The Theater Bizarre – Evil, Sex and Death

Orchestrated by director Jeremy KastenThe Theater Bizarre has been designed with as an inspiration; the theater Grand Guignol of Paris.
The host is Udo Krier interpreting a muppet. He introduced sketches after sketches of about 20 minutes each, to a sole woman that has been strongly attracted to that theater across the street, which opened its doors the second she came in front of it.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 4.35.56

Cruelty, sex, temptation and death, let’s take each short film one by one.

The Mother of Toads

A young couple goes to France, encounter a creepy women (nd apparently her look doesn’t seem to bother anyone), who starts to talk about the Necronomicon. *Poof* Amazing, the guy actually wanted to read it for years, he then agrees to come later to her house in order to peek into it. He might be handsome, poor thing is stupid and naive.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 4.39.35

Director Richard Stanley chose to create a universe almost worth of an exploitation film, along with the croaking of the toads provoking an auditive hallucination of hysterical laughs, its awful creature or some psychedelic shots,  but is too grotesque in its seriousness to be one.

Fotor0720140432

In a nutshell, evil has got more to offer than any human being, and actually doesn’t give you a choice. Therefore wether you like it or not, you will have to abide to its law. What a script!

I Love You

Buddy Giovinazzo, however, took a step further in his script’s logic pattern. The movie starts in a cleaner/clearer environment up to some immaculate white bathroom, where a man is laying on the floor, unconscious. The only color is scarlet blood all around him. Please meet Axel.
He wakes up, has a nasty cut on his hand and starts calling his girlfriend, Mo, who will not pick up, he tries than a friend, and explain to him that he doesn’t know what happened.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 5.06.35 Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 5.07.08 Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 5.07.18

We spectators know that his friend is with his girlfriend, right below his apartment window. She’s getting up to break-up with Axel.
Extremely clever woman, she knows his future ex-boyfriend is obsessionally jealous but decides anyway to tell him with all cruelty possible, that she cheated on him for 3 years, with many guys. Whore.

Interesting matching of colors. She's almost disappearing into the decor.

Interesting matching of colors. She’s almost disappearing into the decor.

Unfortunately, cruelty and jealousy are not a great match, girl. The director approached the subject with a schizophrenic, unstable camera’s point-of-view, that is messing with us, but doesn’t protect us from the disappointing end in which  only the dialogues are worth the ride.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 5.13.52

Oh and please someone explain to me what the fuck they’re drinking! (Get27?)

Fotor0720142419

Wet Dreams

“Unite your stories to define your life.” That’s pretty much it.

However if you are interesting in knowing how to get a headache here’s the recipe: take several dreams, choose a person who will be caught in its own nightmare, then caught in an other person nightmare, and finally caught in an other person’s dream becoming his nightmare. Put the icing on the cake; set up some blurry lines between reality and onirism.

Possible explanation for this short film, signed Tom Savini, is Carla, a woman victim of domestic violence who’s husband doesn’t only beat her, but cheats with his psychologist’s wife. He is subjected to several dreams in which he is almost castrated. To take her revenge, his wife will complete that unfinished act.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 5.28.35

The plot is great, interesting, but God, it is so ugly in its own disturbing madness which is pushed to the limit of no longer sustaining any ounce of credibility. A shame, the story got real potential.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 5.32.14

The Accident

Douglas Buck breaks a little bit the rhythm with his short, however keeps te same morbid atmosphere of suffocating darkness.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 5.50.38

A mother and her daughter are driving along talking about death (usual conversation) when they pull over. A biker had an accident with a moose, and died of it.
Starts a black poetic discussion around death, and the big question “Why do we die”. It is not because we’re bad, explains the mother, it is to make room for the new ones.
The subject is delicate, the way it is filmed is interesting and powerful, it is a tale explaining that death is random, so let it go.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 5.49.42

Vision Stains

My favorite, by Karim Hussain.

Cronenberg is his major influence, it has to! And when I say Cronenberg, I mean senior and junior. Indeed, Brandon Cronenberg‘s Antiviral influence is also palpable in Vision Stains.

A woman kills other women (who want to die, so it’s totally okay), in order to retain the chronological flash of their lives passing before their eyes experienced at the moment of their last breath. Thus, she injects a needle into one of their eye, removes a liquid that she will inject to her own right after that. In a transe, she will write their story down on several books. All this as a tribute to those women for which she is a voice.

