Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Second of the Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathbone the film was the last of the period dramas and the last before the series moved to Universal for another 12 features. and altering Rathbone's career forever.

The plot of the film has Moriarity beating a criminal case and going free.Holmes distracts himself by taking the case of a young woman whose brother is killed in a similar manner as her father. As Holmes chases after the killer who seems intent on killing the girl next, he can't help but wonder what Moriarty is up to really...

Solid mystery is good enough to make you wonder how, if at all, the two mysteries (murder and Moriarty are related). They are of course and getting to that point is a great deal of fun.

Its clear from this film why the series continued on from this point. With Rathbone firmly front and center (he was almost a minor character in HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES) Holmes is seen to be instantly iconic. Its also clear why it would consume Rathbone since with rare exception no actor has ever been this identified with a character- even by people who are not fans of the series.

Even if the film wasn't historic in giving us the person who until recently was THE Sherlock Holmes (many now argue that Benedict Cumberbatch is not the Holmes), the film would be recommended as a damn fine mystery.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Saint in New York (1938)

First cinematic adaption of the Leslie Charteris character stars Louis Hayward  as Simon Templar a notorious villain according to the police who only seems to target bad guys. Here the desperate New York City police make a deal with Templar to have him try and topple a gang of bad guys who are running roughshod over the city.

Bleak dark and and the sort of thing I thought the production code stoped Templar is a kind of urbane Punisher killing anyone who displeases him. Utterly fearless, his bravado terrifies the villains because he simply isn't scared of them. His only weakness is bombshell Fay Edwards (Kay Sutton) who has her own code to follow.

Hayward makes a striking Saint. Easily handling the the tough stuff with the witty reparte. He's more a modern man of action than one from the golden age of Hollywood- but with a coldness that is chilling. He really will kill anyone.

Seeing the film for the first time in a couple of years I realize its the coldness that keeps this from being a great film. Templar is someone you admire more than like which is a reason they changed things up when the film went to series.

A solid film, this is recommended as the sort of film they rarely ever made and the start of a great series.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Nightcap 8/20/17 Dot Net

Is you haven’t noticed Unseen Films has shifted web addresses. While we are still located at www.unseenfilms.blogspot.com we can now also be found at www.unseenfilms.net with the .net address redirecting to Blogspot.

The change has been a long time in coming. As many of you know I have been talking about it for a couple of years now. Things had been delayed because I had been discussing with John and Randi about what to do. Should we get a domain and move the site or should we simply just have it redirect. We were weighing the pros and cons and then every time we moved toward a direction something would come up and get back-burnered.

Then spontaneously this past Monday I found myself investigating it and in the process of looking at domains I found that I had purchased a .net and had set things up to direct to the site.

When I was done I sat there staring at the computer screen wondering what the hell I had just done.

I texted Randi, John and Ken to tell them about the change and Ken immediately responded “ I thought you were going to wrap up Unseen”

Apparently not…

…or as Ken said “they really are going to pry your cold dead fingers off the keyboard mid review aren’t they?”

Ken may be on to something.

The truth of the matter is I think what this means is that I’m going to be doing this for at least another year or two. I’m going to run it as a grand experiment to see what happens to things now that I’m  dot neting instead of blogspotting. Will the address change people’s minds even though for the short term absolutely nothing else has changed. I suspect it will. It’s kind of like people are fooled by fancy business cards and flashy presentations.

I’ll keep you posted.

As for the rest however you find us we’re still here so keep reading.
This week looks to be  just  classic mysteries. I should also point out I'm just starting in on Toronto, NYFF and other fall festivals.

Bulldog Drummond at Bay (1937)

John Lodge is Captain Hugh Drummond in one of a long series of films (its one of three films from 1937 all with different Drummond's. The other two are the miscast Ray Milland and the perfectly cast John Howard).

Here Drummond and his friends take on a group of foreign spies trying to get their hands on a new plane. One of the baddies is played to perfection by Victory Jory, who really turns in a highly evil performance.

