Rating 18 Length 1h 34 Release 1h 34 Director John Carpenter About Nada (Roddy Piper), a wanderer without meaning in his life, discovers a pair of sunglasses capable of showing the world the way it truly is. As he walks the streets of Los Angeles, Nada notices that both the media and the government are comprised of subliminal messages meant to keep the population subdued, and that most of the social elite are skull-faced aliens bent on world domination. With this shocking discovery, Nada fights to free humanity from the mind-controlling aliens.
Available on Netflix now.
The music has a similar quality to The Thing. That tap, tap, tap… a rhythmic beat that gets completely under your skin.
It is a film that will resonate with many people today. The themes of consumerism, political and moral bankruptcy and class divide. Other than the blatant 80s feel of the whole thing, this could be set today and I would not question it.
Roddy Piper is that brilliant 80s lead. I did want for Thomas Hayden Church at moments, but in reality Piper is perfect.
Keith David marks a welcome reunion between himself and Carpenter. Man, I love that guy and this portrayal is no exception.
The use of the glasses and the first time Nada uses them is like Dorothy landing on Oz. The contrast of the colour and the monochrome is just as breath-taking and mind blowing as the yellow brick classic. The visuals of the “they” really are iconic. I just love the whole aesthetic.
What an ending. What a brave ending that ensures there’s no sequel. Its a stand alone movie that is akin to something like Get Carter. (Edit: there’s apparently are not one, but two, sequels in the works. I shit you not, the titles are “They Laugh” and “They Love”. I had to check the publication date THREE times to make sure it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke.)
That fight sequence. Seriously, it’s such a beautifully crafted piece of cinema. Having a look online before today, it was the one thing I saw popping up time after time. I was a little sceptical and figured it was just fan boys. Nope, that sequence is a work of art. From the choreography, to the camera angles, everything works together.
Meg Foster’s Holly was a little underused and underdeveloped. I’m not sure why Nada trusts her and I don’t think we’re given enough. The only thing that has me distrusting her is the fact that she’s Evil-lynn from Masters of the Universe, so that most definitely doesn’t count.
For how long it takes to set up, it really does race through to the ending. I feel like that once the fight between Nada and Frank the film is just a race to the finish line. I am happy with how it stands, but if I could change anything I would have a bit of a final show down.
I was absolutely blown away by this film and I cannot believe that I’d not seen this before. It cannot replace The Thing as Carpenter’s best outing for me, but it is certainly up there.
Rating: 15/A Length: 1h 29 Release: 6.11.1980 Dir: John Carpenter About:Folks get ready to celebrate the centenary of Antonio Bay. But, many had suffered due to crimes that founded this town. Now, they rise from the sea, under the cover of the fog, to claim retribution.
The strength of this film is the atmosphere that’s cultivated with the opening campfire ghost story and built upon throughout the film.
I love the character of Stevie. She’d won me over in her first scene when she informs her caller “I’m never lonely”. At no point is she a damsel and I like that. She is a strong character who helps us learn more about the fog and its plans for the town.
I love the ending. While ‘old hat’ and not something I would accept from a film today, it was an excellent ‘gotcha’ and makes for an absolute resolution to the narrative.
Some of the effects work really well. Namely the plank of wood seeping water scene. I can imagine working with water is difficult at the best of times, but what they achieve there is chilling and entertaining.
There’s a massive disconnect between the characters. There’s three distinct groups that have no connection with each other until the final act. The town, for me, it too small for this plot element to work. I also wish they’d made the connection between Kathy Williams and one of the men on the ship. I have no emotional attachment to their relationship so her loss has no weight.
Jamie-Lee’s Elizabeth feels shoe-horned in just to give her a role. That’s not to say she doesn’t do a good job with what she’s given. It’s just that there are hints to her character being more than she appears, but it ends up going nowhere. Had she have been in the town for a while and leaving as the film starts, I may have bought into her relationship with Nick a little more. I don’t buy into her following Nick around the way she does after one shag. I don’t get the build up of mystery for it to lead nowhere.
For a small town, I don’t buy into people not knowing each other. Nick is a decedent of the founders and Stevie is an established disc jockey in town. How is that they don’t know each other, even in passing?!
The more we see of the ghosts, the less impact they have. In one the final scenes, we really do get too close a look at one of them and it undoes a lot of the tension built.
Brilliant premise, with a great leading lady in Adrienne Barbeau, however, the final product feels very disconnected and as a viewer, I struggled to invest in anyone in the town.
Rating: 18 Length: 1hr 50 Release: 2.3.1984 Dir: John Carpenter About: Arnie restores an old car and names her Christine, but he is unaware that she has an evil presence within her. When anyone tries to come between her owner and her, they are not spared.
Visually, the opening is awesome. The birth of Christine is something quite unexpected. While there’s no real explanation as to why its that car in particular, it still hooks you in.
Christine riding around on fire looks absolutely amazing. I also do really like that those who are singled out by Christine are those who ‘attack’ her and also have issues with Arnie; allowing you to question how involved Arnie actually is.
I really liked the hints to Dennis being gay. They were subtle and, had that thread been followed through, could have added a layer to the plot and given us a better insight into the character.
Harry Dean Stanton as the detective. I don’t know what it is about Stanton, but I really like having him appear in films. He has that ‘granddad’ stature, almost. The scene in which we’re introduced to him is quite possibly my favourite in the whole film. Not for the dialogue, or for him being involved, but for how the cars are in the frame.
Totally not the film’s fault, but the song ‘Bad to the Bone’ by George Thorogood and The Destroyers for me is synonymous with Al Bundy and Married … With Children. In fact, I’ve just gone to google the connection hoping to find a clip to illustrate my point and it promptly informed me that it’s considered almost as Al’s theme song. For those who aren’t familiar with Al Bundy or the tv show he inhabits; it’s a comedy show that ran for 11 seasons over 10 years. By having this association, it throws off the tone of the film for me, right from the get go.
Keeping with this song as the opening number, there is another clash. This time between the song and the era that is presented on the screen. The film opens in September 1957, however the song is from 1982. Yes, some songs are timeless. Bad to the Bone is not one of those. It’s a very 80s number, and for a film that is firmly set in 1978, it just doesn’t fit for me.
I don’t get the character of Arnie. I don’t like him and find him a bit of a dick, even before his involvement with Christine. His negative interactions with anyone other than Dennis means what is meant to be a massive personality shift just doesn’t translate to the viewer. While his fate is as it should be, I don’t like that we don’t see the final moments of his relationship with Christine. This is more frustrating to me, as I feel it is his relationship with his car that’s the core of the story.
It’s so not scary! In fact, at times, it feels ludicrous and boring. The only thing bringing it up to the 18 rating is the use of language which feels gratuitous at times. That’s from me who has spent the last three months trying to make HanCOCK happen.
Why is everybody so pissed about the car?! Dennis’ apprehension could have been explained by the feelings he has for Arnie. I certainly feel it was hinted at that Dennis may have been gay and attracted to his best friend. However, its almost abandoned half way through.
A great concept that just falls short of its potential. There’s not enough horror and its a rather flawed plot to really rate highly for me.