Posts Tagged ‘Hospital

10
Nov
14

Scream and Scream Again (1970)

Guess what? We are well into November and I’m still writing up horror posts from last month’s 31 Days of Horror! If only they paid me to write up this crap, perhaps I wouldn’t be so behind. Unfortunately, they (whoever they might be) don’t, so forgive me for my passé posts. Anyway, back to the matter at hand: horror movies. For day 30 we watched Scream and Scream Again, one of only two films to star the powerful horror trifecta of Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing!

Vincent Price as some mysterious "doctor."

Vincent Price as some mysterious “doctor.”

With such a beefy cast, you’d think the movie would be excellent. I’m not saying Scream and Scream Again sucks, but it isn’t amazing. And just because all three of these horror bigwigs are in this movie doesn’t actually mean they’re in it a lot. I think Cushing gets maybe five minutes of screen time (and why is it I feel he always gets the short end of the stick?). Lee gets a tad more, but not much. Price is in it the most of the three, but even still, his role is only one third of a batshit, tangled plot that finally converges within the last 10 minutes or so of the film.

Interrogation

Interrogation

I’m not going to spend a lot of time trying to synopsize, because the shit doesn’t make much sense anyway. There are three separate plot lines. In the first, a runner finds himself mysteriously in a hospital, and every time he wakes his missing another limb. Somehow this is related to a sexy vampire-type who is prowling London’s mod clubs, sucking the life out of his pretty prey. Then there is a madman bigwig from some weird totalitarian country obviously up to no good who keeps Vulcan-nerve-pinching everyone to get what he wants. Actually, I guess there’s a fourth plot line: Vincent Price’s acid bath. Most of the movie happens before we have any idea how the plots intertwine, which is okay, I guess, but there’s no slow reveal: it all seems kind of thrown together at the last minute, almost as if it should have been an anthology but they changed their mind too late in the game.

A nurse so pretty she'll take your limbs away!

A nurse so pretty she’ll take your limbs away!

Scream and Scream Again is just kind of baffling, and frankly it should have (and could have easily) been better. That being said, it offers some great imagery and as always, Vincent Price is fun to watch; I just wish he was in it more. Yes, Lee and Cushing are usually pretty great also, but they’re just not even given a chance to do a damn thing here, it’s almost as if they’re not in this movie at all. And, you know, I wish the thing made a little bit of sense. Just even like a tiny bit. In the end, this movie is really just a pretty piece of mystifying film, which isn’t bad, but… meh?

Advertisements
14
Aug
14

Patrick (1978)

I once had a quest to watch all the Australian horror I could get my hands on. Then I saw a Mark Savage movie and decided perhaps I didn’t have to be so completist about everything. This is going to sound strange coming from me, but sometimes it is in fact good to have standards. At any rate, this quest first introduced me to Patrick, and it blew me away the first time I saw it. Now, I don’t want to spoil things for you, but the second time it wasn’t as awesome as I’d remembered it, but it still stands up as a pretty decent horror flick. Anyway, they’re always better with Aussie accents.

Brain-dead Patrick. Or is he?

Brain-dead Patrick. Or is he?

Patrick is one of those guys who kills his mom and her lover and never quite recovers from it. The boy’s been in a coma ever since the “accident” happened. The doctor and nurses at the hospital where he resides believe him to be brain dead, and some of them even debate on whether or not it’s a good thing to keep him alive. That all changes when Kathy, a young woman recently separated from her husband, gets a job there. Though the battle-axe head nurse Matron Cassidy begrudgingly offers her the position, she makes no secret of her distaste for the newly ‘liberated’ woman’s situation. Kathy takes what she can get though, in the name of independence.

Clearly Cassidy has it out for her, because she assigns Kathy to room 15, a room she won’t even consider going into herself. This, of course, turns out to be Patrick’s room. Most of the nurses are used to Patrick’s room by now, what with the weird, seemingly random spitting episodes and his empty stare. They have no trouble going about their business while watching him, changing his bed, administering medications, etc. But Kathy is a little different; in fact, she thinks Patrick’s brain is still very much alive.

Kathy doesn't know what she's in for.

Kathy doesn’t know what she’s in for.

First, it’s just a feeling Kathy has. Patrick seems to be listening. Then, suddenly, her typewriter starts sending her messages that claim to be from Patrick himself. Soon, she asks Patrick to communicate with her; a spit twice if yes, once if no kinda deal. When Patrick follows her directions, Kathy has a hell of a time getting any of the staff to listen to her concerns. It doesn’t help that her personal life is in such disarray; the neurologist she’s dating can be kind of a dick, and her husband keeps turning up in her apartment! But things are weirder than that; it almost seems as though Patrick is jealous of the men in her life as strange things start happening to them. Can Kathy prove Patrick is using telekinetic powers to control his environment, or will everyone think she’s just a tramp and a quack?

A surprisingly good little flick, which might be the reason why it stood out in my head as really good the first time I saw it. I wouldn’t say it’s really good, but

Nurse nasty nun.

