The Antici-(The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975)

I had never seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show until 2020. Like, I have heard many of the songs. I have seen pictures and heard about the midnight screenings. I am fully aware of Tim Curry’s fame largely being inspired by this role. I know of the film and it’s legend. But I have never, simply sat down and watched it.

And so now I have watched the the legendary film and…uh…

I did not hate it…it has it’s charms. But I don’t know that I loved it.  Maybe this is because the film made its cult status through being an interactive audience experience…and sitting in my living room alone is not the same.

The story feels largely like an inconsequential mess. But there is no denying that when Tim Curry comes on screen, he is just an absolute delight.  Curry is reckless in his enthusiastic performance and I really enjoy every moment he is on screen. This is not to downplay the other performances, as the central characters are all memorable and fun. But Curry has a habit of outshining people in films for me.

I am glad I finally took the time to watch the film for the music and the performances, feeling like I have filled in one of the most beloved midnight films of all time.

 

 

Red Balloons (It, 1990)

It_1990_posterStephen Kings has had many stories brought to the screen with varying success.  In 1990 he had a good year.  We saw the release of Misery and the birth of the “Stephen King Mini-Series Event” on ABC.

The film begins with a young girl being attacked and killed.  We the audience, of course, know it is Pennywise…but while the police are doing their work, Mike Hanlon, Local Librarian, shows up.  He finds a picture from his past, and he knows it is time to bring all his friends back home to make good on a promise.

As Mike calls each friend, they seem almost confused as to who Mike is, but we get treated to extended flashbacks to their childhoods thirty years prior.

The kids discovered an evil that feed in the town every thirty years.  They believed they were able to defeat the creature, but promised to return home if the creature ever came back.  And now that it has, the now grown group of friends return to Derry to try and destroy it forever.  Of course, Pennywise tries to prey on their fears and use as many tricks to stop them as he can.  but they refuse to back down and run away.

The cast is pretty solid.  John Ritter is Ben, former fat kid  Ben who is now a hard drinking and partying architect.  Annette O’Toole is grown up Bev who married a man as abusive as her father.  Harry Anderson is a little over the top hamming it up as comedian Richie Tozier (young Ritchie is played by Seth Green).  Really, the whole cast is pretty good.

Of course, what really make the mini-series memorable is the performance of Tim Curry as Pennywise.  It is a highly memorable turn and a highlight of Curry’s career.

Veteran horror director Tommy Lee Wallace does pretty good with his budget.  He makes sure to focus on the skills of his stars to sell the intensity of moments.  And that is a good thing.  Why?

Probably the biggest sore spot for It is it’s visual effects.  Some are good low budget effects.  And you do not forget look of Pennywise.  But the creature design for the final battle of the film is…uh,..  disappointing.

It is a bit more successful than many of the film adaptions of King’s horror work because it has room to breathe.  It is carried more by it’s performances than anything else.  And while some of it can feel almost hokey today, it still is a fun watch.

Boys and Ghouls At the Movies Part 3 (Ritual, 2006)

TFtC_RitualThe third and final (to date) Tales From the Crypt film is Ritual.  You would not realize it is a Tales From the Crypt film though.  The reception to Bordello of Blood resulted in the third film being released scrubbed of any Tales From the Crypt Connections.  The “Tales from the Crypt Presents” was added to the DVD Box when it was released in the U.S. as a direct to video release, but the film remained as it was in theaters.

This means that the film lacks anything connecting it to the series.  Unlike the first to films (which opened and closed with the Crypt Keeper voiced by John Kassir) There is no Crypt Keeper host. No actual references in the titles, no entering the Crypt Keeper’s house and no comic book cover.  The irony here is that while they removed those things to avoid the connection after the failure of Bordello of Blood, this generic Voodoo horror thriller desperately could use the flavor of Tales from the Crypt, or at least an actual alteration to the formula as Demon Knight had done.

Written by the Director of the first Fast and Furious film Rob Cohen and the film’s Director Avi Nesher it is loosely based on the 1943 film I Walked With a Zombie.

It tells the tale (get it???) of a disgraced Doctor named Alice (Played by Jennifer Grey) who takes a job in Jamaica tending to a young man with encephalitis.  He believes he is a zombie under a curse.  And someone seems to be using Jamaican Voodoo to attack Alice.

There is a bit of humor to see that as the films went on, they had less star power than the original show.  But the film tackles a topic the show already did, and the show did it in the so much better.  This film lacks the humor that was such a big part of the TV series.  Which results in a dull and boring film with low level effects.  It is not that the film lacks talent, it is that they have a guy like Tim Curry and just give him nothing to do.  Why would you want to do that?

Of course, based on this image?  Maybe leaving the Dreadlocks sporting Crypt Keeper out of the film was a good idea…

Tales-From-the-Crypt-Presents-Ritual-tales-from-the-crypt-18665943-900-506

 

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