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The 2010 Vendetta Movie Marathon, Part 1

Part 1: Don’t Fuck with Chuck, Part 1

Even if Ant was giving the line-up a bit of freshen-up this year, we were starting off with the mid-fifties “Cinema Classic” spot once again. As someone who digs Film Noir, but can lose focus on dialogue-heavy films if I’m overtired, I think they should play as early as possible. Hit me with one in the middle of a Marathon and I’d spend an hour going “Who’s that guy again? I can’t figure out the plot! Bwaaaagh!”

Admittedly, our Men in Fedoras flick this year wouldn’t have strained my cranium too badly. It’s a pretty low-budget affair, starring Don Ross and the statuesque Chuck Conners . (Seriously, either the leading man is a midget or Chuck is HUGE!-FUTURE SKEETER: I was right. A little research tells me Conners was six-five and briefly played center for the Boston Celtics.) Ross plays Lieutenant Dan Lawton (Start your Forest Gump puns now!), who’s just been drafted out of the Army following a stint in Korea. We first see him ducking compulsively after a car backfires in the street. One wibbbly-wobbly dissolve later and we’re watching him in Korea. Oddly, we never dissolve back out, implying that the entire flick is one giant flashback.

In Korea, Dan’s getting a giant mouthful of attitude from his Sergeant, Tommy Gerrick, who was passed over for the commission. His snarly attitude, coupled with the rather melodramatic dialogue amused a lot of the crowd immensely. Sergeant Insubordination even gets a good case of the crazy eyes going. His would be the first of a long, LONG line of bugged-out eyeballs we’d see that night. Soon afterwards the Sarge writes a letter home, containing the Kiss of Death phrase: “If something should happen to me, like getting killed…”. The odds of him getting out alive suddenly blow out to the same odds of me running the Boston Marathon. Naked.

One scene later, Dan and company come under fire on Lookout Ridge. One person fails to look out, and yes, it’s the Sarge. The poor guys death scene (stop, assume a pose like he’s thrown only ONE hand in the air and really, REALLY does care, then fall down…) got laughed at by the audience. The Sarge just can’t cut a break. Luckily, his letter pretty much blaming Dan for his untimely demise has been delivered (without a single piece of censorship, I might add.) to his brother Lurch. Well, he’s actually called Frank, but as he’s being played by Chuck Conners, he’s as tall as Lurch, at least. The missive arrives mere minutes before Dan comes knocking at the door. I assume that means the Sarge was the last American casualty in the Korean War, and Dan got to head home next day. Either that or the U.S Army Postal Service just plain sucks.

Lurch seems fairly cordial at first, although his many, MANY sideways glances run the gauntlet from “Slightly annoyed” to “I’m going to spend the next eight years studying medicine for the sole purpose of being able to identify each of the organs I cut out of you” kind of mad.

And wouldn’t you know it, Lurch is a Big Game Hunter. This doesn’t bode well for Dan. What didn’t bode well for US was to have Lurch offer to show Dan some footage of his previous hunts. CUE THE STOCK FOOTAGE!

Ooh, monkeys! Tigers! Elephants. Geez, what is this, a 1950’s Bigfoot flick?

Eventually we get the classic exchange about how he must have hunted every thing there is to hunt. No, no… there’s one thing he hasn’t taken down yet.

Hey! Is this an adaptation of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, you ask? Why yes, yes it is! An urban one. You see, Lurch has the worlds only two Camera Guns, 30-30 rifles that take a tiny canister of film instead of a bullet. The “test photo” of Lurches’ goofily-smiling dog in the crosshairs got a good laugh. And since Lurch’s heart problems have prevented him from going hunting for real, he challenges Dan to a friendly human hunt. But let’s face it, you’d have to be crazy to take him up, even for $10,000, right?

Oh, did I mention Dan is $5,000 in debt after his business caught fire?

I’m calling it, folks. This movie is asking us to suspend our disbelief almost as much as CRANK. In fact, let’s list a few of the things we’re expected to take on faith.

