Movie of the Week 39
Pitch Black 2000 action adventure SF horror
While most monster movies pitting humans against horrendous extra-terrestrials end up being cheap imitations of Aliens, Pitch Black stands as a fine piece of Sci-Fi/Horror. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the film is the lighting. The movie camera captures many different colors, shades and intensities of light which set the mood and lend a distinctive feeling to the film. At first I thought something went haywire with my motel room TV. The visuals are quite different than the typical movie lighting. But why is this interesting? Because the desert-like planet where our gang has crash landed has not one, not two, but three suns. This is a key part of the plot. NO. SPOILERS. I was impressed with the excellent ensemble cast, and Vin Diesel, as anti-hero Riddick, expertly brings his troubled character to life, and avoids the routine portrayal of the hardened criminal. The supporting cast of B actors turn in solid performances, and although I knew most were doomed from the start, I was rooting for them to make it off the planet to safety. The special effects were more than adequate, but at the same time not the sole focus. The movie uses Science Fiction as a medium to tell an engaging, human story, rather than telling a mediocre story hiding behind flashy Sci-Fi FX.
Movie of the Week 38
Fearless Vampire Killers 1967 horror comedy
This movie has a dark, gothic atmosphere like a good Hammer vampire flick, but is tempered with plenty of goofy humor and silly characters. A comical Professor hunts vampires in snowbound Transylvania with his trusty young assistant, Alfred (a young Roman Polanski), but the hapless prof does not really know what to do once he finds Count Dracula and his army of vampires. This is also a rare opportunity to see what an astonishing beauty Sharon Tate was (Sharon Tate and Polanski were married soon after this movie). To know what happened to her afterward is heartbreaking. Favorite scene not to miss - the midnight vampire ball with Roman and Sharon dancing to haunting harpsichord music while surrounded by vampires.
Movie of the Week 37
Shadow of the Vampire 2000 horror suspense
Available on Prime Video
This is not your Anne-Rice or Buffy kind of vampire flick. Willem Dafoe is unforgettable as the original movie Vampire – Max Schreck. Schreck is a walking, talking monster. For those interested in horror/ suspense genre, silent films, films about films, vampires, or cinema pioneer F.W. Murnau; this is the movie for you. Mr. Malkovich, as maverick director F.W. Murnau, takes the role to the absolute Dictatorial Level. Most of the characters are unlikeable except Greta (Catherine McCormick). No spoilers, but she is so delicious, Max wants to eat her alive. Some of the scenes are disturbing, especially the ending, but, this is after all a horror flick. So what did you expect?
Movie of the Week 36
Riding the Bullet 2004 horror drama psycho-thriller
Available on Prime Video
This is a solid story from the twisted mind of Stephen King. The overlooked film is not near as famous as his big hits Carrie, The Shining, Christine, and Green Mile, but is worth the search. The storyline has many of the recurring themes that are in several King books and movies: The troubled teen with a touch of schizoid, family tragedies that tend to repeat over generations, demons from the supernatural world, death and guilt. Unknown actor Jonathan Jackson delivers a fine performance in the lead role. I've read mostly mixed reviews on this underrated flick, but found it to be one of the more enjoyable (and less gory) horror films of the last few years.
Written by Ben Clark. Copyright 2016-2023. All rights reserved.