If you’ve neither watched nor read Rosemary’s Baby, that rare text that is relatively unchanged in adaptation, beware of spoilers.

I haven’t seen Rosemary’s Baby in ages so I decided to kickoff a Halloween marathon with it. This is a movie that seriously stands the test of time. It’s also the rare film that I can tolerate Mia Farrow in. The cinematography, the editing, and the camera angles brilliantly convey Rosemary’s downward spiral into fear, paranoia, and her ultimate break from reality. The casting of so many brilliant older character actors as the Satanists is probably what saves the movie from devolving into camp.

When I said I was going to rewatch this one, a friend scoffed at the character of the patronizing doctor who forbids Rosemary to read pregnancy books or talk to her friends and family, saying he made the movie dated and unrealistic. She hasn’t encountered some of the doctors I have over the past few years – many, like the doctor in the film, also considered the best doctors in town and thus infallible.

But I digress. Let’s get back to those Satanists. Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer are pitch perfect as Minnie and Roman Castevet, the annoying nosey geriatric couple who make keeping tabs on their young neighbors into an Olympic sport. Unbeknownst to Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, the young couple who move into the apartment next to the Castevet’s, when they aren’t being busybodies, they’re worshipping Satan. Quicker than you can say, “deal with the devil,” struggling actor guy sells out Rosemary in exchange for a successful acting career. Rosemary senses something is wrong with her pregnancy, her neighbors, and her husband. Terrific point-of-view shots through keyholes and peepholes and reflected images, such as the glimpse of herself Rosemary catches on the side of her toaster give the viewer the same slightly distorted perspective Rosemary seems to be experiencing thanks to the daily “vitamin drinks” supplied to her by Minnie Castevets.

This is a fine film which was nominated for many awards, features a stellar cast, looks terrific, and has stood the test of time. Consequently, it’s being remade by Michael Bay. This is such an idiotic idea that we can only assume the Devil is making him do it.

TNT apparently ran a [tag]John Carpenter[/tag] marathon over the weekend and “Prince of Darkness” caught my eye because it seemed vaguely familiar (in a non-Robert Novak sort of way).

Donald Pleasance, Jameson Parker (1987) “A priest summons a professor to an old church to see a cannister of liquid satan.”

Last time Tivo “suggested” this movie to us, the Bunny and I couldn’t stop saying “[tag]liquid satan[/tag]” for a long time.

Far longer than the joke stayed funny, probably.

Liquid satan.

No, actually, it’s still funny.

Burnt Offerings was really scary on cable in the 1970s. Last night on DVD, not so much. Unless you count Burgess Meredith’s scenery chewing turn as the brother in the brother-sister pair of haunted house owning maniacs. Or Bette Davis flailing about, chewing the scenery and, no doubt, cursing her agent under her breath.

It does have scream queen Karen Black, scenes of Oliver Reed shirtless and gardening with reckless abandon, and creepy iconic funeral flashback scenes featuring character actor icon Anthony James. But it’s also got a lot of bad writing, overwrought scoring, and blurry cinematography. And, not unlike Jack Nicholson in Kubrick’s verson of the Shining, which bears some similiarities, Karen Black’s character seems batshit insane right out of the gate. Thus, the “slow” descent into madness? Not so slow. The movie, on the other hand, very slow.

Happy New Year!

The stalker squirrel didn’t get me, but the movie Bloodrayne almost did.

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Like most films adapted from video games, Bloodrayne is great. If your definition of “great” is, of course, “poorly directed, ineptly shot, incoherently edited, and really seriously badly cast.”

Through the judicious use of the fast forward button, you can condense the movie down to about 27 minutes of entertainment. That’s not enough to salvage the movie, but it’s an amusing way to spend time drinking a cup of coffee. Even the casting of Ben Kingsley and Geraldine Chaplin couldn’t save this movie.

It occurs to me that if you really disliked someone, you could give them this movie as a present and then insist they watch it. To be sure they have to sit through the whole thing, bring beer, act deadly serious about the entire enterprise and keep control of the remote. Rewind and re-watch the “good” parts just to drag out the “fun.” You’ll suffer, too, but I suspect that your target will never, ever bother you again. (I wonder if this would work on a squirrel?)

