100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Monday, August 30, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Thirty-Eight - "Shadow of the Vampire!"


Yeah, another late 'un this Monday folkies, and that just couldn't be helped. I was busy writing dumb stories about stupid things that no asshole is ever gonna read. AND I GET PAID TO DO IT! So I ain't really complainin'.

So I watched "Kick-Ass" TWICE yesterday. I know this is a horror movie blog but you should still see this flick. It is just undescribably deliciously good. As far as superhero/comic book adaptations go, this may be my all time favorite so far (except for "The Crow," which itself walks the line between horror movie and comic book adaptation).

And on to today's flick, another film that walks a line - this time between horror movie and period drama. But "Shadow of the Vampire" is disturbing, nonetheless. Check The Skinny-ism below, people-isms!

Shadow of the Vampire (2000): Directed by Elias Merhige. Starring John Malkovitch, Willem Dafoe, Cary Elwes, Eddie Izzard, Catherine McCormack, Udo Kier and John Aden Gillet.

The Skinny: More of a meditation on making a horror film than a horror film itself, "Shadow of the Vampire" follows ambitious 1920's German film director F. W. Murnow as he travels to Slovakia to film his masterpiece, "Nosferatu." The key to his film, however, is the performance of the eponymous vampire by Max Schreck, who is either a real vampire or is taking this acting shit way too seriously. Based on the filming of the original "Nosferatu," released in 1922.

What's Good: Once again, we have a film in our midst with an Oscar nod - for the mind-shattering performance of Wilem Defoe as Max Schreck/Nosferatu. First appearing as Schreck "in character" as Nosferatu and never letting the (alleged) ruse drop, Defoe's Schreck teeters between blood-sucking fiend and an asshole who won't relax when the camera is off. And when the director slips in the occasional frame from the original "Nosferatu," I dare you to tell me the difference between the original Schreck and Defoe. Go on, I dare you! Can't do it, can you? I thought not. This is really a serious and ambitious film that creates both a unique vampire story and a story about two men who will go to any lengths to achieve their goals - Murnow and Schreck. The rest of the cast is picture perfect, including Cary "Farmboy" Elwes and the always cool Udo Kier. And check Eddie Izzard out, acting his comic ass off! It's an enjoyable film that has some truly disconcerting moments in it, lensed in both moody sepia-tinged color and in grainy black and white for the "movie within a movie" scenes.

What's Bad: I have no complaints about this film whatsoever. It's a modern classic and everyone should check it out, if only to howl as Defoe chews the scenery to pieces with his big fake vampire choppers. TA TA TOOTHIO!

Why We Like it: Because it's excellent: the cinematography, the eerie score, the razor-sharp performances - it's absolutely amazing. Truth be told, though - it's Defoe's performance that keeps me coming back every time. I hush the room whenever he's onscreen so I don't miss a single gem of dialogue (plus, in true horror movie fashion, he's used very sparingly until the very end). And as to whether or not he actually is a vampire ... I leave that up to you, gentle viewers. Because the film enters some kind of opium-induced fever dream in its final reel and fantasy and reality cease to be separate entities. Have an absinthe and some laudanum and enjoy!

Memorable Stuff: There are many great scenes in this film and scads of awesome dialogue that I wish I could just rattle off. But the best part is where the producer is grilling Schreck on his "vampirism," and the actor - after telling him he cannot remember becoming one of the undead - snatches a bat out of the air and drinks its blood. The stunning look of horror on the producer's face, and his strained response ("the German theatre NEEDS people like you, Schreck!") is worth the cost of 50 tickets.