Archive for the 'Suspense' Category

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Maniac
2012 – Not Rated – IFC Midnight

Remakes are a very fickle subject. Films that are often being remade, are those that are regarded as high ‘cult’ status and have a large and not to mention intense fan base. So, it goes without saying that when rumors were rumbling that William Lustig’s serial killer masterpiece Maniac was being fitted for a remake, it would be critically disapproved before it was even made. This disapproval seemed to settle into gentle curiosity when High Tension director Alexander Aja was attached and shortly after the casting of Elijah Wood in the role of Frank Zito, not only were we curious, but they had our attention as well. Sure enough, we were watching the production of this film under a microscope and growing more interested with every shred of news.

It’s also tricky reviewing a remake. It will, of course, be compared to the original, which in most cases, is far superior (if not only for nostalgic reasons). But you have to remember to look at it as its own entity and judge it based on its own merit. After all, do you really want to see the same thing rehashed exactly the same way (remember the Psycho remake)? Like I said, it’s very challenging to remake and modernize a horror film, so how does Franck Khalfoun’s rendition of the classic hold up?

It starts off similar enough, with Frank stalking his prey. Only this time a young woman decides to walk home from a night club all by herself, unaware that Frank is watching her (as we watch from his POV) from his truck. After one of the best opening music soundtracks in this generation, Frank meets her at her apartment, unbeknownst to her though. He cuts the power, darkening the corridor and walks behind her, breathing heavily until she is about to enter her apartment. Hesitant to turn around, he tells her, “Please don’t scream,” and before she can, he plunges a giant Bowie knife under her chin. Gently he caresses her face and removes the knife to scalp her and then in big, bold, confident and alarming red letters as big as the screen, the title MANIAC appears before fading to black. Right out of the gates, the movie doesn’t hold back any punches and doesn’t shy away from disturbing you.

maniac_2As Frank wakes up and goes about his daily routine, makes coffee, hallucinates that a girl is in his bed (you know, the usual stuff), you may be noticing that it hasn’t switched out of his POV and that is what not only separates this remake from the original, but from pretty much every other film out there. Keeping in theme with the original, Frank staples the scalp to a mannequin while talking with it. So just in case you weren’t sure he was a few cans short of a six pack, this should tip you off. Continuing, we get a look into how this movie is ‘modernized’ as Frank stalks and sets up potential kills via dating websites. It actually makes good sense and clearly illustrates every single person’s worst fear, but now it’s going to make it harder for me to score a date… especially when we watch this!

A quick online dating success later, he meets up with a cute little trollop named Lucy. It’s during this dinner that we get a look into Frank’s psyche, as the radial blur filters the screen, he sees everyone in the restaurant staring at him and blood trickles down Lucy’s face. It’s never explained exactly what this condition is, though he calls them migraines. They seem to quickly reside after he pops a few pills. Unfortunately, they effects don’t last long. Lucy invites him over for a drink and he insists that he needs to leave, but nervous guys that she can domineer are her thing. She dances around her apartment to ‘Goodbye Horses’, made popular in Silence of the Lambs and forever stapling it to all things creepy. Overcome with homicidal tendencies, he strangles her and scalps her, thus acquiring a new girlfriend (in his mind), after he staples the scalp on a mannequin, of course.

It’s interesting to note that this kill is somewhat different from the others in the film, in that he is hesitant to kill her and almost seemingly resists. He even throws up afterwards and weeps, possibly indicating that he was beginning to like Lucy and did not want to kill her. It adds a whole new dimension to the character and not just a showing the typical ‘kill the women mindlessly’ slasher trend. But now I’m getting off track.

maniac_3This is when we are introduced to the lovely Anna, who will become the love interest of sorts to Frank. She wakes him the next morning by taking photos of his mannequins outside his shop window. Feeling a desirable, artistic connection, he invites her inside to look at his work. When he isn’t doing the Apache scalp to women, Frank restores antique mannequins out of a shop he inherited from his mother, who recently died. The two bond and create a friendship, perhaps with an unspoken romance and you can really see it in their eyes. More specifically her eyes, as the actress, Nora Arnezeder, has to stare into the camera as if she is looking deeply and affectionately into Frank’s eyes and she does this convincingly well. You’ll fall in love with her as she looks past the camera and into your eyes, piercing your soul. But how long can Frank subdue his murderous impulses?

