A KISS BEFORE DYING/DIAL M FOR MURDER: A FESTIVE DOUBLE BILL OF MURDER MYSTERIES REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

grace-kelly-dial-m-for-murderA KISS BEFORE DYING/DIAL M FOR MURDER: A FESTIVE DOUBLE BILL OF MURDER MYSTERIES REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

A KISS BEFORE DYING. (1956) BASED ON THE DEBUT 1953 NOVEL BY IRA LEVIN. DIRECTED BY GERD OSWALD.

STARRING ROBERT WAGNER, JOANNE WOODWARD AND MARY ASTOR.

DIAL M FOR MURDER. (1954) BASED ON THE 1952 PLAY BY FREDERICK KNOTT. SCREENPLAY BY FREDERICK KNOTT. DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY ALFRED HITCHCOCK.

STARRING RAY MILLAND, GRACE KELLY, ROBERT CUMMINGS, JOHN WILLIAMS AND ANTHONY DAWSON.

I watch these two cracking murder mysteries every Christmas, even though they have nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever. And I always watch ’em back-to-back as well, because of the similarities between them and the fact that they each have leading men with murder in mind heading up the proceedings. Let’s look at them now in more detail. After you, gentle readers…!

A KISS BEFORE DYING is an American film noir in colour, if you please, and DIAL M FOR MURDER is a detective movie superbly filmed in 3-D, which is quite impressive given how old it is. A KISS BEFORE DYING could so easily have been filmed by Hitchcock, I always think. It’s almost more Hitchcock than Hitchcock himself. Maybe Gerd Oswald (this was his directorial debut) was a fan!

In A KISS BEFORE DYING, Robert Wagner (who later starred alongside Stephanie Powers as the handsome charismatic billionaire Jonathan Hart in ‘Eighties drama series HART TO HART) plays the leading male, college boy Bud Corliss. Bud’s devastating good looks are equalled only by his devious mind and sleight of hand when it comes to solving the number one problem in his life.

He’s knocked up his girlfriend, fellow college student Dory, see? Her future hubby Paul Newman might have had summat to say about that, haha. Anyway, Dory is thrilled about the pregnancy because she adores the criminally handsome Bud and also wants to get away from her overbearing millionaire father. She hears wedding bells and is clingy and needy to an irritating degree.

Bud, however, as he’s been courting Dory only for her Daddy’s moolah, is horrified by the news of the impending visit of the stork. He smells a disinheriting in the air for Dory and sees all his cunning plans for self-enrichment coming to nothing. He concocts a plan so fiendish it’s actually hard to watch it unfold on the screen. It’s also, to my mind, needlessly complicated.

If he’d only just married the bloody girl, her Pops would’ve come round in the end! But no, he has to weave a web so tangled that surely it’s only a matter of time before he gets caught up in it himself…

The book on which the film is based was written by Ira Levin, who also wrote ROSEMARY’S BABY and THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL, so you know the film is gonna be good. The 1991 re-make of the film starring Matt Dillon and Sean Young is actually excellent as well.

DIAL M FOR MURDER is set in a marvellously British London and has an older but no less handsome and charming Ray Milland as the leading man with murder in mind, former tennis star Tony Wendice.

His beautiful wife Margot, played by Grace Kelly, one of Hitchcock’s favourite blonde leading ladies, has been more or less flaunting her affair with American mystery writer Mark Halliday, for which sin he plans to bump her off. Plus she has a nice few bob in the bank as well, which will definitely come in handy for Tony, who’s a bit strapped for cash at the moment.

Tony’s own plan is no less needlessly complicated than Bud Corliss’s. Furthermore, he even engages an outside party to do his murder for him, a circumstance practically guaranteed to foul things up.

The scene in which he positively bamboozles poor old petty crook Captain Lesgate with his double-talk and sinister threats is probably the best one in the film. It certainly shows us just how determined the evil Tony is to get what he wants. He was a brilliant actor, Ray Milland.

The plan goes equally spectacularly awry in the 1998 re-make of the film, A PERFECT MURDER, starring Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow and Viggo Mortensen. It’s a f***ing terrible plan, haha, and so is Bud Corliss’s. Too many variables, as the fella says. Too many flippin’ imponderables. Way too many things that can, and do, go wrong.

My favourite character here, beside Tony Wendice himself, is the absolutely super-British Chief Inspector Hubbard, whose valiant attempts to finger the real villain in DIAL M FOR MURDER provide entertainment and some rather spiffing bursts of dialogue.

It’s a film linked together with latchkeys (none of which are on nice sensible key-rings, by the way!), ladies’ stockings and handbags and, together with A KISS BEFORE DYING, will make perfect festive viewing for the older members of the family. And remember, folks, not every super-villain wears tights and funny face-paint, you know. Some are right under your nose the whole time…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS/ THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS: A FESTIVE DOUBLE BILL OF HOLIDAY FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

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DR. SEUSS’ ‘HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS’ AND TIM BURTON’S ‘THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS’: A FESTIVE DOUBLE BILL OF HOLIDAY FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

DR. SEUSS’ ‘HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS.’ (2000) BASED ON THE WRITINGS OF DR. SEUSS. DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD. PRODUCED BY BRIAN GRAZER AND RON HOWARD.

