Sunday, 17 September 2017

THE ENDLESS




I caught THE ENDLESS at SUFF yesterday, and it gives me great pleasure to report that those indie mavericks Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead have done it again. Following hot on the heels of RESOLUTION and SPRING, the boys are now three-for-three. The screening began with one of their signature personalised video intros, and I have to say that as well as being some of the most exciting genre filmmakers on the scene, these guys are pretty charming too.

THE ENDLESS opens by introducing us to Justin and Aaron (played by the directors, reprising characters seen in a brief cameo in 2012's RESOLUTION), two brothers who are eking out a meagre living in Los Angeles, ten years after escaping together from a rural death cult. The arrival of a mysterious video tape reveals that the mass-suicide they thought they were escaping never happened, and that the idyllic lifestyle in the cult's camp has continued on without them. Aaron, depressed and dissatisfied with his post-cult existence, finds himself pining for the good old days of his childhood in Camp Arcadia, much to the annoyance of his older, more cynical brother. He wants to revisit the camp, to find some kind of closure, and despite Justin's protests, the trip is starting to look inevitable.




Far more of an overt sequel to RESOLUTION than I was expecting, THE ENDLESS expands on that film's examination of the closed-loop, eternally repeating nature of storytelling (from cave paintings to digital media) and ramps it up to 11. As a fan of RESOLUTION, it's very satisfying to see all the links to that film play out here, as a succession of returning characters, themes and locations. However, where the first film had a visually minimalist approach (due largely to budgetary limitations), this quasi-sequel is bursting at the seams with vividly realised imagery that is arcane, eldritch and often horrifying. It's truly breathtaking to behold, and will make your head spin. THE ENDLESS is certainly one of the most successful visual representations of Lovecraft's "unknowable" universe that has ever been put to film. And as with their last film, SPRING, the fx here are for the most part very impressive on such a low budget.

As to what all this esoteric weirdness means, my interpretation is that the Three-Act structure of cinema, and storytelling in general, is a mirror for our dust to dust existence. As with stories, our lives can be seen as a closed loop (beginning, middle and end), endlessly repeating, the same cradle to grave cycle, told again and again, down the long aeons of evolution. You can quit your little loop if you want (suicide), but it won't stop the inexorable repetition of all the virtually identical lives that will follow yours.




Honestly though, I walked out of yesterday's screening feeling pretty bewildered. I rewatched RESOLUTION last week, after which I felt like I had a better grasp of its serpentine concepts than before, but a lot of that went out the window yesterday. And I'm fine with that. As I surrendered myself to THE ENDLESS' deep dive, it felt like the foundation of understanding that I took into the theatre with me was shifting and being eroded beneath me, an unsettling feeling that I think may be a big part of Benson and Moorhead's intent. To give the viewer a dizzying sense of vertigo as they peer into a Lovecraftian abyss of the unknowable, indescribable and truly alien.


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Harry Dean Stanton




Farewell to a great character actor, and another member of the Nostromo's crew. The title of the post below this is a quote from Brett, the character he portrayed in ALIEN, and today Harry Dean Stanton is gone. With 200 acting credits to his name, he worked with the likes of Carpenter, Scorsese, Coppola, Lynch, Wenders, and many, many more. He was one of a kind. Goodbye Mr. Stanton.


COOL HAND LUKE




TWO-LANE BLACKTOP




ALIEN




ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK




REPO MAN




PARIS, TEXAS




THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST




WILD AT HEART




TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME




FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS




TWIN PEAKS (2017)



Saturday, 9 September 2017

Kitty, kitty, kitty!




Jonesy. Everyone's favourite interstellar scamp. Is it any wonder that he's been the focus of so many ALIEN tributes? After all, the little ginger Tom is Ripley's lucky star. Please enjoy this collection of purrfect artwork.







 
















Sunday, 27 August 2017

Tobe Hooper




Farewell to another titan of horror. It's hard to believe we now live in a world without Tobe, Wes and George. Vale!










Thursday, 24 August 2017

Do you read Sutter Cane?




Holy shit, this new beefed-up reworking of the title track from IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS is so good it gave me goosebumps. As usual, Carpenter's new band is simply laying waste to all in its path, and I'm dying to hear the rest of their upcoming Anthology LP (once again on the excellent Sacred Bones Records).




Saturday, 12 August 2017

Mid Year Top 10!




It's been a packed year for top-tier cinema so far, honestly one of the strongest I can recall. Here for your perusal, ranked in poster form, are my picks for best of the year so far. With some exciting films still to debut over the next few months (BLADE RUNNER 2049; THE ENDLESS; BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99), I'll be interested to see how much the following list has changed come December.


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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Sphinx Pinastri




While on the hunt for material for the Cronenberg post below this one, I stumbled on these striking unused posters for Peter Strickland's wonderful THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY. They are the work of Parisian graphic designer Vincent Petitjean, whose other film related designs you can see here.

As a bonus, feast your eyes on some behind the scenes shots, thanks to the perpetually enlightening and insightful Kino Images blog.