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Dreams do come true the ones we wake up from. But a horse of a feather is a differnt color flocking together,
Fright Night (2011)
lifeless disposable remake of a beloved cult classic
Somewhat mildly entertaining, but compared to other recent horror films like Incidious, this movie is about as scary as an episode of Wizards Of Waverly Place.
Most remakes suck, that's just reality, and this fails to disprove it.
The original, which was by no means a Lost Boys, was, for the time, a seamless blend of horror, comedy, superb (but now outdated) special effects, and a new wave soundtrack to fit the time and place the film was made. It was as creepy and campy as the 60's and 70's Hammer Horror films which it pays homage as well as making fun of.
But, beyond that, the original had a solid story line, with multiple characters with multiple motives.
Gone is the creepy "Evil" Ed who, despite being a horror fan, refuses to believe Charlie that his next door neighbor is a vampire. In his place is another one-note performance by a character who serves more as wallpaper and who is a sad joke when he turns vampire
Gone is the charming and subtle Jerry Dangridge and instead we have a single-note boring one dimensional Collin Ferral who spends the entire film walking with heavy footsteps and hissing like a cat.
Gone is Danridge's zombie day-time protector who added an even greater dimension of story layers replaced by, well, nothing.
Gone is the charming Peter Vincent a cowardly tired old B-movie star who faces his fears to become a hero, replaced by yet another one-dimensional ex-Dr. Who.
And perhaps most important of the omissions of this boring life-less remake is that of the big creepy decrepit American-Gothic old mansion in the heart of suburbia (like a tiny virus, and a metaphor for the vampire, which goes on to be so many other metaphors I can't list them all here).
The original is dated, no freaking duh! Because it captured the essence of the time (date) and place it was created. The remake fails to even be dated because the sets and atmosphere are so lifeless this film could have been made anywhere between 1990 and now.
The original is a "cult film" and so, by definition, it only has a small cult of fanatics, so, if you don't get why the original is so beloved then you're in majority of people who just don't get it.
20 years from now this sad remake will be sitting in the Walmart $5.00 bin, cast aside by all those but Collin Farrel fans.
P.S. the computer animated blood splashes are horrible, they look like mid 90's effects. Also, where's the remake of Brad Fiedel's "Come To Me" which was in the original as well as it's sequel? They must have been crazy not to put an update of that in the film. It's up there with Bela Lugosi's Dead and Cry Little Sister. Oh, and one finally little update: Imagine Poots IS actually very hot and a wonderful actress as was Amanda Bearse at the time.
Odd, surreal, and almost terminally slow paced, this hard to find film may not be worth finding except for die hard Connelly fans.
A subtle, slow-paced Italian horror film --where the horror is mostly implied rather than overt-- about a ballerina who flies to Italy to try out for an exclusive ballet school and instead becomes lost in a surreal world where time stands still for a hundred year old ballet company, it's long closed theater, and it's diabolical director.
WARNING: DESCRIPTIONS CONTAINS NUMEROUS SPOILERS:
Jason (Gary McCleery), who is working for his cantankerous uncle Joshua (Charles Durning), sees the hauntingly beautiful Claire (Jennifer Connelly) as she climbs the stairs to her hotel room and drops a single ballet slipper behind her. In a Cinderella moment Jason hands her the slipper, introduces himself, and from that moment on he becomes obsessed with her to an almost unhealthy degree. Jason is so distracted by her, that he abandons his uncle in the middle of an important auction of antique clocks when he sees Claire sight-seeing in the auction hall (the clock theme is obviously a reference to the idea that time has stood still, or has become, at the very least, fluid here in this town, an idea further underscored by a scene where Jason wakes up late for work because the array of antique clocks in his hotel room all have the wrong time). In a scene which almost looks as if it was plucked (or "borrowed") from the film "Flashdance," Claire arrives for her ballet audition, looks at all the other girls nervously, peeks through the audition room door and sees how difficult its going to be, then becomes even more nervous when she hears the rejected ballerina's tearful account of how poorly she was treated. Claire freezes when they call her name and does not respond. She then gathers her things and leaves quickly. Unfortunately, in her panic and haste, she becomes lost in the theater and ends up standing in the gloom of the main stage where she puts on an impromptu performance (done by a double, not Connelly) which is witnessed by the tormented and haggard looking Marius Balkan (Laurent Terzieff). He says the name "Natalie" and Claire freezes. When he drops his cane she runs away. And so is set in motion a new and strange turn of events, where Claire becomes haunted by a past that is not her own (or is it?). When wandering the city with Jason she finds an old mansion that seems familiar. She knows exactly where the spare key is hidden and enters the house where she discovers numerous effigies of swans and paintings all of which reference "Swan Lake," the ballet which she has told Jason is her absolute favorite. The next time Jason sees her in the park by the mansion, she is sitting alone in an old fashioned dress, watching the swans swim on the pond. She no longer responds to the name Claire. And in a moment of unintentional humor, the otherwise brilliant composer Jurgen Knieper makes the most unfortunate choice to use a tremolo string motif that sounds exactly like the "Twighlight Zone" theme just as Claire reveals that her name is not Claire, but "Natalie."
