Absolute pleasure to watch “Under the Shadow”

Wife M, Daughter L and I watched Under the Shadow last night.  On the surface level, it was a scary movie (although not too over-the-top scary) that got scarier and creepier.  But on a deeper level, like “Moonlight” and “Get Out” and “Babadook” I loved its message.  We have a mother who was an aspiring medical student before leaving school to join her revolution; because of that she can’t pursue her dream (ostracized) later.  Her husband, instead of fighting for her, says “maybe it is for the best.”  As the movie goes on, and the Djinni take over the buliding, she becomes more isolated as a mother.  Her husband is gone, her community slowly leaves, her workout tape is gone, her medical book is locked away then sacrificed for her daughter’s doll, she is told by her husband she is incapable of making her own decision (to stay) then when she decides to leave rather than leave she must stay (“if you love me”) and help her daughter find her beloved doll.  When she escapes all this at last by breaking down the wall with her daughter, the book and the doll stay behind, indicating you can run but you can’t ever escape.  

Oh my goodness, what a message this is to be a woman in a man’s world.  What a powerful (but entertaining) movie.  

Brilliant.  Why wasn’t this nominated for an Oscar??

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Absolute pleasure to watch “Under the Shadow”

Watched and liked “Black Christmas” 1974

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 🙂

Watched and liked “Black Christmas” 1974

Watched Carrie and it was surprisingly good

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.  

Watched Carrie and it was surprisingly good

Watched Halloween for the first time

My mom didn’t like us watching slasher films as a kid, and to be honest I didn’t like watching kids getting killed.  So although Halloween was a huge cult hit when I was young, I have never seen it, but Wife M and I watched it today for the first time.  I loved it.  It is like a ghost film, except instead of a ghost it is a homicidal killer.  

Notes:

I love the music and opening credits against the pumpkin — great tone setter.  The performances and flow of the movie are good.  I love how the main character suspects something amiss but no one aroujnd her believes her.  Love how “Don’t Fear the Reaper” is playing on the radio as Michael Meyers is trailing them.  Love how the old house looks like a haunted house.  It is funny how no one notices a sinsiter man standing in a hockey mask, how no one thinks to alert the town that Michael Meyers has escaped (of course, this was in the days before everyone had a mobile device).  THe movie is proof that you don’t need a lot of action to build suspense, creepiness and fear (this is one of my ocmplaints about Horror Story, that it is too over the top with endless “thrills”).  I love the role of the psychologist, reminds me of the exorcist in The Exorcist or George C. Scott in The Changeling…  I can’t believe this is the same director who did The Thing, which was more cheesey and was essentially about the dumbest scientits on the face of the planet (“hey, let’s blow ourselves up so the monster can’t get away”)..  It seems to be a rule of slasher films that women don’t wear bras and look for any opportunity to pull their clothes off (“Oh, I spilled on myself, let me pull off all my clothes”)…  The Thing appeared on the screen, a movie the director remade a few years later…  The Washing Machine soujnded like Michael Meyers breathing in the mask…  All these kids are running around the neighborhood, and none of the adults are home — that is soo how it was in the 1970s!  Parents were always “out,” and so many kids had free reight to roam the neighborhood in packs and get into mischief… Brilliant to have the door unlocked the second time and the inside of the car fogged!  I love the theme of no one believing each other, and the killer roaming in-between the spaces of this mistrust… With the beat of the music, how Michael keeps coming after her at his steady pace, I was thinking of It Follows.

 

Watched Halloween for the first time

Watched The Shining Last Night 

In a rare family moment (i.e. it is rare when all four of us are together these days), the family watched The Shining last night.  

I was home before everyone else, and had a burst of energy, so set up the big screen, rearranged the couches for more comfortable viewing, ordered pizzas and stocked the fireplace with firewood. (These are things I used to always do for the family — little things to make their lives cozier and to show love — but evaporated when my illness set in a few years ago; so it felt great to have a momentary burst of my old self).  We ordered pizza, lit a fire and watched the movie.

I love all the little things in the movie.  I was noticing how The Overlook Hotel is like a palace, and Jack is like the minotaur, and there are all kinds of allusions to bullheads in the movie.  In some ways, the family are the conquerors living in their palace and falling into dysfunction during their isolation, much like dynasties do over time (I am thinking of the dysfunction of Roman emperors, the Russian Tsars, Henry VIII’s court and even the 2016 US Presidential race).  I love how large and grand everything, and they are always centered against a symetrical background, often with a crown-like fixture over their head.  Meanwhile, Jack is plummeting into madness, lumbering around the maze with his axe much like the minotaur, which was the offspring of greed and power and fed off the young.  It is such a wonderfully spooky movie.  And it is was a cozy evening.  

An aside: After a year of avoiding this, I am starting to fall asleep during movies again, something I did in the few years before and after my diagnosis before it went away the past year.  But the past month or two I fall asleep during every movie at night, I am just so exhausted.  Such a bummer but can’t be helped. 

Watched The Shining Last Night 

Session 9 had soooo much potential but didn’t deliver :(

Session 9 was yet another ghost movie we watched.  The film is about a small company of Hazmat workers who must clean out an abandoned sanitarium.  Here was a sanitarium (creepy) where the workers were isolated (unsettling) not unlike The Shining, but really the film didn’t do much to run with it.  There was never a sense of foreboding other than you could sense something was wrong with the owner, and later it turned out there was something wrong with him.  THe last five minutes turned out to be deadly for several characters, but it seemed somewhat sudden with no real opportunity to look back and say, “Oh yeah, that makes sense” other than a few things with the owner (a burned leg which seemed to symbolize his slow breakdown).  I would have love to see more disturbances that made me dread the workers having to go in there, and for a group of guys who had a huge bonus attached to completing the work in half the time, they seemed to have a lot of time to take breaks and screw around.  All I can think about when I think of this movie is, “What could have been…” 🙂

Session 9 had soooo much potential but didn’t deliver :(