STARRING JIM CARREY, TAYLOR MOMSEN AND ANTHONY HOPKINS AS THE NARRATOR.

TIM BURTON’S ‘THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.’ (1993) BASED ON STORY AND CHARACTERS CREATED BY TIM BURTON. DIRECTED BY HENRY SELICK. PRODUCED BY TIM BURTON AND DENISE DI NOVI. MUSIC BY DANNY ELFMAN FROM ‘THE SIMPSONS.’

STARRING CHRIS SARANDON AND CATHERINE O’HARA.

These are two festive favourites that strike me as being kind of similar, which is why I’ve decided to lump ’em in together in this steaming double helping of Christmassy film reviews. They’re both beautifully animated and they each have a strong iconic male character in the lead role.

Namely, the Grinch who tried to steal Christmas because he f***ing hates it and Jack Skellington from Halloween Town, the guy who is so enchanted by the new and novel idea of Christmas that he tries to, well, not so much steal it exactly but, shall we say, he attempts to appropriate it for himself and his fellow ghouls just for one holiday season to see how it goes.

I’ll be totally honest with you guys. I possibly would have hated ‘HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS’ if it hadn’t been for the presence in it of Jim Carrey. He bends over backwards to deliver a powerhouse performance as the lead character, the furry green and wrinkly fellow who lives on the outskirts of the mythical town of Whoville.

He lives as a cranky and Christmas-hating outcast, mostly by choice but also because the townspeople are afraid of the Grinch and hate his practical jokes and negative attitude towards Christmas, the holiday season they love more than any other.

They go way overboard themselves for Christmas, turning the little town of Whoville into a veritable winter wonderland of fun, feasting and festivities. And all the while, the Grinch sits alone in his cave muttering ‘Bah Humbug!’ at each fresh manifestation of the townspeoples’ festive excess.

The only person (or are they really people with their freakishly flattened ‘League Of Gentlemen’ snouts?) in town with any compassion for the Grinch is little Cindy Lou Who, played by Taylor Momsen with a couple of really big ugly fake front teeth shoved in her pie-hole.

She’s sorry for the hated creature, with whose pitiful backstory we’re fully au fait through a sequence of flashbacks. There are perfectly good reasons for his miserly Christmas-hating, it seems. This makes us sympathise with the Grinch rather than the mercenary townsfolk.

Cindy Lou is also worried sick about the way that Christmas in her town has become all about the presents, the excesses and the materialistic element of the festive season. Can she make her parents and the rest of the Whos of Whoville acknowledge that the true meaning of Christmas is the love we share with friends and family?

And, in the meantime, a thoroughly hacked-off Grinch is planning to steal the whole kit and kaboodle, just like Homer Simpson from THE SIMPSONS when he has to save Christmas for the people of Springfield by stealing everyones’ Funzo toys. Let’s see now. That makes four Christmases he saved, versus six he ruined, three were kind of a draw…!

The animation is gorgeous and the songs are all cleverly written. The film has a great message but I’m very much afraid that I hated all the Whos, even Cindy Lou, and I still think in all honesty that Jim Carrey is the best thing about the movie. It’s still makes for a good Christmas watch for the kids, though.

And watch out for that awards ceremony. It’s the funniest awards ceremony since Fr. Ted Crilly picked up his Golden Cleric in the Christmas Special of FATHER TED back in the late ‘Nineties.

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, a stop-motion animation film, is just sheer perfection all the way through. Chris (THE PRINCESS BRIDE, FRIGHT NIGHT, DOG DAY AFTERNOON) Sarandon voices the lead character of Jack Skellington, a lanky skeleton with the fancy title of ‘the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town.’

Halloween Town is the marvellous creation of Tim Burton, a fantasy world peopled by the most adorable ghouls, goblins, vampires, werewolves, witches, trick-or-treaters, boogeymen and other such wicked little oddities. The imagination Tim Burton must have simply defies all logic.

Jack is in charge of organizing their annual Halloween holiday, which the creepy residents of Halloween simply live for, which is cute indeed considering that most of the little blighters are actually Un-Dead, haha.

When we come in, however, Jack is actually starting to get bored and fed-up with the same old rigmarole every year. He’s actually bored with Halloween, if you can credit that, and he yearns for a change.

When he accidentally stumbles upon the holiday of Christmas and decides that it might be a bit of a lark to take it over for once, the stage is set for some distinctly un-Christmassy activities…

The animation here is exquisite, as are all the delightfully spooky entities with which Tim Burton has peopled his magical fantasy world. The songs are all brilliantly written by Danny Elfman of THE SIMPSONS, and the character of Jack himself is just a delight to watch.

Look at the way he carefully researches the holiday of Christmas and tries to figure out just exactly what is the deal with the whole thing! It’s marvellous and heartwarming to witness.

Sally the Rag Doll-slash-amateur-toxicologist (wonder if any of the naughtiest of the wee gremlins have ever asked her for roofies for a bit of the old ‘in-out…?’) is kind of the Cindy Lou Who of this film.

