Double Feature: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

Posted: August 25, 2009 in Uncategorized
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If there’s one thing I love more than reading, it’s movies. I find nothing more appealing than being transported off to a far off land, seeing things that could only come from a fertile imagination. Whether it’s considered a classic like “Citizen Kane” or down the rungs of the ladder like “Tromeo and Juliet”, if it keeps my interest, elicits a response from me-even if it’s disgust-I’m a happy man. I’m certainly no film snob, that’s for sure, enjoying almost anything well written, intelligent, or at the very least not taking itself so seriously.

With that said, I watched “The Changeling” last night; the 1980 haunted house pic starring George C. Scott giving one of his patented great performances. Scott plays composer John Russell, who after losing his wife and daughter in a tragic accident, rents an insanely huge house to compose not only new music, but to compose his life into something making sense as well. Writers Russell Hunter and William Gray manage to avoid most of the pitfalls of the haunted house genre. Their characters are intelligent, well written, and above all believable (well mostly). When a character does something, not only is it in keeping in character, but it makes sense; I can imagine myself behaving the way most of the characters do, as opposed to say, the dimwits of “Amityville Horror”.  It’s a straightfoward story, that relies solely on atmosphere to tell its story. There’s a deliberateness to it that many of today’s viewers would probably find boring. There are no fast cuts, hand held, pass the bucket I’m going to throw up, camera moves, and no useless jump scares. I haven’t seen “The Changeling” in a dozen years or more, and the fact it works so well, and to my mind, towers over Kubrick’s “The Shining” (which was released the same year) is testament to its absolute brilliance. Is it perfect, no. Without wanting to give anything away, there is one character who seems a bit one dimensional, and almost a stock villain, but even then, you go along for the ride. “The Changeling” is without a doubt, one of the best haunted house movies ever, and certainly my favorite.

From the sublime, we go to the ridiculous: Troma Films “Poultrygeist”.  and really, that’s all you need to know. It’s a Troma movie. Expect lots of nudity, lesbianism, gore, enough offensive jokes to send the politically correct into seizures, and song.

Yes, I said song, as “Poultrygeist” is also a musical. While I’m sure Lloyd Kauffman would bristle if he read this, you don’t go to a Troma movie for plot. you go for everything I mentioned above (except maybe for the lesbianism). The story is simply the canvas for the Troma team to splash copious amounts of blood, guts, shit, jism, organs and zombie chickens. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to think of any other Troma film that has this much grue onscreen. With some pretty clever killings, lots of raunchy, scatalogical humor, “Poultrygeist” proves to be the best Troma film to date.

Just don’t eat any of their chicken.

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Comments
  1. MARIO says:

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