2017 3rd Annual 30/007Hz First Watch Hertzie Awards

My Letterboxd.com stat sheet indicates that I watched 304 movies in the year of 2017 and 70.7% of those were brand new to me. From Manchester By the Sea on January 1 to Baywatch on December 31 that’s a solid collection of movies. Only 17 of those films were released in 2017.

What? You’re dying to know more details from my Letterboxd.com stat sheet?

letterboxd stats

I watched more movies on Friday than any other day of the week and of the non-English countries of origin I watched more Italian films than Japanese films despite watching 10 movies from the Zatoichi series. I’m fascinated and I know you are too.

While everyone else is out there during this time of year discussing their favorite movies from the year that was, I’m not so sure I’m qualified anymore. The Oscar nominations arrived this morning. And unlike my more youthful days when I was a barely-compensated entertainment journalist for a tabloid-style publication, I haven’t seen them all — nowhere close, actually. You know what I have seen? The 304 movies I watched last year. I am 100% qualified to discuss and give out awards to all of those movies.

So what you won’t see is any furor over accolades for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I declare this a Three Billboards fury-free zone. Because, yes, you guessed it. I haven’t seen it. (Yet.)

My Oscar-season counter-programming might not entertain more than a couple people out there on the Interwebs, but I enjoy allowing myself the time to reflect upon my year in movies — so much so that this is the third year I’ll have given out the prestigious Hertzies. To recap: Slither (1973) took home the first Hertzie grand prize in 2015 and The Wanderers (1979) walked off (without controversy) with the 2016 Hertzie. Some love the Oscars, others fancy the Golden Globes, and four people out there know about the Hertzies.

Now it’s time to turn the microphone over to the once and forever Hertzie girl, our master of ceremonies, Myrna Loy, to present the nominees for the 3rd Annual Hertzie Awards.

myrna loy

Presenting the 3rd Annual First Watch Hertzie Award Nominations (and Winners!)

 

Celeste Holm, The Tender Trap
Jennifer Jones, Beat the Devil
Angela Lansbury, The Private Affairs of Bel-Ami
Joan McCracken, Good News
Una Merkel, Murder in the Private Car
Agnes Moorehead, The Magnificent Ambersons

*Surprise nomination for Una Merkel in the silly Murder in the Private Car might cause some controversy. It’s almost like the Rumble just wanted her to come to the party. 

Agnes Moorehead The Magnificent Ambersons

Winner: Agnes Moorehead, The Magnificent Ambersons

It’s impossible to overlook poor beleaguered Agnes Moorehead in Orson Welles’ other other masterpiece. Torture and inward retreat. She makes you feel and breathes life and breath into Joseph Kotten’s performance as well.

 

Jack Lemmon, The China Syndrome
Adam Driver, What If…
Thomas Gomez, Ride the Pink Horse
Victor Mature, My Darling Clementine
Victor Moore, It Happened on Fifth Avenue
James Stewart, Rope

*Adam Driver’s here solely due to his sex nacho speech.

victor mature my darling clementine

Winner: Victor Mature, My Darling Clementine

Victor Mature is a rock in John Ford’s My Darling Clementine. No longer just a chiseled jawbone with sunken, brooding eyes. Doc Holliday continues to prove that it’s the juiciest of juicy roles.

 

Humphrey Bogart, In a Lonely Place
Ronald Colman, A Double Life
Douglas Fairbanks, The Mark of Zorro
W.C. Fields, The Bank Dick
Shintaro Katsu, Tale of Zatoichi
Joseph Cotten, The Magnificent Ambersons

*Colman receives his second nomination in as many years. Is he destined to become the Hertzie’s version of Susan Lucci?

Humphrey Bogart In a Lonely Place

Winner: Humphrey Bogart, In a Lonely Place

Bogart steps out of his “Bogart” comfort zone. He and Gloria Grahame display a master class in restraint and disillusionment. One doesn’t work without the other, and its a shame the Hertzies couldn’t see fit to reward Grahame equally. *SPOILER ALERT*

 

Amy Adams, The Arrival
Irene Dunne, Theodora Gone Wild
Gloria Grahame, In a Lonely Place
Judy Holliday, Bells Are Ringing
Lisa Margolin, David & Lisa
Barbara Streisand, What’s Up Doc?