**That you can create a gun that can be loaded with either a live bullet or a tiny roll of film, and both work perfectly by simply pulling the trigger.
**That after creating this insane gun, you then build a SECOND one? Why? No reason. (Foreshadowing, foreshadowing…)
**That Lurch just happens to be loaded, while Dan’s business partner let the insurance on his sporting goods store lapse JUST before a devastating fire.
**That two guys strolling the city streets in broad daylight carrying rifle cases was in no way considered “suspicious” in the fifties.
**That two experienced hunters would simply wander around the designated Hunting Ground, rather than finding a concealed spot and sniping his opponent from cover.
**That someone going out to be stalked and “shot” would tell the owner of his hotel exactly where he intended to go. (Presumably this was intended to be bait for an ambush. So why all the random wandering around?)
**That once you realise your opponent is on board the abandoned ship you’re hiding on, you stalk him with your gun still safely zipped in its case. GUNS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!
**That Lurch couldn’t hear a taxi leaving from a spot ten feet from him in an abandoned shipyard. Screw the heart condition dude, get your hearing checked!
**That the truly obvious tactic of sending your opponent a business card for the place you’d like to shoot him results in your opponent heading straight to the place you’d like to shoot him.
**That when the police arrest an aggressive, wild-eyed guy like Lurch and find he’s carrying a 30-30 rifle loaded with a single bullet, they’re quite happy to turn him loose because it’s not a concealed weapon. Although being that it’s the 50’s in America, that may be more realistic than I think. Hell, there’s probably still states where you can strip off, tie a red, white and blue bandana around you tackle and run down the road firing your pistol in the air and people will just think you’re celebrating the Fourth of July a little early.
**That an vehicle of choice for an experienced hunter is a lakeside pedal boat.
**That two men can be in the same (tiny) sporting goods store with out ever noticing the other.
**That sporting goods store employees will sell a single bullet to a sweating, irrational man who collapses in your store. (Again, see my point about America)
**That a car dealer will happily accept a handful of money thrown at him and just let you drive off without so much as looking at the paperwork.
**That a man in a sports car can look sillier than the same man in a pedal boat. (Tiny car, basketball-player sized Chuck Conners… he looked like he’d be better off tucking the car under one arm and running down the road.)
**That chasing a guy down the street with a loaded rifle and scaring him into a fatal heart attack is yet another things the cops seemingly dismiss as “Youthful Hijinks”. (And if this movie IS a flashback, apparently means you get to keep the gun afterwards.)

Yes, there’s a ton of moments in this flick that need to be taken with a pretty huge grain of salt. Chuck Conners over-the-top heart attack acting garnered a lot of chuckles from the crowd, and his descent into madness did likewise. Mainly because it happened so quickly it was less of a descent and more of a plummet. That being said, I found it an entertaining watch. There was a beautiful shot as a young couple making out pull back from a kiss, revealing Chuck framed between their heads like the Angel of Death. Andrew Todd immediately decided to steal that setup for his flick.

And at seventy minutes or so, it never outstayed its welcome.

Running Themes, Go!

Car Crashes?: A doozy of a fender bender. Stay focused behind the wheel, people!
Denigration of Women?: Slapped around by the villain, then yelled at by our Hero. Which was kind of a dick move.
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?: I wouldn’t mess with a batshit insane Chuck Conners.
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: Top tip. Never leave your loaded weapon where your prey might happen to pick it up accidentally.
Big Twist Ending?: It tried to inject a few spins on a well-worn story, but this Theme became more regular as the night wore on.

And as a little nod to 2009, let’s check THE RULES:

CARDIO?: Those two did a LOT of long-distance running, in suits no less, so yes.
DOUBLE-TAP?: Tough to do when you only pack one bullet.
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: Even if that car was a station wagon, Chuck Conners would still fill all the available space.

Skeeters’ Summary: A solid, if unspectacular start to the night.

Part 2- Love Means Never Having to Pull on a Gun on Someone.

With Ant eyeing up the Most Films Screened record, we had about two minutes to get set for our first premiere. And it’s probably the film I’ll say the least about, due to its twisting, tightly-written plot. I’ll just give you the basics. It’s a British crime drama, with a cast of just three on-screen actors, the majority of which takes places in two rooms. Yep, it’s one of those compact, claustrophobic films that the Marathon seems made for. The performances are uniformly excellent and the script is top-notch. The ending fumbles the ball slightly for me, dragging out the finale a shade long, but it’s a minor quibble in the scheme of things.

Yep, that’s all I really have to say about this movie. Any discussion of the plot would just be spoilers, and it’s the type of flick that’d be much better watching cold. The great audience reaction to one plot twist proved that nicely.

