Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '78 - Michele Eggen ""

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Underrated '78 - Michele Eggen

Michele Eggen started writing about horror films in 2010 on her blog, The Girl Who Loves Horror. She now contributes her writing to the sites Wicked Horror and Ghastly Grinning in between trying to cram as many movies into her brain as she can. 
Twitter: @micheleneggen 

So far this is my first and only Fellini film and I must say that I am in love. Orchestra Rehearsal is one of my favorite types of films, in that it all takes place in one location. Here we have an orchestra and its conductor meeting in a church for rehearsal, and being filmed and interviewed by a television crew. Slowly the musicians start to rebel against the conductor and chaos ensues. While I didn't quite get what Fellini's original satirical intention for the film was - not having been alive at that time or known about what was happening in Italian politics - one can still get the idea that the orchestra represents society or the populace, and that the conductor is government, or perhaps even God. The interviews with the musicians reveal the different rivalries between the instruments, and how each one feels they are the most important. Orchestra Rehearsal is a really unique and interesting film that starts out just as normal as can be before going totally nuts in the last act, and that progression is a wonderful thing to watch and analyze.
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With a script by John Carpenter and starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones, it's not all that surprising that this American giallo turned out amazing. Dunaway is this in-your-face fashion photographer who uses gruesome violence in her images, and then gets the ability to see through the eyes of a killer who starts picking off people in her inner circle. There's no explanation for how or why this happens to her, but you don't care. Eyes of Laura Mars is a great thriller with suspense and red herrings, and one fantastic final scene with Jones. I also love Brad Dourif with all my heart, and he actually comes off as kind of a sweet guy in this movie, so I loved seeing that as well.
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I saw Long Weekend a couple years ago and remember having that constant feeling of "what am I watching?!" Those Australians reallly know how to bring on the weird and this movie is no exception. It's a really cool concept for a movie - a couple goes on a camping trip and as their actions increasingly disrespect their natural surroundings, nature turns the tables on them and attacks back. The couple are pretty horrible, selfish people to begin with, so you really don't feel too bad for them, as awful as that sounds!
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This was the year that I really dived into the 70s era Elliot Gould films and found out just how fantastic he was (and still is, of course). Expecting a fairly straightforward cat-and-mouse plot based on the synopsis, you soon find out that The Silent Partner is anything but. It goes to places you would have never thought it would, and has a wonderful amount of suspense throughout as you see just who Gould's timid bank teller character is up against. Christopher Plummer is terrifyingly cold and brutal as the thief dressed as Santa Claus - I will never forget the aquarium scene. Fantastic movie!
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I have to include It Lives Again because I found it to be quite a big step up from the first It's Alive! film. The mutant babies are now a well-known phenomenon that's happening all over the country and Frank Davis is back to help a couple expecting their own killer child. The scope of this movie is a bit bigger and there are lots of little conflicts going on between the people who want to study and work with the mutants, and feel they deserve a chance, and those that want to kill them as soon as they're born. I loved all the changes in location as the plot went on, and some of the attack scenes after the babies (there are now three of them) escape their cages were great. Maybe it's weird that I'm giving so much love to an It's Alive sequel, but I actually really appreciated the progression from the plot of the first one and how it kept that semi-serious tone.
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