- Casino Royale Review
- Carrie (1976)
- Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
- Trainspotting (1996)
- Rain Man (1988)
- Fatal Attraction (1987)
- Targets (1968)
- An Education (2009)
- Mirror, The (1974)
- Fargo (1996)
- Fight Club (1999)
- Do The Right Thing (1989)
- Report (1967)
- Is "The Sting" The Best Gambling Film Ever Made?
- Pink Flamingos (1972)
- Ox-Bow Incident, The (1943), Or 28 Angry Men
- Rome, Open City (1945)
- Spring in a Small Town (1948)
- Drive (2011)
- Vinyl (1965)
- Seconds (1966)
- Rosemary's Baby (1968)
- A Hollywood Invasion of Casino Halls
- Thin Man, The (1934)
- In The Heat of the Night (1967)
- All In: The Poker Movie, Player’s Best Tricks
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
- 1001 Club - Skyfall (2012)
- 1001 Club - When Harry Met Sally... (1988)
- 1001 Club - Rain Man (1988)
White Zombie (1932) - Grindhouse Roots At Its Finest
Now THERE'S a marquis!
Genre: Zombie Horror
Starring: Bela Lugosi (Dracula (1931) • The Wolf Man), Madge Bellamy
Directed By: Victor Halperin (Revolt Of The Zombies)
Overview: When invited to stay and get married in Port-Au-Prince, the plantation owner's motives are less than hospitable. Rather than beinh host to the wedding, his plan is to make the young woman his slave.
Bela Lugosi may well be the best-known name in classic Horror. Ye few elite film connoisseurs may argue with names like 'The Man of a Thousand Faces' Lon Chaney or Franken-Mummy Boris Karloff. Hell, you might even try to pull off getting away with calling Vincent Price, Claude Raines or Max Shreck more famous, but you’d be wrong. It's Bela, the original Dracula, the face that has inspired literally hundreds of vampire films, the original Transylvanian-accented voice that forever put that little land on the Horror film map, the man with a piercing gaze that could shake the soul and be an icon for Goth bands everywhere. Those eyes can be found in White Zombie, a film made during the hey-day of Lugosi, before the industry chewed him up and turned him out like a herpetic trick magnet. By far the best role and the best performance here is his, dramatically above and beyond those of anyone else, including the nobody who directed him, who could only bask in the man’s shadow and let him work his magic.
The kind of production value one can expect from a 1932 horror film about zombies is, well, low. Imagine my surprise when we have the setting of a real chateau and a director of photography who can put the lens in the right place to create artistic and dynamic shots that occasionally embrace the gothic flair, be it capturing stunning architecture or expressionistic silhouettes. I turned to Girlfriend of Squish and said, "It’s interesting how it only takes 4 or 5 good shots to make a movie worth it, to turn something into cinema."
Nope. Amidst the confusion of why the young couple is there and what their relationship is to the man who lured them into his stone-worked mansion, we find typical explanations of what's happening with a nice portion of cheese loaf. There's enough original dialogue to keep the scenes chugging the plot and character motivations along, but we’re talking borderline heckling material.
As the credits begin, we see the couple in their horse-drawn carriage forced to stop as the natives are performing a burial in the middle of the road. They bury their dead in the busy thoroughfare to help ensure that grave robbers don't dig them up to make zombie slaves. When you start on a high point like that, damn, you can't really go up from there. The enjoyable parts of the story are the moments of double-cross and zombification of the poor bride to be, but as predictable as this ends, it's one fun trip exploring the less-used, more traditional worker zombie: the undead Haitian plantation slave.
The most enjoyable part of this was, unfortunately, unintended. We all prefer a crisp, restored Criteron-class print, but having seen this on the heels of Grindhouse, I appreciated the little flaws as ‘character’. The sound quality - that mild hiss of an old record player - combined with occasional splice skips due to lost bits of film, scratches, painted backdrops, hiccupey acting, and the nasty early 30s camerawork that loves to slice the tops of heads, well, 'Mood' ceases to be about how immersive the story is and turns into how awesome ‘old’ is when seen as a technical positivism. Without all that, the woman’s hair and dresses, the classic hero character of the 30s, the vacant zombies with nasty teeth and the evil eyes of the zombie master... yeah, it’s pretty wicked besides.
Behind the scenes with coffin girl and vampire wash-up!
Overall Rating: 72% (Technically Painful, But Still Captivating)
'Grindhouse' is certainly one of my preferred film niches. It may have kitsch, camp and caca all in the same sentence, yet we find a certain humanity within these productions that doesn't pretend to be bigger than a story told for entertainment, and, if lucky, a profit margin. Spotting little mistakes like a stumbled line, an over-exposed shot, a boom mike, well those are the things that remind us this is a show, and sometimes, looking into the depths of oblivion tells a story all its own, adding an interesting element. It's like looking at the back of a mirror. You know you’re not supposed to do it, but it's fun to peer through the looking glass sometimes.