Monday, December 27, 2010

"Once the Lurking Lust is Loosed-": Robert Bloch's "The Night of the Ripper"



Robert Bloch had a writing career that spanned sixty years, during which he wrote about Jack the Ripper four times.  “Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper”, published in Weird Tales in 1943, presented the idea of the Ripper as an immortal making human sacrifices to stay that way.  He revisited the Ripper in “A Toy for Juliette” and the Star Trek episode “Wolf in the Fold”.  His most comprehensive look at the Whitechapel serial killer was in his 1984 novel The Night of the Ripper.     

The Night of the Ripper is replete with well-researched Ripper facts and historical detail: unusual slang (“buors” are prostitutes, “suckcribs” are beer halls), Victorian London locations and personalities involved in the case and, of course, gruesome descriptions of the bodies of the murder victims.

The background makes for entertaining reading, but the story itself is formulaic.  A wooden American doctor, Mark Robinson, joins forces with the dyspeptic Inspector Abberline to stop the fiend, while a nurse, Eva Sloane, provides the requisite love interest.  Characterization is weak and there are too many characters who are only introduced as potential Rippers.  Bloch feels the need to throw in cameos by Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, George Bernard Shaw, and John Merrick, to no discernible purpose.  When Bloch reveals the real Ripper, it’s possibly the least interesting choice of all the suspects.

The Night of the Ripper is a quick read and might be worthwhile for Bloch’s detailed account of the setting and the crimes, but as a novel it feels hastily constructed and superficial.  The fact that at some points it seems virtually any character could be the Ripper, and a few ruminations on the beast within (“conceal it though we may, the beast is always there, waiting to escape”) suggest the deeper study of psychological aberration Bloch might have undertaken.       

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Be Prepared to Take the Good with the Evil...": The Kingdom (Riget) 1994-1995


Take a blender.  Add a distillation of hospital dramas.  Dump in a liberal helping of Twin Peaks, but enhance it with an extra dose of quirky humor.  Pour directly from a bottle of spirits (clamp the lid down quickly so they don’t escape).  Blend well, and you might get a rough approximation of The Kingdom (Riget), Lars von Trier’s eight-episode miniseries for Danish television.  However, The Kingdom is a unique concoction, hard to describe or replicate (although Stephen King adapted The Kingdom for American television as Kingdom Hospital,  which I haven’t seen but apparently stayed fairly true to the original).

Centered on Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet, the fictional Kingdom is a sepia-toned labyrinth full of ghosts and demons.  Built, according to the introduction, on the ancient “bleaching grounds”, it is stocked with ghostly ambulances, spirits crying in the elevator shafts, and the menacing shade of Udo Kier.

Like any good hospital drama, The Kingdom has an ensemble cast of patients, doctors, and support staff – they are just a little quirkier than most.  The Swedish chief of neurosurgery (Ernst-Hugo Järegård) hates his Danish coworkers, frequently shouting his catchphrase “Danish scum!”  His arch-rival, Jørgen (Søren Pilmark), works the system from his lair in the basement, and is not above a little blackmail to get his way.  The medium Mrs. Drusse (Kirsten Rolffes) keeps finding ways to get herself admitted to commune with the unquiet dead.  Dr. Bondo (Baard Owe) lusts after a patient’s liver tumor, while Dr. Petersen (Birgette Raaberg) experiences an unusual pregnancy.  Two dishwashers with Down Syndrome (Vita Jensen and Morten Leffers) make cryptic comments on the supernatural goings-on.  Lurking behind them all are the ghost girl Mary (Annevig Ebbe) and the ominous Age Krüger (Udo Kier).  Despite the short duration of the series, viewers get to know them all through a variety of bizarre subplots, and the acting and script make even the smallest role engaging.

The first series has its share of chills, but is also very funny.  The final episode ends with an attempted exorcism and a difficult childbirth; in both, horror and humor combine.  The second series is weaker, focusing more on the quirky humor of the characters and less on the horror.  Like the first season, there’s a cliffhanger ending, but sadly, a planned third season never came to fruition since several of the major actors died.

With The Kingdom, Lars von Trier presents a unique series, unclassifiable and highly entertaining. 


