Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday's Ways Not To Die

Dead of Night (1945) is one of the first anthology horror films. The framing device here is that a man shows up at a farmhouse and tells the people there that he's dreamed of this house and each one of them many times before. Each of the people then tells a spooky story of their own in order to justify the presence of weird goings-on in the world to the suspicious psychologist in their midst that's having none of this man's dream talk. Their tales make up each vignette.

Like with most anthology films some portions of Dead of Night work well, and some don't - the following death comes from what I thought to be the least successful of the stories, save this moment.

George (Basil Radford) and Larry (Naunton Wayne), are obsessed with the same two things: golf and a girl. The same girl, of course.

And she apparently loves them both equally herself. (Even though they are both obviously old enough to be her father. Hmm.)

So instead of just making with a daddies-daughter three-way they propose a much more sound solution: a golf game where the winner gets the girl.

She thinks this is a genius solution because of course women just adore being treated as nothing more than objects. She's just a silly girl, she could never decide her own fate! So they make with the game.

Long boring golf game short: George wins, Larry loses.

And without expressing even the slightest hesitation,
Larry turns and walks into the water and drowns himself.

After that we find out that George cheated, so Larry's ghost comes back and haunts him in a excessively goofy manner full of floating golf balls and pratfalls, not at all in line with the tone of the rest of the film which is often terrifically creepy - the most famous sequence is the last, with Michael Redgrave being tormented by his ventriloquist dummy, and it's a humdinger. But this self-drowning sequence is gorgeously shot and haunting in its terrifying simplicity. If only the rest of this sequence had lived up to it.