She’s the only one who can see that Jack Skellington is possibly heading for the disaster of a lifetime, kidnapping Sandy Claws and taking over Christmas and everything. She’s also madly in love with Jack, of course. Will Jack, the silly sausage, work this out in time, or is he too busy unintentionally ruining Crimbo…? Well, you know what men are like…

On my 2008 SPECIAL EDITION DVD of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, two wonderful short films by Tim Burton are also included. That’s why you should always check out the extra features, people. You can find some real gems nestling amongst them sometimes.

The first of these is VINCENT from 1982, in which horror icon Vincent Price narrates a grisly little poem about a boy called- you guessed it- Vincent, who might be a perfectly normal little boy in some respects but who really wants to be like his idol, Vincent Price.

Little Vincent Malloy likes to read the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and wants to immortalise people in his wax museum just like his idol did in that marvellously creepy film about, well, a wax museum.

Directed and written by Tim Burton, this six-minute treasure (there’s no other word for it) is the most exquisite piece of horror cinema you’ll possibly ever see. Vincent Price narrates with fiendish glee and it’s so nice to hear the familiar rich deep timbre of his voice reading the cleverly twisted rhymes.

The second of these short films is called FRANKENWEENIE (1984), which was recently (2012) made into one of those glossy big kids’ films for Halloween. It’s the story of a young boy called- believe it or not- Victor Frankenstein, who’s an American kid from the ‘Fifties who positively adores his dog Sparky.

When a tragedy occurs and Sparky is called away to Doggie Heaven, little Vincent takes inspiration from a school science experiment to help him bring the furry critter back to life, with mixed results.

The film is one of the purest tributes to the original FRANKENSTEIN movies from UNIVERSAL you’ll ever see, and it also features horror royalty Shelley Duvall, the mom from THE SHINING, as Victor’s mother. And watch out for the canine Elsa Lanchester, she’s a real hottie…!

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is probably the only film that so successfully manages to blend our two favourite seasonal holidays. I can’t even think of any others. It makes great viewing for either holiday. Enjoy the hell out of it, dear readers, and Happy Holidays to everyone out there in Internet Land! May we all have a delightfully fiendish and ghoulish 2017. (In a good way, of course!) xxxxxx

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S. (1961) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.

breakfast-at-tiffanysBREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S. (1961) BASED ON THE NOVELLA BY TRUMAN CAPOTE. DIRECTED BY BLAKE EDWARDS. MUSIC BY HENRY MANCINI.

STARRING AUDREY HEPBURN, GEORGE PEPPARD, PATRICIA NEAL, MARTIN BALSAM, BUDDY EBSEN, MICKEY ROONEY AND ‘ORANGEY’ THE CAT.

A CHRISTMAS FILM REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This iconic romantic comedy with the surprisingly seedy underbelly was my Christmas night viewing of choice in 2016. Happy Christmas, by the way! I chose it because I really just wanted to watch something beautiful and elegant from the absolute ‘Golden Age Of Hollywood’ featuring Mickey Rooney with yellow face make-up and an oral prostethic to simulate a bucktoothed and myopic Japanese chappie, haha. More about that later…

Do we all know what Tiffany’s is? Of course we do, but I’m not wasting the time I spent on Wikipedia so you’d all better pay extra-careful attention to my findings, y’all…!

Tiffany’s, of course, is the world-famous jewellery and luxury goods emporium whose flagship store operates at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan, New York City. Tiffany’s was established as far back as 1837, believe it or not, by an olde-timey chap by the name of Charles Lewis Tiffany.

Their stuff is super-posh and so expensive and exclusive that comedian Chris Rock was once heard to make a remark about those ‘rich white motherf***ers who own the colour blue…!’

Let me make it quite clear here and now that I have never been the recipient of the famous robin’s-egg-blue boxes or bags from Tiffany’s that get all those women on TV so excited. Charlotte from SEX AND THE CITY, Reese Witherspoon in the movie SWEET HOME ALABAMA, Holly Golightly from BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S and so on.

I was given a blue-and-white striped plastic bag once from a fellow, containing the sweet and sour chicken balls I’d sent him to the Golden Dragon to buy for me. I’m well aware that it’s not the same thing so please don’t bother pointing that out, haha.

Remember when Homer Simpson from THE SIMPSONS made some extra money panhandling (at least, I think it was that episode!) and he presented Marge with the signature blue box and she said: ‘It’s a Tiffany’s box, and the thing inside is from Tiffany’s…!’ That’s how big a deal this stuff is.

By the way, hands up who here thinks that Tiffany Lamps, another of their elegant and unaffordable products (unaffordable to regular Joe Soaps like us, anyway!), sounds like one of Krusty the Clown’s porn star consorts, you know, like Charity Titters or one of those…?

Remember the pop band DEEP BLUE SOMETHING who made a career out of their ‘Nineties hit referencing the movie? In fact, it was actually called BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S and it seemed to centre around a couple whose only point of commonality (that’s a word, right?) seemed to be that they’d both seen the film and, as I recall, they ‘both kind of liked it.’ Better start buying hats for that wedding, so, folks…

More Presidents of the United States than you could shake a stick at have shopped for their wives at the legendary jewellery store. Even Her Madge, the Queen of England, once received a Tiffany’s make-up mirror from the Obamas. Lucky Queenie. Also, the Tiffany’s Blue Book is the equivalent of the Argos Catalogue to us povvos, which is so reassuring to know, don’t you think?