This is one of the darkest of any of the Drummond films with the bad guys really doing a number on anyone and everyone who fall into their hands. This is a solid, if slightly nasty little film that plays very differently than the seven films that followed with John Howard in the lead. Those films, while good little mysteries of their own, were just a tad lighter than this film. Very much worth a look, especially if one looks at how the character changed in one year by watching Ray Milland in Bulldog Drummond Escapes and John Howard in Bulldog Drummond Comes Back

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Alias Bulldog Drummond (aka Bulldog Jack) (1935)

Jack Hulbert plays a polo player named Jack Pennington who literally runs into Bulldog Drummond when Drummond's car is sabotaged to stop Drummond from helping the young woman (Fay Wray) back in London. Drummond's arm is broken in the crash and he asks Hulbert to take his place in order to get the information that will let him help the fair damsel.Hulbert of course refuses to give up the ruse and soon with the aid of Algy he's trying to rescue the kidnapped girl and best the villainous Morelle (Ralph Richardson).

Moving like the wind this is a damn fine little comedy mystery. Hulbert is absolutely hysterical as the Drummond wannabe as he blusters his way in and out of danger. His insanity is absolutely charming.(He would repeat the same sort of nonsense to much the same effect three or so years later in Kate Plus Ten an adaptation of an Edgar Wallace story thats gotten better with each viewing. Fay Wray has never looked more stunning. I'm so used to her in American films which seem now never managed to show her beauty the way that this film does. As Morelle Ralph Richardson is a truly demented evil genius. Its clear he's dangerous, however he's so genuinely smooth that you almost by that he could be a nice guy.

The action is first rate with the climatic underground train sequence rightly held out as a key reason to see the film. One can easily imagine that the final twists and turns had audience members seeing this on a big screen shrieking.

This is a really good film and one wonders why its not currently out on DVD or, apparently, available for TV broadcast in the United States other than on the collectors market, since its easily one of the better mysteries of this sort.

Yes you really do want to check this film out.

(I don't know if I'd consider it a Bulldog Drummond film, partly because its so humorous, partly because Drummond isn't really in it and partly because its kind of atypical for the films that are real Drummond films. It is but its not. Can we call it a semi-Drummond film?)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Marjorie Prime (2017) opens today

JB saw MARJORIE PRIME when it premiered at Sundance earlier this year. With the film opening in theaters today here is a repost of his review.

Perhaps we can think of it as the emotional singularity: that potential juncture when our artificial intelligence constructs better understand our inner psyches than we do. It is possible humanity or at least one family reaches this point in Michael Almereyda’s adaptation of Jordan Harrison’s play, Marjorie Prime, which screens during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

To help her deal with the loss of her beloved husband, Marjorie’s daughter Tess and son-in-law Jon have installed the latest in bereavement technology: an AI hologram of her late husband. They are somewhat surprised when she opts for the young, handsome Walter who proposed to her, rather than an older version that would better match Marjorie in her current advanced years. He is there to comfort her and remind her of memories that have slipped her increasingly unreliable mind. However, knowing she will not remember the truth as it happened, Marjorie will sometimes recommend alterations, to make Walter Prime’s stories better reflect reality as she would have preferred it.

Although Marjorie’s health is clearly failing in the first act, Tess is unable to resolve the issues in their strained relationship before her death. Despite her skepticism, she too will try achieve some sort of catharsis with the help of Marjorie Prime. There is a great deal of family history that has been left unspoken and even deliberately forgotten, but the primes might know more than the mortals realize.

Ironically, Marjorie Prime is a film about artificial intelligence that is deeply humanistic and insightful into the foibles and weaknesses of humankind. Almereyda embraces the stage roots of his source material, accentuating the intimacy of the chamber drama. He definitely opts for a minimalist style, but that actually heightens the elegiac tone (also thanks to a considerable assist from accomplished indie cinematographer Sean Price Williams).

Lois Smith (who originated the role on stage) anchors the film with a wide-ranging yet subtle performance as Marjorie/Marjorie Prime. Jon Hamm develops some intriguing chemistry (if we can really call it that, in this case) with her as Walter Prime. Azumi Tsutsui is terrific in her brief but pivotal scene as Tess and Jon’s granddaughter Marjorie. However, the wonderfully sensitive performances of Geena Davis Tim Robbins as the brittle Tess and achingly empathetic Jon are what really linger in the viewer’s head after it all wraps up.

Frankly, there is a lot of provocative speculation about how AI could alter the human condition that is hidden within plain sight throughout Prime. It definitely qualifies as science fiction, even though it is driven as much or more by its characters than its ideas. Very highly recommended for sf fans and those who will appreciate it as a richly textured family drama, Marjorie Prime opens today.