*Amy Adams received the only nomination for a modern film in the lead acting categories. And this automatically gives me more credibility than the 2017 Academy Awards. 

judy holliday bells are ringing

Winner: Judy Holliday, Bells Are Ringing

Powerhouse song and dance performance by Judy Holliday narrowly bests Gloria Grahame.

 

John Paxton – Murder, My Sweet (1944)
Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger – Black Narcissus (1947)
Eleanor Perry – David & Lisa (1962)
Andrew Solt, Edmund H. North – In a Lonely Place (1950)
Orson Welles – The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Samuel G. Engel, Winston Miller – My Darling Clementine (1946)

*That little indie film, David & Lisa, picks up it’s surprise second nomination.

david & lisa 1962

Winner: Eleanor Perry – David & Lisa 

David (& Lisa) slays Goliath. Takes home a screenwriting award for Eleanor Perry and her touching love story about two students in a school for the mentally-impaired searching for a connection.

 

Trey Parker – Cannibal! The Musical (1993)
Mike Gray, T.S. Cook, James Bridges – The China Syndrome (1979)
Richard Linklater – Everybody Wants Some! (2016)
Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola – The Godfather Part III (1990)
Kim Ki-Young – The Housemaid (1960)
Buck Henry, David Newman, Robert Benton – What’s Up Doc? (1972)

*The Original Screenplay category wins at life. Just look at those options. Nowhere — and I mean nowhere — could you ever see a Korean film from 1960 in the same category as Cannibal! The Musical and The Godfather Part III. Plus, the category contains two, count ’em, two exclamation points! 

what's up doc

Winner: Buck Henry, David Newman, Robert Benton – What’s Up Doc? (1972)

The favorite takes this category in a landslide as Hertzie voters were overhead saying on Twitter that it was the most fun they had at a movie all year.

 

Alfred Hitchcock, Rope
Kim Ki-Young, The Housemaid

Jose Ramon Larraz, Symptoms
Ida Lupino, The Hitch-hiker
Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, Black Narcissus
Orson Welles, The Magnificent Ambersons

*I can’t wait to seat this crew at the same table, just to see what happens. The potential conversation between Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock and Jose Ramon Larraz is the reason the Hertzies are the best awards show on the planet. 

black narcissus

Winner: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, Black Narcissus

Orson and Hitchcock received some votes, but the visual splendor and ensemble performances throughout Black Narcissus made it the Hertzies’ favorite.

 

The Bank Dick (1940)
Bells Are Ringing (1960)
Black Narcissus (1947)
In a Lonely Place (1950)
Rope (1948)
What’s Up Doc? (1972)

*Two comedies, a thriller, a film noir, a musical, and a technicolor melodrama contend for the top prize. 

Winner: The Bank Dick (1940)

The tightest, most brutal Hertzie Best Picture race in the history of ever finds W.C. Fields and The Bank Dick squeaking out a victory over the heavily favored Black Narcissus and In A Lonely Place. It is my guess that neither had ever boondoggled and the voters went with their gut — the movie that would get the most replay.

 

Cannibal! The Musical (1993)
The Housemaid (1960)
Mill of the Stone Women (1960)
Symptoms (1974)
Tower of Screaming Virgins (1968)
Vanishing Point (1971)

*Some don’t even care about the Best Picture award, contending that the real action happens here — in what amounts to the Hertzie after party. Even this category stirs some controversy as Kim Ki-Young’s The Housemaid slips into the B-Picture category, but word has it the studio felt it had a much better shot at carrying away the first foreign-language Hertzie in the coveted B-Picture category than fighting it out with the big boys. 

the housemaid 1960

Winner: Symptoms

The Tower of Screaming Virgins cries fowl over The Housemaid’s inclusion in the B-Picture category, but we’ll let the courts decide the legal battle. Nobody speaks Korean to know what director Kim Ki-Young has to say about the nature of his production. It snuck in thanks to a lax quality control by the Rumble’s accountants who didn’t much care because there’s no money at stake here. So it goes.

