Jacob’s Ladder

Posted in Cult Horror, Cult Scenes with tags , , , , , , on June 6, 2009 by themoviecult

Let’s get Macabre for a moment.

Jacob’s Ladder (1990) is a unique piece of filmmaking. The duration of the film is a nightmare for the main character, Jacob Singer, in which his reality frequently turns upside down, and he can’t be sure of anything. The film deals with death, and the supernatural, but in a very clever way.

Tim Robbins is great as Jacob Singer – in fact, the whole cast of actors, including a very young Macaulay Culkin, give excellent performances. The direction, by Adrian Lyne is what sets this movie apart. Also, some effort has been put in to packing each scene with as many visual elements as possible – enhancing them greatly.

The title, Jacob’s Ladder, is a reference taken from the bible, about a dream meeting in a place between heaven and hell. The movie heavily takes ideas and themes from the bible, such as angels and demons.

Jacob’s Ladder is a very important movie. It inspired the Silent Hill games series, which was adapted into the eerie Silent Hill (2006) movie. The movie was dubbed the first of the “horrorcore” genre – extremely gory and macabre movies dealing with horrible monstrosities, and death/purgatory. The evolution of style and approach to subject matter through the decade of Silent Hill videogames and to the foundations of “horrorcore” movies all evolved from Jacob’s Ladder.

The Silent Hill videogame

The Silent Hill videogame

This is the evolution of the the horrorcore genre:
The Bible -> Jacob’s Ladder -> Silent Hill Videogames -> Silent Hill -> The Future

The Silent Hill Movie

The Silent Hill Movie

Now, let’s see what all of the fuss is about. This scene, taken from the middle of Jacob’s Ladder, works well without any context, so there’s no need to set you up. Enjoy.

Goldfinger

Posted in Articles with tags , , , , , , on May 18, 2009 by themoviecult

The James Bond movies are an awesome franchise, but as you no doubt have heard, the Bond books are quite different from their 60’s/70’s/80’s/90’s movie adaptations. The movie adaptations focused on the elaborate plots of Flemings’ super villains, and creating cheesy idiosyncrasies of the James Bond character, while forgetting the smarts of the writing.

Casino Royale is the closest movie depiction of James Bond in the books. It portrays the character as a strong bastard; as hard a thug as he was in the books. It developed the character like no movie before it had, and it was pretty awesome to watch.

Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and future James Bond adaptations, as faithful as they will be under new writing and direction, will still miss a little something that made the books golden.

Here is a little snippet from Goldfinger, where Ian Fleming muses on the connection between homosexuality and meterosexuals (he’s ahead of his time, here). This is James Bond’s reaction when he finds out the woman he is attracted to is a lesbian:

Bond came to the conclusion that Tilly Masterson was one of those girls whose hormones had got mixed up. He knew the type well and thought they and their male counterparts were a direct consequence of giving votes to women and ‘sex equality’. As a result of fifty years of emancipation, feminine qualities were dying out or being transferred to the males. Pansies of both sexes were everywhere, not yet completely homosexual, but confused, not knowing what they were. The result was a herd of unhappy sexual misfits – barren and full of frustrations, the woman wanting to dominate and the men to be nannied.

Hopefully, this, and the socially accepted racism – which is mostly against Koreans in Goldfinger, makes it into the future movies.

Okay, maybe not. But it’s still amazing to notice the attitudes of the time in Goldfinger, and even more amazing to notice that the majority of the people who follow the James Bond films have no idea about it.

Thanks to Mr Gale, over at the Frostiest Dog, for recommending Goldfinger.

Cult Scenes: Shogun Assassin

Posted in Cult Scenes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2009 by themoviecult

Here is the introduction to Shogun Assassin – the 1980 Japanese film about a lone wolf and his cub, directed by Robert Houston:

This is an efficient opening, because in such a short ammount of time, the major characters and the dilema are established. Also, because it is beautifully shot and well written (as is the rest of the movie).

Rap fans may notice the child’s voiceover sounds familiar. GZA/Genius, a notable fan of classic Japanese Martial Arts Films, based his 2002 album, Liquid Swords, around Shogun Assassin. Much of the dialogue and voiceover is sampled and used.

Amazing Movies You must Watch #3

Posted in Amazing Movies that you Must Watch with tags , , , , , , on December 1, 2008 by themoviecult

Once Upon a Time in America is spaghetti western director Sergio Leone’s last film. It’s a crime drama with coverage of the lives of several characters from the early 1920’s to the late 1960’s. Epic, indeed.

