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Main Entry: exclusion
Definition: expulsion; forbiddance
Synonyms: ban, bar, blackball, blockade, boycott, cut, debarment, debarring, discharge, dismissal, ejection, elimination, embargo, eviction, exception, excommunication, interdict, interdicting, interdiction, keeping out, lockout, nonadmission, occlusion, omission, ostracism, ousting, preclusion, prevention, prohibition, proscription, refusal, rejection, relegation, removal, repudiation, segregation, separation, suspension, veto
Antonyms: acceptance, addition, admittance, allowance, inclusion, incorporation, welcome
send to Coventry, to refuse to associate with; openly and pointedly ignore: His friends sent him to Coventry after he was court-martialed.
People from the music industry that I respect, idolize or just simply appreciate: Ennio Morricone, Amy McDonald, Daan, David Bowie, Therion, Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen, Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Joy Division, Bobby Darin, the Everly Brothers, Bobby Vinton, Gene Pitney, Herman's Hermits, The Hollies, The Animals, The Byrds, Donovan, Vargoth, Drudkh, Behemoth, Triggerfinger, Falkenbach, Finntroll, Einherjer, The Smiths, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, BB King, Ministry, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rufus Wainwright, The Allman Brothers Band, Johnny Cash, Paul Simon, Raymond Lefèvre, Children of Bodom, Volbeat, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Anathema, Velvet Underground, Norah Jones, Fatboy Slim, Moloko, Angelo Badalmenti, Sarah Brightman, Lady Antebellum, Enigma, Muse, Army of Lovers, Chris Isaak, Lesley Gore, Kasabian, Pearl Jam, dEUS, Mumford & Sons, The Subs, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Cuff the Duke, Pulp, Oscar and the Wolf,
People from the movie industry that I respect, idolize or just simply appreciate: John Saxon, Mario Bava, Joe D'Amato, George Eastman, Darren Lynn Bousman, Boris Karloff, Enzo G. Castellari, Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, Antonio Margheriti, Klaus Kinski, Lloyd Kaufman, James Gunn, Rob Zombie, Sid Haig, Matthew McGrory, Karen Black, Dennis Fimple, Irwin Keyes, Tom Towles, Bill Moseley, Wolfgang Petersen, Nicol Williamson, Fairuza Balk, Piper Laurie, Philippe Mora, Tom Holland, Ronny Cox, Lucio Fulci, Christopher George, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Catriona MacColl, Fabio Frizzi, Nicolas Cage, Todd Farmer, Tom Atkins, Paul Verhoeven, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer, Ray Wise, Stuart Gordon, H.P. Lovecraft, Jeffrey Combs, David Gale, Barbara Crampton, Fernando Di Leo, Joe Dallesandro, Terence Fisher, Anton Diffring, Hazel Court, Christopher Lee, Robert Stevenson, William Girdler, Rebecca De Mornay, Mako, Ti West, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel, David Carradine, Roger Corman, Adrian Hoven, Monte Hellman, Warren Oates, Harry Dean Stanton, Steve Railsback, Ed Begley Jr., Peter Fonda, Nathan Juran, Lionel Jeffries, James Glickenhaus, Ken Wahl, Joaquim de Almeida, Sam Peckinpah, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Ben Johnson, Edmond O'Brien, Kurt Raab, Helene Cattet & Bruno Forzani, Karl Freund, Peter Lorre, Colin Clive, William Lustig, Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, Tom Savini, Charles B. Pierce, Robert Wise, Fred Dekker, Fritz Lang, David Hemmings, Michael Ironside, Jan-Michael Vincent, Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Victor Buono, George Kennedy, Charles Bronson, Richard