 

The winners were announced the night of the 2018 Academy Awards on March 4th. 

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The Best Songs of 2017

Every year since 2005, my friend Mike at bsidesnarrative.com and I have been compiling our “Best of” lists. It’s a competition without a winner or a loser. It’s a way for us to communicate about music and share our thoughts without being able to chat as much as we’d like anymore. The above link will take you to his list.

The 100 Best Songs of 2017

 

The year 2017 was a bunch of whatever. Broken. The Upside-Down became our reality. While all that nonsense raged on and fueled our fears and whipped our disillusionment into a lather, the year found time to beget a veritable trough of earhole-worthy jams. It was a year of transition, a coming-to-terms with the dumpster-fire status quo. We may not like the world in which we live, but the torrent of inspired and reactionary art may be the silver lining to the coming apocalypse. #SmallVictories

I tweaked the “Best of” rules this year. For 2017, I’m only allowing myself one song from each artist. This benefits you in two ways. 1) You won’t be forced to read a list of nothing but Valerie June, The War on Drugs, and Alvvays, and 2) I get to pick more artists and more songs. If you’re reading any of these 2017 lists, you’re likely looking to find new records and artists to make these days more meaningful/beautiful/soulful/tolerable. Or you’re hate reading and shaking your fist angrily at your computer screen. Either way, thanks for the click.

And I reserve the right to completely change my mind about all of these songs next week.

Disclaimer in perpetuity: I’m still just one guy and while I listen to a lot of music, there are people who listen to a lot more. Like the folks at Aquarium Drunkard, My Old Kentucky Blog and Said the Gramophone — my three go-to music blogs. In many ways their input came together to form these year-end lists like Voltron. 

best songs of 2017

Past years of the Best of: 2016 / 2015 / 2014 / 2013 / 2012 

Bonus picks: “What’s That Perfume That You Wear” – Jens Lekman; “No Coffee” – Amber Coffman; “Runaway” – Julietta; “Do You Still Love Me?” – Ryan Adams; “No One Like You” – Blue Hawaii; “Still Waking Up” – Tim Darcy; “I Know A Place” – MUNA; “I Promise” – Radiohead; “Keep Walking” – Kelly Lee Owens; “Soothing” – Laura Marling; “Wild Indifference” – Joan Shelley; “Westermarck” – Charly Bliss; “Stellular” – Rose Elinor Dougall; “Sweet Saturn Mine” – The Moonlandingz; “call the police” – LCD Soundsystem; “The Fear” – The Shins; “Old Time” – Willie Nelson; “Ran” – Future Islands; “You Never Come Closer” – Doris; “1234” – Kevin Morby; “There’s a Honey” – Pale Waves; “Baby Luv” – Nilufer Yanya; “Thinning” – Snail Mail

inifinity

Covers: 

“Sorrow” – Paul Shaffer And The World’s Most Dangerous Band (with Jenny Lewis) / “Valerie” – Ra Ra Riot / “Can’t Help Falling in Love” – Beck / “Fragments” – Blondie

For whatever reason, covers dominated my earholes in 2017 and while I have a hard time ranking cover songs in the main countdown, I reserve this slot for trends/miracles that deserve a little bit of time and attention. Back on January 6th, Sorrow” was actually the very first track added to my “2017 Hits” list, which is the year-long collection of tracks from which I draw this countdown. To wrap up the covers portion of this countdown, Blondie checks in with a defiant, goddammit I’m still relevant wave goodbye on her cover of Adam Johnston’s piano ballad.

“Valley Boy” – Wolf Parade

So I cheated and added #101. I couldn’t neglect my boy Spencer Krug, who more than any other indie vocalist sings at the frequency of 30Hz.