That’s pretty much everything I’ve ever known about Tiffany’s. Are ye ready to move onto the movie now? Oh, ye’ve already buggered off to wolf down leftover-turkey sambos and finish off the eggnog, have ye? Oh well, I guess I’ll just chat away to myself, then. It won’t be the first time…!

The film is the story of Holly Golightly, beautifully played by Hollywood style queen and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn. Those wide eyes and that fabulous smile are to die for, I can assure you. Holly Golightly is, in fact, the name the character gives herself after she runs away from a life of boredom and poverty in the sticks to a supposedly better one of glamour and excitement in New York, leaving her past behind forever. Or so she thinks…

Holly is the kind of flighty, eccentric, free-spirited and highly irresponsible brat I’d normally loathe on sight if she wasn’t being played by Audrey Hepburn. But Ms. Hepburn imparts to her a charming naiveté (goddammit, that word is so hard to spell!) and graceful innocence so that you tend to pretty much forgive her all and any transgressions.

She doesn’t seem to go out to work in the traditional sense or, indeed, have any confidence in her ability to earn a living in a way that doesn’t involve sponging off men. Men pay her for her time and maybe even for her sexual favours too, though all that’s alluded to with a very light hand in the film. After all, one of the most iconic female characters in film of all time couldn’t possibly be a call girl, could she? Well, you guys will have to make up your own minds on this one…

Holly’s game-plan for life is to marry a rich man. If only women today could get away with that kind of thing. But, oh no, we have to be independent and feisty and make our own bloody money from the sweat of our brows and the labour of our hands. Poxy, isn’t it? Maybe if I had an elegantly upswept hairstyle and a ridiculously over-long cigarette holder, I could bag me a millionaire…

Anyway, Holly’s game-plan is thrown for a loop when she meets a man who’s not rich at all, but who in fact is more similar to her than she even knows. A gigolo-cum-aspiring-writer (believe me, gigolo pays better!), Paul Varjak could just be the man to shake up Holly’s rather limited and even tragic ideas about life, love and who just exactly she’s meant to be, under all the bright and brittle Sally-Bowles-from-CABARET- style manic prattle and ‘Oh darling, aren’t we simply having THE most tremendous fun all the time?’- type forced, even desperate gaiety and bravado.

Martin Balsam does a great job as Holly’s Hollywood agent O.J. Berman ‘Baby.’ He’s certainly a darned sight safer here than he is when he’s climbing the dark staircase in the Bates House as the marvellously-named Milton Arbogast, Private Investigator, in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror classic, PSYCHO.

God forgive me, but I absolutely love Mickey Rooney’s hilarious portrayal of Holly’s long-suffering upstairs neighbour, Mr. Yunioshi. Yes, it’s racist and offensive to Japanese people and probably to Asian people everywhere but he does it so well, goddammit.

The non-inclusion of an actual genuine Japanese actor in the film has been giving offence to Asian people since the film was released, and I heard that legendary actor Bruce Lee even walked out of a screening of the movie, he was so upset about the stereotyped and racist portrayal of Asian people.

I understand that the director regretted using a non-Japanese person in the role forever afterwards, while Mickey Rooney himself always maintained that he’d received nothing but praise and positive feedback, even from the Asian community, for his portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi. Well, you just never know how people will react to things, do you?

Henry Mancini and lyricist Johnny Mercer won the Oscar in 1961 for BEST ORIGINAL SONG for the wonderfully dreamy and sensually romantic MOON RIVER. Henry Mancini won the Oscar overall for BEST ORIGINAL SCORE too. Audrey Hepburn, while I suppose she’s no Beyoncé, does a lovely job nonetheless of singing the theme song with a loneliness and yearning in her voice that would bring a tear to a glass eye.

The phrase ‘BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S’ refers to Holly’s walk of shame along the Manhattan sidewalks as the sun is rising over that famous city. We see Audrey Hepburn, togged out in full evening dress in the early morning, alighting from a yellow cab and going to stand outside Tiffany’s with takeaway coffee and croissant in hand. She’s looking in the window of the store as if it’s the only place in the world that matters to her at that point in time. She’s completely lost in thoughts of Tiffany’s. It’s marvellous to witness.

She actually says the words ‘I’m crazy about Tiffany’s!’ in another clip. She’s more simply garbed in a plain white shirt and sleep mask on top of her head, kneeling in front of the fridge with charmingly sleep-tousled barnet to get out milk for the cat,  the ‘no-name slob’ with whom she so strongly identifies. What a glorious sight, and what man wouldn’t immediately want to whisk her off to Tiffany’s and lavish her with the most beautiful jewels imaginable…?

Speaking of which, the jewels themselves are so fabulous they almost defy description. I do believe I came no fewer than six or seven times during the film in my excitement at the sight of ’em, haha.

The final scene, with the cat and the lashing rain and everything, is superb. A splendid ending to a glossy and charming romantic comedy with a surprisingly dark side to it. Seriously guys, miss it at your peril…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

FRIDAY THE 13TH- 2009. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

friday-the-13th-2009-640x370

FRIDAY THE 13TH. (2009) BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY VICTOR MILLER. CO-PRODUCED BY MICHAEL BAY. DIRECTED BY MARCUS NISPEL.

