Saturday, October 20, 2012

Movie Review: Eyes Without a Face

No Billy Idol here. Eyes Without a Face is a 1960's black n' white French horror film, about a surgeon father who will do anything to restore his daughter's face.

Now I really enjoyed this film, then again, I have a fondness for black n' white horror films, ever since seeing Vincent Price's House on Haunted Hill. There's something about the stark contrast of light and shadow that gives the film a creepy atmosphere.

The story grips you from the start, opening with some bizarre carnival music, a woman constantly looking over her shoulder as she drives, a slumped figure in the back seat. The woman dumps the body into a riverbank, which is later found by the police.

We meet Doctor GĂ©nessier, who claims that the body found is his daughter. Then goes home to greet his disfigured daughter in hiding, Christiane. 

Christiane, the tragic figure in all this is forced, not only to pretend she's dead, but to hide her face behind a blank mask. Yet we can see her  struggle with her isolation and her father's actions of kidnapping young women and stealing their faces. She, like the dogs her father keeps, are prisoners.

There's a bit of a Phantom of the Opera vibe, and I might be reading into this or maybe was intended, but the mask she wears certainly reminded my of the Phantom's mask, also both of them had disfigured faces. And Christiane sounds awfully close to Christine--the opera singer whom the Phantom was infatuated with. Music also played a large role from Christiane's sad longing, to the carnival music whenever the doctor's assistant is up to no good.

It's one of the few horror films which actually has some depth, instead of mindlessly running from a monster, characters make choices which have huge consequences. The father trying, but failing to successfully transplant a face; the assistant who is emotionally distraught, but continues out loyalty for the doctor has helped her before.

The ending is quite poetic, if not horrific. Christiane freeing herself (as well as the dogs) of her father's influences. While the dogs tear her father a part, Christiane disappears into the woods, a white dove in her hand.

The only drawback is that the police in the movie were complete idiots. They didn't do much of anything and didn't even come close to catching Doctor GĂ©nessier. But seeing as the story was mainly about Christiane, it's not such a major flaw.

Although this isn't a gory film--we don't even get a good look at Christiane's horrible face!--there is one squeamish part when doctor is removing a face, and maybe it's me, but there's something icky about seeing rivulets of blood as the scalpel digs into the skin.

Posted the trailer below. The wording is hard to read, but trust me, the film doesn't have the same issue.

If you can find this film, definitely check it out as a Halloween treat.

You know what else is a treat? Free stuff! Over at Milo's blog, he's giving away fun reads for the spooky season. So check it out! They're great stories, so you won't be disappointed.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Movie Review: Looper

I know this might be a little late since the movie has been out for two weeks, and two weeks is forever in today's fast paced world. But for those of you who haven't checked it out...

The gist: It's the year 2044. In thirty years time travel will be invented--and immediately outlawed. Disposing bodies is also quite difficult n the future.  Gangsters will use time travel to send people back in time to be assassinated by Loopers, this includes the Loopers older versions when it's time to close the loop. However, for Joe, his older self returns with a mission: get the Rainmaker.

Yes, it's a time travel movie, and like all time travel films it's terribly flawed. Personally, I think it's impossible to do time travel properly, because the theory itself is nonsensical. It did seem that the writers wanted the time travel to "work" in this film, but, uh.... You'll see.

For the most part, I enjoyed the film. Joesph Gordan-Levitt was great as young Joe, and I was quite pleased to see Paul Dano in this, although his part was short-lived (if you haven't seen him in True Blood, which was a boring film, but his parts make it worth watching). Bruce Willis is, well, Bruce Willis. But overall the acting was very well done.

The film also did a good job of setting a semi-dystopian tone, and thankfully, they didn't resort to ripping off Blade Runner's gritty city feel. You saw the poor and homeless camping out in tents, dressed in filthy clothes, while the Loopers ran around in nice clothing, going to clubs, doing drugs. You saw why someone would go for life of assassinating, 'cause it sure as hell beat the other life.

There was also an interesting mix of old and modern technology. You have hover bikes, but you also have Ford trucks. They also brought back the blunderbuss, which is essentially a shotgun, but blunderbuss is much more fun to say.

Gore. Yes there's a lot of it, but then again, this is about an assassin who shoots people with a blunderbuss. How could there not be any splatter? There's even instances where characters are completely covered in blood, and one rather disturbing scene.

As for the story, I thought it was a decent character-driven story arc, about young Joe going from a selfish nitwit to someone who cares about others. It's not quite an action film, which might disappoint some people. There are some shoot outs and one crazy-ass scene where Willis goes all Rambo on the thugs (and within context, was waaaaay over-the-top), but the story isn't about the action. The heart of the story is when Young Joe encounters a young mother and her child, out on a farm. 

But there were problems with the time travel, or maybe this was writer laziness, but the movie shows early on that whatever happens to your younger version affects your older version. So if Young Joe cuts himself, then Old Joe will have a scar. But yet, emotions didn't carry over. Young Joe develops feelings for this woman and her child as he attempts to protect them from his older self. Why doesn't Old Joe then also share in these feelings? But no, Old Joe is set to kill them no matter what. Not to mention, by interfering with the past, wouldn't that change the future, and thus change Old Joe?

Other than those illogical bits, it's a pretty decent movie and worth watching if you like a sci-fi film with some heart... and a lot splatter.

4 out of 5 time-traveling stars.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

W1S1 September update

Egads! October already? Next thing you know, everyone will be recovering from their New Year's Eve hangover.

Well, while there's time, let's see some stats:

Stories written: 3 (2 flash and 1 sci-fi horror--not quite finished but I'm counting it, anyway)
Stories submitted: 24
Stories accepted: 1
Stories rejected: 21

I've already mentioned this, but had a flash story accepted into UFO anthology, which I'm really looking forward to. Alex (the editor and fellow W1S1er) is also posting some SFF humor stories online for free. So check it out

In other news, I'm hating the new interface blogger/Google forced on me. I know it's been around for a while, but was trying to avoid it. My interface screen is now the equivalent of staring into a lightbulb. I'm hoping there's an option of toning down the white--maybe a nice lilac color?--otherwise, I might go blind from blogging.

On the bright side, I bought The Secret World on sale for 50% off (woohoo!), and will be enjoying the hell out of it--unless the bugs piss me off. And yes, it's still a little buggy. However, the ambiance is just awesome. As I said before, it's like running through a horror film. 

Happy October writing, everyone!

Yes, my weapon is a rusty pipe--how cool is that?

(Pssh. Click on the images, they look better in full view.)