 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Night Watch (2004): The Terror of Spastic Director Syndrome



The establishing prologue for Night Watch (Nochnoy dozor in the original Russian) is not encouraging – two fantasy armies are doing battle, but they’re slightly cheesy, and you keep expecting to see Terry Gilliam prancing behind them banging coconut shells together.  The prologue is like those in many fantasy novels, easily skipped to get to the good stuff.  It’s a tedious way to set up the eternal contest between the supernatural “Others”, Light and Dark, each monitoring the opposing side to look for violators of their ages-old truce (the monitors are the Night Watch and Day Watch).

The film follows precog Anton (Konstantin Khabenskiy), a member of the Night Watch tasked with policing the Dark Others.  He’s a refreshingly shabby protagonist, a staggering, vagabond vampire hunter.  His Night Watch teammates include a few shapeshifters who never actually shape-shift, and Olga the were-owl (Galina Tyunina), who has a well-filmed, messy transformation scene and then seems to have nothing to do for the rest of the film.  The Night Watch members echo the Ghostbusters, with their jumpsuits and their bright yellow truck with flaming tailpipes, whizzing through the city streets to supernatural incidents.

There is a plot, but it is told incoherently, as if the director cut out half the footage at random.  The end result is loud, garish, confused, and somewhat annoying, with strange camera angles, quick jump cuts, and hardly a whisker of character development.  There’s something about the “Vortex of Damnation” and a cursed virgin, who appears to herald the final battle between Light and Dark, and a great Other who will choose sides and determine the outcome. 

The film and its sequel Day watch (2006) were based on a series of novels by Sergey Lukyanenko.  Perhaps if you’ve read the novels you can fill in the blanks in the movie version of Night Watch, but otherwise the events are made barely comprehensible by the spastic, jumpy direction.  The special effects, impressive for the overall budget of about 4.2 million, and sometimes inventive (wheeling clouds of ravens and a handy spine-sword), are the only real reason to see Night Watch

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Naked SCUBA! Zombie vs. Shark! Splinter-in-eyeball! It's Lucio Fulci's "Zombie"



Hot on the shambling heels of Dawn of the Dead (1978) came Lucio Fulci in 1979 with the imaginatively titled Zombie (sometimes titled Zombie 2 to confuse European viewers into thinking they were seeing the sequel to Romero’s film, which was titled Zombie in European releases). 

An abandoned boat (or is it?) drifts into New York Harbor.  It belongs to the vanished father of Ann (Tisa Farrow, Mia’s sister).  A note (“due to my morbid curiosity, I have managed to contract a strange disease”) points to the Caribbean.  Soon, Ann is on her way, joined by reporter Peter (Ian McCulloch, who went on to star in a different role in 1980’s Zombie Holocaust, a film which is unrelated to Zombie other than being filmed on the same sets, and alternately titled Zombie 3, apparently to confuse viewers even more).

The two convince boat bums Brian and Susan (Al Cliver and Auretta Gay) to take them to the supposedly cursed island of Matul, the home of Dr. Menard (Richard Johnson).  A zombie outbreak is underway, with no explanation for the cause other than some mumbling about voodoo. 

The highlight of Zombie occurs before the protagonists reach the island, as Susan goes naked SCUBA diving and is witness to a zombie eating a shark.   



It’s difficult to top that.  Fulci tries to do so with gore, giving up on the scanty plot for face-eating, arm-rending, flesh-ripping, splinter-in-eyeball mayhem.  In general, the special effects are realistically stomach-turning.  Gallons of blood are spilled, bright 70’s movie blood like tomato sauce (maybe it was tomato sauce?).

It’s surprising more zombie films aren’t set in the Caribbean, where, after all, zombies originated.  Zombie has pretty island scenery and brightly-colored villages where the zombies roam, and the soundtrack includes both cheerful island music and voodoo drums.  The film even includes a sort of tropical recreation of the cemetery awakening scene from The Plague of the Zombies and many others.

Although more gross than frightening, and not the most intelligent zombie film ever made, Zombie is undeniably entertaining and well worth a look.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Horror of the 80s: Demons (1985)

A subway in West Berlin.  New Wave styles abound.  A young student, Cheryl (Natasha Hovey), is stalked by a mysterious figure (Michele Soavi) with a metallic half-mask (or is it – his face?).  It turns out that he is only handing out tickets to a movie at a recently renovated theater, the Metropol.  Cheryl and her friend Kathy (Paola Cozzo) cut class to go. 

