Sunday, August 08, 2004

I have a few things to spout off on and I might make it in one go or I might have to separate it into two postings, the other to be finished later.
I woke up this morning about two hours earlier than I normally like to. I woke up to the sound of my fan turning off and I fumbled instinctively for my hunting knife until I realized that the power had gone off. I went out to the fuse box and that looked alright. It turned out that the power was off in the whole house. So I went back to sleep.
I got up again about twenty minutes before I usually like to get up and there was still no electricity. In my head I thought that it wouldn't effect me in any way in the morning besides shaving. I thought with a little sneer that I didn't need to use electricity anyway because I was a conscious and green minded person.
Ho ho.
I went into the bathroom, went to turn on the light switch, realized I was a robot, and shaved with a straight razor, which took more time and now I had to rush to get to my Quaker meeting. But I decided to make some spiced hot chocolate to get me going. I put the powder in my mug and went to get milk so I could zap it in the microwave. Luckily, before I got the rapidly defrosting milk out of the fridge, I realized there was a flaw with that plan.
And that was when I realized I'm a lot more dependant on electricity and a lot less conscious than I like to think I am. It was a bit of a wake up call.

Now a film review. This film was a double feature on the same DVD of Carnival of Souls. I have no idea why.

THE CITY OF THE DEAD
OR
HORROR HOTEL

You know it's a B movie if it's been released under a variety of titles, especially when it seems like those titles are probably on like a dozen other films out there. This film was released in 1962. It's got Christopher Lee in about three or four scenes. It's got a young actress named Venetia Stevenson who is in a scene that so gratuitously shows her changing in her underwear that I gufawed pretty loudly at it. She talks to someone, closes the door, takes her clothes off, and then they cut to another scene. It's as though they forgot to cut it earlier. Oops. I thought to myself, "I guess this is what they call an Exploitation Film." Because I felt like that poor actress was terribly exploited in that scene and I felt like they were also trying to exploit me.
It's also got the lady what played Domina in the film version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. During the scenes in Horror Hotel when she's talking to the mute cleaning lady I caught myself thinking:

Everybody ought to have a maid,
Daintily collecting bits of paper n' strings,
Appealing in her apron strings
And graceful as a grouse.
Pattering through the attic,
Chattering in the cellar,
Clattering in the kitchen,
Flattering in the bedroom,
Puttering all around the house

It is a silly movie.
But there's some great elements to it as well. There's lighting that borders on the Expressionist. There's great use of fog.
But what bothered me about it was the premise. The premise was that the famous New England witch burnings was a bit of history where they really burned people who were witches, all of whom seemed to have deserved it. These witches were people who worshiped the Christian version of the Devil (pointy horns, pitchfork, tail, red tights, goatee, you know) and that they sacrificed unwilling living beings to same.
I'm a Quaker, so I hope my pagan friends out there will forgive me if I get any of this wrong, but it seems to me that a very small portion of the people burned as witches were actually witches. Mainly they seem to have been unpopular people in the Puritan communities. Granted, if you really did get caught practicing the craft by the Puritans, they would most likely have killed you in an unpleasant way, but I doubt seriously that those people worshipped the Christian version of the Devil.
The Puritans also treated the Quakers pretty shabbily as well, by the way. If I were alive back then I'd be hiding out in Pennsylvania.
If I were a witch I'd be pretty danged offended by this film. I'd especially be offended by the climax scene and what it seems to imply. Actually, I probably wouldn't be offended. I'd probably laugh a lot at how ignorant and backwards it was. Which is what I did anyway. Others might be offended by it though.
Christopher Lee was really good in it. He's good in everything and he's been in a lot of plain awful movies.
So I guess what I'm saying is that you probably shouldn't see this movie, but if you happen to find yourself in front of a screen that's showing it, be prepared. You're going to see something ugly on many levels. Also be prepared for the last moment of the film which don't make no kind of goldurned sense a'tall.

The rest of my spouting off will wait. I'm sick of sitting here.




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