Ken and Robin Consume Media: Possessed By a Film Of Possession
September 20th, 2016 | Robin
Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.
This week was all about film consumption for Robin. Check out his 45 capsule reviews from titles seen at the Toronto International Film Festival. Those reviews will reappear as KRCM entries when the films gain wide release in theaters, disc, or streaming.
Alucarda (Film, Mexico, Juan Lopez Moctezuma, 1977) Orphan girls Justine (Susana Kamini) and Alucarda (Tina Romero) become Satan-inspired and perhaps demonically possessed lovers, violently disrupting the life of their convent. This phantasmagoric film (Moctezuma collaborated with Jodorowsky on El Topo) combines LeFanu’s “Carmilla” with Ken Russell’s The Devils, but creates a world of beauty and terror all its own. The production design and many of the static shots are unreally effective, although the histrionic acting and period-synth score take some getting used to. –KH
Alucardos (Film, Mexico, Ulises Guzman, 2011) In 1992, two extreme fans of Alucarda, Lalo and Manolo, kidnapped the director Juan Lopez Moctezuma from a mental hospital, supposedly led to do so by the ghost of an actress killed while shooting that film. And then things got weird. Guzman’s exploration of the terrifying effect of film on fans and creators alike seems jumpy and uneven, which is likely the intent of his collage of archival footage, extensive re-enactments and fictionalizations, and interviews with the kidnappers, Moctezuma’s colleagues and family, and Tina Romero. You’re left uneasy and wanting more. –KH
Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot That Avenged the Armenian Genocide (Nonfiction, Eric Bogosian, 2015) Between 1920 and 1922, Armenian exiles hunted down and murdered the Turkish architects of the 1915-1916 genocide of the Armenians. With the important caveat that only about 60% of the book is actually about the titular operation, Bogosian tells a vitally interesting story remarkably well, and with ample sourcing. I would have liked to have had more on the American accountant who apparently ran the whole apparat from Syracuse, New York, but the romantic assassin of arch-genocidaire Talat Pasha is irresistibly central-casting ready. Which of course is why the accountant picked him for the hit. –KH
Black Sabbath (Film, Italy/US, Mario Bava, 1963) Two gothics bookend a proto-giallo in this horror anthology, with Boris Karloff as host and as the final segment’s main vampire. Scripts are weak but give Bava the chance to show off three different creepy Technicolor palettes.—RDL
Mexico Barbaro (Film, Mexico, multiple directors, 2014) Anthology of short horror films derived from Mexican legend, folktales, and urban legends is, like most such compilations, a mixed bag. Ulises Guzman’s brujeria revenge tale “7 Veces 7” and Edgar Nito’s straight-up ghost story “Jaral de Berios” are true standouts, Jorge Michael Grau’s “Munecas” is strikingly shot and does a lot with a minimal story; only two of the eight shorts have nothing to recommend them. –KH