“You don’t think it’s going to be a horror movie, do you?” asks Kathy.

The theater contains a creepy usherette (Nicoletta Elmi, of Dario Argento’s Deep Red  and several of Mario Bava’s films, in a cameo of sorts) and some odd audience members, including two young men, George (Urbano Barbarini) and Ken (Karl Zinny), who make friends with Cheryl and Kathy.  They begin to watch the horror movie-within-the-horror movie.  The characters on screen find an ancient book “something about- demons!” and a strange mask.  Whoever wears the mask will become a demon – oddly enough, such a mask was in the theater lobby, and one of the audience members tried it on before the show…

Soon the demonic infection is spreading, both onscreen and throughout the audience.  They realize they’ve been bricked in to the theater, and the body count begins to rise, to the tune of bouncy 80s synth-pop.

Co-written by director Lamberto Bava (son of Mario) and Dario Argento, who produced it, Demons  is a mixed bag.  The highlights include some good special effects, mostly demonic transformations in which long claws grow, air bladders are used effectively, and teeth pop out to be replaced with fangs.  There are a few inspired touches, most notably when the actress in the onscreen horror flick is being menaced by a knife making long gashes in her tent, and suddenly the theater screen itself gashes open and one of the infected audience members falls through.

There’s a lot of Argento-like playing around with lighting effects, some of which is quite nice – although sometimes you get the feeling that the filmmakers went through the script and randomly said “this scene will be blue.  This scene will be red.”

The theater setting is sometimes used to good effect (the darkened row of seats, the innumerable red curtains through which victims claw their way), but could be better utilized. 

The low points:  there’s a lot of primary color demon-vomit and cheesy makeup.  The demons themselves are rather generic monsters – basically zombies with fangs and glowing eyes.  The acting is miserable and the lousy English dubbing doesn’t help.  Wait for the laughable sequence in which the hero rides around the theater on a dirt bike which has mysteriously appeared from somewhere, swatting at demons with a samurai sword.  Things get even more random with a deus-ex-flying-machina towards the end.

Still, Demons was popular enough to spawn a sequel, Demons II, the following year.  For the most part it’s an average 80s horror flick, entertaining enough but easily forgettable.



Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween Reading: Zelazny's "A Night in the Lonesome October"


I hadn't heard of A Night in the Lonesome October until my brother sent me the audio version.  Read by Zelazny himself, it's quite good.

Published in 1993, Lonesome October, nominated for a 1994 Nebula Award, was Zelazny's last book (he died in 1995, aged 58).  Zelazny was a truly original fantasist, perhaps best known for the The Chronicles of Amber, which I can't say I really got into.  Nonetheless, I found A Night in the Lonesome October to be very engaging.     

Set in Victorian Era London and vicinity, the story is in the form of first-person (or first-dog) journal entries by Snuff, who is the familiar of his master, Jack.  Each night in October gets a chapter in this gradually-revealed tale of preparations for a great supernatural event, a full moon on Halloween, when the barriers between the planes thin and doors between worlds may be opened.  A host of characters ranging from Dracula to Jack the Ripper have assembled, intent on either opening or closing a portal to Lovecraft's Great Old Ones.  Each "Player" in the "Game" has a familiar, who go about bargaining with each other and attempting to pinpoint the exact site of the portal, never quite sure who is on which side.

Zelazny writes in a sparse, effective, and humorous style, expertly building the suspense as grave robberies, murders, and weird happenings abound.  There's a somewhat pointless foray into Lovecraft's Dreamlands that reads like filler, but the rest of the story is tautly constructed.  

Reading A Night in the Lonesome October, with its monstrous characters and autumnal setting, is like being wrapped up in a warm, soft blanket of Halloween.  Simple, fun, and satisfying, it's an excellent read to get you in the Halloween spirit.        

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Bay: Filming Wraps Up



Barry Levinson's ecological horror film The Bay, formerly Isopod, is wrapping up filming in Georgetown, South Carolina, with cast and crew expected to leave town in the next few days.  The Bay is set in the fictional Maryland town of Claridge, and we now know that the plot actually does involve parasitic isopods, which normally use fish as their hosts, taking over humans instead and causing them to run amok - essentially as zombies.

