Friday, October 03, 2008
Camera Obscura: Doomed Movie Marathon; Pie Fights on Film; New Romero Zombie Movie
There are fans and then there are fanatics - fans seek and watch and talk about movies, fanatics force life to accommodate their movie addictions. In recent years, the rise of the DVD has made it easier to become a fanatic, true, but you can always tell the difference between a fan and a fanatic.
A true fanatic is Richard of Doomed Moviethon. For the past few years, he's been keeping careful catalogs of the horror and cult movies he views, and he also gives you the lowdown on what happens when you create a stack of movies with a theme and watch them for endless hours. Past efforts already featured on the website include horror movies from the year 1976, 13 of them in 42 hours, or the Argento project, where he watched 13 of Argento's movies in 34 hours.
I get queasy just thinking about it. One must carefully prepare for such mind-bending journeys. Selecting the films for a marathon viewing session is tough enough, but then you must likewise create a store of food and drink, prepare your furniture arrangements, clear your schedule of interruptions, and get your mind right to commit to a few days to nothing but watching movies.
He also keeps a blog of individual movies he views, and his selections are always fascinating and sometimes quite obscure. There are decades and decades of films from Grade Z to Grade A and only the strongest dare create a marathon of Grade Z movies because after a few hours, your brain starts playing tricks on you. That happens even if the movies are Grade A, it's a time thing.
I confess I am a marathon viewer too, have been since VHS first made it possible. It isn't too hard to find friends willing to watch 3 in a row, but only the most hearty souls will sign on for 10 or 15 movies in one gulp. I've never had much problem to commit to 20 hours of horror/cult movies, but there have also been some light marathons, like all the Pink Panther movies in one setting, and others I know have downed multiple seasons of The Sopranos or The Wire with much ease.
Make no mistake - this isn't escapism, it's work, people, brain-twisting and muscle-breaking work. Only the strong can survive.
Watching some of the political wrangling on the floor of Congress or out and about with the campaign trails this year, I've often wished and prayed a good pie fight would break out. Pie fights work best when they occur among folks dressed in fine clothes. A clown pie fight, for example, just is not funny. Cinematical offers a selection of great pie fits on film here, wisely including one from The Three Stooges. These guys are the indisputable kings of pie fights - the sound effects, the textures of the pie fillings, the crusts, and the well-heeled societies which quickly devolve into a pastry rage - these are their hallmarks. Here's one fine example:
The Cinematical link above also features a fine scene in the comedy "The Great Race", which becomes a technicolor blur of pie fillings which literally coat the walls of the kitchen. Tony Curtis, as the film's hero, seems to escape pie dangers ... for a while. And Natalie Wood just looks fantastic when covered in pies and whipped cream. (shut up, i know what that sounds like, so just shut up)
I've wanted to make a short film for a long time now which would incorporate the style of a John Woo Hong Kong shoot-em-up with a pie fight. There's this image in my head of someone leaping sideways in slo-mo hurling pies from each hand as the room around them is pock-marked by pie debris. Yes, I have strange ideas stuck in my head.
A new Moby Dick movie -- without a crazed Cap'n Ahab?? The Russian director of "Wanted" and "Nigh Watch/Day Watch", Timur Bekmambetov, is eyeing a version of the Melville novel that would be more "Orca on steroids" with lotsa CGI carnage and Ahab the hero who saves the seas from the beast.
Romero is back behind the camera for a new zombie movie, which does not have a title yet. No matter. Details here at the Port Dover, Ontario website and here at AICN.
With awards and praise piling up for the AMC channel for their series "Mad Men", the cable channel is developing several new mini-series, like the remake of the 60s sci-fi show "The Prisoner" and announced plans this week for an adaptation of the award-winning sci-fi novel "Red Mars" by Kim Stanley Robinson. That's a very good book about the first human colony on Mars, with heaps of political drama driving the tale.