Well its that time again, for my weekly torrent picks, and I'm doing afew special ones this week, based off a conversation i had the other week with one of my most loyal readers, and afew others that I feel are pretty neat.. so with out any farther delay, lets get down too it...
House of Dark Shadows: Ok anyone thats seen my name here, and most places is aware of this film's connection, and after talking to one of my most loyal readers and explaining the name and the show, and things, i felt this movie and its follow up where to be welcomed addictions here to my lovely random picks of movies. House of Dark Shadows is important to pop culture for any reasons, first, its the very first of only two films to go from television soap opera hit, to movie, the other being Night of Dark Shadows, as well as putting the show's lock on being considered one of the greatest sci fi series of all time. The plot of House of Dark Shadows compresses the television series plot up to right before they go back into the past for the first time on the tv show. It picks up when small time crook and handyman Willie Loomas opens a chained coffin looking to loot it, only to find with in it, the vampire Barnabas Collins, who hs been locked in that coffin for 150 years, once freed he bites Willie in the neck to make him a vampire, and sets out his majestically evil deeds, as all vampires do, you know its their gig after all. The film differs from the series alot, and is also noted for being more graphic as far as the vampiric elements go, this is true Grindhouse and pop culture history right here, if you've not seen it, don't miss out.
Night Of Dark Shadows: Night of Dark Shadows wasn't exactly a direct sequel to the more successful House of Dark Shadows, mostly do to casting issues, the story is losely based on the second timeline of the series, taking place in the modern day, well 1971 anyway, the film, much like the television series second half, passed the superstar torch from John Fridd's Barnabas Collins, to David Selby's Quintin Collins, who would be the star of the series to its end. This film tells the story of Quintin, who gains the estate of Collinwood after the events of the first film, his wife Tracy, and those who they bring with them to the estate to live. It also tells the story of Charles and Angelique Collins, of who Quintin is haunted with dreams of their life. As the film goes on, you are taken on a spooky and violent tale of reincarnation and how love and revenge can reach from one life into the next. The film is notedly more violent then House of Dark Shadows, openingly depicting Angelique's hanging for witchcraft on screen as well as many other acts of brutality both in the past and in the present day, now seen tame by today's standards, these were seen as graphic and horrific by 1971 standards. It also is of note because this was the first starring role for Kate Jackson, who would go on to become one of the cast of Charlie's Angels. This film also allowed those outside of the tv show's viewers to see the beautiful Lara Parker as the beautiful and super sexy Angelique, who though here altered to fit the script was a character left out of the first film, which seemed strange given her being seen as a late 1960s early 1970s sex symbol.
Day Of The Triffids: I've always been a sucker for a good monster movie that defies the conventionality of that genre, sure vampires, werewolves, robots, various other monsters and asians in rubber suits playing monsters are all fine and good, but its important to branch out sometimes too, like the saying goes, you can't eat steak all the time or you get bored with it. For me, Day of The Triffids, is the perfect escape from the every day common plots and stories, it tells the tale of a different kind of alien invasion, its akin to the film many believe it to be the same plot as 1960's Little Shop of Horrors, but instead of the comedic musical spin, it takes a more serious tone and tells the story of what would happen if an alien plant based race actually did come to earth and invade instead of being stuck in a florist shop in the poor part of town where everyone sings, though seen by many as a more brilliant take on the idea, Triffids does borrow many things, even the ending shot with Little Shop, its also very different, in the way it shows the plants are able to move freely as well as attack with their roots and things, something homaged in the 1986 version of Little Shop. Through out the film, which tells the story of whats left of the country of England after a seemingly over night invasion of these alien plants, you are left to marvel at just how good this film really is, so popular infact there is a radio play, a set of audio books and a very popular 6 part tv series from the early 1980s based off it. Sure we look at the plot now and we laugh, but thats only having been in a world that came after this film and its idea, but that shouldn't at all take away from just how good this film really is.
The Commitments: Based on a novel of the same name, it tells the story of a group of out of work music lovers in Dublin Ireland that go on to become the greatest soul band in Dublin Ireland only to have it all crash and burn around them. The film is interesting in the fact that the cast is based on how well they blend musically rather then how they act, given that the cast actually acted and sang the songs in the film, and that each of its stars has gone on to become a major star in their own right, among them being the oldest sister in the group The Corrs. The film really only features two complete songs by the band, thought they sing snippets of others through out the film, the two songs featured, both of which became hits, spawning world wide radio and video play are their cover of "Mustang Sally" by Wilson Picket, and the second is a beautiful cover of a song with alot of personal meaning for me, "Treat Her Right" by Roy Head and The Traits, it being important to me because Roy Head is my second cousin, and the father of former american idol contestant Sundance Head. The film itself, to some might seem boring and cliche, a band of friends start out playing music together for fun, become super successful only to have it blow up in their faces like a box full of TNT, but as it is most times with movies I love, its more about how it goes about telling its story, and how its been shot then it is about the actual story, remember, you can tell a story hundreds of ways, but its all in presentation and actual detail and storytelling that makes it stand out. Plus, if thats not enough, it was voted as the best Irish movie ever made.
Belle De Jour: Among the myriad of sexploitation films out there, 1968's Bell De Jour always stood out for me, its just so delightfully European in its filming, acting, writing, and over all style and content, though we were making more daring drugploitation films here in the states, Europe had the intelligently sexy films pretty much on lock, many see this as possibly the best example of that fact. Belle De Jour is a French film directed by Spanish great Luis Buñuel in the heyday of edgy moderately erotic yet intelligent cinema in Europe, the film itself a sexy, edgy thriller centered around a bored young and attractive housewife named Séverine Serizy, who has rather sexually graphic dreams and fantasies during the day while her husband, a doctor is working, and through a friend, decides to look into a day job at a brothel as a prostitute, using the name Belle De Jour, which translates to "daylight beauty" as well as the term used by the French for a prostitute that conducts business during daylight hours. She agrees to work there only between the hours of 2pm to 5pm so she can be home in time to prepare dinner and be waiting at home for her husband when he gets off work at the hospital. As the film progresses and Belle's self exploration becomes more and more bold, she gets entangled with a young mobster, who eventually threatens to tell her husband of what she does during the day when he is out working. The film is very smart, very sexy and incredibly shot, almost every scene seems as if its a photograph for a movie or pin up magazine, its just beautifully done from start to finish, if you haven't seen this sometimes forgotten gem, you really shouldn't pass it up, you will be missing out.
Well thats its for this week, I hope you all enjoy this week's selection, I personally was rather excited about them. Enjoy