As the two spend more time together, it’s noticeable (to the audience) that Frank is falling for Anna. It’s actually quite charming to see him become smitten by her. Maybe it’s the way she looks at us, the audience, that we are falling in love with her! The very mention that she has a boyfriend gives him a “migraine” like before with Lucy. He goes out of his way to take non prescription pharmaceuticals to control these sinister urges, but unfortunately like all classic monster movies, the beast has to come out. He follows a girl home from a dance studio, chases her through a subway and into a parking lot where perhaps the most daunting and brutal murder of the film takes place, as hides under a car, slicing her Achilles tendon as she walks by and stabbing her repeatedly in the back until finally scalping her and posing by a car, so that his reflection resembles the original movie poster. It’s actually a clever nod, seeing as how we don’t get the infamous bathroom or shotgun scenes.

Having borrowed some of Frank’s mannequins for an art show, Anna invites him to said show where everyone seems to be judgmental of the two, but they are lost in each other’s creativity, as Frank and Anna speak, you really get a sense of the tragedy that they most likely will not end up together. At this point, it’s really debatable if this is a love story or not. You want nothing more than for her to save him from all his troubles. You want Frank to tell Anna that he loves her and maybe that’s the true horror of this film and not the murders; that Frank and Anna will never be together. And as if seeing Anna with her beau wasn’t enough to crush his spirits, he’s ridiculed by him for potentially being a closet homosexual (jocks at an art show… this IS fiction) and then by Anna’s manager. Frank follows her home and in a rather disturbing scene, Frank watches her bathe for a moment, just before dunking her head underwater. He then begins yelling at her as if he were yelling at his mother for the terrible things she did and then scalping her. It’s in this scene where you think maybe Frank doesn’t believe that he is killing anyone, but helping them to live on forever.

maniac_4After receiving the news that her manager is dead, Anna calls up Frank who is more than happy to console her. However, Frank lets a few things slip as you watch Anna’s facial expressions change from sad, to quizzical, to horrified as she realizes Frank is a killer. Realizing she is in terrible danger, she now fights off the psychotic Frank, who tells her he wants nothing more than to help her and take her away, all leading to a very dark, but unfortunately for Frank, fitting end.

In a word, Maniac is intense. Although it contains the same elements and ideas of the original, it feels like a completely different beast. But that’s how a remake should feel. For starters, the entire movie is shot from Frank’s POV, with a few exceptions where the camera will come out from his eyes and we see him committing horrendous acts of violence, which is incredibly effective as you see the murder through the killer’s eyes, then transition to be an audience to it. Frank himself is quite different, being an unassuming, charming young man rather than the chubby, greasy (no offense) counterpart and Elijah Wood plays this role eerily convincing. It’s seriously my favorite portrayal of a character in a long time. Elijah Wood ‘kills’ it! We also go into his childhood quite a bit and examine his mother issues, which there aren’t that many. So it feels like the film could do without these scenes and still work, but the way they are shown is pretty traumatizing. Especially when you see little Frank’s mother getting gang banged as he watches from the closet… and she knows he’s in there. Ah, brings back memories.

