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  • Schoolgirl Hitchhikers

    Schoolgirl Hitchhikers

    ★★★½

    The first of Rollin’s pseudonymous sex films, Schoolgirl Hitchhikers still feels very much like a Rollin film and is quite good as a result. It starts with a pair of young women walking down a path in the woods together—they could very well be the heroines from Requiem for a Vampire after their adventures in that film’s chateau. Indeed, Schoolgirl Hitchhikers will largely replay the events of that film with Rollin substituting a pulpy crime film for the horror elements:…

  • Holiday

    Holiday

    ★★★★★

    One of the greatest of all Hollywood comedies, is large part because of an underlying bleakness. I have never seen another Hollywood film portray with more brutality the corrosive effects of meaningless work and enforced idleness. Yet it also gives us a glorious alternative, deftly balancing its tragedy with soaring—literally, during Hepburn and Grant’s acrobatics—possibility.

    The character of Ned (Lew Ayres), begins as the stereotypical funny drunk but slowly transforms into one of the bleakest portrayals of the white-collar worker…

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  • The Witch Returns to Life

    The Witch Returns to Life

    ★★★

    Hooptober 4.0
    Country 3/6: Finland

    While it’s from Finland and not Sweden, this film reminded me a lot of Bergman films from the late 40s and early 50s, especially the comedies. A group of upper-class archeologists and explorers sit around making jokes about sex that inadvertently reveal their various hangups and sexual dysfunctions: one guy is in love with another’s wife, one is impotent, etc. So despite the light tone, there is a disturbing sexuality lurking beneath the surface.

    This…

  • Blood and Black Lace

    Blood and Black Lace

    ★★★★★

    A visual masterpiece. The mise-en-scene pops with exquisite colors and a baroque set design filled to the brim with odd knick-knacks. The camera floats supernaturally through this fantastic reality, sometimes connected with the killer and sometimes not. The film’s magic has little to do with the plot, although it establishes key motifs of the giallo, including the sexually charged setpiece murders. The twist is fun, too.