October Filmfest...Phantasm

To begin, I'd like to thank all of the students, faculty and community members that attended Dr. Gail Gibson's lecture last evening "Global Warming: Its Impact on My Future." Dr. Gibson gave an illuminating and clear presentation on the topic of climate change. He also provided our students with some practical advice on reading between the lines in their analysis of media content concerning the politicized messages surrounding global warming (photos lacking context, flat-out incorrect information and disingenuous interpretation of data). Dr. Gibson did an excellent job, and he will be presenting again at Deerwood in the spring term. The St. Johns Riverkeeper will give a short presentation on taking action to clean Northeast Florida's greatest environmental asset in room B1206 next Wednesday at 7:00 P.M.

In the last week I've looked at some Halloween classics. I love Arachnaphobia. While not a traditional frightfest, the blend of comedy, suspense and good-natured chills (love the emaciated corpses with their mouths frozen wide in shock) is a throwback to more innocent times in the field of speculative film. It's not chocked full of special effects. It's not a score-driven, repetitive slasher film.

It's just a neat little picture that succeeds in spreading the October chill. Highly recommended.

I also looked at Don Coscarelli's Phantasm (1979). What can be said about Phantasm. You either love it or you hate it. I sort of liked it. Alien undertakers shrinking corpses to send home as midget slaves to their mother planet. Strange metallic guard orbs whizzing through the air and sucking thick streams of blood from the foreheads of the unsuspecting. Terrifically bad dialogue and a really disjointed plot. Unfortunately, a very cliched conclusion (alas, it was all a dream).

Still, the music, the pacing and some hard to describe measure of menace that Coscarelli brings to the film make this a worthy viewing experience. My wife hated it (F). I thought it was pretty neat (B-).

Coscarelli has made some interesting films. He did The Beastmaster (tune into TBS--it's probably on as we speak). He also did the excellent Bubba Ho-tep.

These are a pair of worthwhile films to take a look at in this, the season when, as Angus Scrimm says in the foreword to Phantasm, you look into the shadows and the Tall Man looks back at you.


jason smith said...

a b- is good enough for me if there are midgets and blood sucking alien orbs...phantasm it is...ps....what is your best unknown halloween pick?

Daniel W. Powell said...

Morning J,

I'd have to recommend In the Mouth of Madness. Creepy premise, solid central performance by Sam Neill and a real stunner of a scene on a dark highway with an old person on a bike.

Neat show.

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