Posted in Other Media

Horror Films A–Z, Oct. 2020: D, E & F

Dead Ringers

Year: 1988
Runtime: 1h 56m

Director: David Cronenberg

Writer: David Cronenberg, Norman Snider, Bari Wood, Jack Geasland

Stars: Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske

“You going to spank me, Doc?”

“It hadn’t occurred to me.”

Initial: Rewatch. After seeing a promo for this movie on (probably) Cinemax, I stayed up to watch this movie on cable while my parents were asleep.

Production Notes: Second movie during this project with cinematographer Peter Suschitzky. He was also the DOP of The Vanishing (1993). He’s a frequent Cronenberg collaborator.

What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead)
I feel like Jeremy Irons’ 1991 Oscar for Reversal of Fortune was a make-up Oscar for Dead Ringers… Also, how did Peter Suschitzky not even get a nomination for this? Or at least someone responsible for the effects? The best effects are the effects that aren’t noticeable at all.

I first watched this movie at an impressionable age, but I think the aura of…discomfort…remains pretty much intact. This isn’t a movie that’s going to get you with gore or jump scares. It’s going to niggle its way under your skin and make you wonder what goes on in the lives of professional, successful, “together” people. People who may even be your doctor. This was Cronenberg’s follow-up to The Fly (1986).

Event Horizon

Year: 1997
Runtime: 1h 36m
Rated: R

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Philip Eisner

Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan

“Smitty have you seen… anything unusual at all?”

“No, I haven’t seen anything and I don’t need to see anything, sir, but I can tell you: this ship is fucked.”

Initial: Rewatch. One of the few “horror” films my husband likes.

Production Notes:

What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead)
The year is 2047 and apparently we’ve solved cancer from smoking…

I know I used “much maligned” not long ago, but it really applies to Event Horizon, especially when it first came out. The majority of the criticisms seem to be: “It starts off with a good premise and then becomes a horror movie.” No, this is incorrect. It starts off as a horror movie and stays a horror movie as it excellently executes its tropes. It is, as it was pitched by its writer, a haunted house story in space.* If you think of it like that, you will have a fine old time.

For We Are Many

Year: 2019
Runtime: 1h 20m
Rated: N/R

Director: Lawrie Brewster, et al.

Writers: Claire Norton, et al.

Stars: Laurence R. Harvey, Eileen Dietz, Nicholas Vince

My name is legion, for we are many.
Matthew (8.28-34)

Initial: Thirteen stories in less than an hour and a half? I mean, I guess that’s possible…

Production Notes:

  1. “Wendigo” – dir./writ. Gavin Robertson, star. Iain Mitchell Leslie
  2. “Bad Company” – dir./writ. Carlos Omar De Leon, writ. Vorasine Vince Phrommany, star. Desire Jansen
  3. “Father” – dir./writ. Mark Logan, star. Laurence R. Harvey
  4. “Demon in the Woods” – dir. Alex Harron, writ. Chris Keaton
  5. “Night Train” – dir./writ. Brad Watson, star. Faith Knight
  6. “Eli’s House” – dir./writ. Mitch Wilson, star. Julin, Jason Duffy Klemm
  7. “Three Times Around” – dir./writ. Andrew Ionides, star Joseph T. Callaghan
  8. “The Slaughtering Ground” – dir./writ. Dane Keil
  9. “Breath” – dir./writ. Tom Staunton
  10. “The Summoned”
  11. “Intervention” – dir./writ. Paddy Murphy, star. Nicholas Vince, Brian O’Regan
  12. “The Damned Statue” – dir./writ. Matthan Harris, star. Eileen Dietz
  13. “The Murder of Crows” – star. Gareth Morrison
  14. “Creek” – dir./writ. Keith Robson

What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead)
Thirteen filmmakers from around the world were asked to produce shorts inspired by demons. There are actually, not including the wrap-around, fourteen shorts. (To make up for two wendigos?) And shorts they are, most without much plot other than “Oh, god, a demon!” There was enough variation in details though that the stories stayed relatively fresh.

Obviously, with an anthology film of this magnitude, some segments are going to be better than others. Stand-outs for me:

“Night Train” – Stylish, with a bit more plot than the rest and a science fiction twist near the end.

“Three Times Around” – An urban legend filmed in a found footage/streaming style. Very effective, the best of the social media-aspected tales.

“The Summoned” – Cursed mirrors are always fun. This one also had a rather good soundtrack.