Friday, March 25, 2016

Deep and Hard

...to watch.



FILM:




On the one hand, I haven't posted in a while.  On the other hand, I've been writing small pieces of stupidly oversized articles, which was stupid.  So here are a couple lowish-budget horror movies with mixed results.

Deep Dark - 2015
Written & Directed by Michael Medaglia

It's best to think of Deep Dark as a fable.  A bleak, bitter fable with a taste for the freaky stuff.

Now on the one hand; I have a taste for the archetypal tales, and Deep Dark knowingly composes itself within classical motifs.  On the other hand, however -- and primarily in the interest of even-handedness -- it is at times so classically grounded that one could construe it as predictable.  It added up to a mostly satisfying fable about desperation and deception, jealousy, betrayal and the cost of success.

Deep Dark also wears its film-making influences openly and proudly.  Moments recall Cronenberg, Lynch, the Coens and others.  First-feature writer/director Michael Medaglia isn't there yet, but he's making the right choices.  The film feels both fresh and timeless.

If it sounds like I'm avoiding discussing the plot, it's because I am.  In brief; Hermann, a failed (terrible as well as unsuccessful) artist (specializing in mobiles made of garbage) desperately turns to his uncle or help when reaches the end of his rope.  The uncle (an equally untalented but commercially successful hack) offers to rent him the apartment where he first "found his inspiration."  The dank, dismal apartment does indeed provide the key to his financial success but at a price Hermann may not be willing to pay.  Faustian type bidness.

In the time since watching Deep Dark, I find I've come to like it more than I did when it first ended.  The experience of watching it was perhaps diluted at the time by my reservations about the lead character, which is a pretty big deal considering he's in pretty much every scene.  Looking back at the film, however, I tend to reflect more on the story and the presentation than my minor annoyances with his persistent dysfunction.  Hermann is consistently unpleasant and self-pitying.  Even when a goldmine falls into his lap, he doesn't pause a beat to acknowledge (much less appreciate) it before he goes to work self-sabotaging.  I feel like I would have had a more powerful connection to the story if I'd had more reason to care about him.


Lesbian Vampire Killers - 2009

I don't want to say that Lesbian Vampire Killers is bad, but when something so completely dodges every opportunity to be good, I don't know what else to call it.  It's meant to be a kitschy, fun vamp on low-budget exploitation films of a bygone time, but where it's should be kitschy; it's bland, where it should be fun; it's self-satisfied, and where it should be exploitative; there's a spout of flour paste.  Wait, what?  Yeah, the many lesbian vampires killed simply explode into some gloppy white goo -- and yet NO ONE in this "comedy" thinks to make a joke about ejaculate.  I mean, come on.

Anyway, add this to the stack of vampire films that deserve cheesy headlines about "lacking bite."


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