Monday, September 02, 2013

Never having to say you're sorry

Natural Born Killers: Movies don't come much more Nineties than this, with everything from the visuals to the casting to the story being as postmodern as possible. It's like a strangely fun drug trip overlaid on a grim reality of child sexual abuse, murder, rape and grievous bodily harm, but as such, and as something that could probably never have been seriously made in any other time period, it works.

The Abominable Dr Phibes: Continuing the theme of film and period, this is an enchantingly beautiful example of the early-Seventies horror film, with stunning design, amusingly Clouseauesque policemen, an Edwardian setting with unremarked anachronistic touches, Vincent Price conducting an engaging and believable performance while only speaking about four times in the whole film, and a zany plot involving murders based on the Plagues of Egypt. The only problems were 1) that I clearly know more about biology than the film's intended audience, so I just found the killer fruitbats and brown-painted lab rats way too cute; 2) the really awful burn-victim makeup on Vincent Price at the end of the story and 3) Phibes' assistant Vulnavia getting murdered at the end (which was rather nasty, and unnecessary-- I'd been pretty sure up till that point that she was an android).

Dr Phibes Rises Again: Inevitable disappointing sequel to the above. The policemen are correct and present and Vincent Price is still brilliant, but there's no real theme to the murder spree this time, Dr Phibes talks so much you wish he'd just shut up, Vulnavia turns up played by a different actress and with no explanation as to why she's not dead, and the plot holes a lot less easy to gloss over. No wonder there was never a Phibes III.

Love Story: 1970s version of a kitschy Victorian novel: two students meet and fall in love, he defies his parents to marry her, she supports him through his law degree, and then dies of a wasting disease which might possibly be leukemia, albeit without the more gross symptoms. I might have felt sorry for them if they weren't both such irritating entitled jerks.

Movie count for 2013: 43 (plus A Field in England)