Sunday

From a Place of Darkness

2008

According to IMDb:

 "Miles Kody, is a documentary filmmaker. Living off a long ago success he's now searching for his "second" break. He finds that in the seedy world of snuff films. He interviews Vic, a seasoned pro with a menacing, mysterious dark side. Miles becomes obsessed with the subject matter and his subject. Miles' primary investor, Carl, is also very interested, more in the hypnotic allure of the movies and potential for profit. As Miles tapes his interviews with Vic he becomes aware of the appearance of "ghosts" captured on his video monitor. He realizes that the faint energy fields of these ghosts, past victims of the snuff films, are picked up more readily on video. As a ghost becomes more powerful they become more visible to the naked eye. He soon realizes that Vic is in league with the Devil and delivers the souls of his victims to attain more power."

That summary doesn't seem to me to be precisely what happened in the film, but given that it was written by the writer/director, Douglas Alan Raine, I think we have to assume it represents what he meant to portray.

As you can deduce from the fact that it involves Satan and snuff films, it is not a light-hearted Apatow comedy. All of the characters are either morally corrupt to begin with, or are eventually possessed by the evil Vic, whoever or whatever he may be. Although Vic channels the power of Hell itself, he certainly has not sold his soul in exchange for filmmaking talent. The quality of his snuff films is somewhat below the quality of bin Laden's movies, although still slightly better than the ones with Kate Hudson and McConaughey. Nearly every scene, whether in the film or in the snuff films within the film, is shot in virtual darkness, mostly in the creepy old warehouse where Vic creates his little cinematic marvels, in which scenes are illuminated by light streaming in from a fan vent, or by the characters' flashlights.

Surprisingly enough, given the uninspired premise and the lack of budget, the film is quite effective in some ways. The script is ridiculous, but the film meets or exceeds the genre requirements for gore and kinky nude scenes, and the direction is adroit enough to transmit and sustain a dark, depraved vibe throughout, while generating some shocking moments along the way. Accomplishing that was obviously the director's priority.

Some of the actors are unpolished, but other performances are quite interesting. John Savage, now a youthful 60, is quietly sinister as the mysterious Vic. One of the minor roles, a sleazy investor hoping to profit from snuff films, is played with surprising conviction by ... (wait for it) ... a famous television sitcom douchebag. I won't tell you exactly who that is, but I'll tell you that it comes from the following list: Pottsy, Balki, Cliffy, Squiggy, or Barney Rubble.

 

Nudity

 

The Brken

Or, if you speak Norwegian or Danish, "The The Fraction." Kind of an odd title, eh? The film has nothing to do with Scandinavia or with fractions, so I think that the people who decided on that spelling just thought the looked really cool, because Scandinavians are scary, with those blue eyes and those horned hats. Or something. As Count Floyd would say, "Pretty scary, eh kids? Aroooooooooooooooo!"

It's like how they always turn the R's around in films about Яussia.

The Broken is a slick psychological/supernatural mystery in the Hitchcock/Serling style: lots of stylish design, lots of slow tracking shots, lots of foreboding, lots of people acting mysterious for no apparent reason. Usual deal. It is refreshing in that it is a major departure from the direction horror films seem to be going these days. It is not particularly gory and it features very few "boo" moments. It tries to create its chills with an ongoing atmosphere of impending doom, and it tries to hold the audience's attention by pulling back the veils slowly, occasionally even increasing rather than decreasing the story's opacity.

Is that good? Well, maybe. It's a classy film, art-designed and sound-designed to the nines, filled with  expensive helicopter shots, a slow-mo car crash, and some dependable performers. Those are the good points. Those are also, in a sense, the bad points. The film's forward movement is so deliberate and so saturnine that the ongoing replays of the slo-mo car crash sometimes feel like the fastest parts of the film. To say that the pace is langorous is like saying that President Obama is kind of a bad bowler. This film isn't just moving slowly; it often seems frozen in time. This would make a nice, nifty little 22-minute episode of The Twilight Zone. Unfortunately it is padded out to 90 minutes, and the extra 68 minutes is not filled with guilty pleasures, the way Brian DePalma would do it, but with footage of people acting puzzled and with the slo-mo crash being repeated again and again.

I guess I might have been able to live with the pacing if the basic premise had been plotted better, but it is one of those films where every scene is pushed forward with the gimmickry necessary to produce a chill in that scene, without regard for whether the entire story still holds up in the face of those gimmicks.

MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD. SKIP TO THE NUDITY IF YOU PLAN TO SEE THE FILM.

It's a doppleganger movie. Lena Headey spots another Londoner who looks just like her and seems to be driving her car. She follows her twin to an apartment, where there is an inexplicable picture of Lena and her dad (Richard Jenkins). Skip forward. Lena gets in a car crash and can't quite remember what happened, but all around her, people seem to be changing. Her boyfriend seems like a different guy. The world seems to have a Body Snatcher thing going on, presumably engineered from "beyond the mirror."

The big surprise ending is that the Lena we follow is actually the evil Lena from beyond the mirror. She killed the real Lena, then got in a car crash, forgot about the killing, and forgot that she was evil.

Whatever.

The important thing here is that virtually none of the preceding scenes make sense after that revelation. For example, Lena complains to the doctors that her boyfriend is not really her boyfriend. He seems like a different person. She was right, of course. They entity was not the boyfriend of the real Lena. He was the evil replacement from Mirrorland. The problem is, how could Evil Mirror Lena have known that? She never met the real boyfriend. What's more, Evil Mirror Boyfriend should not have felt "wrong" to Evil Mirror Lena, since he was the one she was meant to be with.

You can continue with those sorts of observations for virtually every scene. The script hides the secret from us in the clumsiest possible way - by presenting us with detail after detail that could not possibly be true, given the secret, then defying all the rules at the end and pulling the old soap opera switcheroo where the kindly babysitter who robbed the house turns out to be Ms. Evil Twin Sister, even though Ms. Evil could not have known the combination to the safe.

Meh.

So I was not only yawning while waiting for the big secret, but I was also annoyed once I knew it.

But the film is technically superlative. So there's that.

 

Nudity:

 

 

  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.

OTHER CRAP:

Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Color of Night

1994

The famous Bruce Willis Penis movie.

Jane March: many film clips.

Man. Jane's career is really sizzling, eh?

 I wonder if she beats Alicia Silverstone in their daily canasta games.

Collages below:

 

 

Film clips of some other chicks

 

 

 

 

 

 


TV Land

Today is an all TV Land day. First up is Reese Witherspoon, who is just so darned cute, paying a visit
to "Leno". Caps and an HD clip.

Then Jaime Pressly puts on a real leg & thigh show on the new "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon". Caps and an HD clip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes and collages

Night of the Hunted

yet another Rollin classic

1980

Dominique Journet

 

The Breed

2006

Taryn Manning, a decent actress, but probably the poorest quarterback in her family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deadly Embrace

(1989)

Part 3 of 3

Clips from a videotape of Deadly Embrace (1989). 'Tis a distinctly odiferous cowpie of a movie starring that guy who played Stringfellow Hawk opposite Ernest Borgnine in the television show about a high tech helicopter. What the f*** is his name? No matter because he sucks. Reminds me of that South Park episode where the town's people eat Eric Roberts because "no one gives a shit about Eric Roberts." Well I would have to say even fewer people give even less of a shit about whatever his name is.

So why bother with this nonsensical pile of bovine manure? It has Linnea Quigley and Michelle Bauer nekkid, that's why. Michelle's usual after-market equipment is on display, as is her all-natural and wonderful tush. Gal had a killer caboose. Third topless gal is Ty Randolph, aka Mindy Miller. Remember her in a bit part in Body Double, where she played, well, a body double? Here she plays a neglected wife - married to good ol' what's his name. She boffs this younger guy - Linnea's boyfriend - and I think either kills or gets killed, perhaps both, but I wouldn't know because once I was certain I would see no more of Linnea or Michelle nekkid I hit eject so quickly a rip in the time-space continuum developed over the Eastern U.S. This crapola was written and directed by a pair of guys (David DeCoteau and Richard Gabai) who have had a hand in 100 of the worst movies ever made - average score hovering near 3.0 on IMDb. In that context, they seem perfectly worthy of some serious AIG bonus money - say, maybe 50 mil each.

Today's nudie: Michelle Bauer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film Clips

Helena Noguerra in Ah Tais Riche

Two women from Baader-Meinhof Komplex in ultra HD (1920x1080): Joanna Wokalek and Nadja Uhl

Lindsay Page in Death of a Ghost Hunter

Vittoria Puccini in Kronprinz Rudolf

Sylvia Kristel and others in the original Emmanuelle movie. We've never seen a good print of this film. I think this is the best yet, and it's 1280x720

This is a nifty little find: an extended version of Rhona Mitra's nude scene in Hollow Man.