Tag Archives: Foreign Horror films

Eyes Without a Face-1960

Eyes Without a Face-1960

Director-Georges Franju

Starring-Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli

Scott’s Review #922

Reviewed July 23, 2019

Grade: A

Eyes Without a Face (1960) is a macabre and twisted French-Italian horror film co-written and directed by Georges Franju based on a novel of the same name by Jean Redon. The film cover art (see above) is flawless and terrifying, inducing the creeps by only giving it a glimpse causing the recipient curiosity, attempting to analyze what the meaning behind it could possibly be. The film is nestled into a short one hour and thirty-minute package but that is more than enough time to scare the audience to death with many fantastic and gruesome elements, severely limiting the gore, which only adds to the horrific nature.

The film was highly controversial when released in 1960 because of the subject matter at hand and was subsequently either loved or reviled among its audiences. What makes Eyes Without a Face, so riveting is the empathy for the characters and the measures gone to right wrongs, despite the main character being undeniably crazy. The complex emotions of guilt and obsession are commonalities making it a layered and complex horror film appearing on many Top Ten genre lists. The film is not for the faint of heart.

Doctor Genessier (Pierre Brassier) is a brilliant and successful physician who specializes in plastic surgery. After a vicious car accident that he is to blame for he attempts to repair the ruined face of his daughter, Christiane (Edith Scob), a victim of the wreck. But his plan to give his daughter her looks back involves kidnapping young girls and removing their faces. He is aided in his machinations by his assistant, Louise (Alida Valli), who kidnaps the young women and helps him in the laboratory acting as a surrogate mother to Christiane. Louise aids Génessier partly because of his help in restoring her damaged face in events that happened before the film begins.

Scob is the stand-out character, containing an innocent and quietly melancholy existence as she is the clear victim of the story. Her defeated posture while resiliently hopeful and demure is complex for an actress to carry and she defines grace and poise. Brasseur and Valli, the villains of the film, each deliver the goods in different ways. Valli, haunting in her best horror effort, Suspiria (1977), is mesmerized by her doctor and savior so that the relationship is almost cult-like. Brasseur, while devious, is strangely heroic too, as he steals lives to save other lives, so his character is extraordinarily complex.

The surgery scenes are chilling featuring white, starchy uniforms worn by doctor, assistant and victim. The scenes could almost be mechanical tutorials offered to first-rate medical students with scholarly intentions if this were not a horror film, the look is so documentary style. Genessier calmly cuts an entire circular length of his victim as a hint of blood slowly oozes down the sides of her face in almost tender fashion. The film is not the 1980’s slasher film image that encompasses non-horror film-goer’s preconceptions and, made in 1960, contains a somber yet gorgeous texture.

The best scene occurs when one of Genessier’s victims, lying on a gurney, comes to and gazes at a figure leaning close to her. The camera turns to the figure revealing a blurry but nonetheless recognizable image of Christiane, sans the face-like mask she usually wears throughout the film. As the victim shrieks in horror, Christiane slowly backs away from her amid a sunken feeling of pain and heartbreak, remembering how much of a freak she must appear to others. The scene is sad and grotesque at the same time.

Horror films often get bad raps, but poetic and stylized horror films are a diamond in the rough. Eyes Without a Face (1960) achieves its place in the cinematic archives with brilliant black and white cinematography entrenched in a Gothic, chilling story with characters whose motivations can be dissected and studied long after the film ends. This is a type of film that keeps the viewer thinking and deserves repeated viewings to fully capture all the plentiful gems that it offers.

Diabolique-1955

Diabolique-1955

Director-Henri-Georges Clouzot

Starring-Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot, Paul Meuisse

Scott’s Review #878

Reviewed March 16, 2019

Grade: A

Diabolique (1955) is a masterful French thriller that is as compelling as it is frightening and offers insurmountable influence in years to come. Shamefully remade and Americanized in 1996 starring Sharon Stone, a waste of time if you ask me, the original is the one to discover and salivate over. With a perfect blend of psychological intrigue, never ending suspense, even a good mix of horror that Hitchcock would find impressive (more about him later), the film is brilliant in its pacing and frequent twists and turns.

Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, Les Diaboliques is set in a crumbling boarding school in the metropolis of Paris. Sadistic headmaster Michel Delassalle (Paul Meuisse) runs a tight ship but works for his Venezuelan wife, Christina (Vera Clouzot), who owns the school. Michel is immersed in a torrid affair with schoolteacher, Nicole Horner (Simone Signoret) and regularly abuses both women as well as his students. The two women embark on a plot to kill Michel, but when they succeed in their plan, Michel’s body goes missing.

In a bit of fun trivia, director Clouzot, right after finishing making Wages of Fear (1953), optioned the screenplay rights, preventing Hitchcock from making the film. This movie helped inspire Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). Robert Bloch himself, the author of the novel version of Psycho, has stated in an interview that his all-time favorite horror film is Diabolique. If the film displays nuances incorporated in Psycho, this is undoubtedly the reason. Clouzot also directs his wife Vera in the prominent role of Christina.

The brilliance of the film is that it could have been made by Hitchcock as the entire experience has his stamp and influence written all over even though his best works lay ahead of him in 1955. Still, from the Gothic mood to the “can’t believe your eyes” twisted, blood curdling ending, the director immediately comes to mind every time I watch the film. The “shock” ending only exceeds expectations with fantastic delivery.

The film takes an unusual stance in the dynamic between the two women, Christina and Nicole. Rather than take a traditional route and make the women rivals for the man’s affections, Clouzot chooses to make the pair co-conspirators. This only deepens their relationship as events unfold and takes a darker and more dire turn. They rely on each other as teammates rather than despise each other over their love for another man. Intelligently, they spend their energy on making sure the insipid man gets his just comeuppance for his dirty deeds. Nicole clearly leads Christina in the direction she needs to go.

The black and white cinematography is highly influential to the mood of the film. With each unexpected twist or scene of peril the lighting is perfect in radiating the suspense. The camera juxtapositions the frequent glowing of the white against the dark black that exudes a frightening, ghost-like presentation. The entire setting of the school is laden with dark corners that provide good elements of foreboding and sinister moments to come.

As the women become more and more unnerved by the limitless possibilities that the missing body presents, many questions are asked but are impossible to answer. “Where is the body?”, “Could Michel be alive?”, “If he is alive is he hell bent on revenge?” The viewer will also be asking these questions throughout most of the final half of the film. When an unknown person begins to call the women and other clues take form the questions begin to multiply.

Clouzet uses frequent shots of objects to enhance the tension even further. Closeups of a dripping bathtub, a typewriter with a man’s hat and gloves, a woman’s feet as she removes her shoes, and a woman running in terror through the corridors of the school. These facets only enhance the overall experience as the suspense and the terror begin to mount.

Diabolique (1955) is considered one of the greatest thrillers of all time and I concur mightily with this assessment. A French version of Psycho (1960), that combines an acclaimed director’s ingenious subtle ideas into a giant web of delicious film making. The viewer will never see the surprise ending coming even if they think they have the plot figured out. This point alone is reason enough to see the film and salivate in the greatness of it.

Goodnight Mommy-2015

Goodnight Mommy-2015

Director-Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz

Starring-Susanne Wuest, Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwarz

Scott’s Review #833

Reviewed November 21, 2018

Grade: B

Goodnight Mommy (2015) is an Austrian film that is not for the faint of heart nor for the squeamish. Being a seasoned viewer in diverse, bizarre, and otherwise unpleasant cinematic experiences, the film was nonetheless a tough watch for me. Universally lauded and even submitted as Austria’s Foreign Language entry for the Academy Awards, I found the film at times pointless and gratuitous in its torture scenes. Still, the film stayed with me days later and that is always a positive.

