Monday, March 20, 2017

Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

Dir- Jack Arnold
Arguably the most recent of the classic Hollywood movie monsters and one of the most misunderstood. While on an expedition in the Amazon looking for a link between land and seas creatures, explorers discover an amphibious Gill-Man who is captured and later escapes. It then returns and kidnaps the beautiful woman onboard and takes her to its lair only to face off with the crew who seek to rescue the lady. In a time when monster movies were the rage, The Creature From the Black Lagoon stood out for its underwater effects and the fantastic creature costume created for the movie. More than just a simple monster movie, the Gill-Man creature was a complex, intelligent individual, who was looking for companionship and understanding. Filmed in 3-D, the movie would lead to 2 sequels that did not live up to the charm and originality of this classic creature feature.

Friday, March 10, 2017

High Tension (2003)

A trip home for a young woman and her friend turns into a horrific journey for survival as they are stalked by a deranged serial killer who leaves a trail of bloody corpses in the French countryside. Alex and Marie are college students taking a break at the remote farmhouse home where Marie's family lives. The family's quiet evening is interrupted by a mysterious stranger who wrecks havoc on the occupants as Marie is kidnapped with Alex hiding along to protect her from the deranged manic.  The events that will follow will make you wonder who is behind the crime and if anyone will survive the horrific evening. High Tension was released in the United States with edits made to avoid an NC-17. The film is still pretty violent despite the cuts, but unedited copies of the movie can be found easily on DVD. Directed by Alexandre Aja, High Tension would stand out for its extreme violence and emerge as one of many French films featuring such intense direction to include Frontiers, Martyrs, and Inside.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)

Inspired by true events this French-language period thriller presents a series of brutal attacks on villagers by an unknown creature and the investigation that sought to end this tragedy. The Beast of Gevaudan was a terrifying creature that in 1764 killed more than 60 people in a brutal manner. King Louis XV dispatches a knight and naturalist named Fronsac who using his intellect, and the martial arts prowess of his Iroquois partner seek to find a rational answer to this series of horrific events. His investigation concludes that the accounts of wolf attacks do not fit the pattern of victims wounds, so he seeks out something unknown but purely of natural origin. What is revealed of the animal attacks may be part of a larger conspiracy that could threaten the Crown.

Brotherhood of the Wolf was directed by Christophe Gans and stars Samuel Le Bihan, Mark Dacascos, Monica Belucci and Vincent Cassel. The film mixes some curious genres as it appears to be a werewolf movie but includes French Aristocracy, occult practices, martial arts and elements of political collusion. The film earned praise for its unique performances, high production value and excellent period setting.