STARRING JARED PADALECKI, AMANDA RIGHETTI, TRAVIS VAN WINKLE, DANIELLE PANABAKER, AARON YOO, DEREK MEARS AND NANA VISITOR.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This isn’t so much a re-make as a re-boot of the FRIDAY THE 13TH film series, which kicked off in 1980 with one of the best and most atmospheric slasher movies ever made. The bits at the end with Mrs. Voorhees in ’em still give me the creeps to this day.

This modern re-imagining is the twelfth instalment in the franchise and one of the most commercially successful, which must have been surprising to those uppity film critics who gave it negative reviews…! Though naturally it’s not a patch on the original movie, I liked this film version.

It’s not an exact re-telling of the original story but it has horny teens being horribly butchered in it, so what’s not to like? In actual fact, the story, which starts with a flashback to Mrs. Voorhees’ death by decapitation, takes place in the woods around the old site of Camp Crystal Lake.

The woods are still very much haunted by the ghost of Jason Voorhees many years after he drowned in the lake due to the negligence of camp counsellors who- you guessed it- were having sex instead of doing their job. Damned horny teens, always having sex…!

Anyway, in this instance we have a bunch of horny, weed-smoking teens coming to Jason’s woods for the primo weed they expect to find growing there. Jason does what Jason does best and gives ’em what for, then a few weeks later the brother of one of the missing-presumed-gruesomely-murdered girls turns up at Crystal Lake searching for his sister.

The brother, a handsome, strong-jawed type called Clay, finds an unexpected ally in Jenna, the pretty girlfriend of a real jerk-off called Trent, who’s invited a bunch of his friends (all horny teens) to his family’s summer cabin on the shores of Crystal Lake. Big mistake, boyo.

Jason obviously doesn’t like Trent and his awful druggie friends any more than we do because he lays into them with a bloody vengeance, and I do mean with a vengeance. Terrible things start to happen to the horny teens while they’re trying to smoke weed and have sex with other girls’ boyfriends (Bree, you dirty slut!) and just generally have a high old time, pun intended, on the shores of good old Crystal Lake.

I won’t describe any of the killings here because you deserve to see them for yourself but some of them are actually delightfully innovative and good gory fun to watch. Jason is a good boy, like his contemporary Michael Myers, and always shows his work.

The display he puts on around Crystal Lake of murdered teens is worthy of an A+, in my humble opinion, if not extra credit, and he most certainly should proceed to the next grade. I’ve now used up every fact I know about the American school system, so that’s the end of that train of thought, haha.

There are plenty of fake bare titties on show and a couple of hilarious sex scenes that are so obviously fake and lacking in sensuality that they wouldn’t turn on even the most sex-starved of individuals. They wouldn’t even arouse the limp wiener of The Man In The Iron Mask, and he’s spent, like, twenty or so years locked up with only rats and hairy turn-keys for company sexually.

That girl rubbing oil on dem big fake purdy titties to arouse her druggie boyfriend was so unsexy it actually made me laugh out loud, so at least it managed to achieve something, haha.

Those horror movie girls are like annoying clones of each other. All with long hair and denim cut-offs that show way too much butt-cheek for decency, all tanned and waxed to within an inch of their lives and always bitching about not getting any signal on their stupid cellphones.

Goddammit, bitches, can you not go two f***ing days without posting your every f***ing move on social media? No-one will die if you don’t post a picture of the goddamn salad you had for lunch on your Twitter or Facebook pages. Losers, heh-heh-heh.

I loved the scenes in Jason’s creepy, derelict old shack and his shrine to Mommie Dearest, my favourite female character in a horror movie ever, is just brilliant.

If you accept that no re-make, re-boot, re-imagining or re-anything-else will ever equal the original movies because they’re just that good, then you’ll enjoy this film for what it is: a good, solid (and stabby!) contribution to the franchise. And surely any extra helping of Jason Voorhees is better than no more extra helpings at all ever? ‘Nuff said.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

HALLOWEEN 4/HALLOWEEN 5: A GRISLY DUO OF SLASHER MOVIE REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS! ©

halloween-4HALLOWEEN 4 AND HALLOWEEN 5: A DOUBLE DOSE OF SLASHER-HORROR FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS. (1988) BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY JOHN CARPENTER AND DEBRA HILL.

DIRECTED BY DWIGHT H. LITTLE.

STARRING DONALD PLEASENCE, DANIELLE HARRIS, GEORGE P. WILBUR, BEAU STARR AND ELLIE CORNELL.

HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS. (1989) BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY JOHN CARPENTER AND DEBRA HILL.

DIRECTED BY DOMINIQUE OTHENIN-GIRARD.

STARRING DONALD PLEASENCE, DANIELLE HARRIS, ELLIE CORNELL, BEAU STARR, WENDY KAPLAN AND DON SHANKS.

Ooooooh, I do love a nice bit of HALLOWEEN at Halloween, or in fact on any night of the year. Pure undiluted slasher-horror cinema was surely born in the ‘Seventies and ‘Eighties, with marvellous franchises like this one and FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET kicking and screaming their way into our world through the tight but accommodating birth canal of VHS and Beta-Max, haha.