As I said before, the entire cinematography is from the point of view of Frank. We are looking through his eyes, which you would think could get nauseating or even be distracting, but the shots are smooth and don’t bob around so much like it would with a free hand found footage type of movie. This also makes viewing it ghastly, like you are a part of this macabre destruction and gore. Speaking of gore, Maniac may not contain the famous head explosion like the original, but it has more than enough repulsive violence and bloodshed to go around! A majority of the effects are practical (or a combination of composite shots) and seeing Frank use his buck knife or straight razor to remove his victims scalps, then slowly pull them off may require you to prepare barf bags before viewing. And to further shake your core, the score by Rob is a simple one, reminiscent of John Carpenter, with an easy synth beat and heavy stings, but always fitting the mood of the movie.

Maniac
While it does take the idea of the original and stays true to the classic, it does take its own path while it tells its own story. I guess you could call it an ‘updated version’ (and by that I don’t mean they use computers and cell phones… although they do). Maniac is most definitely a modern day horror film that will eventually become a classic on its own merit, rather than lurking in the shadow of William Lustig’s original 1980 shocker. In fact, this may very well spawn clones of POV serial killer movies, which will soon become annoying, just like all found footage and possession movies. Check out Maniac, alone or on a date… but not with anyone you met on a dating website.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Frank the Apache.
  • Mannequin makeover.
  • Goodbye horses… goodbye, Lucy!
  • Strangers on a subway.
  • Maniac Migraine.
  • If you have a mommy issue, reach for a tissue.
  • Grand Theft Anna.
  • Frank spills his guts.
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

Blood and guts galore with plenty of scalping.

8

blood

BREASTS

All kinds and all sizes for the kiddies!

10

beast

BEASTS

Although a bit more sympathetic, Elijah Wood ‘kills’ it as Frank. He pulls off totally unassuming and totally bonkers.

9 OVERALL
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Oct

posted by admin | October 22, 2013 | 50's b-movies, Drama, Reviews by the Goon, screeners, Suspense

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The Hitch-Hiker
1953 – Not Rated – Kino Lorber

You’re traveling down a lonely road so void of any life it may as well be a painting. Out of a nowhere like a mirage, a figure seems to be standing still, arm out and thumb extended. You decide to be a good Samaritan and give the drifter a ride. After all, what’s the worse that could happen? Next thing you know, your vehicle is void of any signs of life. Only traces of blood in the driver’s side with a bullet casing in the passenger’s.

This is the kind of fear that The Hitch-Hiker induces. Although it’s not a PSA (though it could be an effective one), it illustrates a ‘your worst nightmare’ scenario when picking up a vagabond. The film immediately puts you in a vice and doesn’t let go until it’s finished. It’s what you immediately think of when you hear “Film-Noir”. It’s dark, it’s dirty and it’s white knuckled. Also interesting to note, it’s directed by Ida Lupino and keep in mind that it was unheard of to have a woman direct back then, especially a crime drama as zealous as this!

Emmett Myers has been hitching for some time. The bronze is hot on his trail, but he remains a step ahead as he leaves a trail of victims, told via spinning newspapers on Lazy Susan’s. Which brings us to our unlucky duo, Roy and Gil, on their way to the Chocolate Mountains for a fishing trip… or so they told their wives. They’re in Mexico when we meet them, passing up a cat house and running smack dab into Emmett on the side of the road, giving him a lift. Their trip instantly turns sour at this moment, as he draws a gun on them when Roy offers him a smoke (this could make a great anti-smoking ad). Emmett immediately takes control, ordering them about and showing that he’s a seasoned veteran at this. Holding them hostage with his gun from the backseat, I can’t help but think of that scene from Pulp Fiction where Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin in the face (throughout the movie, I kept waiting for this to happen). He asks them questions about their lives, what they do and ridiculing their answers, proving he is inside their heads and tells them he intends to kill them once they reach their destination. The look on their faces tells you they know their situation and they know they are over a barrel.

hh_2Knowing that a car ride would get boring (after all, there are only so many times you can sing ’99 Bottles of Beer’), Emmett plays games with his pawns. While pulled over to check the map, Emmett showcases his marksmanship by shooting a tin off a rock from several yards away! Look out, Billy the Kid! He does this with Gil standing nearby, which I’m sure browned his britches. Just having learned that Roy is somewhat of a sharpshooter himself, he directs him to shoot the tin out of Gil’s hand. Remember that scene from The Jackal where Bruce Willis has Jack Black hold up the pack of cigarettes? Kinda reminds me of that.

