365 Days of Hallowe’en, Day 6: Tales from the Crypt 3×05: Top Billing

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Starring both Jon Lovitz AND John Astin (with a cameo from Sandra Bernhard on the day that I was just thinking, “Whatever happened to her?”), this ended up being one of my favourites, not least because its creepy undertone and series of reveals reminds me of about a  dozen cheesy horror stories and urban legends I voraciously consumed when I was a teen.

In “Top Billing“, episode 5 of season 3 of Tales from the Crypt, the former – a curious mix of a smug, pretentious yet failing and mediocre actor – answers the latter’s ad for an amateur production of Hamlet. Marginally more successful fellow actor Winton (Bruce Boxleitner, a name I’ve always enjoyed reading) shows up to audition just to try piss Lovitz’s character off, and piss him off he does.

Events take a predictable turn – then…

(SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP)

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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 19

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Argh. Four years in and I finally missed a day. I figured I’d gotten into such an entrenched groove that it would be impossible (‘I managed to find time to watch and review a whole feature after exploring the Catacombs’) but, alas, I had been dealing with some muted personal horror of my own. Nothing serious, but hopefully a way forward for me.

Sometimes real-life horror can be just as unsettling :/

31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 17: Certified [2013]

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This is a cute 8 minutes, but not much else. Shorts are often a gamble, and you might feel tempted by the little palm tree icons denoting a festival selection of some sort, but are too small to read. Much of this film’s budget was likely spent on its (very convincing) 1950s production design, but apart from some weak underlying tension that ends up deflated for naught, this would be better-read as a very funny, well-acted, nicely-shot tale of a precocious brat having a chat with the neighbourhood postman. A shame, too, as the American Dream setting would have made the perfect backdrop for some truly gruesome (or just creepy gruesome-less) juxtaposition.

Score: 🎃🎃

31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 13: The Separation [short] [2003]

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Ah, Robert Morgan. Ever since your magically creepy tale The Cat with Hands, I’ve made it a point to keep an eye out for your stuff. And the BAFTA-winning The Separation, more ‘wtf’ than ‘wtfairytale’, is no exception to that rule, as we watch events unfold after a pair of conjoined twins are freed from each other.

By turns both gruesome, disturbing, poignant and sweet (in… a way…), I have to wonder what goes on in Morgan’s head. This is more than just fucking weird. It is fucking weird and unforgettable.

Score: 🎃🎃🎃🎃

 

31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 10: Blood Car [2007]

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source: imdb

blood car

There’s quirky, and then there’s Blood Car. Set in a near-future where petrol costs the earth, one nerd (Mike Brune) stumbles across experimenting with human blood as new fuel source.

While that in itself is intriguing, what kept me watching until I eventually fell asleep (I need to stop starting these movies so late) was the tone: classical music layered over painfully awkward social misadventures of said nerd (Archie Andrews, I shit you not) as he navigates his daily interactions with the cute, perma-crazy-eyed cactus juice stall owner (Anna Chlumsky). The price of cactus juice is, apparently, also at an all-time high.

It’s all so deliciously amateur that it’s funny in a way that movies like The Greasy Strangler could never do as sweetly. The characters are mostly earnest and simple; and, as in a scene where a government agent flimsily slaps someone he’s arguing with, it’s hard to tell if someone’s being deadpan, improv-ing terribly, or just unable to deliver their lines. The fact that everybody appearing to have graduated from the Napoleon Dynamite school of acting lends Blood Car an unpolished charm.

Actually, this extends to the whole film: the moment Archie empties half his left arm into his gas tank and realises it works, he instantly passes out on the steering wheel from blood loss. From there it just gets weirder,  more shocking, yet somehow more implausible. It’s like the entire movie is a gawky amateur that is just stumbling its way towards either a car crash or the finish line, and it’s oddly fun to watch either way.

Score: 🎃🎃🎃

i made a covfefe of all the covfefe covfefes i could covfefe

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what an unqualified buffoon-child.

 

 

source: reddit

source: reddit

source: reddit

My own lil contribution #covfefe

A post shared by Sherry Sherrard-Jackson (@sherrysj60) on

 

 

random review: February/The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)

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One must make sure to be in the mood for an Oz Perkins film. It will be a slow-burn, scantily-scored, economically-timed piece of celluloid with richly complex characters navigating mysterious and perilous territory. By the end, it’s going to haunt you whether you liked the movie or not.

february the blaccoat's daughter oz perkins emma roberts

I’ve seen Perkins’ catalogue in reverse order: first the minimalist Netflix Original I am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House. He’s remained a pleasant curiosity since I was a dumb uni kid thinking his character was odd-dorably relatable in Legally Blonde, and when I knew that he played a younger version of his father’s character in the Psycho series. I’ve always had a strange curiosity for the offspring of incredibly famous actors from the last century – whether they resemble them in appearance or career choices, or public personae (after a handful of clicks, I stumbled across the Facebook profile of Vincent Price’s great-great-grandaughter).

February, then (or The Blackcoat’s Daughter) was a movie that was getting enough buzz online and at festivals, but only ended up with a VOD distribution over a year and a half after it premiered – despite being produced by powerhouse production company A24, keeper of some titles you, idk, may or may not have heard of (Room, Spring Breakers, Amy, Moonlight, The VVitch). Odd, given Perkins’ pedigree.

february the blaccoat's daughter oz perkins  lucy boynton

The story nicely befits Perkins’ trademark slow-burn: two girls waiting for their parents to collect them from boarding school find themselves in the presence of, well…something not quite right. Rose (a coquettish Neve Campbell lookalike from her Scream days, played by Lucy Boynton) has deliberately delayed her parents’ arrival so that she can tell her boyfriend she’s getting an abortion. The much younger, shy, meek Kat (a compelling Kiernan Shipka), is so wholesome she doesn’t even have a cellphone, and instead perfects her puritanical habits of inoffensive piano-playing and sculpting impossibly perfect twin french braids. She’d probably make a great architect. Emma Roberts, Lauren Holly and the always-welcome James Remar do some great work in a parallel storyline.

february the blaccoat's daughter oz perkins kiernan shipka

Without spoiling it, the plot progresses pretty quickly, despite many scenes in which very little appears to happen beyond slice-of-life character studies of these two girls. Some sequences are  needlessly repeated to plug the gaps in the film’s attempt at cyclical/interlocking storytelling, but on balance, it doesn’t detract. Unlike some other reviewers, I didn’t find myself scared but rather unnerved – or chilled. Perkins has a way of hiding unsettling elements in the foreground; it’s enough to linger after viewing and make you wonder if, in the slow-burn, safe ordinariness of your own life, that maybe something this otherworldly horrifying could happen to you, too.

3.9/5