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Horror Films A–Z, Sept. 2020: R, S & T

Rabid

Year: 2019
Runtime: 1h 47m
Rated: Not Rated

Directors: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska

Writers: John Serge, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska

Stars: Laura Vandervoort, Benjamin Hollingsworth, Ted Atherton

“Now, what do you tell the critics that are saying that you premiering your collection during a public health crisis is a tasteless publicity stunt?”

Initial: My original pick for a new-to-me movie for the letter R involved cursed objects and, after Queen of Spades, I just couldn’t.

Production Notes: A remake of David Cronenberg’s 1977 film by the same title. Both are Canadian productions.

What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead)
I tried to watch the original Rabid once and didn’t get very far. I had just watched Cronenberg’s Shivers and there seemed to be a lot in common between the two movies. So, I can’t say whether the Soska Sister’s remake is faithful to the original. It doesn’t have the sexual heaviness that Cronenberg films have, but I only miss that in retrospect. It does have a some commentary on appearance and fashion, along with a healthy dose of gore. But, oh, the creature effects aren’t great…

There are quite a few Cronenberg Easter eggs in this film. My favorite? There are characters named Dr. Beverly and Dr. Elliot, a nod to the twins in Dead Ringers (1988). Dr. Elliot is played by Heidi von Palleske, who had a small role in that film.


Starfish

Year: 2018
Runtime: 1h 41m
Rated: M

Director: A.T. White

Writer: A.T. White

Stars: Virginia Gardner, Christina Masterson, Eric Beecroft

Based on a True Story

Initial: I don’t quite remember how this film ended up on my list…

Production Notes: Couldn’t find out much about this movie. It’s A. T. White’s first full-length feature.

What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead)
What if the fate of the world was dependent on the actions of a grieving young woman who doesn’t really care if the world exists or not? This is maybe not the most horrific movie on my list though the creature design here is unsettling in a Lovecraftian way. The film pretty much hinges on Virginia Gardner’s performance as she time- and dimension-slips her way through the mix tapes left behind by her friend. And she’s really good. Much of the rest of the cast, the people who formerly peopled her life, are insinuated by the places they’ve left behind. This is a very deliberately made movie; maybe not for everyone.


They Live

Year: 1988
Runtime: 1h 34m
Rated: R

Director: John Carpenter

Writers: Ray Nelson, John Carpenter

Stars: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster

“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.”

Initial: I once named a ulitmate frisbee league team Chew Bubblegum and Huck Discs…

Production Notes: Wrestler Roddy Piper had to split with the WWF to make They Live. The film opened at #1 and subsequently paved the way for future wrestler/actors.

What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead)
I’m glad I rolled odd for this rewatch today. I was in the mood for an 80s movie. A little bit of cheese, a little bit of heavy-handed political themes…

I always remember the set up for this movie, but never the end. That might be because over half of the movie is set up for a visually memorable premise. We don’t see one of the aliens until over a half hour in. The finale is kind of inevitable, but I respect a director/writer that isn’t going to give his hero an easy way out.

Author:

Writer, publisher. Hobbies include reading, studying magic & illusions from a historical/theoretical perspective, and playing ultimate frisbee.

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