This flick was also the moment that I realised I’d be shopping for new supplies next year. At the start of WALK THE DARK STREET I’d discovered my water bottle was still frozen solid, forcing me to crack my first can of V a movie or two ahead of schedule. (To accompany the two cups of java I’d had at home.) But it wasn’t the caffeine I’d drunk that ensured I was wide awake for this flick. It was the fact that when I retrieved my bottle from the cooler bag a second time, I ended up with a lapful of freezing cold water. For the rest of the show I wasn’t overly sure if I’d filled the bottle too much and split the base, or if it was just a shitload of condensation due to the melting ice.

I checked the drink bottle, post-show. I’ve killed it. Three tiny cracks have opened up, which acted like a crotch-seeking sprinkler when I squeezed the thing. The only upside was I still in a pair of quick-drying board shorts. And that it was too dark for anyone to see I’d apparently found this flick terrifying.

Car Crashes?: In a low-speed kind of way, and that van didn’t fare too well either.
Denigration of Women?: Very much so.
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?: Check!
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: Several times over.
Big Twist Ending?: This thing has more twists than a strand of DNA.

CARDIO?: Run, Danny, Run!
DOUBLE-TAP?: If he had, the ending would have been REALLY depressing.
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: In this case, check the passenger seat. And the back of the van.

Skeeters’ Summary: Some films give you a creepy vibe right from the opening. This is most definitely one of them. Top stuff.

We took a brief break, so I stretched my legs outside. And discovered that the dairy of Sanjeev the Parking Nazi was no more. Nothing but a vacant lot stood next to the Hollywood. I initially wondered if disgruntled Marathon-ers had finally gotten sick of him towing away their cars and had dismantled his shop brick by brick before I arrived. Turned out he’d just moved down the road a little.

I got back to my seat just as the third movie started rolling. My eyes were fixed on my feet to avoid stepping on Campbell (As I’d already done that at least twice in the first few hours.) Steve Austins’ whoops of “Cannon Films!” made my head shoot up, though. Cannon? A Golan-Globus Production? DAY-GLO?!

No Eighties films, huh Ant?

I love it when that man lies to us.

And so, prepare for my attempt at recapping our third flick in the only style possible.

Time to bust some rhymes, yo.

Part 3-Stop, collaborate and laugh your ass off!
Staurday 18:10-RAPPIN’!

What’s appeared on-screen?
It’s the goofiest movie I ever seen!
A low-budget flick from eighty-five,
Man, some people here weren’t even alive!
To play this flick takes balls of brass,
‘Cause we all remember BREAKIN’ dying on it’s ass!
But this one looks like it’s gonna be good,
With Mario van Peebles playin’ “Rappin’ John Hood!

(Warm it up, John! Warm it up, John! Warm it up, John! Warm it up, John!)

We first see John walkin’ down the street,
With his ghetto blaster pumpin’ out a kickin’ beat.
And he’s droppin’ some rhymes that are full of self-hype
And everyone he meets is a stereotype!
There’s the old Jewish lady and the grumpy Greek guy,
And he raps at them as he passes by.
Then he spots four guys, they’re his old rappin’ crew.
From the cast of “Electric Boogaloo”!

(Looking’ real gay! Looking’ real gay! Looking’ real gay! Looking’ real gay!)

John’s s’posed to be tough, but I have my doubts,
Think he’d get his ass kicked by Eagle Scouts!
And he’s got one homie that’s really fat,
And a dorky little brother in a Johnny Reb hat!
Now we meet Grandma, who don’t take no crap.
Man, God help us all if she tries to rap!
And the place that they’re livin’, it’s safe to say,
Is the shittest ‘hood in the U.S A!

(Fuckin’ Pittsburgh! Fuckin’ Pittsburgh! Fuckin’ Pittsburgh! Fuckin’ Pittsburgh!)

At the local night club, John avoids a fight,
With the lamest bad guy of the whole damn night.
He dresses in leather and he promises pain,
But no muthas’ scary when his name is Dwayne!
And two gang members try to settle a score,
With the gayest dance-off you ever saw.
Now Dwayne’s girlfriend Dixie is mighty sweet,
But I think she gonna trade up for a little dark meat

(Jungle fever! Jungle fever! Jungle fever! Jungle fever!)

Now Dixie’s working for a record company,
That’s looking for rappers, coincidentally.
And she thinks that if he wins it, then he’ll go far.
Even though that it’s being held in a shitty dive bar.
And the record comp’ny guy looks mighty weird,
‘Cause I think that he’s wearing a pubic beard!
But before the contest starts, we’ll pad the plot
With some unconnected raps that just ain’t so hot.