Previous Ways Not To Die: Cross Borne -- Pulled Up Hell's Sphincter -- An Arrow Up The Ass - The Numerous Violent Unbecomings of Olive Oyl -- Ack! Ack! Zap! -- Baby's First Acid Splash -- Chop, Drop and Sashimi Roll -- Forever Rafter -- Can't You Hear Me Now? -- Daisies Ways #5 - Harpoony Side Up -- Acid Dip -- On a Wing and a Prey -- For Standing in the Way of Sappho -- Busting Rule Number Three (For The Purpose of Number Two) -- Daisies #4 - Window Dressed To Killed -- Hands Off the Haas Orb -- Bullet Ballet -- A Single Vacancy at the Roach Motel -- A School Bus Slipped Thru The Ice -- Trache-AAHHHH!!!-tomy'd - For Mel Gibson's Sins -- A Wide Stanced Slashing --- Daisies Ways #3 - Scratch n' Snuffed -- The Victim of a Viscous Hit & Run -- Curled -- Kabobbed -- Daisies Ways #2 - Aggravated Cementia -- Boo! Nun! -- 2009's Ways Not To Die -- Bug Scratch Fever -- Daisies Ways #1 - Deep Fat Fried in My Own Unique Blend of 500 Herbs & Spices -- By the Yard End of the Stick -- Screwed From A Very Great Distance -- A Righteous Bear-Jew Beatdown -- Fisted By Hugo Sitglitz -- Xeno Morphed -- Fuck-Stuck -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 4 -- Lava Bombed -- The Cradle Will Rock... Your Face Off!!! -- The Food of the Nilbog Goblins -- The Slugs Is Gonna Gitcha -- Phone Shark -- Hide The Carrot -- Sarlacc Snacked -- Avada Kedavra!!! -- Hooked, Lined and Sinkered -- "The Libyans!" -- Axe Me No Questions -- Pin the Chainsaw on the Prostitute -- The Wrath of the Crystal Unicorn -- The Ultimate Extreme Make-Over -- Drown In A Sink Before The Opening Credits Even Roll -- The Dog Who Knew Too Much -- Don't Die Over Spilled Milk -- Inviting the Wrath of Aguirre -- An Inconceivable Outwitting -- The Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique -- Nipple Injected Blue Junk -- Your Pick Of The Deadly Six -- Thing Hungry -- Don't Fuck With The Serial Killer's Daughter -- DO Forget To Add The Fabric Softener -- Any Of The Ways Depicted In This Masterpiece Of Lost Cinema -- Rode Down In The Friscalating Dusklight -- Good Morning, Sunshine! -- Mornin' Cuppa Drano -- The Cylon-Engineered Apocalypse -- Tender-Eye-zed -- Martian Atmospheric Asphyxiation -- Maimed By A Mystical Person-Cat -- The Sheets Are Not To Be Trusted -- Handicapable Face-Hacked -- I Did It For You, Faramir -- Summertime In The Park... Of A Pedophile's Mind -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 3 -- Strung Up With Festive Holiday Bulbs By Santa Claus Himself -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 2 -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 1 -- Decapitated Plucked Broiled & Sliced -- Head On A Stick! -- A Trip To The Ol' Wood-Chipper -- Pointed By The T-1000 -- Sucking Face With Freddy Krueger -- A Pen-Full Of Home-Brewed Speed to The Eye -- Motivational Speech, Interrupted -- A Freak Ephemera Storm -- When Ya Gotta Go... Ya Gotta Go -- Hoisted By Your Own Hand Grenade -- Having The Years Suction-Cupped Away -- Criss-Cross -- Turned Into A Person-Cocoon By The Touch Of A Little Girl's Mirror Doppleganger -- Satisfying Society's "Pop Princess" Blood-Lust -- Done In By The Doggie Door -- Tuned Out -- Taking the 107th Step -- Rescuing Gretchen -- Incinerated By Lousy Dialogue -- Starred & Striped Forever -- Vivisection Via Vaginally-Minded Barbed-Wire -- Chompers (Down There) -- Run Down By M. Night Shyamalan -- Everything Up To And Including The Kitchen Toaster -- Sacrificed To Kali -- Via The Gargantuan Venom Of The Black Mamba Snake -- Turned Into An Evil Robot -- The Out-Of-Nowhere Careening Vehicle Splat -- "Oh My God... It's Dip!!!" -- Critter Balled -- Stuff'd -- A Hot-Air Balloon Ride... Straight To Hell!!! -- Puppy Betrayal -- High-Heeled By A Girlfriend Impersonator -- Flip-Top Beheaded -- Because I'm Too Goddamned Beautiful To Live -- By Choosing... Poorly... -- Fried Alive Due To Baby Ingenuity -- A Good Old-Fashioned Tentacle Smothering -- Eepa! Eepa! -- Gremlins Ate My Stairlift -- An Icicle Thru The Eye -- Face Carved Off By Ghost Doctor After Lesbian Tryst With Zombie Women -- Electrocuted By Fallen Power-Lines -- A Mouthful Of Flare -- Taken By The TV Lady -- Bitten By A Zombie -- Eaten By Your Mattress -- Stuffed To Splitting -- Face Stuck In Liquid Nitrogen -- Crushed By Crumbling Church Debris -- Bitten By The Jaws Of Life -- A Machete To The Crotch -- Showering With A Chain-Saw -- In A Room Filled With Razor Wire -- Pod People'd With Your Dog -- Force-Fed Art -- Skinned By A Witch -- Beaten With An Oar -- Curbed -- Cape Malfunction -- In The Corner -- Cooked In A Tanning Bed -- Diced -- Punched Through The Head -- Bugs Sucking On Your Head


greggiboi said...

Radford and Wayne were cast as bumbling, golf and cricket obsessed friends in several films, starting with THE LADY VANISHES. This must have been a bit of a shock for fans who's watched them and laughed over the years. Was the suicide over losing the girl--or the game?

Jason Adams said...

I thought they seemed familiar! Thanks for clearing that up, greggboi.

As to your question, I don't believe they ever clear that up. (Although I found this entire segment after the suicide a test of my patience and sort of tuned out for a bit, to be honest.)

Andreas said...

I'm pretty sure the suicide was over losing the girl... but the whole segment really is just DUMB, and by far the worst part of Dead of Night. I guess they were trying to break up the dourness a little with some comedy? It didn't work.

Incidentally, I adore the rest of the movie, and was super-excited to see Hugo in the MNPP banner!

Ms Scrappy said...

I haven't seen this movie in years. I'd been trying to find it on dvd with little success.Is it finally available somewhere?