The Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame

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The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
Carrie (1976)

I didn't have high expectations for this one cause usually neither the 70s nor Stephen King aren't really my thing, let alone the two things combined but I was pleasently surprised!
The movie is perfectly paced, taking time with character building but without ever getting boring, it's amazing how much it made me care for Carrie and almost cheer the moment she massacres an entire high school. I am glad Sue survived and I'm a bit sad about the teacher but all the rest kind of had it coming. (I realize this is basically like cheering for a school shooting, which I think this movie was kind of a metaphor for, but it's just a movie!)
The mother was really annoying and her dying like St. Sebastian was a nice touch.

All in all, a very interesting little movie that I'm glad I watched!




Peeping Tom

Made the same year as Psycho, and covering the same theme (disturbed serial killer), yet not as accomplished nor as lauded, Peeping Tom never the less is a decent movie in its own right.
A killer with a camera, Mark likes to film the last moments of his victims. And then Record their discoveries. He didnít have the greatest childhood, which is reinforced via flashbacks told through his fathers own recordings.
The beginning obviously inspired Halloween, with the killers point of view is shown, only though the cross hairs of the camera, rather then a mask. The cross hairs reminded me of those on a gun. Anyone caught in those sights are dead.
The movie focuses on his struggle as he meets a woman, but itís hard to tell how he really feels about her. Does he really love her? Or does he love the possibility of filming her death? It keeps you guessing until the end.
Unfortunately, itís easy to see why Psycho is the stronger film. Peeping Tom lacks something, a compelling killer.
Norman Bates was odd, But he could be charming. Mark Lewis was just odd. He had a weird habit of watching this neighbor from the window. The best scenes are the discussion between her mother and him, and the scene where he records Vivienne.
Both films observe voyeurism, Peeping Tom even more so, and both obviously influenced with later Giallo and later slasher films.
Yet itís almost unfair to compare it to Psycho. PT is a good film all on its own, and I get the sense it is a film one must view multiple times to fully appreciate it. If I had to rate it, Iíd go with about 3 1/2 for now.
Good film, and good recommendation whoever it was.




Deep Red
(Dario Argento, 1975)


I've seen enough gialli to know that I'm not a fan. I admire their lurid style, but the whodunit plots interfere too much with the good stuff (e.g., black-gloved killers violently murdering people). From my experience with the sub-genre, these Italian murder mysteries often feature confusing, convoluted plots that bog down the pace, as well as nonsensical twists that spit in the face of astute viewers who fancy themselves couch detectives. I'll give credit where it's due: despite the complex mystery at the center of Deep Red, the script possesses enough clarity that I never felt lost. Most of the puzzle pieces eventually fit together, and the revelations in the last act don't come out of left field, but are instead subtly hinted at along the way. (Apparently Argento reveals a reflection of the killer's face in an early scene, but most viewers --- myself included --- aren't attentive enough to notice on a first watch.) That said, I still found the bulk of the story a colossal bore, and I was disappointed by the general absence of sleaze and the long droughts without violence.

I've seen several people cite the shortened American cut as the superior version, but I went with the original Italian version which runs 126 minutes. That was a mistake. There's a lot of fat to be trimmed. Dull, irrelevant conversations between our male and female protagonists drone on and on in (admittedly impressive) long takes. There's a running gag about a broken car seat that made me want to throw myself into traffic. Much of the detailed investigation feels like padding. It probably doesn't help that I found both main characters incredibly bland. David Hemmings and Daria Nicolodi give adequate performances, but I wanted to stab them both in the face for most of the runtime. They're unappealing as characters and unattractive as humans. (Hemmings looks like a bunion with a botched Beatles haircut; and Nicolodi looks like a transgender Andy Dick.)

The American version removes 22 minutes, but the only way I can envision loving Deep Red is if the entire film was 22 minutes. Just give me the the eerie opening that juxtaposes Christmas and innocent lullabies with sharp knives and silhouetted stabbings; the psychic's murder that sees her leak copious amounts of red paint; the boiling face; the random, creepy automaton doll; the brilliant necklace beheading; the disturbing paintings; throw in a few of Argento's most striking compositions (to alleviate my boredom, I kept telling myself to focus on the beautiful aesthetics, since Argento is a hell of a stylist, but eventually I'd grow restless and start glancing at the clock again); punctuate it all with Goblin's anachronistic soundtrack that is half jazz, half prog rock, and which is likely the film's biggest strength, despite the music often seeming at odds with what's transpiring on screen. Cut everything else. I don't want it. I don't need it. Deep Red might be a defining giallo, but it's further proof that I just don't jive with these "Italian slashers," mostly because I never give a sh*t about the unmasking of their killers. I'm only here to watch their carnage.