Liza, Liza, Skies Are Grey (2017)

As the Vietnam War rages, civil rights are being fought for, and the sexual revolution begins to heat up a teenage girl grapples with her place in the world. Running off with a friend on a motorcycle for California  she hopes to come to terms with everything going on in the world and herself.

Hitting every cliche you can think of and some you probably have forgotten LIZA LIZA is exactly the sort of bittersweet coming of age film that would have played drive-ins in 1966. The trouble is that it's now 2017 and this sort of thing just doesn't work.(Not that it would have worked in '66 either where this film would have been the bottom of a double or triple feature)

Weakly acted and oddly scripted the film never begins to catch fire. We are bored more than anything as the lines that are so obvious to us are poke  aloud with the the characters on the screen.

Mikey Madison's often breathy performance just brings giggles instead of connection. How could anyone be this innocent- even back 50 years.

Blame should fall squarely on writer director Terry Sanders who is clearly out of touch with today's audiences (and probably those of 1966 as well) a fact instantly revealed when you realize the title comes from an Al Jolson song from the 1920's. As heartfelt as the film is it' stuck in one man's idea of a past that never was except perhaps in low budget Hollywood's product.

Definitely a film to pass on when it begins playing today in cinemas.

Repertory Series September 2017 at the Quad

Upcoming repertory series include retrospectives celebrating Nicolas Roeg and Harry Dean Stanton, a survey of musicals from across the globe, Pink Floyd at the movies, and a collection of films exposing Paris' dark underbelly

Look Now: Nicolas Roeg

Starts September 1
When the Swinging Sixties faded away and the Hollywood money dried up, the postwar generation of British directors fled to Hollywood, leaving their native cinema to sink into the doldrums. Enter ace cinematographer Nicolas Roeg (DP on a succession of high profile movies such as Petulia and Far From the Madding Crowd, included in this series) who made his move and crossed over into directing, rapidly establishing himself as one of the key UK directors of the Seventies. What followed were a string of singular, dazzling, and intricately-structured puzzle films that applied dynamic and often hallucinatory visuals and ingeniously fragmented editing to the exploration of grown-up subject matter. In Roeg’s films, sexuality is foregrounded in a series of fraught, troubled relationships that are often tested to breaking point and beyond, with Roeg’s steady, overarching concern fixed on the flux and disorder of human consciousness in extremis.

Titles include: Bad Timing (1980), Castaway (1986), Don't Look Now (1973), Eureka (1983), Far From the Madding Crowd (1967), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976),Performance (1970), Petulia (1968), Walkabout (1971), The Witches (1990)

Paris Stripped Bare

Starts September 8
Throughout movie history, Paris has been one of the most lovingly photographed, most idealized cities, every charming café and tree-lined boulevard full of romantic possibility. But for a handful of non-French filmmakers peering in, the City of Lights represents something much darker and more sinister. Inspired by Nathan Silver’s new psycho-sexual black comedy Thirst Street (opening at the Quad September 20), this series surveys Parisian portraits by directors from Italy, America, and Poland, movies that warp the city’s glorified clichés and expose the seedy underbelly festering beneath those cobblestone streets.

Titles include: La Balance (1982), Bitter Moon (1992), Exposed (1983), Frantic (1988), Last Tango in Paris (1972), The Tenant (1976), Quiet Days in Clichy (1970)

Welcome to the Machine:
Pink Floyd at the Movies

Starts September 11
One of the most successful rock bands of all time, Pink Floyd defined psychedelia for a generation of listeners and then went beyond to create a series of concept albums that were as philosophical in scope as they were technically precise. From the dreamy existential musings of Dark Side of the Moon to the anxious anti-authoritarian screed of The Wall, the English band became an ideal soundtrack to images of rebellion, revolution, and free love in the paranoid haze of the 1970s. Our series includes their thrilling 1972 concert film, ambitious projects directed by Barbet Schroeder and Michaelangelo Antonioni, and their landmark live action/animated rock opera, plus David Gilmour’s latest concert as our centerpiece.

Titles include: More (1969), Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (1972), Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982), La Vallee (1972), When the Wind Blows (1986), Zabriskie Point (1970)

The Whole World Sings: International Musicals

Starts September 15
While many beloved movie musicals have come from the U.S., some of the genre’s most delirious highlights have been produced far beyond the confines of Hollywood. This September, it’s all (subtitled) singing, all dancing at the Quad, as we span continents and film history to explore how multiple continents—from Europe to Asia to the Middle East and beyond—have made the musical their own. Programmed in collaboration with Bilge Ebiri.

