Wednesday, October 31, 2018

And That's Another Halloween, Folks

I hope everybody has a wonderful Halloween! My big holiday plans already happened this past weekend so I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing (read: watching) low-key tonight - I thought I might go see the remastered version of The Fog in the theater but now that I'm looking at my crazy schedule ahead for the next few days (like I'm seeing Suspiria a second time tomorrow finally) I'm just going home and chilling with something. Something unspeakable! 

I want to hear what you're watching in the comments! You could get an idea or two from our list of the "13 Mustaches of Halloween" maybe. And if you're still racking your brain for something weird there's an excellent list of super obscure titles right here in Twitter List form - I haven't even heard of most of these so you're sure to find something interesting. Enjoy! Sweet nightmares! And a happy Halloween, my lovely ghouls and goblins...

Quote of the Day

“[The Oscar speech] … I have no memory of it, and please don’t remind me of what I said. Funnily enough, at that time, I’d never seen the Oscars on the television. I knew that it was a big deal, but it didn’t have any real impact in my life. I remember being a little bit disappointed that it wasn’t more magnificent, [that] it wasn’t in a bigger room. And then I thought, ‘Why are you disappointed?’ I realized it was because my reference was The Bodyguard with Whitney Houston — that was the only time I’d ever seen the Oscars, and it was in a much pumped-up version. Nobody ran across the stage or got shot or anything!”

Rolling Stone asked the goddess Tilda Swinton to give her recollections on several of her most important roles on film so far, what with Suspiria opening wide this weekend (read my review here), and what she remembers thinking about winning an Oscar for Michael Clayton has perfectly summed up my attitude about the Oscars without having ever realized it until this moment. 

Great Moments In Movie Shelves #169

"Library, complete with ivory tower."

"Oh. I can't go in there. My... mother. That smell."

"It's just stale air."

"No no, that other smell."

"Smells sweet to me, honey. At twenty-five cents 
a book I should do alright with this room, huh?"

I know I'm not the only person that harbors ill wishes toward the character of Luke in the original film of The Haunting, since they went out of their way to give him some just desserts...

... in the execrable 1999 remake. (Literally the only good thing to come out of that dreck is that gif.) But him talking about dissembling that gorgeous library, even if it is cluttered with homicidal ghouls and bent-neck ladies, well, it's a step too far, Luke.

I have now in the past three weeks watched all three versions of Shirley Jackson's classic ghost story - Wise's original, that dastardly remake, and Mike Flanagan's 10-episode series for Netflix - and I recommend the book-ends enthusiastically. The series ends with a bit of a whimper but it's shockingly effective for the most part. Read my previous thoughts here.

Still nothing tops the 1963 film - it remains, I think, the greatest Haunted House Movie ever made (give or take The Innocents) - as I re-watched it last night for the first time in many years (you can read my real-time Twitter thoughts with some lovely gifs in this thread here) I was surprised and astonished anew by how dynamic and modern and ahead-of-its-time Wise's camera-work is in the film. 

Today's Fanboy Delusion

Today I'd rather be...

... getting steamy with James Wolk.

I totally forgot that Kevin Williamson's new dark fairy tale show Tell Me a Story premieres today on that CBS All Access thing! You can apparently watch James Wolk and Billy Magnussen and Paul Wesley and all them fellas (see also Kim Cattrall) getting their fairy on right this minute. (Here's the show's trailer if you missed it.) Well now I know how I'm spending some of my All Hallows...

Ross Lynch Rabbit Hole

This post started out one way and quickly swerved towards another, so let's go in the order my brain went. The actor Ross Lynch posted these pictures of himself on his Instagram this week...
... which then got me to thinking about how great Ross Lynch was as Young Jeff Dahmer in the 2017 movie My Friend Dahmer. Have you seen that movie yet? Here's my rave review from Tribeca way back when. What if I told you its actual leading man is not a serial killer but is actually his classmate who is played by Alex Wolff...

