Archive for the Retrospective Category

David Cronenberg Retrospective: The Fly

Posted in A+ Review, Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Retrospective: David Cronenberg, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2010 by xymarla

  

Welcome back to the David Cronenberg Retrospective! Our next entry marks a transitional period for Sir Cronenberg, an evolution into the more accessible, character-driven stories that make up the latter part of his career. Cronenberg’s 1986 film The Fly, a remake of the 1958 flick by the same name, is a human story swathed in genre trappings. Really icky, awesome, genre trappings.  

 

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David Cronenberg Retrospective: The Dead Zone

Posted in Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Retrospective, Retrospective: David Cronenberg with tags , , , , , , on April 14, 2010 by xymarla

David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Dead Zone is so straightforward, I found myself forgetting that it was a Cronenberg joint. Throughout my viewing, I was all, “But wait! Where are the rage tumors? I haven’t seen any brain sucking yet! Are you seriously telling me that there are NO bloody VCR stomachs in this movie?”

Of course, The Dead Zone is about clairvoyance and telepathy, causality and fate—hardly mainstream themes—but there are very few gory manual effects, which just seems wrong in a Cronenberg movie. I want more ‘splodey heads! And ‘splodey eyeballs! And ‘splodey torsoes! It’s okay to want that, right?

That being said, The Dead Zone is a seriously good movie, as well as a solid adaptation of the source material. In addition to being a Cronenberg fan, I’m also a fervent Stephen King fan, so it’s a little wacky that I’d never seen this movie before my recent viewing. Plus! It stars Christopher Walken! At his gravest and least caricatured self! Continue reading

David Cronenberg Retrospective: Videodrome

Posted in A+ Review, Contributor: Jon, Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Retrospective, Retrospective: David Cronenberg, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , , , , on February 4, 2010 by Jon

by: Reverend Jon

When Marla allowed me to choose which movie to review for the David Cronenberg Retrospective, Videodrome was my answer. The movies that resonate with me are those that explore real issues and fears and cause me to think differently about life and the world around me. Videodrome is undoubtedly that kind of movie.

Videodrome is about intersections, or perhaps even collisions, between loaded concepts: pain and pleasure, technology and the human body. I will say right now that it is easy to watch this movie and dismiss it as dated and irrelevant, cheesy even, but I argue that the underlying ideas are relevant today.

From the very beginning, we know that this is no ordinary movie. We are introduced to Max Renn (James Woods, whose waxy complexion lends itself to the manual effects) by his wakeup call, which at first seems eerily prescient, a woman on TV addressing the viewer by name and who knows the date, but then later we realize that this was recorded in advance. Continue reading

David Cronenberg Retrospective: Scanners

Posted in Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Retrospective, Retrospective: David Cronenberg, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , on January 14, 2010 by xymarla

Scanners! You were far sillier than I remembered!

20 SECONDS...YOU EXPLODE! Awesome.

Cronenberg’s next film after The Brood lacks its gravitas. Scanners actually differs from almost all Cronenberg films in that there is far less emphasis on psychological and physiological irregularity, and almost none of the skewed sexuality that permeates his other films. Scanners is, dare I say it, a pretty straight horror/sci-fi flick.

With simply outstanding manual effects, of course!

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David Cronenberg Retrospective: The Brood

Posted in A+ Review, Contributor: Jerry, Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Retrospective, Retrospective: David Cronenberg, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , , , , , on November 17, 2009 by jerryochoa

David Cronenberg: Canadian by birth, madman by the grace of God.

There’s an expression that says Hitchcock figured out tension; Spielberg mastered awe; Lucas nailed artifice.  Cronenberg, on the other hand, figured out something altogether different.  From his earliest efforts (Rabid, Shivers), through his 1980s output (Videodrome, The Fly), to his more recent films (History of Violence, Eastern Promises), a couple of very particular threads run through his work.  The first is biological horror – the sensation of watching your body change, turn into something alien, something that you can’t necessarily control.  The second is the force of manipulation, and its consequences. Whether the issue is child manipulation, body manipulation, or manipulation of one’s psyche, you can count on Cronenberg to examine the issues, then ABSOLUTELY FREAK YOU THE FUCK OUT, COMPLETELY.