As they travel across the desert fleeing the authorities, they learn they are being looked for in the Arizona desert. However, they were traveling across the Mexican border. Emmett taunts Roy and Gil for lying to their wives about what they are actually doing and this is a subplot that comes to a halt, as it’s never mentioned again after this. We never really learn what Gil and Roy are doing way out that way, other than a few lines of dialogue. It’s acceptable though, as it doesn’t really chew away at the back of your brain, due to the film’s quick and energetic pace. We jump from one muscle tensing dilemma to the next, but it never becomes incoherent.

After a few hair raising close calls with a few locals, Roy and Gil decide they need to flee or it’s curtains for sure. Waiting for Emmett to sleep, they run off into a field and into an opening. However, Emmett was only playing possum, fooling them with his bum eye and nearly runs them down in the car after Gil trips and falls like a woman in a slasher film. Hopefully he didn’t break a heal.

The closer they get to their destination, the closer they are to their impending doom, Gil starts giving up hope. Acting as if he were already dead, Roy has to push him with the small sliver of hope that they can still make it out of this alive. Cops hot on their tail, Emmett switches clothes with Gil (now disguising himself as a doughy, middle aged man) in the final attempt to take a ferry to his salvation. Seems like them Duke boys sure have themselves in quite the pickle!

The Hitch-Hiker
Where was the Jam Handy informational short for this scenario? Based off the actual event in 1950 where a man named Billy Cook murdered a family of five and then was captured after leaving a deputy for dead, makes this movie all that more shocking. It adds a whole other dimension of gut wrenching realism to the film, like another layer of darkness. It’s enough to make anyone paranoid of picking up a stranger. For a short run time of seventy one minutes, The Hitch-Hiker certainly keeps you in suspense and will surprise you. Although the ending does wrap everything up nice and neat, it’s still has a lurid manner throughout the duration and I wasn’t sure what to expect. So take a joy ride with this one and pick up The Hitch-Hiker from Kino Lorber. This is one hitcher that won’t creep you out with stories of Nam or conspiracy theories.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Spinning newspapers, always a classic.
  • Viva La Me-hee-co!
  • Lazy eye.
  • Gil: The human lump of bread dough.
  • Shooting competition.
  • Emmett bossy boots.
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Very little, but the shear idea of violence behind this scenario is pretty disturbing.

0

blood

BREASTS

None, unless you count Gil.

7

beast

BEASTS

Emmett is one sick puppy.

4.3 OVERALL
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Oct

posted by admin | October 15, 2013 | 50's b-movies, Drama, Horror movies, Reviews by the Goon, Suspense

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House of Wax
1953 – Not Rated – Warner Bros.

They stare at you with lifeless eyes that seem to follow you no matter where you go, wax sculptures are pretty damn creepy. Or maybe it’s how real and unassuming they are and that they could grab you as you pass by. It could be a million reasons, most of them I don’t know, but they get under your skin. I’m surprised more movies don’t feature killer wax people, but maybe it’s because the bar was set a little too high in House of Wax.

