Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Thrillers - Jackson Stewart ""

Friday, October 10, 2014

Underrated Thrillers - Jackson Stewart

Jackson Stewart is a writer/director living in Los Angeles. He created the web series 'The Cartridge Family' and wrote for the CW show Supernatural. He also did a short entitled 'Sex Boss'.
He's on twitter @bossjacko.

5. Body Parts (1992):  After losing his arm in a gruesome car accident, Bill Chrushank (Jeff Fahey) is given a risky procedure where a dead man's arm is grafted onto his.  The operation's a success, the only problem is the arm belonged to a serial killer he used to treat and soon begins acting against him.  There's some fine work from Fahey in here and Brad Dourif brings terrifying depth to his weirdo artist character.  It has a criminally low 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, which I'm betting scares some people away from seeing it.
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4. Pretty Poison (1968): Dennis Pitt (Anthony Perkins) gets out of jail after an arson conviction and encounters Sue Ann Stepanek (Tuesday Weld) a do-gooder High School girl.  Naturally, he lies about where he's been and tells her he's a secret agent and as she uncovers his background, she soon becomes obsessed with him.  Sue Ann starts committing crimes, excited to have a taste of his his criminal past which he's quite remorseful about.  This movie is damn near perfect and a major influence on one of my favorite films of all time BUFFALO 66.  Seek it out.
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3. Pressure Point (1962):  This is one of the most racially charged movies I've ever seen -- in fact, I think if they released this today, people of the Fox News set would go ballistic.  Sidney Poitier plays a prominent psychiatrist and is asked to treat Bobby Darin (each known as 'Doctor' and 'Patient' respectively).  Darin's character is a warped, American Nazi locked up in a mental institute who preys on the other staff's own racial prejudices and issues with Poitier's character.  There's so many unnerving things about this and it deserves so much more attention than it gets.  Surprisingly, Darin was actually a pretty terrific actor; holding his own against the god-like Poitier and even the great Steve McQueen in Hell Is For Heroes.  You must see this film.
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2. Looking For Mr. Goodbar (1977):  Despite Diane Keaton getting nominated for best actress in this the same year she won for ANNIE HALL -- I rarely hear people talking about this movie.  The dark, upsetting sexual nature of the story probably has a lot to do with it.  The ending to this film has haunted me since first viewing it in 2007.  The actual case this is based on is even more disturbing... Richard Brooks' direction is taut; no unmotivated camera moves, lots of shots on sticks and it is masterfully blocked. Far more powerful than any modern thriller of recent memory.  This could almost be lumped in the drama category, but the inevitability of Theresa's fate in it, makes you feel like you're watching a horror movie at times.  Weirdly, its only available on VHS, adding to the dirty, disowned nature that perfectly compliments the film.
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1. The Vanishing (1988): Sluizer's crafted one of the most chilling and effective films ever made.  I saw this at a fairly young age when I was in the middle of a horror kick -- and someone mentioned the ending was the most terrifying thing they'd ever seen.  It sounds like hyperbole (it's not), but I was on edge the entire movie, you're so curious about Saskia's whereabouts that you're actually rooting for Rex to go through every task Raymond Lemorne subjects him to while simultaneously hoping he finds a way not to do it. The novel 'THE GOLDEN EGG' that it is based off of is equally effective -- opening with a strange highway sequence where Saskia imagines all the cars as little eggs traveling down the road.  The power of this movie is a huge inspiration to me and I hope one day to make something a quarter as effective as this film.  Avoid the putrid American remake.Amazon Button (via

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