Titles include: Black Orpheus (1959), Destiny (1997), French Cancan (1955), The Golden Eighties (1986), The Love Eterne (1963), Le Million (1931), Pyassa (1957), Simeon (1992), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), Viktor und Viktoria (1982), Zouzou​ (1934)

Also Starring Harry Dean Stanton

September 22
Few actors are as recognizable in American movies as Harry Dean Stanton. The singularly mild-mannered face of the New Hollywood, his repertoire expands to dozens of appearances in beloved studio, cult, and independent movies, with only a handful of starring roles to his name. In a career spanning more than 60 years, Stanton’s inimitable, gently hangdog persona revealed a capacity for harebrained agitation and profound melancholy that prove equally disarming, all while never less than at ease on camera. Stanton has worked with many of the most important names in international cinema, from Peckinpah to Wenders to Lynch. On the occasion of his starring role in Lucky (opening September 29 courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)—and keeping in mind critic Roger Ebert’s famous proclamation that no film with his presence could be without merit—the Quad is proud to present a wide-ranging selection of his most memorable roles.

Titles include: Alien (1979), Christine (1983), Cisco Pike (1972), Cockfighter (1974), Death Watch (1980), Dillinger (1973), Escape from New York (1981), Fool for Love (1985), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Missouri Breaks (1976), 92 in the Shade (1975), Paris, Texas (1984), Pretty in Pink (1986), Ride in the Whirlwind (1966), Repo Man (1984), The Rose (1979), Slam Dance (1987), The Straight Story (1999), Straight Time (1978), Twister (1989), Wise Blood (1979)

UCLA Festival of Preservation presents 10 titles at The Metrograph in September

Ten New 35mm Feature Film Restorations Include Trouble in Paradise,
The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean
The Murder of Fred Hampton, and more!
So much of film history still remains to be discovered, and this is where the heroic work of UCLA Film & Television Archive comes in. Whether rescuing established classics from the ravages of time, helping to discover overlooked work by pioneering female directors or filmmakers working daringly in the Poverty Row ghetto, UCLA has come to the rescue of every kind of film art under the sun. At long last, the fruits of their labor arrive in New York City, with a bi-annual tour of recent restorations and new prints. BeginningSeptember 15, Metrograph will celebrate with a festival of these preservations, including extended screenings of The Murder of Fred Hampton in a new 35mm print, which find ultimate fulfillment with an audience.

The Murder of Fred Hampton (Howard Alk/1971/88 mins/35mm) and The Jungle (Charlie Davis, Jimmy Robinson, & David Williams/1967/22 mins/35mm)
On the early morning of December 4, 1969, the Chicago Police Department raided the apartment where Fred Hampton, 21-year-old chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, was asleep, and killed him with two shots point blank to the head. Alk’s procedural documentary acts as a righteous inquest into the circumstances of this action, and comes to a clear and coolly furious conclusion: political assassination. With The Jungle, a raw, risk-taking docudrama made by and featuring high school students in inner city Northeast Philadelphia, created under the direction of Temple University social worker Harold Haskins. 

The Murder of Fred Hampton preservation funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation and The Packard Humanities Institute. Exhibition courtesy of Carol Gray, William Cottle, and the Chicago Film Archives. The Jungle preservation funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation.

Stranded (Juleen Compton/1965/90 mins/35mm)
Before better-known female- directed narratives of women drop-outs like Wanda and Vagabond, there was the way ahead of its time Stranded, the uncompromised independent debut of writer-director Compton, who also stars as a young woman making her way across Greece with her lover and gay bestie, drifting into affairs, turning down offers of attachment, and generally doing what she wants, free of the arbitrary punishment of studio-enforced puritanism.

Preservation funded by Century Arts Foundation

The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean (Juleen Compton/1966/82 mins/35mm)
With her second film, Compton took a dive into the supernatural, telling the story of the clairvoyance-blessed titular teenager (Sharon Henesy) as she’s manipulated by an unscrupulous boy band who want to harness her powers for their own ends. Shot on location in the Ozarks and bolstered by a sweet Michel Legrand score, it’s an enchanting magical realist miracle that only gets stranger as it goes along.