Fleischer, Elmore Leonard, Paul Koslo, Michael Winner, Brian Garfield, Lee Marvin, J. Lee Thompson, Riz Ortolani, Yul Brunner, Eli Wallach, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Steve McQueen, Michael Crichton, James Brolin, Mel Brooks, arry Cohen, Michael Moriarty, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Robin Hardy, Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough, Herbert Lom, Udo Kier, Michael Reeves, Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Dick Maas, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Paul Naschy, Paul Morrissey, Truman Capote, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, David Niven, Elsa Lanchester, Peter Sellers, Gene Wilder, Patrick McGoohan, Herb Freed, Richard Kiel, John Landis, Tim Curry, Simon Pegg, Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz, Dario Argento, Quentin Tarantino, Everett De Roche, Stacy Keach, Russell Mulcahy, Brian Trenchard-Smith, Donald Pleasence, George Peppard, Simon Wincer, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, Gary Sherman, Faith Domergue, Alexandre Aja, Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd, Eli Roth, Ishirô Honda, Greydon Clark, Cybill Shepherd, Neville Brand, Vincent Schiavelli, Martin Landau, Jack Palance, Alan Rudolph, Jonathan Demme, Pam Grier, Mark L. Lester, Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Kilpatrick, Don Dohler, Everett McGill, Corey Haim, Gary Busey, Jake Busey, Charlton Heston, Lorne Greene, Walter Matthau, Peter Bogdanovich, Woody Allen, John Milius, Franco Nero, Crispin Glover, Dennis Hopper, Dick Miller, Barbara Steele, Armando Crispino, Sergio Grieco, Helmut Berger, Lee Van Cleef, Robert Forster, John Huston, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., George Miller, Mel Gibson, Robert Rodriguez, George Hilton, Kane Hodder, Michael Madsen, Tony Todd, Nicolas Winding Refn, William Grefe, Cirio H. Santiago , Joe Dante, Don Coscarelli, Angus Schrimm, Tobe Hooper, Tiffany Shepis, Brad Dourif, George P. Cosmatos, John Boorman, Stephen Boyd, Tommy Lee Jones, Rod Steiger, Brian DePalma, Gunnar Hansen, George A. Romero, Simon Boyes, Adam Mason, Jack Arnold, M. Emmet Walsh, James Stewart, Darren McGavin, Kathleen Quinlan, Jack Lemmon, Robert Foxworth, Olivia De Havilland, Michael Pataki, Jerry Stiller, John Carradine, Julian Sands, Freddie Francis, Don Sharp, William Castle, Bill Rebane, John De Bello, Terry O'Quinn, Peter Sykes, Wes Craven, Michael Sarrazin, Lewis Teague, Yaphet Kotto, Sergio Stivaletti, John Phillip Law, Michele Soavi, Umberto Lenzi, Anna Falchi, Lon Chaney, Sergio Martino, Edwige Fenech, Ursula Andress, Michael Sopkiw, Edmund Purdom, Hal Yamanouchi, Barbara Bach, Cameron, Mitchell, Alberto De Martino, Ernesto Gastaldi, Maurizio Merli, John Steiner, Mel Ferrer, Barbara Bouchet, Marty Feldman, Tomas Milian, Bruno Mattei, Lamberto Bava, Luc Merenda, Anita Strindberg, Luigi Pistilli, Ivan Rassimov, Sergio Corbucci, Tito Carpi, David Warbeck, Luciano Pigozzi, Gianfranco Giagni, Florinda Balkan, Rosalba Neri, Mel Welles, Dagmar Lassander, Neil Jordan, Walter Huston, Ray Bradbury, Gregory Peck, Orson Welles, Bert I. Gordon, H.G. Wells, Ida Lupino, Kirk Douglas, David Lynch, Eddie Romero, Bela Lugosi, Al Adamson, Tor Johnson, Edward D. Wood Jr, David Cronenberg, Christopher Walken, Tom Skeritt, Martin Sheen, Dino De Laurentiis, James Wan, Anthonhy Perkins, Curtis Harrington, Julie Harris, Ornella Muti, Ray Lovelock
Murder at the Gallop (1963)
Mrs. Agatha Christie and Mrs. Maragaret Rutherford Both brilliant in their own leagues!
