Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2015 - Mike Williamson ""

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Film Discoveries of 2015 - Mike Williamson

Mike Williamson is a Los Angeles based filmmaker, having directed the 2015 horror short DEATHLY, starring Alan Ruck.
He also programs the free cult film series called "Secret Sixteen" where a 16mm film print is screened to an unsuspecting audience who doesn't know the title but has been given hints throughout the month. There is a Secret Sixteen Event coming up on Saturday, February 27th!

On twitter he's @WilliamsonMike_:
Richard Fleischer directs this cold, shocking, and uncompromisingly depressing true life tale of British serial killer John Christie who preys on even the most innocent with a polite and almost apologetic demeanor. I hadn't heard of this before the New Beverly screened it in their Fleischer series and this one knocked me out so fully I didn't even consider staying for the second feature. Supremely engaging, supremely gutting.
ANDROID (1982)
I bought a 16mm print of this title, having never seen it before. Knowing it was a New World picture from '82, I had my assumptions this was going to be a pulpy action scifi movie, heavy on laser action and chuckles. I was wrong. This is a thoughtful, small film, that deals with sexual curiosity in a quiet, quirky way via Android MAX. With echoes of Frankenstein (in this case, the Dr played by Klaus Kinski), this strangely haunting slow burn sci fi melodrama unfolds more like an indie stage-play than an exploitation film.
This was one of my secret shames; a film by all means I should have seen but never got around to. McTiernan is in top form at the height of his precise-as-clockwork suspense/action game. But the thing that stuck with me most about this film was not the action, but rather the bold, artful way McT transitions out of the Russians speaking in their native tongue, and into English for American audiences. The camera zooms close into Peter Firth's mouth as he speaks Russian, and zooms back out as he starts speaking English for the rest of the film. A clever, ballsy and purely cinematic way to solve the language barrier issue.
A cheap as hell GREMLINS knockoff that rode the coattails of the little creature trend of the 80s (Critters, Ghoulies, Munchies, etc). Shot in mostly static wides and mediums, what this film lacks in cinematic ambition (and budget), it makes up for with charming camp and general goodwill. Though needlessly convoluted (the little alien gremlins attack you...And ALSO make your innermost desires come to life and then sort of try to kill you? I dunno...) it's still a fun slice of 80s low budget trash.
This was another on my list for years I only finally got around to. It's a bizarre conspiracy thriller that interestingly walks the line between frightening, bloody realism, and outlandish James Bond-ness with a German Nazi villain who has spring activated knives up his sleeve and a penchant for torture porning his captives in a dentist's chair. Sometimes shocking, sometimes schlocking, always entertaining.

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