I’ve chosen to review these two films together because HALLOWEEN 5 is a direct continuation of its predecessor. You might remember that the superb horror series took a break from the silent but deadly serial murderer Michael Myers in HALLOWEEN 3 (an excellent horror film in its own right if you can stop bemoaning the absence of Mikey for five f***ing minutes…!), but Michael is back with a bang in instalments 4 and 5 and, trust me, he’s literally never been deadlier…

Michael escapes from state custody while he’s en route to another sanatorium and, as usual, where does he make a beeline for? Why, Haddonfield, Illinois, of course, the place where ten years ago he slaughtered a bunch of people, including family members, and created a role for himself (in perpetuity, mind you) as that town’s very own boogeyman.

As in: ‘If’n y’all don’t eat yo’ vegetables, Michael Myers gonna git y’all and carve y’all up into little pieces…!’ Or words to that effect, anyway. A killer who wears a white mask, never speaks a single solitary word but possesses the strength to kill other grown men with his bare hands in a variety of colourful and unusual ways is surely a mighty effective boogeyman, we must admit.

Anyway, this time Michael’s off to Haddonfield to kill his niece Jamie Lloyd, beautifully played by Danielle Harris. She’s the daughter of Michael’s (apparently) deceased sister Laurie Strode, aka the wonderful Jamie Lee Curtis from HALLOWEENs 1 and 2, making her Mikey’s niece.

And why does he want to kill his adorably pretty little niece? Well, for no reason other than that she’s family, and Michael always seems to make a point of murdering his kith-and-kin. Silly Michael. He just can’t seem to work out the connection between having a family and being happy. Still, if he could, he wouldn’t be our stabby boy, would he, the murderous little dickens…? Aw, bless his expressionless white mask and natty boiler suit. He’s our boy for sure.

There are certain things standing between the impassive-faced Michael and his goal. In HALLOWEEN 4, the pretty blonde Rachel Carruthers is Jamie’s doting new step-sister and she ain’t gonna let no non-talking, knife-wielding serial killer hurt her precious little sis.

Well, not unless that serial killer kills Rachel, that is, which would appear to be his aim, but Rachel and Jamie have the protection of the town sheriff and his slutty daughter Kelly, whose pert backside the sheriff should surely have paddled when he so nearly caught her making out with Rachel’s boyfriend Brady. If ever a young lady needed a good walloping, Kelly Meeker surely fits that bill…!

In HALLOWEEN 5, which by the way ends with a wicked twist, Jamie is protected by Rachel’s best friend Tina, a super-annoying young lady who actually shares a car journey with the masked serial killer without knowing it.

He’s wearing a really freaky borrowed Halloween mask and looks utterly terrifying but Tina just starts laying into him straightaway about ‘his’ (she thinks he’s her boyfriend Mike, aka ‘the Fonz…!’) supposed shortcomings as a significant other.

It’s actually really surprising that he doesn’t twist her curly, fluffy little head right off her shoulders for bitching at him non-stop about nothing. Dressed like Cyndi Lauper in the ‘GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN’ music video, she’s bubbly, full of life and chat and as irritating as a rash in your private area, but her heart’s in the right place. As long as Michael doesn’t get his gigantic paws on it, that is…

Dr. Loomis is in both films too, with the lovely cuddly old Donald Pleasence reprising his role as Michael’s psychiatrist from the earlier movies, the one man who realises possibly the full extent of Michael’s terrible capability for doing harm to people.

All burned in the face and hands from a previous confrontation with the Silent One, he bends over backwards to try to save the folks of Haddonfield, and in particular little Jamie, from another deadly encounter with Michael.

Of course, he meets with the usual resistance, scepticism and even incompetence along the way but, once the body count starts climbing, people suddenly all start singing from the same hymn-sheet…

Even so, the poor doc’s pretty battered and exhausted, and his lovely old trademark ‘COLUMBO-‘ style overcoat in shocking need of dry-cleaning, by the time the story rolls to a close in the very place where it began, the old Myers place which has gone to rack and ruin in a few short years. The town obviously didn’t take the best care of its very own murder-house…

The violence is extreme and frequent in both films and the character of Michael Myers has great fun killing people in ever-more gruesome and grisly ways. Both these movies are terrific fun and I wouldn’t consider them inferior to the earlier ones at all, although it would have been nice if Jamie Lee Curtis had been in them too, then we would have had a full complement of HALLOWEEN past pupils, as it were.

I’ll just end by boasting (I mean saying…!) that I saw John Carpenter and his band perform his famous movie soundtracks live in Dublin’s Vicar Street in October of this year. He was one sexy mutha, all dressed in black with his silver hair tied back in a ponytail, and when he played the theme tune to HALLOWEEN, the whole place went wild. Best night of my life so far. Long live HALLOWEEN, John Carpenter and Michael Myers, a magnificent triple threat by anyone’s standards.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

THE OMEN. (1976) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

damienTHE OMEN. (1976) DIRECTED BY RICHARD DONNER. WRITTEN BY DAVID SELTZER. MUSIC BY JERRY GOLDSMITH.

STARRING GREGORY PECK, LEE REMICK, BILLIE WHITELAW, DAVID WARNER, PATRICK TROUGHTON, HARVEY SPENCER STEPHENS, LEO MCKERN, JOHN STRIDE AND BRUCE BOA.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I’ve always thought that supernatural horror movie THE OMEN is one of the best films ever made in any genre, period, let alone just best horror. It’s superbly-made, scripted, casted and acted from start to finish, and I’ve always felt like there was this pervading sense of evil coming off of it that would seem to tie in exactly with the claims from the crew that one disaster after another befell them while they were making it.

