Dario Argento’s horror film “Suspiria” is an immaculate production, one that almost commands you watch it with unbreaking attention. While many have argued it lacks a narrative and often times feels aimless, Argento vies more for a cinematic experience than something that relies heavily on narrative. “Suspiria” feels like one long fever dream, and Argento paints every scene like its being influenced by pure evil. While Suzy herself is being influenced by witches and witchcraft, the audience itself also seems to be pulled in to the same seat, watching every bit of setting being altered in to this realm.
In a small town, a hurricane causes mayhem and destruction. A father and his two sons attempt to outrun it in the family’s tow truck. As they become stuck, the father puts his sons in a house for safety. Before he can unstuck his truck, the hurricane closes in, a skull shape comes out of it before the truck disappears and the house starts tumbling. Now if this doesn’t sell you on seeing the film, the rest of the story takes place in present day during a heist at a federal reserve happening under the cover of a massive hurricane stronger than the one in the opening. Good guys and bad guys face off under this epic hurricane.
It’s surprising to see such a terrific horror debut from John Krasinski, a man who I’ve never been much of a fan of. “A Quiet Place” has just about converted me in to a fan, as he manages to deliver a very challenging genre film that relies a lot on the weight of the performances from the cast, rather than explosions, shocks, and cheap thrills. Krasinski’s horror film is poetic in its way and explores how sound means a lot in the medium of cinematic storytelling. Sound, music, it counts for almost everything and can either keep the audience baited for ninety minutes or lose them in the first five.
Back in the nineties, there was this strange movement to take pulp and serial heroes and revive them for a modern audience. Everything from Flash Gordon to Doc Samson were revived. Some of them, like “Zorro,” were big hits, while a lot of them surprisingly missed with audiences. I’ve always loved the pulp and serial heroes, but a lot of the box office and ratings for movies and television decided that they were best left in their era. One of the bigger movements was to place serial heroes in to the future. So, The Phantom was placed in to a futuristic setting, and Sherlock Holmes was brought back a la “The Demolition Man.”
It’s surprising how good “Nerve” is because it’s main centerpiece involves risky stunts that I worried would become the crutch for the film’s narrative. Instead it becomes a crucial element in helping to explore the characters that we’re introduced to during the course of the film. Feeling like a technological twist on David Fincher’s “The Game,” and while it has nothing new to say about the internet (everyone has phones! Everyone is always watching someone!), it still comes out a winner when the credits close.
After “Batman and Harley Quinn,” the cinematic adaptation of “Gotham By Gaslight” feels like a breath of fresh air. It brought me back to the time when Batman animation was mature and accessible, and we got entertainment like “Mask of the Phantasm” and “Return of the Joker.” Warner follows up with the aforementioned horrendous DC team up movie with what is a charming, creepy, and wholly creative twist on the Jack the Ripper legend that ponders on what would have happened if he and Batman were foes during the time he wrought havoc in the 1880’s.
BOOTLEG FILES 630: “An Inspector Calls” (1954 British drama starring Alastair Sim).
LAST SEEN: On the Internet Archive.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It has been commercially unavailable for years in the United States.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There is a U.K. DVD version, but no U.S. version yet.
In the aftermath of World War II, British writer J.B. Priestley put forth the play “An Inspector Calls,” which offered an interesting mix of drawing room mystery and socialist agitation against his nation’s suffocating class system. The play was first performed in the Soviet Union in 1945 and later had its London premiere in 1946 starring Ralph Richardson as the eponymous investigator. The Broadway premiere occurred in 1947 with Thomas Mitchell as the inspector. “An Inspector Calls” also turned up on British television in 1948 and in radio adaptations in 1950 and 1953.