Practical effects hold a very special place in my heart. Among my first horror movie experiences were John Carpenter’s The Thing, the 80’s remake of The Fly (mmmm, Jeff Goldblum), and The Evil Dead, and their outstanding effects work have eaten their way into my brain and have never left. I’m a firm believer that when practical and make-up effects are done right, they surpass anything you can do with a computer and a green screen.
The Void is a Canadian (woo!) body horror/ cosmic horror/ throwback horror flick from Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, who are responsible for the purposefully-bad movies Manborg and Father’s Day. They know their way around ’80s schlock and are adept at creating throwbacks and homages to the movies and scenes they love.
This movie takes place in an unnamed small rural town, where local cop Daniel comes across a bloody man stumbling through the country roads while on patrol. After bringing him to the local, semi-defunct hospital, Daniel’s problems start multiplying like deranged rabbits. A pregnant teenager coming to the end of her term in the waiting room. Two manic men brandishing guns storm into the hospital looking to kill the man Daniel just brought in, spewing nonsense about monsters and occult magic. Multiple hooded figures, possibly cultists, begin surrounding the hospital en masse, clearly waiting for something. Pretty soon, one of the hospital’s nurses begins acting completely deranged, killing a bedridden patient and then clipping her skin face off before erupting into the bubbling bulbous monstrosity of flesh, appendages, and orifices.
And then things get bad.
I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to make proper art, you shouldn’t half-ass it. Sure, things will probably get screwy if an artist relentlessly pursues their vision for a project but I think all the best art is at least a little weird. You can easily tell if a film is half-assed or is the result of muddled or conflicting goals from the filmmakers, and I find it harder and harder to watch movies that are the result of handing a camera and a bunch of money to one person and letting them see their project through to the end however they see fit. Whether the film ends up good or bad, they’re almost never bland or forgettable.
Possession is a Franco-German drama/ horror film written and directed by Andrzej Żuławski starring the beautiful Isabelle Adjani and the incomparably hammy Sam Neill as Anna and Mark, a married couple going through the most extreme breakup ever committed to film.
Mark has returned home to Cold War era Berlin, West Germany from a business trip to find his wife Anna wanting a divorce. Her behavior has become somewhat erratic and hysterical recently, and Mark finds out that she has been cheating on him with a man named Heinrich (played by Heinz Bennent, a German more Udo Kier-y than Udo Kier). In shock and stricken with grief, Mark dives deep into a rabbit hole trying to investigate Anna’s alternate life to figure out why she would betray him so, and if they could ever reconcile their love. The further he digs into Anna’s affairs, the more sinister and disturbing things he finds out about her, leading to the discovery that perhaps something evil is driving Anna to have these new, depraved desires. (more…)