"Murder She Said", my first acquaintance in a series of four films with Margaret Rutherford as the legendary Miss Marple character was a jolly good and entertaining experience! It took away some of my initial skepticism about Agatha Christie's murder mysteries not being fit for comedy films, and Rutherford being too boisterous and intimidating for the role of Miss Marple. However, I was still worried about not liking the second entry in the series. "Murder at the Gallop" is based on the novel "After the Funeral" and that just so happens to be one of my personal favorites Christie works. Moreover, it's originally a Hercule Poirot story instead of a Miss Marple story and, again, one that is revolving on a deadly serious murder investigation rather than on the adventures of a noisy and eloquent old spinster! I found out after two films already, though, that you cannot really dislike this Christie/Rutherford franchise. The goofy soundtrack immediately sets the tone for a light-headed yet fast-paced murder pastiche, while Mrs. Rutherford steals the show in every scene she's in (and she's practically in every scene). Admittedly the whodunit aspect here is inferior and the sheer genius of Mrs. Christie isn't at all reflected in these movies. When I first the novel "After the Funeral", I was vastly impressed by the brilliant imagination and ingenuity regarding the killer's identity and motivations, as well as by all the red herrings, misleading clues and plot twists that popped up during Poirot's investigation. Therefore I would definitely recommend reading Christie's source novels as well as watching the films, as they each provide different types of entertainment. "Murder at the Gallop" is just pure, unmemorable fun! Although clearly standing in the shadow of the witty Margaret Rutherford, the entire cast is quite great, with notably fine appearances by Robert Morley and Flora Robson.
The Hunt for the BTK Killer (2005)
Competent serial killer thriller/documentary
Between the years 2000-2010 it was quite popular (and very profitable) to make horror films/thrillers that were based on real- life serial killers. Practically all notorious American serial killers from the second half of the 20th century passed the revue, and the nastiest ones even twice or more, like Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Charles Starkweather, Albert Fish, John Wayne Gacy, Gary Ridgway, etc. Many of these flicks aspired to be semi- documentaries and as factual as possible, but still most of them are pure rubbish (especially the ones directed by Uli Lommel, of course). Dennis Rader, more commonly known as BTK-killer, from Wichita Kansas also had the questionable honor to form the main subject of at least three contemporary low-budgeted horror flicks; one directed by the aforementioned Uli Lommel (I rather die than ever having to watch that one), one starring the legendary Kane Hodder in the titular role (which allegedly is quite decent) and this modest but surprisingly adequate made-for-television and documentary-styled thriller.
It's fairly obvious why the film industry wanted to exploit the story of BTK short for "Bind Torture Kill" as much as possible. Even though he committed his vile crimes, the murders of at least 10 innocent people, 10 to 30 years earlier, Rader only got apprehended in 2004 following a massive police hunt that he pretty much set into motion himself. Rader was always proud of the unsolved murders and suffered from a tremendous ego, so he really couldn't accept that a random writer/profiler was psycho-analyzing him on television. Rader, now a happily married and respectable church-community member, started sending clues and evidence of his old murders to the press and the authorities. He gradually became more careless and megalomaniac, which led to his arrest. "The Hunt for BTK Killer" focuses primarily on the police investigation, but also follows around Dennis Rader in his private life, during the preparations of the correspondences in his tool shed and as he's stalking a potential new victim. There are also a couple of sequences in the courtroom that feature blurry flashbacks of the murders committed in the early seventies and eighties. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this film. It doesn't aim to be overly sensational but provides a solid rundown of the facts, as well as a realistic impression of the fear and paranoia that reign in a small town when it gets faced with the return of an old boogeyman. Robert Forster's performance comes across as fatigue, but that's also what you expect his character to feels like after chasing a killer for three decades. Gregg Henry's performance as Dennis Rader is more than praiseworthy, as he manages to find the ideal balance between menacing creep and exemplary community hero. One more element that really struck me as far above average is the score and effective use of music. The soundtrack is moody and ominous, and sometimes it even sounds as if the tunes could easily have been composed by Hans Zimmer.
Murder She Said (1961)
If Miss Marple says it's murder, then... it's murder!
Yours truly is a real Agatha Christie junkie! I think she was one of the most brilliantly intelligent persons who ever lived, and if she had been any sexier my room would probably be filled with pictures of her! I read many of her novels and short stories, and evidently I watched a lot of films (acclaimed classics as well as cheap rip- offs), TV- series and mini-series that were adapted from her works. Until now I've always been reluctant to check out the quartet of movies that are directed by George Pollock and star Margaret Rutherford as Miss Jane Marple, simply because they look too much like out-and-out comedies rather than suspenseful and atmospheric murder mysteries. I never really considered Miss Marple to be a "funny" kind of protagonist. She's peculiar, eccentric, conservative, old-fashioned and maybe even somewhat asocial, but she never makes jokes or witty remarks. I certainly am not a sourpuss, but the idea of this introvert but wise elderly lady being depicted as a cartoonesque and nosy old hag didn't appeal to me at all. Since I was able to purchase the 4-DVD box at a reasonably cheap price, and since I'm always running out of movies to watch anyway, I'll be giving them a chance after all.
