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Crimes Of The Future – David Cronenberg (2022)

Many decades ago Cronenberg saw the line “crimes of the future” used as an unwritten poem in a movie and thought ‘that is a movie I am going to make’. He did so in 1970. It is said that also “Existenz” (2009) originally also has this as the working title. In 2022 Cronenberg (who is almost 80 years old) made his second (or third) “Crimes Of The Future”.

It is quite a classic Cronenberg. More of the “body horror” kind than “Maps To The Stars” (2014) and “Cosmopolis” (2012). It actually reminds somewhat of “Exitenz” even though Cronenberg says the two or three “Crimes Of The Future” have nothing to do with each other.

We find ourselves again in a dystopian future. The human body appears to be rather devolving than evolving. People no longer experience pain and some people even grow new and useless (and fatal?) organs. Then there are those who have turned the public removal of these new organs into “body art”. So we find ourselves following Saul Tenser and his sensual assistent Caprice.

Cronenberg would not have been Cronenberg did he not explicitly portray deformed bodies, surgery, weird organ-like machines and of course, sex. This time “surgery is the new sex”.

You get it: dark, weird, disturbing, uneasy. In short: Cronenberg.

“Crimes Of The Future” may not be his best, but if you like the dark side of this director, do not miss out on his latest.

Archive 81 (series) – Rebecca Sonnenshine (2022)

My girlfriend read something about these new Netflix series. When I heard about involvement of the “Saw” crew, my interest dropped even further than after the initial comment that it is a horror series. But we did watch it.

In eight episodes we follow the story of Dan who restores video material. He is assigned to a job to restore material that survived the fire in an appartement building. For that job he is transferred to a remote building. So, video, a comparison to “Ringu” a remote building and a reference to “The Shining” and did somebody say “Blair Witch Project“? We all know where this is going to. Or do we?

During his restoration work, Dan becomes acquainted with Melody, a film student who goes to an appartement building to make a documentary about its inhabitants. These inhabitants are said to be a close knit group. This is pretty clear from the beginning.

Melody is actually looking for her mother and while poking around in the building and the people who live there, something uncanny starts to rise to the surface. We follow the story by Melody’s film material and Dan watching it all with a friend as backup to find background information.

As we continue, everything seems to be connected in some odd way. Dan did not get the job by accident. The material did not pop up many years after the fire by accident. The fire in the building was not an accident.

The series have an alright atmosphere. It is by far not as scary as some want us to believe. The story is worked out fairly well. The last episode is somewhat weak.

In my opinion not the instant classic that some people make of it, just an alright thriller series with some horror elements.

Titane – Julia Ducournau (2021)

It had been a while since I saw an ‘unconventional film’. So when I read about “Titane”, I figured I would go and see it.

“Titane” is not as weird as I expected. It is a difficult film to watch though. In the (French?) style of uneasy films such as those of Marina de Van (remember “Dans Ma Peau“?), Rémy Belvaux (“C’est Arrivé Près De Chez Cous” aka “Man Bites Dog”) or some of Fabrice du Welz (“Calvaire“), but mostly of films of Gaspar Noë, Ducournau comes with a heavy story, explicit ‘body horror’ and sex. You get it, not a film for the faint hearted.

We first see Alexia as a cold blooded and bored kid. We soon jump ahead with her being a strip dancer with obvious psychological problems which have turned her into a serial killer. At some point she decides to go into hiding and pretends to be the long lost son of fire brigade commander.

Alexia’s killings are already quite explicit, but the way Ducournau shows what Alexia and others do to their bodies (and those of others), will make many people turn away their eyes frequently.

Then there are some pretty weird elements to the story that not everybody will get their heads around alongside the fact that many things are left unexplained.

So, quite a masochistic kind of film to watch for sure. It is hard to say if it is really good. It sure is not a film to like. When you know your opinion about the directors and titles mentioned above, you will be able to tell of you want to watch “Titane” or not.

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series – Robert Rodriguez (season 1 2014)

I doubt I will have seen the film more than once or twice, but I remember the 1996 movie to be amusing. Netflix has a series and since it seems to be made by Rodriguez himself, I decided to give it a try.

The first season is basically the story of the film. A family runs into the Gecko brothers who are on the run. They force the family to take them across the Mexican border. Once on the other side, they go visit a strip club.

The film had George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as the Gecko brothers, Harvey Keitel as the father, Juliette Lewis as the daughter and let us not forget Salma Hayek as nightclub dancer Santanico Pandemonium. The series have got some interesting actors too though, most notably Don Johnson and Robert Patrick, but also a few who mostly work on my nerves.

The story can of course be stretched over way more time and details can be added, but when you know the film, you will know what the series will bring. The whole first season I thought it was alright, but not really good. Here and there there is a good episode, but overall I was not too impressed. So little even that I do not think I am going to watch season 2 and 3.

