Friday, September 13, 2013

Compulsion (2013) dir Egidio Coccimiglio

Compulsion has two draws for me, Heather Graham and cooking.  Combine those two elements with top shelf production quality, Carrie-Anne Moss, Kevin Dillon, Joe Mantegna, and you have a nasty little remake of the Korean 301, 302 (which I haven't seen because I'm not all hot and flustered by K-Horror that much...).

This is a psychological thriller for gourmands.  Where Feed is ostensibly a "foodie" (I hate that fucking word) horror movie Compulsion is food pr0n of the highest quality.  Graham's Amy is a gourmand whose entire world and sense of self, sexuality, ability to interact with other people centers around haute cuisine.  She is obsessed with food to the point of being frigging nuts.  At first it's endearing, plus Graham is ravishing in her classic dresses and aprons, but over the course of the film she gets spookier and spookier.

This is another one of those movies where the less you know about it going in the better.  Moss dishes up (no pun intended) a particularly painful performance - in the best way possible.  Dillon, well I really like Kevin Dillon but every time I see him I go, "Oh shit, it's Kevin Dillon."  I dug his character and his performance as Fred, Amy's fiance.  There's one section of dialogue in which he says something that made me say, "Oh.  Dude.  You done fucked up now."  I've been a Mantegna fan since I was a young film dork (I particularly loved him in David Mamet's Homicide (1991)) and he delivers a great performance as the straight-man of Compulsion.

What I really enjoyed about Compulsion is a two-fer.  The first: This is a movie for grown-ups.  Not because of T&A or anything of the sort.  The themes, pacing, dialogue, and ability to connect with the characters is stronger if you're older/experienced/etc.  I could easily say the same thing about some of Almodovar's work or Greenaway's classic The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1987) or  Delicatessen (1991).  The second:  No gore despite the abundance of sharp and jabby kitchen implements and some really dark happenings.  Yes, I know, gore has its time and place when the movie calls for it but my gorehound days are fading in my rear view mirror.  I still love Neil Marshall gore though, then again I love him doubleplus good.

I strongly recommend Compulsion for you folks who can appreciate a strong psychological thriller as much as they can an exquisite meal.  If not, there's always an Eli Roth movie you can fap to whilst eating Jack in the Box.   

Thursday, September 12, 2013

American Mary (2012) dir. Jen & Sylvia Soska

If you're not a "serious" modern horror fan then you might not have heard peep about "The Twisted Twins" (Jen & Sylvia Soska) American Mary.  I had been hearing drums in the dark about the movie since mid 2012 and read Film Deviant's January 2013 review when it was released.  Okay, I skimmed the review because I try to avoid as much info as I can about movies I want to see.  This is one of those movies that left me with a need to talk about it afterwards, particularly with one or two friends who I feel would have insights into the movie that would fill in some blank spots for me.

American Mary is a difficult movie to review in-depth without giving away too much.  It definitely falls into the modern Western ero-guro genre hardcore - Bizarre Mag UK hardcore (if you don't know what this means you might not want to look it up when in polite company or at work or if you're the type to be offended easily...then again you're on my site so you probably don't offend easy).  What sets Mary apart from the Excision/Woman pack is that this movie are its moments of humor (blacker than my lungs though the humor is) and there are a few moments of twisted tenderness which took me aback.

What surprised me, in the best way possible, were; the performances, dialogue, strength of not only the protagonist but of the supporting characters as well (two of which I adore), and quality of production.  Oh, and Katharine Isabelle - as a man who once went to more than a few Goth/Industrial nights back in ye olde 90s, uh, I'll tell you about it when I'm older.  Pervy joking aside, Isabelle turns in an excellent performance, at turns utterly human and empathetic and at others frankly scare me.  She reminds me of a friend I used to have in the bad old DC days.

Two performances really sealed the deal for me with American Mary: Tristan Rusk's Beatriss Johnson and Twan Holliday's Lance Delgreggo.  I'm not leaving out Antonio Cupo's Billy Barker, he did an excellent job and I think he's a great actor and, in a weird way, he was the connection character for me (insert proper cinematic term).  Rusk nailed it with, I dunno, I can't help but think Lynchian flair.  Holliday is a hired goon but delivers a monologue that makes you go, "Awww" and "Jesus fucking Christ" at the same time.

The Soska Sisters have put together an excellent movie though I'm not sure if I would call it horror anymore than I would call Blue Velvet horror.  It's a movie I wouldn't recommend to the average horror fan but if you're into the kind of weird and creepy and sexy (or any combination thereof, like sexy violence and violent sex) hell yeah, watch American Mary. 

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