Thus far I can't judge the other three (they look even more slapstick, in fact) but "Murder She Said" at least still tries to be a convoluted and sinister mystery-tale. Rutherford's Miss Marple is definitely more boisterous, cocky and intrusive than the sweet little lady I know from the book stories, but she undeniably becomes one with the character and gives away a stellar performance. When she takes a train back home to her cozy little village, she witnesses through the window of another train how a young woman is strangled by an unseen assailant. Miss Marple notifies the authorities, but they come back to her with the statement that a dead body hasn't been found and that no woman has been reported missing. Offended by the detective's remark that she probably imagined the whole thing, Miss Marple starts her own private investigation that brings her to the house of the obnoxious patriarch Ackenthorpe. If the woman's body was thrown from the train, than it must have been recovered and hidden on the estate. Miss Marple applies for a job as housekeeper and immediately discovers there's a tricky family feud going on.
"Murder, She Said" isn't very effective as a whodunit; as we're giving very few clues to guess along, but the screenplay is compelling and new and exciting twists (like additional murders or discoveries on the estate) occur at regular intervals. George Pollock's direction here is at least less mechanical here than in the "Ten Little Indians" adaptation that he made one year later and there's a good use of filming locations, decors and scenery. Mrs. Rutherford obviously carries the entire film on her own, but she also receives good support from several great actors, like Arthur Kennedy and James Robertson Justice.
Hooray for the Elephants!
"Human Cobras" ended up in my must-see list because the (Italian) title sounds pure giallo, because the film poster looks pure giallo
and because it's included in most gialli lists, duh! But throughout at least half of the film's running time I kept on thinking: "if this is a giallo, then I'm the Queen of England". It's definitely not your typical and textbook type of giallo in which numerous scantily clad beauty models are sadistically knocked off by an unknown pervert wearing a dark raincoat and thick black gloves. No, "Human Cobras" gradually turns into that other type of giallo albeit only halfway through the film namely where the plot is centered on a convoluted murder conspiracy and literally all characters are involved in betrayal, corruption, adultery or sexual deviance. Generally speaking this type of giallo is less entertaining and a lot less memorable, and "Human Cobras" sadly doesn't form an exception. The first 30-40 minutes come across as a boring Poliziotesschi imitation with a lame anti- hero and poorly choreographed action footage. Tony Garden, a former criminal with a nasty face, receives a telegram to inform him that his brother Johnny has been murdered. He promptly travels to New York and visits the brother's attractive wife Leslie to find out what happened. Whenever Tony finds a person willing to talk about his brother, that particular person is murdered right before he/she has the chance to share what they know. We also know immediately who the killer is, but we don't know why. Then, for some reason I didn't quite capture, everybody travels to Kenya and from here onwards the film admittedly becomes more interesting and entertaining (although for all the wrong reasons
). It doesn't happen too often that giallo-plots take place in different locations, and definitely not in African countries. At a certain point, the characters even nonchalantly go elephant-hunting! I mean, seriously? I know it was the early 70s, but promoting stuff like that in films is never cool. Luckily enough, the hunters get into conflict and start shooting at each other instead of the elephants. One of them even gets run over by one of the massive animals and dies. Yay for the elephants! The denouement is fairly dumb and predictable, and establishes once and for all that "Human Cobras" is a passable and unworthy Italian thriller.
"Found" may very well be one of the most difficult films I ever reviewed It completely wasn't what I expected, but then again I didn't really know what to expect. It is definitely a horror movie, but simultaneously also one of those films that are unclassifiable. Like several other reviewers around here, I'm tempted to label it as a "coming-of-age" story, but those are usually pretentious and boring, and "Found" most certainly is not! And finally, I don't want to use too many enthusiast superlatives, because it honestly isn't that unique or fantastic, neither. The least I can say for myself is that "Found" pleasantly surprised me in some ways and also that it made me think. Not necessarily about deeply philosophical subjects, but merely about how simple and identifiable the most shocking horror tales actually are.
