Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Boy and His Dog

Director: L.Q. Jones Year of Release: 1975 Running Time: 91 min

A numskull human teenager and his telepathic, intelligent canine companion brave the post nuclear holocaust wasteland in this quirky, black humored science fiction tale . The two share a telepathic bond with each other and their relationship is one of necessity; the dog helps the male locate women while the boy, in turn plays the hunter/gather role, finding food and water for the pair. However their relationship and lives are put in jeopardy when a mysterious young women, whom the boy becomes infatuated with, joins them on their travels.

A Boy and His Dog has held up well over the years, the limited budget was put to good use; the bizarre nuked out world our protagonists inhabit is convincing and the sporadic outbursts of violent action are still rousing. Above all its the clever writing and solid acting(particularly of the dog) that make this film so compelling. A Boy and His Dog is a well made, original and thought provoking piece of sci-fi and there is nothing else really quite like it. Defiantly worth tracking down.

Rating: 4/5

With this film quite a few different dvd editions exist, some out of print, some not.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fellini Satyricon

Directed by:Federico Fellini Year of Release: 1969 Running Time: 128 minutes.

Adapted from the written work, Satyricon is Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini's exploration and personal visualization of the depravity and hedonism that was pagan Ancient Rome. The film condenses the source material into episodes which are loosely tied together by two men who each rival for the affections of a young boy. Thus begins a hallucinatory journey that starts in the crampt bowels of Rome and progresses through the many facets of Ancient roman society. Our protagonists seem less like characters than they do travel guides, taking the audience through the strange and nightmarish land where we meet the cruel, indulgent aristocracy, slave traders, a hermaphrodite goddess and a ritualistic matriarchal society with many other surreal stops along the way. Satyricon is one of the last great old fashioned, exquisite period pieces that combined with the unabashedly self-indulgent filmmaking pretty much died off after the 70's. Fellini's visual prowess is on full display in Satyricon, with lavish art/set design and stunning, unforgettable set pieces creating a cinematic netherworld that is by turns grotesque, violent, profane, erotic and beautiful. Fellini's film is also by turns muddled, frusterating, overtly self indulgent and sometimes frankly, boring. Dont let these flaws discourage you though because Fellini's often brillant jouney through his countrys infamous past is still a trip well worth taking, save for the faint of heart.

The DVD is currently avaliable from MGM's World Film collection

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Directed by Dario Argento, 1977 , Running time:97 minutes.

Suspiria is Italian horror Maestro Dario Argento's masterpiece, and is regarded as one, if not the best Gallio films. Suspiria is the first film in Argento's "Three Mother's Trilogy", which tell the tales of three powerful, ancient witches who reek havoc and death on the modern world. The story involves an American ballet dancer who transfers to a prestigious dance academy located in the remote, densely wooded wilderness of rural Germany. She immediately senses something sinister within the mysterious academy, her feeling of dread is only escalated by the student's bizarre behavior and string of horrific, grisly murders. In slowly uncovering the dark, occult past of the academy and it's owner, the girl begins a terrifying descent into the demonic bowels of the academy to confront the evil lurking there.

Suspiria is one of the most aesthetically stunning films I have ever experienced, Argento's brilliant use of color and lighting make the movie look like a grim brother's fairy tale brought to life, a masterful sequence near the beginning of the film captures this perfectly, showing the heroine arriving at the airport and getting into a cab to take her to the academy. This is shot normally with bland everyday colors and lighting, but as the cab enters the deep woods near the academy, the the whole film's aesthetic and visual palate slowly begins to change, it feels like she is Alice going down the rabbit hole as her surroundings become nightmarish and strange things appear out of the corner of her eye. Add too this the deft editing and cinematography, not to mention the iconic, haunting soundtrack by Goblin and you are left with one of the most vivid nightmares captured on camera. Dario Argento has always been famous(or infamous) among hardcore horror and gorehound film goers for his sensational, incredibly gruesome death scenes. Suspiria features some of his best work in this regard, there are three elaborate set pieces in particular that are simply jaw dropping, unforgettable and genuinely freighting.
From the gangbusters opening scene to the surreal, nightmarish climax, Suspiria is a truly terrifying classic, it's is a shame so many people haven't experienced this movie, it is one of the best horror films ever made.

The DVD exists in a rare, out of print Anchor Bay addition and easier to find, high quality 2-disk set from the wonderful folks at Blue Underground.