In a peculiar and unclear story opening, we witness a mother (Severin Fiala) and nine-year-old twin sons (Lukas and Elias Schwarz), residing in a remote lakeside location surrounded by cornfields and nature. The mother (character unnamed) is disfigured and wrapped in bandages with only her eyes and mouth revealed, a haunting and grotesque image. The twins, Elias and Lukas, are very disturbed by her appearance and concerned when she begins acting strangely, ignoring Lukas entirely and chastising Elias repeatedly.

Through a game that the mother and twins play, the audience learns that the woman is a television personality- has she had a face lift by her own choosing or has she been in an accident? As she acts cruelly and selfishly towards the twins they begin to question whether the woman is really their mother or a fake. They become determined to find out at all costs, turning the tables on the mother, resorting to tortuous methods to get the truth out of her.

A few positives for me in Goodnight Mommy are as follows. The Austrian setting and language are huge strengths in adding to the mystique of the overall film. The unfamiliar (to me) speech and the remote modern home that the mother uses as a sanctuary work very well.  In this way loneliness and isolation are infused into the film giving a measure of dread. The way the plot continues to un-fold and the circumstances are slowly revealed is a good thing. The how’s and the why’s of the mother’s surgery come to fruition and allegiances switch from the boys to the mothers over the course of the film, which I found interesting.

The major negatives are the motivations of the twins and the big reveal at the end of the film- a reveal easily figured out within the first portion of the running time. Though not shocking, the revelation only complicates said motivations and questions abound. Is one of the twins just plain crazy? Who is the woman in the photo with the mother dressed exactly like her? If this is a red herring, no wonder the twins think this woman is impersonating their mother. The mother not being able to escape the twins clutches is a bit hard to swallow- remember they are old nine-years-old!

The torture scenes are brutal for the audience to endure. As Elias and Lukas tie their mother to her bedpost and demand she reveal she is not their mother the methods they resort to are devious and cringe-worthy. Prolonged in nature so that the viewer feels they are also being tortured, when the twins burn her face with a magnifying glass, the process is slow and excruciating. Later, they decide to super glue her mouth shut and when they realize she cannot eat, they sever the glue with scissors leading to a bloody mess. These scenes are tough to take.

The point of Goodnight Mommy (2018) seems rather, well, pointless. Torture for the sake of torture and many plot holes or story dictated plot devices- who did not think that the Red Cross would fail in rescuing the mother? Nonetheless, the film does contain a mystique and an unnerving, haunting quality.  The viewer will undoubtedly be kept thinking about the subject matter and the ending, specifically the final still-frame.

The Lure-2015

The Lure-2015

Director-Agnieszka Smoczynska

Starring-Michalina Olszanska, Marta Mazurek

Scott’s Review #741

Reviewed April 12, 2018

Grade: B

2015’s The Lure is as odd a film as one can imagine- dreamlike and sometimes even absurd. The story mixes a strange blend of the horror genre with musical numbers, but for the sake of classification purposes, I would teeter to the side of gothic horror. Oddly enough, some of the choreography numbers are reminiscent of 2016’s La La Land, but that is where the comparisons between those films end as the former musical numbers dark and the latter cheery. A tough film to review, The Lure is rather disjointed, but kudos for creativity and unpredictability.

Bravely directed by a female (more kudos!),  Agnieszka Smoczynska, a Polish film-maker, the story is a cross between an autobiography of her troubled youth, and a retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, The Little Mermaid. Besides the obvious Polish language content the film does not appear overly Polish- it might have been nice to be exposed to some of the culture.

The film immediately gets off to a mysterious start as two teenage girls- later revealed to be mermaids/vampires named Silver and Golden- emerge from the water and follow a rock band back to a tacky nightclub where the band regular performs for patrons there for the strippers- it is sometime in the 1980’s. The girls perform music and strip, becoming an act called “The Lure”. While Golden continues to thirst for blood, Silver falls in love with a bassist causing her to yearn to be a real girl and subsequently has surgery to remove her tail and grow real-girl legs. As part of the fairy tale, if her intended marries someone else Silver will turn into sea foam and die.

