Of course we’re going to open today’s roundup with today’s batch of Horrors! And of course, listing will figure into it—but today’s list is Slant‘s “100 Greatest Horror Films of All Time”—a list that actually goes to 200—so you know the capsule reviews of the top 80 will make for great Halloween reading; as of this writing, the top 20 won’t be posted until tomorrow, but still.
There’s a 40th anniversary Blu-ray edition of William Friedkin‘s The Exorcist out and, writing for Film International, Will Dodson finds that “the new footage significantly deepens the film’s misogyny. Though that misogyny was already front and center in the original cut, the new footage gives a much more comprehensive view of the film’s politics, and its particular take on patriarchal hegemony.”
“Describing what makes a film scary is a bit like explaining a joke,” writes Calum Marsh at Film.com. “So in lieu of proposing an all-time scariest movie, let me change the parameters of the question slightly. In 1971, experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage made The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes, a 40 minute silent documentary shot in a Pittsburgh morgue. The film is composed of nothing more than autopsy footage, captured candidly and graphically, and it has become almost a cliche to observe that, once you have seen it, its images cannot be forgotten.” This is “a film of pure physicality: it is the physical divorced from the cerebral and the spiritual. It is corporeal cinema. Anatomical cinema. If ‘body horror’ were not already a genre it would need to be invented to account for this.”
“Let’s get right to it: The Visitor is outright bananas.” That’s Brandon Schaefer, also at Film.com, introducing his conversation with fellow designer Jay Shaw, whose poster for what Drafthouse Films is calling “the sci-fi horror epic that 1979 couldn’t handle” is out this week to accompany the re-release. As Schaefer explains, The Visitor follows “an agent of Space Jesus through the cosmos to battle the eight year old descendant of the evil Sateen on Earth.” Then there’s the cast: John Huston, Shelley Winters, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen, Franco Nero, Sam Peckinpah…
“The Craft hit theaters in May 1996, summer blockbuster season,” writes Fiona Duncan for the New Inquiry. “It was like many Hollywood youth movies of its time, the last teenage fin-de-siècle, only this one starred girl weirdos: sluts, cutters, orphans, white trash, and other marked bodies—a burn victim, a black girl. The Craft was a makeover movie, but more than the new-look montages, its makeover was spiritual…. An oral history of The Craft compels me because I’ve heard it already—in the whispers, Ouija magic, and love spells of inspired sleepovers.” Duncan has “emailed, tweeted, and status-updated my way into the memories of friends and friends of friends. Seventeen years after its release, The Craft is coming of age. Here is its herstory.”
Listening (70’07”). John Coulthart‘s put together a Halloween playlist.
“I am a mutant—the only one that has inspired me is the immense black toad that lives in my soul.” Erik Morse has a good long talk with Alejandro Jodorowsky. Also in the new issue of frieze, Bert Rebhandl explores the ways the Edward Snowden story has echoed Hollywood blockbusters.
Via Filmmaker IQ
The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody revisits the films of Norman Mailer, and in particular, of course, the famous fight the novelist got into with Rip Torn in Maidstone (1968): “With it, the movie is a literal event, one that seems like a horrible but essential lesson in the essence of documentary and improvisation—namely the first take is necessarily the last, for good, and anything short of death is just a movie.”
Scott Jacobson in the Los Angeles Review of Books on Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell’s The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever: “Sestero might be less Boswell to [Tommy] Wiseau’s Johnson than a reluctant Jesse Pinkman tied to a self-destructive but undeniably profitable Walter White. But that doesn’t matter. Watching The Room you wonder, over and over again, ‘Why the hell did he do it that way?’ The Disaster Artist doesn’t tell us, but that’s as it should be; half the fun is in wondering.”
New York. “An exotic and elegant meta movie, Golden Slumbers shores the fragments of a ruined cinema,” writes J. Hoberman for Artinfo, “namely the 400 or so films made in Cambodia between 1960, when an indigenous movie industry was inspired by king and sometime filmmaker Norodom Sihanouk, and 1975, when that industry was destroyed in the Khmer Rouge bloodbath that murdered over a million people.” More from Nicolas Rapold in the Times. Through November 6 at Anthology.
On Saturday, the Museum of the Moving Image will screen Julian Schnabel’s Lou Reed’s Berlin (2007).
Toronto. “Part of what David Cronenberg: Evolution—TIFF’s new gallery/museum show dedicated to the filmmaker, their best exhibition yet by many, many measures—illustrates so clearly is that Cronenberg’s preoccupations have always been the same,” writes John Semley for NOW. “From 1969’s Stereo through to last year’s Cosmopolis, he has been absorbed by the intersections of technology and the human body, and the corresponding questions of what the hell it even means to be a person with a body in the first place.” And Twitch has photos of Cronenberg touring the exhibition.
Oslo. “Apichatpong Weerasethakul has jazzed up the website for Kick the Machine, his production company,” notes Adam Cook in the Notebook. And the filmmaker’s exhibition Photophobia is on view at the Office for Transnational Arts Production through December 15.
IN THE WORKS
DreamWorks “has acquired the rights to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s upcoming book The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, which is set for publication Nov. 5,” reports Amy Kaufman for the Los Angeles Times. Goodwin, of course, is also the author of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, one of the sources of Tony Kushner’s screenplay for DreamWorks co-founder Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.
“Producer Scott Rudin has picked up the rights to City on Fire, a 900-page novel by Garth Risk Hallberg that doesn’t even have a publishing deal yet.” Borys Kit in the Hollywood Reporter: “Not much is known about Fire, but it tells of life in New York City in the days leading up to the great blackout of July 1977.”
Susanne Bier will direct Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones) in A Second Chance, reports Jorn Rossing Jensen for Cineuropa.