August 2nd, 2005

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Review 2002: "The Ring"

The horror of "The Ring" is akin to the dread we felt when we received
the quarterly statements from our financial institutions on October
first, 2002. We knew that the stock market had taken a beating, but it was
still a shock to see the besieged portfolio. "The Ring" is not a fun
monster movie, but it is a haunting horror movie for voyeurs.

Based on a series of Japanese horror movies based on the same theme,
"The Ring" opens with two sorority sisters discussing an urban legend.
There seems to be a renegade video tape that projects a series of images
that culminates with a final shot of a circle. People who view this
video then receive a phone call from an absolute stranger. The stranger
informs the viewer that they have seven days to live. Having seen the
video tape, the audience quickly says goodbye to one of the sorority
sisters within the first five minutes of the movie.

We next meet single mother Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) and her
emotionally neglected son, Aidan (David Dorfman). Rachel is tardy picking up
Aidan from daycare and has an impromptu conference with David's teacher.
Aidan is drawing pictures of a late cousin in a coffin buried
underground. Given that the family lives in the doom & gloom of Seattle, the
feeling of dread become pervasive in the Keller household.

Nonetheless, Rachel needs to put food on her table and, being an
investigative reporter, she investigates this urban legend about the deadly
video tape. Rachel brings her work home and Aidan watches the video
tape. The phone rings and the Keller family become involved in a
investigative race against time.

It should be noted that "The Ring" is a Dreamworks Production in which
Steven Spielberg is a partner. Twenty Summers ago, Spielberg created
"Poltergiest," which dealt with ghosts that assault a family through the
television set. Both movies add credence to the urban legends that
television is rearranging our brain molecules. The big difference is that
"Poltergiest" is more fun to watch.

The uninspired screenplay was created by Ehren Kruger, the man who
concluded the last film of the "Scream" trilogy. The storyline is so
conforming that "The Ring" offers nothing new to the genre, it merely repeats
horror formula. Not since the "Faces of Death" sequels has the theme of
Freudian voyeurism seemed so forced.

Given the terrible headlines of the Washington D.C. beltway sniper,
"The Ring" does not provide escapism. While Dreamworks may have plans for
a "Ring" franchise, this series may be a marriage I will avoid in
future Halloweens.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Japan's Horrorific influence on Cinema

The latest new wave of horror springs from Japan.
With the success of "The Ring," American executives are
mining the depths of Japanese cinematic culture and
have come up with mixed box office results.

Starring Michelle Geller and Bill Pullman, "The Grudge" was
a Halloween hit in 2004, but "Dark Water" starring
Jennifer Connelly was a disappointment. This could be
because one can not tell one film from another. "The
Ring," "The Grudge" and "Dark Water" rely on
oppressive atmosphere over narrative content with
reoccurring theme about the misplaced rage of
victimized children.

Still, I miss the days of "Godzilla" ransacking Tokyo.
One of the best quotes ever can be attributed to a
dubbed actor in "Godzilla 1985,"

"Whenever there is a conflict between Man and Nature,
Monsters are born!"

There is a sense of fun about Godzilla monsters that is lacking today.
Perhaps Donald Roesser sang it best;
©1977 B. O'Cult Songs, Inc.

With a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound
He pulls the spitting high-tension wires down

Helpless people on subway trains
Scream bug-eyed as he looks in on them

He picks up a bus and he throws it back down
As he wades through the buildings toward the center of town

Oh no, they say he’s got to go
Go go Godzilla, yeah
Oh no, there goes Tokyo
Go go Godzilla, yeah

Oh no, they say he’s got to go
Go go Godzilla, yeah
Oh no, there goes Tokyo
Go go Godzilla, yeah

Godzilla! zilla…zilla…God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla
God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla
God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla
Godzilla!
Rinji news o moshiagemasu!
God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla
Rinji news o moshiagemasu!
Godzilla ga Ginza hoomen e mukatte imasu!
God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla
Daishikyu hinan shite kudasai! Daishikyu hinan shite kudasai!
God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla God zilla
God zilla God zilla

Oh no, they say he’s got to go
Go go Godzilla, yeah
Oh no, there goes Tokyo
Go go Godzilla, yeah

History shows again and again
How nature points up the folly of man
Godzilla!

History shows again and again
How nature points up the folly of man
Godzilla!

History shows again and again
How nature points up the folly of man
Godzilla!

History shows again and again
How nature points up the folly of man
Godzilla!

http://www.blueoystercult.com/Studio-main.html
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Romero is late returning to "Land of the Dead"

Time flies. It is hard to believe that it has been six
Augusts since "The Sixth Sense" opened and became
the box office champion of all horror movies. The
film's release started a trend with horror movies
dominating the box office from August until Halloween
Even as an adult, the climax of "The Sixth Sense"
made me jump and the film is on my top five list of
ultimate horror movies.

The original "Night of the Living Dead" is also on
that list. The film begins rather campy as the
cemetery zombie (Bill Hinzman) attacks a brother and
sister. Things go from bad to worst as the cannibal
zombies prey on mankind in gruesome and graphic ways
Director and co writer George Romero admitted that
"Night of the Living Dead" was an angry film
produced during the Johnson Administration in the
1960's. The issues of panic, race relations and the
disintegrating family are in the forefront.

Romero went on to write and direct two more zombie
movies, "Dawn of the Dead" and "Day of the Dead."
While the Tom Savini special effect increased the gore
factor, these zombie movies never had the same impact
as the original motion picture. Eventually zombies
spun off into their own zombie sub genre in the horror
field to include "The Return of the Living Dead,"
"Corpses are Forever" and the spoof, "Shaun of the
Dead," a zomedy and Rondo Hatton Award Winner for
best motion picture for 2004. "Land of the Dead" is
George Romero's heralded return to his world of the
living dead.

Riley (Simon Baker)is a survivalist who finds food
for the city ruled by Kaufman (Dennis Hopper). Along
with Cholo (John Leguizamo), Riley captains an urban
assault tank called "Dead Reckoning," against the
cannibalistic zombies. After roaming the earth for
almost 40 years, these zombies eventually learn how to
evolve. Organized by a zombiefied gas station
attendant (Eugene Clark), the zombies lead an assault
on Kaufman's despotic empire.

Some of "Land of the Dead" works and some does not.
Romero fashions some creepy moments and takes sadistic
glee when the zombies start munching on the lifestyles
of the rich and famous. Romero makes a grotesque
statement about supermodels and belly button rings.
The film falters when it takes itself too serious and
the audience may have become desensitized from
previous zombie carnage. "Land of the Dead" may
have had a bigger box office impact had it been
released before "Shaun of the Dead," the zombie's
version of "Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein."

Until a fresh idea occurs like "The Sixth Sense,"
the true horror of movie box office will be that of
diminishing financial returns.