The story is completely perplexing and a difficult follow, yet there is something mesmerizing and escapist about it. My wonder is if Smoczynska intended the film to make total sense or left it open to a bit of interpretation- after all the film is a mix of fairy tale and real-life experience. Some portions appear to be rather dream-like, for example the nightclub singer has thoughts or visions involving Silver and Golden, but what is unclear is whether she is experiencing reality or imagination.

Props must be given to The Lure for originality alone. The film is successful at stirring up multiple genres and creating something truly unique. In particular, the characters of Silver and Golden are transfixing- at times they are sweet and kindly, but then their fangs come out at a moments notice revealing evil and a carnivorous blood thirst revealing a grotesque, haunting countenance. The way in which Smoczynska created these characters is rather awe-inspiring and the up and coming director must have a wealth of imagination deep within.

On the other hand, the plot never really comes together enough to grab hold of the viewer in a riveting way. While Silver and Golden are clever characters and we feel some level of empathy for them, I also never felt completely gripped by them either. I felt no connection to any of the supporting characters either. Any attempt at figuring out the plot will only leave the viewer frustrated. I would advise taking The Lure as an experience and not a puzzle to necessarily be unraveled.

The Lure has elements of immeasurable fascination and an enormous creative edge. Attempts to create a unique fable meshed with a disturbing central theme are successful, but the overall story is way too confusing for the average user and ultimately ends up dragging towards the final portion with the final climax a wee bit unsatisfying. Still, a brave and inventive attempt at achieving something fresh and imaginative in cinema.

Five Dolls For An August Moon-1970

Five Dolls For An August Moon-1970

Director-Mario Bava

Starring-William Berger, Howard Ross

Scott’s Review #393

5-bambole-poster

Reviewed April 9, 2016

Grade: B-

Five Dolls For An August Moon is a 1970 Italian horror film by horror maestro Mario Brava, a well regarded director of the genre. Being relatively a novice to his films, but knowing his name, I expected a bit more from the film than I was treated to.  From a critics consensus Five Dolls For An August Moon is not considered to be one of his better films- not even close. I found some positive elements to the film, but ultimately it did not come together in a concise or compelling way. The dubbing from Italian to the English language is poor and I would have preferred more authenticity to watch in the native Italian language.

Containing a fascinating and mysterious premise, a group of gorgeous people gather on a sunny, remote desert island- somewhere off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Owned by wealthy industrialist George Stark, the weekend is intended to be one of socializing, fun, and relaxation. It appears to be summer(hence the title) and the vacationers exude a sexuality and sense of good style. The beach house is lavish and sophisticated and it is suggested that all are brilliant, or at least, riding on the coat-tails of those who are. One of the guests is famed chemist, Professor Gerry Farrell, who has recently created a revolutionary formula, and it is quickly revealed that all of the guests are industrialists with plans to buy the formula from him at any price. Incensed, Farrell refuses to budge and, suddenly, one by one, the guests are killed off in typical gruesome horror fashion.

I am a sucker for a good whodunit, and Five Dolls For An August Moon appears to be in the Agatha Christie’s- And Then There Were None style of intrigue, but this aspect of the film proves to be the most trivial and uninteresting as the plot moves along.  The characters motives were unclear (yes, I get they all wanted the secret formula), but the real necessity of having it besides, presumably money, which they all appeared to already have plenty of, was dull. The ending of the film and the “big reveal”, while clever, was also overly complicated for this type of film.