(Snack Attack, y’all! Snack Attack, y’all! Snack Attack, y’all)

Script’s old and hoary,
“South-Central Story”.
But I do have to say
That at least it don’t bore me.


Okay, that’s enough of that. Yet another example of why 99.98% of white guys shouldn’t rap. Besides, this film has so much material to work with, I couldn’t cover it in a rap. A triple-disc concept album would barely do it justice. So let’s dispense with my attempts at dropping lyrical bombs and just go to the Big List o’ Things I Remember.

**Man, was the audio mix muddy as hell at first, or what? Either it was an ominous sign of things to come, or everyone who watched this film switched it off fifteen minutes in.
**Johns homies are a classic multi-racial Hollywood gang! I especially liked the Latino dude in the beret, as I’m sure he was part of Electro-Rock in BREAKIN’!
**Dwayne’s gang on the other hand was a pretty forgettable bunch. Dwaynes blonde hairstyle had more screen presence than most of his crew.
**The Dance-Off I mentioned in rap was incredible to behold. No man looks macho in a Dance-Off, but when you start pulling JAZZ BALLET moves, you’re probably risking getting gay-bashed… by gay guys. For acting too gay.
**Dwayne had a lot of pent-up aggression, but sadly chose to express it in some of the most awkwardly phrased threats I’ve heard in some time. Hilarity ensued.
**The clichéd Nice Girl dates Abusive Jerk storyline rears it’s ugly head again. And yet she’s so… spunky! So why IS she hanging with a paid-up member of the National Douchebags Club?
**Hood demonstrates Zen-like calm in the faces of Dwaynes marble-mouthed abuse. Either that or his acting style for this movie is inspired by a dressmakers dummy.
**Huge laugh as Hood takes out his frustration on a defenceless towel dispenser, then takes out the door of an occupied toilet stall for good measure.
**An EVVVVVVVVIL landlord is looking to kick all of the local tenants out and redevelop the area. Considering the place looks like Beruit after every building had hosted a Drunken Fratboys Convention, I’m sure the city is all for this idea.
**Speaking of ideas, this flick doesn’t have an original one in it’s entire running time. I get the feeling Cannon Films scripts were written via the “Mad-Libs” system.
**The “Rap Talent Contest” sign got one of the biggest groans of the night. Nineteen-eighty-fucking-five and they’re still pulling that Mickey and Judy shit. (I remarked that Ice-T HAD to be involved in that somehow. I was soon proved right.)
**”Snack Attack” came out of nowhere. A high-energy group rap about how the fat guy really loved food, it had jaws on the floor in seconds flat.
**Bonus points for ending it with the fat guy cramming handfuls of a fully decorated birthday cake in his maw… even though the number was set in a fruits and vegetable warehouse. Does he have the supernatural ability to manifest baked goods?
**Hood and co. liberate a ton of goods from the warehouse at the end of “Snack Attack” and distribute them around the neighbourhood. Apparently “Rappin’ Hood’s modus operandi is the steal from the moderately well-off and give to the just-getting-by.
**We leapt straight into an second unconnected musical number, a duet this time. The man was WILL AND GRACE-ing it up, but it was the woman I couldn’t take my eyes off. Every time she hit a high notes, her jaws seemed to dislocate like a python sucking down a pig. I was half-expecting a second set of jaws to shoot out, ALIEN-style and rip her singing partners jugular out.
**On the other hand, at least I could identify her gender. A later song number involved a kid who appeared to be the unholy love-child of Janet Jackson and Rick James. And not person in my row could work out if it was a boy or a girl. (Amazingly, having found a soundtrack listing, I still don’t know. The kid is simply called “Tuff”. I assume T.U.F.F is a clever acronym, as whatever else he(?) is, tough (s)he ain’t…)
**Evil Capitalist Guy sends his right-hand Uncle Tom into the Demilitarised Zone of a nighbourhood to serve eviction notices. He gets mildly menaced by Hood. In some parts of L.A, he’d be more likely to be mailed home in a variety of packages.
**Uncle Tom Guy does help prod the plot into action after John’s little brother swipes his radio. As John now has to raise the money to buy it back, I guess we WILL get to see him enter Rap-Quest ’85! Will he win? The suspense is killing me!
**No wait, that’s not suspense. That’s cramp. I may have to change seats soon.
