Reviews written by registered user
|2 reviews in total|
Terence Fisher's DRACULA (HORROR OF DRACULA in the USA; 1958) is the best vampire film of all time. No other picture combines the right amounts of horror, humor, action, and eroticism. Britain's Hammer Films is legendary for their horror films--this is the best of them all. Although quite different from the book in many ways, I feel this picture captures the spirit of Stoker's work better than the more literal adaptations. Everything works here--Fisher's tight, crisp pacing, James Bernard's throbbing, full-blooded score, and especially the acting. Christopher Lee inherits the role of Dracula from Lugosi and makes it his own--he still holds the record for most film performances as the Count. Peter Cushing is the definitive Dr. Van Helsing--by turns tough and tender, his interpretation far outshines those of far better known actors--Anthony Hopkins and Laurence Olivier played the part later, but their performances were totally inferior to Cushing's. And how about Michael Gough--Alfred in the recent BATMAN films--as Holmwood? He's a treat in his own right! Lugosi came first, and later films spent more money; however, the best combination of all elements is in HORROR OF DRACULA. It is required viewing for all vampire fans.
Alex Cox's WALKER is a cult movie in search of an audience. Ignored by audiences upon its original release, despised by critics (Leonard Maltin unfairly gives it a BOMB), WALKER is nonetheless a fascinating oddity of a movie that will be of interest to anyone who likes "psychotronic" cinema.
I am something of an expert on William Walker (1824-1860), the Nashville born doctor/lawyer/journalist who made his mark on Latin American history as a "filibuster," or soldier of fortune. As such, I have long wanted to see a movie about my "hero." I admit I was disappointed at first with Cox's film--it starts out as a serious biography, but it slowly degenerates into an arch, anachronistic political satire. Some of the humor is over the top and gells uneasily with the more serious aspects of the film. Sometimes I get the feeling that Cox and company just said "to hell with it, let's make this a big joke." Repeated viewings, however, have revealed the film's strengths. Ed Harris is perfect as Walker--he plays the "Gray Eyed Man of Destiny" exactly as I perceive the man's character to be. The supporting cast, full of familiar faces, is also dead-on. The music by Joe Strummer, formerly of The Clash, is a terrific blend of latino, jazz, country, and other styles. Many individual scenes stand out; the climax, in which Walker orders the sacking of Granada, is a nightmarish image of the madness and horror of war. I feel WALKER is bound to become a major cult film--it is quite simply too strange to be anything else, and it deserves more than oblivion. While others remember Cox's SID AND NANCY and REPO MAN, this picture is far more interesting and deserves more attention than those more celebrated works. WALKER is rarely televised and hard to find on video--but I strongly urge anyone who reads this to seek it out. I promise you won't have seen anything else like it!