The one thing I find absolutely astonishing in Todd Rigney's screenplay (adapted from his own novel) is the realism and authenticity of the lead characters, and particularly of the young protagonist Marty. I recognize a lot of myself in Marty from when I was around that age. Finally a normal 12-year-old who loves watching gory horror movies without hinting that he's abnormal, disturbed or potentially dangerous. Marty says early in the film: "I like watching violence, but I'm not a violent person myself". That's exactly what I'm forced to repeat to people over and over again when I tell them about my passion for extreme cinema. I have been intrigued with sick and sadist violence for as long as I can remember, and like with Marty - my parents never made a big deal out of it, but I never felt the urge to hurt another living creature or was unable to function in society. I consider "Found" as one of the best horror stories of the last 10-15 years if it were only for the verity of Marty's character. And the same actually goes for his parents as well. They actually come across as good people and decent parents; not like the clichéd type of abusive and alcoholic parents who are generally responsible for the later failures of their children. Of course, I didn't have an older brother who was a serial killer and kept severed heads in his closet, but obviously Todd Rigney needed at least one extraordinary lead character, otherwise his novel and screenplay would have been quite boring.
So, Marty discovered that his older brother Steve is a murdering psychopath and he's terrified of him. Marty desperately tries to hide from Steve that he knows his dark secret, but also can't resist snooping around in his brother's horror closet and impressive VHS horror collection. Marty has very few friends and gets bullied at school, but the evil hobby of his brother and also Steve's increasingly protective behavior give Marty more confidence and strength to stand up for himself. "Found" is film of extreme opposites. The atmosphere of the main story is foreboding and the pacing is rather slow. There practically isn't any action and even the intense climax is suggestive and unsettling rather than explicit and confronting. In sheer contrast to all this, however, there's a large portion of film-within-film footage that is utterly violent, sickening and gratuitous. The supposedly lost horror movie is called "Headless" and follows a deranged killer wearing an eerie skull-mask as he's ruthlessly butchering young women and sodomizing their mutilated corpses. If it weren't for the "Headless" footage, and perhaps 2 or 3 human heads in a bowling bag, "Found" would only be a talkative and atmospheric coming-of-age story (albeit a very good one)
Based on popular demand, "Headless" got turned into a full-length separate film, directed by make-up wizard Arthur Cullipher and starring Shane Beasley as the deranged killer. According to many people whose opinions I trust, it's just as vile and uncompromising as the footage shown in "Found". Needless to say I will do whatever I can to see it as soon as possible.
The Beastly Peter Cushing
Veteran actor Peter Cushing depicts Sir John Rowan, an utmost genius and respectable surgeon. The passion for his work is only surpassed by his obsessive love for the lewd photo-model Lynn Nolan. When her pretty face gets badly burned in a very banal accident that Rowan jealously caused at a jet-set party, he swears to restore it. He performs an initially successful operation, using tissue and a particular facial gland of a recently deceased young woman, but the results are only temporary. In order to strengthen and prolong the effect of the gland, our doctor needs to use living tissue instead
The plot of "Corruption" is one of the most derivative and clichéd ones in horror cinema. In 1959, in France, director Georges Franju delivered the penultimate genre landmark "Les Yeux Sans Visage" "Eyes without a Face" and particularly during the next two decades, the tale of fanatic scientists and obsessive surgeons murdering innocent young women in order to restore and maintain the youthful beauty of their own mutilated wives or daughters has been copied numerous times, most notably by Jess Franco ("The Awful Dr. Orloff), Sidney Hayers ("Circus of Horrors") and Terence Fisher ("The Man who could Cheat Death").
This version, helmed by Robert Hartford-Davies, isn't exactly what you'd call a masterpiece, but it definitely contains a couple of elements that make it noteworthy and recommendable for horror fans. For starters: the almighty Peter Cushing! He's one of my personal favorite actors of all times and, even though he played a lot of villainous roles in his lengthy career, this one feels rather special. Due to his naturally elegant charisma and typically British appearance and behavior, Cushing usually depicts the 'sophisticated' type of villains. You know; the type of evil mastermind who invents fiendish schemes but uses grisly minions to do the nasty work. His character here also seems very sophisticated (so much even that his choice of muse is highly implausible), but when he's forced to stalk and murder another poor victim to steal her glands, Dr. Rowan transforms into a relentless maniacal beast! The sequences in which the prowling Cushing goes berserk and literally butchers young girls, consecutively a prostitute and a random blond beauty on the train, are excessively vile and misogynic. Cushing, with pure insanity in his eyes and his hair all messed up, savagely stabs them to death and cuts off their heads in ways that are quite graphic for a British film released in 1968. Still, I'm thankful for Cushing's performance as well as for the gory make- up effects, since the rest of the movie is mediocre at best. The protagonists, Sir John Rowan and Lynn, are a mismatched couple, to say the least, and the extended finale set at Rowan's beachside cottage is overlong and exaggeratedly far-fetched. Like they haven't got enough trouble already, Rowan and Lynn are held captive by a troop of anti-menacing thugs and the whole thing ends rather hectically (and foolishly
) with an out-of-control laser machine. In case you're a fan of qualitative British horror from the sixties and seventies, I advise sticking to the Hammer productions or the Amicus anthology films. If, however, you watched all of those already and you want to see a different side of Peter Cushing, then I warmly recommend "Corruption".