A remake of the 1933 film Mystery of the Wax Museum, this film opens up and escalates to speculative and terrifying quickly. Very quickly. Professor Henry Jarrod (played by Vincent Price) masterfully sculpts wax figures that are so lifelike, you would swear that they were palpable. Among his collection, he hails his Marie Antoinette to be his masterpiece. He walks around talking to his sculptures, seemingly having private conversations with them. As this scene goes on, you are becoming more and more aware of how quiant and detached from humanity he is. He seems pretty batty, but most great artists weren’t exactly sane. Jarrod could make a fortune if he were to “sell out”, which his business partner Matthew Burke encourages him to do. But Jarrod is in it for the art, not the money and if we learned anything from Aliens, anyone named Burke is all about the fame and fortune. He starts dumping gasoline all over the place like he has more important things to do, intending to torch it and cash in the insurance policy. Before they can discuss it, like a true pyro, he sets the place ablaze. He was that confident it was a solid plan, that he didn’t even need to think it through. Or maybe he likes to burn buildings down. Either way, Jarrod reasonably becomes enraged and desperately attempts to save his sculptures as they melt like cheese, eyeballs falling out of their heads. After being attacked by Jarrod, Burke fights him and throws gasoline all over Jarrod, leaving him to die in the fire.

how_3Time passes and Burke seems to be living it up. That is, until he’s murdered by a disfigured man, along with his fiance, Cathy. Cathy’s friend Sue Allen happens to find her carcass there with the disfigured man hovering over it and chases her out the window and down the street (cue Benny Hill music). She manages to escape the horror and inform the police. It’s then that they are discovering that Cathy’s body, along with several others, have disappeared from the morgue. Who would steal bodies? With the McRib making a comeback, it would make sense that McDonald’s could be the culprit, but we all know they use former boy band members. Could it be that Jarrod survived and is exacting revenge? Nah, that would be crazy.

Well, I guess it is crazy since eighteen months pass and it seems Jarrod has opened a new wax museum called “Chamber of Horrors” that showcases horrific crimes in history… and current ones, as Burke’s death is displayed there. However, Jarrod didn’t escape unharmed. He’s bound to a wheelchair and no longer has use of his hands. He’s assisted by a deaf-mute, Igor (Charles Bronson). I was kinda hoping he would have a hump on his back, but I guess that’s a different Igor. So, who’s making this wonderful statues? He has hired a top sculptor, Leon, who is basically like the Michael Jackson of sculpting. The movie has slowed down the pace noticeably by this point as Scott, who has grown fond of Sue Allen, decides to take her mind of her recent tragedies and takes her on a tour of the wax museum that showcases horrific murders. Sue Allen can’t help but feel uneasy by the Joan of Arc display, noticing that it bears an uncanny resemblance to her recently deceased friend Cathy, right down to her pierced ears. You can probably tell where this is going, but it’s the journey getting there that makes this movie shocking and fun to watch. Jarrod becomes hypnotically charmed by her and seems to think she would make the perfect model of Marie Antoinette. Finding that Scott also happens to be a sculptor (geez, how many sculptors are there?), he offers him a job based on that reason. Way to play, playa.

But that Joan of Arc sculpture sure has given Sue Allen the heebie jeebies. Bringing the police along with her to the wax museum, they take note that John Wilkes Booth looks an awful lot like a murdered city official whose body is missing. Eh, it’s probably a coincidence.

how_4Taking a Scooby Doo style approach, Sue checks out the museum and takes a closer look at the Joan of Arc sculpture (how infatuated is this woman?). But she accidentally knocks the wig off and sees the blonde hair underneath, coming to the conclusion that it looks like Cathy, because IT IS Cathy! Oh, if it weren’t for you meddling kids. This is actually quite a shocking turn. I suppose next they are going to reveal that Jarrod can actually walk and is only pretending to be handicapped… Well, son of a…

In one of the coolest effects ever, Jarrod finally grabs hold of Sue and she begins to give him a rap on the brow repeatedly as his face shatters away to reveal that he was the disfigured man committing all the murders! Meanwhile this is happening, Leon is rolling over on Jarrod to the police, revealing everything and basically handing him on a platter. Little advice to all you inspiring criminals out there: If you’re gonna go in business with someone, make sure you can trust them not to reveal your plot to the authorities. Cats out of the bag now! The Police and Scott make haste to rescue Sue before she becomes a wax statue and end this movie on a positive note.

