dozens more.

One night I was an impromptu drink and snack server when my Dad got the Larry Holmes/Gerry Cooney pay-per-view from good old Spectrum TV, for a houseful of his buddies.  I pulled for the "Great Irish Hope", but like many before him, "The Easton Assassin" slowly destroyed him.  It wasn't nearly as embarrassing as the demolition of Randall "Tex" Cobb a few years later, but it was ugly nonetheless.

I had a great time that night, as several of my Dad's friends, in concert with the Old Man himself, tried to teach me the point system and how to apply it to what I was watching.  Sadly, round after round went to The Assassin.  As a kid, I abhored cockiness, and Holmes embodied it.  I still don't care for that to this day.  I roll with humble.  Can't help it.

He provided me with fight ads and a cool Sugar Ray Leonard for my bedroom door.  On a sales trip, he had gotten a rain check with Gerry Quarry's signature on it.  It said "To Dick, Keep Punchin'".  But Quarry's chicken scratch looked like "Kelp Porcini" instead.  I initially thought it may have been a case of the once great pugilist sharing a recipe suggestion for Seaweed Mushrooms.  But I digress.

God, my Dad was wizened in this sport.  He explained footwork, both good and bad, the necessity of a good jab, how the right hook is, while not a desperation move, one to hold in reservation.  He related how petroleum jelly was used to stop bleeding, how swelling was reduced so the fighters could see despite it.  I was schooled in The Standing 8, the referee's taking points for low blows, the TKO, and the reasons for fight stoppage. He had an eerie ability to predict the outcome of the fight, and why it was going to happen.

"He's dropping his right, Rob. He's gonna take one on the chin."

"He's getting tired, he needs to clinch to the bell."

"That's it. He's got a glass jaw."



Dad wasn't just a technician, the man was a history teacher.

I learned of The Greatest, Ali.  His words, his political stance, both the butterfly and the bee.  Sugar Ray Robinson, Jake LaMotta, Rocky Marciano.  Man, the stories my Dad told.  I wanted to see those fighters so bad, as the tales he told of their ring exploits, the vim and vigor of their skills, had me on the edge of my seat. He told me about Cus D'Amato, trainer extraordinaire, and about Don King and Bob Arum, promoters who turned boxing into the million dollar extravaganza it became.

He was a guru, and I his padawan. I'll never forget any of the things he shared with me for the rest of my life.

This went on for years.  Through the 80's, we chuckled at the "Heavyweight Champion of the Month" as no fighter was good enough to keep what appeared to be a hot potato.  We had personal bets on Mike Weaver, Greg Page, Michael Dokes, Pinklon Thomas, Tim Witherspoon.  No one was good enough to hold the damn title until we together watched the rise of Mike Tyson and his inevitable fall.


Even up through High School, where ESPN brought their names into the boxing hat, and my Dad and I watched the fights with great regularity.  I still remember the Doug DeWitt/Tony Thornton barnburner that had our hearts pounding, and how exciting that was.  A USBA middleweight title fight, DeWitt took it in 13, an extra round fought due to the draw at the end of 12.
My Dad and I marveled at DeWitt's heart, as he put on what I felt was one of the sport's great comebacks of all time.  We looked at each other after that one like we had just witnessed history. That was probably my senior year in High School and may have been the last fight we watched together.



I haven't watched boxing in a long time.  I moved away from home the day after graduation from High School, and have tried to watch the fights on a couple of occasions, but without Pop telling me how it is, it's not the same.  I couldn't get my son Aidan to watch boxing with me, as I had always dreaming of passing the symbolic fight book on, but that was a no-go.  However, the mutual love of cinema that my son and I share did indeed make a connection.  I took my boy to see "Rocky Balboa" when it came out a few years back and we toasted Cokes to his grandpa afterwards.  If not for my Dad and our mutual love of the sport, I'd have never seen the original. I reminded Aidan of that, and we both love that film for multiple reasons, not just its ability to return past glory to the faded franchise.



