Film Reviews by GC

Welcome to GC's film reviews page. GC has written 3 reviews and rated 119 films.

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Gothic Horror Dialled Up To 11

(Edit) 16/08/2017

You know what Dirty Harry says about opinions - here's mine:-

Suspiria is an extremely classy horror film in the Italian cinema tradition. It is high on style and production quality, but might just leave you feeling that it's somewhat over the top and unrealistic.

The overall effect on a large screen is almost of watching a theatre-piece. The director seems to have used a lot of theatrical lighting and sound techniques to add to the sense of unease - occasionally the colours are saturated and hyper-vivid, and the dynamics of the folie and score might have you reaching for the remote to turn the levels down occasionally.

If you're a fan of Gothic Horror then this should appeal:-

A start that leaves you in no doubt that this is all unlikely to end well - check

A conspiracy of nature and coincidence against the leading protagonist - check

Ultra violence and gorey endings - where artistically justified, of course - hmmmm - check

A spirited heroine / innocent victim trying to piece together the strange events she finds herself part of - check

Weird buildings with secret rooms and very nasty surprises - check

A cast of bizarrely macabre characters - check

Apparitions, occult, satanism, sacrifice, a profound sense of the uncanny - check

Proper nasty villains and villany with full-strength supernatural goings-on - check

Central European feel and some great character acting - check

Shrieking soundtrack and ominous foreboding at every turn - check

If you like the films of Roger Corman starring Vincent Price, or Roman Polanski's horrors, but wished they were more visceral, this could be for you.

Personally, sitting alone in the dark in my weird house I thoroughly enjoyed this.

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Disturbingly Good - Uncompromising, and violent action: slick, well acted and technically excellent

(Edit) 18/02/2017

Suburra follows the machinations of a number of members of high-level heavyweight crime gangs in Rome, as they vie for power. They also competer for a 'piece of the action' in a proposed water-front development organised by the mafia through their 'fixer' - the enigmatic and powerful 'Samurai'. He sets about eliminating all obstacles to the plan using either 'silver or lead' (to use a term used in the series Narcos).

Relatively innocent characters get thrown into the maelstrom of events and gang rivalries spill into bloody street conflicts. Sub-plots feature revenge as the primary motivation, with greed, sex and occasionally loyalty thrown in for good measure. It's a sinful concoction!

The action is very violent, the locations and shooting are slick, the hedonism extreme and the incidents graphic. It's not a film for the easily shocked. Like Trainspotting in the 90s the film has a modern 'cool' feel about it, with an occasionally loud electronic sound-track echoing the clubland lifestyle of its underworld denizens. There are moments that capture both the beauty of Rome as well as plenty of its seedier side.

The film captures the rivalries between different gangster groups and politicians, and their approach to business - the old school mafioso - Samurai - equally adept at negotiation as well as strong-arm tactics - an iron fist in a velvet glove, the newer generation of hedonistic 'hipster' thugs and the so-called 'gypsies', who play by their own rules.

The plot, pace, filming and characterisations are superb - excellent technical quality and acting - as you expect from the best Italian cinema: few do style and attention to detail as well as the Italians. It makes a nice change to see a European crime film of this quality - easily up there and surpassing the best that Hollywood has to offer.

It also asks questions of its audience about character, and what one would do when faced with tough moral choices. I'm glad I was watching an entertainment, rather than being involved in the ruthless yet engrossing world depicted.


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The Stone Tape

Excellent Spine-Chilling Classic Horror

(Edit) 31/10/2016

Produced by the BBC for Christmas 1972, the only disappointment with this film may be the budget special FX towards the end (apparently produced at Pinewood studios), but use your imagination, and this isn't really a problem.

If you allow yourself to get into the atmosphere of this film the story, script, acting, energy, characters and atmosphere are wonderful, and this is rightly considered a classic of the horror genre. Also it's somewhat of a time capsule in more ways than one. If you don't like 'old' drama, you probably won't like this, but if you appreciate timeless classics you probably will.

You might also like to note that in 2015 BBC Radio 4 remade a version in 'binaural sound' for their Hallowe'en Fright Night experience - available currently to listen to. I'd watch the film first though!

Screen it alone in a darkened room, when everyone else is sleeping...

4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.