Thursday, July 31, 2014


Have you had your fill of "found footage" horror flicks? You know, those movies - such as the trend-setting Blair Witch Project and best-of-genre entry [REC] - that attempt to induce chills by evoking the kind of heightened level of verisimilitude that only a documentary perspective can bring?

Considering some of the dross being pumped out in this style over the last couple years, I can't say that I blame you. It seems as though every week brings a bigger crop of "mockumentaries" with ambitions that outstrip both their budgets and their creators' ability to tell a story.

Such is not the case with two films that I was recently lucky enough to catch on VOD. Both are firmly in the "found footage" genre, and both have really cramped cinematic settings and obviously low budgets - but they use these apparent flaws to great advantage.

The reason why Brian Netto and Adam Schindler's haunted pregnancy thriller Delivery works so well is pretty obvious. The low budget and tiny universe its characters inhabit mirrors perfectly the very type of Lifestyle Channel-style "reality show" that it so successfully pretends to be. In the beginning, as we follow first-time mommy-and-daddy-to-be Kyle and Rachel Massy, things seem to be going par for the course, if a tad on the rough side. But it's nothing beyond the kind of real-life drama you'd expect from a look at impending parenthood... at first. Then, things get creepy.

I don't want to give too much away. This isn't a "think piece" about found footage horror movies. It's just a quick post to let you know about two movies I've recently watched that I suspect many of you might also enjoy.

Which brings us to The Sacrament. Of the two, mumblegore auteur Ti West's Eli Roth-produced take on a modern, miniature version of Jonestown is the superior film. The performances are uniformly excellent, with a standout performance by Gene Jones as the charismatic cult leader as Father.

The story, such as it is, surrounds a hipster wannabe documentarian Jake and his hipster videographer buddy Sam traveling to the South American religious community of Eden Parish so they can check up on Jake's sister, Caroline. Oh, and they're doing this as an assignment for VICE, so the entire film is branded like one of those VICE travelogues that have become so popular of late.

Again, I don't want to give too much away, in the hopes that you will see this for yourselves. I will say that there is one scene that is so well performed and so emotionally raw - especially in contrast to the cooler-than-thou attitude taken by the leads for most of the film - that it shook me to my core and left me disturbed for hours after viewing it.

I realize that may not sound like much of a recommendation, but in the circles I travel, it kind of is.

Ta-ta until the next edition of the Daily Dirt Diaspora blog's MEDIAVORE section!


I have a confession to make: I’m obsessed with Stanley Kubrick.

I suppose it’s obvious. Most people don’t go around starting up blogs without damn good reason. My damn good reason for starting up a Stanley Kubrick blog is the fact that I’m obsessed with the man and his movies. Obsessed. Full stop.

There are many different varieties of Kubrick fan. Some have one favorite film that they obsess over, and they can take or leave the rest. Others are fans of that three-film span, from Strangelove to Clockwork, during which time Kubrick clearly both a) was at the peak of his powers and b) had his thumb on the pulse-point of the global zeitgeist, making him the most important director of that cinematic time period.

And then there are the obsessives, the fanatics, those of us for whom Kubrick's singular vision, uncompromising will, and peculiar philosophical bent combine to form a potent mix that can fairly be called a cult of personality. It is with some small regret that your humble blogger counts himself part of the latter, but hey... if I denied it, I'd be lying.

This doesn't mean that I think Kubrick or his films are perfect. Far from it. But it does mean is that, for me, even the flaws are fascinating.

I've had this obsession – to a greater or lesser degree – ever since I first sat frozen in terror on the living room floor while a commercial for The Shining seared itself onto my brain, way back in 1979. I was nine years old at the time, a Famous MonstersMad Magazine and Marvel Comics reader on the verge of making the quantum leap to FangoriaNational Lampoon and Stephen King novels. I had no idea who Stanley Kubrick was, nor what The Shining was supposed to be about. But that commercial… Holy crap.

Continued at the KubrickU blog, a new blog by yer old pal Jerky!