Sunday, December 19, 2010

... 'Tis the Season

Christmas just seems to creep up on one closer and closer each year. I try to tune out most of the hype to keep something special about it to me; it works with varying degrees of success. Whether one believes it's the birthday of a deity or the usurpation of a pagan holiday tamed into a spiritual holiday, then warped into a celebration of the REAL God of Our Worship - namely Money and the Goods That It Buys - there is something special about the time of year... it's mainly up to YOU how special it is.

Thus endeth the sermon.

A Christmas miracle of sorts has occurred; namely regular employment - or at least the start of it. As usual, it's of low character and substance, but as long as I can fake it long enough, then things will be alright... right? It may put a crimp into the other activities I was doing, but it's not like those were making any money, eh? And money is indeed the lifeblood of most anything one wants to do these days. So, we'll see how it goes.

Another Christmas tradition - in Britain, anyway - is the telling of scary tales around the season. Just look at A CHRISTMAS CAROL... and it was a tradition in Britain in the 70's to broadcast such tales, usually adaptations of stories by M.R. James (look it up). A collection of those tales got passed around under the heading of A GHOST STORY FOR CHRISTMAS. DVDs of these shows appeared in the UK and though they're mostly out of print now, some enterprising souls put the collection out there, along with a couple of fairly recent attempts to revive the tradition, and the show that kicked it off, a late 60's adaptation of the James story, "Whistle and I'll Come To You."

Most of the shows are deliberately paced, and there's no gore to speak of. The emphasis is on atmosphere and a growing sense of unease. Those who like their horror to be slambang and bloody will be disappointed at the lack of body parts strewn about, along with boring things such as character interaction. But then, British horror has never been all about goosh and gore; it's more on how the Uncanny intrudes upon the Familiar, and turns understanding of one's world upside down...
Not a bad thing to be reminded of, in my view.  Putting the 'scare' in Christmas seems to be spreading - Santa in the European tradition, has long been a figure much more complex than the jolly fat man pushing consumerism in America, and two new films from Europe, RARE EXPORTS and SINT (Saint) are ready to ride that wave... it's only a matter of time before Krampus gets his own horror film.

They're certainly better than END OF THE LINE, a film that I heard a little about a few years ago, then it dropped from sight, until finding it recently.

It's not a bad film... in fact, its central premise is a pretty good one. However, for me, it's somewhat too fatally flawed to give it a total pass, and you can probably spot those in the trailer (which really gives too much away about the picture).  It could lose its first 25 minutes or so with no detrimental effect to the picture... some of that is unnecessary shock/jump effects and background that really doesn't add anything pertinent, except stripping any ambiguity away...

And even though your effects guys are pretty good - know when too much is TOO MUCH.

It sounds like I'm down on this film... I'm more irked that with so much it had going for it, it got hobbled by some bad decisions. It is worth looking for, though.

Way better was the local library getting in its copy of AMERICA LOST AND FOUND: THE BBS STORY, which in its DVD incarnation is in several discs, which the library decided to carve up and circulate as separate packages. THE KING OF MARVIN GARDENS was saved for me, along with the one I really wanted - HEAD!

In Widescreen, with commentary from all The Monkees, and with some very tasty extras, including a recent interview with Rafelson, an overview of BBS, some trailers including one I hadn't seen before, and a good photo gallery.

God Bless Us... Everyone!