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31 Days of Films and Frights – Day 24: Something Wicked This Way Comes

31 Days of Films and Frights – Day 24: Something Wicked This Way Comes

My wife and I were still dating, and I asked her if she knew of the Fremont Centre Theatre? I had mistakenly thought it the Pasadena Playhouse, and was now frantically digging out my trusted Thomas Guide in order to find the location of the venue featuring a play written by Ray Bradbury. I had secured tickets to opening night, and surprised her with them as a part of my carefully organized (not so carefully, as it turned out) mystery date.

I had been a fan of the famous author since childhood, having read many of his works as part of my high school book club. Over the past few years, I had been fortunate enough to meet Ray on a number of occasions, always as a customer at the excellent Mystery and Imagination Bookshop, owned by the extremely friendly and knowledgable Christine and Malcom Bell.

She served as navigator as I hurriedly made our way through the dimly lit streets, in hopes of arriving before the opening curtain. We pulled into a parking spot, and found our seats just in time for the house lights to dim.

As the play progressed, I noticed, seated directly in front of me, a wheelchair bound figure. As I deduced, it indeed was Ray. During intermission, he politely took the time to speak at length with my wife and I. It was a night I’ll not soon forget.

As I was preparing my list of films for this series, I realized I had never seen one of the films based on one of Ray’s famous works. I recently had reread the book, and decided what opportune time to finally view the film.

31 Days of Films and Frights – Day 24: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Director: Jack Clayton
Year: 1983
Cast: Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Specs: 95 mins. / Color / OAR 1.85.1 / MPAA Rating: PG
Rating: ★★★★★ / A

A mysterious carnival appears in a small rural town, granting the dreams of the townsfolk. Their wishes come at a terrible cost, however, and it’s up to a boy and his father to deliver their town from the coming evil.

This film simply shines as a testament on how to adapt a novel into a film that completely captures the heart of the original work. The cinematography, the acting (Robards is simply wonderful), the direction, and the music (James Horner at the top of his game) work together like a perfectly contructed jigsaw puzzle.


The eeriness of the nefarious Mr. Dark, the lusts and temptations of the members of the small affected town, and the innocence of the two boys are all excellently portrayed. I completely bought into the performances of the entire cast, and was engrossed for the entirety of the 95 minutes.

It’s rare that I watch a film and don’t find any faults. That’s not to say there aren’t any (I intend to watch this winner again, and will update this post shall I discover anything worthy of note), but I was simply too engrossed to notice. Another sign of an excellently crafted tale.

This will be a film that will join the ranks of The Lost Boys and The Goonies as a picture I will annually watch during the Halloween season.

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Posted by on October 24, 2013 in Movies

 

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31 Days of Films and Frights – Day 17: Hausu “House”

31 Days of Films and Frights – Day 17: Hausu “House”

“Just try it” the pusher had told me. I knew better, however. I’d heard all about the effects of acid drops, and I wanted nothing to do with it. I had heard about people having “flashbacks” years after dropping the hallucinogenic drug, and I had no interest in having one come to me in the middle of an important speech, or while I’m piloting an impossible mission to rid the world of an evil galactic empire (you see, I am capable of ambitiously dreaming without the aid of a chemically induced chimera).

As I began to view today’s entry in this month long series of horror films timed to the upcoming All Hallow’s Eve, I suspected that somehow someone had slipped me a Mickey at some point in my past, and I was now suffering the onslaught of the aforementioned HPPD.

31 Days of Films and Frights – Day 17: Hausu “House


Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi
Year: 1977
Cast: Kimiko Ikegami, Yôko Minamida, Miki Jinbo, Kumiko Ohba
Language: Japanese
Country: Japan
Specs: 88 mins. / Color / OAR 1.37.1 / MPAA Rating: R
Rating: ★★ / D

A schoolgirl travels with her classmates to visit her reclusive aunt, only to tragically learn that the country house in which she resides is alive.

Having lived in Japan, and thus having an understanding of their fascination with watermelons, I was able to relate to the set-up of bringing the delectable fruit as a gift to the oba-san. I was not, however, able to relate to the outcome of such a generous gesture. Needless to say, I will forever think of watermelons, and, much to the dismay of my toddler daughter and her fascination with all things Snow White, wishing wells, in a much different light after having watched this fanciful flick.

The film is certainly to be commended for its effort and originality. However, much like a 2 year olds finger painted murals on the wall in the recently remodeled foyer, it may not be welcomed nor retained.

The acting in this foreign picture was amateurish. I understand that most of the cast were mere dilettantes, and it shows. Of course, there is so much zaniness going on in this film, I’m not sure I even paid much heed to the acting chops of the talent. Cheesy effects are the best way I can describe the effects here. Cartoonish ghosts, plastic body parts, kaleidoscope of colors, novelty shop eye balls, the outlandishness never lets up.

The story doesn’t serve much purpose, either. It simply serves to showcase the forenamed effects. I honestly felt Obayashi had lost his mind, and this film was the result.

Don’t confuse this with excellent William Katt film of the same name. This is not another version of that same story. In fact, in has more in common with This House Possessed than it does the franchise starter from 1986.

If you want to be bedazzled by the puerile antics of a film, this is for you. If you hate cats and find them as creepy as I do, you’ll want to visit another haunt.

Don’t say I didn’t imashimeru you.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Movies

 

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31 Days of Howl-oween: Day 27 – Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde

John Barrymore.  Frederic March.  Boris Karloff.  Spencer Tracy.  All names synonymous with todays character.  Hammer Studios, no stranger to the character themselves, decided to revisit this iconic character, and added an interesting twist to set the film apart from the others before it.

In fact, they added a few twists, melding together both historically factual elements with the obviously fictional.  What was born from such efforts?  Todays film, of course!

31 Days of Howl-oween

A Review of Films Filled with Frights

Day 27

Film #27


~  Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde ~

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Posted by on October 27, 2010 in Movies

 

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