WIfe M and Daughter L heard about Black Christmas on Faculty of Horror, and we noticed it has been well received over the years and it kind of set the stage for the slasher genre (although I’ve never watched those with the exception of Halloween, last weekend). I liked it. I really like films that are patient and set atmosphere with a deft hand, and this film did that really well. It felt real, not cheap and wafer thin, and was frightening but not overly so. I can’t believe the same director did this film, Porky’s and A Christmas Story 🙂
We watched Carrie last night, the first time I’ve seen it since 1984 and the first time Wife M has ever seen it. When I watched it the first time, I watched it with my step grandma and sister in the wee hours of the morning. At the time, I found the ending terrifying, and after the movie had to retire to my “bed” at my grandpa’s house, which was on his couch in a basement room with no windows. I spent a nervous night literally sweating through my blankets, a little too frightened to sleep uncovered despite being overheated under the heavy wool blankets.
But that was years ago and I fully expected a cheesy film. But it was surprisingly efficient, well told and spooky at the end. I loved how attached I grew to the characters in a short period of time, and in the last sequence how she seemed like a bloody ghoul. It was a nice film (perhaps a little too much underscoring, but that’s okay). I found the slapping (the teacher slaps a student, and Travolta’s character slaps his girlfriend) disturbing to watch, but that isn’t about the quality of the film.
I find Brian de Palma is an interesting director. He has put together some pretty awfully made movies, but then occassionally comes out with a whoppingly good one.
While three films is a long way from an adequate sample size, here are trends I’m noticed on the three horror films I’ve seen from Asia (2 from Japan, 1 from Korea): The SuperNatural are powerful and dangerous. These aren’t just ghosts out for a spook or demons out for a body to posses, but supernatural forces that use their powers to kill humans. This adds a downright sinister feeling to them… There is no neat and tidy explanation at the end: they are muddled and somewhat confusing endings, which makes sense, since this is the supernatural afterall… The main characters are real. That is, they are sometimes bumbling characters whose evil moves into their lives, not some perfect family who moves into a remote farm house with a brave character who moves in to try to fix anything… There are multiple victims, not just one person or family, so the stakes are high…
Wife M and I tried to see The Wailing in the theaters but timing didn’t work out, so we were glad to see it available on DVD and made a plan to watch it last night. What a wonderful movie it was, too! Bumbling characters, strange and errie things that weren’t too terrifying, incredible setting, and somehow just kept us engaged for the entire 2.5 hours. The ending was confusing as heck for us, but maybe there are cultural meanings (it is a S. Korean film), maybe that was the point (not everything has a neat answer) and it was fun to discuss the ending. What a great evening it was, to watch this. And what a wonderful day it was yesterday when I wasn’t feeling well, to watch 3 great spooky films back to back to back: The WItch, Notorious, and The Wailing… Love days like that…
“The Witch” was on Amazon Prime so I watched it this afternoon while Wife M worked on her grant application. I liked it. I liked the setting (17th Century Puritan New England is a spooky setting on its own), that the movie was patient and didn’t take on too much or try for too many cheap scares, and I thought it was a deft use of sound. I liked the themes, including one that I think is self-pride can lead to destruction in times of crisis.
The mother’s cynical treatment of the daughter was difficult to take at times (which may have been a theme, about harsh parents chasing children into the arms of temptation), and I am not a fan of dark filters (overdone, plus in some ways is cheating, since anyone can make a horror film in spooky murkiness — the trick would be making a spooky movie on a bright summer day).
I liked the father and oldest daughter’s performance. I thought it was depressing that the eldest daughter — of marrying age in the film — was born in 1996, which makes me feel very old 🙂 It reminded me of the time that one of the AEs on my team brought her parents in to meet us, and her parents were my age. I don’t mind, of course, it just catches me by surprise, as in, “Oh yeah, I am well into middle-age” and nearing the end of my career.
I liked this film, especially in the Fall, and will watch it again another Halloween.