the dutchman’s breeches became a thing of sinister menace…

Filling out the second side of The Dunwich Horror disc, there is a second “Lovecraft” feature, Die Monster Die. As with most of these, it is very loosely adapted from Lovecraft’s works (The Colour out of Space, in this case). In fact, this movie actually seems quite similar to the Dunwich Horror movie. This whole genre of the 1960’s Gothic horror is a very strong one, and as such we can’t really judge these movies based on their Lovecraftian merits, as they have little and that would distract from the entertaining qualities that these possess… As far as these 1960’s AIP things go, this one was pretty good and of the high quality common to these: with an engaging story, nice sets and special effects that while primitive (this was 1965) are interesting in concept.

An American fellow arrives by train into the town of Arkham looking to get to the old Wiley estate. Of course, no one in town will help him or even give him any information. Frustrated, he heads out of town on foot. As he approaches his destination, he is intrigued by a large, creepy, unnatural looking “burnt” spot that he passes by. Then, upon arrival, he is rebuffed by the master of the house, old mister Witley (Boris Karloff). Witley and his servant seem to have something going on that they don’t feel like answering any questions about, not even about the burnt spot. Our American is curious but, as before, information fills out slowly. Luckily, for the American’s inquisitive mind, Witley’s daughter had invited him and Witley’s wife wishes him to stay, or better yet, take the daughter away, so old Boris can’t quite seem to get rid of him. Of course, there is something wrong, a veiled woman in a black cloak creeping around outside, strange animal noises, the mother rotting away from some strange disease, a locked greenhouse, strange glows… And our handy American cannot help but oppose the old man and investigate.

Boris Karloff is great as old mister Witley: is he evil, confused, naive? What is he hiding and where? It’s a good looking and fun movie. While the modification of the original story certainly takes away some of the depth it could have had, and the Lovecraft stuff that remains seems a bit ill-fitting to the rest of the movie, it is a nicely made, fun and interesting film.

As we are unable to resist these Stephen King things, we watched The Dark Half. It does seem that Stephen King and George Romero should make a fine film, but like most of the King movies, this is pretty bad. It also seemed to drag on a bit. This is the story of a boy who has a twin who is not completely formed, so not formed that what is formed is in his head, literally! The scene where the doctors open his brain and see a blinking eye and find some teeth inside is enough to make you want to shut it off. Sadly, the boy grows up to become a teacher and a serious novelist (and still sadly, to be played by Timothy Hutton), who also writes violent sensational pulp novels under a different identity to make ends meet. When the time comes to reveal to the public that this hardboiled Mississippi novelist is really a mild mannered writer in Maine, he also decides to stop writing the other books. Of course, the old alter ego “bad” side to him is more then just a pseudonym, and he gets mad and comes for vengeance, killing the people who he feels is responsible. As is common with King, a story that has a nice psychological thriller angle to it, becomes instead a hokey horror story with a TV movie feel to it. The only plus it has is, that for a lot of the movie, Timothy Hutton actually does a good job and is interesting as the “bad man” writer.

And finally, tonight we watched Knocked Up. This little comedy had some funny parts. The story of an unlikely couple: Ben (Seth Rogan) an unemployed stoner who lives with bunch of guys who are trying to put together a website that lists the nude film appearances of famous actresses, and Alison, an up and coming E! TV hostess. They randomly encounter each other in a bar, get drunk and after the one thing leads to the other, she ends up pregnant. The rest of the movie is the comedy hijinks as they attempt to get to know each other and stay together. It was entertaining enough, though at over two hours, it also seemed a bit too long.

2 Responses to “the dutchman’s breeches became a thing of sinister menace…”

  1. Thud on November 12, 2007 10:14

    I didn’t think much of the Dark Half as a book (I’m a Stephen King fan, though), so I’m not surprised the movie didn’t work. The book dragged on, too.

  2. Ashley on November 13, 2007 15:53

    Yeah, I haven’t read much Stephen King (at least since Christine came out), but it seems that his writing is always much more engrossing and credible than his cheap movies. Except, of course, for The Shining.

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