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Stuart Gordon Retrospective: From Beyond

Posted in Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Retrospective, Retrospective: Stuart Gordon, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , , , , , on July 17, 2009 by xymarla

I first watched Stuart Gordon’s 1986 film From Beyond freshman year in college, at some party, barely paying attention. I’m honestly not sure how I managed that, because whatever else this film is, it is certainly something that DEMANDS YOUR ATTENTION.

from beyond poster original by you.

This movie is SO WEIRD. Keep in mind, please—I’m saying this as a woman who has reviewed an entire retrospective’s worth of Stuart Gordon films.  I know from weird, alright, you guys? From Beyond is something…else.

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Stuart Gordon Retrospective: Re-Animator

Posted in A+ Review, Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Retrospective, Retrospective: Stuart Gordon, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , , , , , , on June 11, 2009 by xymarla

Ahh, so we arrive at the fourth and arguably most celebrated entry in my Stuart Gordon Retrospective: Re-Animator.

reanimator poster by you.

(Well, I mean that Re-Animator is celebrated. Not my review of it, which is brand new and hasn’t had the chance to gain notoriety. I have high hopes, however).

Re-Animator was Stu’s first film and it deservedly propelled him into cult status.  He wrote it with frequent collaborator Dennis Paoli from, what else?, the Lovecraft novel Herbert West: Reanimator. Gordon pal Brian Yuzna produced, as per yuuzh. It’s demented, irreverent, extraordinarily repulsive and teeming with nudity. It’s a Stuart Gordon joint, you guys! And it’s the best of the West.

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Stuart Gordon Retrospective: Stuck

Posted in Action Movie Review, Film Review, Retrospective, Retrospective: Stuart Gordon with tags , , , on June 3, 2009 by xymarla

Woohoo! I saw a new(ish, 2007) Stuart Gordon movie and loved it! That man’s still got it. Not that I could or shall ever doubt him.

stuck poster by you.

Stuck is based on this absolutely awful true story of Texas woman Chante Jawan Mallard. Gordon clearly didn’t conceive of the film as straight-up horror so much as a horrific thriller, but like every Gordon filmStuck boasts a scene or seven of some major grue that you wish were not assaulting your eyeballs. It also boasts some majorly gruesome cornrows that you wish weren’t assaulting your eyeballs. 

deer in headlights by you.

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Stuart Gordon Retrospective: Castle Freak

Posted in Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Retrospective, Retrospective: Stuart Gordon with tags , , , , on May 8, 2009 by xymarla

Something happened to me this week that hasn’t happened in many years. Something both wonderful and terrible. Something I thought I’d missed, but I was wrong.

A horror movie gave me a nightmare. That movie? Castle Freak.

castle freak poster 2 by you.

The thing is, I’ve seen this movie before. At least twice! And I do not remember having been quite so frightened. It REALLY scared me, you guys! It’s both odd and cool that, unlike one’s tolerance with alcohol, the more scary movies I watch, the more of a lightweight I seem to become. It’s pretty great, because the thing I like most about scary movies is being scared, and it would suck if that part went away. Still, yeeps!

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Stuart Gordon Retrospective: Dagon

Posted in Film Review, Horror Movie Review, Retrospective, Retrospective: Stuart Gordon with tags , , , , , on April 23, 2009 by xymarla

Dagon is actually the first Stuart Gordon movie I ever watched, back in 2001, and I instantly discovered that I had been remiss in waiting so long to celebrate this guy’s catalogue.  He’s now one of my favorite directors and the very first person I chose to kick off my new retrospective series—mostly for the excuse to rewatch his many exceptionally strange films. Gordon has long impressed me as a prolific artist who defends the quality of his vision, circumventing the frustrating production company system when necessary to deliver high-caliber films that are entirely his.

As quickly as Re-animator, Castle Freak and all the rest became established favorites of mine, I’ll always have a cozy place in my heart for the peculiar little Dagon.

 

dagon poster by you.

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