‘It felt like someone- or something- didn’t want this film to be made,’ they said. Sometimes I think I believe them.

Gregory Peck (MOBY DICK, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL, etc.) plays Robert Thorn, the handsome and distinguished American Ambassador to England who does an extraordinarily foolish, if well-intentioned, thing.

When his wife Kathy gives birth to a stillborn child, in order to spare her pain and suffering, he allows himself to be talked into substituting a live baby boy for the one they’ve lost. This turns out to be a bigger ‘Oooopsie!’ than he could ever possibly have imagined in his worst nightmares.

And ‘nightmare’ is exactly the word for it. Their new son Damien is in fact the unholy spawn of Satan. Dontcha just hate it when that happens? Can’t even illegally adopt a child in a foreign flippin’ country without its turning out to be Beelzebub’s snotty brat. Well, you gets what you pays for, I always say…!

Seriously, though, as Damien grows older, his parents can’t help but notice that people have a tendency to die horrible deaths when their son is around. Patrick Troughton, a terrific Hammer actor whom I always particularly remember from THE SCARS OF DRACULA, plays the priest who desperately tries to impress upon the sceptical Ambassador that their son is, well, who he is, and that he must be stopped before he brings about the end of the world. Which, you’ll admit, would be hellishly inconvenient for all concerned, no pun intended.

The padre even gives Robert the name of a man who can possibly put a stop to the Satanic little tyke’s nonsense. It’s always handy when you can get the name of a man that will fix your problem. Funny noise coming from the engine, leaky radiators, slow and sluggish sperm, Napoleonic delusions, your son being the Antichrist. Robert will be glad of that name before too much more time has elapsed…

There are some truly horrific and memorable deaths in the film, and any number of scenes that could quite easily make it onto a 100 SCARIEST MOMENTS list. Without giving too much away (I hope!), here are my favourites:

The nanny at the birthday party, of course. The priest in the deserted churchyard in the middle of the strange and sudden gale-force wind. The dark and isolated graveyard in a foreign place with the dogs. Any scene with big black dogs in it, in fact. Mrs. Baylock’s last stand. I’m getting chills just thinking about these nerve-shredding scenes.

Billie Whitelaw is magnificent and terrifying as the nanny who comes out of nowhere to take care of wee Damien. She scares me so much in this, even more than she did when she played Mammy Kray to Ronnie and Reggie from SPANDAU BALLET in that marvellous crime biopic.

David Warner is superb also as Keith Jennings, the journalist who tries to help Robert figure out the exact origins of his God-forsaken nipper. You might recognise him from STRAW DOGS (1971), in which he did a tremendous job of playing mentally defective local sex offender Henry Niles.

There are a few other faces amongst the cast whom you might recognise. John Stride as Kathy’s psychiatrist was great in Roman Polanski’s MACBETH. RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY, aka Leo McKern, plays ‘the man on the Essex Road’ who can discover the source of the funny noise coming from under the bonnet of the Ambassador’s car.

That’s a bit of an obscure joke, referencing both comedienne Jo Brand and early ‘Noughties romantic comedy ABOUT A BOY starring Hugh Grant. I’ll leave it in though, just in case…!

Bruce Boa as one of the Ambassador’s aides is the American tourist who so rudely demands something called a ‘Waldorf salad’ from John Cleese’s Basil Fawlty in ever-popular British sitcom, FAWLTY TOWERS. I think it consisted of ‘walnuts, apples, celery, grapes in a mayonnaise sauce,’ which sounds kind of gross but, you know, whatever floats your boat.

And rest in peace, by the way, to poor Andrew Sachs who played Manuel the Spanish waiter in the show. His comic genius will never be forgotten. Now bring me my Waldorf salad before I whack you upside-the-head with my wife’s copy of Harold Robbins’ latest rubbishy offering…!

Now, back briefly to THE OMEN. It’s naturally won a ton of awards but my favourite of these is the Oscar for Jerry Goldsmith’s original song for the movie, AVE SATANI. It’s magnificent. And bone-chillingly frightening as well. The Latin chanting and the scary choral bits and the words which mean: ‘We drink the blood, we eat the flesh, raise the body of Satan…!’ F***ing hell. Literally…

The film spawned many great sequels, by the way, including one in which Damien is a girl(!) and the best one sees Sam Neill playing the grown-up Damien who has apparently developed a taste for backdoor shenanigans, otherwise known as anal sex. The dirty little dickens…!

I’ll finish by saying this. I believe in the Devil. Okay, so he may not have a pitchfork and a long tail and horns and eat at McDonalds but there must be some source of all the evil in the world, some reason for it. This film scares me more than any other horror movie because it could be real. Who are we to say it’s not? There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in (y)our philiosophy, after all.

