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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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Something Wicked This Way Comes Comes Again!

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

“By the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes.”

–Macbeth

A few hours ago I was re-linking my movies in iTunes (for some reason iTunes linkages break sometime, though I have suspicions why it happens) when I noticed Jack Clayton’s movie of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.

There’s talk about it being rebooted, and if any movie warranted such treatment, it’s this one.  Jack Clayton’s version wasn’t in any way bad, but Bradbury’s novel–it’s been quite awhile since I last read it–was about innocence, loss and young people longing to become adults, without understanding all that such a transition entails.

Which isn’t to say that the movie didn’t touch on those themes, though it did so hesitantly, instead of going for the jugular, so to speak.

Like The Black Hole, Something Wicked This Way Comes was caught in the odd space Disney occupied for quite awhile, when as a viewer you weren’t quite sure who they were making them for.  They were oddly schizophrenic, playing a bit too intense for children, yet not serious enough for older viewers.

And speaking of older viewers, Jack Clayton was not the first choice to direct.  For awhile there was talk of Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, The Osterman Weekend, The Killer Elite, Convoy, etc) helming, which would have been a very, very interesting choice mainly because he was accustomed to dealing with violence, more so than Clayton.

Though that doesn’t mean that Jack Clayton’s movie was pretty entertaining, though the idealized world depicted in the movie wasn’t one that I was terribly familiar with.

Hopefully the reboot will have a greater sense of universality about it (and hopefully take place in times closer to our own) though that might have a lot to do with the nature of the novel itself, in that anytime you’re working with a medium based upon imagination, how you envision things is very much a partnership between the reader and the writer.

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