Preservation funded by Century Arts Foundation

The Lost Moment (Martin Gabel/1947/89 mins/35mm) and Moods of the Sea (Slavko Vorkapich and John Hoffman/1941/10 mins/35mm)
Crumbling Venetian palazzos, the moldering love letters of a Shelley-esque 19th century poet, and Robert Cummings and Susan Hayward at their most luminously gorgeous, this free adaptation of Henry James’sThe Aspern Papers is the very essence of studio glamor and rococo romance, featuring Agnes Moorehead at her battle-axe best. With early American avant-garde masterpiece Moods of the Sea. 

The Lost Moment preservation funded by The Packard Humanities Institute. Moods of the Sea preservation funded by the National Film Preservation Fund.

Sons of the Desert (William A. Seiter/1933/65 mins/35mm) and Berth Marks
(Lewis R. Foster/1929/19 mins/35mm)
Laurel and Hardy’s fourth feature and arguably the best one they ever made, Sons of the Desert finds Stan and Ollie conspiring to escape their wives and trek to Chicago for the 87th annual convention of their titular fraternal lodge, whose number includes the great silent comic Charley Chase as an atrocious boor. With Berth Marks, the boys’ second sound short, which sets them loose on an unsuspecting passenger train. 

Sons of the Desert preservation funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation and The Film Foundation. Berth Marks preservation funded by The Packard Humanities Institute. 

Los Tallos Amargos (Fernando Ayala/1956/88 mins/35mm)
In the 1940s and 50s the Argentine film industry was as technically sophisticated as any in the Americas, and Ayala’s noir, a headlong plunge into the troubled conscience and warped psyche of a journalist haunted by the memory of committing murder, is a preeminent example of the national cinematographic genius at work, stunningly shot by Ricardo Younis, an apprentice of Gregg Toland.

Preservation funded by Film Noir Foundation

Trouble in Paradise (Ernst Lubitsch/1932/83 mins/35mm) and Dinah
(Dave Fleischer/1932/7 mins/35mm)
If you are looking for the quintessence of Ernst Lubitsch’s art, simultaneously effortless-seeming and totally purposeful in the smallest gesture, you couldn’t do much better than this larcenous romantic comedy, in which thief Herberrt Marshall and pickpocket Miriam Hopkins meet-cute while trimming the smart set on the Riviera and decide to team up, an arrangement complicated when he decides to set up heiress Kay Francis and starts to fall for her instead. With Dinah, featuring music act The Mills Brothers practicing their unique four-part harmonizing on the song of the same name. 

Trouble in Paradise preservation funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation and the Film Foundation. Dinah preservation funded by New York Women in Film & Television’s Women’s Film Preservation Trust and The Film Foundation. 

Open Secret (John Reinhardt/1948/68 mins/35mm)
Reinhardt, an Austrian émigré working on the fringes of Hollywood at Poverty Row studio Eagle-Lion, found the freedom to turn out a scathing expose of all-American bigotry. Newlyweds John Ireland and Jane Randolph arrive in a picture-perfect town to visit an old friend, and discover an anti-Semitic conspiracy seething beneath the placid exterior, as supposedly upstanding red-blooded patriots cover up a violent secret.

Preservation funded by The Packard Humanities Institute

He Walked by Night (Alfred Werker and Anthony Mann/1948/79 mins/35mm)
An uncredited Mann pulled his weight on this lean thriller, but real star billing must go to cinematographer John Alton, who is to noir shadow what Michelangelo is to marble. A thief turned cop killer (Richard Basehart) is on the loose in Los Angeles, and to get him the LAPD unleashes a no-stone-unturned manhunt which ends with a knockout subterranean chase. This little film’s reportorial, semidocumentary style would go on to have an outsized influence, not least on star Jack Webb, whose Dragnet series it inspired.

Preservation funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation and The Film Foundation

Good References (Roy William Neill/1920/60 mins/35mm) and Tramp Strategy (Alice-Guy Blaché/1911/12 mins/35mm)
A comic superstar whose popularity and presence once rivaled that of male actors better-known today, Constance Talmadge was one of the original funny ladies of American movies. Good References, which has “Connie” conning her way into a social secretary job, shows why—an irresistible comedy of manners in which scandals pile up faster than our heroine can put out the res. With Tramp Strategy, a one-reel comedy by Alice-Guy Blaché, the first female director in cinema. 

