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STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



Its tomorrow and it turns out all my worry of a small field was indeed for naught as in the end we once again had 16 voters. So who advanced?


Despite a spilt vote in what was probably the most popular and divided of matchups we’ve had so far Ernest Dickerson’s Bones managed to double up both of the challengers and easily clear the way for my Block Party team to face off against my beloved John Carpenter. You hear that? Ernest Dickerson > Steven Spielberg. My low key favorite team’s already knocked off one mega heavyweight in Spielberg, can they take down another? Would I get mad about it?


By the narrowest of margins Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s Mother Joan of the Angels sneaks past Teinosuke Kinugasa’s A Page of Madness and propels TrixRabbi's Andrzej Żuławski & Other Poles into the Field of 64. It was ONE person who apparently loved The Bride who made all the difference once again proving that every vote counts. I swear it wasn’t me. And the Poles are gonna need every vote they can get next round when they face off against Dario Argento.


Ok, that’s our Field of 64. Time to start knocking them off!

4. Lucio Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters vs. 13. (married but discreet’s Austrian Oscar Winners Who Also Do Horror) Michael Haneke’s Time of the Wolf


Zombi 2? Zombie? Whatever that movie’s called its a pretty solid way to open up the Field of 64 and no more representative piece for Fulci than that. Up against him is another one of those much heralded directors I’m not actually sure I want to watch and makes me wonder why I’m doing this to myself and allowing you all to torture me. But I digress. Last year’s tournament was all about the big Masters of Horror getting knocked off with upsets early but does Haneke have enough to start this year’s off in the same way?

Availability:
Zombie Flesh Eaters
Time of the Wolf


5. (Debbie Does Dagon’s Queer as in gently caress You) Nikos Nikolaidis’ Singapore Sling vs. 12. Larry Cohen’s See China and Die


The most exciting thing about this matchup to me? See China and Die only has 8 total reviews, which means we have a real chance to double up the number of reviews of this film in one week. I really hope that we’re freaking out some Letterboxd algorithm by randomly upping weird obscure movies’ reviews and ratings each week. And oh yeah, its Deb’s greatest film ever. I am both excited to watch that and utterly terrified. God help us all.

Availability:
Singapore Sling
See China and Die


Ok, that’s it. I’m hurting and sleep deprived so I was a little lazy with things this week. I had this whole football theme in mind but totally forgot and rushed this together tonight. Maybe next week. For now we’re officially under way with the Field of 64. We’re gonna be in this first round all the way into April so relax and enjoy the ride. Stream Queen Deb as always is stepping up for streams Saturday and Monday nights if you can’t get ahold of the films on your own. As always vote is open until until next Friday the 29th, 3 AM EST or when I’m awake and feel comfortable its “tomorrow” for everyone.

Vote!

Bracket & Noms Spreadsheet
Letterboxd List

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Debbie Does Dagon
Jul 8, 2005





Yes! Yes! YES! I have such sights to show you all



E: I should mention there's a version of Singapore Sling on YouTube, DO NOT WATCH IT, it's a horribly butchered version. I will stream it as many times as necessary, and if you don't want to watch a stream contact me, I will hook you up.

Debbie Does Dagon fucked around with this message at 09:25 on Jan 22, 2021

Debbie Does Dagon
Jul 8, 2005





Week 4 Bracketology Streams!
Only on the CineD Discord

All times are in EST and may not reflect reality.



Saturday, January 23rd

1900 Time of the Wolf
2100 Zombi 2 or Zombie Flesh Eaters



Monday, January 25th

1900 See China and Die
2035 Singapore Sling

And if anyone has good quality versions of Time of the Wolf and See China and Die, feel free to reach out to me. I have versions of both, but, well, they don't appear to be well-loved copies.

Debbie Does Dagon fucked around with this message at 16:03 on Jan 22, 2021

married but discreet
May 7, 2005




Taco Defender

I would love for the one person who liked The Bride to reveal themselves.

Also hell yeah, very stoked about the entire lineup.

Debbie Does Dagon
Jul 8, 2005





I voted for Mother Joan, so if I actually voted for my own Team it would have won. I have to vote with my heart though, right?

TrixRabbi
Aug 20, 2010

Time for a little robot chauvinism!



With Mother Joan squeaking by the rest of that team is just Zuwalski, who really should have been in the first tournament on his own but got forgotten.

M_Sinistrari
Sep 5, 2008

Do you like scary movies?





Basebf555 posted:

I wouldn't worry about it, turnout is gonna naturally fluctuate. There's been a LOT of poo poo going on in the past 10 days or so. And not just the obvious political stuff, the NFL had it's playoffs and it was multiple games each day on Saturday and Sunday. It's gonna be much easier for me to fit movies in on the weekends now that that's mostly over with.

And I got my diagnosis. I have Covid. So much for diligently quarantining and social distancing. Anyway, so far I pretty much can fall asleep at the drop of a hat so I'll try to participate as much as I can.

Debbie Does Dagon
Jul 8, 2005





M_Sinistrari posted:

And I got my diagnosis. I have Covid. So much for diligently quarantining and social distancing. Anyway, so far I pretty much can fall asleep at the drop of a hat so I'll try to participate as much as I can.

I'm so sorry. I wish you a speedy recovery

Debbie Does Dagon
Jul 8, 2005





I'm incredibly conflicted. Zombie is a terrible film, awful, dull, directionless, confused, uninteresting, unengaging, barely coherent, and yet boringly predictable, and I used to love it! I dropped my rating from 4.5/5 to 2/5 during the stream last night. My nostalgia simply couldn't hold that film together, no matter how much eye trauma it threw at me. Time of the Wolf is clearly, clearly the superior film, beyond a single shadow of a doubt, and yet it contains perhaps three instances of real animal cruelty.