The film was for its time (1970), very provocative in look and style and that impresses. Featuring a groovy, psychedelic soundtrack, bright, trendy clothing, and a sunny set, the film challenges the tried and true horror elements, especially foreign horror (darkness, rain, fog, gloom) and this really makes the film work from a cinematic perspective. One cannot help but watch this film and think of director Russ Myer as a heavy influence. The casting of good looking Italian actors, both male and female- the females busty and gorgeous- the men stylish and cool, reminiscent of Myer male actors, is noteworthy.

Interesting, and another glaring example of how other countries progressive sexual viewpoints contrast with the more conservative United States, is that many of the couples on the island are involved sexually with other people on the island, including a lesbian romance, highly unusual to show in 1970. These shenanigans give Five Dolls For An August Moon a more creative, suave, and sexual intrigue.

A highly effective, and creepy, aspect of the film is the keeping of the corpses in a freezer with plastic bags over the victims heads- meat locker style. Eyes bulging, with the clear bags giving a ghastly view, I immediately thought of the still to come masterpiece, Black Christmas, and how this film might have been an influence with a similar scene of a victim wrapped in plastic with a gruesome facial expression. This is good horror stuff.

Five Dolls For An August Moon is not a great film, but it does have some edgy elements, a cool look, and thanks to great direction from Mario Brava, does some influencing of films to come. A decent horror flick, and a worthwhile investment for fans of Italian horror- Brava is a heavy hitter and, next to Dario Argento, is the master in Italian horror films.

Suspiria-1977

Suspiria-1977

Director-Dario Argento

Starring-Jessica Harper

Top 100 Films-#54     Top 20 Horror Films-#14

Scott’s Review #339

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Reviewed January 9, 2016

Grade: A

Suspiria is a horror masterpiece, made in 1977, by my favorite Italian horror director, Dario Argento. A combination of complex storytelling, glossy colors, and a unique art direction, make this film a treasure and an influence in “the look” of a film attempting to achieve an interesting art direction choice. The color red is highly prevalent throughout Suspiria, which makes sense due to the subject matter of witchcraft and demons. The musical score is brilliant and chilling. This film is perfect and one of my favorites.

The film takes place in Germany and the opening sequence is fantastic. We meet our heroine, Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper), an American ballet student, as she arrives in blustery Munich to attend a prestigious ballet school. The shot of the driving wind and rain as she exits the airport are a great example of the ultimate style of this film. Suzy meets a creepy taxi driver who drives her to the school, where she witnesses a frantic student, Pat Hingle, fleeing the school. Suzy is then denied access to the school by a mysterious voice over the intercom.  The focus of the film then shifts briefly to Pat’s perspective as she meets a sinister fate when she stays with a friend.

One fantastic aspect of Suspiria is we know something is wrong with the ballet academy, we just do not know what or who it involves. With great creativity, Dario Argento builds a set that is modern, sophisticated, but laced with underlying menace. As we meet the supporting characters, Madame Blanc (Joan Bennett) and Miss Tanner (Alida Valli), we know something is not right with them either. Blanc is kindhearted; Tanner is a drill sergeant, but both seem to have something to hide and claim to know nothing of Pat’s terror. There is also Daniel, the blind piano player, whose seeing eye dog suddenly turns vicious.

The plot is complex and does not always make perfect sense, but the elements of Suspiria make it a masterpiece.  Pat’s death scene is laced with greatness as she dangles from a high glass ceiling dripping blood. Her hysterical friend is sliced to bits by the falling glass. This is the best double-death scene in horror film history.

When creepy maggots invade the school leaving the girls feeling for safety, the film goes all out. A later scene involving Suzy’s best friend and fellow student, Sarah, attempting to flee the school via the basement, only to struggle in a pit of razor wire is splendid.

Much of Suspiria is dubbed in English mainly due to the actors either speaking German or Italian, but Jessica Harper and Joan Bennett have distinguishable voices, which lend texture and richness to the dialogue.

Suspiria is a grand horror film, not solely for its mysterious story, but for all the added components that Argento throws into the mix- strange characters, weird sets, and the heavy dose of blood red- pretty fitting.

