Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Film #2: Nosferatu (1922)

And you thought your job sucked.
Consider what old Hutter had'da go through just to make a buck in the 1922 classic film "Nosferatu." First, his clearly insane boss (we've all had these types, right?) sends him to BFE Transylvania in order to help broker a London land deal for the mysterious Graf Orlok. He leaves his newly minted wife, trudges across friggin' sea and land, and upon arriving to Orlok's village comes to understand that the town's folk soil themselves at the very mention of Orlok's name. Not good. But, he follows the company orders and meets with Orlok, who looks like a cross between Bat Boy and and an albino rat (beautifully played by Max Schreck). Doesn't take long before Orlok is reveled to be a blood-thirsty vampire and starts suckin' down Hutter's neck juice.
To top it all off, Orlok soon finds a picture of Hutter's "beautifully necked" wife and vows to make her his next snack upon reaching London. Orlok packs up his coffin and heads for Hutter's wife, but Hutter is too weakened from all that vampire-on-man necking that he can't muster the strength to follow. The vampire plague is headed for unsuspecting London, but can Hutter regain his composure in time to warn the London masses and arrive before his beloved wife becomes bat-food!?

I know, I know, Nosferatu is a silent film and our banner clearly says the Rich-Dimick Horror Project is only watching films from the "talkie" era. But, we have decided that since the talkie didn't appear until 1927, we should still make an effort to fill out the 1920s decade with horror film-watchin' as best we can.

RD found Nosferatu amazing for its day. Many of the scenes still hold a true schriek factor that must have caused heart attacks back in 1922. Some of the cinematography was amazingly sophisticated for the 1920s, and bought both beauty and horror to this expressionistic masterpiece.
Nosferatu himself is the true star, especially when doing his signature "what-the-f*$*" move of rising out of a coffin as if hinged by his feet.
There is something inherently horrifying about silent movies. Maybe it is the fact that you can truly focus on the images, 100 percent, and not get distracted. Nosferatu, though slow at points, left RD watching the shadows for white-faced vampires by its conclusion. Good show.

RDHP Ratings:
C-Rating: 4.3
Chris Dimick states: "Parts of this were boring, but come on, it is a silent move shot 88 years ago. You have to watch with patience, and when you do the payoff is unrivaled by any modern horror film. Max Schreck is mesmerizing as the vampire. He steals every scene, and can still send a chill up your spine with his inhuman like movements. This is a true classic."

N-Rating: 4.5 "nails up"
Nick Rich states: "That rating comes with an asterisk. The film gets 3.0 for Nick-watchability. What get's that extra point and a half in the overall review? There are some great moments and shots for its time -- it made me wish I grew up Amish so I could experience this flick without the history of other horror films scratching at my mind. Modern peeps beware: this isn't your grandfather's horror flick -- it's your great grandfathers!
P.S. The sleepwear in this film was EXTREMELY realistic (a personal sticking point with me).

Weirdo Moment of the Viewing:
Nick didn't cut his nails for weeks prior to watching this movie in order to truely "feel" like Nosferatu. Throughout the film, Nick kept swiping and displaying his long claws to the webcam. I'm not sure if this added to the creepiness of the film, but it for sure added to the creepiness of the viewing.

Most Memorable Scene:
Schreck's insane coffin exit - saloon-door swingin' style. A scene that solicits a masterful blend of "WTF" and "AHHHH"!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Inagural Night: The Orphanage (2007)

For our kick-off film of the RDHP we selected 2007's The Orphanage. A surprisingly original Spanish film about a woman who returns to the orphanage she grew up in with her husband and their adopted, HIV-positive son Simon. The plan is to reopen the building as a home for special needs children, but soon lonely Simon begins seeing dead former orphans on the grounds. Watch out, these orphans are pissed! On the day the building is to open, Simon goes missing with his new "friends" and it is up to his parents to convince his ghostly abductors into returning the boy. But with Simon away from his HIV meds, time is running out!

The Horror Project founders found "The Orphanage" to be a pleasantly appropriate beginning to our journey through the horror ages (the fact that the last film we viewed together was The Zombie Dairies may have had something to do with how taken we were with this film).
To recap this adventure, Nick Rich and Chris Dimick have decided to watch one horror movie from each year, beginning in 1927 when the first "talkie" (film with sound) was released. Seeing as Nick resides in San Diego, and Chris resides in Chicago, the movie project will be coordinated through use of Skype technology and good olde fashioned DVD synchronization.
Some films we watch will be classics. Some will be near the top of Best Of yearly lists. And some will be utter garbage. That's cool, we here at the RDHP don't discriminate between big budget blockbusters and low-brow trash pixs.
We invite all who please to join this ride of horror, or merely muse on our writings as we time-travel through the annuals of film history.
One year down, 81 years to go.

RDHP Ratings:
C-Rating: 4
"The Orphanage is a highly creative ghost story whose cinematography sends it high above your average spook story. Some slow points, including a five minute montage of a woman turning door handles, knocked off a point on my movie-meter. I'd recommend this for those film fans who are interested in horror, but just can't handle all that sticky gore. This well crafted story relies more on suspense and mood than gore for its scares, which is always enough to renew my faith in the genre."

N-Rating: 3.7
"I agree this film was great to watch, but I had to dock is some points because the woman wore a bra in her sleep. All the scenes where she was woken up in the night she had a tank top and bra on - what woman sleeps in a bra!?!? It totally took me out of the reality of the situation."

Most Memorable Scene:
Three words: CPR. Old lady. Missing Jaw. Ok, that was more than three words, but geez - this scene made both of our jaws drop (off)!