From this point on the story focuses on Jason's struggle to bring Claire back to reality, and his eventual discovery that she's not, as he first thinks, confused or insane, but rather there are powerful and dark supernatural forces in play. He discovers Natalie was a dancer who died long ago after she fled a performance of "Swan Lake" and the ballet's director, Marius, has been alive for at least a hundred years. Jason must now try to save Claire from the sinister ballet.
There are many scenes in this film that could have been cut to make the movie flow better, and there are many edits within scenes which could have been made to make the flow tighter. And there is one bizarre and surreal moment during the climax of the film, which I will not reveal, which will either leave the viewer in riotous laughter from the unintentional humor of the situation, or will leave the viewer confused and ripped out of any sense of any kind of reality, or subtle sur-reality, that the film had maintained to that point.
Overall the film is pretty much a failure. It's too slow, too vague, and too unfocused in its mission. Other Italian horror directors suffer this same problem (i.e. Argento and Bava) but those directors make up for the lack of focus and clear direction by drenching their films in artistic style. "Etoile" lacks this style, and so everything rests on the shoulders of the story, and the actors. Unfortunately the story is flawed and the actors are all sorely lacking in strong direction from the director. Gary McCleery as Jason is too over the top in his obsession with Claire and comes off a little bit stalker-ish at moments. Connelly is trying to play her character as dreamy and almost childlike, but with no apparent solid direction from Del Monte she ends up looking lost in her part. Horror fans, and fans of Italian horror will probably be more likely to at least partially enjoy the experience of viewing this film, but the casual film viewer will most likely be bored to tears. Fans of Jennifer Connelly might enjoy it purely because she looks so ethereally beautiful throughout the film (her features caught here in-between her earlier "lolita" looks and her later refined beauty). And good luck finding a copy. Thus far it has only been released in Japan on VHS.
The Valley (1985)
Really bad video for a really good instrumental song.
Music video/promo for an instrumental piece by "Rolling Stones" legend Bill Wyman used in the Dario Argento film "Phenomena" (a.k.a. "Creepers" -U.S. theatrical title). The video is available as an "extra" on the superb Anchor Bay release on DVD.
Directed by Michele Soavi who went on to direct the superb "giallo" "Stage Fright" (which Trantino claims is "better" than anything Argento did --which I disagree with) and the freaky "Rosmary's Baby" influenced "The Church" and then the amazing surreal "Cemetary Man", this video is perhaps best forgotten in his dossier.
The video is an amateurish and helterskelter mix of "behind the scenes" footage from the film, "actual" scenes from the film, and slow-motion shots of Wyman in an strange room. If the confusing and confounding behind-the-scenes shots of crew, cameras, camera cranes, and wind machines had been left out, the video would have been much more successful as a piece on its own.
Shots from the opening sequence of the actual film which show a school girl wandering into a seemingly abandoned house are inter-cut with scenes of Wyman in a desolate looking room with plastic on the floor. He looks into the camera with a blank stare and proceeds to take out his guitar, plug it in, and mime playing to his Morricone-esquire guitar work. The result of the inter-cuts between the girl wandering and Wyman deliberately playing his guitar make Wyman appear to be a waiting threat to the lost young girl. However, as mentioned earlier, this simple and effective patchwork narrative of footage from the film and footage shot for the video is instantly destroyed by more utterly useless behind-the-scenes shots of the large film crew following the girl.
Then we get shots of Jennifer Connelly wandering around this same house as Wyman plugs his guitar cable into his guitar (in slow motion) plugs the other end into his amp (in slow motion) hits his head on a bare hanging light bulb --ouch!-- (in slow motion) and then. . .a completely bizarre shot of Dario Argento looking into a camera lens (?!) then back to Wyman (in even still more slow motion).
Later we see Wyman dip his hands into some tomato soup (which I assume is supposed to be blood --this late into the 80's and no one in Italy has heard of karo syrup with red dye?!--). He then splashes the tomato soup on his face (this is turning into a literal "spaghetti western"), and he then smashes that pesky hanging bare lightbulb he hit his head on earlier, with his guitar, all inter-cut with footage of the girl from the beginning of the film smashing her head through a window.
Overall, the video is so bad it's laughable. Which is surprising considering the director's later efforts.
However, the MUSIC is really good. A strange mix of Krautrock and Ennio Morricone, kind of how you might imagine a Tangerine Dream score for a Spaghetti Western might sound. Ominous yet subtle. (Wyman would later contribute music to Argento's "Opera.")
A "somewhat better" video for Claudio (Goblin) Simonetti's song "Jennifer" can also be found on the DVD, this time directed by Dario Argento himself, and containing new footage shot just for the video which is mostly the then 14 year old Jennifer Connelly running around in a big house in a nightgown.