what to do with that finger?

If you find an ancient giant skeleton and bring it home, it pays to do some research. If, while cleaning it off, where water touches it tissue begins to grow? Do more research. If the research points to the figure being the embodiment of evil who comes to life when wetted with water… Watch the heck out! Certainly don’t get it wet, and don’t make a serum out of it an inject it into someone… Unless, of course, your wife dying in an Insane Asylum isn’t enough crazy for you!

Sadly, the well meaning Victorian anthropologist Emmanuel Hildern is too focused on advancing his reputation and advancing science to really worry about that stuff. As is his scheming brother James, who doesn’t even realize the water danger! The Creeping Flesh is a great horror/thriller movie! It’s another great stand-out in the Lee-Cushing oeuvre and though Lee is good and evil as always, Cushing turns in another great rendition of his obsessed scientist role as they go head to head, yet again. As the brothers are both intent on winning a big science prize, the reality of Emmanuel’s find comes out when, while cleaning up the thing with water, he gets water on its finger and ends up with a giant fleshy middle finger that he cuts off. Soon the evil and insanity spread, bringing to the fore the tragedy of his recently late wife (an insane burlesque dancer kept a mystery to his daughter) and the rivalry between the two brothers heats up! The special effects are just alright, but the movie itself is quite enjoyable, featuring: an escaped murdering madman, a pub brawl with a bunch of sailors, mental patients used for experiments, women of ill repute and all sorts of olden tyme fun!

Also on the agenda was The Last King of Scotland, which was pretty engrossing. I remember Amin well from news stories when I was young (and, much more recently, some documentary I saw), but I found it quite enjoyable and of course, more enlightening, to see this portrayal of the “real” Idi. The fictional story of a young Scotsman who, fresh out of medical school, randomly selects Uganda to move to and practice, but once there inadvertently gets invited to be the personal physician of Idi Amin… A job that there is no turning down and no walking away from. As Idi’s bi-polar personality gets wobblier and wobblier, and this young doctor searches for a way out, he becomes, in turns, Amin’s most trusted adviser and a traitor to be carefully watched. Though a lot of the crazier stuff is played down it does show the reality of what people in power will do to stay there and the cruelty that seems so common to autocratic governments. Idi’s megalomania is on full display here and he is shown to be a regular old military dictator who was in over his head and, due to that, becomes quite paranoid. Whittaker does a great job, creating a moving, yet scary character, and I especially like the disturbing appearance of his eyes. The movie is very good, with great acting, beautiful scenery, a compelling tale, some good action and quite a bit of tension. It was also nice to see Gillian Anderson continue to leave the ‘Files behind. She does a good job and surprisingly, I don’t think, “Hey, it’s Scully!”… I don’t think Mulder has earned the same.

Swimming Pool. Now I’ve never had any interest in seeing this, as I imagined it to be some kind of dramatic emotional romance thing or something. Well, we watched it and it was really no such thing. What it is is a nicely paced movie that feels like a murder mystery, though there really isn’t much mystery involved (there is, though, a murder). The story of an uptight British novelist who retreats to a house in rural France to try and write her next book. She unexpectedly encounters a young lady at the house who tends towards loud and risque behavior, which is a rather unpleasant conflict with what the novelist has in mind. She soon becomes rather obsessed with the young lady and takes an interest (although not really in a friendly way) in the girl as subject matter for a book. Of course, secrets come out and things take some unexpected turns. But while there aren’t any really sympathetic characters and none of the actors really moved me, the movie is quite interesting and it moves a a very nice slow pace.

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