Good References funded by The Packard Humanities Institute, Barbara Roisman Cooper and Martin M. Cooper. Tramp Strategy preservation funded by New York Women in Film & Television’s Women’s Film Preservation Trust and The Film Foundation.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

New Filipino Cinema ’17: Bliss

Reportedly, film production in the Philippines is much more regulated now than during the glory days of Roger Corman’s jungle prison movies. However, Jane Ciego might have her doubts. She was badly injured on the set of her latest picture—a horror movie about a famous actress abused by her caretakers after she is badly injured on the set of her latest movie. You might have a general idea of the meta-ness afoot, but there are still plenty of twisted turns to Jerrold Tarog’s Bliss, which screens during the annual New Filipino Cinema series at the Yerba Buena Arts Center.

Ciego has been a star since she was a child, but this film was supposed to be her breakout as a serious actress. Ditto for Abigail, the character she was playing. She has been successful enough to produce her ambitious art house horror film and continue to be a meal ticket for her ineffectual husband Carlo and her greedy stage mother, Jillian. Again, the same is true for her character, except her husband in the film-within-the-film is maybe slightly less contemptible. Regardless, this is hardly the sort of film you would want to “lose” yourself in, if that is indeed what happened to Ciego, or Abigail.

Things get even more sinister when Tarog gives us reason to suspect Ciego’s openly hostile private nurse Lilibeth is actually Rose, who is wanted by the police for sexually molesting young patients. As Ciego and Abigail’s realities conflict and intrude upon each other, Tarog keeps doubling back and folding the narrative over, to spring darkly clever revelations.

Iza Cazaldo has a Kate Beckinsale vibe working that is absolutely perfect for Ciego/Abigail. She establishes a strong persona as Ciego, which makes it so compelling to then watch her tear it apart at the seams. Evidently, there was a lot of buzz about her topless scene in the film, but it is nothing like what her fans probably assumed. Adrienne Vergara is also creepy as heck as Lilibeth/Rose and Shamaine Buencamino is spectacularly bad news as Mama Jillian. However, Audie Gemora often upstages everyone as her wildly flamboyant director, Lexter Palao.

Serving as his own editor, Tarog rather brilliantly cuts together all the reality problematizing and timeframe shifts. Mackie Galvez’s mysteriously murky cinematography further causes us to lose sight of ostensive in-film reality. It all adds up to a head-trip you can never take for granted. Highly recommended for fans of horror movies and Lynchian cinema, Bliss screens this Saturday (8/19) and next Thursday (8/24) as part of New Filipino Cinema 2017 at the YBCA.

Year of the Sex Olympics (1968)

Dated BBC production about a time in the future where sex and violence are spectator sports(and a precursor to Big Brother). Much more violent, bloody and revealing then most things that come from the BBC this is an interesting meditation of the state of mass media and where we maybe going (among other things).

Set in a not too far off time the film, which was written by Nigel Kneale (The Quatermass films and TV shows), suffers from the odd 1960's style designs for the future. I'm sure in the 60's the film played better since the look of the film wasn't that far removed from the look that was happening then, however, now it seems out of place. Other bits, such as some dialog, seem dated to the point that it all feels quaint (wasn't it quaint that we viewed things that way sort of quaint). The quaintness makes getting at the ideas Kneale is trying to express harder to get at. I was kind of interested and kind of bored and at some point just got distracted.

I'll try it again at some point but I'm in no hurry.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The 2nd Annual Brooklyn Horror Film Festival Announces Thrilling First Wave

Can Evrenol’s HOUSEWIFE to open, festival to offer showcase on Mexican Horror with new Fear In Focus program, and more!

2017 poster designed by Brooklyn-based artist Andrew Abbott.

Wendesday, August 16th - The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival returns to New York City October 12th till the 15th, bringing with it more ghouls and ghosts than ever before. BHFF is proud to present more than twice as many feature films as last year and is thrilled to announce the first wave of the line-up, which boasts exciting films, dynamic events and more venues, expanding the festival’s activities. “This year we’ve grown to a four-day festival and are very excited to be extending our reach to audiences beyond North Brooklyn, into Downtown Brooklyn and Crown Heights,” says fest director Justin Timms. “Starting with our opening night at the new Alamo Drafthouse in downtown Brooklyn we’ve also added Nitehawk Cinema, LIU Kumble Theater, Film Noir Cinema & Video Revival this year to go along with our key theaters from last year Wythe Hotel Cinema, Videology Bar & Cinema and Spectacle Theater.”