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
It's OK to be Gay! It's not OK to rob banks, though
"Dog Day Afternoon" definitely belongs in the category of: "this must be based on a true story, otherwise it's completely implausible". The idea of a failed and amateurishly executed bank heist turning into an absurd media-circus and a giant metaphor for overkill situations in recent American history, I can still believe. But the crazy revelation that the whole scheme was thought up because money was needed for the sex-change operation of the homosexual robber's lover, well
that is so surreal and far-fetched that it simply has to be true! If any aspiring scriptwriter would present this type of idea to a random producer, he/she wouldn't receive a single penny for it. But you know what? The biggest accomplishment of writer Frank Pierson, director Sidney Lumet and of course the phenomenal actor Al Pacino is that they managed to keep the essence of the story rather small and personal. All the socially relevant themes are downgraded to mere sub plots while the private story of Sonny is gradually put forward. He's intelligent but insecure, anxiety-ridden and utterly self-destructive. The way Al Pacino depicts him is righteously referred to as one of the most powerful and persuasive performances in the history of cinema. John Cazale gives away a nearly as impressive performance as Sal, the somewhat simple but loyal partner-in-crime, although obviously less expressive and energetic than Pacino.
The Desperate Hours (1955)
Meanwhile, in Suburbia
I purchased the DVD of "The Desperate Hours" many years ago, I think right after I saw the Michael Cimino 1990 remake, but then I completely forgot about it. Recently I was reminded of the film again after seeing the low-keyed and obscure thriller/drama "The Shadow on the Window". That film came out in 1957, two years after "The Desperate Hours" and unmistakably borrowed many ideas, scenes and character specifications from this film. It's based on a Broadway Play, like so many movies from the fifties that are considered to be great classics. The list is nearly endless and truly versatile in terms of genres as well, like "A Streetcar Named Desire", "Dial M for Murder", "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and even "The Bad Seed". I think this is a prototype example of a simple and straightforward film that is only catapulted into the league of cinematic classics thanks to the stellar performances of the ensemble cast; and the two giant male lead stars in particular. William Wyler was a genius director and his work here is definitely competent as well, but you can't deny the direction often feels routine and mechanical. The plot is powerful as well, what with its themes of terror and paranoia lurking beneath the foundations of the typical American dream-family, but the scenario is never groundbreaking or controversial. No, instead, the true difference is made by each and every single one of the players. Humphrey Bogart masterfully returns to the type of character that he depicted repeatedly in the 1930s: a villain without redeeming features whatsoever. Bogart stated afterwards that he was too old for the role, and he may be right, but that doesn't keep him from giving away another unsurpassable performance. It may sound like a cliché, but actors of his caliber simply don't exist anymore nowadays. Speaking of clichés, Frederic March's character the protective father is very stereotypical, but he also manages to put down a monumental performance. It's not easy standing in the shadows of Bogart and March, and therefore I simply must also give a lot of separate praise to the rest of the cast. Dewey Martin and Robert Middleton are excellent as the accomplices, and I particularly wished to see more psychopathic outbursts of Middleton's character Kobish. Martha Scott is also memorable as the petrified mother and even the seemingly miscast Gig Young is more than adequate.
