Fans of pulp fiction will get a kick out of Cold in July, a gritty, at times bloody, and darkly funny crime yarn directed by provocateur Jim Mickle (Mulberry Street, Stake Land). This week on Sordid Cinema we take some time to review the rigid and enthralling Texas thriller, as well as discuss some of the highlights from theFantasia Film Festival including Starry Eyes, Let us Prey and Once Upon A Time in Shanghai. Joining us is Sound On Sight contributor, Deepayan Sengupta.
Human beings are flawed individuals, all too often succumbing to vice. Most cannot help themselves for the power of greed, lust, jealousy and the like is too much for simple mortals to resist. Do these weaknesses make humans evil creatures? The reassuring answer is ‘no’, given that people also sport a conscience, faculties to differentiate right from wrong, and, in the event that a wrong has been committed, a compulsive desire to feel regret. This balance makes people what they are: far from perfect but capable of great good. What of those who pay no heed to compassion or understanding, people whose desire is to do harm unto others? What sort of beings are they if not monsters? More frightening is the possibility of a monster awakening from within someone who did not know they were capable of embracing evil, the very topic of the Japanese black comedy Puzzle.
After Tim Burton’s Ed Wood was released, Sarah Jessica Parker remarked in interviews that she had just played the worst actress of all time. Delores Fuller, Wood’s ex-wife and would-be starlet, responded, albeit quietly, merely stating, “That hurt” on a Plan 9 From Outer SpaceDVD.
The Creep Behind The Camera, Pete Schuermann’s docu-drama surrounding the making of 1962′s The Creeping Terror, retains as much class and care for its subjects are Parker did for Fuller. When it isn’t a straightforward documentary portrait of the swindling, scamming and whoring director A.J. Nelson did to put together a film considered one of the worst of all time, it’s using what could kindly be referred to as high-end Unsolved Mysteries re-creations.
‘Irish horror movie’ isn’t a phrase that comes up a lot, unless someone brings up Grabbers, and why on Earth would anyone do that. And yet, Fantasia 2014 has seen the unveiling of Let Us Prey, a new horror film by first time director Brian O’Malley, which is already making waves in the horror film circuit, and with good reason. Let Us Prey is a tense, tightly-wound and effective horror film that shows incredible promise from O’Malley, and delivers both for gore fans and those in search of something a little deeper than mere exploitation.
Pouvoir intime, or Blind Trust if you’re of the Anglo persuasion, is a film that has more or less fallen through the cracks of time. It was issued on home video once upon a time, in the long-past age known as the VHS era, and hasn’t been seen in a newer format since. Luckily, some enterprising folks at the Fantasia International Film Festival got together with the Cinémathèque québécoise and got them to dust off their 35mm print of the film. Showing these kinds of movies serves a very specific purpose: they add depth and texture to a film culture that was still figuring itself out even in the mid-80s. That said, Pouvoir intime isn’t a dramedy about the middle class, or a political satire, or an NFB documentary. It’s a no-nonsense heist movie, a rarity even in today’s local film climate. So even if the film itself isn’t a groundbreaking take on the genre, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the process of giving established genres a distinct local flavour.
Typically, a brutal murderer’s wardrobe in a horror film is chosen because it’s spooky or hides some kind of physical deformity. It’s no accident in Aik Karapetian’s cruelly vile and unpleasant The Man in the Orange Jacketthat the titular killer dresses that way, and no surprise that he quickly sheds himself of his uniform at the first opportunity.
To have a family someone has to have made a family, which brings the discussion of familial ties to the topic of procreation with, preferably, a loved one. Building a family is an accepted practice of most societies but that is not to say that everyone partakes in it. Some cannot whereas others choose not to. A select number of people do not feel themselves as deserving to be a parent or are simply uninterested in the prospect of raising children. For instance, they may not see the world as is as the place where they would like to offer a young home a home. The question of lineage therefore becomes a moot point for those people. While creating a new generation may not appeal to everyone, it is a commonly accepted practice in virtually all societies around the world. Among those who seeks pursue their genealogical tree? The devil himself, as depicted in Nicholas McCarthy’s latest effort, At the Devil’s Door.
There’s a lot of talk this week about being good, as in a decent person, and what that means. The writers lay it on thick with the scene between Jim and his wife, who has just been accepted into a cancer trial because of Jim’s deal with the devil. “Good things happen to good people, right?” she asks him. “Right?” It’s like she’s just rubbing salt in the wound of his already festering guilt.
Over the past weekend, Scream Factory announced ten new titles to their library that should get all genre fans very excited.
Like father like son is a popular expression used to describe how much the behavior and personality of the former influence and shape the latter. This proves true for a great number of father-son sets, irrespective of cultural or national heritage. Then again, a son can only intake so much philosophy handed down to him by the father. It comes as no surprise that with respect to some salient points and lifestyle choices the son diverges from the path treaded by the father. It’s what makes the son his own person as opposed to a clone of his immediate ancestor.Hwayi: A Monster Boy, the anticipated followup from director Jang-Joon-hwan after Save the Green Planet takes the concept of father-son dynamics to new extremes.
The essence of a confidence game is as follows: the con artist describes a terrific bargain in which the mark is offered a chance in which to invest. Due to the mark’s own greed, he hands over whatever personal assets he must to the confidence man, expecting a greater return that he never receives. Though, as Joe Mantegna’s hustler points in House of Games, it is called a confidence game because they are giving their confidence to you. Not the other way around. This is why, throughout history, people have been known to lose articles of clothing and even their houses.