“If our debut year’s program in 2016 focused on trying to push horror’s boundaries and challenge the genre’s preconceptions, then our 2017 edition is that mission both amplified and perfected,” says senior programmer Matt Barone. “We looked all around the globe for the most unique and boldest horror, and what we’ve assembled proves that the genre is in an incredible place right now. Some films, like the hilarious millennial takedown TRAGEDY GIRLS and Germany’s hypnotic and complex HAGAZUSSA, cleverly subvert the familiar genre tropes; others, like Argentina’s powerful CLEMENTINA and Portugal's Haneke-like THE FOREST OF LOST SOULS, are amazingly singular. This year’s program is really something special.”


Opening the festival is the North American Premiere of HOUSEWIFE, the newest film from director Can Evrenol who showed immense promise with his brutal 2015 breakthrough BASKIN. Sponsored by Birth.Movies.Death and taking place at the Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Brooklyn, HOUSEWIFE tells the tale of a woman - haunted by a horrific childhood incident - who struggles with separating her nightmares from reality after she meets a charismatic psychic with a secret agenda. With this hypnotic and gruesome ode to Bava-esque Italian horror, Evrenol solidifies himself as one of horror’s most exciting new voices. Director Can Evrenol will be in attendance at the BHFF screening.
Followed by a special party at the Alamo’s one-of-a-kind venue, the House of Wax with DJ Witchboard aka Glenn McQuaid (I SELL THE DEAD) and sponsored by Coney Island Brewery.


This year BHFF is thrilled to present our inaugural FEAR IN FOCUS program! Fear in Focus is our way of shining a spotlight on various themes or ideas that are important today. With the current political and global climate, we’re beyond excited to launch this with our excellent Mexican horror program.

FEAR IN FOCUS: MEXICO is proud to showcase the hotly anticipated North American Premiere of horror anthology follow-up MEXICO BARBARO 2. If you thought MEXICO BARBARO was gnarly, wait until you get a load of this crazier and wonderfully unhinged follow-up, helmed by an all-new line-up of on-the-rise Mexican horror voices and touching on cannibalism, porn, and historical demons. Segment director Sergio Tello will be in attendance.

Also in the block is the US Premiere of VERONICA, the erotically charged mystery with echoes of early Polanski by directors Carlos Algara & Alejandro Martinez Beltran in which a twisted battle for psychological dominance ensues between a retired psychologist and her patient whom she treats in her isolated home in the woods.

Not to be missed is the East Coast Premiere of Victor Dryere’s genuinely unnerving found footage film 1974 which reveals the bizarre and terrifying fate of a missing young couple through a collection of 8 mm tapes and home movies. A much-needed shot in the arm for a tired horror style, Dryere’s film deserves mention alongside found-footage gems like [REC] and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY.


BHFF is also excited to announce an additional five competition features, starting with Tyler MacIntyre’s highly acclaimed TRAGEDY GIRLS, co-presented by Nitehawk Cinema!

Status obsession has a body count when BFFs Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand, DEADPOOL’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp, X-MEN APOCALYPSE’s Storm) capture a serial murderer whose exploits they’ve been chronicling on their blog. How do they keep the slaughter spree going so they have more to report on? The answers are both giggly and grisly in a film also featuring a fun supporting turn by comedy big-timer (and producer) Craig Robinson.

Festival fans may remember Graham Skipper, star of last year’s Audience Award Winning BEYOND THE GATES, who now returns to BHFF to share his directorial debut, SEQUENCE BREAK, a surreal, absorbing homage to the body-horror cinema and video games of the ’80s. Chase Williamson plays an arcade-game repairman who finds love with a customer (Fabianne Therese) and terror from a mysterious game with a lot more powering it than pixels. Director Graham Skipper will be in attendance for the screening.

Surrounded by heightened paranoia and superstition, an evil presence threatens a mother and her infant child in the Alps of 15th century Austria in HAGAZUSSA - A HEATHEN’S CURSE. Is this ancient malevolence an outside force or a product of her psychosis? With stunningly gorgeous photography and atmosphere for days, Lukas Fiegelfeld’s gothic horror fever dream illustrates the dangers associated with dark beliefs and the infestation of fear.

