Mini Review Day 7: Don’t Look Now (1973)
It feels criminal to me now that I waited to so long to see Don’t Look Now, but in waiting I did get an incredible viewing experience. This was on my 2011 list for 31 Days, but as with the others I missed, I was unwell. So I decided to wait and put it on this years list, and on Day 7 this is easily the best thing I have seen so far. It is a superb film, using supernatural elements to explore themes of loss and grief.
A couple John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura Baxter (Julie Christie) head off to Venice after the tragic death of their young daughter. They are there because John has been contracted to restore an old church. Whilst at a restaurant one day they encounter two elderly sisters, one of whom is blind and psychic. The psychic tells Laura things about her daughter, and that her daughter has a message that John needs to leave Venice because he is in danger. As the time rolls on and Julie must head back to England, John starts to experience strange events that can’t be explained.
There is so much to discuss with this film, but since this is a mini review I will keep it brief. What I loved about this was how the grief and loss element was such a huge part, with the tragic death of the Baxter’s daughter Christine weighing heavily throughout. There are flashbacks and images that recall that scene, as well as being in a city filled with water, and her death was because she had drowned. The exploration into the couple was such a psychological experience; their grief had such an affect on them, that even being in a strong relationship, it had separated them on some level.
The visions that John experiences are strange, however you can piece this together if you look at the clues. It is an extremely smart film in this way, having this supernatural element at play. It adds to the mystery of what is going on, and how it will play out. The performances are superb, it is a fantastic looking film, shot just so beautifully and I loved the editing.
This is a great film, and if you haven’t seen it you must.
Mini Review Day 8: Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1974)
Last year for my 31 Days Of Horror, I had a Hammer Horror film from the 70’s with Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde, I decided to keep that tradition alive and I chose Captain Kronos from Hammer also from the 70’s. That era for Hammer was a tough one, a different kind of horror was starting to emerge and their style struggled. Not easy it would have been to compete with something like The Exorcist, to match that terror and atmosphere. Hammer thought that Kronos would be a big film for them, but it sadly flopped and no follow-ups were ever produced. It is sad because this is a really good film, with genuine moments of fright and it really is a lot of fun.
The film tells the tale of an entity sucking the life out of young women, whose appearance then looks quite old. Captain Kronos, a Vampire Hunter is summoned, he is a master swordsman. With him he brings his assistant the hunchback, and a young woman they both saved. They attempt to investigate what is happening, and who is behind the attacks.
It is a pretty simple story, and it is rather fun. Like with a lot of Hammer films, it looks exquisite. The sets and scenery are fantastic, as are the costumes, it is a nice film to look at. The script is rather well done, for the most part. I wasn’t sure whether I liked the mystery behind Kronos, I wanted to learn more, I mean it kept him mysterious but a little too much so perhaps? We learn a little about him, but I was craving more, this may have been because they intended to make more but I don’t think that is something that should be kept in mind in case that doesn’t happen. It was really well directed, and the performances are great all round, especially Horst Janson as Kronos.
This is well worth seeking out, a very great effort from Hammer that has sadly been forgotten about. It is available to watch for free on Hammer’s official YouTube page so I would highly recommend heading over there and giving this one a watch. I had a great time, and this had one heck of a great ending too.
You can view my entire list of 31 Days Of Horror 2012 HERE