by Evan J Peterson
Tuesday will be our fifth night of SHRIEK: A Women of Horror Film and Discussion Class, located in the Scarecrow Video screening room. Last week, we filled nearly all seats for Alien. This week, we’ll watch Candyman, a gothic ghost story that moves the terror from a haunted castle to the place audiences dare not go: Cabrini Green, part of Chicago’s primarily black housing projects.
In honor of the release of SPECTRE, the 24th cinematic James Bond adventure, Matt and Kevin have inadvisably produced this full-length scene-specific audio commentary for 1979’s MOONRAKER, widely considered one of the very worst Bond films ever made.
Except it isn’t, not even close (correct answer: DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER). Made to cash in on the wild success of STAR WARS, MOONRAKER is a patently goofy cartoon aimed at kids and families, which doesn’t fit with most fans’ view of 007, especially in today’s climate of gritty realism and franchise continuity. But even though most Bond movies are campy to varying degrees, MOONRAKER takes that to extreme levels. This is one of the most absurdly silly spectacles of its time, bounding from one ridiculous sequence to the next. It’s also exceptionally well crafted, with special effects that slightly pre-date the analog technology invented and perfected by ILM (who were approached to do the FX but wanted too much money). We’re not trying to reclaim MOONRAKER as some hidden masterpiece, but we do think it’s underappreciated for what it is, a gloriously crazy collection of silly jokes, gorgeous location photography, and incredible sets, stunts, and special effects. Oh, and it has a giant astronaut space battle at the end, and if you can’t get behind that, there’s just no helping you.
You can right click here to save this mp3, then sync it up to any copy of the movie you wish to use.
by Melanie Reed
To consider the question of eccentricity to is consider the question of connection vs apartness. One could make the case that all artists are eccentric, since to comment creatively on society is effectively to have to stand apart. But artists to which the term best applies are those who occupy a more extreme and unique place with regard to social context. Such individuals play special roles in the realm of human endeavor, and a good documentary filmmaker can elucidate these roles by presenting the artists as artfully, thoughtfully and fully as if they were fictional characters with symbolic meaning for the world.
We’ve had a great first half at SHRIEK: A Women of Horror Film and Discussion Class, located in the Scarecrow Video screening room. We’ve seen some chilling female villains, some kick-ass female heroes, and some characters who fell in between. This week, we’ll watch Alien, a working-class feminist haunted house thriller from outer space. But is it horror or science fiction? Why not both?