 

100

“French Press” – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Melbourne 80’s indie-rock nostalgists sound like Real Estate and the Strokes at the same time. My birthday wish from 2009 just came true.

 

99

“Heartstruck – Wild Hunger” – Hamilton Leithauser, Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen shares Leithauser’s delicious appreciation for expressive 60’s-leaning vocal styles. The two bounce verses off each other like cunning Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em linguists.

 

98“T.V. M.A.C.” – Mega Bog

Neo-jam-glam on *ahem* wry toast.

 

97
tie: “If We Were Vampires” – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit / “Alleyway” – Anna Tivel

This is me. Weeping. Like a baby.

 

96“Let ‘Em Talk” – Kesha (feat. Eagles of Death Metal)

Kesha’s Freedom Party 2017. A killer kiss off track backed by grumbly guitar rockers Eagles of Death Metal. The pop diva never sounded as comfortable in her own shoes as she does here, doubling as a riot grrrl.

 

95“Running Second” – Ainslie Wills

The terms “fierce” and “symphonic” come to mind when considering Melbourne’s Ainslie Wills. This teaser track from a pending 2018 LP promises more great things from this underrated songstress from down under.

 

94“The Blackout” – U2

Most will balk when I suggest the best track on U2’s latest album sounds like a lost gem from the Pop era. “The Blackout” forces Adam Clayton to the foreground and the result is the freshest U2 track since “Discoteque.” #ILikePopGoddammit

 

93“Ouija” – Graveyard Club

Dueling vocals and baroque synth. Stop teasing me with greatness and release the new record already you morose Minneapolis bastards.

 

92

“Deadly Valentine” – Charlotte Gainstbourg

Dramatic, grief-laden 6-minute vocal opus backed by strings and loss. Inspired in part by the apparent suicide of her half-sister, the Parisian actress and singer produced her greatest record to date. This song is one that will linger and grow and transform the more you listen.

 

91

“Ugly Human Heart Pt. 1 & 2” – Daniel Romano

An eccentric two-part romper stomper from the Canadian singer-songwriter.

 

90

“Call on God” – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

I challenge you to give yourself to this song. Listen to the hope and the majesty in Sharon Jones’ vocals. Knowing the battles she fought and the live she lived. You will be moved. The late, great soul singer released the best record of her career after she was already gone. Her spirit endures.

 

89

“Rules” – Hoops

Two minutes and thirteen seconds of Hoops jangle-pop perfection. Why bother with more when you jangle that hard?

 

88

“Follow My Voice” – Julie Byrne

Julie Byrne’s voice reacts and recoils, occasionally suffocated. It’s a fragile human spirit — that voice. Gazing upon its mortality with wonder and fear and the depth of human emotion.

 

87

“Grandma Hips” – Your Old Droog, Danny Brown

I don’t know Coney Island’s Your Old Droog from a ceramic mixing bowl, but he had the wisdom to share the microphone with Danny Brown.

86

“Heavy Hearts” – Hater

Swedish quarter dropped their first full-length featuring this standout showcase of melodrama rock. Soaring vocals with a side of clouldberry jangle and jam-pop.

 

85

“Elegy” – Leif Vollebekk

Liquid melancholy backed by simple piano chords, metronomic drumbeats. Think Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” recorded on a bedroom eight-track.

 

84

“39 by Design” – Drab Majesty

Andrew Clinco channels Clan of Xymox. Some have called it “neo-goth,” but let’s all agree never to speak that term again. Pitch-perfect deep, dark thoughts with guitar, reverb and deep, mumbly vocals.

 

83

“Pink Up” – Spoon

While “Hot Thoughts” got all the airplay, the understated “Pink Up” rose up from the B-side depths to rule Spoon’s excellent 2017 LP — their best since 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.

*also eligible for the countdown: “Hot Thoughts”

 

82

“When the Heart Attacks” – Gabrielle Papillon

Paste Magazine liked Gabrielle Papillon to Ben Folds, Joanna Newsom and Tori Amos as one of our most important singer-songwriters. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m new here. I “discovered” this tremendous talent on her fifth LP.