A Serbian Film-2010

A Serbian Film-2010

Director-Srdan Spasojevic

Starring-Sergej Trifunovic

Top 10 Disturbing Films-#6

Scott’s Review #282

Serbian-film-poster-325x460

Reviewed October 13, 2015

Grade: B

A Serbian Film is a 2010 Serbian horror film that attempts, and succeeds, in breaking down every possible taboo barrier, albeit in a stylish, admirable, artistic way. The film is certainly not for the faint of heart and even die hard, gross out horror fans might find it too shocking to view. It is not so much the gore that is challenging- horror aficionados have seen this before, but rather the blatant display of the subject matter at hand, that delves full speed ahead into pornography, including rape (both sexes), necrophilia (sex with corpses), and child sexual abuse, that is both tough and sickening to watch. Priding myself in being able to take anything that is thrown my way in the world of film, I admired A Serbian Film’s bravery at going places rarely gone before in film. I felt, however, that the story was not too compelling or particularly well written and that the primary goal was to shock the audience rather than tackle a great story. Intriguing to note is A Serbian film has been banned in several countries, for the obvious controversial content.

Milos is a semi-retired porn star, now happily married to the beautiful Marija and living a peaceful existence. While they struggle financially, they share an adequate life while raising their six year old son Petar. One day Milos runs into a fellow porn star, Lejla, who suggests he contact a powerful porn producer and return to the business, citing an enormous windfall to be had since the producer is making more “artistic” films these days. Milos cannot resist the potential money and meets with the mysterious man named Vukmir. One thing leads to another and he is once again lured back into the porn industry. What he is not told is the premise or details of the film he is to appear in, only to show up at the designated filming location. Predictably this leads to disaster and the main plot of the film emerges. Milos is drugged in order to become a “stud”, bedding and beating almost anything that breathes…..or doesn’t breathe if you catch my drift.

Brazen is a polite way of describing this film. It is perverse and goes way out there. Milos, while drugged, begins to do crazy stuff, not realizing what he is doing and spirals further out of control as the drugs increase. The producer, in the film’s brief attempt at a social slant, cites child pornography is in popular demand as online viewers clamor for this new form of “art”. Two scenes stand out as gruesome to view. One involves a pregnant porn star giving birth- she does so and her counterpart proceeds to rape the screaming baby- the new mother grins in sinister pleasure. In another, Milos rapes his own son, Petar, while Milos’s brother, rapes Milos’s wife. Of course, being heavily under the influence, Milos does not realize what he is doing, but the film succeeds in shocking and disgusting the audience. Both of these horrific scenes have nothing to do with the story and are included to shock elicit a reaction from the viewer.

My criticism of the film is that the grotesque scenes have little to do with the story and are arguably not needed in order to further the plot. Shocking for the sake of being shocking, the film reminds me in a way of Salo, a brutal art film from 1975, which focuses not on horror, but on the horrific time of Nazi-ism. Salo is a masterpiece because it contains a powerful, thought provoking story.

A Serbian Film is a brave film, but ultimately the story achieves nothing more than being a disturbing film that I never need to see again.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night-2014

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night-2014

Director-Ana Lily Amirpour

Starring-Sheila Vand

Scott’s Review #271

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Reviewed August 24, 2015

Grade: A-

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a highly creative, unique, independent horror film from 2014. One of the many reasons I am a fan of independent cinema is to discover and promote little seen gems. The dialogue is in Farsi (Iranian) and the cinematography is in black and white, which in itself is very unique in modern film. I notice similarities between this film and Let the Right One In (both the English and the Swedish versions) in the frigid mood and love story enveloped within. This film is the debut of director Ana Lily Amirpour and what a marvel she could become. Despite obvious influences by other films and directors, A Girl Walks Home At Night has a brilliant freshness to it and seems completely original and unpredictable to watch.