I miss Dad so much.  I lost him a little over a year ago, and it still stings.  Just this last year "Hands of Stone", a biopic about Roberto Duran, and the Vinny Pazienza story, "Bleed For This" were both released and all I could think about was how bad I wanted to take Dad to the movies.  Not too long back, my wife and I were at a book store and they had a great deal on a gorgeous hardbound history of boxing.  I wept a bit when I it dawned on me, only after having the book in my hands and getting ready to buy it for him, that he was gone.  I was so excited at the thought of giving it to him, my mind didn't want to deny the moment.

It's a strange thing, boxing.  Especially being an unexpected connection between a young man and his new Dad.  But it worked, and it was a glue that acted as a bond.




There's a line in "City Slickers" that Daniel Stern executes with the perfection that only he can:

"But when I was 18, and my Dad and I couldn't communicate about anything at all, we could always talk about baseball. Now that--that was real."

Interject boxing for baseball, and there you have it.  When I'd call him in years gone by and beat around the bush for advice, we could always talk fights.  He kept up after I had gone, as it was his favorite sport.  Long after I had graduated, years after my sister and I had bought him a gold boxing glove to go along with the Italian horn and hand that hung from a chain around his neck, decades after I had so proudly bought him a subscription to "Ring" magazine for Christmas, he stayed with it. He still knew the game, regaling me with how quick this one was, the power another one had.


A thing that brought us together, a confirming thread, also provided a space filler, an ice-breaker, through to the end.

Don't worry, we always got to the advice when we spoke, those golden words, he spun through his footwork, as he danced in the ring around our conversations.  Throwing jabs of fight stories, clinching me with boxing memories, until he finally landed the knockout punch of what I needed to hear.

We always got there.

He was a great fighter.



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Calvary: We Should Probably Call Them In



     I saw a movie the other night, that though billed a black comedy, left me disturbed. I've read critics that see it as a "serious inquiry into faith", and some view it as a condemnation of where the world is headed. I see it a bit as both. 

     Brendan Gleeson, one of the greatest actors I've had the blessing to watch, plays a priest in a small Irish community that tries to be the voice of reason and hope for all involved.  Sadly, he is treated with disdain by all of them, atheistic or disenfranchised,  to the point of borderline abuse.  Gleeson's character is far from a Seminary honk, he's human and weathered, was married and a widower before joining the priesthood, so he understands the negativity he has directed toward him to some degree  as he attempts to fight it.  He even faces a death threat directed toward him in the films first scene.

     This community became, in my eyes anyway, a microcosm of the modern world.  There's no doubt that the scientific advances the modern world experiences are amazing and welcome.  No one should question the advancements in equal rights and diversity we've made in the past 25 years.  We have ground to cover, but we've come a long way.  But as we experience the changes that we are, we seem to be leaving behind the qualities of the church. I am no religious person at all, but you'd have to be a fool not to acknowledge that the base virtues of the core of most churches are humanity, love, acceptance, charity, and most of all forgiveness. 

     As our global society grows and changes, all sides seem to be nurturing a hatred for the persons of the opposing viewpoint that grows uglier by the day.  Those core values of the church are dwindling, fading.  Painfully in many cases.  These positive values would provide checks and balances for the concrete pains being felt, scientifically and socially, that evolving creates.

In the interest of fairness, the controversies surrounding Catholicism are addressed, and in the right way, as all cannot be blamed for the sins of a few.  We need to learn this.  Society does this blaming daily.

    Gleeson's priest faces the ugly spewing of the community he tries to provide fellowship for on a daily basis, and crawls through it's ugliness, not naively, but like a fighter would. At the same time, he clings to the faith that made him join the priesthood, and becomes a martyr-figure.  His priest is the only good person in this village, I'm convinced, and I looked fucking hard.  The film closes cynically, but does goes black with a faint glimmer of possible hope. 

