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Month in Review: October 2011

by on 2011/10/31


For Halloween month, we each did our own thing, with an interesting crossover finish.

I had stacks of vintage science fiction and horror I was longing to see and review, far too many to fit in a single month. It wasn’t until we got close to October when I was struck by an obvious filter: I would only watch movies made in black and white.

While I didn’t get through the entire subset, I did most of them, ending with a spooky total of thirteen. (1960’s Psycho will have to wait for the upcoming Hitchcock month. The Director’s Cut of The Mist . . . maybe someday, we’ll see.)

An unexpected bonus which I hadn’t anticipated was that I wound up adding four new titles to our public domain archives. (Something similar happened in our March focus on film noir.) It’s always rewarding to discover pieces as affordable as entertaining.

Here then are the high-and-low-lights, the tricks and treats in this eerily monochrome month: favourites, surprises, disappointments, least-liked, and my counterpart’s least evil offering….


Favourite
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) on 2011/10/31

* * * * *

“The Day the Earth Stood Still is a family friendly, re-watchable, highly entertaining classic, and thought-provoking on several different levels. Besides, it’s got aliens, robots, paranoia, action, subtext, great lighting, and a proto-electronic score . . . all of which explains why it’s also got a rating of five stars.”

Honourable Mention
Ed Wood (1994) on 2011/10/31


Surprise
Cat People (1942) on 2011/10/03

* * * *

“Resting comfortably in the middle ground between Universal Horror and Atom Age flicks, Cat People’s cast is compelling, its story provocative, and its production values humble, yet effective . . . accessible, interpretive, and elegant.”


Disappointment
The Haunting (1963) on 2011/10/26

* * *

“The Haunting felt like a landslide victory of style over substance. While my eyes and ears were happy, my brain was unsatisfied. In short, its sound and fury was fine, but it truly signified nothing.”


Least-Liked
The House on Haunted Hill (1959) on 2011/10/07

* * *

“The House on Haunted Hill is a reasonable distraction, if not especially distracting overall. The single best reason to check it out is to enjoy Vincent Price in a scene-chewing role of sheer guilty pleasure fun.”


Show Me
9 (2009) on 2011/10/22

* * * *

“9 rewards the careful viewer with an intricately, beautifully crafted essay on war, group dynamics and the complexity of human condition . . . [it] is a thing of beauty, insight and artistry.”


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