Del Toro’s Fantastic Voyage

Guillermo Del Toro ranks among my favorite directors, though what I have seen–which is exclusively the trailer–of The Shape of Water left me underwhelmed.

Color palette-wise it feels a lot like Blade II, while story-wise and visually it feels like The Further Adventures of Abe Sapien (though part of me hopes the movie is a backdoor way for Del Toro to delve deeper into the worlds of H.P Lovecraft).

In other words, despite never having seen the movie, I feel like I have, which is never a good thing.

Now, Del Toro directing a remake of 1966’s Fantastic Voyage?  Now that I’m interested in!

By the way, this is how you do remakes!  Most people don’t even remember the original–though there also was a cartoon based on it two years later, never mind the novel–so it’s going to be new to most, which should give the producers room to veer from the source material if necessary.

Though there’s a fly in the soup, namely David Goyer, who’s writing (though to be fair Goyer also wrote Blade II and Del Toro was apparently able to reign in his hackier tendencies, so hope springs eternal).

By the way, Guru!?  Notice how everyone on the team has an actual name, while the Indian character doesn’t (A guru is ‘a religious teacher and spiritual guide in Hinduism…’).

That’s like naming someone ‘teacher’ or ‘bar keep.’  And I won’t even start on the ‘master of mysterious powers’ malarkey.

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Crimson Peak – Review

Crimson Peak

When Guillermo del Toro says that his latest movie, Crimson Peak, isn’t a horror movie, but a gothic romance, he means it.

A gothic romance is a type of movie that, while horror-adjacent, visually, beckons back to movies like The Innocents, where elaborate costumes and sets help to set the mood and atmosphere.

And like Jack Clayton’s 1961 movie, there are ghosts.

And insects (this is Guillermo del Toro, after all), plenty of insects.

Despite–more often than not–great dialog I tend not to be particularly fond of long stretches of it (everything in its place).  That being said, del Toro and Matthew Robbins (who co-wrote the movie) understand that extended scenes of dialog aren’t a problem when they involve interesting characters and they bridge the more horrific elements.  And while the movie is not at all concerned about violence for violence’s sake, when it happens it’s pretty intense (primarily because you don’t see it often enough to take it for granted).

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Spring – Review

Spring movie poster

“Be careful who you love, because Spring is coming and it’s a monster.”

Some critics has described Spring as ‘Lovecraftian,’–which is what drew me to it in the first place–and while a very good movie, Lovecraftian it’s not.  For it to be so would imply that it was based on, or somehow similar or related to, the work of H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos.

And it’s not, not in the least.  Sure there are monsters, some even of the aquatic variety, and lots of water; but if that made a movie Lovecraftian, then Steven Spielberg’s Jaws could be as well (which it most definitely isn’t).

Because for a movie to be called so would mean that it not only involves monsters, but embody some of the underlying ideas of Lovecraft’s Mythos, which typically revolves around sinister forces aligned against humankind, whether on a larger or  smaller scale.

Now what Spring is is an awesomely taut, interesting love story.  It’s also best watched twice because you can see the care with which Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson craft their story.  There’s virtually no wasted frames in the entire movie, with everything you see either helping to contribute to a feeling of dread or sell the underlying premise.

Though it’s not perfect, with its weakest scene being the one where Louise (Nadia Pilker) looks into supernatural means to cure her…condition.  The problem isn’t the scene in and of itself, more so than if a person had lived as long as she had, she’d probably have tried it already (though in the movie’s defense she might have done so because she found herself growing closer to Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) and wasn’t thinking straight.

It’s no accident that that title of the movie is Spring, because the themes of death and rebirth run through the entire movie, most often in a very clever fashion.

The season of Spring has begun on iTunes, though be careful because while love may be eternal, you’re not.

Harbinger Down – International Trailer

it’s taken filmmakers long enough to realize that ‘quality’ and ‘horror’ aren’t necessairly mutually exclusive terms, if movies like The Babadook and It Follows are any indication.

