Showing posts from 2011

Punk Zombie Classic: The Return Of The Living Dead

John Russo who helped write the screenplay Night of the Living Dead went on to write his own sequel to the 1968 film, called Return of the Living Dead. Since both Russo and Romero owned the rights to Night each of them retained privileges to its title. Romero kept Dead and Russo was able to keep Living Dead. John Russo wrote his screenplay the same year Romero released Dawn of the Dead (1978). An independent producer, Tom Fox, purchased his script and gave it to Dan O’Bannon. Return of the Living Dead was released in theaters one month after Day of the Dead and received an instant fan base and reputation as a punk inspired horror/comedy.
Originally Tom Fox wanted Tobe Hooper to direct the film and supposedly it was to be in 3-D, but Hooper was tied up working on his film Lifeforce and could not take the job. Dan O’Bannon was connected to Lifefoce as the writer and had been interested in directing so Fox gave the script over to him. O’Bannon began his film career working along …

Where werewolves make us laugh: An American Werewolf In London

Werewolves are wanderers like vampires, but they have the benefit of leading a normal life with the exception of three nights a month.A werewolf is the release of our id.The person transforms when the moon is full, the time of the month when oceans pull back and the polarity of the world is in flux.The werewolf is our release, it is when all the troubles of life pile up and we can’t take it anymore and we let the wolf out.It is the easy way out, instead of dealing with trouble and pain we just allow our darkness to take over all of our bodily functions.The werewolf just kills everything in its way.It is an animal; it is our animalistic-primordial state.It is when we put ourselves on auto-pilot and allow ourselves to live only by instinct alone.This can seem like a source of freedom, but it is also de-evolving.We are a progressive species; we are the only animal whose brain grows before the skull does.We need intelligence before we need protection.So, it may seem like a werewolf is the…

Audition For Your Role In Hell

This film has us stumped, not in the sense that we don’t have any theories on its ending, but in the way that the experience was so perfect it has left us with writers block.
The film begins with Aoyama’s wife dying and his seven long years of loneliness.This leads him to need to remarry – “men can’t maintain without female support.”He and his friend Yoshikawa set up a fake film audition for a project called “Tomorrow’s Heroine.”Asami is one of the applicants and through spilt coffee Aoyama is completely smitten.The titular event is creative in the way it is edited – a montage of mixed questions and answers (i.e. have you ever been involved with the adult film industry? This is the scar from my first suicide).The only straight forward audition is Asami’s.Over the course of what seems like weeks the two finally stay the night together in what we consider the biggest scare within the film – commitment.It ends badly, full of regret.After their tryst Asami vanishes, this is the point in th…

There's Hope For Uncle Kent

In Joe Swanberg's latest entry Uncle Kent we see that there is still passion in the indie film scene.  Here at Cineniche we have followed the director's prolific career from his debut Kissing On The Mouth in 2005 forward.  Each film seems to offer a different side of Swanberg's own psyche.  His method of treating cinema as a naturalistic forum have caused controversy not only in the film snob community but also with censors.  The standout element of Swanberg is his dedication to telling small stories in such a way that feel voyeristic and comical.  There is always a sense of high energy in each of his films, and this is due to the almost stream of conscious way they are made.  He treats his films almost as documentaries.  In the beginning there is an outline - no script - and from there the non-professional actors fill the films with a deeper meaning than can sometimes be written in a screenplay format.  Uncle Kent is no exception.

Kent Osborne stars as Kent and while he…

We Are What We Are, Is What It Is.

Do not be confused by the hype machine and its marketing of Jorge Michel Grau's Mexican film We Are What We Are, this is first and foremost a family drama with a splash of horror.  The horror that is publicized occurs for the majority in the last 10 minutes.

We begin with the death of the patriarch and from there we shift perspective to the rest of the family.  Here we have a useless mother, two sons, and a daughter.  It quickly becomes evident that the daughter will function as the mother and the two sons will have to battle each other to secure there place as leader of the clan.

The eldest son is next in line, he's level headed but filled with anxiety.  The other son is the wild card and clearly not fit to lead.  The daughter-mother makes it her job to ready the eldest for the next "ritual."

