(1963) The Haunting

The Haunting, despite being such an influence in the horror genre in general, seems to be an incredible lesson in use of space. Architecture, ceilings and walls are constantly the focus. Wise creates a ton of claustrophobic tension and before the story even begins to evolve, you get the sense that these individuals are indeed, trapped inside this house.

When not drooling over the visuals and the wide lens shots, sonically, the film is just perfection. I read somewhere way back in the day that this was an influence on Sam Raimi and I can definitely see that. Yes, the film does deliver on visuals but it’s that bombardment of the senses that breaks down your walls and actually allows you to be scared

Everyone knows this film and has their own opinion so I won’t ramble. I just wanted to kind of hammer down that this is indeed, one of the best atmospheric horror films of the early 60’s.

8.5/10

Advertisements

(1963) The Birds

One of those most successful aspects of this film is its ability to create tension and establish a pacing that sucks you in and keeps your engaged. I can’t even tell you how many films were inspired by this film. With that being said, there are some issues.

The issues I have with this film are really straightforward. While it can be difficult at first to review an older film that utilizes a ton of special effects, I have a good grasp on to what kind of techniques remain timeless, as well as what falls into the opposite end of the spectrum.

The first scene to bother me was the fireplace scene. I won’t go into any specifics on what happens but they utilize this overlay technology that in my opinion, looks extremely awkward. It looks awkward in part due to the fact that you had actors reacting to what would be post-production work. We know now that it can be done and with mesmerizing results, even with full CGI. However, it seems back then that actors weren’t able to get the proper, real-time feedback needed to lay forth convincing performances. This is something no one talks about with Hitchcock (at least through my limited research) but I felt it was an easy call and important to mention.

Beyond that, performances are great and I love the truly mysterious nature of the plot. Despite being a constant source of audience distress, I love mystery and things happening for no particular reason will always have a place in the horror genre.

Along with the mysetrious nature of the film, it almost leads to kind of a dystopian perspective, as events transpire with no real hope. Hope coming in forms of explanation or even ways to combat the problem. It really sets up just a wondurful final scene, both visually and the general tone of it all.

All-in-all, I really like this film but I don’t hold it to be a masterpiece like everyone else does.

7/10

(1968) Kuroneko

Kuroneko is an atmospheric piece at its core but with substantial depth to its story. It really is just a beautiful looking film.

The effects couldn’t have aged better. Scenes of combat and violence still look fantastic and the transformative techniques on the environment brought an impressive level of depth.

This is definitely one of the more existential ghost films out there, really tackling themes of death, love, sacrifice and suffering to grand extents. I’d recommend this to both fans of ghost stories and Japanese film in general. There’s something about Japanese ghost stories and their inherent depressive nature that’s kind of beautiful.

8.5/10

(2007) Funny Games

I really don’t even know what to say right now. I guess just refer to my review for the original version. This is almost a shot-for-shot remake with American actors. I’ve actually never seen so little change in a re-made film. I guess that’s partially due to the original director doing it.

It’s good though, just like the original. I’m going to knock it down a point points because we’ve seen this shit and yeah, I don’t even really know. You can’t just remake your own film and expect the same recognition and reaction from anyone who has seen the original work.

I’m not mad nor am I excited; I feel nothing.

8/10

(1997) Funny Games

This is simply one of the best home invasion films in existence. It makes a very blunt point about why we watch these films and what we want out of them. It also doesn’t hurt that it does so in a confounding and suspenseful way, that it almost ruins the future films that follow in its footsteps.

The villains are so pure to the horror genre. They’re completely void of any traditional motivations like greed or revenger. This film is an exercise in sadism and personally, when the motivation is just to simply hurt, that makes a film much scarier.

It’s really interesting and there’s plenty more to talk about but half the fun is being surprised, so jump right in.

9/10

 

 

(1988) Dead Ringers

While almost minimalistic for Cronenberg standards, Dead Ringers offers up some his most mature and complex work out of the entire catalogue.

Jeremy Iron’s puts on a performance of a lifetime. coupled with the technology used to show him as “twins”, it’s truly mind-boggling trying to sort out what’s real and what isn’t, which is where a ton of the tension lies throughout the film.

Overall, it’s an incredibly bleak film that while difficult to re-watch, almost seems necessary as I write this up. The last act of the film culminates the events, with total understanding relying upon a barrage of details that aren’t always easy to keep up with. It’s part of what makes this piece so genius and also what makes it a difficult watch.

I’m still sitting here digesting it but I’m confident in saying it’s one of Cronenberg’s best films, period.

9/10

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky

Absolutely hilarious, so much over the top, ultra-gory body horror. This may just be the best kung-fu movie in existence. There’s not much else to say, it’s a ton of fun and a perfect popcorn flick.

A side note, it’s even more funny dubbed in English. I’m pretty sure one of the prisoners is voiced by an Australian bloke.

7/10