Fotor0720150856

The medical aspect of the movie, and the cronenbergian aspect of the story is brillant. The woman is then caught by her own rules, into this spiral of “more”. Like a drug addict, she needs more, she needs a stronger dose, and tries to reach the sun, but goes back to Earth with her eyes burnt.
It is better to be blind and dream than seeing it all and not be able to escape.
Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 6.14.46

It is filmed in a very clever way, and the director made some refine choices when it came to the music and established strong background presence. With the breathtaking use of whispers, screams and elliptical images, Hussain creates this final dome where the air is suffocating and weights on your chest.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 6.20.34

Sweets

David Gregory couldn’t explain better a love story based on bulimia.
If chocolate helps you get through a breakup, the director sees food in Sweets as being the pillars of a relationship, taking into account the fact that food rots and disintegrates leaving a stinky smell behind it, like breakups do.

We are in a living room, a guy is eating and crying, surround by food. In front of him, a woman is holding a melting ice cream that she barely licks. They’re breaking up.

Fotor072015373

He doesn’t want to let her go and yet she insists in warning him that she is not a good person. He reminds her of how great they were before, and the director offers us some flashbacks in which each time, the woman got a new hair cut and color, and in which the couple is having sexual intercourses through food, and more specifically through sweets.
In a crescendo, eating food becomes nasty, disturbing and vicious. It is threatening and this is against what the woman wanted to warn her lover.

Fotor0720153646

However, her character is manipulating him, she can control food, and thus wants to apply this control on other people through nourishment. She is amused with cruelty, and go even further with this guy by considering him like a goat that she is fattening, until he is ready to be eaten. A form of bulimia that reaches its climax with cannibalism in a Salò, or the 120 days of Sodom table of sins.

Very esthetic, and well structured with pop art scenes and burtonian environments, Gregory placed us in an underground world we didn’t know about.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 6.28.41

Advertisements

Eraserhead – An Experimental Masterpiece

In 1977, David Lynch was releasing his first movie; Eraserhead. A door to a quirky, experimental, and very manual work, but also a door to a whole new world, of little dialogue, and inexplicable behavior and happenings. Comparing to the Hollywood production, Lynch was offering the premises of independent, not commercial movies, and taking the risk to be considered as a marginal character, stepping out of big american productions. Thus, something really important, is shown in the film, Lynch is capturing, every bit and aspects of the industrial America, with noisy, smoking machines, mass production or railroads. Filmed in black and white, it points out the dark, of this industrial era.

eraserhead-1977-04-g

The director is, before being a filmmaker, a painter and a sculptor, joining this part of his skills to its first filmed production. Combining those, he created Eraserhead, where his weird characters could live under their own specific rules, and darknesses.
Henry Spencer (Jack Nance) is just a regular guy, with a fancy haircut, great tastes in music, who happened to have issues with his sexuality. Not that he is not confident or anything, but he happened to possess harmful spermatozoids.
He is not taking any real initiatives, but seems more to be passive, therefore, we learn that he has a girlfriend, Mary (Charlotte Stewart) , even though the girl next door, is hitting on him.

Mary invited him over diner one night, and Henry finally has to meet her family, which isn’t ordinary at all. This night, he learnt he was a father.
The thing is, the baby he had with her, is way too premature, and looks like a living spermatozoid, and not a human at all, at least physically speaking, but morally, he acts more human than every other characters, having basic needs, and wants. Lynch did a pretty good job in modeling its creature, and make it more real than ever, a sort of lynchian E.T.. This infant, is the product of a uncontrolled, and cursed sexual arousal, explained by a animated feature in the beginning of the film.  Even when Henry got the news, by Mary’s mother, this last one, was practically sexually harassing him, and he didn’t even pushed her away. He is a victim of his sexuality, and passiveness.

He has dreams, hallucinations, where his spermatozoids invade Mary’s body, or when he looked at his radiator and travel into some theater, where a women is dancing, with abnormal cheeks, crushing his sperm as they are dropping from the ceiling. Something odd is happening, a fear of castration.

Eraserhead, is a mysterious masterpiece of cinematographic work. Close to what he did in his short The Grandmother, David Lynch depicted his private, and odd world, when people aren’t really acting like normal human beings, but more like if, the director, was modeling what would happen if we acted like we thought, like our ideas were organized, and popping into our mind. Mixing, dream, reality, but also desires. Picking one theme, he then shaped what could happen starting from that. Very metaphorical, and a lot based on details and decor, Eraserhead, is actually a premise, of Lynch’s work, which will keep the same basis, and evolve into the different spheres of consciousness and subconsciousness, mastered by the filmmaker. He directed this movie, as if he painted a tableau, you can look at it over and over you will still observe some details you haven’t notice.

This Is The End – Apocalyptic fun

I saw Pineapple Express and Superbad from director Evan Goldberg and casting Seth Rogen, but I never laughed like I did while watching This Is the End .