... who gave one of this year's best performances in Hereditary? Alex Wolff has become a real Scream Queen, hasn't he? One more and he's this gen's Jamie Lee. Anyway My Friend Dahmer has weirdly remained way under the radar for how good it is, which is pretty similar to the last movie to tackle the man -- the 2002 film, just called Dahmer, that starred Jeremy Renner is also seriously underrated. (And you can watch it on Prime right now, btw.)

I guess people just have trouble with this subject? Buncha weirdos. Who doesn't love homosexual cannibalism? Anyway that thought process is where this started, and made me want to ask...

... that question. But then I got to wondering
what Ross Lynch was up to now, and I discovered...

... that Ross Lynch plays "Harvey" on Netflix's just-dropped Chilling Adventures of Sabrina! I didn't know this! That show (which I haven't watched) was a big subject of conversation at my Vincent Price themed Halloween Dinner Party this past weekend - everyone else had watched the show, and I learned (without learning it was Ross Lynch) that the Harvey character is at once point outfitted...

... in a "Johnny Depp Elm Street Half Shirt" homage, of all things! That's some gumption right there! And so now, after all that, I've obviously got to ask you people a second question too...

13 Mustaches of Halloween #13

I know, I know, I already used Wes Craven's Scream once for this series - it's a bit of an overkill to double-dip. (See our ode to Deputy Dewey right here.) But once it occurred to me I could hardly be expected to resist Craven's self-referential cameo playing a high school janitor named Fred with a penchant for familiar knit-wear...

"No running in the hallway."

Wes is of course referencing the scene in original Nightmare on Elm Street where Nancy falls asleep in class and bumps into a diabolically-inclined hall-monitor, which leads to one of my favorite lines of dialogue in a movie full of great quotable lines, namely...

Giving himself a cameo in the film, even as another character, also feels like a shout-out to Craven's New Nightmare movie, in which he played himself, blaming himself for unleashing a monster - that's probably too much to read into the cameo though since Craven gave himself cameos in several of his movies; he was in Shocker and Red Eye and all of the Screams... although his bit as a coroner in the fourth one got cut from the final product. You can see it here:
Anyway "Fred the Janitor" in the first Scream is my favorite of his cameos and clearly the best - he pops up in the scene where the Principal (played by the Fonz, aka Henry Winkler) is being stalked by Ghostface in the school as a red (and green striped) herring...

Honestly I've always hated this murder and found it dumb and gratuitous but I guess that's the point - these are dumb and gratuitous high school boys doing the killing (uhhh I guess spoiler, but come on, the movie is 22 years old now) and these lunkheads would totally murder their principal just cuz. And at least the scene gives us Fred!

Click here for all of our 13 Mustaches,
and Happy Halloween, everyone!

Five Frames From ?


What movie is this?

Good Morning, World

Don't you hate it when you wake yourself up from a nightmare about how sexy you look without a shirt on? Me too! Poor François Arnaud - you're too sexy for sleep!

Anyway these shots are from the second season premiere of Midnight Texas last week - I still don't watch the show but I will still scour every episode for François to post and this week's a doozy, they have him repeat this morning routine three separate times over the course of the episode. 

It's as if a dictate came down from the studio over the summer - find excuses to get François out of his clothes more and you're renewed. In related business I actually became Director of Programming at NBC this summer, so congratulations are in order.

Anyway it's Halloween, everybody, so let's get to 'weening! Hit the jump for the rest of these gifs (which include François running around in boxer briefs in front of bookshelves and some light self-bondage because, you know, I said so)...

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

NewFest Review: Making Montgomery Clift

Montgomery Clift didn't make a movie until he was nearly thirty years old. It wasn't that he wasn't acting before that - he debuted on the stage at the tender age of fifteen. It was just that he was picky - Monty wanted to be wanted, and he wanted to be in control of it. The transfixing new documentary Making Montgomery Clift (directed by Clift's nephew Robert and closing NewFest tonight) argues that those were the primary forces in his life - not the misery of the closet and not his alcoholism, but his strong sense of self-determination and his boundless love for his work. 

