Sunday, November 20, 2011

And Soon the Darkness: Should've Went to Cancun

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1970's And Soon the Darkness is a British thriller that tells the tale of two young women, Jane and Cathy (played by Pamela Franklin and Michele Dotrice), who are spending their vacation cycling through the rural back roads of France. Both girls are of contrasting personalities with Jane enjoying the sights and experience of taking a bike trip though the stimulating, lush French country side, while Cathy is a little more interested in having traditional 'ho fun' with one of the locals she spots at a café. Later on during their travels, Cathy and Jane end up having a few random run-ins with the man from the café, but no actual interactions occur, but his random presence certainly piques Cathy's interest more than ever.

and soon the darkness

The two girls take a quick rest off the side of the road and begin discussing their next move. However, when Jane says she wants to continue on with their bike ride, Cathy complains that she's tired and would much rather take a nap and catch a few rays (you know, typical ho fun). The two have a small quarrel about their differing desires, and Jane ends up going to a nearby café for a quick drink while Cathy stays behind so she can do a little sunbathing. After she has a little time to cool off, Jane makes her way back to the spot where she left Cathy. However, when she returns, she finds that Cathy is nowhere to be found; she has simply vanished without a trace.

Now Jane is left all alone in a foreign land, trying to piece together what may have happened to her friend. She is faced with a wicked language barrier and carries a guarded sense of urgency, as she is not exactly sure who she can and cannot trust. Jane later learns from one of the few English-speaking locals that there was a girl murdered in the area years before, which rightfully worries Jane, as the murder victim fits the same description as Cathy. Even more concerning is Paul (Sandor Elès), the mysterious man from the café that Cathy was digging on earlier, who claims to have been an investigator on that murder case. However, Jane cannot determine whether or not she can trust Paul as much of what he has to say, as well as his presence throughout the day, seems to all be a bit too fishy. 

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Regardless of its title, And Soon the Darkness avoids resorting to the threat of nightfall for creepy atmosphere. Instead, director Robert Fuest generates genuine chills and tension through skillful camerawork, careful pacing and subdued sound design to achieve a sense of dread and unease. And he does so right in broad daylight. Fuest bravely and successfully delivers a handful of tightly wound scenes of pure suspense that occur in the bright shimmering light of the summer's sun, in an area so picturesque that it's hard to believe a murder, or anything of the sort, could ever occur. And it's all tucked into a story that's built on confusion, mistrust and a complete lack of security for our protagonist, which translates directly to the viewer.

All of the acting is tops, specifically the attractive, salmon colored butt-cuts wearing, Pamela Franklin, who plays the role of Jane in a way that is defensive but strong willed. Her expressive face conveys much of what cannot be expressed through language as most of her interactions are with people she is unable to converse with. I would say that the film's only real flaw is in its predicable ending, however, there are a number of clues that would point to the conclusion and eventual reveal of what happened to Cathy. Nevertheless, the film remains unclear enough to where you will question your clue driven prediction at certain points, thus keeping one from ever being 100% sure until the final moments.

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And Soon the Darkness is a prime example of what made well-crafted cinema of the 1970s so wonderful. It's patiently paced with a deliberately ambiguous tone that puts the viewer in a position of being just as unsure as Jane about the whereabouts of her friend as well as her own safety. Robert Fuest allows the story to unfold naturally, which helps to mount an uncomfortable feeling that slowly creeps up your spine throughout the picture and up until its eventual finale.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ch**k No**is Ate My Baby Shut Down by the Government!

Join the fight against censorship. If you think it doesn't or couldn't affect you, think again, homeboy (or homegirl… I don't wanna be sexist here).

Follow this link to learn more!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chucktober Giveaway Winner!

Finally, a winner has been picked! If you want to find out who won the Chucktober DVD/Paracinema Magazine Giveaway, then you'll have to watch the video below!

Before you do though, I must apologize for the audio issues. I don't know what it is with me and video, but some shit always seems to go wrong, and this time out I am bringing you my version of Kung-Fu Theater. Which is actually kinda cool. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Salute Your Shorts: Waffle


Sliding in just over 5 minutes, Waffle is a cautionary tale that enlightens its viewer to the horrible things can happen when one hides their true colors in a deceitful way. The short focuses on two very different high school girls. Wendy is the school reject with a horrific facial deformity, while Dana is a seemingly popular girl who has the looks to match her social status. While at first glance these two young women appear to have absolutely nothing in common, it is Wendy who always finds a way to win the school science fair each and every year, and Dana wants to see an end to her reign. Why would the good-looking, popular girl want to win a science fair? I'm not so sure, but it's an unimportant detail, I suppose.  

Written and directed by Rafael De Leon Jr., Waffle is a well put together short film that whips by so fast there isn't much time for a story to be fleshed out. The viewer is dropped directly into these characters lives with the short opening up just as Dana is eating dinner with Wendy and her mother in their home. Amidst some strange and slightly concerning conversation via Wendy's mom and a few unclear glimpses of Wendy's awful disfigurement, Dana grows uncomfortable, and soon her true intentions are revealed. However, Wendy and her mother have some nefarious intentions of their own. With that comes a quick conclusion that is fun, albeit a little lax with its impact due to there being no investment in the story. To be fair though, it is a short film, so this is less of a complaint and more of an observation. It should be noted that the film does follow a tight and precise three act structure, working as a prime example of how backstory can be properly conveyed when exposition is handled properly.

Waffle is still out and about on the festival circuit for what will probably be the rest of the year, so that would remain to be the only way to see the film as of this moment. However, if you do find yourself in the position (not THAT position!) to see the film, be sure to. It's fun enough and so quick that it's difficult not to claim that it's time well spent. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Baby Too Big to be Eaten?! Wah-wah-WHAT?!

the babyWell, Chucktober is all over now, and as I whimper out of the month tired and underwhelmed due to an elongated state of blogging boredom, a less than exciting Halloween, and some personal bullshit, I have to reposition myself to shine that positive smile upon the world. Or something. Depending on my mental state, chances are things will be a little scarce around here, but hopefully that equates to some better quality post by yours truly. Only the finest in dick and fart jokes for my readers, I say!   

Anyway, I do have some classy content to share with you, but that content is at a place much classier than this, and that is Paracinema. If you feel the need to read about one of the most mind-bendingly strangest films I have ever seen, ever, then head on over to Paracinema to read my review of 1973's The Baby, a film about a baby who is literally too big for his britches.  

Speaking of Paracinema, in the next day or so I will be revealing the winner of the Chucktober DVD/Paracinema Magazine giveaway, so don't fret, freters! All of those who were awesome enough to share some great Halloween traditions with me deserve a big thanks, and I wish you all the best of luck in the upcoming drawing.

And once again, speaking of Paracinema, if you were not already aware, the independently produced cult/genre film magazine was recently picked up for distribution, meaning there's a real good chance you can grab yourself an issue at a store near you! For your convenience, I have provided a list of retailers across the United States and Canada carrying this fine ass bitch of a magazine.

Paracinema retailers 

Don't be a commie… support your independence by picking up an issue of Paracinema! 

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