The Wolf Of Snow Hollow – Jim Cummings (2020)

So is this what a contemporary horror comedy is like? In Fargo-like settings, a remote and snowy village, we follow the whereabouts of the conveniently named family Marshall. John (played by the director) is the sheriff. His predecessor is his father. John has a tough private life with a demanding ex-wife and an adolescent daughter. The comedy of the film is mostly people bickering.

Then a brutal murder takes place in Snow Hollow. Very brutal. Maybe the film is not really horror per se, but the murders certainly add a horror element to the film. The theme is horror as well.

Balancing between screwball and Fargo-like black humour, Cummings tried to make a … horror comedy?

The film is alright.

Color Out of Space – Richard Stanley (2019)

  • horror

I had heard that this is a ‘love it or hate it’ film, but gave it a try nonetheless. Actually it is even more ‘difficult’ than that…

Nicholas Cage plays Nathan. Nathan and his family moved out of the big city into some upstate no-man’s-land. Nathan and his wife Theresa have two adolescent children and a younger one. Lavinia is a witch (Wicca), a somewhat sad storyline as it seems that Stanley did not investigate the subject enough. even though he tries to make it seem that he did. Then we have the nerdy Benny and the youngest Jack.

Some day a meteorite falls into the family’s garden and from then on things get weird. The story is based on a story of H.P. Lovecraft which explains a few things. Initially the garden gets an early spring, but then it seems that there is also something in the water with more negative effects. Slowly, the family members get madder and madder and the aliens / force gets weirder and weirder.

So, there is the (as mentioned) somewhat sad character of Lavinia, a fairly corny first half and the overly typical horror elements. As the film gets weirder, things get mildly interesting though. There are some truly weird findings, the color madness brings psychedelic scenes. Actually many things ‘around the acting’ are the most interesting.

Not really weird enough to be a weird film. Not typical enough to be a standard horror or thriller or scifi. “Color Out Of Space” hangs somewhere in the middle. Also ‘rating wise’.

Possessor – Brandon Cronenberg (2020)

Because of his excellent “Antiviral” (2012) I was pretty excited when I heard about Cronenberg junior’s latest film. It took a while before the release though and when I write this, there still seems to be no European release or even a date. So my copy came from the USA which apparently takes a month in shipping.

“Possessor” and by far not as good as “Antiviral”. It starts as a nice, moody movie, but the story is much less interesting as Cronenberg’s previous film and there is more focus on (horror) gore. Not the “body horror” of his old man and which could also be found in “Antiviral”, but bloody violence.

In some future everybody seems to have a brain implant. Some company uses these implants for contract killings. An agent is ‘transported’ to a victim who will commit the crime and die.

We mostly follow one such agent, Tasya, who has done this work for a while and who appears to have increasing problems with the work. Of course things do not go as planned in the last job and the victim is not entirely taken over.

“Possessor” is not your average film. It is dark, weird, the story is strange. You have to enjoy the weirder kind of film for “Possessor”. I think Cronenberg’s previous is a good compare even though this new film is (of course) much different. Like I said, it is also less good in my opinion. Since we do not often get films of this type, I still recommend “Possessor” if you also like the darker and weirder stuff.

The Void – Gillespie & Konstanski (2016)

So what did I read about this film that it had been on my wishlist for quite a while?

“The Void” is a pretty boring horror film with a 13 in a dozen story. A group is trapped inside a hospital. Outside some sort of sect is keeping watch. Inside there is a monster. Of course the group is not quite homogeneous either.

There seems to be an attempt for an interesting story, but that did not really work out. The monster is pretty funny though.

Ghost Rider – Mark Steven Johnson (2007)

This is quite a corny Marvel, a fairly amusing one though.

Johnny Blaze is a stunt motorcyclist who sells his soul to the devil so that the latter can cure his father of cancer. The devil plays a trick on Johnny. Also it takes a while before he comes pick up Johnny for his task: he will be a contract killer.

In a very over-the-top way, Johnny turns into a burning motor driving hitman during the night. In the meantime he runs into the love of his youth.

Not without reason Nicholas Cage was hired to play Johnny Blaze. I find some of the other actors less convincing for their parts. Overall the film is mostly cheap entertainment, but somewhat entertaining.

Bubba Ho-Tep – Don Coscarelli (2002)

Elvis is not dead, but old, fragile and has lived in a nursing home for many years after an accident. The film explains how that all came to be.

Another inhabitant of the nursing home is Jack Kennedy who turned black.

The nursing home is haunted by the remains of a mummy that was stolen and crashed nearby and so we get a horror comedy that is not really horror or slapstick. The film is mostly a drama with somewhat black humour and a story-element that is horror.

Horror comedy, not really my genre, but this looked funny enough to try. Not sure how this ended on my watch list though. The film is good for a few chuckles, but certainly not a must-see.