October Horrorshow: Of Unknown Origin

Man vs. beast, a perennial narrative for as long as there have been narratives. Rich, fertile ground for storytellers. Combine that with the creepy-crawly subgenre of horror, and you get Of Unknown Origin. Directed by George P. Cosmatos way back in 1983, Of Unknown Origin tells the tale of Bart Hughes (Peter Weller), an investment banker of some sort, and the confrontation he has with a rat. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Of Unknown Origin”

October Horrorshow: Leviathan

(Note: I wrote this way back in May, then decided that, rather than post this immediately, it would fit in better with the October Horrorshow. Hence the slightly dated references in the opening paragraph.)

From 1989, Leviathan is George P. Cosmatos’s follow-up to the classic Sylvester Stallone shitfest that was Cobra. And Leviathan isn’t any better. Little more than a mashup of Alien and John Carpenter’s Thing, Leviathan is a stroll down recognizable and well-worn plot paths, comfortable in its familiarity, like an old pair of shoes or the quilt that your grandmother made when you were a child. A more crass reviewer could say Leviathan is a blatant rip-off of much better films, and they would be correct. But I choose to view Leviathan in a more forgiving light, especially since, these days, Hollywood is determined to cram sequels, adaptations, reboots, and remakes down the throats of the all-too-willing public. This week, I could have chosen to see The Avengers or even Battleship at the theaters. Instead, I decided to stay local with my garbage, and rent a fine example of shitty monster movie cinema to view in my own home. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Leviathan”

The Empty Balcony: Robocop (1987)

Dystopian future societies are the stuff dreams are made of. They are what grow from the seeds of our own decadence and shallowness. The moral bankruptcy, and sometimes outright horror, of the settings of films like Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange, THX 1138, Escape from New York, and Soylent Green wouldn’t be possible if writers and directors didn’t look around them and see the lightning speed with which we throw ourselves into unknown futures, sometimes without regard for so many of the present realities which work so well and don’t need change. The ever-present message is that change, sometimes jarring change, is inevitable. Films that look to the future warily revolve around placing the viewer in the role of Rip Van Winkle. When the theater lights dim, the familiar world of today dissolves into the freak show of tomorrow. The overriding questions always being: Why are the people onscreen comfortable with this? Why doesn’t everybody see how wrong things are? Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Robocop (1987)”