Favorite films

  • The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
  • City of the Living Dead
  • The Night of the Hunted
  • Eugenie de Sade

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  • The Heart of the World

    ★★★★★

  • Malignant

    ★★★½

  • The Keyhole

    ★★★½

  • Death Walks on High Heels

    ★★★★

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  • The Devil Is a Woman

    The Devil Is a Woman

    ★★★★

    “Mother says no flies enter a closed mouth.”

    And with that we reach the wicked conclusion of von Sternberg and Dietrich in Hollywood. We’ve been to war torn North Africa, spy-filled Austria, revolutionary China, American dance halls and the Russian Winter Palace. What strikes me most about the films is how very different they all are. There are through-lines and common themes (ribald songs, fallen women, dynamic sexuality, uneven lighting), but each film has its own unique, exotic flavor. There's…

  • The Laughing Woman

    The Laughing Woman

    ★★★★½

    “It is essential that the fertility of the man should remain absolutely intact.”

    Enter the vulva. Mind the teeth. Hyper pop-art staged battle of the sexes. Contemporary erotic art as much a character as our amateur Marquis de Sade and his female praying mantis. Dr. Sayer’s (Philippe Leroy) ultra-modern home functions how he expects his women: functional, automated, open at a push of a button. Maria's (Dagmar Lassander) abductee-turned-seducer plays the longest of games, waiting for the perfect moment to…

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  • The Heart of the World

    The Heart of the World

    ★★★★★

    “The world is dying of HEART failure!”

    Two brothers obsessed with resurrection. One a mortician, the other a passion play Jesus, vie for the love of a beautiful state scientist. With one day left before the earth’s heart stops beating, they compete to win her love (converting an orgy into prayer, building a giant penis cannon). Plot twist! Zombies! A cigar chomping industrialist as the “dark horse” third lover! Maddin called The Heart of the World part of his “tireless campaign to redeem melodrama.” I didn’t know it needed redemption, but consider it fully restored. 

    ➡️ Winnipeg’s Son: Guy Maddin Ranked 📋

  • Malignant

    Malignant

    ★★★½

    “Ask her what she used to call me.”

    Well, shit. I didn’t expect James Wan to be the guy to expose Conjuring kids and horror tweens to a Takashi Miike Masters of Horror episode and the solo work of Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry, but here we are. 

    Fun stuff. Wan is in on the joke. I still think his dour home and bedroom sets are tired, and it’s not as good as the films it’s inspired by (Trauma, Basket Case,…

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  • Alison's Birthday

    Alison's Birthday

    ★★

    “What sinister secret lies beyond the old stone wall?”

    My boy Peter did a pole vault over the fence with a hay fork. I’ve oddly seen this movie a handful of times before because I picked up a VHS at Pawn America some twenty-years (!) ago based on the druidic cover art. I remembered quite a bit, but I didn’t quite remember how much Alison’s story takes a backseat to Detective Pete ripping all over town in his yellow buggy…

  • The Docks of New York

    The Docks of New York

    ★★★★★

    “I never did a decent thing in my life.”

    New York City waterfront in the days before “oil fuel” and prohibition. Pornographic drawings etched into the walls of the stoke-hole. George Bancroft as The Stoker, Bill Roberts is a dirty, stinking, heavy who moves from hole to hole. On shore leave for the night, he lurches toward the wharf watering hole, The Sandbar—maybe my favorite of von Sternberg’s calamitous, rowdy set pieces. You can smell the sin and violence and…