Archive for the Cult Scenes Category

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.

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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.

Cult Scenes #2

Posted in Cult Scenes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2008 by themoviecult

The Devil\'s Advocate

The Movie
The Devil’s Advocate – Taylor Hackford’s 1997 adaptation of Andrew Neiderman’s novel; a tale of Good Vs Evil. Well-written, with the dialogue and camera angles almost completely tailored to the themes of the movie, including many little extra touches; enough to make re-watching enjoyable.

The Context
Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) is a criminal defendant from Florida that never looses – even when he is representing a guilty party. He has been invited to work for a big law firm in New York because of his perfect record.

He has just won his first case with the firm – defending a man named Moyez, who was ritualistically sacrificing a goat. In the street, he talks to the head of the law firm, John Milton (Al Pacino). Kevin has no clue yet that his boss is Satan and he wants Kevin’s soul.

Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) and John Milton (Al Pacino)

Scene (Warning: Language)

EXT. CANAL STREET (CHINATOWN) – DAY

Milton (Al Pacino) and Kevin (Keanu Reeves) are standing at a food stall. Milton pays for Kevin’s food.

MILTON
Best street food in the world.
Try that. Tell me it isn’t great.
(as Kevin eats)
New York. What a scene, right?
Guy like Moyez living in that
subterranean shithole all the
time he’s running around with
fifteen million dollars in the
bank.

KEVIN
You gotta be kidding.

MILTON
What do you think? We’re giving
you away? He’s paying us in
goat’s blood? I’m billing you
out at four-hundred an hour, my
friend. I don’t see a whole lot
of pro bono work in your
immediate future.
(buzzing here)
Seriously, what I like, you got in
there with him. Inside the cage.
That’s instinct. Can’t be taught.
You gotta hear that on your own.
It’s gotta be in your blood. It’s
molecular. I bet I’ve got five
thousand lawyers working around
the planet. I couldn’t name
ten — couldn’t name three —
I’d trust with Moyez.

KEVIN
So what the hell are they doing?

MILTON
What are they doing? They’re
corporate lawyers, what do
you think they’re doing? They’re
busy reducing life and death to
the proper position of a semi-
colon. They’re doing needlepoint.
Push button battles. Push button
wars. Armies that get so fucking
far away from each other they
need satellites to tell them
who won. No pain. No sound.
No smell. One big, multinational
circle jerk. You, on the other
hand, you’re on the slaughterhouse
floor. You can’t help but smell
your clients.

KEVIN
I figure you came to court to
make sure I didn’t fuck this up.

MILTON
Maybe I did. But don’t get too
cocky. No matter how good you
are. Don’t let them see you
coming. That’s the gaff, my
friend — make yourself small.
Be the hick. The cripple. The
nerd. The leper. The shit-
kicking surfer. Look at me —
I’ve been underestimated from
day one. Do I look like a
master of the universe? That’s
your only weakness as far as I
can tell.

KEVIN
What’s that?

MILTON
The look. The Florida stud thing.
‘Scuse me, ma’am, did I leave my
boots under your bed?’

KEVIN
Never worked a jury didn’t have a
woman.

MILTON
You know what you’re missing?
What I have? This beautiful girl
she’s just fucked me every way
she knows how — we’re done —
she’s walking to the bathroom —
she turns — she looks —
It’s me. Not the trojan army that
just fucked her. Little old me
And she gets a look on her face,
like “How’d that just happen?”
Right there, from that moment on,
she’s got a secret. I’m the hand
up Mona Lisa’s skirt. I’m the
whisper in Nefertitti’s ear.
I’m a surprise. They never see
me coming. That’s what you’re
missing.

Milton and Kevin depart from the stall.

(This is just one of the many great monologues from John Milton in the film. If you’ve seen the film, or don’t care about spoilers, you can watch the final monologue, here – Warning: Language.)

Cult Scenes #1

Posted in Cult Scenes with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2008 by themoviecult

Natural Born Killers

The Movie
Oliver Stone’s bizarre satire on public obsession with crime, made in 1994: Natural Born Killers.  It contains excessive violence, and is shot in Stone’s trademark style, with many different cameras and lenses used.  It follows a young couple in love, Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson), and Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis), on a cross-country killing spree, spurred on by media coverage.

Behind the Scenes
The script for Natural Born Killers was originally written by Quentin Tarrantino, and it was meant to be a 60’s style crime romp.  The screenplay was sold to Oliver Stone, who revised it to make it comment on the media and television’s impact over the serial killers, rather than follow a shallow crime/comedy story. 

On the director’s commentary, Stone said that he looked past Tarrantino’s obsession with the 60’s to make it cover all eras of American television and popular culture, because it added context to the story of the couple.

Oliver Stone also made the story focus on the serial killers, rather than smug journalist Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jnr) – changing the duo from being ordinary people to being social outcasts with broken childhoods.  Stone kept most of Tarrantino’s trademark dialogue.

Quentin Tarrantino disliked the movie that was made from the script he had crafted, so much so that the requested to have his name removed from the credits.  The film lists Tarrantino under the “story by” credit.

Mickey and Mallory Knox

The Context
Well into the killing spree, Mickey and Mallory Knox are weak and lost in the desert.  They stumble upon an old Indian’s hut, and the Indian takes them in.  This scene comes just before the turning point in the movie, where the Indian chants in an attempt to remove the demons from Mickey.

The Scene
(You can find the Parable – without sound – here)

INT. INDIAN’S HUT – NIGHT 

Mickey and Mallory are at the door.

INDIAN
Come on in.

He motions for them to sit in an overstuffed chair.

MALLORY
Thank you (pointing to herself)  I’m Mall-o –
ry…That’s Mi…ckey.

Everyone nods and smiles.  An Indian boy comes in and sits next to the Indian.

INDIAN (in navajo to the Boy)
Good looking woman…uh…Man’s got things in
his head he can’t get out…demons.  Too much
TV…Trouble follows that one.

MICKEY (to Mallory)
This is like the twilight zone or something.

LATER:
 
Mickey is deliriously sleeping, and Mallory is silently looking around the room. The boy and the old man converse in Navajo.

INDIAN BOY
Can you help them grandpa?

INDIAN
Maybe they don’t want to be helped.  They both
fly too close to sun.  Now they are falling to
earth.  That is why they have come here.  My
prayers would mean nothing in their world.

A snake is crawling over to the Indian who reaches down and picks it up and puts in his lap.

INDIAN
Once there was a woman who went out to
collect firewood.

The Indian stokes the fire.

INDIAN
She came upon a poisonous snake
frozen in the snow.  She took the snake
home with her.  She put the frozen snake
on her favorite blanket by the warm fire.
She fed it and nursed it back to health.  One
day she picked the snake up and it bit her on
the cheek.  As she lay dying she asked the
snake, I loved you, why have you done this to
me?  The snake answered, “look bitch, you knew
I was a snake.”

The Indian and the boy chuckle. The Indian takes the snake to the door and puts it down.

INDIAN
Old man, go be a snake.