 

81

“Show You the Way” – Thundercat (feat. Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins)

Soul/funk/jazz impresario Thundercat (Stephen Bruner) impressed and beguiled in equal measure on 2017’s Drunk. Any artist that recreates a lounge-style atmosphere and introduces the likes of Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins as special guests in the middle of a song (without *much* irony) has my eternal affection.

 

80

“Cold Apartment” – Vagabon

When Lætitia Tamko’s vocals interrupt the opening silence on “Cold Apartment” you stand up and take notice. Without tremendous range, she cuts with unique precision and gives Vagabon a singular identity.

 

79

“Dog Years” – Maggie Rogers

Fun fact: I stayed a couple nights in Easton, Maryland — Maggie Rogers’ hometown. I had some amazing oysters in a crab shack in February. I loaded them up with paralyzing amounts of horseradish and hot sauce. But anyway. This NYC-educated singer-songwriter’s the real deal and if you’re not listening to Maggie Rogers right now you’re going to miss out on the time period during which you can say you listened to Maggie Rogers way back when.

 

78

“Judy French” – White Reaper

It seems that someone, perhaps Louisville’s White Reaper, is having some fun on their Wikipedia page: “White Reaper is the worst band in the history of bands. Known for making the crowd want to punch a baby, their garbage sound should not be tolerated.” While I’m loathe to cite a Pitchfork review, I love that they summed up the White Reaper sound as cheeky, classic rock for the Camaro-set.

 

77

“Talisa” – Daniele Luppi / Parquet Courts

Italian producer Daniele Luppi unites superheroes of indie rock — Karen O and Parquet Courts — on this balls-forward guitar and bass driven driven ode to former model Talisa Soto.

 

76

“J-Boy” – Phoenix

Total snoozefest. Recommending a Phoenix track. What is this 2003? What’s old is new again. Phoenix and frontman Thomas Mars keep evolving. 17 years young, yet they’ve never sounded stale.

 

101 – 76   /   75 – 51   /  50 – 26  /   25 – 1

 

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Night Creatures: 31 Days of Horror

#29. Night Creatures (1962)

Nature of Shame:
Unseen Hammer Horror.

Hoop-tober Challenge Checklist:
Decade: 1960’s
Hammer Horror

I took a poll on Twitter to see which Hammer horror film I should consider to fill my Hooptober requirement. As I’d seen most every one of the suggestions, the conversation became a welcome reminder about how much I enjoy these movies. I really should fit more Hammer horror into my schedule.

I fell on Night Creatures because it was mentioned in that thread and I happened to have the recently released 8-film Hammer Blu-ray set featuring a bunch of movies I’d seen and Night Creatures!

The Story

In 18th-century England, the Royal Crown sends Royal Navy Captain Collier and his crew to investigate reports of illegal smuggling and bootlegging in a coastal town where locals believe in Marsh Phantoms.

night creatures aka captain clegg

Talking about Night Creatures (aka Captain Clegg) might be unfair to anyone that’s not seen the film. Detailing the film might remove the sense of discovery because any in-depth description might, in fact, cause a viewer to say “meh,” and move on to something more salacious. Directed by Peter Graham Scott, Night Creatures proceeds at a languid pace and without any legitimate “creature” payoff.

So instead of detailing specifics, I’ll tell you why you’re still going to watch Night Creatures.

#1. Peter Cushing as a priest with unspecified past transgressions.

#2. A restrained Oliver Reed with a pompadour coif.

#3. The titular “night creature” effects.

#4. Pirates. Angry pirates. Retired pirates. Pirate henchmen. You name the pirate variety, Night Creatures offers you pirates.

Final Night Creatures Thoughts:

This entry in the 31 Days of Horror marathon has been brought to by the words “brevity” and the phrase “about to eat Thanksgiving food.” I do encourage you to watch Night Creatures because it surprises and rewards through the offerings of two proper thespians and a nice little twist that may or may not see coming.

