There have been numerous film adaptations of the work of H.P. Lovecraft, featuring everyone from Sandra Dee (The Dunwich Horror) to Nicolas Cage (Color Out of Space). However, it was the late filmmaker Stuart Gordon who best managed to capture the peculiar and often perverse charms of Lovecraft’s work. With their combination of weirdo humor, bizarre imagery, kinky sex, grisly bloodshed and better-than-expected performances, his Re-Animator and From Beyond became instant cult classics and unquestioned high points of the entire horror genre in the 1980s. Continue Reading →
The Doom Generation
“A heterosexual movie by Gregg Araki,” The Doom Generation’s opening credits read. It’s the first of many jokes for Araki’s first film with a crew, shot for $1 million in January of 1994. None of the humor is apathetic, though. It’s like its characters in that way: caustic, yes, even to a fault at points. But the kids at the center of The Doom Generation aren’t apathetic, at least not at the beginning. They’re a conceptual trio of id, ego, and superego filtered through Araki’s lens to serve the narrative, an anti-American mind due to their identities and personal lives. But as they realize their selves individually and as a whole, their heterosexual, monogamous environment relegates them to sameness. Continue Reading →
The Night Clerk
Michael Cristofer's first movie since 2001 is a low-key thriller that respects its characters, even if its setup isn't too original.
As a general rule, people love to watch what other people do, especially if the person they’re watching isn’t aware of it. It gives us endless fascination to see how someone else acts when they think that they’re alone. But while knowing someone’s secrets can be fun, knowledge can also be a burden. Michael Cristofer returns to the director’s chair after an almost 20-year absence to explore what happens when you see something you shouldn’t in his drama, The Night Clerk.
Bart Bromley (Tye Sheridan) likes to watch people not for unsavory reasons, but instead to learn from them. He has Asperger’s Syndrome and, to better understand human interactions, watches the guests of the hotel where he works via hidden cameras that he’s set up in the guestrooms. One night, Bart’s cameras record a woman getting murdered, causing Bart to rush to the hotel to save her. Since Bart was off at the time his appearance at his workplace rouses the suspicion of Detective Johnny Espada (John Leguizamo). While the case is being investigated, Bart is transferred to another location. There he meets and quickly becomes infatuated with guest Andrea (Ana de Armas) and as the duo bond, Bart starts to feel a little less lonely, but Andrea has secrets of her own.
Despite featuring a murder and a protagonist who records people without their consent, this is a story about loneliness and connection. Most of the plot centers on the relationship between Bart and Andrea with the crime elements being relegated to Johnny’s subplot until the climax. This isn’t a bad angle to take, but it may be a turn off for audiences who are expecting a taut thriller. Continue Reading →