First off, I want to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope none of you are to miserable after eating today. I know it is easy to do. For some time now, I have been trying to figure out ways to expand my blog but still keep it horror related and keep reviews as the primary thing that I do. As I have said before, I have discovered that I really enjoy doing these reviews so I want to keep doing them. I don't really see myself as a news person, telling all of you what is going to be coming out and such since I don't really get into that to much myself. I don't go in search of news about up and coming movies, I pretty much let them find me.
I expressed this to Cattleworks and he was nice enough to offer some advice. He liked it when I reviewed all of the Blind Dead movies all in a row. That is something I have been planing to do with some other series, I have just been debating with myself on which series to do next. He also suggested that I might try and do something like a tribute. Maybe to a director or scream queen. This interested me. I will be doing both I think but this one will serve to see what you all think of it. But how to keep to, what I see as, the core of this blog? Since I have heard so many good things about the series Masters Of Horror but have yet to watch any of them, I decided that the series would be a good way to honor the director and do a review. I will warn you now, this post is going to be long winded. Before I get to it, however, I have a little favor to ask of you all. After reading this post, would you please let me know what you think of it? Would you like to see more of this type of post? Is there anything I should change or do different? Or should I just stick to reviews? So, without further ado, my tribute to the one of the masters, Dario Argento.
Dario Argento was born in Rome on July 9, 1940. Growing up, he has said in interviews, he read a lot of Edgar Allen Poe. He is quoted as saying, "Poe opened a door inside of me. It was a landscape, a new world." His first job was as a film critic. This lead to his being invited to write a script, along side Bernardo Bertolucci, for the movie Once Upon A Time In The West. Yes, a western. He wrote 14 movies before making the move to director. His first film, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, was an international success. His first few films are considered giallos instead of straight up horror movies. The first movie that most people credit as his first true horror movie would be Suspiria. Suspiria and Deep Red are often debated among fans as to which is the better movie. Between the movies Suspiria and Inferno, Dario earned a producer credit on the George Romero movie Dawn Of The Dead. Dario helped market the film in Italy which became known there as Zombi. Zombi, from what I understand, is slightly edited and features more of the score done by Goblin. As a writer, his most well known movies, to horror fans anyways, are Demons and Demons 2. Both were directed by his friend Lamberto Bava. For a complete filography you can go to IMDb's page here
I selected Dario Argento as the first tribute for two reasons. First reason being that of late, I have been doing a lot of foreign movie reviews. I decided I might as well keep with that theme even though the movie reviewed later on is not a foreign movie but it does lead me to my second reason. Dario Argento happens to be my favorite out of the foreign directors I have watched movies from so far. It just seemed to be a logical step to me. My personal favorite Dario film would have to be Suspiria. I'm not sure if this is because it happened to be the very first Dario movie that I watched or if it has more to do with the film itself. I really got into Suspiria not because of the plot, but because of the sounds and colors that was used in the film. I had never watched a movie that relied so much on this. The directing itself, along with the sounds and colors, managed to really draw me in. I actually had to watch it a couple of times, and try to make myself not be drawn in so much, so I could figure out what the plot of the movie actually was. That became secondary to me. Some people complain about this as Dario will, at times, allow the plot to become secondary to the visuals. Dario Argento's movies are something of an aquired taste. I have noticed that for some people, they can never get into his movies.
Reviews I have done of Dario Aregnto movies are:
Two Evil Eyes
And now for the review. See, I told you this was going to be a long post. Dario Argento agreed to do a movie for Masters Of Horror after he was told who all else would be involved. The next step was to try and figure out what he wanted to direct for the series. After reading the comic book, which is also called Jenifer, he says it really grabed him and that is the story he wanted to do. The story was actually pitched and wrote by actor Steven Weber. Dario made some changes to it once he received the script.
Jenifer is a about Frank Spivey (Steven Weber). The movie opens with him and his partner sitting in a car trying to eat while a fly bugs them. We slowly discover that they are cops. When Frank gets out for a stretch, he spots a man pushing a woman who has her hands tied behind her. Frank yells for his partner but he has the radio up to loud to hear. Frank goes alone and soon finds the man Frank seen. The man puts the woman over a barrel and pulls out a meat cleaver. Frank pulls his gun and tells the man to drop the weapon. The man babbles on about it being to late and that Frank has no idea what is inside of this woman. Frank has no choice but to shoot the man. Before the man dies, he utters the name Jenifer. Frank then helps the woman and while we don't get to see her face yet, except for a black eye (I mean the eye itself), Frank reacts in a way that lets us know it isn't a pretty sight.
Frank tries to find out more about Jenifer (Carrie Anne Fleming) and discovers there is very little to be found out. No one seems to know who she is or where she came from. Before this, we find out a little about Frank's personal life. He has a wife and son. We find out he is upset about killing a man even though he had no choice. We also discover that his home life isn't all that great. It is never explained in detail but it is something that you can sense. His wife tries to get him to have sex and it works but his mind is flashing back to the shooting and, perhaps more importantly, Jenifer. He goes to visit Jenifer in a mental hospital and it becomes obvious that she likes him. Because she has no place to go, Frank talks himself into bringing her home with him. His wife and son are sleeping when he gets home so Frank makes a bed for Jenifer on the couch. Durring the night Jenifer hears the family cat and wakes up. She doesn't seem to like the cat to well nor does the cat like her to well either. In the morning Jenifer is in the bedroom with nothing more than a sheet covering her. Frank gets up and goes to her and it is about this time his wife comes out of the bathroom and starts to scream when she sees Jenifer. She wants Jenifer out of her house, not because she is standing next to her husband in only a sheet, but because of the way Jenifer looks. Frank refuses to just throw Jenifer out on the street though. The wife and son end up leaving soon though when they find Jenifer eating the cat. Frank, for whatever reason, still won't leave her though. At some point, he becomes obsessed with Jenifer.
The effects in Jenifer are very good. The makeup done on Carrie Anne Fleming to make her into Jenifer end up being very unnerving. She looks normal enough until you see her face. I won't try and describe it, I will instead let you watch this movie and see for yourself. The movie is also very gory at times. We see Jenifer eating the now dead cat and....well, a couple of humans as well. The acting is also very good. Steven Weber reminded me a lot of James Wood. Not only in how he acted in this movie but also because of his looks. I could probably go into more detail on both effects and acting but this post is going to be long as it is. Just know that I really don't think most people will be disappointed by either.
I was never actually scared by Jenifer but it did envoke other feelings that horror movies should envoke. It was disturbing, a bit shocking at times and, dare I say, revolting at times as well. Jenifer really surprised me in how far the film makers were willing to go with this movie. Even though this film is a bit of a departure for Dario Argento, you can still see his directing hand in the film. Overhead shots, crane shots, shots showing how nice the country side looks. Like other Dario movies, the music plays a big part. I really enjoyed it in this movie. Even though he didn't actually write the script, it is still a Dario movie.
I noticed some people are very disappointed in the plot of the movie. The plot is pretty simple really but it is there. We know nothing about Jenifer. No idea who she is. Where she came from. Was she born disfigured or did it happen later in life. None of these things are ever told. We never learn why she does, or doesn't, kill. It would seem it is because she becomes hungry, jealous and even does it to please the one she has devoted herself to. These things, and more, are left up to you. Some people don't like that but it has never bothered me at all. Jenifer comes across as playful, frightened and almost....cat like. The plot, in a way, hits on the fact that sometimes men are doing things because of their sex drive instead of what their minds are telling them. As one character put it in the movie, "How did a head like that end up on such a great body?" A must watch for all horror fans.
4 out of 5 Deformed killers
3 days ago