Night of the Living Dead on Criterion

Is the new Criterion Blu-ray edition of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead worth purchasing? I’m of two minds on this question. Part of the eerie charm of the original edition is its low budget–its grainy black-and-white film, cheap sets, tinny music, and actors nobody ever heard of.
 
The Criterion edition attempts to enhance the cheap black-and-white print with Blu-ray technology. But do we really want it enhanced? Doesn’t enhancement take away part of the sinister charm of the grungy original?
 
On the other hand, it’s good to see that the movie is getting the attention it deserves from its groundbreaking reenvisioning of the zombie as a flesh-eating creature that feeds on living humans. Before this movie, zombies lumbered around with their eyes bugging out of their heads, looking spooky, but they were harmless. They were the walking dead without a bloodthirsty appetite, as in Bela Lugosi’s White Zombie.
 
Then along came George Romero and the invention of the modern zombie in Night of the Living Dead. And the zombie was forever changed. It has now become identified as the monster that is the most terrifying threat to humanity, much more terrifying than vampires and werewolves.

Personal Shopper review

This movie doesn’t work for me.  It is a cross between a ghost story and a mystery thriller. The mystery is too easy to solve.  The villain is so obvious a seven-year-old could figure out who it is.  This part of the movie ends abruptly.  The ghost story drags on to the less-than-horrifying ending.  The best part of the movie is the main character, who seems alienated and works for a movie actress as a “personal shopper.”  Her life is not fulfilled.  She says she is waiting for something.  What is she waiting for?  What she ultimately is waiting for is a sign that her life has some meaning.  She is full of existential angst.  But she is lost in a plot that doesn’t deliver.  Does she find meaning in the end?  I’m not going to tell you.

American Psycho

I know American Psycho is a play now on Broadway, which I haven’t seen, but I did recently watch the movie of the same name for the second time where Patrick Bateman carves a path of blood on Wall Street.

Parts of the movie, directed by Mary Harron, are hilarious black humor, while other parts are ghoulish and worthy of Grand Guignol.

The scene where the Wall Street masters of the universe trot out their business cards and flourish them over lunch is funny.  Bateman becomes irate when he sees that one of his buddies has a better card than his because it has a watermark on it.  Bateman is a guy who can’t stand being upstaged when it comes to showing off his wealth and concomitant superiority.

On the other hand, the scene where he’s chasing the hooker around his digs with a chainsaw while he’s naked is grisly.  The way the scene ends with the chainsaw somersaulting through the stairwell like a swimmer high-diving through the sky out of Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will and finding its mark is outrageous and brutal.

The movie succeeds as a horror movie more than as a comedy, since Bateman shows no signs of reforming at the end.  The homicidal misogynist who uses women alternately as sex toys and murder victims will continue his reign of terror.

I’m kind of surprised the author Bret Easton Ellis hasn’t written a sequel to his novel.

Goodnight Mommy

Goodnight Mommy is a creepy, unsettling movie that reminds me of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games in that regard.  But I didn’t find it scary.  It does have a good plot twist in the ending.  It’s sickening watching what the main characters do to each other, though. It’s up to you whether you would want to sit through this ordeal of psychological and physical abuse, which seems to go on for a long time.  It works on different levels as a horror movie and one that explores psychological hangups and how they influence individuals’ minds and their interactions with other individuals.  I found it more successful with its attempts at psychological examinations than with its attempts at horror.

Countdown to World War Z

Will the writer of the World War Z screenplay keep the wit and satire of the book, or will he go straight for the horror elements in it?  It’s fine with me if he sticks to the horror aspects of the book in the movie.  A zombie frightfest would be a welcome flick.