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  • Suspiria

    Suspiria

    ★★★★

    I approached this with some trepidation since the original is one of my all-time desert island films. Guadagnino does the smart thing, though, making a film that takes a few plot details and some of the mood from the original but aggressively purges anything that would allow a direct comparison with it. Indeed, every element of the film is self-consciously different. He replaces the vague, fairy tale-like setting of the original with a precise historical conjuncture--Berlin during the RAF hijacking…

  • Night Terrors

    Night Terrors

    ★★½

    Hooptober 5: Directed by Tobe Hooper

    Sexuality isn’t a major theme (or even present) in most of Hooper’s cinema, so this Sadean sex/horror movie comes a bit out of left field. Lacking the potent blend of eroticism and violence that we get from filmmakers like Franco, this simply overlays a Sadean horror plot onto a sex movie, creating an ambivalent and rather conservative perspective on sex. At first, this movie seems in the tradition of Emmanuelle: a girl coming of…

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  • The Witch

    The Witch

    ★★★

    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…

  • Lady Frankenstein

    Lady Frankenstein

    ★★★

    While it gets off to a pretty slow start (as much as I love Joseph Cotton, his heart ain’t in this), this movie does have two excellent things going for it: a ridiculous looking Frankenstein monster and the great Rosalba Neri as Frankenstein’s daughter. The monster spends the second half of the film roaming around the countryside, bumping off random couples. We even get a pretty funny homage to the first Universal film when he tosses a nude woman into…