Death Row and
Jake VanDorn seeing his daughter on film for the first time was such a horrific moment. It doesn’t dance around anything. She’s there; that tape exists; and now it’s burned into his memory, the image of two scumbags feeling up his blooming daughter who he’ll always and forever see as his little girl. Paul Schrader’s characters live in a world of isolation, loneliness, wicked thoughts and second guessing, seedy underworlds, dark realities and religious passages, where saying them does nothing…
We’re introduced to such a human poet, eloquent gobsmacking dialogue like some quick-speaking reporter, a beloved Howard Hawks attribute, brought to love in a classic Altman film. The way Phillip Marlowe so naturally walks- from a simple man, a friend to his neighbors, making human connections just trying to feed his cat. And bash me over the head with this, but fuck if this doesn’t scream Inherent Vice.
Of course, the leather-bound book makes itself known- appearing only as the afterthought to a strange occurrence. We listen to the harrowing campfire tale, it’s teller making us acutely aware of how late it’s getting, like the grandfather reminding us it’s our bedtime so the fact that we’re breaking it doesn’t fleet our minds. He proceeds to quietly indulge in the so-called legend with the sole purpose being to give cub scouts the heebie-jeebies. Never would it once occur to anyone that the legend is real.
Malignant- tears are rolling down my faded loose-fit jeans and coming out the open spaces in my Birkenstock’s. I don’t know if I can even say this film had promising potential, because of course such a simple template for supernatural horror could last with the proper direction- a blank canvas has infinite possibilities until you start painting essentially.