Link for a brief Georgetown Times article on the end of filming is here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dog Soldiers: Neil Marshall's Werewolf Debut

Dog Soldiers 
I wasn’t too sure about Dog Soldiersat first.  The 2002 release was Neil Marshall’s first feature film (he wrote and directed it).  I saw his second, The Descent, and left feeling it was pretty standard horror.  Would Dog Soldiers be any better?

After the typical introductory sequence showing that there’s something bad in them there woods, the film gets started with a group of soldiers on a training exercise in Scotland.  It’s a slow start, with a lot of banter designed to establish the characters before anything happens (some might say too much banter, but you do end up getting to know the characters more than in most horror films).  Eventually, the team comes across the remains of a special forces team, badly mauled, with Captain Ryan (Liam Cunningham) the only survivor.  Out of radio contact, the soldiers are soon under attack by a werewolf clan, and this is where the film makes up for its slow start.

Eschewing CGI, Marshall went with animatronics and large men in werewolf suits and stilts.  This could have ended up looking cheesy, but fortunately it works very well, creating unique humanoid wolf-headed creatures.  The animatronic heads are particularly convincing.  Once the soldiers become trapped in a farmhouse with the wolf-men trying to get in à la Night of the Living Dead, Marshall provides his audience a very effective series of action sequences with plenty of scares and gore.    

What makes the film even better is the unexpected humor provided by Marshall’s inventive scenes and well-written dialogue.  The gruff but lovable Sergeant Wells (Sean Pertwee) has his intestines ripped out, leading to the following exchange with the protagonist, Private Cooper (Kevin McKidd):

“My guts are out!”
“Well, we’ll just put them back in again!”
“They’re not gonna fit!”
“Course they’ll fit, man!”

Later, Sergeant Wells’ errant intestines provide more humor as a hungry dog tries to steal them while they’re still attached to the Sergeant, and when Cooper tries emergency surgery with superglue and copious amounts of whisky.  The actors all do well in their roles; it’s obvious they had a lot of fun making this movie.     

Dog Soldiers mostly sticks to the tropes and doesn’t really break new ground in horror, but the acting, clever dialogue, well developed characters, and nice special effects make it a superior werewolf offering.  

I didn't include the trailer because it's terrible and will make you not want to watch the movie; the link is here  if you're really interested. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"The Bay" Filming Article from the Georgetown Times

Ever-so-slightly more information on "The Bay" from the local rag here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"The Bay": Filming Begins



Filming on Barry Levinson's eco-horror thriller The Bay started yesterday with a traffic jam scene on the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway in Georgetown, South Carolina.  "They said there was a monster coming out of the bay," said one witness (article here), but the exact nature of the monster(s) is still under wraps.

Today's filming was a July 4th festival scene in downtown Georgetown, with extras crab-racing and taking turns on the dunk tank.  They filmed a crab-eating competition after I left, in which one of the contestants starts puking - perhaps a harbinger of the viral horror to come.


There were Maryland flags in abundance.  Since they wanted a crowd, it was pretty much an open set with people wandering through walking their dogs and stopping to be part of a take or get some cotton candy.

I overheard some of the crew talking about the parasitic isopods that hitch a ride in fishes' mouths after eating their tongues - interesting.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

They Came Back: Resurrection can be Inconvenient for the Living

They Came Back
When a horde of Romero-esque zombies attack the living, groaning and biting and eating brains, society’s response is predictable- fight or flight.  But what if the dead return peacefully, undecayed, and ready to resume their former lives?  How does society react? 

This is the question posed by They Came Back, a 2004 French film directed by Robin Campillo.  The film explores the relationships between a group of the living and their dead spouses and children.  Instead of joy or horror, the resurrected dead are met with unease, and the government treats them as unwanted refugees from the beyond, illegal immigrants who take up jobs and state resources. 

It’s a great premise, and there are some very nice touches in the film (particularly the cinematography and the soundtrack), but overall the film is oddly unemotional, abstract, and slow, and the questions it raises are never fully explored. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"Isopod" is now "The Bay"

Slightly more information on Barry Levinson's upcoming thriller here.


