... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

439: Scary films

What with it being Saturday night on Halloween weekend, and us being entirely skint (moths fluttering out of our pockets and all), we decided to turn off the lights and raid the cabinet for a scary DVD to rattle our teeth and shudder our bones. Unfortunately neither of us are big horror film fans, except of the masterwork trilogy Evil Dead, and the only remotely scary movie I could find, not including a Universal Dracula box-set on Region 1 DVD that won't work on our player, was Ichi the Killer.

Left over from my student days, and only watched once due to its relentlessly grim nature, Ichi the Killer is a brutal psychological thriller/hyper-violent art film about a pathetic sobbing sadist who is tricked into barbarous attacks on underworld figures, and a torturous masochist who smokes through the self-inflicted wounds in his face and intimidates others by chopping off his own tongue with a samurai sword. It's as nasty as it sounds, and has a bit of sexual violence thrown in to force itself and the viewer further into the pit of sorrow.

The first half of the film has a lot of modern camera-work; speeded up bits, jerky cuts, the dirty neon backstreets of Tokyo; the majority of the second half takes place in the rooms, walkways and stairwells of a sparsely populated grey towerblock. Visually this half reminds me strongly of the stereotypical Eastern European oppressive cinema that exists mostly in our imagination. No one in Ichi has any redeeming features at all, and the characters experiences range from unpleasant to horrific. Despite all this, it's still a proper film, with considered themes and is extreme cinema as good art, so I don't class it with Saw or that awful-sounding centipede thing.

After the depressing nightmarish experience of watching Ichi I called out for something to lighten the mood. The wise and ideal solution was put forward by the special lady I share life with; she suggested Mary Poppins. The perfect antidote to Ichi the Killer. Mary Poppins is pretty creepy in its own way (what the hell is she supposed to be, some kind of witch? Who the hell cast that odious little boy?) but its jolly fun, or as Disney would claim it, magic.

I just found out, in one of those aimless half-fact finding expeditions through wikipedia, that the actor who played that vile creepy little boy in Mary Poppins died age 21. Sad, but in my mind that makes him 100% more creepy; he will forever be that weird jug-eared little twerp, dressed in tiny old-mans' clothes, gurning away at every opportunity. I singlehandedly blame him for ruining what would otherwise be one of Disney's finest films. Bedknobs and Broomsticks isn't generally considered as good; more a rip-off of Mary Poppins... the combination of live action with animated vignettes and a magical story. But to me Bedknobs and Broomsticks is miles better, chiefly because the children aren't as annoying.

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