Highpoints of “the film” included a graphic slo-motion sex scene in some sort of dungeon. This scene did not, thankfully, involve Ben Kingsley and Geraldine Chaplin. Additionally, there was a lengthy and bizarrely random montage of decapitations with gratuitous arterial blood spurts that were totally out of sync with the rest of the movie in just about every way imagineable, including plot, tone, pacing and lighting.

Also, Michelle Rodriguez in what appeared to be a pirate’s costume. It’s possible that by this point I just wasn’t paying attention at all anymore, so I’m loathe to mention that I’m pretty sure Meat Loaf was running around in drag.

Not even Rayne’s propensity to miss her mouth while gulping blood from a chalice, thereby enabling said blood to splash artfully down her cleavage, could save this stinker.

I think I’m making it sound much better than it is.

At least Michelle Rodriguez can probably cop a “I was drunk and didn’t know what I was doing” plea. Sadly, I just realized the film was written by Guinevere Turner who turned the screenplay of American Psycho into a cutting (no pun intended) feminist social satire. I guess everyone has to pay the bills.

I thought the movie had Bill Nighy in it, but thankfully (for his sake) I was mistaken. (If you don’t know who I mean, he’s the excellent actor who stole the show in Love Actually and Underworld, among other movies, with the sheer force of his presence).

If you’re even slightly tempted to watch Bloodrayne, and you don’t have a sponsor or some other responsible adult who can come over to your house and make you step away from your DVD player, at least go read the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes first. There are so many great ones, I can’t pick a favorite, so I’ll just cite this one: “This is a movie that begs you not to watch it.”

Another review at Rotten Tomatoes said that Bloodrayne was “not as bad as getting your eyelid caught on a nail.” Trust me, you’ll have a much better time reading the reviews than you will watching this movie.

Immediately after watching Bloodrayne, we watched Silent Hill. I suspect that Silent Hill was pretty good, but by comparison it seemed brilliant.

I hesitate to praise Silent Hill too deeply because I also watched Valentine in the aftermath of Bloodrayne and even that didn’t seem awful at the time. Valentine was a serial killer movie starring David Boreanaz, Denise Richards, and Amy Irving’s daughter that Tivo recorded from basic cable at 2 a.m.

Yeah. Enough said.

I’m not one to make light of torture, but I have to say that I think that putting squirrels in someone’s attic has to be added to the inventories of recognized forms of torture. And if the chattering and screaming and the thumping and the scurrying aren’t enough to drive you to confess to any number of crimes just to make the torment stop, you can go online and read about just how much damage squirrels can do to your house.

I know why people buy condos.

To try to distract myself from the Rodent Rodeo in the attic while the Trained Rodent Removal Team works to solve the problem, I’ve actually been catching up on my email. A whole bunch of people sent me this beauty: a recut version of Mary Poppins as a horror movie, Scary Mary. Genius.

Scifipedia is off to a pretty good start.

Their SciFi Original Movies season, not so much. The best thing I can say about Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep was that they called it Kraken instead of Killimari. I was only half-watching it, and I was still bored.

SciFi had a contest to name the film and I thought Killimari was an absolutely awesome name for a giant killer squid movie. “Kraken: tentacles of the deep” is also clever and appropriate for a giant squid B movie of the deep, but Killimari was, just, well, Killimari. Just say it out loud a few times. Perfect, no?

Alas, as it turned out, Kraken was a bad movie and thus undeserving of such a cool name. Kraken was just bad, but not Bad. Not endlessly rewatchably Bad. Certainly not “Gratuitous Linda Blair tapdancing sequence” Bad or “James Earl Jones yakking up a leopard” Bad or “Chuck Norris kickboxing the devil in Israel” Bad or even “Bela Lugosi wrestling a giant rubber octopus stolen from the prop room of a John Wayne movie” Bad. It was simply small-b bad. Drowning in mediocrity bad. Boring bad.

To make it worse, they followed it with Snakehead Terror which stars the unholy tryptich of Bruce Boxleitner, Carol Alt, and animatronic stairclimbing snakehead fish. Snakehead Terror is no Empire of the Ants, but it’s lightyears more entertaining than Kraken. B-movies can, and probably should, be many things: badly directed, badly edited, badly acted, even badly written (maybe, especially, badly written) but they should never be boring.