340 posts categorized "Horror"

October 30, 2023

ENTER THE VOID — SHOCKTOBER!

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Enter The VoidGaspar Noe specializes in brutally grueling films of sex and violence. Anyone who has suffered through his 2002 film "Irreversible" knows well the feeling of seeing something that you would never want to see again.

"Enter the Void" is such a virtuosic, if orgiastic, piece of experimental exploitation cinema that the audience is simultaneously repulsed and mesmerized by the bold attack on the senses that Noe assaults the viewer with.

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Set in Tokyo, "Enter the Void" captures the most immersive subjective viewpoint for its drug addicted protagonist that any filmmaker has ever achieved. Through the eyes of Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), we experience a casual conversation with his sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta) that leads to a mind-melting drug trip after she leaves.

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Psychedelic to the extreme, the visually stupefying sequence goes far beyond even Stanley Kubrick's groundbreaking visuals for "2001: A Space Odyssey). It's only when Oscar finally faces his bathroom mirror that we finally see what he sees, his surprisingly young and innocent face.

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The story progresses in real time until Oscar's life takes a shocking turn inside a bar bathroom. Oscar's and Linda's back story about the car crash that took their parents' lives when they were small, informs their dodgy lives in Tokyo where he makes his living as a drug dealer, and she as a stripper. The filmic odyssey is eventually brought low by its own excesses.

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At 137 minutes, there is too much brain-hammering repetition of headache-inducing segues of flamboyant neon color and grotesque physical elements to serve the filmmaker's bizarre vision. With a good 30 or 40 inessential minutes excised from it, "Enter the Void" could have been truly amazing. However, in its current form it is a traumatic film that wears out its welcome.

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Not Rated. 137 mins. 

4 Stars“ColeSmithey.com” MR. CLEANCozy Cole

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THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS — SHOCKTOBER!

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ColeSmithey.comEd Gein's legacy of a body-flaying serial killer, which also provided Hitchcock’s “Psycho” with its inspiration, gave novelist Thomas Harris the unsavory elements he used to build “The Silence of the Lambs.”

The fact that director Jonathan Demme turned Ted Tally’s screenplay adaptation into a masterpiece of film horror reflects an array of ingenious choices: fully developed characters, exquisitely fulfilled by the actors in each of their roles. The unusual storyline boasts two sets of opposing protagonists and antagonists.

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Jodie Foster’s character, FBI trainee Clarice Starling, makes for a highly empathetic central character. Headstrong yet engaged in a constant battle of insecurity, Clarice isn’t about to squander the opportunity to track down a serial killer known as “Buffalo Bill” when Agent Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn), of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, assigns her to interview convicted serial murderer Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins, in an iconic role).

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“Hannibal the Cannibal” is the ultimate anti-hero. A hyper-intelligent former psychiatrist and highly skilled painter, Dr. Lecter has been laying in wait for a visit from someone like Clarice, whom he can mentally dissect and manipulate. Lecter knows his chance to kill will come again. The audience knows it too. However, unlike our disgust at Buffalo Bill’s crimes, which targets overweight women whom he murders for their skin, we secretly want to see the charmingly malevolent Dr. Lecter in action. Hannibal’s alternately cheerful or crass demeanor has a knowing wink about it that Anthony Hopkins milks for every drop of diabolical ingenuity available.

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The bizarre mentor/apprentice relationship that develops between Clarice and her criminally insane subject makes for a compelling mix of visceral —almost sexual — tension and dark humor. For all of her naiveté, Clarice is perfectly capable of matching wits with the demented doctor, even though it takes her some practice to get it right.

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Anthony Heald’s Dr. Frederick Chilton is a petty bureaucrat whose ambitious political goals put him at odds with Clarice. His character presents a different type of villain. Even Clarice’s trusted FBI mentor Jack Crawford fails to come through when Clarice most desperately needs assistance. She is always on her own.

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“The Silence of the Lambs” is indisputably dynamic in every technical detail. Jonathan Demme uses high camera angles to create chilling visual compositions. The film constantly seems to change direction. A tense subjective sequence seen through Buffalo Bill’s night-vision goggles ramps up the suspense with an organic filmmaking technique that puts the audience temporarily inside the mind of the killer. For a few brief moments we, know the fear of the would-be victim and her lurking attacker.

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The effect is petrifying.

Winner of five Academy Awards, “The Silence of the Lambs” is the only horror film to ever sweep the Oscars.

Rated R. 118 mins.

5 StarsColeSmithey.com THE BLOOD OF DRACULA
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NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE — SHOCKTOBER!

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

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ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.comTHE BLOOD OF DRACULA

THE BLOOD OF DRACULA

NosferatuWerner Herzog's inspired homage to F.W. Murnau's 1922 silent film is an appropriately chilling telling of the Gothic tale derived from Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Klaus Kinski delivers a delightfully unhinged performance as the bloodthirsty vampire Count Dracula who takes advantage of a real estate broker (Bruno Ganz).

Naturally, the vampire has to travel in his coffin on a ship infested with plague-carrying rats.

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Herzog plays with surrealistic compositions that are truly terrifying.

Plague carrying rats are a thematic symbol in this twisted tale of horror.

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Isabelle Adjani brings her immutable beauty to bear as the broker's fearful wife, fated to suffer Dracula’s blood-hungry bite.

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"Nosferatu" is filled with delightfully scary touches and recreated camera angles from Murnau's original that add a historic context to this masterpiece of horror from one of the New German Cinema's most prolific and enduring members.

Rated PG. 107 mins.

5 Stars COLE MONSTERCozy Cole

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