Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Three Films Make A Post: For the sake of your sanity, pray it isn't true!

Final Exam (1981): The slasher elements of this campus slasher are as generic as possible, with little gore to distract one from the film's many technical flaws, one of the most teleport-y killers in any movie of the genre and a handful of truly ill advised attempts at copying Halloween directly, which isn't something you should try unless you're a really great director.

However, despite not being much of a horror movie, Jimmy Huston's local (North Carolina, to be precise) film won me over with its other charms. The weird rituals of fraternity culture, some Southern stereotyping done with great pleasure, and many a smile-inducing off-beat idea add up to the sort of homemade appeal regional slashers sometimes have. One could call it "heart". This is how a particular group of people dramatized the life and times and people they knew through the filter of a cheap horror movie, sharing it with a willing audience. That sort of personality is worth ninety minutes of one's time, even though the resulting film sucks as a horror movie.

The Island at the Top of the World (1974): Leave it to mid-70s Disney to make a movie about airship travel through the arctic, lost Vikings and other great elements of the extraordinary voyage school of adventure cinema, and have the results become nearly impossible to enjoy. It's all a matter of having all your characters being infuriating racist stereotypes or jerks the film doesn't want to realize are jerks, ruining every chance for audience immersion through tedious and unfunny humour, and incredibly bland acting throughout the non-humorous moments. Congratulations, you just ruined a sure thing.

Last Caress (2010): This is one of two loving homages by French filmmakers Francois Gaillard and Christophe Robin to the giallo and Italian supernatural horror. The film suffers a bit from cases of amateurishness in the acting department and its narrative structure, but makes up for that by so vigorously and lovingly copying the surface charm of Italian genre cinema (the colours! boots! nudity! the improbable gore! the iconic non-characters! the strange poignancy! the score!) on a budget it's impossible for me not to adore it a little. It's also truly impressive how well this is edited and how good it looks even though it's absolutely clear this was made by enthusiasts and not professionals on an enthusiast budget.

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