If you’re going to watch “Species” for any reason, you have to see it for Natasha Henstridge. Surely, the cast is dynamic with the likes of Michael Madsen, Forrest Whitaker, and Ben Kingsley respectively, but Henstridge is a pretty great scene stealer rivaled only by Marg Helgenberger. I vividly recall “Species” grabbing a ton of attention back in 1995 mainly for the fact that “Species” was such a unique and erotic bit of horror and science fiction, and for the most part, it’s an okay movie. But what saves it is Henstridge and the great effects.
It’s Peter Weller vs. clunky allegory in George P. Cosmatos’ “Of Unknown Origin,” a veritable contemporary take on “Moby Dick” that pits man against nature in an urban setting and sea of bricks and mortars. “Of Unknown Origin” quite obviously fancies itself a wink wink nudge at the famous novel, that Weller’s character Bart even threatens the film’s beast with in his hand while pounding on a ceiling. In “Of Unknown Origin,” the world is a rat race and Peter Weller’s character Bart is so anxious to claw his way to the top of his corporation that he’ll even sacrifice a weekend with a young, taut Shannon Tweed (her first role) so he can get ahead.
Corealie Fargeat’s “Revenge” is kind a new chapter in the rape revenge sub-genre of thrillers and horror films. It deconstructs an often very controversial and polarizing sub-genre to make it less about the exploitation of women and more about the empowerment of a woman who even views herself as a sex object when we meet her. “Revenge” is a grueling film to endure, but one that is also quite fantastic in its imagery and depiction of men as less cunning sexual predators and more slimy snakes that prey on a woman who proves she is a pure force of vengeance to be reckoned with.
After almost twenty years not making horror movies, fans were excited to see Sam Raimi getting back in to the genre that introduced him to us originally. While we might have wanted another “Evil Dead” rather than a PG-13 horror film, with Raimi you never get just a PG-13 horror film, after all. After many years of working on the big budget spectacles of the “Spider-Man” movies, Raimi blasts in to the horror world once again to deliver what has been a very thoroughly analyzed and appreciated little gem. Leave it to Raimi to throw in a smaller film that packs a punch over time.
Derek is a man who can do big things for big people, and one night he meets with a politician who wants to become the next president. With a lot of money at hand, Derek begins fixing operations for Derek and investigating his rivals. The only catch this time is that Derek has his son Damon alongside him and is showing him the business of getting to know people, and not trusting anyone. Zachary Halfter’s “Solutions” is a fine movie that mixes “Roger Dodger” with “The Sting” in that it’s about a teacher imparting some tough lessons on an apprentice.
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.
Although George Romero wasn’t as particular or gung ho with his filmmaking as Stanley Kubrick was, you can’t really sit through “Night of the Living Dead” without feeling like everything is so deliberate. Like what is the significance of Barbara looking through the music box? Why did Johnny approach Barbara with his gloves on? And why did Romero blatantly film one of the dead with its eyes moving? Was it was considerably faint attempt to humanize the monsters that we’d see be hit with fire and shot to death throughout the film? Or was it his reminder that through and through these were once people with human impulses and their urges for human flesh are still a part of some human impulse? “Night of the Living Dead” is so nightmarish and intricate that I love picking it apart every single time I’ve seen it and it leaves me stunned every single time.