__________________



The person I was going to initially guess for Deep Red doesn't even have it checked off his lists, so I've had to recalculate. I went back and read the reviews for it in the Horror HOF II and saw that @cricket did a 180 on his opinion. He loved the film so much the second time that it made the top ten on his ballot for the Horror Countdown. That makes me wonder if it might be his nomination, but I've had my mind made up that he nominated Hud for me and I'm not changing now.

@TheUsualSuspect also thought highly of Deep Red, and since the other candidates don't appear to have even seen the film, I'll make him my official guess, though I don't feel confident.

Also, for the record, I love the hell out of Argento's Suspiria. One of the best audio-visual experiences horror has to offer. Not technically a giallo, either, so that probably helps my enjoyment.



Not sure what version I watched the first time, but I know I watched the trimmer version the second time. Boy did I change my mind about it, and giallo in general as well.



Ran (1985)



I was hoping this would be nominated for me because I considered it the most must see movie I was missing. And I'm not just talking about from the lists either. Akira Kurosawa is one of my favorite directors and I've seen most of his movies. The most recent movie of his I had seen was 1975's Dersu Uzala, but of course he didn't work as much in his later years.

The spectacle and production of this movie is awe inspiring, from the action to the costumes and everything in between. The first 45 minutes of this 2 hour and 40 minute affair move a little slowly as it all gets set up. Then comes the castle siege which is probably the highlight. My only issue, and it could very well be a personal one, is that I felt more like an observer than a participant. I didn't feel much of a connection. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it because I certainly did. It just didn't reach the level of favorite for me that some other Kurosawa films have reached.




Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Dazed and Confused

[repeated line]
Slater: Shotgun!

During the 80's Teen Movie Hall of Fame I never actually felt any nostalgia for when I was a teenager while watching them. Just nostalgia for those films and watching them, back then.
But this, this brought up all kinds of memories of those dazes.
Probably because this is set on the Last Day of School and the first day of Summer vacation in 1976. At that time I was in 6th grade, in '79: a freshman in high school and a senior in '82, and our class were the final puffs off a nearly dead roach of that life before MTV became a thing, the drive-in burger joints were already becoming things of history and people started congregating in malls.
Suffice to say, I have more connections to the high-schoolers in this film; how they acted, the music they enjoyed, the way they dressed, than the MTV crowd that came afterwards.
So, when I previously stated I had lived this film and had no need to watch it, it was exactly it. Which is in no way a negative thing, having now watched it and enjoyed both it and all the memories that came flooding back with it. It was quite the beautiful thing seeing so many characters and personas that clicked regarding people I hung and partied with, back then.

The only confusion I had and it sort of put me out of the movie, was when I realized that this wasn't the senior class (like a lot of high school films normally focus on) but the junior class and that, on the last day of school they began hazing the graduating 8th graders before they even made it out of the parking lot of school.
I have no recollection of such things.
Seniors hazed freshman from the first day of school in September. Not back in June.
I even asked my older siblings about it. One brother who did graduate in '76 and one sister who graduated in '73 never heard of it. Only one sister who graduated in '70 said there was a little bit of it as summer vacation started. So. . . who knows.
But I do recollect how the hazing was the beginning of a lot of partying, so, like so many other scenarios in this film, that rung very true.

All in all, a very pleasant experience that shook loose so, so many cobwebs bringing back all kinds of memories triggering both smiles and some tears. All out of joy.
How beautiful is that?
__________________
They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Recent Reviews:
The General I have only just recently watched Buster Keaton shorts from beginning to end and have been amazed with the visual comedic style that is a kind of sleight of hand and The General was one of them. Great stuff!

The Last Laugh is one of Murnau I have yet to see and it continues to be one I'm curious TO see.

Out of the Past Robert Mitchum is at his coolest in this noir of a man looking to escape his past only to be dragged back in. Great flick.

Harold & Maude at first I thought I nominated this for ya @neiba, but I didn't. I do love the film and it sits prominently on my profile page.

Carrie is something I haven't seen since I was a kid. The first time I saw this on TV was in the family basement with my brothers. The oldest had seen it at the drive-in and, at the very end when Carrie's hand is grabbed, he grabbed the leg of another brother. He screamed. Causing other two of us to scream, and the eldest laughed his @ss off for getting all of us so well.

Have not seen Peeping Tom or all that sure I want to. I am a little curious to see Paris, Texas though.

I am truly curious to see Ran