After his parents die, feathery-haired teenager Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) suffers from nightmares. His older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) is left to take care of him, but when one of Jody’s friends dies Mike spies on the funeral and becomes convinced that something weird is going down at the cemetery. After some reconnaissance, he determines that the sinister mortician- known only as “The Tall Men” and played with relish by Angus Scrimm- is stealing corpses for some unknown (but likely nefarious) purpose, and he commands a legion of dwarfish demons who help defend the funeral parlor.
It seems for months I’ve been hearing about Miyazaki’s latest film, The Wind Rises. Possibly the acclaimed anime director’s final feature, it has for many proven to be a fitting end, a metaphorical journey through Miyazaki’s own creative struggles and achievements. Based on his own comic, which itself loosely draws from actual history, the film centers on Jirô Horikoshi, who as a child dreams of being a pilot but instead becomes an airplane designer when he realizes his poor eyesight would hinder him. We watch Jiro grow up into a quiet, hardworking young man who devotes himself to his craft, studying harder than his classmates and eventually going to work for a top aircraft manufacturer.
I remember reading about this film years ago, as there was something of a furor surrounding Andrea Arnold’s decision to cast a man of color in the classic role of Heathcliff, a part usually played by a white dude even though he was written as “dark-skinned” and likely Romani. I never really loved Wuthering Heights but I applauded Arnold’s casting and was intrigued to see her version of the story. Set in an isolated farm house along northern England’s moors, the film uncovers the intense, complex relationship between Catherine Earnshaw (Shannon Beer and Kaya Scodelario) and her sort-of-adoptive brother Heathcliff (Solomon Glave and James Howson).
At this year’s Coolidge Corner Horror Marathon I had to skip out of the last film, Brain Damage, a Frank Henenlotter film I’d been meaning to see for a while, so I resolved to make it next on my netflix queue. The cult director’s sophomore feature, it follows the misadventures of Brian (Rick Hearst), a young man who unwittingly finds himself playing host to a parasitic worm creature known as Aylmer. This mythical beast injects an addictive substance directly into his victims’ brains, and it causes an intense, psychedelic euphoria. But Aylmer himself feeds on human brains, and manipulates his hosts into finding him food.
Miles found this at his work and we were all ready for another Alex Cox movie to fall in love with since Repo Man is basically constantly on a loop at our house. Walker sounded rigoddamndiculous and I was intrigued by the premise alone. Based on a real-life figure, the film stars Ed Harris as William Walker, a doctor/lawyer/adventurer who acted as a “filibuster” in the mid-19th century, going into South American regions and attempting to set up American colonies. He is hired by opportunistic Cornelius Vanderbildt (Peter Boyle) to bring order to Nicaragua so that the wealthy tycoon can control their major trade route. Conquering local soldiers with a small army of mercenaries, Walker eventually installs himself as dictator and rules for almost two years.