October 4th – I enjoyed a few cups of coffee and watched Cat People (released in 1942).
Cat People is a Val Lewton production for RKO, and one of the things which separates these 40’s Val Lewton films from the rest of the B-movies of its time is the sleek lighting and quality cinematography. While this isn’t one of my personal favorites, the film features decent acting and an interesting subtext regarding the primitive subconscious and sexual desire.
Incidentally, Cat People was directed by Jacques Tourneur, whom I greatly admire for directing one of my favorite horror films of all time — Night of the Demon (1957).
October 5th – The Beyond (1981)
Directed by the legendary Italian filmmaker, Lucio Fulci!
While The Beyond features inconsistencies in its plot, it may be adequately argued that this was intentional. The film plays off of surreal qualities, making it a sort of nightmarish hallucination. There are many moments of shock in this film, the most cringe-inducing perhaps being the scene were a bunch of spiders gang up on a guy and feast upon his flesh (even going to the extreme of biting a chunk out of his tongue and destroying his left eyeball).
Like I said, cringe-inducing. Also cringe-worthy, unfortunately, is some of the awkward dialogue which take place among characters. However, this awkwardness is about par for b-flicks, isn’t it?
Note: there is much symbolism to be found about eyes in this film. It seems to suggest that evil can make us blind.
The ending of this film is fantastic because it reveals something greater, more cosmic, more expansive than the land of the living — hence, ‘The Beyond’.
October 6th – Zombie (1979, released as Zombi 2 in Italy as a sequel to Dawn of the Dead).
Zombie is the film which launched Lucio Fulci to cult stardom. It brings zombies back to their voodoo origins, yet retains their relatively contemporary flesh-eating nature. Now, I’ll take Romero’s Dawn of the Dead over Fulci’s Zombie any day, but one thing I’ll say about Zombie: The make-up on these zombies are highly original and unique, and far more provocative than the simplistic blue/purple faces of the zombies in Dawn of the Dead.
This flick has its share of bad acting and credulous dialogue, but remains very entertaining. The scene where a zombie battles a shark is fantastic — a scene, in fact, which was filmed without Fulci’s permission! I’m happy that it was.