Friday, January 15, 2010

The Unseen #21: Do You Like Hitchcock

Why’d I Buy It: Given to me during the Insomniac closing. Heard it was merely disappointing modern day Argento film as opposed to his ususual modern day standard of Fucking Awful.

Why Haven’t I Watched It?: I don’t know if there’s any director who lost their mojo as violently as Argento did. Here is a man who has created some of the most unique and disturbing Horror films in the modern age, all with a signature style that could belong to no one but him. Someone who has made probably a half a dozen films that are straight up classics of the genre, and another half dozen that are just as fascinating.

And lets face if folks, he hasn’t made a good movie since Opera. Opera was in 1987. That’s over twenty years. And let’s be honest here to, Argento’s films since then, haven’t been mediocre but bad bordering on incompetent. When the best thing you’ve put your name on since 1987 involves Meat Loaf and a haunted raccoon coat, you know you’ve fucked up. And it’s not like Argento is one of those guys like Joe Dante, or John Landis, or John Carpenter, who made one or two bad movies and then hasn’t been allowed to work either. The mother fucker keeps making films somehow.

He’s made dream projects, he’s made movies with big American stars (I’ve heard Giallo, his big “comeback” film is literally unwatchable), the only thing he hasn’t done in the past twenty three years is make something actually worth watching. So I thought I’d watch Do You Like Hitchcock, to see if it’d break the streak.

How Was it?: It doesn’t.

It’s not the movies fault that Anchor Bay was discourteous enough to start the disc with a reminder of how awesome Argento used to be. As one watches the trailers for Opera and Suspiria (or as the trailer puts it Suuuusssspeeeeeeeeeeeeriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!) One cannot help but be reminded that Argento was once a director who you expected good things from. But if the former master’s work wasn’t bad enough point of comparison, Argento has no one to blame but himself for filling his opening credits with the posters of much better movies. Movies I could be watching rather then Do You Like Hitchcock.

The film begins with a little boy following two women out to the woods where they cut the head off a chicken while smearing the blood around on themselves and laughing, in the least convincing way possible. As far as I can tell this sequence never has nothing to do with anything else that happens in the film. The movie doesn’t improve. Years later that little boy has grown up into a film critic and peeping tom, which gives the movie a chance to turn into the Italian white trash version of Rear Window. Through a series of over heard conversations the dumb kid comes to believe that two beautiful women are recreating the Strangers On A Train scenario, with a series of gory Hitchcock inspired murders.

Let’s set aside for a moment that Brian De Palma would find that concept a little much. Let’s set aside the fact that the score would sound gauche in a porn and for that matter so would the acting and the digital video. Let’s set aside that every aspect of the film borders on incompetence, this unfortunately would be nothing we haven’t seen before from Argento.

What is unexpected is that the film is dull. Dull dull dull so utterly, terribly, awfully dull. Not disasters like Trauma and The Third Mother can claim that.

It’s the worst kind of bad movie the kind that makes you wonder why you gave a shit about the director in the first place.


Troy Olson said...

The death spiral of Argento is so, so sad and post-OPERA he just lost it. Wish there was a reason to point to, but it simply reeks of a sudden lack of understanding about what made his earlier films so good.

Every film he makes, everyone hopes it's a return to the glory days. But after sitting through too much of crap from his recent offerings, I've frankly given up on that ever happening now.

I never saw this particular film, but your line about the concept being too on-the-nose for even DePalma got a good chuckle from me. Yeah, any movie with a high-concept such as this is one I'd be likely to stay away from.

Evil Dead Junkie said...

I know, it really is sad, especially since like I said, he has the juice to keep getting films made.

That said if David Gordan Greene actually directs Suspiria, that's one remake I actually will see.