In Once Upon a Time in America, David “Noodles” Aaronson is the ringleader of a small band of tightly knit criminals. In their youth, they start by rolling drunks, and during prohibition, their operation evolves to bootlegging moonshine.

At the beginning of the film, Noodles is nowhere to be seen. The gangsters are going through his friends, torturing and murdering; Trying to find him. Something has gone horribly wrong. Noodles’ associates are dead. His friends and family are dead. He is on the run. His only option is to flea from New York.

At this point, Noodles’ past is revealed through flashbacks. We watch him as a streetsmart child, losing his innocence. Many complex, well-written characters are introduced. The storyline progresses, until Leone takes us back to that horrible mistake.

Noodles later returns to New York as an old man, one of the only few characters to have survived – albeit in a boring life where he has survived by, “going to sleep early”. He haunts the town, alone, like a ghost, going back over every detail. He tries to figure out the mystery: Why has he been called back into town?

There’s so much to the plot. So many layers and themes. So many story arcs, involving the aforementioned colourful characters. There’s a redeeming factor for almost all of the characters – so even those crazy types that need to identify with characters to enjoy movies will enjoy Once Upon a Time in America. The acting is almost perfect. Leone hired the big hitters – De Niro, Woods, Pecsi – and even some great lesser known character actors.

It is a masterpiece, because Leone was in love with the novel which his script was faithfully based upon – The Hoods by real life mobster, Harry Grey. Leone turned down an offer by Paramount Studios to direct the Godfather to focus on planning the project.

It all worked out, because the last film to Sergio Leone’s name, Once Upon a Time in America, is a masterpiece.

The Joke #1: Zombie Honeymoon

Posted in The Joke with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2008 by themoviecult

ZOMBIE HONEYMOON!

The subject of the first edition in The Joke segment is David Gebroe’s 2004 straight-to-dvd release, Zombie Honeymoon. The romantic horror is more than just a (terrible) movie, because it provides a  framework through which the viewer can measure their real life relationships.

The film asks that important, eternal question: Can love shine through zombification? Take a moment to ponder this, while you watch the trailer. Think about your girlfriend, or your boyfriend; husband or wife. If you need to, think about one of your parents. Would you stay with them if they became a zombie? Would you cover for them if you stumbled into a feeding session in the bathroom? If they were picking your mutual friends off, one by one, would your love endure?

These are the questions that the protagonist, Denise (no surname specified) must ask when she witnesses the man that she married a few days prior, Danny (no surname specified), die for minutes, and then arise as a Zombie.

Zombie Honeymoon is by no means consistent with conventional zombie lore. A few differences between Zombie Honeymoon and other zombie movies are notable. For one, in Zombie Honeymoon, a zombie may make a human a zombie by vomiting into their mouth. Also, the process of turning into a zombie may take up to a week, and for most of that time, a zombie is in full use of it’s mental functions.

There’s more! Bad acting, bad writing and horrible dialogue have aligned like the planets to present a rare hub of stupidity. Be sure to check Zombie Honeymoon out.

End Intermission

Posted in Uncategorized on November 13, 2008 by themoviecult

The Cult is back. Normal posting will ensue.

Cult Horror – an Introduction

Posted in Cult Horror with tags , , , , , , on August 6, 2008 by themoviecult

It is hard not to love horror movies.

They touch on the macabre; speculate on the unknown; present horrible monsters. They inspire nightmares; bring chills. They’re the reason to sleep with the lights on. They’re subtle and grate away gradually or they’re over the top – bucket’s of blood and all.

Fads and genres in movies come and go, but horror has been steadily popular for a long time now. We identify with the situations horror movies present because we fear death. We fear corruption – both physically and spiritually. We fear for the safety of our family and friends. We fear the unknown origin of creepy sounds. We fear having to face danger alone.

Great things can be done with horror in the right circumstances. If a horror movie identifies what we’re most scared of, establishes that anything can happen at any second, and then paces itself correctly, it is bound for greatness.

This segment is for exploring great horror, and touching on the bad. In a series of articles and reviews over the coming weeks and months (interspersed with regular programming), classic and modern horror will be analysed, and ideas will be investigated.

To get the ball rolling – what is your favourite horror movie? What has managed to scare you senseless?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.