Apparently it is actually an ecological horror film involving a viral outbreak in a small Maryland town.  So, the bay in question would be the Chesapeake (although they're shooting next to Winyah Bay in Georgetown, South Carolina, probably for tax purposes).

It also appears that they're using the pieced-together-footage technique of Cloverfield, etc., which can work well if it doesn’t give you motion sickness (I had to close my eyes during parts of The Blair Witch Project, and not because it was too horrific to watch).

At the audition for extras, they were specifically looking for one year old twins, amputees for a hospital scene, and expert blue crab eaters.  The latter should be easy to find around Georgetown.  

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wild Zero: Rock and Roll and Zombies



A Japanese rock-zombie spectacular, Wild Zero (2000) is essentially an extended music video for the band Guitar Wolf.  Consisting of Guitar Wolf, Drum Wolf, and Bass Wolf (since deceased and replaced), the band slouches around combing their pompadours, abusing substances, and shouting “Rock and roll!”  

Aliens are invading Earth and creating zombies left and right (shades of Plan 9 From Outer Space).  What's more, the band's former manager (Makoto Inamiya, resplendent in a pageboy wig and short shorts) is after them.  The rudimentary plot concerns Guitar Wolf’s number one fan Ace (Masashi Endô) and the very special girl he falls in love with (Kwancharu Shitichai).  With the help of a magic whistle, Ace can summon Guitar Wolf's aid when he's in danger - but can the rockers fight off the zombie hordes and their alien masters?

It’s not meant to be good, it’s meant to be trashy camp, and it succeeds admirably, aided by a soundtrack that includes Guitar Wolf's own Ramones-influenced tunes and a suite of others, from Dick Dale to Bikini Kill.  Wild Zero serves up a big helping of dumb fun.  The DVD menu even includes an in-movie drinking game for those who wish to quantify the number of exploding heads and flaming tailpipes with alcohol.  

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Isopod Extra Auditions

I spent an hour this morning at auditions for extras for the upcoming "indie sci-fi thriller" Isopod, to be directed by Barry Levinson.  A pretty simple process:  wait in line, fill out a form, staple your picture to it.  About 600 people showed up.  Filming should run mid-September to mid-October in Georgetown, South Carolina.  

There's very little information on Isopod so far, just the director and genre, announced by a Production Weekly Twitter message on August 10.  The bare IMDB entry gives you an idea of how little is known about the film.  Isopods are crustaceans, mostly very small.  Pillbugs are the best-known:








probably followed by the "giant" deep-sea ones:


















which do look a little scary but are only about a foot long.  My speculation is that if the film involves actual isopods at all, it'll be a ginormous version of the deep-sea ones or a horde of the parasitic isopods which suck fish blood, suddenly bent on destroying humankind.

We shall see.  Maybe it'll be like one of those 1970's ecological horror films like Frogs ("Today the pond!  Tomorrow the world!) or Night of the Lepus:









Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bio-Zombie: Hong Kong Horror-Comedy



A 1998 feature from director Wilson Yip, Bio Zombie follows the misadventures of Woody (Jordan Tan) and Bee (Sam Lee), slackers who unwittingly set off a zombie plague at the mall where they sell bootleg DVDs.  Along with their fellow retail workers, the pair battle the undead with everything from hacksaws to power drills.

The result is a little like a Shaun of the Dead/Dawn of the Dead combination, but while Woody and Bee are engaging protagonists and there are some genuine laughs, a lack of substance and lame zombie effects make Bio-Zombie a pale and sickly creation compared to either of those films.     

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dead-Alive: Peter Jackson's Zombie Movie



Along with Meet the Feebles (1990), 1992's Dead Alive (also known as Braindead) proves that Peter Jackson has a twisted sense of humor, and we can all be relieved that he didn't direct The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy as some kind of ghastly parody. 

In Dead Alive, the zombie plague is transmitted by “Sumatran Rat-Monkeys”; a zoo specimen in New Zealand bites Lionel's (Timothy Balme) domineering mother (Elizabeth Moody), who infects others, starting a chain of walking corpses.  Lionel tries desperately to keep his romantic interest Paquita (Diana Peñalver) and his small town neighbors from finding out by confining the zombies to his mother's house.  At first he succeeds, but in the end the film turns into a gore fest in which Lionel fights zombies by the hundreds, at one point with a lawnmower strapped to his chest. 

