Sunday, October 2, 2011

31 Days Of Horror... kinda

In an effort to get myself writing more I'm gonna jump on the '31 Days Of Horror' bandwagon... though I'm not going to actually join the club or whatever.

So... seeing as this is already the second day... a quick recap of some back to back horror films I watched yesterday (at least I'm gonna claim that it was yesterday).

After reading the Kindertrauma blog on 'The Sentinel' I jumped at the notion of it being on Netflix streaming and dashed over there to watch it once again (it had been a while).
Instead I got distracted by the also-streamable presence of 'Lord of Illusions' which I'd seen a couple times before but I'd just read Barker's short-story 'The Last Illusion' which LoI is based on. 'The Last Illusion' turns out to have zilch-zip-nada to do with the plot of the movie except for having the same characters (doing different stuff for different reasons).
Actually, I kind of liked the movie better... probably because of the Manson-esque cult angle mixed with magic (Manson was the big boogie-man when I was a kid).
The short story version probably would have been a more expensive proposition anyway... seeing as it chock full of demonic beasties that would have jacked up the FX budget.

Strangely, the Netflix version I watched seemed to be missing the scenes where the disbanded cult members are shown shedding their conventional lives to ready themselves for the return of Nix. I know there is a 'Director's cut' of LoI but it's not clear on Netflix that that is what this was. As it is D'Amour and Swann show up at the desert compound and all the cultists are there shaving themselves... as if they'd stuck around the whole time, waiting.
Anyway, though I'd seen it before it stood up to the test of time for me.
The bit at the end where Nix transforms and then plummets into the pit is always the most disturbing bit for me... it's pretty bleak. As is the ultimate fate of Swann.

I did, ultimately, continue on to watch 'The Sentinel' as I had intended. I'd read the book as a kid and seen it once... somewhere about the time I also saw 'The Tenant' and Chiller's 'Someone At The Top Of The Stairs'... both movies about creepy houses full of creepy neighbors (and both free of the laughable religious hokum at the core of 'The Sentinel').
Such a great cast and depiction of that place and time. The house and its occupants (as well as some of the not-damned-yet crowd) really are creepy... too bad the plot hinges on such a ridiculous premise. I've never been much for religious horror and the idea of a literal gate to Hell existing in NYC was dumb even to my eleven-yr old self when I first read the book.
Still, as someone pointed out on Kindertrauma, if it had been an Italian horror (Argento? Fulci?) the entire affair, and its attendant lapses, would have seemed a much better fit.

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