Thursday, October 20, 2005

Now Showing

I'm watching Frankenheimer's Seven Days in May right now, an early-60s thriller about an attempted coup by the Pentagon. It doesn't seem to have much in common with that bizarre orgy of 70s epistemologies, A Boy and His Dog, except that neither could have possibly predicted that Western Civilization's greatest threat in the early 21st Century would not be from the organized nations behind the Iron Curtain, but from small cells of networked extremists. (ABAHD gets the small cells thing right for the above-grounders, but only posits this occurence after a nation-on-nation conflict.) Most Cold War thrillers (whether post-apocalyptic satire/fantasy/melodrama/pseudo-realism, All-American-hero-in-the-nick-of-time, behind-the-scenes-amoral espionage, or whatever) seem so outdated; They're from a whole different era, although I remember the activist nuclear holocaust movies of the 80s like they were yesterday (as does MaryAnn J.) But, that doesn't mean they're not good or great movies, nor that they aren't historically interesting.

Anyhow: Frankenheimer -- Awesome! Seven Days -- Excellent! (Contemporary NYT review here.) ABAHD - Watch it with an open mind, and remember it was the 70s. (I still can't figure out what the white makeup w/red cheeks thing was about, either.)

A few interesting things I caught about ABAHD on this viewing that I had not caught the last time I watched it, a few years ago. First, the director is a guy named L.Q. Jones, a cult figure who has acted in films from 1955's Battle Cry through 1995's Casino. Also, the film features the late Alvy Moore, better known by his nom-de Hooterville, Mr. Kimball. I recognized him the first time I saw this film, years ago.

What I didn't realize until just this week is that he also was the producer of ABAHD. Not only that, but IMDB (celebrating 15 years this week) tells me that he produced movies like Brotherhood of Satan and The Witchmaker. I am fascinated by that era of the entertainment industry, in which All-American (Moore was an Iwo Jima Marine), non-threatening, establishment backbenchers went apeshit bananas at the first opportunity.

The NYT had quite an opener to the BoS review back in the 70s. Excerpt:
Lovers of horror movies are doubly deceived. Already so lost in Plato's cave that our eyes can only recognize the shadows, we still seek an ideal that is no more than what our dreams project into the deeper darkness. Almost everybody I know has a perfect horror movie in mind, and, of course, nobody has ever seen it. Everybody has seen bits and pieces of it, however.


Post a Comment

<< Home