 

30Hz Movie Rating:

Availability:

hammer horror blu-ray

 

Hammer Horror 8-Film Collection is available at Amazon and wherever fine Hammer films are sold.

Buy Hammer Horror 8-Film Collection on Amazon.

 

 

2017 @CinemaShame / Hooptober Shame Statement
31+ Days of Horror. 33 Horror Movies. 33 Reviews.

#1. Caltiki The Immortal Monster (1959) / #2. The Devil Doll (1936) / #3. The Velvet Vampire (1971) / #4. Mill of the Stone Women (1960) / #5. The Initiation (1984) / #6. Poltergeist (1982) / #7. Night of the Lepus (1972) / #8. The Black Cat (1934) / #9. The Raven (1935) / #10. Friday the 13th (1980) / #11. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) / #12. Body Snatcher (1945) / #13. Dismembered (1962) / #14. From Hell It Came (1957) / #15. Symptoms (1974) / #16. Eating Raoul (1982) / #17. Spellcaster (1988) / #18. The Old Dark House (1932) / #19. House (1985) / #20. House II: The Second Story / #21. Christine (1983) / #22. Suspiria (1977) / #23. The Invisible Man (1933) / #24. Spider aka Zirneklis (1991) / #25. The Wife Killer (1976) / #26. Cannibal! The Musical (1993) / #27. The Wicker Man (1973) / #28. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) / #29. Night Creatures (1962) / #30. Nosferatu (1922) / #31. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare / #32. Day of the Dead (1985) / #33. Psycho II (1983) / #34. The Green Butchers (2003)

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2: 31 Days of Horror

#28. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

texas chainsaw massacre 2 posterNature of Shame:
Unseen Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie.

Hoop-tober Challenge Checklist:
Decade: 1980’s
Tobe Hooper

Texas Chainsaw Massacre graced my 2015 @CinemaShame list. I’d never watched the entire movie all the way through. I righted that wrong and felt wholly content with my exposure to all manner of Lone Star-state massacres, but like the lunar solstice, Hooptober rolled right around again this October and I needed sequels and more Tobe Hooper films to fill out my schedule. Two birds. One stone.

Truth be told, I never paid any attention to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. I knew of its existence, obviously, but I’ve only got so many moviewatching hours in the day. What finally piqued my interest of all things was the poster. (It’s up there at the top of this page if you need a refresher.)

You’re looking at that and thinking one of three things.

Option 1: That’s… not very interesting.

Option 2: Holy hell that’s a riff on The Breakfast Club!

Option 3: Obvs.

the breakfast club poster
(For reference.)

The Story

Chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface (Bill Johnson) is up to his cannibalistic ways once again, along with the rest of his twisted clan, including the equally disturbed Chop-Top (Bill Moseley). This time, the masked killer has set his sights on pretty disc jockey Vanita “Stretch” Brock (Caroline Williams), who teams up with Texas lawman Lefty Enright (Dennis Hopper) to battle the psychopath and his family deep within their lair, a macabre abandoned amusement park.

texas chainsaw massacre 2

How do you follow up a critically-acclaimed cult masterpiece? With reverence and humility. Also, it helps to not give two f*&#s.

The 1980’s became sequel obsessed. The Friday the 13th franchise turned out six films in six years. Nightmare on Elm Street? Five movies in six years. Pressure must have mounted on Tobe Hooper to follow up 1974’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre. 12 years had passed. 12 years of expectation. 12 years for the original to evolve into a cherished and untouchable classic.

Hooper hadn’t even planned to direct the sequel — but he couldn’t find an acceptable director to work under the budgetary constraints, which I read as he couldn’t find a director willing to work for free. Hooper stepped in to direct again, but he’d conceived TCM2 as a black comedy. Cannon Films wanted a straight horror sequel.

texas chainsaw massacre 2
Not a straight horror sequel.

Cannon obviously wasn’t satisfied with the final product, and the film’s $8million box office (good for 83rd place in 1986 between Haunted Honeymoon and The Best of Times) seemed to justify their distaste. The film’s original  “X” rating from the MPAA certainly didn’t help matters. Hooper instead chose to release it without a rating entirely.