A young woman traumatized by a savage attack from her husband begins to hear voices in her apartment. CLEMENTINA, Jimena Monteoliva’s solo directorial debut expertly builds tension, maintaining a sense of unease from the start that creeps higher until the frightening and suffocating shocker of a third act. Cecilia Cartasegna delivers with a classically terrifying portrait of a woman on the edge. Lead actress Cecilia Cartasegna and screenwriter Diego Fleischer will be in attendance for the screening.

Take a stroll into despair with the East Coast Premiere of José Pedro Lopes THE FOREST OF LOST SOULS, as two suicidal strangers explore the dark woods together, looking for the best spot to commit suicide all the while debating, what’s the best way to kill yourself? It soon becomes clear that one person isn’t who they say they are. This Portuguese black-and-white-shot nightmare is a unique and disturbing modern take on the slasher film.


Clear your calendars of all satanic rituals and ghosts summoning this Friday the 13th, cause we got you covered with a FRIDAY THE 13TH Mini-Marathon at Videology! Take a trip to Camp Crystal Lake and enjoy films one through four of the series in all their cutting, gutting, hacking and whacking glory while sipping our themed "Crystal Lake" cocktail.


To start off our 2017 STAGE FRIGHTS program we’re pleased to announce two of this year’s live events where our panels of experts will be dissecting fear with sharp wit, whether they’re intoxicated or not.


Even the best slasher villain has a better half — a final girl. Final girls are a crucial part of the horror ecosystem, but which one is the best? Which is the funniest? And which has the most questionable taste in weapons? Come hear horror experts make the case for everyone from Jamie Lee Curtis in HALLOWEEN to Neve Campbell in SCREAM to Sigourney Weaver in ALIEN.

Participants: Aja Romano (Vox), Kristen Kim (GQ/Village Voice/Vice), Hazel Cills (Jezebel), and Teo Bugbee (Daily Beast).

Hosted by Eric Thurm (The Guardian/GQ/The A.V. Club), Drunk Education (the show formerly known as Drunk TED Talks) is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: writers/comics/artists make slideshows about stuff they're really into, get drunk, and deliver them. Whether it's the horniness of St. Augustine, the history of mansplaining relayed through the plot of Love Actually, or the way teen girl organizers could have prevented the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, Drunk Ed has you covered.

To celebrate the release of Canadian micro-publisher Spectacular Optical’s new book about French fantastique filmmaker Jean Rollin, the book’s curator and editor Samm Deighan will be on hand to introduce a special screening of Rollin’s 1971 LE FRISSON DES VAMPIRES, recently restored in HD by Kino Lorber.
LOST GIRLS is the first book about the director to be written entirely by women critics, scholars, and film historians. This collection of essays covers the wide range of Rollin’s career from 1968’s LE VIOL DU VAMPIRE through his 2010 swansong, LE MASQUE DE LA MÉDUSE, touching upon his horror, fantasy, crime and sex films—including many lesser seen titles. Before the film, Samm will give a brief introduction examining Rollin’s core themes: his focus on overwhelmingly female protagonists, his use of horror genre and exploitation tropes, his reinterpretations of the fairy tale and fantastique, the influence of crime serials, Gothic literature, the occult and more.
Copies of this 436-page tome with over 400 illustrations — many of them rare and in full colour will be available to pick up at the event.

2017 Features Jury
Ashlee Blackwell - Owner of Graveyard Shift Sisters, genre journalist
Phil Nobile Jr. - Editor-at-Large Birth.Movies.Death, documentary filmmaker
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out New York Global Deputy Film Editor, teacher at NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies,  

2017 Shorts Jury
Kier-La Janisse - Owner/Artistic Director of Spectacular Optical Publications, founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, writer and film programmer
Graham Skipper - Actor, Dir. of SEQUENCE BREAK
Jenn Wexler - Glass Eye Pix Director/Producer

More features, events and short films to be announced in Wave Two!

Badges are on sale now at brooklynhorrorfest.com
Individual tickets will be on sale September 7th!

About the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival:

The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival (BHFF) is a competitive international film festival showing nothing short of the best in badass genre film. In addition to the screenings, we have parties, Q&A’s with filmmakers, panels, events, food & drinks and more. The directors of BHFF are committed to celebrating the art of horror filmmaking and are focused on pushing horror’s boundaries to challenge the genre’s preconceptions.

The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival (BHFF), will take place on the weekend of October 13th screening feature films and short films that represent filmmakers from around the world.

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