Phenomena (In Which Dario Argento Rips Off Dario Argento)

As with Stanley Kubrick, I have a love/hate relationship with Dario Argento. On one hand, I’ve always been a big giallo fan, and The Bird With The Crystal Plumage is one of my all time favorite movies. In terms of sound design, for example, he can be every bit as sadistic as Kubrick. In fact, I’m not willing to argue who learned it from whom. I suspect the influence may have been mutual.

On the other hand, I had a sneaking suspicion that Phenomena might have at least slightly “borrowed” from Kiss Of The Tarantula. An adolescent girl who can control insects is mercilessly bullied by her peers and discovers a murder plot involving an authority figure. I assumed Phenomena’s Jennifer (Jennifer Connelly) would follow right in the footsteps of Kiss Of The Tarantula’s Susan.

Despite what I thought was a damn good prediction, I was wrong. In fact, take away the bugs, and these two movies have zero to do with each other. In fact, they don’t even both use insects.

Cuz tarantulas.Read More »

Victim Zero

We here at Castle Blogferatu pride ourselves on giving credit where credit is due. A while ago, a blog I read had a discussion about identifying with characters in books and movies. I tried desperately to find my comments about that. No dice. And I can’t for the life of me remember what blog the conversation started on (I read lots of ’em). If it was you, and you’re reading this, let me know, so I can give you credit damn it!Read More »

Get Out: It’s All Good. Until It’s Not.

I never intended to jump on the Get Out bandwagon. For one thing, I don’t typically review new releases. Second, when it came out, the immediate and overwhelming praise also made me leery. Call me a contrarian, but I have a long history of being disappointed by movies that met with widespread acclaim.

The Strangers and The Blair Witch Project leap to mind.

True, when I first saw the preview back in October, I couldn’t wait. But I also know I’m a total sucker for previews. Still, if David Edelstein can get on NPR and say, “Get Out really is Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner meets The Stepford Wives,” well, I’m all in.

Still, I’ve heard a lot of that. Jordan Peele acknowledges as much. One connection I haven’t seen mentioned is George S. Schuyler’s Harlem Renaissance novel, Black No More.Read More »