Texas Chain Saw Massacre created terror through the unseen. Perfectly inserted moments of cathartic gore and violence punctuated the pursuit of a skin-masked chainsaw-wielding maniac. An exercise in restraint. Hooper’s sequel disembowels that restraint and lets the entrails falls out on to the floor. And then wears the entrails as a shirt.

texas chainsaw massacre 2

The film opens with 80’s douchebags being attacked by the obligatory chainsaw maniac scored by Oingo Boingo. If you should know one thing about me, it’s that a 1980’s movie featuring Oingo Boingo is the quickest way to my heart. From there, TCM2 wallows in hilarious depravity. Hooper never undermines the original; he takes this opportunity to explore the flipside of that brand of unsettling horror. Skin-wearing lunatics living in a cavernous underground themepark from hell.

Critics eviscerated the film at the time of its release. The excessive gore and wasted stock characters caused a bit of indigestion. Dennis Hopper’s role especially caused consternation because he floundered around the screen as a hapless detective with no drive before flipping a switch and becoming a chainsaw waving erstaz hero. These critics failed to recognize that crazy Dennis Hopper is pure entertainment — no explanation necessary.

dennis hopper texas chainsaw massacre 2

If you want to find more meaning in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2‘s on-screen shenanigans, there’s some merit to the analysis of the film as a commentary on 1980’s excess. That said, if you’re not already on board with Hooper’s absurd approach to the Massacre‘s legacy, I doubt a criticism of Reagan-era consumerism will re-orient your perspective.

 

Final Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Thoughts:

I knew enough to expect “bonkers,” and I still wasn’t fully prepared for Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’s warped sense of humor. By not putting Texas Chain Saw Massacre on a pedestal, Hooper created something truly and bizarrely original. Dare I say it? I enjoyed this more than that heralded original.

 

30Hz Movie Rating:

Availability:

texas chainsaw massacre 2 blu-ray

 

Shout Factory’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Collector’s Edition is available and it’s lovin’ every minute of it.

Buy Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 on Amazon.

 

 

2017 @CinemaShame / Hooptober Shame Statement
31+ Days of Horror. 33 Horror Movies. 33 Reviews.

#1. Caltiki The Immortal Monster (1959) / #2. The Devil Doll (1936) / #3. The Velvet Vampire (1971) / #4. Mill of the Stone Women (1960) / #5. The Initiation (1984) / #6. Poltergeist (1982) / #7. Night of the Lepus (1972) / #8. The Black Cat (1934) / #9. The Raven (1935) / #10. Friday the 13th (1980) / #11. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) / #12. Body Snatcher (1945) / #13. Dismembered (1962) / #14. From Hell It Came (1957) / #15. Symptoms (1974) / #16. Eating Raoul (1982) / #17. Spellcaster (1988) / #18. The Old Dark House (1932) / #19. House (1985) / #20. House II: The Second Story / #21. Christine (1983) / #22. Suspiria (1977) / #23. The Invisible Man (1933) / #24. Spider aka Zirneklis (1991) / #25. The Wife Killer (1976) / #26. Cannibal! The Musical (1993) / #27. The Wicker Man (1973) / #28. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) / #29. Night Creatures (1962) / #30. Nosferatu (1922) / #31. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare / #32. Day of the Dead (1985) / #33. Psycho II (1983) / #34. The Green Butchers (2003)

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The Wicker Man: 31 Days of Horror

#27. The Wicker Man (1973)

the wicker man 1973 posterNature of Shame:
No Shame. Just a worthy revisit and a bizarro #Bond_age_ live tweet.

Hoop-tober Challenge Checklist:
Decade: 1970’s

The first time I saw The Wicker Man, I was left broken, beguiled and bewildered. The second time I saw The Wicker Man, I finally saw the film for the first time. The third time, this time, I marveled at the people who dared make such a bold slice of cinema that was destined for misunderstanding.