The Manster (1959)
Japanese Thing with Two Heads
Now this is definitely a curious and utmost interesting B- horror/monster movie from the late fifties! The peculiar element is that "The Manster" was an American/Japanese co-production, meaning the events entirely take place in Tokyo while the characters (with the exception of the lead villain and some random casualties) are all Caucasian. High in the mountains, the self-acclaimed brilliant Dr. Suzuki is messing around with evolution theories and mutations. He's not very successful, though, as he just had to destroy a monstrous creation that went on a murdering rampage and he has another aberration locked up in a cage. When he meets foreign correspondent Larry Stanford, however, the crazy doctor immediately sees the ideal specimen for another experiment and promptly puts a drug in his whiskey. Larry undergoes a lengthy metamorphosis, not just physically but also in terms of behavior and personality, and discovers that the pains in his neck and left hand are foreboding signs of a hideous monster growing inside of him. A monster that desperately wants to pop out! The changing process Larry goes through is rather unusual. It's actually more of a "Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde" journey of doom in which our poor journalist gets corrupted under the influence of Dr. Suzuki and his lewd assistant Tara. Apparently "getting acquainted with Japanese culture" means binge- drinking, taking numerous public baths and committing adultery with several Geishas, as Larry changes from a hard-working and wife- loving American into a sleazy and obnoxious
Japanese citizen? That's quite racist, if you ask me, but it were the fifties and there were as many Japanese crew-members and producers involved as American ones, so I reckon they knew what they were doing. "The Manster" is more remarkable and special than the vast majority of 50s Sci-Fi/horror flicks thanks to a few impressive special effects (the eye in the shoulder was copied a number of times) and the bizarre atmosphere of conflicting cultures. In case you can't help thinking Larry's voice sounds familiar, it means you were also hooked on a legendary puppet-series
Thunderbirds are GO!
Greatest plot ever?
When people ask me why I'm so fanatic about Italian cinema, I always refer to the beautiful Gothic horrors of Mario Bava, the outrageous splatter flicks of Lucio Fulci, the virulent Poliziotesschi thrillers of Umberto Lenzi or the stylish Gialli of Dario Argento. Quite often, however, this still isn't sufficient to persuade them of the fact that Italy is the best film-producing country in history. Perhaps if I refer more directly to the political drama/thrillers of Eli Petri, and particularly "Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion", they will finally understand
"Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion" won the Academy Award for best foreign language film in 1971, but according to the data here on this website the film received another nomination in 1972 in the category "best original screenplay". I don't know how it's possible for the same film to get nominated in two different years, but I can state that winning a prize for the screenplay is even more justified and deserved than winning for the overall best film. The story and screenplay are definitely the most brilliant aspects of this movie. The basic story idea is perhaps even the most purely genius one that I have ever encountered; and I think I've seen more than 5.000 films The plot is about a police detective, formerly homicide department but now promoted to political supervision squad, who kills his mistress in cold blood and deliberately leaves all sorts of clues (fingerprints, footprints, clothing fibers ) behind in the apartment that unmistakably lead to him as the culprit. Why? Because he's convinced that he will get away with this murder and never get arrested regardless of how obviously all the evidence points towards him. And why is that? Because, apart from being the most arrogant and obnoxious person in the world, 'Il Dottore' is also a very prominent, powerful and influential member of the community. And the corrupt Italian political system simply doesn't allow for respectable citizens like him to be accused of filthy crimes such as murder.
Perhaps it's just me, but I still get blown away myself every time I mention this plot concept to anyone! It's such a clever, courageous and 200% unconventional subject, and the incredibly gifted Elio Petri processed it into a harsh but unforgettable and intelligent thriller/satire. The film ends with a quote of Franz Kafka that sums up the whole thing quite neatly, but most viewers will already have made the comparison with Kafka earlier during the film as well. "Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion" certainly has a couple of defaults, but other and more essential aspects are impeccably brilliant. Notably the screenplay, as mentioned already, but surely also the unique performance of Gian Maria Volontè as "Il Dottore". Volontè depicts what is arguably the most loathsome and disturbing protagonist in cinematic history, and that includes serial killers, mass murderers and 10ft tall alien monsters! His arrogance and menace is unequaled and for that alone Volontè also should have received an Oscar. Florinda Bolkan as the victim, primarily appearing in flashback sequences, is terrific as well. She's sensual, playfully provocative and in her own self- destructive fashion even more powerful than "Il Dottore". Last but not least, there's another truly masterful score by Ennio Morricone. If the music initially seems goofy or misfit to the tone of the film, just bear with it and I guarantee that you'll be hooked on it forever after.