The actors are pretty cheesy, but this is in keeping with Dead Alive's aesthetic theme.  There’s an engaging 1950’s feel that adds a lot to the film. Dead Alive is reminiscent of The Evil Dead movies in that it's full of over the top slapstick humor and creative bloodiness.  Unique and entertaining, it's definitely worth checking out.     

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Harper Cemetery

I've never found cemeteries very spooky unless they're on film and zombies are clawing their way up out of the ground.  Instead, they (the older ones, anyway) are full of historical interest ("stories in stone") and tend to be peaceful, sometimes beautiful places.  I have yet to visit any historic cemeteries that compare to those in New Orleans, but I recently went back to an early favorite, Harper Cemetery in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.
Looking at Harper's Ferry from Maryland Heights across the Potomac River, Harper Cemetery is on the hill on the upper right.  Named for Robert Harper, who founded the town, the cemetery has graves dating from the late 1700's (including Harper's).
There are no ostentatious tombs or statuary, and the stone below is probably the most elaborate.
All in all, a pretty pleasant spot to be buried.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)



A Spanish/Italian production shot in England, this film follows the travails of a hippie (Ray Lovelock) and his chance traveling companion (Christine Galbo) who become suspects in a series of murders committed by the living dead. They are relentlessly pursued by the zombies and by The Man, primarily a relentless police inspector played by Arthur Kennedy. The zombies are a product of a new agricultural device to kill insects, a nice idea which may have been produced by the burgeoning environmental consciousness of the time.

Director Jorge Grau borrows somewhat from Night of the Living Dead, but also creates realistically creepy zombies and novel scares, with harrowing sequences in a mortuary basement and a hospital.  Darkly atmospheric and full of nicely-done grue, it's well worth seeing.  

Note:  This is a zombie film of many names.  Besides Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, it's also been titled Don't Open the Window and The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, among others.
 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hidden Floor: Another Asian Hair Ghost Movie


Hidden Floor  (2006) is a Korean production which, while enjoyable, breaks no new ground in the genre of vengeful Asian female ghosts with long black hair covering their faces (onryō).  Apparently, the wild-haired nature of these ghosts comes from the fact that traditionally, Japanese women only let their hair down when being buried.  Hence, long hair, and usually a white funeral shroud, became synonymous with frightening spirits...  like this one:

 However, many Asian horror viewers have called for a little more variety after seeing onryō in Ju-on, the American remakeDark Water, the American remake of that, Ringu, the American remake of that, and numerous others. 

Hidden FloorAnyway, on to the film in question.  Hidden Floor is the story of single mother Min-young (Seo-hyeong Kim) and her six year old daughter Juhee (Yoo-jung Kim), who move into a new apartment in a recently renovated but underpopulated apartment building.  Juhee remarks that there is no fourth floor button in the elevator, and her mother explains that "four" sounds like "death" in Chinese; hence there is no fourth floor.  Or... is there?

Soon, strange noises from beneath the floor, the crazy-eyed neighbor with a bagful of syringes, mysterious deaths, and the onryō's appearance start wearing on Min-young's nerves.  Juhee, on the other hand, starts getting weird and proclaims that she never wants to leave.  One of the nice touches of the film is that it plays not only on traditional fears, but also the fears of working parents: child neglect, untrustworthy babysitters, and so on.

The concept of a hidden floor is also a nice one, and there are a few good scares.  There are also too many "boo!" moments, but the film does manage to sustain an atmosphere of dread for a while.  Some of the scenes and plot devices are a little reminiscent of The Shining, and the apartment building's florescent lights serve to make the shadows more scary.  However, the film turns into a typical vengeful ghost story, in which the hidden floor isn't really necessary.  It ends up being entertaining, but could easily be confused with many other films in the onryō genre.    

Friday, July 9, 2010

Let Me In: Distributor Problems?

According to this article from today's LA Times, Let Me In's distributor, Overture, is undergoing financial difficulties and restructuring, which could potential limit the number of theaters in which Let Me In is released.  The article also has a good quote from producer Donna Gigliotti in response to those bemoaning the remake of Let The Right One In:  "We're incredibly admiring of the original, but... that picture grossed $2 million.  It's not like we're remaking "Lawrence of Arabia."