Revisiting this film is a lot like going to a high school reunion. There are a lot of mixed feelings, but in the end you get to see forgotten faces and have some good old fashioned fun. The first thing that caught my attention was how I had completely erased the number of huge stars in this movie. Instantly I was taken back in time when I saw such staples of the time period as Debbie Harry, William Hickey, and Christian Slater. In hindsight, though, the stories within the film are like the lunch tables at school, they don’t quite mix well with one another. Each is to be appreciated for what it is, but there is a general lack of cohesion. Nonetheless, this film maintains the necessary creep factor, good story telling, and was well worth the revisit if simply for the feelings you get opening a time capsule.
Love it or hate it, there is no denying the impact The Blair Witch Project had upon the horror genre with its 1999 release. Not only did the marketing campaign utilized by its distributor take a page from the Hitchcock playbook in building up audience expectation, but it also reframed the horror trope of “recovered footage” as a means of accessing the horror. As the story of a group of filmmakers who embark on an ill-fated journey into the woods in an attempt to discover proof of a witch, this film is most remembered for its shaky hand-held visuals and reliance upon its audience to create a sense of horror using their own imaginations.
Deep Blue Sea appreciates nature’s preeminent design-the shark.
R | 105min | 1999 | (USA) | Renny Harlin
Let’s get the meat and potatos out of the way: Imdb aptly describes the film as: “Searching for a cure to Alzheimer’s disease a group of scientists on an isolated research facility become the bait as a trio of intelligent sharks fight back.” Deep Blue Sea certainly packs a punch with its special effects, animatronics, and plot twists. Without giving away spoilers, I have to concede that this film certainly has my personal favorite death scene of all time to date. Similar to so many of the pets on my top ten horrific pets list these sharks only become killers once man meddles in matters of nature, or more specifically with God’s perfect design.
Deep Blue Sea suggests that sharks are quite infallible by design. During a discussion between scientists they mention that sharks are the oldest and most efficient creatures on the planet they never get cancer, go blind, or show loss of brain functioning. In the mind of lead scientist Dr. McCallister (Saffron Burrows) this is what makes them the perfect candidate for her intrusive and unethical scientific practices. Read more
As part of a series of posts on the relatively neglected horror films of the 1950s, I want to begin with The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, directed by Eugène Lourié, and released in 1953 by Warner Brothers Studios. It was the first of the “monster” films that have come to define the decade—before Godzilla, before Creature from the Black Lagoon. The monster is a rhedosaurus, long buried in the ice north of the Arctic Circle and released during a routine test of an atomic bomb. It then tracks a path down to its former home, now New York City, and wreaks havoc on lower Manhattan before being taken down by a radioactive isotope shot into its neck in the midst of its rampage through Coney Island Amusement Park.
Horror films from the 1950s in general, and Beast in particular, are accruing, I think, an increasing importance in the current moment because they so directly address environmental crisis. The atomic explosion that opens Beast causes sheets of ice to cascade into the ocean. The shots of catastrophic glacial melting reminded me of a documentary I just watched, Chasing Ice, released in 2012 and documenting the effects of climate change on the glaciers in Greenland, Iceland, and Alaska: like Beast, the centerpiece of Chasing Ice was glacial ice sliding into the ocean.