June 25, 2010
….and here’s to Jaws, which recently turned 35 years old. If there’s a better adventure film out there, I haven’t seen it. It’s amazing how the choices that Steven Spielberg and company were forced to make to contend with unpredictable weather and a malfunctioning shark actually worked for them instead of against them. Reams have been written about the troubled production, but whatever they had to go through to get the film finished was certainly worth it.
To celebrate, I chose a clip that is one of my favorite moments of the movie – the point at which Quint, Hooper and Brody finally bond – just as an ominous barrel appears alongside their boat.
February 2, 2010
I just finished my first viewing of Blacula, and I had to share the love. This is one of those great ’70s flicks that provides both unintentional laughs and a few effective scares, all wrapped up in one great, camp-filled package. William Marshall owns the screen as Mamuwalde, an African prince from the 1800s who seeks out the original Count Dracula’s help in ending the slave trade. Instead, he discovers that the Count is all but a card-carrying member of the KKK. Dracula offers to buy Mamuwalde’s wife, then turns his minions loose on the prince and his bride. Just before sealing them into a vault, Dracula bites Mamuwalde and curses him with both an eternal lust for blood and the nickname “Blacula” in a scene you can see in the trailer below:
Naturally, Mamuwalde is resurrected years later, and pursues a woman who appears to be his reincarnated wife. With a name like Blacula you might expect a heaping helping of crude stereotypes, but with the exception of a couple of gay antique dealers, that’s mostly held in check. What you will find is a movie that’s surprisingly effective in places. Marshall is an intense, intimidating presence on screen, and when he goes into full vampire mode his eyebrows rival those of fellow ’70s stud Dean Stockwell. All in all I had a great time with this flick, and can’t wait to hunt down the sequel, Scream Blacula Scream.
Now, from a bonafide ’70s success to one that appears to capture the look and feel of what is rapidly becoming one of my favorite film decades. I’m posting a trailer for a movie that I’ve just recently heard about, The House of the Devil. Set in the ’80s, the film apparently uses film techniques and technology from the late ’70s/early ’80s, and is played as straight-up horror. It’s out on DVD this week, and I can’t wait to see it. Here’s a taste: