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Archive for September 20th, 2010

(Roger Corman, 1964)

(essay by Robert)

I am always surprised about how many people I talk to who are not familiar with Corman’s Masque of the Red Death.  Perhaps it is because it was mashed between so many other Edgar Allen Poe adaptations staring Vincent Price.  Masque was actually the 7th of 8 Poe inspired films that Corman directed (all but one starred Price) working closely with writer Richard Matheson.  Notably, it is actually a mashing of 2 Poe stories: Masque and Hop Frog.  To me, Masque of the Red Death stands alone as the truly inspired piece from this series and a fantastic example of mise-en-scene prowess.

Time after time, Corman delivers brilliance on-screen.  His interpretation of the “seven rooms” is spot-on and the multiple extravagant ballroom scenes glimmer with endless color and movement. The wow-moment of the film is when Prospero comes face to face with the true Red Death after his guests are wiped by one sweeping pan through the room. Far and away however, the unmistakable star(s) of the show are the all-powerful death figures.  The Red Death, of course, gets the most screen time but Corman hits you with everything when he gathers all the reapers in the forest to discuss their most recent escapades.  In a stunning final shot, All the “deaths” including Black, Red, White and Yellow compare their most recent conquests.  Fascinatingly, instead of bragging about the number of lives they have claimed, they are proud of the select few that they let live.

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"My Dog Tulip" a poetic and witty account of a dog's 14 year life, playing at the Film Forum

by Sam Juliano

Autumn 2010 will become a reality this week as magnificent weather has descended on the Northeast, while the death throws of summer have been evidenced by plummeting night time temperatures.    Meanwhile, both NFL and Major League baseball fans are in their glory, and movie lovers are expecting the year’s most profound features to release in the upcoming months.  Halloween superstores everywhere are bracing for a frenzy of business over the coming weeks, and pumpkin picking and hay rides will soon be all the rage in suburbia.

At Wonders in the Dark a quartet of passionate writers have been posting the one-film-a-day horror countdown to some inspired discussion on the respective threads, and as is the case with this kind of expertise the choices have been diverse, esoteric and controversial.  Jamie Uhler, Troy and Kevin Olson and Robert Taylor have collaborated on a project that will offer many some invaluable reference data for years to come, while simultaneously investing some of their most eloquent writing to date.  Allan Fish’s relentless coverage of essential Japanese cinema, Jim Clark’s brilliant essay on Budd Boetticher, Joel Bocko’s scholarly review in his seminal ‘Best of the 21st Century’ series on Sembene’s Moolaade, and Bob Clark’s superlative submission to the David Cronenberg blogothon have all appeared at the site over the past week

I watched the following this week, all with Lucille and some with young Sammy.  The Sunday evening feature was seen as well by WitD colleague and friend Phillip Johnston, who was in the Big Apple this week for business:

The Town  ** 1/2  (Friday evening)  Edgewater National Amusements

My Dog Tulip  **** 1/2 (Saturday evening)  Film Forum

The Kings of Pastry  **  (Saturday evening)  Film Forum

Mon Oncle *****   (Thursday evening)   Film Forum

On the Bowery  **    (Sunday evening)  Film Forum

Early Spring  *** 1/2  (Sunday afternoon)  IFC Film Center (more…)

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