Saturday 8 September 2018

The Bloodstained Bulletin No.2

Oh yes it's back! For all those who thought my attempt at a newsletter / column / general roundup of what I've been watching but not reviewing formally would end after issue one here's the second. Last time I left the shit shed section till the end but I've just been to the cinema and right now I can think of no better candidate to be exiled to...

The Shit Shed - This Time On the Big Screen!

Brace yourselves for:

The Nun

        Because Bless My Soul, Jesus Christ and Hail Mary, this one's really not very good at all, and not even a real EuroGothic feel evinced during the opening twenty minutes can save it. There are some great locations, gothic sets, and a pinch of Fulci. But the screenplay is truly awful. In fact watching the movie had me wondering what the final script meeting must have been like...

A great shot that does not a great film make, sadly
Producer: Have you finished the script yet?
Writer (handing it over): Yes, here it is.
A Pause
Producer: But this is five pages long!
Writer: Yes, sorry about that.
Producer: But I specifically told you it should be no longer than four pages. What am I supposed to do now? (Looks through the document). Okay, well, we can lose any reference to who The Nun actually is, how they came to be like that and what they actually want. We'll just tell the director to make her appear out of shadow a lot, leer and then bellow like an unhappy cow to make everyone jump. Lots of times.
Writer (scribbling): How many times?
Producer: Five times. No, six. Now, this priest here, the one who's sent to investigate the suicide of the nun at the beginning...
Writer: Oh yes, the expert in supernatural matters who has done exorcisms and is the most supremely qualified for the job due to his vast experience?
Producer: Yes that's right, him. The moment he encounters anything vaguely scary of a supernatural sort he needs to scream and wave his arms about like a terrified child so audiences can relate to him.
Writer: But he's the expert.
Producer: Yes, but the expert in one of these films, which means he must act as if he has never encountered anything so scary before, even if it's terribly minor and inconsequential.
Writer (crossing stuff out): Well now we're down to three pages.
Producer: Shit. Ok. We've got a nun in it, haven't we?
Writer: Oh yes. That is what the film's called, after all.
Producer: Not THAT nun! I mean the other one, the novice one, the one the kids will relate to. She hasn't taken her orders yet, has she?
Writer: That's an important plot point.
Producer: Exactly! So let's get every character, including the nun herself, to repeat that at intervals throughout the film. Maybe we'll be able to shift some DVDs because people will want to use it in a drinking game.
Writer: Ok (scribbles). Back up to five.
Producer: Damn. Oh, wait. What about this slightly random subplot about children killing themselves in the village?
Writer (nodding with misjudged pride): Ah, the tavern scene.
Producer: Yes let's just cut it there, shall we? No-one's going to be interested in that subplot or where it goes so let's just leave it hanging. No-one will notice. Is that everything?
Writer: Yes I think so. Hey, writing these films is easy! Nothing like Stephen Volk said it would be.
Producer: Good stuff. Ok, I'm off to the set now with my air horn that I'm going to blow every five minutes to help the director know when he has to insert a jump scare.

Happy Nuns - they haven't seen this film, then

Yes THE NUN isn't very good at all. An hour in and I had no idea what was going on. Eighty minutes in and I glanced with relief at my watch knowing it would all soon be over. I still don't know exactly what the title character was supposed to be up to or doing, or why it was conveniently kept in that one cupboard in the convent. And that lead priest role is awful and thankless. If THE NUN had been made in 1975 Paul Naschy would have played the lead, kicked the crew up the backside, slept with all the sexy nun actresses onscreen, sorted out the monster and probably turned into a werewolf while he was doing it. And now I want to see that picture instead of THE NUN. To be honest I want to see anything other than THE NUN. Fortunately this is also on release:

Other Much Better Films On At The Cinema

The Domestics

        Getting a limited showing of once a day at selected cinemas around the country, this marvellously violent post-apocalypse movie is worth catching if you can. It was filmed in Louisiana but feels more like an early 1980s Ozsploitation picture. 
There's been an apocalypse caused by poison gas. Those who have survived now all live in factions. Normal people are called Domestics and have to fend off the attacks of the various gangs that have formed. The plot details the attempt of Mark West (Tyler Hoechlin) and his wife Nina (Kate Bosworth) to travel across country to visit Nina's parents, who have stopped communicating by CB radio. 

Feeling a lot like a Brian Trenchard-Smith movie (DEAD END DRIVE-IN, TURKEY SHOOT) the script is a delight,  constantly and consistently wrong footing you. There's a fantastic performance from the ever-reliable Lance Reddick & I've just spotted that THE DOMESTICS has a well-deserved 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's the trailer that sold us here at HMC on going to see it:

And if some dystopian ultraviolence doesn't float your boat, then there's this:


        Continuing producer Timur Bekmambetov's fascinating and pretty much unique ongoing project to use modern social media, computer screens, etc as narrative cinematic devices. (The only other example I can think of is dear old Nacho Vigalondo's pretty decent OPEN WINDOWS from 2014). Mr Bekmambetov was also responsible for the UNFRIENDED movies as well as first person shooter movie HARDCORE HENRY and he has horror UNFOLLOWED and romantic comedy LIKED on the way. 
John Cho is David Kim who, after the death of his wife from lymphoma, has had to raise his daughter Margot (Michelle La) on his own. When she fails to return from a study date, he discovers his daughter has been living a whole other existence he never knew about. 
Best seen knowing nothing else about it, SEARCHING is still in cinemas at the moment but it's likely to vanish soon, just like Margot Kim, but hopefully it won't be as difficult to locate again.

And that's it for now! I promise Compost Corner will return if there's ever a Bloodstained Bulletin No.3. Until the next time, though, and with all the talk on social media of That SUSPIRIA Remake, here's a little clip that raised many a smile at Frightfest recently: 

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