OHC Day 6 – Hodgepodge

HI EVERYBODY!

Well, I took the weekend off from blogging so I could cram in more movie watchin’, and lo and behold, I ended up meeting the requirements of the October Horror Challenge (31 total views, 16 FTVs) by Monday night. I’ll be taking it easy for the next couple of days to let the bedsores heal, and spreading out the last few days’ views over the next couple of blog posts, and then get back into the fray again. Also, I have a cold at the moment, so the effects of that are wearing me thin. Maybe I should get crazy with the cough syrup and blog?*

The Signal (2007) – FTV
Directed by David Bruckner, Dan Bush, and Jacob Gentry

A three-part story about a mysterious signal transmitted via television, phone and radio that causes people’s worst attributes to be amplified to deadly proportion, The Signal is a pretty decent horror film with a little something for everyone. The first part, or transmission, is kind of a standard slasher-esque/stalk and kill tale that gives you everything you need to know about the titular broadcast as well as the film’s main players. The second transmission movies into ultra-dark comedy range, with a kind of Shaun of the Dead feel to it, and is easily the strongest segment in the entire film. The third transmission moves somewhere between bizarre Italian gore film territory and post-apocalyptic love story, yet it works quite well for being uneven in tone – it feels like two different halves thrown together, but it wraps up the overall story well enough.

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Stigmata (1999) – FTV
Directed by Rupert Wainwright

Kind of a possession film, but then again no, but then again… A young hairdresser receives a rosary from her mother and shortly thereafter begins exhibiting the signs of stigmata, the wounds Christ suffered on the cross.

Jesus! No, really. ( ._.)

This movie might seem like it’s completely unlike any other possession-type film, but if you scratch the surface, you’ll find that lots of  possession movies are actually about the failure of the Church and also the triumph of humanity, or at least carry some disdain for it. I mean, in The Exorcist, that isn’t a priest-as-representative-of-the-Church who saves the girl. That is a man who has lost his will to live, to minister and administer. Faithless men are the heroes here. Anyhow. Sorry. The point is, for not being a typical possession film, but rather perhaps a “larger conspiracy” film, Stigmata is a decent enough horror movie with which to kill 90 minutes. Also stars Gabriel Byrne as the priest. Sexxxxxxxyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

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Island of Lost Souls (1932) – FTV
Directed by Erle C. Kenton

OH MAN. I might have to save the other two films from day 6 for tomorrow’s post, because this review could end up taking up a lot of space. The first film adaptation of The Island of Dr. Moreau is one of those pre-Code movies where you almost kind of understand why the Code was put into place. ALMOST. I mean, I’m not pro-Code, but wow…this movie gets into some heavy stuff, and not all of it is good. What I mean is that…how do I put this…Dr. Moreau is the villain here, right? Yes, because he is experimenting on, to outsiders, “the natives” to make them more human (he’s actually taking animals and, through vivisection and training, turning them into humans). So there’s kind of this awful Dr. Mengele-type thing happening. But his most successful experiment, Lota the panther woman, ends up falling in love with the shipwrecked castaway, and his reaction after they kiss – when he realizes that she isn’t human but animal…he’s completely disgusted, and there’s this whiff of (pardon the term) anti-miscegenation in the air. Mixing the (white) human with the (non-white) beast…I can barely create whole sentences here, folks. The film’s hero ends up being pretty un-heroic, really, although he does insist on taking Lota off the island at the end, so maybe he isn’t so bad after all (she doesn’t survive, unfortunately). The upshot at the end of all this is that Moreau’s victims get their revenge, in the most perfectly horrible way. Ultimately, his experiments are the heroes of the whole thing. They’re never pathetic, and they’re never brute savages either. I mean, even when they exact revenge, there’s a METHOD.

ARE WE NOT MEN?

There’s a plethora of approaches anyone could take to Island of Lost Souls. It doesn’t have to be a message film, even though there is one (several). It’s a horror film, but it doesn’t suffer from that particular trapping. You could watch it just for Charles Laughton’s performance as Moreau and be completely satisfied. My thoughts on it are honestly rather jumbled and unfocused, but I don’t think they’re entirely invalid. There’s just an awful lot happening here.

(We’ll pick up again tomorrow with Day 6 Part II)

*no

tally posted tomorrow, it’s late, I am tired and about to drug myself into oblivion. thanks in advance for your understanding.

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