Where's my Uwe Boll option?

Shrecknet
Jan 2, 2005

Nosferatu Enthusiast
@shrecknet



Similarly I rewatched Evil Dead II for the first time since I was a gorehound teen (~1998?) and came away from it thinking it was a lot more enthusiastic than actually coherent or good. It's fun, but it's also "just" foundational instead of an unimpeachable classic the way Nightmare or Halloween are.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



4. Lucio Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters vs. 13. (married but discreet’s Austrian Oscar Winners Who Also Do Horror) Michael Haneke’s Time of the Wolf

To no real surprise I kinda hated Time of the Wolf. Its perfectly competently made. I don't know that it impressed me at all from a directorial perspective. There's some good shots but there's also a ton of incoherent darkness and the misery and cuts happen so fast it was hard to even keep it all straight at times. I guess in the film's defense that's kinda the point? I guess that's kind of the point of a lot of french horror? Misery and sadness and the cruelty of man? This is a subversion on the post apocalyptic formula. Instead of following any of the "wolves" or "shepards" as we usually do we're following the sheep. People unprepared for whatever reason to really adapt to this harsh new world and waiting for some train or something to come along and save them. So they're victims of the more proactive "wolves" in all kinds of ways that leave the sheep crying helplessly in the night. Its miserable and exhausting and suffocating and I don't know what the point is. This kind of film is very good at making me feel like poo poo. That doesn't impress me. A 12-year-old troll could do that with 2 hours of my attention and a budget. I don't get it. Also the film wusses out at the end and gives hope, so what was even the point of that?

The problem is Zombie Flesh Eaters really sort of sucks. I mean if I watched it alone and thought that I'd say "maybe it was me" but everyone in the stream agreed. Maybe its the stream's fault? Maybe watching it after Time of the Wolf was just too much of an emotional drain to just sit back and have fun with this immediately after? That might have been a factor but it doesn't change the flaws in the film. There's at best 30 or 45 minutes of real, connected content in this film. There;s probably a much better film that clocks in at an hour or less. But this one feels so padded and stretched out that it was kind of exhausting. There's the big scenes and the Fulci gore. The zombies kinda work. Wildlife shots are cool I guess? NYC felt like NYC even though it didn't seem to have a thing to do with the plot. But was there even a plot? Zombies on an island because of reasons. I couldn't tell you any of the character's names if you paid me too. I couldn't keep them straight at all. I don't understand why those zombies were buried under 2 inches of dirt. I don't really get any of it. Again, a tighter film probably would have worked. Maybe a better mood would have helped. But this is a mess of a movie.

So who the hell do I vote for? Is it true that Time of the Wolf is better made? Yeah, I suppose so but is it? Fulci's making film in a different time and place. He's definitely more scattered but he always seems to be and much of the style of the time was. His focus is the gore and he does that as well if not better than Haneke does... the whole french misery thing. Time of the Wolf does something a little unique but there's probably a good reason why no one's made a zombie film about all the paper thin supporting characters who have to be saved by the main characters. You hate Walking Dead now, what if it killed off all its main characters and instead of elevating new ones they all just kind of stayed extras waiting for Rick to come back or Negan to kill them? Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should or its a good idea.

In the end I think Fulci set out to do what he wanted to do as much as Haneke did and what he got was something more lasting. Despite its flaws there's a reason its remembered and celebrated 40 years later. What it does well is memorable and those scenes live up to the hype. Can anyone say that 40 years from now people will be talking about Time of the Wolf? I vote Zombi 2. Or whatever.


M_Sinistrari posted:

And I got my diagnosis. I have Covid. So much for diligently quarantining and social distancing. Anyway, so far I pretty much can fall asleep at the drop of a hat so I'll try to participate as much as I can.

Take care of yourself. We'll be here.

married but discreet
May 7, 2005




Taco Defender

I haven't seen any of the movies yet, but just from the descriptionTime of the Wolf sounds very much like a response to the reactionary jerk off fantasies that a lot of post apocalypse movies are.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



That probably is the intent but I don't know what the response managed to say. "The apocalypse would suck"? Its even more confusing because of the way he ends the film.

Servoret
Nov 8, 2009



STAC Goat posted:

That probably is the intent but I don't know what the response managed to say. "The apocalypse would suck"? Its even more confusing because of the way he ends the film.

Isn’t there no mist in the last shot? I seem to remember the scenery being pretty lush and green. So more likely a fantasy than any tangible hope?

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



"Mist" didn't seem especially constant or meaningful to me in the film. It shows up early and adds to the atmosphere but once the family hooks up with the larger group I don't remember it being a thing. Maybe I missed that symbolism?

I guess you could interpret the ending as false hope but like... what would be the point of that? One final kick in the crotch? That interpretation just makes me hate Haneke more.

Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!



Fun Shoe

I feel like the last shot may be a nod to Tarkovsky?

Anyway for this matchup I'm voting for Zombi 2. I think most Fulci fans even acknowledge that it's not his best film but this is a situation where we have an apples and oranges comparison. So for me it's less about which film is better, and more about which type of film I prefer. And Haneke just never did it for me. I'll never seek out one of his movies, I'll never want to rewatch the ones I've seen. Movies like Zombi 2, and plenty of Fulci's others, are obviously flawed but they have a gonzo energy to them that you can't find almost anywhere else.

When it comes to horror I'm a pizza and beer guy and needless to say Haneke does not fit that mold.

No. 1 Juicy Boi
Jun 1, 2003

#1 JUICY BOY



Buglord

Basebf555 posted:

I think most Fulci fans even acknowledge that it's not his best film

Confirmed, yes.

I had to vote for it on principle. As for the other vote, Singapore Sling is such an amazing movie that it was the no-est of brainers to vote for it.

married but discreet
May 7, 2005




Taco Defender

I've only seen Zombi so far but honestly I feel like I'd have a hard time voting for him, even at the risk of making this a total rout for Italian horror.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

Y'all are making me feel real dumb for buying the 4k UHD of Zombi for $35 to watch it for this challenge.

I mean, I'm still gonna watch it.

No. 1 Juicy Boi
Jun 1, 2003

#1 JUICY BOY



Buglord

Franchescanado posted:

Y'all are making me feel real dumb for buying the 4k UHD of Zombi for $35 to watch it for this challenge.

I mean, I'm still gonna watch it.

If you like cheesy Italian horror, it's still worth a watch. I mean, it's not GOOD, but I still think it's fun.

married but discreet
May 7, 2005




Taco Defender

Franchescanado posted:

Y'all are making me feel real dumb for buying the 4k UHD of Zombi for $35 to watch it for this challenge.

I mean, I'm still gonna watch it.

It'll make you at least NUMBER 2 FULCI FAN

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

NUMBER 1 FULCI FAN posted:

If you like cheesy Italian horror, it's still worth a watch. I mean, it's not GOOD, but I still think it's fun.

I've seen it before, but as a teenager. It's been at least a dozen years since watching it. It was my first Fulci, before I knew who Fulci was. I grabbed the 4K for my rewatch. And it does have TONS of special features.

Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!



Fun Shoe

There's something great about owning these kind of down and dirty cult films on UHD. As someone who grew up with cable t.v. and VHS I just never imagined we'd be seeing stuff like Fulci or even Carpenter treated with this level of respect. Like, last week when I watched They Live it was a surreal experience seeing that Piper/Keith David brawl in 4k/HDR. It's cool to see those kind of important cinema moments preserved at this level of quality in a way that I can own at home.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

Basebf555 posted:

There's something great about owning these kind of down and dirty cult films on UHD. As someone who grew up with cable t.v. and VHS I just never imagined we'd be seeing stuff like Fulci or even Carpenter treated with this level of respect. Like, last week when I watched They Live it was a surreal experience seeing that Piper/Keith David brawl in 4k/HDR. It's cool to see those kind of important cinema moments preserved at this level of quality in a way that I can own at home.

I have The New York Ripper's 4k, too, but haven't rewatched it. I own House by the Cemetary on blu ray, so I haven't grabbed the 4k yet (maybe if it goes on sale), but I'm bummed they haven't done The Beyond on 4k UHD, which is easily my favorite Fulci.

No. 1 Juicy Boi
Jun 1, 2003

#1 JUICY BOY



Buglord

Franchescanado posted:

I have The New York Ripper's 4k, too, but haven't rewatched it. I own House by the Cemetary on blu ray, so I haven't grabbed the 4k yet (maybe if it goes on sale), but I'm bummed they haven't done The Beyond on 4k UHD, which is easily my favorite Fulci.

New York Ripper is hands down my favorite Fulci.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

NUMBER 1 FULCI FAN posted:

New York Ripper is hands down my favorite Fulci.

I've easily rewatched New York Ripper the most, but The Beyond is everything I like about Italian horror. Having seen it in theaters with the score performed live by Fabio Frizzi and getting to meet him pretty much seals the deal for Favorite.

Yesterdays Piss
Nov 8, 2009




Zombie

This was my first time seeing it, and, based on what everyone was saying, I was expecting much worse. I thought it was fine, especially next to some of the other movies we've watched up until now. It has all the requisite tropes for an Italian zombie movie: thick red paint for blood, a synth-centric score, stilted acting, well-time titty breaks, and ambitious shots that don't quite work due to a lack of budget.

The pacing was a bit of an issue for me. The opening is really strong, but it sets up an expectation for a much quicker momentum than the film ultimately ends up having. It does have a few really cool, gory scenes peppered throughout. I liked the gross putty zombies, the eye scene and the weirdly more dexterous aqua zombie. I'll never watch it again, but I don't feel like my time was wasted.

Time of the Wolf

This movie is a like dense, suffocating fog of unrelenting bleakness. It sets up a pervasive sense of danger in the very first few minutes to signal to the audience that no one is safe. Set in what seems to be the early days of a post-apocalypse, it manages to showcase the heartrending brutality, confusion, and mercilessness of its unsettling premise, but also the mundanity of it all. While there are a lot of horrifying scenes, a lot of the film is just people sitting around, going about their day-to-day, waiting and hoping for a train to pass that will bring them back to the city they had fled from. There is an omnipresent tension even in those scenes. But even then, I liked that, with a few exceptions, most people are working together and willing to show compassion for one another (e.g. sharing walkman, giving milk, etc.). It was a welcome change from a lot of dystopian films, which seem to have a central thesis that positions humanity as essentially monstrous at its core. This one seems to posit human beings as deeply flawed, but mostly good.

I did eventually find that the continuous stream of misery and the glacial pace was a little numbing, but the penultimate scene was so heartbreaking and beautiful in its despair and magnanimity that I almost cried. As someone who values emotional impact in movies above all else, that's my hallmark for a successful film. However, I feel no need to ever revisit it again.

-----

My vote goes to Time of the Wolf.

TrixRabbi
Aug 20, 2010

Time for a little robot chauvinism!



Really weird seeing everyone dunk on Zombie when it's a pretty solid movie. Like, is it great? No. But it's good! It's gooey and violent and a zombie fights a shark and it ends with a fantastic fire setpiece.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



I mean, I'd say its a pretty good special effects reel but a kinda lousy movie. But I can see that averaging off to "solid" depending on your priorities.

Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!



Fun Shoe

It's just an unusual situation because with most directors like Fulci, who are revered, the films they're most synonymous with are also their best and most impressive.

One comparison that comes to mind is Cronenberg's Scanners. I think most people would agree that it's not his best film and probably not in his top 3, but it will always be one of the first things people mention when they talk Cronenberg because of that head explosion.

MacheteZombie
Feb 4, 2007





I like Fulcis Zombi

married but discreet
May 7, 2005




Taco Defender

See China and Die
Cohen has a gift for writing entertaining characters and dialogue, but maybe not for actually making great movies by himself. See China and Die is a great example for this. Momma is a delightful character and I’d love to see more of her, but this movie at 86 minutes runtime is still too long. Props for the cast though, I imagine there were not that many movies/TV shows with a black female lead and with no shoed in white character on the side in that time period. Too bad it didn’t make it into a real show, because the pilot is perfect light entertainment that you can slip in and out of while folding laundry or flipping channels. Even if you don’t follow the plot the individual scenes of Momma going about her business of getting into other people’s business are very entertaining due to the combination of the main actress’ charisma and Cohen’s writing. Oh yeah also it’s definitely not a horror movie.

Singapore Sling
You ever had one of those extremely weird sex dreams that you’d definitely be too ashamed to tell anyone about, and that quickly sink back into your subconscious? Well someone made a movie about it. After months of hype I finally get to see the film, and what can I say, it is definitely very DDD. But to be quite frank, the movie is not that much of my cup of tea, compared to other dreamy weird sex stuff like for example Querelle or Naked Lunch or what have you. It’s also not something that will make me keep thinking about it, unlike for example Gaspar Noe’s last tournament entry, which definitely shocked me. S’pore Sling has a hell of a start but then it sort of stays too hazy/foggy to really do much for me. Not that I was bored, I watched with interest to see what’s coming next, but it was sort of a weirdly comfortable watch. I was neither dreading nor necessarily looking forward to see what comes next, maybe cause I felt like the movie had showed its deck very early on and wasn’t going to have many surprises left.

Still, in the duel of Momma vs Mommy, I’m voting for Mommy. To be honest, it’s a very close one. If SCAD had been a bit more streamlined and a bit more like a real movie rather than a TV pilot I’d maybe have given it my vote. But it’s also comfort food, something that I can get at a million different places and that always sort of tastes the same, whereas Singapore Sling is calf’s brain straight from the skull, and it might not even taste that great but drat if it’s not interesting and if I’m not going back to that restaurant for Balut Egg and Casu Marzu.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

Singapore Sling

"When I was shooting Singapore Sling, I was under the impression that I was making a comedy with elements taken from Ancient Greek Tragedy... Later, when some European and American critics characterized it as 'one of the most disturbing films of all times,' I started to feel that something was wrong with me. Then, when British censors banned its release in England, I finally realized that something is wrong with all of us." -Nikos Nikolaidis

quote:

Greek filmmaker’s Nikos Nikolaidis pastiche Singapore Sling (1990) and See You in Hell, My Darling (1999) use elements from four classic films – the first from Laura (O. Preminger, 1944), and Sunset Boulevard (B. Wilder, 1950), and the latter from Les Diaboliques (H. Clouzot, 1955) and Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (R. Aldrich, 1964) – recreating in this way the atmosphere of the original films and perpetuating the monstrous and/or schizophrenic nature of their female protagonists. In Singapore Sling, a mother and a daughter, after the death of the father, keep a man as a captive in order to use him as a sexual tool and as a toy for their gratification, and in See You in Hell, My Darling, two women are in love with each other and with the dead husband of the one of them who, however, comes back from the dead, and they try to get each other and the man out of the way. In both cases, although the women are portrayed as conventionally attractive women, who could be the object of the male gaze in any other film, they are presented as evil, schizophrenic, abject and monstrous, denying, in this way, objectification. Reflecting on film noir and on classic femme fatales, it can be said that these women articulate the repressed sexuality of the latter. The women in both films have agency and they refuse to depend on men, thus reversing the passive-female, active-male binary dyad. Furthermore, they ridicule the males, subvert patriarchy and become themselves the bearers of the active gaze.

quote:

Nikolaidis for each of these films uses elements from two classic films and from the genres the latter films belong to, especially from film noir, and hence he renders genres as ‘repositories of situations, styles and iconographies that can be used and combined, to set one another off, to highlight, pastiche-fashion, what is characteristic, interesting or suggestive about them’. Nikolaidis’s two new pieces of work stand independently, and the spectators can follow them regardless of having seen the source films or not. In the process of recreating the idea of the original films, Nikolaidis imitates and perpetuates the monstrous and/or schizophrenic nature of their female protagonists. These women can be compared to the upgraded version of the classic femme fatales, the femme fatales of the 1990s films, which are categorised under the ‘phenomenon of “noirness” and “retro-noir”’. Hence, Nikolaidis’s female protagonists can be characterised as ‘fatal femmes’, a term coined by Julianne Pidduck to describe the incarnation of femme fatales of the classic noirs
- Monstrous Women and the Subversion of Patriarchy in Nikos Nikolaidis’s Films Singapore Sling and See You in Hell, My Darling" by Mikela Fotiou

quote:

For much of his life he worked in advertising and he managed to direct two hundred television advertisements within twenty years. He studied filmmaking at the Hellenic Cinema and Television School Stavrakos [el] and acquired scenic design skills at the Vakalo College of Art and Design, a highly regarded specialized private art school, both located in Athens, Greece. [...] The characters in his films are usually people constrained by limitations or found in absurd and extreme situations while playing with their fate. The themes that one often encounters in his films include the 1950s and film noir, the relationship between sex and death, companionship and love, as well as the struggle against all sorts of powers and ghosts from the past. Nikolaidis filmed much of his work in black and white, a few of his films contained a certain similarity to so-called "trash films," and he categorized the majority of his films into trilogies. [...] The work of Nikos Nikolaidis has had a significant influence on the subsequent generation of Greek filmmakers some of which were inspired by the stylistics of his films and the unusual artistic images containing complex allegories and symbols. His films' protagonists are usually outcasts and nonconformists or the cynics and the marginalized people of society with mental and sexual disorders. The main feature of Nikolaidis' directorial approach was the predominance of form over content. At home, he was seen as an innovator looking for unusual ways to use film language, as well as someone who created a unique aesthetic combining beauty and ugliness. Abroad, Nikolaidis earned a reputation as an eccentric and controversial director. [...] In November 2005, after the completion of his last film The Zero Years, a tale of perversion and sexual dominance which failed to replicate the earlier success of Singapore Sling (1990), Nikolaidis declared his intention to stop making movies to concentrate on music full-time.

This morning, as I was waking up and doing my morning routine, I was thinking about Singapore Sling. My addled mind, as it does, jumped back to a little documentary I saw years ago, when I was 18 or 19 years old, called 30 Century Man, which is about one of my favorite singers and performers, Scott Walker, and his journey from pop sensation with The Walker Brothers to Baroque Pop maestro, to mysterious, reclusive songwriter that only came out of decades of hiding to record and release experimental albums. The songs from this era of his career, from albums like Tilt, The Drift, Bish Bosch and Soused, are, to say the very least, avant-garde and cryptic. This documentary was produced by David Bowie, who is interviewed throughout, and he absolutely can't hide his adoration for Scott Walker. There is a moment where they talk about the lyrics of Scott Walker's experimental albums, and David Bowie says (approximately), "I love them. I can't say what they're about. I don't know what they're about. I don't really want to know what they're about. They're beautiful, and I think that something is lost with knowing." That moment really defined how I experience all forms of art from that point forward. David Bowie, genius that he is, can admit that he doesn't know the meaning behind something he loves. He listens to it and gets to have his own experience with it. He can tell you what he thinks while listening, and he could listen to what you think while listening, but the beauty is in the experience and the listening, not any grounding interpretation or defining artistic intention.

As wild, macabre, unhinged and vulgar Singapore Sling is, never once did I question what it was doing. There was clearly, within the first few shots, methods to the madness. It feels anarchic and formless, until it reveals that there's been structure the entire time. It is unabashedly indulgent, and that seems to be the point. This is a disturbing portrayal of what it means to be human--eating, loving, killing. Every bodily function besides scat is shown. The characters create and play games that are insular, ostracizing to the audience. It looks like lunacy, but if you were to eavesdrop on life-long friends having a conversation of only inside jokes, their laughing their heads off would feel equally alienating. And if they are fascinating people, you might keep listening, to see if maybe you can understand the joke, or even be let in on some of them. This is what it feels like to spend time with the Daughter and Mother of Singapore Sling, and it is the experience Nikos is giving the audience. Because, like a noir, the film centers around a mystery. The grasp on 'reality' for the Daughter, Mother and Singapore Sling is mercurial, and yet they are all three our narrators. The question of "What's real?" should quickly go out of the window as soon as Mother starts loving Daughter with a strap-on, which is part of a fantasy game they play, inspired by a murder they committed, or watched Father commit. We hear about Father a lot, with implications that his madness spread to Mother and Daughter, but we only see him once, as a Mummy, being ridden by Daughter, who narrates a bit of family history. This scene, like many in this film, is objectively played for comedy, but I won't blame anyone for not laughing at the disturbing absurdity of it all.

My greatest takeaway, and really what held my hand through the film, is recognizing that, without question, Nikolaidis loves and understands film. I foolishly didn't see the connection to Sunset Boulevard, which is so obvious, until I started reading about Nikolaidis. I did see, however, Grey Gardens, Werner Herzog, Richard Kern, Věra Chytilová's Daisies, Spider Baby, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and other Albee plays, Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (especially the Ship of Anubis sections), Marquis De Sade, Pier Paolo Pasolini (who made an adaptation of Oedipus Rex), Billy Wilder (obviously), F.W. Murnau, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Carl Theodor Dreyer and of course David Lynch and John Waters. And I see Nikolaidis in Harmony Korine, Emiliano Rocha Minter and Yorgos Lanthimos (who hired Michele Valley to play a Mother for his own film, Dogtooth). I'm happy that I found articles and even quotes from Nikos himself, that mentioned the Greek Tragedies. In the discord, during the film, different takes on "shock for shocks sake" or different opinions on what was disturbing and what wasn't, the thought occurred to me, "Really, this isn't much more disturbing than Sophocles's Oedipus cycle. There's a lot of Antigone in this." This being a Greek film, though, it felt stupid, maybe even inappropriate?, to say. Nikolaidis is not content with hobbling together a narrative from disparate inspirations. There is a clear intention to push narrative conventions of film, and to push an audiences expectations so far out of their norm that, by the time Singapore Sling is chasing Daughter with a knife erection, we have sat mesmerized, and our suspension of disbelief seems infinite.

There is an intelligence and a lot of thought put into the choices that went into this film, and there's also a disregard of self-censorship, not just with Nikolaidis, but in each of the performances. Even with scenes of characters eating absolutely disgusting foods, there is so much care in the sound design, the camera is methodical, the performances are staged perfectly, the actors mannerisms are disturbing and sometimes hilarious. There are moments where the actors look like they might break character and devolve into laughter. These moments are subtle, but they are there. And it made me think about the Lynch quote, when discussing how he runs a production, "We're supposed to have so much fun, like puppy dogs with our tails wagging." And it provided a comforting thought about films like Singapore Sling. As vulgar as it is, and as disturbing as its themes and imagery are, the entire film is playful. And it seems that the production was playful too. How much fun must it be, for an actor who's game, to be allowed complete anarchy? To be allowed a freedom to be a hosed up human--because, again, all of this is so very human--in the safety of fiction. And for a viewer who is willing to be tantalized, freaked out, and sensually bombarded, how wonderful is it that it can be delivered, with beauty, with electric performances, with so much thought or care?

Indulgence is not a detractor, for me. Film is an indulgence. Not every film is for every audience. A sign of great art is a polarized audience. Those who don't want it or get it aren't wrong, but the ones that do want it or share it's wavelength get another rewarding experience to keep them alive.

Franchescanado fucked around with this message at 13:39 on Jan 26, 2021

Peacoffee
Feb 11, 2013




See China and Die

I think most of what has already been said about this one that I could say has been said by other people. The presentation is cozy and fuzzy like a made-for-tv-movie. My attention wavered throughout, and when I did focus on something intently I either saw passing glances of what has been described as a kind of mammy archetype vibe, or else noticed an area where it felt like the movie had been truncated. In general watching this felt like I was viewing something that had been chopped up from something better. not great mouthfeel.

Singapore Sling

SPEAKING of mouthfeel.

My review from the October Challenge 2020 covers most of my rambling stream of thoughts about this precious piece of film:

quote:

It's all spoilers and not spoilers here: Close quarters and rustling leaves. Deep breathing…restrained and then released, the characters only breathe with the film. Every thing has a shadow: the food and the entrails, the penis and the knife, the “daughter” and the “mother” A storm surrounds and isolates the inhabitants, in their diegetic space, the house the eye of a storm. Inside is maybe not a stillness, but a lack of exchange: where something precarious and teetering holds. Held by a uncomfortable gravity. It’s a fully dilated dream.
Nothing is eaten, yet there is appetite and consumption. Meals are held and food is had, but there’s almost a role-playing here of the day-to-day living, an upper level of acting above even their sexual games. That’s where the fantasy starts. There is a reveling in the hunger that can’t be sated. Food is eaten with gusto and vomited back up. A sort of immortality, or at least stagnation. A relishing disgust. That's not all of it but it is some.
A person may only watch it once, but I’d recommend it to anyone for at least one viewing. I was kinda captivated by it. I can even see and understand a certain response where it’s almost cringey out of maybe some recognition or belief that it’s trying to shock you. I don’t think it’s meant to shock. I think it’s trying to communicate at a point beyond the shock response to these scenes. Maybe it’s shock then numbness, then some sort of return to feeling on the other side.
Not the best phrasing or breakdown, but some impressions from being steeped in it’s atmosphere.

Otherwise, my new thoughts from this viewing mostly centered around the greek mythology comparisons: the relative depiction of filth, the entanglements between the characters and their natures, all remind me of a less sanitized mythological aesthetic than is generally seen. These myths being about stories where people turn into trees and as they try and break off the wood start realizing its their skin now, and start screaming and crying and bleeding, and their blood and tears start freezing into sap. Zeus is played for laughs in Disney movies and elsewhere, but he makes what Father did seem tame, etc. Mortal life is just a series of endlessly permutating games for the gods.
The realization that the mother was the mother in Dogtooth (a film I saw long before I was "watching movies" as a thing) blew my mind while watching this time. I felt a similar sense of a world contained within itself there, which made for an interesting through-line across these years for me.


Singapore Sling easily wins my vote, but I'd have given See China and Die: The Series a chance, had it existed.

Peacoffee fucked around with this message at 14:54 on Jan 26, 2021

Yesterdays Piss
Nov 8, 2009




See China and Die

I'm not sure who felt that what a failed TV pilot needed was an extra 30 minutes. I like a good whodunit, so I was immediately interested. I was really charmed by warm, headstrong Momma, who is just a joy to watch on screen. I'm glad I wasn't being overly sensitive about how she kind of felt a little "mammy"-like. Like, girl, you just singlehandedly solved a murder case. Have some more ambition for yourself than more maid work and a piece of Baked Alaska. Otherwise, the lure of loving around on my cellphone overrode my interest in whatever was going on at some point, and I checked out. I feel like I would have probably been hooked to the series it might have become after something like episode 3.

Singapore Sling

I'm just going to copy my review from the October challenge, when DDD was harassing anyone who would listen into watching this.

quote:

Some films are so unique in their concepts that they stay with you long after the credits roll. Singapore Sling has deposited an indelible layer of filth upon my brain, and I expect that I will never recover. My cheeks are still flushed as I write this.

This is the kind of film that must be watched as one eats an ortolan: under a veil to shield your shame from the eyes of God. It was a mesmerizing spectacle of the worst debauchery. It dares you to look away all while taunting you to get a good eyeful. And yet, it is oddly charming and amusing. The daughter, in particular, with her very strange acting choices and delivery, was very fun to watch.

This polyglottic film features a strange, almost jarring blend of neo-noir sensibilities and ribald, avant-garde theatre. I’m not quite sure that it was a seamless implementation (although that might have been the point), but I enjoyed both elements. Deranged sexual and murderous acts are perpetrated in the most sumptuous settings by deranged, incestuous women clad in luxurious clothing. It’s opulence covered in piss, and I’m here for it. The Marquis would be proud.

The experience taught me that I probably should screen whatever she recommends before I stream it in front of irl friends. I wanted to watch it again on my own, but I'm a little busy, and I feel like I would clearly vote for it over See China and Die regardless of a second viewing.

An easy vote for Singapore Sling

(USER WAS PUT ON PROBATION FOR THIS POST)

Yesterdays Piss fucked around with this message at 16:13 on Jan 26, 2021

Debbie Does Dagon
Jul 8, 2005





To wholesale crib from myself, here is my initial review of Singapore Sling, after first gleefully stumbling upon it in October

Debbie Does Dagon posted:



64. Singapore Sling (1990/Greece)

Singapore Sling is filmed and narrated like an elegant, sophisticated film noir, and concerns a super horny incestuous mother/daughter team of serial killers. The mother is trans, and the daughter won't stop masturbating, and vomits and pisses on people she has sex with, sometimes whilst conducting electroconvulsive therapy on them. It has the most beautiful, dreamiest set design and costuming, with fabulously measured yet unhinged performances from both lead actors. It is everything I want from a film, and I want it poured endlessly into each of my welcoming orifices until the end of time. This is a film that would live happily in a sandwich between Alucarda and Man Bites Dog. It is wonderful. It is my everything. And I can’t stop gushing about it. Where to begin?

We first encounter our heroines, known only as “Mother” and “Daughter”, as they dig a grave whilst in their negligees, raincoats, and swimming goggles. The grave will soon belong to their recently departed maid, one in a long line of service people invited to Mother and Daughter’s manor house, ostensibly for work, but the reality is, well, more complicated. A private detective stumbles into this pair’s grasp after investigating the death of one such employee, and the film follows his capture, torture, degradation, rape, denial of food, water, and comfort, psychological abuse, and the many frequent mind games at his expense. Did I mention this is a comedy?

Not only is this film funny, and I mean that in the blackest, darkest sense of the word, it’s also remarkably charming, in a way oddly reminiscent of Heathers. Let me slide in the obvious warning here that this film contains a lot of sexual content, graphic nudity, and gore. It was actually very hard for me to takes stills of the film which didn’t contain at least one nipple. There’s even a scene of vaginal and anal-copulation with a kiwi fruit. The kiwi fruit does not survive I’m afraid. Another tragic victim.

The storytelling techniques are also fascinating, with our heroines often talking directly into the camera, discussing things they are doing, have done, will do, and have had done to them, often whilst speaking in an ecstatic emotional frenzy. Daughter at one point recounts being raped by her father at the age of eleven, her father being for some reason depicted as the Universal monster The Mummy. Daughter’s description of the incident is extremely disturbing, and yet her tone is one of gleeful excitement, the combined effect of which is tremendously jarring. It all provides the impression that the pair are extremely unreliable narrators, and often will in fact switch positions mid-point in conversation, as if out of a desire to make the situation more interesting for each other.

I can also not undersell how beautiful this film is, it may not have the flashiest cinematography, but it is a feast for the eyes, and is absolutely head and shoulders above how a film like this should look in any sane world.

I should probably do a slight aside as to the queer politics. It is a film that is full of ambiguity and unreliable narration, but taken at face value it is about an incestuous same-sex relationship between a trans person and their daughter, and these people are depicted as absolutely horrific and irredeemable on every conceivable level. That said, as a tran, I was too busy enjoying myself to care. I want this pair to invite me into their home and gut me from crotch to sternum, stuff me full of rocks, and ditch me in a river. It’s a small price to pay for the great joy they’ve brought into my life.

6/5



(possibly NSFW)

My opinion has not changed, at all, upon revisiting Singapore Sling. I still absolutely adore this film, from the first second of grave spelunking, to the last moment of mournful post-knife-stap-on coitus. The one thing that has changed is that I now have a newfound appreciation for the many-layered references within the work, thanks to Fran's tireless enthusiasm and efforts. It's an aspect that is very much front and center in Morning Patrol, another Nikolaidis film, which quotes heavily during its runtime from Rebecca, and contains an encyclopedic array of film references too numerous to mention. What's impressive is how unintrusive these references are given their number, they only act to support the structure of Nikolaidis' films, and never subtract, imho. Which makes me quite sad that I couldn't source an English language version of See You in Hell, My Darling for the tournament, it would have been wonderful to showcase more of his films.

I should address the forthcoming complaints that the film is simply about shock-value, and I think Fran hits the nail on the head when he calls the film playful. For me, it really is about the glee and giddy hedonism of purely expressing the human condition in a way that we frequently deny ourselves, either through custom, consequences, inhibition, or embarrassment. I love any media that can pierce that veil in a way that's warm-hearted and joyous. That isn't of course to minimise the quite hideous subject matter of a person being tortured, physically, mentally, sexually, and I would and do completely understand that it's too much of a gap to bridge for many, and understandably so. For me, however, I will always hold the impish figures of Mother and Daughter close to my heart.

See China and Die is also a film I watched. I liked the lead actress. She was good. Vote for Singapore Sling.

Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!



Fun Shoe

Watched Singapore Sling today. What can I say? It's completely bizarre. Part of the bizarre quality definitely comes from how great it looks. Like, it feels like I should be watching these things on a grainy bootleg but actually the production design and cinematography is excellent.

My instinct is that there's no way See China and Die is going to be as unique or memorable, so it's looking like my vote will be Singapore Sling.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



Ok, time to be an annoying contrarian.

5. (Debbie Does Dagon’s Queer as in gently caress You) Nikos Nikolaidis’ Singapore Sling vs. 12. Larry Cohen’s See China and Die

I actually really enjoyed See China and Die. I mean its not a good movie. Its got all kinds of pacing problems and is too long. The plot beats don't make a lot of sense when you think about them. It looks kinda cheap. That's clearly the episode title and Cohen should have named this "Momma's Murder Mysteries" or something. That alone would have probably changed people's perceptions of this and put it in the right context. "See China and Die" sounds like a giallo or something. But despite all that I really, really enjoyed it. Its a cozy, warm feeling. It would have made a great series that we all talked about as trailblazing for having a woman of color as the lead, while also maybe a little awkward that she had to be kind of a stereotype and maid. Momma is great. She's charming, funny, tough, smart. She commands conversations and outsmarts everyone. She's also human and can't drive. She makes her son tell him he loves her. She's a complete and full character and I love her. Cohen is maybe the best I've every seen about writing characters and dialogue and here he's just popping out real feeling character left and right, which is definitely part of the problem as there's just too many and this mystery is too complicated to follow. But I didn't care because I was just comfortable in its warm embrace vibing with it and following Momma.

Singapore Sling just was kind of the opposite experience. I wasn't overly uncomfortable or shocked. I was just bored by the exhibitionism of it. I made some assumptions about its intent and that's not entirely fair, but also I just don't see those other things other people do. Enough people do that they must be there but I don't see them or their value at all. Its B&W neo noir shooting is absolutely gorgeous. Meredyth Herold is really good and stands out despite my coldness to the material and I wish she was in more movies for me to see if I enjoy her more in a different film. I can definitely see a number of those influences Fran talked about. Its not fair for m to compare it to a "troll" or "shock jock" because those ideas imply a sort of laziness or lack of effort or thought. Nikolaidis is certainly not guilt of that. Still, invoking classic work in and of itself doesn't do anything for me. Pushing boundaries and hedonistically embracing taboos and morally hosed up poo poo doesn't amuse me. There's a story that comes together quite cleanly and that's honestly a skill a lot of directors try and fail with and I was impressed by. But I don't care. Like, at all. I didn't give the film the fair shot midway through that its plot would come together, and I acknowledge that as on me. But at the same time if I didn't connect with it I didn't connect with it. And ultimately I'm ok saying I just didn't connect with a playful dark comedy about rape, pedophilia, and abuse. I didn't care about kiwis. You do you. But that other stuff just left me completely cold to the whole spectacle, and there was much of it.

There's probably a version of Singapore Sling I love that focuses on the fact that Daughter is a victim of rape and abuse since she was a child and gives Herold a chance to really work and show the nuance between victim and abuser and the cycle it forms. Or something. Weirdly I kept coming back to a really odd Christmas movie I watched Sick For Toys that had a very similar character and setup that did a little more that got me thinking (although its a really flawed and unfinished film). But I dunno. I didn't get this movie. And what I did get I didn't like.

So voting. It feels very similar to Time of the Wolf vs Zombi, honestly. On on hand we have a technically superior film that DID resonate with people but left me completely cold. On the other hand a clearly deeply flawed film that while inferior to its competition in every way the first film cares about does something else that Fulci/Cohen clearly cared about incredibly well that makes the film work for people. I justified Zombi over TotW because Zombi had more styaing power. I can't say that about China, but I don't need to. It was just a tiebreaker for two films I didn't enjoy. But here I enjoyed one film and didn't enjoy the other. So vote's easy for me.

MacheteZombie
Feb 4, 2007





I have watched Singapore Sling and See China and Die! (Time of the wolf will be tomorrow)

SCaD: Cohen doing a made for TV movie and TV show pilot. I would have liked to watch the show. Its a fun little movie that isn't overly ambitious. The lead is fun to watch, and there's a good sense of humor to the whole thing.

Singapore Sling: Meanwhile this movie goes for it all. Its decadent and depraved, with a playfulness running through all its perversion and violence. At times it can be too much. The kiwi scene is so indulgent that it becomes humoursly warped. The taboo subject matter is done so nonchalantly you could almost forget its there. Which can feel gross, rightfully so. Yet, it's so carefully crafted with wonderful sets, costuming, composition, nothing seems accidental including the anarchy. My only real complaint is that the dialogue, especially the parts directed at the audience, just didn't work for me. It was at its best when the sound design did the heavy lifting in scenes. I dont blame the actors or the writing style, they both fit the retro feel, just didn't work for me I guess.

Anyway, I'll be voting for Singapore Sling.

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smitster
Apr 9, 2004




Oven Wrangler

Zombi vs. Time Of The Wolf

I have seen Zombie Flesh Eaters (or whatever your favorite title is!) a few times, and when people say Fulci it's still the movie that I remember, before The Beyond or any of his others, really. I have always enjoyed it, even if it is technically bad. The infamous scenes hold up and c'mon a zombie fights a shark!

Time Of The Wolf was bleak but I didn't actually find it as bleak as I was expecting it to be - I'm sure that's a mood thing, because when I think about what actually happens in the movie it's drab and gray and bleak as hell. But it didn't grab me as much as I thought it did. And the horse... ugh.

My vote is going to Zombi 2, even though I think Time Of The Wolf is technically a better movie. If they had a shark fight in the middle instead of the horse.... what a world it would be.


See China And Die vs. Singapore Sling

See China And Die was a lot of fun to watch, easy to chill with, you could go grab some tea and come back and feel like it was ok, you didn't miss anything, but you still wanted to see more. And there were some cool attacks, and Momma was great, and I definitely will see that again at some point. Singapore Sling grabbed your attention and demanded it all. You couldn't leave the room. It was wild and provocative and filthy.

My vote is going to Singapore Sling.

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