The title of the film accurately depicts the main story. A teenage girl (Sheila Vand) walks around the desolate, dark streets of a city aptly named Bad City in the Iranian underworld. The film is actually shot in southern California and looks like it could double for Detroit. The girl, who has no name, has strange encounters with a myriad of peculiar individuals, including what appears to be a transgender prostitute, a vicious drug dealer, a nice yet mysterious young man named Arash, Arash’s father, who is hooked on drugs, a mysterious cat. She then embarks on a tender flirtation with Arash. The overall plot, which I found secondary to the look of the film, centers around The Girl’s encounters with these individuals as well as their encounters and relationships with each other. The Girl is a lonely vampire and feels isolated from society, but it is unclear what she is looking for- she is both destructive and sweet depending on the circumstance. She takes her aggression out on the bad.

The most striking and impressive aspect of the film is its dark moody atmosphere. Brooding and cold looking, the city reeks of death and loneliness. The Girl speaks very little so that her expressions are what the viewer will notice. Her eyes delve into her soul. She is the most interesting of the characters, but the others, specifically Arash and the transgender prostitute have potential and we are curious to explore more about them. Arash and his father have more depth than any of the supporting characters- Arash painfully lets his drug riddled father stay with him and attempts to assist him with his issues. One assumes that since the father’s wife (Arash’s mother) has died suddenly, he has taken a downward spiral, but this is only suggested to the audience. We do know for sure where she is- in one scene we see the father angrily look at a photo of a middle-aged woman and is destroyed by her absence. He believes that the woman has taken on the body of the mysterious cat. Arash caring for his father is a fascinating role reversal. Wouldn’t we expect the young man to have the drug problem and the father the care-giver? This is interesting in itself.

The aforementioned influences are plentiful, but most notable from a director standpoint is David Lynch. The black and white filming along with the viewer’s point of view in one scene involving a car driving down a dark highway resembles the Lynch film Lost Highway. The moody background music and the slow but methodical pacing also gives A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night a Lynch feel. One curious element of the film is The Girl’s interest in 1980′ pop music- her bedroom wall riddled with Madonna and similar pop stars from the 1980’s posters. The Girl even admits to listening to a sappy Lionel Richie tune. It is unknown if it even could BE the 1980’s as time seems unimportant. The film strangely combines edgy, alternative film-making with commercial pop references. I half expected The Girl to break into a rendition of “Pour Some Sugar On Me”. My thought is that perhaps Amir’s intention is to portray the Girl’s desire to fit into a mainstream society knowing that a vampire never can. This theory is proven when The Girl is melancholy when Arash buys her a hamburger, knowing she cannot enjoy it as he does.

Creative, a dreary atmosphere, and intelligently thought out, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a strange, murky experience in film experimentation. Amirpour is a fresh, new director worth watching for in the years to come.

Opera-1987

Opera-1987

Director-Dario Argento

Starring-Cristina Marsillach, Ian Charleson

Scott’s Review #104

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Reviewed July 11, 2014

Grade: B+

Opera is a 1987 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento. The story revolves around a theatrical production of Verdi’s “Macbeth” as the understudy takes of the lead role of Lady Macbeth after the star is hit by a car, and strange and horrific events begin to occur.

The film contains traditional Argento elements- stylistic, extreme close-ups, weird camera angles. Members of the cast are systematically murdered as the killer forces the films heroine to watch- aided by a device which, if she blinks, sharp nails will go through her eyes. The ending is absolutely killer- no pun intended. I love surprise endings in horror films and this one was dynamite. My main criticism of the film is the horrendous dubbing, which distracted a great deal. It has a muffled, hard to hear quality to it and no subtitles. I’d rather it have been available in Italian with English sub-titles. The film needs to be upgraded to Blu-ray ASAP. Another odd aspect of the film is the mixture of operatic music with heavy metal music with each kill. It did not seem to fit the film at all. Not Argento’s best- Suspiria and Deep Red have that honor, but a very good, enjoyable cinematic horror film.