Though it goes without saying that we’ll continue to get drek like Ouija (good idea, remarkably uninspired movie) and Paranormal Activity, but that’s okay as long as the good stuff continues be green-lit as well.

And speaking of ‘good stuff,’ StudioADI has cut an international trailer for their upcoming love letter to H.P. Lovecraft and John Carpenter’s The Thing, Harbinger Down.

The significance being that if there’s an international trailer, it assumes that at the very least that the movie will be released in theaters overseas, though I get the feeling that it will be lucky to get a limited run in theaters on this side of the world (though It Follows was was originally going direct to video, before someone thought better of the idea and released it to theaters).Trailer

And who knows?  One successful adaptation of a Lovecraft-like movie could conceivably get studios to approve others.

Spring – Trailer

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead‘s Spring is an apt trailer to post since just earlier this week I was writing about H.P. Lovecraft.

The movie revolves around (Lou Taylor Pucci) who meets Louise (Nadia Hilker) in Italy, and falls madly in love.  Sure, it’s weird that Evan can only see her at night, but what relationship doesn’t have its quirks?

Though if that were Louise’s only problem, Spring wouldn’t be much of a movie.  The added bit is that it seems that she…changes at certain times to something not quite human.

It sounds like vintage Lovecraft, and until Guillermo Del Toro makes his At The Mountains Of Madness, I’ll take it though I get the feeling that Spring is not going to get a theatrical release.

Help Us, Guillermo Del Toro, You’re Our Only Hope!

And in case you don’t get the reference…

And you should know that I don’t take to paraphrasing Princess Leia lightly, though I think that it’s warranted in this particular case.

Call Girl Of Cthulhu trailer

The point being, I have just seen the trailer for Call Girl of Cthulhu and it looks to be in the vein of movies like Re-Animator and From Beyond, by which I mean the gory, gooey stuff is mixed with liberal doses of humor and/or camp, though I am not implying either of them aren’t entertaining and gory-good fun.

Though what they lack is a sense of the majestic, the feeling that they what we see on screen is only the tip of the iceberg and that the horrors out there in the vastness of space are way more horrific than we can even contemplate.  It’s present in Lovecraft’s writing–and especially in August Dereth’s–though no movie has dealt with the more cosmic aspects of his writing–though John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness, has been the closest.

As far as the other movies go, there’s a certain tawdriness that’s not touched on in any of his writing that I have read–be they written by Lovecraft or not.

At The Moutains Of Madness 1

At The Mountains Of Madness 2

Two images of Guillermo Del Toro’s (so far) aborted film of H.P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains of Madness

And that’s not to say that the sexiness that seems a part of Call Girl of Cthulhu isn’t present in someone’s writings, but I would at least like to see some of mysticism, the subtle horror evoked by his writings.

Which is why I plead to Guillermo del Toro to please bring At The Mountains Of Madness to the big screen because as far as I can tell no other filmmaker has the understanding of the Mythos, as well as the respect for its creator, to do it justice.

From what I have read of Del Toro’s take he intended to treat perhaps the seminal Lovecraft story with the piousness and gravitas that it deserves, and it’s about time.

‘Ouija’ Or (The Terror Of Diminished Expectations)

I caught Ouija last weekend, and it was okay; by which I mean that it wasn’t the worst movie I’ve seen (which barely qualifies as praise).  It had moments of interest, though thematically as well as visually it played out eerily similar to movies like The Conjuring, Annabelle and Insidious (which were also produced by Blumhouse Pictures, which I hope is just a coincidence).

What happened to the days when horror movies weren’t afraid to take a risk or two?

When a movie might actually do something that might offend someone’s sensibilities, but as a result end up at the very least an interesting exercise, if nothing else.  And the thing is, it’s not about money because movies like Ouija, The Conjuring and Insidious–which I use purely as examples–aren’t particularly expensive, which in the past often meant that filmmakers could do something a bit out of the ordinary because no one was going bankrupt if the movie tanked.

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