 

The Story

Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) arrives on the small Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate the report of a missing child. A conservative Christian, the policeman observes the residents’ frivolous sexual displays and strange pagan rituals, particularly the temptations of Willow (Britt Ekland), daughter of the island magistrate, Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee). The more Sergeant Howie learns about the islanders’ strange practices, the closer he gets to tracking down the missing child.

the wicker man 1973

I stuck to the rote, prescribed version of the narrative description so I can move on with other thoughts about The Wicker Man. I find it freeing — the not wasting energy retelling the plot in movie reviews. Conservation of brain cells. Plus, it takes less time than conjuring “cute” new ways to describe a movie you’ve likely already seen.

If you haven’t seen The Wicker man… first a word of warning. Do not strangle The Wicker Man while watching it. The Wicker Man requires patience and the ability to step back from the active experience of moviewatching. Active moviewatchers can be demanding and ill-tempered. Sometimes the most profound experiences happen when we’re allowing the movie to play out on its own terms. During my first viewing, expectation clouded the experience.

Robin Hardy’s film assaults you on an entirely different level than face-value terror. To experience The Wicker Man as an unsettling, truly frightening piece of cinema, concessions are required. One must not only accept that Sergeant Howie’s Western ideology is fallible — but also that Summerisle’s pagan beliefs are just as logical.

the wicker man 1973

Doing this requires the censure of our innate skepticism toward cult teachings and pagan religion. It’s not Hardy’s film supports a world devoid of God; it creates a parallel between the blindness of Christianity and the devotion of a cult that believes ritual sacrifice will bring back a failing orange crop. It calls everything into question.

Still I wouldn’t go as far as to say that The Wicker Man supports a strict doctrine of existentialism. It calls into question the beliefs that distract us from considering truths. When the credits roll, the emptiness — if we choose to embrace it — leaves us totally and emotionally bankrupt. In part because movies generally don’t dare end on such a note and in part because what we’ve just witnessed has raised questions about the way all of us live our lives.

And that stays with you, writing beneath you skin in a way a jump scare or a fleeting moment of terror couldn’t even imagine.

the wicker man 1973

Final The Wicker Man Thoughts:

Even if you don’t care for The Wicker Man upon a first viewing, let it sit, let it simmer. Come back to it with a clear mind and fresh eyes in a couple of years. And then let it wash over you without expectation, like a great jazz composition, with attention but without concern for strict narrative logic. The Wicker Man might just be one of the greatest horror films ever made — if you allow it access.

 

30Hz Movie Rating:

 

Availability:  

the wicker man blu-ray

 

 

The Wicker Man is available wherever fine pagan cinema is sold.

Buy The Wicker Man on Amazon.

 

 

2017 @CinemaShame / Hooptober Shame Statement
31+ Days of Horror. 33 Horror Movies. 33 Reviews.

#1. Caltiki The Immortal Monster (1959) / #2. The Devil Doll (1936) / #3. The Velvet Vampire (1971) / #4. Mill of the Stone Women (1960) / #5. The Initiation (1984) / #6. Poltergeist (1982) / #7. Night of the Lepus (1972) / #8. The Black Cat (1934) / #9. The Raven (1935) / #10. Friday the 13th (1980) / #11. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) / #12. Body Snatcher (1945) / #13. Dismembered (1962) / #14. From Hell It Came (1957) / #15. Symptoms (1974) / #16. Eating Raoul (1982) / #17. Spellcaster (1988) / #18. The Old Dark House (1932) / #19. House (1985) / #20. House II: The Second Story / #21. Christine (1983) / #22. Suspiria (1977) / #23. The Invisible Man (1933) / #24. Spider aka Zirneklis (1991) / #25. The Wife Killer (1976) / #26. Cannibal! The Musical (1993) / #27. The Wicker Man (1973) / #28. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) / #29. Night Creatures (1962) / #30. Nosferatu (1922) / #31. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare / #32. Day of the Dead (1985) / #33. Psycho II (1983) / #34. The Green Butchers (2003)

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A bl-g about classic and not-so-classic movies, music and nostalgia by James David Patrick