Postmortem: The Fury

Screenshot 2016-02-13 23.25.49

I am mystified why Brian DePalma’s The Fury (based on the novel by John Farris) hasn’t been remade because not only would the movie benefit from a more timely interpretation (in these days of government programs we often don’t completely understand, but fear a reboot could potentially find a very receptive audience) and a more modern esthetic.

Which isn’t to imply that it’s a bad movie, only that it appears, especially visually, dated.

What I imagine is a welcome thing is that–unlike in many reboots–younger actors would actually fit the story.  In fact, based on the dialogue, I get the feeling that Andrew Stevens (Robin Sandza) and Amy Irving (Gillian Belllaver) were older than the characters in Farris’ novel and screenplay).

The movie revolves around the agents of an undisclosed government agency–in the vein of the CIA or NSA–that seeks out telepaths to use as weapons.

Loyalty apparently isn’t particularly strong among this group because Peter Sandza (Kirk Douglas) is betrayed by his best friend, Ben Childress (played by Ben Cassavettes)–which is oddly close to ‘childless,’ apropos considering what he does in the movie when he learns that his best friend’s son, Robin, has telekinetic abilities.

What’s particularly interesting about the movie is that in the third act Childress blows up in all its gory glory–three years before David Cronenberg’s groundbreaking Scanners (coincidentally I assume)–which is very similar from a story point of view.

Besides the direction by Brian DePalma, the score’s by John Williams, and if all you’ve heard of his work is from Star Wars, Indiana Jones or Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Fury is worth watching to hear some of his earlier work, which is tonally different from what most are accustomed to hearing from him.

I found it at times reminiscent of Elmer Bernstein’s work composing the music for Saturn 3, though perhaps not as experimental.


Ciarán Foy Is Sinister 2

What I mean is that Ciarán Foy will be taking the reigns of the upcoming Sinister 2 from Scott Derrickson, who has his hands full preparing to helm Marvel Studios’ upcoming feature based on their Master of the Mystic Arts, Doctor Strange.

The only film I have seen of Foy’s is his 2012 film Citadel (which plays like a variation on David Cronenberg’s The Brood, minus the body horror)–which is also a horror film that unlike many of its contemporaries has a sense of bleakness, of hopelessness about it which is enhanced by a color palate so muted that it feels like a black and white movie.

If he can bring some of feel, the imagry that made Citadel so satisfying to Sinister 2, I think he’ll have a hit on his hands.

‘Maps To The Stars’ International Sales Trailer

As I understand it, this isn’t the actual trailer for David Cronenberg’s upcoming “Map To the Stars,” but one cut for the purpose of international sales.  I stumbled upon it–with more than a little help from “The Wrap”–though it makes me wonder why Cronenberg continues to work with Robert Patterson.  If their last film together, “Cosmopolis” was any indicator, we shouldn’t be at all surprised if he delivers a somewhat wooden performance.

Then again, I get the feeling that–as far as Cosmopolis goes–that that was exactly the performance that Cronenberg wanted from him, which is at least reason for some optimism as regards Patterson’s acting chops.



‘Contracted’ Review


“Irrelevant Details Mar What Could Have Been A Been An Excellent Example Of The ‘Body Horror’ Genre.”

Eric England‘s “Contracted” isn’t a bad movie by any stretch.  It looks good, is well-acted, and competently shot.

It’s also damned irritating.

“Contracted” is in the vein of David Cronenberg‘s ‘Body Horror’ films, such as “Scanners,” “Videodrome” and “The Brood” though not as imaginative.  Things revolve around Samantha, who happens to be a lesbian.

I mention her sexual preference because the film does often enough, though I have always been of the opinion that if you have to spend all your time talking about being gay, you’re probably not.   In any case, it’s not particularly relevant to the character.  It’s kind of weird in that I don’t necessarily expect Samantha to walk around like she’s auditioning for “The L Word, though I did expect the character being gay to somehow matter.

And I know I am not speaking from experience, but I would hope that being a lesbian is not defined by a hatred for men.

And speaking of homosexuality, a film that does a much better job of dealing with it is Paul Etheredge-Ouzt’s 2004 horror movie “Hellbent,” which revolves around some gay guys attending a carnival in LA.  It’s an interesting movie, though I mention it because the characters being gay is an essential part of the story, and helps to define them as people.

While attending a friend’s party Samantha gets drunk, then roofied by some guy, who they takes her to his car and has sex with her. I don’t know if it’s rape or not, because Samantha–though drunk–seems complicit in what’s happened to her.

Or maybe we’re watching a commentary by director Eric England on the malleability of sexual mores, or even a dislike of women–straight or gay–but it doesn’t exactly help to clarify matters.  

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‘Antiviral’ Review


“Antiviral” is worth seeing, though it’s too cold, distant and clinical to be called enjoyable.”

I really want to believe that that “Antiviral” had something to say about the nature of fame, and its costs.

But, as the saying goes, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

The film, the first by Brandon Cronenberg (the son of David Cronenberg) is visually interesting, and reminds me what a horror movie would look like if the production design were by Jony Ive (all white, clean and extremely sleek).

As I said, I wanted to believe that it was trying to say something profound or at least interesting, but the harder I looked, the less I saw.

What’s interesting is that it’s not a particularly violent film, though it is particularly repugnant at times, with the insertion of various objects – such as syringes – into places they don’t traditionally go.

Not without a fight, at any rate.

The movie revolves around Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) and his unusual line of work.

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X-File A Day – “Eve”

X-Files Opening LogoWhat is it about identical twins – as opposed to fraternal – that makes them so creepy (I mean the type that doesn’t seem to understand that, despite looking alike, that they are two separate individuals)?

These twins – that seem to exist only exist only in movies, like David Cronenberg’s excellent “Dead Ringers,” – act as if they’re the same person, finishing each other’s sentences and other strange and mildly unearthly behaviors.

If you feel as I do, episode 11, “Eve,” isn’t going to reassure you.

It begins with a death under very unusual circumstances – an exsanguination – in Greenwich, Connecticut of a Mr. Simmons, who happens to be survived by his daughter, Teena (Erika Krievins).

Mulder immediately assumes aliens are involved, till another little girl, Cindy Reardon (Sabrina Krievins) – who looks exactly like Teena Simmons – has her father die in exactly the same way, at the same time, on the other side of the country, in California.

Later, Teena is kidnapped by an unknown assailant.

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I wrote in October of last year that Sam Raimi was planning a remake – a term that’s always synonymous with*maximum suckage – of Tobe Hooper’s “Poltergeist.”

That’s still happening, though Raimi is producing, not directing.

That job will be handled by Gil Kenan.  Prior to this gig, he helmed “Monster House” and “City Of Ember.”

It goes without saying that there’s no reason that they’re remaking “Poltergeist,” other that what I suspect is a cynical money grab.  Seriously, if you’re under 35 you probably haven’t even heard of the film (and if you haven’t you need to see it.  It’s that good.  And to be clear:  By ‘good’ I mean atmospheric and creepy, with potentially the scariest clown in movie history).

I have included the trailer for the original film, because I have a feeling that things aren’t going to get any better than this.

*There are good remakes.  For instance, David Cronenberg’s ‘ Fly’ reboot is pretty excellent, as is Chuck Russell’s “The Blob” remake.  And Breck Eisner’s reboot of George Romero’s “The Crazies” was entertaining, as was “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (Phillip Kaufman’s version of Don Siegel’s original, not the multitude of others).

But other than those four films, all remakes suck.