The film seeks to shove aside all of the agendas that've been piled on top of the star, the legend, the symbol of so many sad stories, and discover the man, the artist, underneath. Which is exactly what kept Monty out of Hollywood all those early years - he didn't want to play that game, or be the thing they wanted him to be. He didn't want to romance some random starlet or secretary, forced by a studio-head into an arranged spectacle of flirtatious bullshit. He wanted to do his work on his time, under his own set of rules.

He wished to be the maker of his own Monty - Hollywood and eventually the public would have their own way with him of course, and over the years the biographies about him have whittled his complicated personhood down into an easily digestible, and useful, tale. The self-hating mama's boy swallowed up and spat out by his own narcissism. Poisoned by the closet and self-imposed loneliness, too demanding of himself and others, disgusted by what he saw in the mirror...

The list goes on and on, but it's not the person the doc presents - from the family archives we see footage of a happy man swimming in the surf, and we hear audio tapes of a genuine goofball. Nephew Robert's father fancied himself the keeper of True Monty, saving rooms full of memorabilia and photos, scrapbooks of several billion microseconds, and the film really does feel like a proper rebuilding up of a human being. Not a symbol, but a brother, a son, and some guy with a real nice face who liked to play-act and hey, he turned out to be real good at it.

Making Montgomery Clift is now the foremost resource on the star, and everything that comes next is going to have to reckon with it. Everyone who wants to reckon with Clift will have to view him through the lens put forth by this film. There's a moment late in it where the prospective bio-pics of the actor, of which there have been dozens over the years, are brought up, and they suddenly by that point seem not like a treat but more like a threat - to whittle Monty down to a self-immolating closet-case again would now seem unjust after spending time with the curious and funny man presented here. It would end up akin to what Bohemian Rhapsody, that blasphemy, just did with Freddie Mercury - sour something special by imposing extraneous narratives to suit outside agendas. Let's start doing our stars justice and, like Making Montgomery Clift does, just treat them as people. And who knows, perhaps the empathy could spread.

James Norton Nine Times

I was looking at this new photo-shoot of James Norton (via, thanks Mac) just getting angry, and not for the usual reason - the usual reason being James Norton is just too attractive, like he's stolen attractiveness from the rest of us to stuff it into his own face, the pretty hog - but rather I couldn't remember what he had lined up, acting-wise; how could that be? Shouldn't he be everywhere? 

Anyway then I googled it and was reminded that Greta Gerwig has cast him in her upcoming Little Women movie, and I felt less angry. Greta Gerwig, making the world a better less angry place for thirty-five full years. And James Norton making the world an uglier one for thirty-three, because he went and stole all of the pretty for himself. Hit the jump for the rest of this shoot...

13 Mustaches of Halloween #12


I've never seen Blacula or its sequel Scream Blacula Scream -- I suppose I should get on that! Especially since Blacula himself, aka the abundantly mustachioed actor William Marshall, would most importantly go on to play the "King of Cartoons" on Pee-wee's Playhouse a decade and a half later. 

Anyway while I was reading up on Blacula for this post today (in lieu of me actually having gotten my shit together and watched the movie) I learned that Blacula starts life as an African Prince who goes to visit Count Dracula in the 18th Century to seek some help stopping the slave trade, only to get turned into a vampire for his troubles, which... is quite the origin story. But then there's also...
... what comes after that. Blacula is woken up by two centuries later by two mincing interior designers, performed as the bleakest of the 1970s flamboyant homosexual stereotypes -- they ship his antique coffin to Los Angeles only to get immediately murdered for their daringly outré taste in home decoration. The nerve.

See all our "Mustaches of Halloween" right here!