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Tag Archives: Keir Dullea

Black Christmas: [Mild spoiler] a sorority house plagued by abusive phone calls starts losing housemates at a rapid rate, but who is the killer!? Widely considered to be the first ‘slasher’ film, it contains everything we now take for granted in the genre – deranged serial killer with an aversion to young folk (always played by significantly older folk), meticulous stalking, savage attacks, all held together with of blood, terror and tension. This is one of the more technically superior horrors I can remember seeing; the first-person camera stalking is extremely impressive – especially given the size of old equipment – it’s cleverly shot, creepy sounding, well mixed, and remains convincingly festive. This still looks great for a 35 year old low-budget horror – if you can ignore 70s fashion. The high-quality means that a proper atmosphere is built-up, and it becomes genuinely creepy in parts. It’s also ahead of the curve with gratuitously foul language, which stands out more than the gore you see. On the down side, there are some major pacing issues with several sections of boring non-story, non action filler. Most disappointingly, there’s no reveal of the killer, motives or even a face – definitely missed a trick, leaving a bitter, unsatisfying taste. Black Christmas is a good B-movie, better than most of the stuff that’s churned out en masse these days – even after decades of imitation. It’s unfortunate that what would have been so fresh and shocking back in the day is now more interesting for everything behind and off camera – and how it was once innovative, unique, interesting, and bold enough to kickstart a genre.

Score: 6/10

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2001: A Space Odyssey: or oddity! (Blu Ray) Apes and astronauts try to solve a 4 million year old secret of our universe. Be under no illusion, this is more about the (then) ground-breaking special effects than story – and considering what the standards were, they’re beyond impressive. The landscapes and space ships are astonishingly Intricate, and the complex ‘gravity-defying’ set-pieces are mind-blowing, many have become iconic through the years. The picture and sound are definitely reference material: particularly the epic orchestrated pieces that pump through all speakers & work the bass. The physics are also spot on, which you can’t say about many sci-fi films! But then there’s the down-side… The first 25 minutes is just a bizarre ape racket, there are several long ‘space ballet’ type scenes, loads of ridiculously dragged-out & slow shots, minutes of pure blackness with ominous sounds, and a few chunks of painfully unwatchable psychedelia. The ‘Jupiter Mission’ section was the only part that I enjoyed as it actually had some story and drama: the camp / murderous / paranoid computer Hal and Keir Dullea’s intensity, which stole the show for me. The ending is incoherent, illogical and disappointing. I fully appreciate that in 1968 (before the original moon landing!) this would have been a ground-breaking awe-inspiring epic extravaganza – and despite advances in effects, it still fares well – but it doesn’t make up for the lack of story or substance. 2001 is constantly lauded as one of the best films ever, which maybe raised my expectations too high but to me this would be best enjoyed on drugs. Lots of drugs.

Score: 4/10