And then there’s that pervading sense of evil that seems to emanate from it like a stinking miasma. Maybe it’s just my imagination working overtime. Maybe it’s the brilliant film-making involved. Who knows what it is? But it’s there, and to me it feels real. Make what you will of that, dear readers. Make what you will…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE: THE 1931 AND 1941 FILM VERSIONS REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS.

fredric-marchDR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE: THE 1931 AND 1941 VERSIONS REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS IN A DOUBLE BILL OF CLASSIC HORROR. © BOTH BASED ON THE 1886 NOVELLA BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE: A PARAMOUNT FILM. (1931) DIRECTED BY ROUBEN MAMOULIAN. STARRING FREDRIC MARCH, MIRIAM HOPKINS AND ROSE HOBAR.

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE: A METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER FILM. (1941) DIRECTED BY VICTOR FLEMING. STARRING SPENCER TRACY, INGRID BERGMAN AND LANA TURNER.

These two films are screen adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella, THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. The later one is a direct remake of the first one. Though I prefer the earlier version, they’re both superb. Do you know the story?

There’s this attractive, highly eligible and mild-mannered Victorian doctor/scientist, right, and he has these theories about human nature that you might be interested in. His ideas that the evil in man can be separated from the good and manifested corporeally certainly baffle, bemuse and bewilder his friends, his faithful retainers, his colleagues in the medical profession and his beautiful girlfriend and her stern, staunchly conventional and oh-so-Victorian papa.

But he barrels ahead with his experiments anyway, so convinced is he of the rightness of his ideas. Believe it or not, he comes up with a potion that actually turns him physically into his evil alter ego, a hideously-visaged scoundrel called Mr. Hyde in whom the vein of cruelty and nastiness go all the way to the core of his being.

His ugliness has to be seen to be believed. Fredric March’s transformation in the earlier film is so wonderfully dramatic and frightening that you’re actually left wondering how the hell they managed it, all those years ago. Spencer Tracy’s transformation is less dramatic but it’s still good and well-acted.

Bushy hair, wild bulging eyes and sticky-out teeth are the order of the day as the evil in both men is made manifest and the devil known as Mr. Hyde dons his top hat and cape and goes out on the town…

Both versions are utterly shocking in the sense that Mr. Hyde’s abuse of the woman he meets in the city’s underbelly is openly referred to, even if we only see a small part of it ourselves. In both films, Hyde sets up a beautiful woman of the lower classes in a flat.

He visits her here for the sole purpose of physically abusing her, mentally torturing and tormenting her and there are references to things the women cannot put into words, clearly indicating sexual domination and abuse as well.

Both women turn to Dr. Henry Jekyll, the doctor they hope can save them from the cruelties and vicious excesses of Hyde, each with horrific injuries incurred through the whipping of their bare flesh by Hyde. Both Miriam Hopkins in the 1931 film and Ingrid Bergman in the later film do a truly magnificent job of expressing the terror they feel at the thought of Hyde and his evil character.

The scene where both women are forced to sing, actually sing gaily in the midst of their fear, by the vicious Hyde is genuinely gut-wrenching. Their elation when they think they’ve seen the last of him is so sad because we the viewers have a pretty good idea what’s coming.

And check out the naughty scene in which a nudie Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner are whipped by Spencer Tracy in his evil turning-into-Mr.-Hyde fantasy! I can imagine that there isn’t a man alive today who wouldn’t want those two naked beauties pulling his chariot for him…

The scene is so risqué I’ve always marvelled at the fact that the censors of the day deemed it fit for public consumption. Both films, in fact, go so far in their depiction of Hyde’s wickedness that they each have a 12s rating and are almost equally shocking (the earlier one has the edge) in their portrayal of the relationships between the two terrified, abused women and their so-called ‘protector,’ who can flash the cash to beat the band but who is otherwise merely a demon in a fancy suit.

I think the 1931 film is the better version, though they’re both excellent. Both have foggy dark nights and gas-lamps, splendid sets and interiors and terrific character actors in abundance, but Fredric March, who actually won an Oscar for his performance, is nothing short of a powerhouse as he takes us with him on his dreadful journey to the dark side of the human psyche. There are some great shots from March’s point-of-view as well that really add to the drama and tension.

He’s so incredibly handsome too, looking every inch the silent movie dreamboat (yes, I know this isn’t a silent movie…!) with his perfect features, shadowed eyelids and lipsticked mouth. His transformation into the monster, as I’ve already remarked, is decidedly more startling than Spencer Tracy’s.

And, forgive me, but I’ve always thought Spencer Tracy to be a little wooden in his acting style. I don’t feel his pain and suffering as much as Fredric March’s, if you know what I mean.

A big shout-out too to Rose Hobar and Lana Turner as the saintly girlfriends in both films who are prepared to do absolutely everything for the dashingly handsome Harry Jekyll but ask him straight out what the f**k he thinks he’s playing at with his constant disappearances and mysterious shenanigans. They each allow him to dance frustratingly around the subject with veiled references and half-truths in a way that one hopes wouldn’t be acceptable to modern women…!

And the faithful retainers in both films are wonderful actors (Edgar Norton and Peter Godfrey) who do a top job of portraying undying loyalty to their respective beloved masters. Dr. Jekyll’s relationship with both butlers (each called Poole) is a key part of each film version.

I have both these films in a two-disc box-set and I enjoy watching ’em back-to-back. There’s nothing like a good monster movie to get the hairs standing up on the back of your neck. And if they stand up anywhere else as well, well, I’d call that a result, wouldn’t you…?

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor