With the Umbrella Academy making waves on Netflix and Marvel getting the ball rolling on “X-Men,” DC and Warner get a jump on the formula with their adaptations of “Doom Patrol.” Although the series is now widely acclaimed and mostly celebrated by comic book fans alike, “Doom Patrol” brings with it a huge legacy. It’s widely and arguably considered the precursor to Marvel’s “X-Men” and many fans argue that Marvel outright stole the premise from right under DC Comics. The elements are all mostly the same right down to a massive mansion housing these various super beings.
2020’s been a rough year for the arts in general as while COVID-19 pandemic has forced many films to be delayed, postponed, and or cancelled, and film festivals have been cancelled or delayed, we’ve also lost some excellent artists. Among many of the gut wrenching losses is Stuart Gordon. One of the most widely celebrated and appreciated horror masters, Gordon was a wiz conjuring the spirit of HP Lovecraft to horror cinema, and introducing him to a generation aspiring filmmakers.
Passing away at 72, Gordon will be very sorely missed by horror fans far and wide, but we can at least take solace in the fact that he’ll live forever in his cinematic masterpieces, work behind the camera, and his impression on men and women in the industry.
May he rest in peace.
In his honor, here are five Stuart Gordon films I particularly loved, and five I hope to continue re-watching well in to my old age.
Once in a while, the stars align and the moon shines bright enough to where a bonafide cult classic of horror cinema is born. Out of the absolute depths abysmal cinema comes one of the most laughable and painfully awful horror movies of the year. From rock icon Glenn Danzig, no less, comes his directorial debut, a live action adaptation of his comic book series “Verotik,” a title that mixes erotica and violence in to one monster. That wouldn’t be such a bad idea for an anthology. But someone forgot to tell Danzig that if you want to direct a movie, you probably should know how to operate a camera, first.
A New York City detective goes to Europe to identify his daughter’s body and ends up involved in the investigation. As the search for the killer advances, he meets a journalist ready to help and makes peace with some of his feelings.
As a hardcore fan of “The Big Lebowski” I felt it was my duty to check out “The Jesus Rolls,” one of the most inexplicable movies of 2020 so far. For fans of the original 1998 Coen Brothers masterpiece, Jesus Quintana is a familiar name, an adversary of The Dude who is also a very small supporting player in “The Big Lebowski.” For reasons never quite clarified (or even justified), John Turturro who portrayed Jesus, brings the character back for a pseudo-sequel that is kind of a follow up to “The Big Lebowski,” but not quite. It’s a surprisingly saccharine and dramatic film and a pretty dull one at that.
The newest edition from Shout Factory of Universal Horror Collection is really more of four films with mixed genres, and folks looking for strictly horror might be a tad disappointed. It does, in all fairness, feature horror icons like Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Vincent Price (and so many more). However for collectors looking to complete the library being released from Scream Factory, as they continue chronicling a lot of the more obscure and notable Universal horror films, this is right up your alley. It’s light in the supplemental material, but here’s hoping the impending volume four gives us a bit more meat to chew on.
In 2000, Syfy (then known as Sci Fi Channel) was undergoing a transition in programming that included the introduction of “original programming.” Among these new shows was “The Invisible Man,” a series that mixed classic HG Wells’ science fiction classic, with comedy, drama, crime, science fiction, fantasy, and some good old fashioned espionage and heist antics. The story followed Darien Fawkes (Vincent Ventresca), an inept cat burglar who accidentally murders the owner of a condo attempting to steal some jewels. He’s caught by authorities and given life in prison with only one way out: he can go free if he promises to sign up for a clandestine government program by a mysterious government benefactor.
He agrees to the stipulation and is injected with an experimental formula known as “Quicksilver.”
After countless attempts to redo their stable of movie monsters for a modern generation, “The Invisible Man” signals that Universal Studios is finally on the right track. Not only do they manage to remold the classic horror movie for a modern generation, but they inject it with immense tension, so many plot twists and a socially relevant message about spousal abuse and the long lasting effects it can have on the victims. Suffice to say, Leigh Whannell’s “The Invisible Man” is a masterpiece of the sub-genre.