House of Wax
Not only is House of Wax the first color 3-D picture to be shot by an American studio, it’s also one of the first horror roles Vincent Price starred in and right away, you can tell he has a knack for it. From the first moment you see him have a conversation with a lifeless sculpture, you can feel the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. And he does this even before he has the makeup on! There is a good reason he is known as “The Merchant of Menace.” It’s been said a million times and it goes without saying, but I’m going to go ahead and say it: This is without a doubt one of the best horror classics. It’s a true insight into how frightening these actors could play their characters, how special effects could shock you and how dark and violent a movie can be without gore. If you haven’t seen it, shame on you. It’s been sixty years, for crying out loud! Just don’t watch the 2005 remake. It’ll make your skin melt… and it has Paris Hilton.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • We don’t need no water, let the mother burn.
  • Vincent Price, Street Brawler.
  • “Hanging” around.
  • Pre-Freddy Krueger.
  • Braindead Bronson.
  • Is there a sculptor in the house?
  • Bikini wax of death!
  • Wheelchair Psyche.
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

No blood, but wax sculptures melt in a way that will make your stomach turn.

2

blood

BREASTS

This was made before boobs were invented.

9

beast

BEASTS

If Charles Bronson as a menacing thug ain’t spooking ya, Vincent Price sure will.

5.3 OVERALL
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Oct

posted by admin | October 9, 2013 | 60's b-movies, 60's movies, Drama, Reviews by the Goon, screeners, Suspense

Comments Off on Night Tide

Night Tide
1961 – PG – Kino Lorber

Tales about mermaids are often thought to be full of wonder and whimsy and giving credit to the music that plays during the intro to Night Tide, it’s understandable why you would think that. But don’t let the score fool you. This is a ghostly tale, about secrets, lies and murder. It will lure you in with a false sense of safety and will play on your innocence. Before you know it, you’re neck deep in panic, wondering if something foul is waiting for you. It’s a smooth, unemphatic transition, like night and day. You don’t notice until it’s too late.

A pre-cocaine fueled Dennis Hopper stars in a tale about mermaids and murder. Murmaider, if you will. Hopper plays Johnny, a sailor on shore leave. This brings him to a small Californian coastal town, where he walks a pier and finds himself inside a cool jazz bar. The local patrons in this scene are actually quite believable as what you would think of as “regulars.” Each person is distinctive, emoting a different mood. Like they are all actually there for different reasons and could tell you their story and you’d believe it. However, they all are moving their head in the same pattern to the music that it’ll make your neck hurt. That is until Johnny notices a striking young woman. He finally gathers the courage to go talk to her, but before he can make casual chit chat, the young woman is scared off by a slightly older looking woman, garbed in black, speaking in a foreign tongue. Like the drunk frat dude when the bar’s closing, Johnny dashes off to hound her. Just cause it’s time to quit it, doesn’t mean you can’t hit it, bro.

It’s interesting to look at a scenario like that in pretext. Although they exchanged about three lines of dialogue, this was considered charming or romantic, especially in the silver age of cinema. A young man would approach you at the bar, ask you your name, tell you that you are beautiful, buy you a drink and give you a kiss, sealing the deal. You were a couple after that. People saw this as romantic and I can see why. A man, tingling head to toe in fear with rejection, shakes his feathers and approaches that stunning girl and asks her name. Nobody does that now, unless it’s through social media. Otherwise it’s considered “creepy.”

night_tide_2Well, we got off track! Johnny walks her home, above the carousel, learning her name is Mora. The next day over breakfast, they seem to be fond of one another and to be honest, the chemistry here is really believable. Telling him she works at the carnival’s sideshow attraction, she invites him to a show where we are introduced to Sam Murdock, an old British Navy Captain. Johnny thinks something may be strange about him, so Mora tells him that she was rescued by him at a young age and adopted. This was back in the day when you could just pick up a random child and claim them as yours willy-nilly. Later that evening while Mora is dancing (either that or the worst wave impression ever), she spots that woman in black and faints. Things sure are getting weird.

