Tuesday, April 24, 2012
THE THEATRE BIZARRE
THE THEATRE BIZARRE (2011)
US/ FR/ CA
Down a seedy city street in her neighborhood, young Enola Penny is obsessed with what appears to be a long abandoned theatre. One night, she sees that the front door is slightly ajar and impulsively decides to sneak inside. But there in the dark, decrepit auditorium, a show unlike any other unfolds before her eyes. Its host is an eerie human puppet named Peg Poett who will introduce Penny to six tales of the bizarre.
One of the weirder reviews to do is one for films with multiple segments that interconnect, yet at the same time don't. The reason why to me is because each segment has to stand on it's own while still carrying on the film without dropping the ball and making the movie slam to a halt. Basically segment films are short films within a film. And as such I review each segment separately to be fair to the whole product.
THE MOTHER OF TOADS
Directed by Richard Stanley
Catriona MacColl - Mere Antoinette
Shane Woodward - Martin
I must admit this segment of the movie was the main reason why I wanted to watch it. Richard Stanley is just a amazing director if he is allowed to just let loose and giving full control. At the same time this is also the failing of this segment as well. It's not because of actors or look, but because of the run time for The Mother Of Toads. Stanley's segment is perfectly set for a short film, subsequently though one that can run for more than 10 minutes. The reason why I say this is because there is a feeling of something missing in this segment due to that a lot is spoken of and hinted at albeit not explained which is why this segment fails in the end.
I LOVE YOU
Directed by Buddy Giovinazzo
Andre Hennicke - Axel
Suzan Anbeh - Mo
I Love You is the second best segment of the movie to me. Not because it's the bloodiest but because of the emotions involved in telling the story. The loneliness portrayed by Andre Hennicke as Axel is palatable yet at the same time misguided due to Axel being too needy and untrusting which causes his love to become less about love and more about control. What follows is Axel trying to piece together the missing pieces from his memory and his refusal of the real truth. Suzan Anbeh is great as Mo, who has to be as heartless as possible to prove a point and in return causes what she was hoping to prevent.
Directed by Tom Savini
Debbie Rochon - Carla
Tom Savini - Dr. Maurey
Tom Savini's return to directing couldn't have happened soon enough. Yet with Wet Dreams he has a difficult time with a jumpy story that is a dream within a dream only to find out that it's hiding within another dream by a man being tortured. The acting from Tom Savini and Debbie Rochon is more than acceptable for what their roles required. Savini as a doctor who misguides one character while helping Rochon, who plays a abused wife who inflicts bloody revenge against a cheating husband who is more interested in sex with others, even if it's through rape. The problem lies with James Gill's character, or I should say Gill's acting as he isn't able to pull off the emotions required of him toward the end as he's unbelievable in his repulsion from his own dreams that haunt him every night and in his pain in real life.
Directed by Douglas Buck
Lena Kleine - Mother
The Accident is probably the most somber of the shorts in the film as it deals with a mother having to explain death to her daughter. The child played by Melodie Simard is completely believable as she asks innocent questions after witnessing a accident in which a animal and a motorcyclist is killed. Nothing is played for laughs as it deals with the understanding of the fragility of life. One of the haunting images in this segment is the lingering view of the dead motorcyclist's eye seen through a broken helmet visor as if he's staring at the child and asking why this happened to him. If there is one segment that seems the most out of place in the movie it would be The Accident as it is more of a drama piece than horror.
Directed by Karim Hussain
Kaniehtiio Horn - The Writer
Cynthia Wu-Maheux - Junkie Girl
Vision Stains is to me the one segment that fits the name of the movie the most and as well my favorite. Kaniehtiio Horn is a writer who can only write after draining the eye fluid of dying people and shooting the residue into her own eye. She lives a life of squalor with her dead victim's memory in written form. We're shown that she has been doing this for a long time as her shack is filled with notebook towers of her victims, until she crosses the line of life when she tries to see what a unborn child sees. This is when the true supernatural comes to bring retribution against her for trying to see what she shouldn't and isn't allowed to see until death. In return to stop the torture of her mind she has to give restitution of her own sight for what she has done.
Directed by David Gregory
Lindsay Goranson - Estelle
Guilford Adams - Greg
Sweets is the weirdest of all the segments in the movie as it deals with control through emotions and food. Greg, played by Guilford Adams, is so in love with Estelle that he doesn't see her using that love to force feed him to fatten him up for a feast. Lindsay Goranson, who plays Estelle, is hard to place acting wise in the segment as she truly doesn't show any real emotions at the slow mental abuse she gives out to get what she wants. Nothing is truly explained in the segment as at the end it is filled with cannibals that all act like Estelle. Dead and stiff acting for those all around this segment stop what could have been an interesting segment, yet it's because nothing is explained is why this piece fails completely and instead just turns it into a gross-out segment about gluttony.
THE THEATRE BIZARRE
Directed by Jeremy Kasten
Udo Kier - Peg Poett
Virginia Newcomb - Enola Penny
The Theatre Bizarre segment runs through the whole movie as it cuts back to this after each segment. The best part of this segment (segments) is Udo Kier as Peg Poett. Yet the major downfall of these is that you don't know what is going on during these except that Kier's character goes from a wooden looking puppet to a flesh and blood man after each segment while Virginia Newcomb's Enola Penny is the exact opposite, transforming from flesh and blood to wooden puppet. There's is no rhyme or reason giving for why this is happening and Kier's character only speaks lines that comments on human nature. The look of these segments is dark and washed out yet nothing is obscured from view. At the end though I was left with more questions than answers for what happened with these segments as well as felt somewhat cheated and let down by the whole movie in general.
Axel's ultimate gift of love.
It's easier to be caught up in someone else's story than to live our own.
Richard Stanley's segment is an adaptation of the short story Mother of Toads by Clark Ashton Smith.
Each director was given the same budget, schedule and narrative directive. Other than that, they were given free rein to create their 10-20 minute segments.
This is the first time Tom Savini has directed for a a feature film since 1990's Night Of The Living Dead remake.