20130924-095953.jpg
The movie is starring Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride as the main characters of the movie, and they all play themselves. So a manly cast for a brocomedy, with drugs (weed and ecstasy), booze and penises. And the way I saw the movie, was: a bunch of guys, having a good time, self-mocking and sharing their funny experience with the spectators. Because it is obvious, that they enjoyed doing this and had a great laugh. That’s what I loved about This Is the End; they saw in acting, a way of letting go and make the spectator having a good time while watching their pranks.

Now, to focus more on the “story”, basically it’s the apocalypse, and more especially the Last Judgment on the Hollywood hills. Good people are sucked into the sky, called in paradise by God, and the others are left to be killed by sexualized demons on an inflamed Earth. And if the ones left to die in terrible ways, don’t accomplish a good action they can’t be called up by God. It’s a kind of simplified biblical interpretation, and a little mockery towards the Christian religion. But well, everything in the movie is a joke.
Therefore, how those selfish, narcissistic, actors will survive in such a situation? And that’s the point of the whole crazy gore adventure they’re in. They don’t particularly stand each other, and yet it is a bromance and they will try to save each other (at least some of them). ‘Cause, as a reminder, Jay doesn’t live in L.A., he came to see Seth and ended up at a party in Franco’s house, where he didn’t like any of the guests. And when the apocalypse started, and a great part of them died in a freaking huge whole that suddenly opened up under their feet, the five guys (Danny McBride arrived later, not being invited to the party) barricaded themselves into James’ house and stayed there, gathering food and drugs. And their little private heaven on Earth, is little by little ransacked.

Well, This Is the End, didn’t disappoint me at all, on the contrary, I was pleasantly surprise to discover a really funny movie, with hilarious moments, and with a really great cast. I enjoyed the concept, the pranks, that were for once not stodgy and I heavily advise you to watch it.

20130924-095958.jpg

Mama – Another ghost story

20130918-102332.jpgIt’s not wonder Guillermo Del Toro was the producer of Andy Muschietti movie, Mama. Once you’ve watched Pan’s Labyrinth is hard not to see the similarity between the two; both directors chose children to experienced an entrance into a new world, which isn’t fairy at all, but dark and mysterious, however, there’s a clear balance between good and bad in all creatures of the universe. And yet, I could only think of The Tall Man.

Therefore, I wouldn’t categorized Mama as a very scary horror film, as long as I wasn’t this afraid, (just surprised sometimes) knowing that I’m a real chicken-hearted. The creature is moving, just like Tim Burton‘s animated characters are, and I was only stressed in the beginning, a stress that rapidly fade away. I would just say that it seemed like it was targeting, at first, a Disney production, but hasn’t be accepted due to lack of gentle characters.

Now, if the movie starts on a pretty creepy note, it’s quickly erased from our spirits and only the pale dark colors and the excessive use of shadows, that prevented me from seeing anything sometimes, will remind us that this is a sad story. Two little girls, have lost their parents the same day on quite awful circumstances: the mother is killed by the father, and this one is killed by a ghost a few seconds before he tried to put an end to his older daughter’s life. To who’s that spirit belongs? Is it good? The only thing we know, is that for 5 years, both girls survived alone in a hut deep in the woods. The creature took care of them, but also took care of their dad and not tenderly, therefore, it is impossible to determine its motivations.

During those five years, the father’s twin brother, Luke (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) will search for his nieces. And one day, they’re finally found. After so many time living on their own, with a groaning creature as a parental figure, you can’t expect the 8 and 6 years old, to speak and act like human beings. Indeed, they gained in velocity and adopted animal behaviors (that cruelly reminded me of The Grudge spirits ones). Thus, they had been under Doctor Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash) surveillance before going back to their uncle’s house, who’s girlfriend is a rock’n’roll Jessica Chastain, Annabel. And I have to admit that she wasn’t fitting at all into the role.

Then, started the “taming” of the girls, which better worked on Victoria, the older girl, who knew how to talk and walk before the events. And it’s thanks to those elements, that things will evolved. Now, the script isn’t really solid, nor well constructed or maintained. It is, most of the time confusing and lacking of substance, whereas it could have been interesting, if the story and feelings of the creature were more developed and explained. It left us to make our own hypothesis, but if sometimes it’s a great initiative, in a horror movie it is not. Muschietti rather chose to play on the oneiric and nightmarish side of Mama, creating a parallel world, followed by a haunting melody. And if the idea is great, once again it has been misused.

Nevertheless, the last scene will stay a beautiful one, and the one leveling up the whole movie and partly covering its imperfections. And it’s at the end the very end that I felt horrified. I would considered a plot twist, but it did moved me.