The plot moves slowly with a few impressive ingrediants, but overall doesn't deliver until the third act when all hell breaks loose.  In most cases a film like this would prov…

Meet Robert, The Killer Tire In RUBBER

This years bizarre award goes to Quentin Dupieux otherwise known as Mr. Oizo.  When Oizo's Flat Beat came into the underground techno world there was a shift that occured with club kids, this shift came in the form of intelligent music.  Oizo's music is not only good to bob the head to, but creates an atmosphere you can slip into.  So it is no surprise that years later that when Dupieux put his mind to creating 90 minutes of pleasure cinema - he does so successfully.

The film begins with Lieutenant Chad delivering a monologue that breaks the fourth wall and describes to his audience and us about his theory of "no reason" in great cinema.  In an interview with Speakeasy, Dupieux describes the writing process of Rubber, "I am writing a lot stuff and I realized my best ideas were related to the “no reason” [concept]. Each time I am trying to be too smart or too clever, I think I am not too good of a writer, but when I have stupid, no reason ideas, I think I’m good. …

Hilary Swank & Viewers Are Terrorized In The Resident

HAMMER, the iconic label of the 70's is back but it's not necessarily a good thing.  They returned to give us Matt Reeves' LET ME IN last year which didn't live up to its original.  It's second production as a newly revamped studio is The Resident.  Later this year they will unveil Wake Wood and a remake of The Woman In Black, and maybe it's too soon to say, but the future of Hammer films looks a bit lackluster.

The Resident could have been terrifying, it could have been an awesome variation on apartment horror, but instead it's a very dull mixture of Sliver and Repulsion - emphasis on Sliver.  First time narrative filmmaker Antti Jokinen was provided enough backing and talent to produce a psychological masterpiece, but gets caught up in creating the same scare effect over and over again.  We get that you were heavily influenced by the scene in Halloween where Carpenter makes Michael materialize out of the shadows.  The first time Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Denny …

The Vanishing On 7th Street

Brad Anderson the brilliant director behind The Machinist, Session 9, and Transsiberian has created a new realm of fantasy terror with The Vanishing On 7th Street, the only problem is how unevenly all the elements come together.

We've been avid fans of Anderson's work since his psychological breakthrough Session 9.  In his first film he revamps the twist ending by throwing a curve ball no one sees coming and makes it work because the film has an atmosphere and mood that aids in the development of the twist.  The same can be said with The Machinist.  Again he creates a wonderfully told story of a man's guilt that haunts him to the point of his own death.  With Christian Bale becoming a pure method actor and loosing too much weight, they created a world of madness that gave them the buzz they both deserved.  Then we come to Transsiberian, which was another fantastic acting spectacle.  These three films put forth the idea that Anderson is great at creating tense situations thr…

Dear Mr. Gacey, You Really Don't Capture Well On Film

Dear Mr. Gacey

Svetozar Ristovski's adaptation of Jason Moss' superb book The Last Victim plays out like a made-for-TV movie.  Jason Moss was a young eager student who developed a theory to gain unfettered access to the mind of a serial killer by portraying himself as their perfect victim.  He wrote to Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Henry Lee Lucas, Richard Ramirez, and of course John Wayne Gacy.  The correspondences between himself and these monsters led Moss to his darkest place.  His desire to become an FBI profiler was eventually met with open arms and his research provided a deeper understanding of the psyche of these killers.  Unfortunately this film really doesn't dive into the complete story of Jason Moss, instead it keeps to a simple plot of being driven mad by his encounters with Gacey.  William Foresyth plays Gacey extremely well and the film delivers most of Gacey's brilliance in manipulation: which did cause the real Moss to break down little by little.  …

Let Me In: A Complete Waste Of Time?

Instead of a lengthy comparison betweenLet The Right One In and Matt Reeves remake, we'll just stick with the basics.  Yes, this is an inferior remake of a foreign film.  Yes, Reeves takes out the subtlety and ambiguity that made the original such a powerful and beautiful work of art, and instead replaces these elements with bouts of action and decent make-up effects.  We would like to say that there is no merit to Let Me In, but that may be too harsh so lets look at the facts.  The in-medias-res beginning we thought would take this film into the realm of the book, but instead it is needlessly placed to spruce up the twenty minute test (for non-screenwriters out there this is the captivating twenty pages/minutes that will ultimately capture your viewer and if this fails then the rest will as well).  Our new Hakan is now played by the brilliant Richard Jenkins and is miscredited on IMDB as "The Father," this may shed some light on how exactly Reeves ruins entire storyline…