NOTES: For the second half of this month I think I was just trying to get some distance on only watching horror movies, and only watching Italian horror movies, because I felt like I was losing some perspective and only sticking with the 5 Italian gore directors instead of getting the whole picture. Also it’s way easier to asses these things by director and you will never see the whole thing that way. Genres and movements and time periods are too easy to define by their key players, and I know in my head that’s a thing I’ll do without thinking about it and I need to check myself. On the flip side of that, seeing the wider culture/movement/etc around a single artist is a great way to see them as not just a single trajectory but an active participant. You want to learn a lot about a director, read an interview with a peer from the time period that hates his fucking guts. That’s where the sauce is.
That said, I found a stellar one of those movies early on, with Lust of the Vampire. Freda and Bava essentially founding a european horror in film tradition. That film led to me finding out that Mussolini had banned horror films, and it was Italy’s first sound horror film, being released contemporaneously withGodzilla and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. All three films are truly 20th century horror films, but Freda & Bava were taking graphic surgeries, gothic spaces, funereal pageantry, stark realistic bodies, & stalk and slash sequences as a unified form. Here are the hallmarks heading forward, here is the gorgeous and the trashy, the technically marvelous with the obviously fake. The differences between this film and what Georges Franju would do would be doing just a few years later are almost negligible, and at the same time here is the birth of Bava’s aesthetic, influencing everyone, from Fellini on down. Of course, it’s not a movie that sticks, or that it’s the lodestone, or that there wasn’t a massive lineage of european horror predating this one film… but, it is all there to be expanded on, and is in immediately traceable ways.
Other than that – lots of Bava, some Polanski I hadn’t seen/seen in forever (Polanski is a huge piece of shit but he’s probably the best director alive), some great new movies in the theater with your friends and mine Tom Cruise and Guy Pearce, and the awesome Michele Soavi single set slasher jam Stage Fright Aquarius.
Finally: a lot less movies this month, but I’ve been pretty busy obsessively cleaning my bathroom and picking fights with elderly people in public.
- Caltiki The Immortal Monster (1959), dir. Riccardo Freda & Mario Bava
- Lust of the Vampire (1956), dir. Riccardo Freda & Mario Bava – Always cool to stumble onto a core text.
- Return To Paradise (1998), dir. Joseph Ruben
- Diabolik (1968), dir. Mario Bava
- Planet of the Vampires (1965), dir. Mario Bava
- The Whip and the Body (1963), dir. Mario Bava
- Hatchet For Honeymoon (1970), dir. Mario Bava
- Five Dolls For An August Moon (1970), dir. Mario Bava
- Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971), dir. Mario Bava
- The Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975), dir. Sergio Martino
- Stage Fright Aquarius (1987), dir. Michele Soavi – I loved this movie.
- Baron Blood (1972), dir. Mario Bava
- The Young Ones season 1 & 2 – Hands up who likes me? OH VERY FUNNY.
- The Cat People (1942), dir. Jacques Tourner
- Halloween 2 (1981), dir. Rick Rosenthal (w/ extensive John Carpenter reshoots)
- The Hunt For Red October (1990), dir. John McTiernan
- Eyes Without A Face (1959), dir. Georges Franju
- Edge of Tomorrow (2014), dir. Doug Liman
- Frantic (1988), dir. Roman Polanski
- The Fearless Vampire Killers / Dance of the Vampires (1967), dir. Roman Polanski
- Judge Dredd (1995), dir. Danny Cannon
- Bad Grampa .5 (2014), dir. Jeff Tremaine
- The Rover (2014), dir. David Michod
- Little Murders (1971), dir. Alan Arkin
- Louie season 4 (2014), dir. Louis CK
- The Magnificent Seven (1960), dir. John Sturges – Don’t act like it ain’t great.
- Vampyr (1932), dir. Carl Th. Dreyer
- The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), dir. Clint Eastwood
- Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010), dir. Daniel Farrands & Andrew Kasch
Books – now there are books, not just movie books, why I don’t know I’m not 100% clear on why these are here.
- The Making of Judge Dredd (1995) by Jane Killick, David Chute, & Charles M. Lippincott
- “In the Penal Colony” by Franz Kafka
- The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester