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HUNDU THE BEAST GOD
Sep 14, 2007

everything is yours


THE CARRIER


Written and directed by Nathan J. White, a man who wrote and directed nothing else.



A pretty straightforward horror movie about an awkward young man in a small town made a pariah for killing his parents in an accidental fire. After a night of drinking in his lonely cabin, he's attacked by a mysterious monster and raked across the chest with its claws while fending it off. This injury curses him with a strange disease that causes whatever he touches with his bare skin to fatally melt, fusing flesh to flesh and inanimate objects. After he unwittingly disfigures one of his only friends, a junk shop hermit, competing hypotheses from the town doctor and preacher send everyone into a frenzy trying to determine how to test what is and isn't cursed - since the titular carrier doesn't figure it out any sooner than they do, he's already touched a bunch of stuff from wheat in the fields, tree stumps, lampposts, fences and so on. Being semi-medieval degenerates, they settle on rounding up the town's stray cats to test every surface for disease, splitting into factions along family lines. As you might expect, the disease itself is less a threat than the irrational, hysterical attitudes of the people stalked by it, yadda yadda. I've seen this variously described as being influenced by Arthur Miller's The Crucible, George Romero's The Crazies, the AIDS crisis, and so on - the metaphors of social ostracization, reactionary logic and provincial ignorance as themselves diseases.



Script isn't great. The words "cat" and "object" are said so often they just sound like nonsensical utterances. The score is functional, nothing distracting. A lot of low budget movies are scored for commercial breaks and thankfully there's nothing so clumsy here. The acting ranges from fair to middling but everyone is at least on the same page. There's so much that sets this apart, though, that I find it captivating. First of all, it's shot by Peter Deming, the cinematographer of Evil Dead 2 but more importantly another totally off-
kilter horror movie from 1988: Scarecrows.



Much like Scarecrows, it's just unusual enough to stick. It doesn't really buttress the typical moral structure of monster-on-the-loose movies. For instance, the Eddie Deezen-ish outcast loser is neither totally innocent or a hateful creep - he's well liked by some, barely tolerated by others. There's a twist about halfway through that makes him much more complicit in the chaos such that he's not merely a victim of circumstance, but what's wrong with him is what's also wrong with everyone else in town.



For example, there's a scene where a barmaid shows too much sympathy to the outcast - not yet known to be the carrier to begin with - and her possessive boyfriend is so insecure in their relationship that he violently exerts control over her, even as she tells him she's fed up with their relationship. To escape this overbearing man, she touches the red marked tree known to be cursed, and dissolves both of them together.



The villain's wife, also tolerant and accepting of our ostracized hero, is similarly a decent person. However, her uptight, moralistic sister in law judges her viciously for being too lax with her kids, for being immodestly beautiful - she copes with an air of snobbish superficiality, smiling at insults. She succumbs to vanity, burned by the mirror as she tells herself that this is how she needs to protect herself from the judgement of her community.



The doctor is the one who pieces most of this together on his own in the first place, is methodical and measured in his approach, yet pridefully cooks up a scheme to deceive the townspeople because there's no way to make them listen to him over the town preacher, who's a much more practiced and persuasive speaker. He ends up dooming the protagonist.

What's so funny about these tragic protagonist characters is that they're all damned fools - all the purely reactionary get along to go along types are more or less correct the whole time, but not because they trusted their guts or anything like that. It's because they didn't resist! The religion here, like the monster referred to and seen only in one scene, is folkloric, reliant on signs and divination and rituals. Despite the repeating iconography of Christ in agony, this is a much older story about morality crashing against the shores of fate. My beloved Scarecrows does something similar, though its protagonists are more straightforwardly greed-driven scoundrels.



To that end, I love the production design, particularly the costume design. It's highly unusual and brings something unexpected to the film. All the characters switch from plain country folk duds suggesting the early 20th century to a disorienting future-primitive medieval-millenarian aesthetic that really works. Seriously, look at some of these:



It's like Brugel's robust looking villagers wrapped in tattered tarps and garbage bags. It goes from comical in some scenes to totally striking:



Love the kid about to be stabbed in the heart over a stray cat here snarling "you better not miss" at his captors.



Many of these can't have been just slapdash, either. We have penitents, fitted with rope and suffocating in their grief. Bedsheeted cyclopes. Plastic mothers in protective bonnets and dishwashing gloves feeding babies in bags.



Toxic Avenger wise men. Fundamentalist white midwestern Bedouins. Pleather Magdalene in a beekeeper hood.



Lots of peering in on anonymous, distorted faces with mismatched limbs.



Sick tableaus of torture, death and bondage.



By the time you get to the "touch the cat!" part the levity is welcomed compared to the grotesque Siege of Waco that proceeded it, people hacking each other up with farm implements, children scared and huddling around firelight.



Once this movie gets up to speed, fear rules.





I loved this one. Hadn't heard a thing about it before I saw it, came across it completely at random and was bored by the reviews I saw of it. You can watch it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkbNCzt0uaM

What did you think of it?

HUNDU THE BEAST GOD fucked around with this message at 00:43 on Apr 1, 2021

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MacheteZombie
Feb 4, 2007





this looks nuts

did you know there's a directors cut?

HUNDU THE BEAST GOD
Sep 14, 2007

everything is yours


Yes, but I know almost nothing about it, much less how to see it!

DeimosRising
Oct 17, 2005

°Hola SEA!




Iím going to watch this tonight, Iíve never even heard of this action

Debbie Does Dagon
Jul 8, 2005





I'll be streaming The Carrier this Sunday, if anyone wants to group watch it they're more than welcome to join


Sunday Chill Stream
Only on the CineD Discord



All times are in EST, and may not reflect reality.

0900 Palindromes
1050 Superman III
1305 Godzilla Vs. Hedorah
1440 The Lathe of Heaven
1630 The White Ribbon
1910 Ready or Not
2055 The Carrier
2240 Triangle
0030 Spookies

HUNDU THE BEAST GOD
Sep 14, 2007

everything is yours


Great lineup!

Debbie Does Dagon
Jul 8, 2005





Thank you!

Kangra
May 7, 2012



CATS or DEATH?

CPL593H
Oct 28, 2009

I know what you did last summer, and frankly I am displeased.

Debbie Does Dagon posted:

I'll be streaming The Carrier this Sunday, if anyone wants to group watch it they're more than welcome to join


Sunday Chill Stream
Only on the CineD Discord



All times are in EST, and may not reflect reality.

0900 Palindromes
1050 Superman III
1305 Godzilla Vs. Hedorah
1440 The Lathe of Heaven
1630 The White Ribbon
1910 Ready or Not
2055 The Carrier
2240 Triangle
0030 Spookies

Those aren't real times you just made up numbers!

MacheteZombie
Feb 4, 2007





Kangra posted:

CATS or DEATH?

LET IT BE DEATH

MacheteZombie
Feb 4, 2007





Double posting to say I watched both the theatrical and director's cut today. Really enjoyed this both times.

I like how the plastic/cloth costuming takes on a dark ages style. Like that one dude obviously looking like a medieval executioner. The costuming is one of the best parts of the movie and the director had a really good eye for framing shots.

if you can check out the director's cut, or at least it's changes to the ending monologue. It's much better than the theatrical. The pacing is a bit smoother with the added run time as well imo.

DeimosRising
Oct 17, 2005

°Hola SEA!




MacheteZombie posted:

Double posting to say I watched both the theatrical and director's cut today. Really enjoyed this both times.

I like how the plastic/cloth costuming takes on a dark ages style. Like that one dude obviously looking like a medieval executioner. The costuming is one of the best parts of the movie and the director had a really good eye for framing shots.

if you can check out the director's cut, or at least it's changes to the ending monologue. It's much better than the theatrical. The pacing is a bit smoother with the added run time as well imo.

Whereíd you grab it

DeimosRising
Oct 17, 2005

°Hola SEA!




HUNDU THE BEAST GOD posted:

THE CARRIER]

timg]https://i.imgur.com/18a5AM6.png[/timg]

For example, there's a scene where a barmaid shows too much sympathy to the outcast - not yet known to be the carrier to begin with - and her possessive boyfriend is so insecure in their relationship that he violently exerts control over her, even as she tells him she's fed up with their relationship. To escape this overbearing man, she touches the red marked tree known to be cursed, and dissolves both of them together.



What did you think of it?

I was struck by how Greek this was, the bar maidís story is very Rape of Daphne, while the incident with the mirror mashes up narcissus and a more Judeo-Christian-Islamic concept of modesty and vanity. And then obviously the central curse is basically Midasís touch without the irony. The whole film has a vibe of trying to use Christian and enlightenment frameworks to grapple with a pre-axial terror

DeimosRising fucked around with this message at 00:00 on Apr 14, 2021

HUNDU THE BEAST GOD
Sep 14, 2007

everything is yours


Absolutely, that kinda fills in the missing piece about the monster in the woods that gives him the curse to begin with.

DeimosRising
Oct 17, 2005

°Hola SEA!




This whipped by the way, my brother in law watched it and he keeps poking his head into my office and going ďCATS, OR DEATHĒ while Iím trying to work

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MacheteZombie
Feb 4, 2007





I love the moment when the two groups first confront each other while hunting cats and the guy looks at his buddy and says "watch this" before talking to the other guy about showing compassion.

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