Nurse nasty nun.

it is better than average, and definitely worth a watch. What it is really good at is creating a legitimately creepy atmosphere with plenty of what-the-fuck moments, which is always a nice thing to have in a horror movie. Patrick’s stare is definitely the stuff of nightmares, and the filmmakers do a great job of maintaining the atmosphere throughout the whole film. A fast-paced gore-fest this is not; it shouldn’t surprise you to hear it’s more of the psychological thriller than a straight-up horror flick. The plot reminded me a bit of Romero’s Monkey Shines, which wasn’t made until a decade after Patrick. It definitely does different things, and scares in different ways, but there is an undeniable similarity there.

The drag is, I’ve only ever seen the film with the original score. It looks like there’s an Italian version out there with Goblin doing the soundtrack, and I can only imagine that makes the movie 10 times better, especially considering there are moments where the original score isn’t so great. So, if possible, get your hands on that version, and let me know how it is!

12
Aug
14

Liebestraum (1991)

In the wake of the release of the Twin Peaks blu-ray box set, we decided to keep things Lynchian and watch this flick Liebestraum. It’s not directed by David Lynch, but Mike Figgis employed a little bit of Lynch’s magic when filming it, for sure; there’s a weird, dream-like quality throughout (makes sense I guess, since Liebestraum means ‘love dream’ in German). It helps too that the female lead is played by Pamela Gidley; you probably know her better as Teresa Banks.

So, there’s this guy named Nick (Kevin Anderson). He’s got a face that kinda looks like a toad. He’s an architecture professor, or something; I don’t know, he writes books about buildings. He’s come to a small town in Illinois because his birth mother (Kim Novak), whom he’s never met before, is dying of cancer. While walking around town, he bumps into an old school chum of his, Paul (Bill Pullman). Paul’s a big shot who owns a company that’s going to demolish a building that was once a department store. This particular building is one of the first to be made with a steel foundation, so Nick finds it fascinating and can’t believe a fellow architect is so gleefully willing to tear it down.

Looming mannequins are the only thing to populate this abandoned building.

Looming mannequins are the only thing to populate this abandoned building.

Turns out there is more to the building than its foundation; it has a seedy history from which the department store could never recover. A few decades prior, a nasty murder-suicide took place there involving the owner and his wife. As a result, the store never reopened and the building has simply stood there taking up space for the last thirty years or so.

Even after learning the story behind the department store’s demise, Nick still thinks the building should be preserved as a landmark. As a compromise, Paul grants Nick access to the building while they prepare for its demolition so he can get a feel for it and write a story about it. Paul has this great suggestion, too: perhaps his wife Jane (Gidley) could photograph it for him? Yeah, that’s a great idea, it’s not like Nick and Jane will end up boning while Paul’s out of town on business or anything, right?

Nick and Jane

Nick and Jane

And so, the rest of the film is really watching grown adults make very bad decisions. Jane and Nick bone while Nick’s mother’s health continues to decline. Paul expects something fishy is going on, in fact, it is almost like he set it up to happen. Why did Paul think it would be a good idea to have Nick and Jane alone together in that big, dark, cursed building while he’s outta town? It’s almost as if the building wanted them to get together; as if it somehow possessed Paul to suggest a potentially fiery situation…

I must say, I really did not care for this movie very much at all. It had some good ideas, but these characters didn’t seem like real people; they’re all totally unlikable, selfish assholes. I’m not sure if that is because the building itself is actually exerting an influence on these people, and they can’t be held completely responsible for their behavior, but that connection is never explicitly made and perhaps isn’t implicit enough for me to believe that was Figgis’ intent. But hell, maybe it was, at any rate, I still find it hard to care about what assholes are doing, driven by unseen forces or no. I guess it doesn’t help that Kevin Anderson is absolutely unbearable to watch; It’s like he’s trying to squeeze out a turd before he delivers every line. His expression is almost pained for most of the film, but not quite; it doesn’t seem like he can actually get up the gumption to show any emotion whatsoever.

Love dream indeed

Love dream indeed

The plot does do some interesting things that I can’t exactly talk about here because I don’t want to ruin the whole thing for you. And Figgis is very good at creating a spooky, mysterious atmosphere (the mannequins certainly do a bit of heavy lifting). So, the film is not a total loss, I can even understand why some folks would find it good, but I really just couldn’t get over the stupid decisions these people were making; I found it kind of exhausting and exasperating to watch.

The most interesting thing about Liebestraum is that the best scene in this movie is deleted! Q saw this first on videocassette, which includes the full version of the film. For the DVD, I’m not sure why (rating, perhaps?) this scene was entirely cut out. Luckily it is included as an extra, and it is one scene that makes a whole world of difference in the tone and meaning of the film. I really wonder how different my feelings for the film would be had we watched the unedited version. If you can get your hands on that version, it’s definitely preferable to the DVD version we watched.

 




Categories

Old Wave

Advertisements