     I fear this is becoming the world.  As we learn, as we evolve, we are leaving behind the nature of humanity.  We desert the ability to accept.  To understand.  To love and to learn about the invisible nature of the soul as much as what is seen and written about for the naked eye.   

     Gleeson says at one point, "I think there's too much talk about sins and not enough about virtues."  I think I can agree with that.   If we are going to move forward as a race, we have to move forward together, and we have to make being humans as much an art, as it is becoming a science.
    

   

Monday, May 4, 2015

Retrospection Dysfunction

      In the late 70's there was a nostalgia boom for the 50's. Looking back I can understand why.  The 50's were awesome; from James Dean to Buddy Holly to those freakin' cars, what is not to love?

     And the 70's? Well, they were the goddamn 70's.

     But the weird thing is there was only a 18 year gap from the end of the 50's to 1978 and "Grease".  However, the 50's nostalgia tornado started a few years before that, "Happy Days" and "American Graffitti" being prime examples.  Now, yeah, yeah,  I know, Lucas' film took place in '62, but it felt like the 50's.  The 1950's hadn't even gotten old yet, for Cripe's sake (I don't know who Cripe is, either, ask my Mom) and folks all over America were ready to pour it on their cereal in the mornings.  Think about that for a second. In significantly less than 15 years, a past decade was being revered, re-packaged and celebrated in music sales and airplay, on the screen both big and small, and to a lesser extent, in fashion sense!




     Jump forward a little bit now. Compare the mid to late 70's 1950's resurgence to the minimal nostalgia boom for the 80's after that decade had come and gone.  Not even comparable.  As we move forward I think respect and love for "days gone by" is being lost. Past decades have not been looked upon with reverence, except by those that were "in their prime" during them.  It's hard to grasp.

     The same goes for the time capsule items of their time.  Take a look at a 1967 Pontiac Catalina.  Compare it to a 1993 Acura.   One was already regarded as a badass classic only 10 years after it rolled out and the other is a piece of shit, even mint, 22 years later.  What's wrong with this picture?

      Part of the problem is tech moving too fast. I had time to smell the roses growing up, moving from the transistor radio to the mp3.  No one can enjoy the scent of those flowers anymore.  They can't appreciate anything developing.  Time and electronics are moving too fast to admire the changes. Anyone draw a WTF reaction looking at the Apple Watch because they also chuckled at "Star Trek" wrist conversations?  I sure as hell did.   Technological advancement in the last 20 or so years is exponential to the previous 60.  From the 1940's to the mid 90's we crept from vinyl to 8-track to cassette to compact disc. From the maelstrom of the mid 90's, we have leaped like a flash from what was considered freakish technology in the CD to thousands of songs being stored on a device no bigger than a few credit cards being rubber banded together.  We have instant access to unbelievable stores of information with a few keystrokes, nullifying the library, or at the least, the Encyclopedia Brittanica.   What was once a huge VHS library is now available to you through internet streaming.


     How can nostalgia find a home there?

     Sadly, it can't.

     I am 43, and feel like I'm part of a hell of a lucky generation. Close enough to see what my parents had, I grew up on vinyl and the radio, but now utilize the whippersnapper tech they have today.  I crossed the time channel from Ralphie Parkers "A Christmas Story" with Ovaltine and Little Orphan Annie to scrolling down to Beck's "Blue Moon" on my iPhone.


    
     The difference?  I respect the change. The kids today don't.  My daughter looks at my vinyl "Never Mind The Bollocks" LP like a Brachiosaur left in in the living room. Chuckles of disdain shower my commentary on how Pitfall Harry was as complicated as video games got for me.  I love the tube radio, hand-held transistors, and the console TV. Why? Because that's how we got to the cd, the mp3, and SMART TV.   Even if I can't figure the latter out, and had to google what amounts to the equivalent of a Street Fighter 2 finishing move on a Wii U keypad in order to log out of fucking Netflix.

      I sound old.  I feel old.  But I'm not. 

