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Thursday, January 5, 2012

(Ozathon) Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 1910

   Hello, and welcome to my new review series entitled, Ozathon!  This series will cover most if not all of the early films based off of the book series written by Frank Baum.  I'm not talking about the classic made in 1939 with Judy Garland, that everyone knows and loves.  Nope, when Frank Baum wrote his books in the early 1900's, it wouldn't be long before a theatrical release was made close to ten years later.  These are his films.  

   "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,"  might have followed the book much better than the more popular edition made much later.  Each scene is divided into, "chapters," to help sum up in one sentence or word what the scene is going to be about. "The Cyclone," or "Our Friends Encounter Momba The Witch" are some examples of the chapters.  To be honest, they do help allot with keeping you on track with the plot of the story.  The plot is probably one of the things that made this book series stand out.  I reminded me a little bit of, "Alice in Wonderland," just a whole lot more grounded and less cryptic.  

   I hope that this film is considered a classic by now, because in my mind it truly is.  It's like a play that your kid does and it's ridiculously acted, and everyone's like, "Well, they're trying their best."  And they are, and it's pretty good because of it.  It feels like allot of effort was placed into the continuity and overall direction of the film. I haven't actually read the books so, I suppose that it could be entirely different from the books.  But, nonetheless, it does make sense.

   To say that this film is a little different than the more popular one would be a huge understatement.  It is tremendously different!  Dorothy meets the scarecrow before she goes to oz.  They both hide in a bale of hay, along with two other farm animals.  There is no, "wicked witch."  instead its a villain named Moba.  There is no original music, or, "somewhere over the rainbow."  Almost everything is from Fantasia and The Nutcracker.  Toto is turned into a bulldog by Galinda to fight off the Cowardly Lion.  But none of these differences really matter, although I still think that this version of the film is more accurate.  

  There are some moments, however, that seem really out of place.  Every minuet or so, one character is dancing, and because of the fact that the music does not change or fit the dance in any way, it seems so strange.  Almost every character in the film has one moment where they dance, except for the flying monkeys.  That's one of the complaints that I have with this film.  Nothing can seem to stand still for one second.  It's as if they're afraid that if they stop waving things in front of the viewers face, they'll get bored.  It's like the film is an adult waving a rattle in front of the baby viewers faces.  Well, actually, this film is meant for kids.  Really little kids.  Babies.    

 I need to remember to critique, "Wonderful Wizard of Oz," as a film for children, and not a horror film.  Because the content in this film is totally different to what I normally review.  But, that aside, this was....interesting.  I'm sure that if you have read, or ever have wanted to read the book series by Frank Baum, then you'll enjoy this.  There is no dialog.  Instead there are  allot of people in ridiculous looking costumes, to play the animals, and a whole lot of jumping up and down, rolling, flying, spinning, bumping, tackling, etc.  So, if you want a COMPLETELY different Wizard of Oz experience, this is for you.


      Next Review:  The Patchwork Girl of Oz  1914         

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tales of Frankenstein: 1958

   "Tales of Frankenstein," was originally meant to be a television series during the late 50's.  However, it never really picked up to get many episodes, so the only item remaining from the series is one pilot episode.  This episode is roughly around 30 minuets long, and if your lucky, you may be able to find it on DVD with the film, "The Terror" included make it a double feature.  If you would like to learn more about, "The Terror" starring Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson click here.  Now, I don't expect this to be great, or even good for that matter, but I will try to review this strange piece of work existing in it's own world, of 1958.  Enjoy.

    "Tales of Frankenstein," reminds me of a collage short film simply meant to pay homage to a horror titan.  However, it is certainly not fit to be a television show.  There is nothing to hook any viewer by that doesn't share the general knowledge of the Frankenstein monster.  And, if anyone did, they would surely find a few minor flaws or find it too boring to continue watching.  I'm sure that the director wanted this to be so much more than it became, but alas, the shows fame had fallen short of causing any kind of impact in the film industry.