Speaking of weird, Johnny learns from local girl Ellen that Mora’s ex-boyfriends have all died mysteriously. Even more mysterious, he spots the woman in black and follows her all the way to Captain Murdock’s place, who seems to be trying to replace his blood with booze. Before passing out drunk and snoring like Tom Arnold inhaling a bowl of hospital Jell-O, he warns Johnny that he is in grave danger as long as he is with Mora. Upon confronting Mora, she tells him that she is of Siren descent and will kill when the moon is full. Women, huh? Always trying to kill you during the cycle of the moon… I’m just gonna stop there. Johnny ignores this hogwash, but soon has a nightmare that she turns into an octopus and tries strangling him.

I bet you never thought you would see Dennis Hopper wrestle a Muppet octopus.

He awakes from this nightmare to find her standing under the pier, calling his name, standing in the way of the crashing waves as if she is trying to drown herself. She’s not tied to the pier, mind you, because most sane people get out of the way of that sort of thing simply by moving their legs and removing them from that particular danger.

night_tide_3The next morning, having slept on Mora’s floor to ensure her safety, Johnny goes to get those kinks in his back worked out by a masseuse. Things get “steamy” while Johnny’s butch, hairy masseuse, Bruno, works on his shoulders. There is nothing wrong with a man giving another man a massage, but it’s the exchange of dialogue once Captain Murdock pops his head in to say, “Hi” that makes this scene a bit awkward. The masseuse asks the Captain if he wants him to, “pound him later,” to which the Captain replies, “Now why would I forgo a pleasure like that?” The movie immediately brushes this dialogue off its’ shoulders and the Captain further feeds Johnny’s fear about Mora. Now, I have no problems with sexual orientation, but it seems out of context in this scene… even for the Sixties. Once again, I feel like I derailed this review. Let’s get it back on track, shall we?

It’s finally the full moon and Mora invites Johnny along for some scuba diving, which he doesn’t think is a good idea, but she manages to coax him into it. It almost proves to be fatal, as Mora removes his breathing gear and swims off. He makes it back onto the boat, but doesn’t see Mora come back up for air. Devastated as the days go by, believing that maybe she really is a mermaid, Johnny finally revisits the carnival when reading her name in the newspaper. Everything draws to a close when he visits Mora’s attraction, but not without a few ghastly twists and turns that, to be honest, you will not see coming.

Night Tide is a suspenseful voyage of perplexity, thick with atmosphere and dread. Dread that builds up like a violin string being pulled tensely, but will not break. I have to admit, it is strange at first to see Dennis Hopper not playing such an oddball character, but he does take this role seriously (but there is still that goofiness we love him for) and his attraction to Mora seems genuine. The two play off of each other so well, you could actually believe they are a new couple, still learning about each other, but in love. Not only that, but it’s a refined film to look at, with almost a perfect gray scale in every scene and objects pop out at you with such depth. Kino Lorber restored this from the original 35mm print and boy, does it show.

Night Tide
Go on leave from your job, rent a seedy hotel room, shack up with a mermaid on a full moon and grab your copy of Night Tide from Kino. Well you don’t have to do any of that, besides watch the movie, but if you’re gonna do it, you may as well go all out.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Non-hopped up Hopper.
  • MURMAIDER!
  • It’s Jazz, baby.
  • Mouth watering Mora.
  • Captain Cryptic.
  • Woman in black.
  • Nautical nightmares.
  • Masseuse innuendo.
  • Scuba sabotage.
  • Scooby Doo ending.
totals

2

blood

BLOOD

Octopus wrestling and gun play, but no ooze.

4

blood

BREASTS

Nothing bare, but you can oogle at Mora’s cleavage.

8

beast

BEASTS

Mermaids, a Muppet and a murderer!

4.6 OVERALL
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About the Highway

Lost Highway is your satirical detour down the twisted back roads of b-movies and cult films reviews. learn more >>