      I think what it is is that I'm not scared of the new tech and the modern conveniences, they're just that, convenient.  I'm terrified all of that great stuff from way back, (and not so way back) will be forgotten. 

      Or worse, disrespected.

      You bastards are just moving too damn fast.

     




     

Friday, April 24, 2015

Indy Trifecta of Terror


Thanks to the millions of types of affordable high quality video equipment, available distributors, and video software programs, anyone can make and release a movie these days (myself included, though I haven't produced more than a few videos as of yet). The stacked shelves at stores and the piles of wing-wang on Netflix are all the evidence you need of that fact.

George A. Romero once claimed everybody being given a voice by internet wasn't a good thing and he drove that home with the underrated "Diary of the Dead".  He was referring to the political and societal opinion and news-trafficking arena, but he may not have been far off the mark in the art and writing department either.  Now don't think me an ass, as while I think it's great we can all produce a voice and get it out there, (the internet's blogosphere is saturated with crap, my own bellyaching is probably some of it) there's a lot of garbage out there in the film world as well as the internet's pontification.  While that world shrinks in difficulty to create, it  expands in volume of horseshit, and sadly the good stuff gets buried underneath it. 

Funny how ol' George managed to tie that internet drama in with his own trade.  He's a sharp one.

Move forward about 10 years and most of the wide-release horror cinema trade is redundant and frequently repulsive. If it's not demonic possession, it's "found footage", that with "Unfriended" may have milked the last drops of effectiveness potential out of it, and hopefully mercifully come to an gasping end.

New Zealand doesn't need Jackson to be Brilliant




But I did said wide-release there.  Out of New Zealand and Australia, biting and scratching, come "Housebound" and "The Babadook" respectively, two completely different horror films stylistically, but they both do come heavy.  "Housebound" is the best combination of chills and giggles I've seen since Raimi's "Evil Dead II" or his underrated "Drag Me to Hell".  For every genuinely creepy moment, (and there are some strong ones) there's just as many laugh-out-loud ones to temper the experience. Strong and hilarious performances all around from a largely unknown cast and their quirky characters make this the first of 2 tremendous Netflix watches that are both available now.

 

Best Australian Horror Since OZ-Ploitation in the 70's & 80's




"The Babadook" is a grim affair to say the least, but works just as effectively as an examination of grief and sorrow with a bravura performance by Essie Davis that ranks up there with any leading lady role (stateside included) in recent years.  This one may be a tough pill to swallow, not so much for the genuinely eerie and chilling title entity, but for the dread atmosphere and truly crumbling lives of the film's two principal characters, an emotionally struggling mother and son.  It ends as redemptively as any film of this nature can, and much like Joe Carnahan's "The Grey", it may work as a genuinely effective and somewhat inspiring example of dealing with a loved one's death and what overcoming oppressive human grief can feel like on multiple levels.  Beyond that thought, it has very chilling horror moments that are given exclamation by the performance of "The Babadook's" two leads.

 

The Americans Have a Few Tricks Left in the Bag.




"It Follows" does just that. The film may be following you for days after you see it.  A simple construct: after a sexual encounter, our heroine finds herself  followed by an entity (after being educated on the being), that though walking slowly, will never stop.  The film is drenched in an eerie atmosphere, and has a score by Disasterpiece that outside of Christopher Young's "Sinister" score, may be the most powerful horror film music since John Carpenter was laying down creepy ambience tracks in the 70's and 80's.  This film is layered as well, through metaphor pointing out the dangers of an openly sexual lifestyle, as well as making some smart class warfare points.

As I stated, Hollywood's big budget horror films are more often than not just repetitive and noisy. Thankfully the independent market is ripe with developing filmmakers and some truly good stuff coming from them.  They appear to be influenced by the best auteurs of the re-birthing era of chiller cinema, the 70's, and to me that's a good thing.  The best part is that influence is the key word, not mimicry.

I can't wait for the next films from Gerard Johnstone, Jennifer Kent, and David Gordon Mitchell.

Nicely played, youngsters, nicely played.