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Jason Butler Harner
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As with Almereyda's previous films, this one deals with a gothic subject in a modern context. Lushly filmed it concerns an alcoholic womans return to her Irish roots, only to turn into a film about a woman whose soul is desired by a 1000 year old witch.Written by
When the girl cuts her throat near the end, the wound is clearly already there before she slices it. Additionally, she does not slice it directly where the wound is. See more »
In the beginning of the world, the earth and the sky were one creature, and it was the hardest thing to tear them apart. They loved each other so much. And that's why it rains. Because the earth and the sky are always trying to get back together. Mrs. Ferriter told me that, after my mother died, a long time ago, before I met Nora and Jim.
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written by Anders Packer
performed by Varnaline
strings written and arranged by John Parker
courtesy of Zero Hour Records
published by No Disciple Music (BMI)
administered by Bug Music, Inc. See more »
...these are the words that came to mind after watching 1998's "THE ETERNAL Kiss of the Mummy," originally titled "Trance" and written & directed by Michael Almereyda. The story is about an alcoholic couple who travel to the wife's country manor in Ireland, supposedly to sober up and give their son the opportunity to meet her ailing grandmother. They discover that her weird uncle (Christopher Walken) has a 2000 year-old mummy of a Druid witch in the basement, which he's curiously trying to revive!
This is Gothic horror in the modern day and struck me as a Hammer flick if it were released in more current times. Alison Elliott is fetching in the starring role of the alcoholic wife. You can tell she has a sweet figure, but you'll only catch a glimpse here or there (not that I'd want to see nudity or sleaze; I'm just saying that there's a way to film beautiful women like Alison and this movie doesn't deliver enough on this front, but it does a bit).
"THE ETERNAL" is not your typical modern horror schlock. It doesn't shoot for conventional horror and gore, but it IS pretty creepy in a Gothic sense. I saw "Big Bad Wolf" (2006) before I viewed this one and, although "Big Bad Wolf" is thrilling and ultra-gory, it's not scary, mainly because the filmmakers & cast cop a semi-campy vibe. "THE ETERNAL," by contrast, plays it completely straight and the foggy Irish moors & centuries-old mansion add to the haunting ambiance.
There's also a quality soundtrack with a few stand-out alternative rock numbers, like the one that plays during the end credits, "My Head Becomes the Sky" by Tara Baoth Mooney.
Anyway, there's a Gothic beauty to the movie, which makes it a pleasure just to watch even if the story is "sluggish," as some criticize. It's clear that the writer/director was aiming for art more than common horror thrills. I'd compare it to "The Mothman Prophecies" (2002) in this sense, albeit not as good. It was limited by an obvious modest budget, which shows through here and there with awkward, amateurish filmmaking.
After viewing, I reflected on the seemingly nonsensical story, particularly the perplexing events in the third act, and certain things started to make sense: This is only a story about a Druid witch coming back to life on the surface; and all that might be figurative. It's really about a woman in bondage to alcoholism who comes face-to-face with her lower nature, her self-destructive side (her "id" or "flesh"), not to mention confronting her incestuous uncle, and trying to prevail. Going back to her heritage, her roots, enables her to see WHY she turned to alcohol for succor in the first place.
In essence, this is a Gothic tale about the purging of one's fleshly demons.
The film runs 95 minutes and was shot in Connemara & Dublin, Ireland; New York; and Miami Beach, Florida.
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