    It's quality in all forms is very similar to a movie made for television, where it's in over its head.  There are vaguely  explained reasons for things, if there is any explanation at all.   Max Halpert does not explain what it is he is dying from, and neither does his wife.  There is no suspense to peril that is unexplained and not seen.  I don't really even care about Max because I don't even get to know him well before he dies.  

   It's a fatal flaw in film, where whoever's explaining something vital to understanding the story, does a crappy job of doing it, and now the viewer is out of it because he doesn't know what the @#!*% is happening!  It's way too fast and explains too little, but maybe there is a reason to why the episode was made that way.  If it truly is a T.V series, then maybe the director wanted the information to be spread out.  It's too bad he didn't get the chance though becuase without the other episodes made, it kinda just looks like the guy half-assed it.  

   This was a poor mans Frankenstein, but the atmosphere was sufficient.  I like it when you can see how everything is created in a film.  It gives it a home made feel, rather than a sterile and synthetic one.  Although not professional, it gives the episode a nice touch.  Film is a form of expressing one's self.  Who is it to deny that one persons vision is adequate, and another one's isn't?  Well I'll tell you!  It's a critics job to do that! Now, I know what you may be thinking.  "Albert!  Albert!  You reviewed two things that aren't technically horror films.  What gives?"  Well i'll tell you what gave.  I'm thinking about branching out with what it is that I review.  Maybe it'll be television, or maybe something else.  Or I might just stick with what I already have.  It just a matter of time. 


Next Review:  Wonderful Wizard of Oz  1910

A Night on Bald Mountain: 1940

   So once upon a time I was sitting on my butt watching a move. It was called "Fantasia", and it wasn't what I was expecting it to be at all.  It wasn't even like I was eager to watch it.  I take one look at the title, and think to myself whether I had any "Asian Fantasies" to be taken care of by Micky Mouse.  Thinking of about three, I'm interested to see what this film had in store for me.  After a half an hour of dancing shrooms, fairies, Pegasus', brooms, hippopotamus' and alligators, I was ready to turn in.  That is until I heard the booming and thunderous bashing of drums and the slow and sinful slurs of the violin and the tremor-like glide of the cello, which replaced the dancing and the clapping and the learning and the hugging with, "The Night on Bald Mountain."  

   The place was where Satan and his followers lurked to lift the dead and drop the living into a spiraling  @#!*% hole of which there is no escape.  The devil, exists purely to reek havoc on the demons that have been resurrected, and merely mock their existence further by playing and torturing them. He can even smirk!  This is why this film is great!  Disney had the balls to put something as adult and scaring as this in a children's visual depiction of various classical music.  And they put in a film which is, simply put, about the devil torturing the dead!  That is awesome!  And when I saw this, I matured a little bit inside.  It was by far the most traumatizing thing I had seen so far in my life!  It's like a fight that breaks out on the sidewalk, that is too violent to watch, yet you can't look away.  And I was hooked!  I actually liked to be scared!

   This was an incredible experience for me.  It was the first horror related footage I had ever seen, and I couldn't get enough of it.  So, if you were ever wondering how my passion for the horror genre of film was ever born, now you do.  The film was mature even in message.  The devil turned beauty into filth and greed, and serenity into chaos.  He was the very being of which to control these terrible powers, and the world sort of needed it.  Because what is beauty without filth, or serenity without chaos?  There is no singularity.  No single solitary variable.

   And when all hope seemed lost, when the demons where tortured without mercy, a light calls out in the distance.  A solitary noise rings in rebellion to the chaos.  The light of serenity rings triumphant as the demonic mountain tries to continue.  But alas, he hesitates at the very sound of it.  It rings again, this time the light shines brighter, and he cringes.  Once more it rings even brighter, white against the devil's black exterior.  And as the demons slowly slither back under their headstones and soil, so does the puppet master coil back into his shell, transforming back again into Bald Mountain.  And finally, in the wee hours of the morning, and people start to stir, they watch the fog rise with the sun. And not one could ever recall those fateful evenings.  Those terrifying stirrings of the night-time.  And nothing so completely terrifying or demonic could ever amount to a night on Bald Mountain.  


        Next Review:  The Tales of Frankenstein (T.V Series)  1958