**Hood freestyles for some neighbourhood kids. Turns out it’s easy to do, as the kids shout out nothing but colours for him to rap to. Needless to say, he doesn’t give Supernatural anything to be worried about.
**Appearing first in the Talent Quest… WE GOT ICE-T, baby! It’s rumoured he wrote all the raps for this film, although I doubt “Snack Attack” made his “Best Of” CD.
**Wait, is he wearing the exact same outfit from BREAKIN’? Did he even KNOW he was making a different movie?
**Ice T’s proto gangsta-rap is by far the best number in the film. Predictably, the whitest rap producer ever to walk the earth (he of the Pubic-Hair Beard) rejects him. I blame Ice’s keyboardist, who appears to escaped from a low-rent Kraftwerk tribute band.
**Our collective jaws hit the floorboards once more as the Force M.D’s perform “Itchin’ For a Scratch”, which probably isn’t an ode to genital lice, but sure the hell sound like it. (Sample lyric: “You’re in trouble son/I know for sure/’cause what you got/ain’t got no cure!/So take this beat/Go home and scratch/But stay away from me/’Cause it’s easy to catch!.” And to think I was worried about MY rap lyrics sounding stupid.)
**Hood breaks up a tepid bar fight… by rapping at people. THE POWER OF RAP COMPELLS YOU! THE POWER OF RAP COMPELLS YOU!
**Record Company Guy is so impressed with Hoods terrible rap, he practically vomits money to entice him to cut a demo. Has this guy even HEARD what a good rap song sounds like?
**Dwayne and company are hired by Uncle Tom Guy to raise a little ruckus in the neighbourhood. First order of business… getting Li’l Hood arrested! Good going, all you did was give him street cred. What’s next, are you going to maliciously give him a tattoo and wound him in a failed drive-by?
**Hood angrily storms into the headquarters of the Pasty White Marauders. Where we discover Dwayne’s bad-ass character trait.. he does CARD TRICKS! *gasp*
**Evil Capitalist Guy cuts off the gas to the street in the middle of winter. The authorities apparently find this perfectly acceptable. Geez, too bad a small town like Pittsburgh doesn’t have a local newspaper that could run a story on this guy
**Hods’ crew get the heat back on via a malicious beatdown of Comedy and Good Taste. This scene, where a local streetwalker (Who appears to have started a sex-change operation, then changed her(?) mind halfway through) seduces an oil company driver, lasts approximately 3 and a half hours. Although my watch doesn’t seem to back up that up. It must be broken.
**The Inexplicable Comedy Noises used in this scene were somewhat out of place, too. Guess someone had an LP of Hanana-Babera Sound Effects.
**Incidentally, should switched on radiators actually GLOW bright red? What is Hood trying to warm, the entire continent?
**Eventually, Dwayne and co. earn their Hired Goon Money by trashing the entire neighbourhood, one clichéd ethnicity at a time. They even flip over a hot dog cart. I doubt the Evil Capitalist wanted to redevelop that, unless a family of really tiny people were living inside it.
**And FINALLY John and Dwayne get set to square off, after John finds Dwayne’s’ gang beating down his crew. Dwayne takes a pummelling, although he’s probably lucky John didn’t decide to set it to a rap. I think the Geneva Convention probably has laws against that.
**Hilarity ensues as the cops turn up, see John limping away from an obvious street fight… and simply get back in their cars and drive off. Obviously they’re hoping he’ll jut turn himself in later.
**The big finale occurs at a Town Council meeting, where the authorities decide the Evil Capitalist have acceptable legal grounds to evict the tenants. John starts to make a counter-argument, via a rap number.
**Wait, what?
**No, seriously, what?
**Are they actually recycling the end of BREAKIN’ for this flick? I know it worked there, but the finale of that flick was at a dance audition. Not a legal hearing.
**Oh, fuck me. The stuffy councillors are starting to clap along to John’s extremely vague rap-buttal. They can’t seriously think people are going to buy this.
**The council overturns the decision, which sets one hell of a legal precedent. Fuck getting a lawyer, get a rhyming dictionary and a drum machine and you’ll rule the world.
**One final rap number takes us out, but it’s the most ridiculous of the flick. Because EVERYONE gets to rap in this one. Jewish Lady Rap! Destitute Single Mom and Her One Daughter With a Speaking Part Rap! DWAYNE RAP!
**Y’know, if Dr. Dre had seen this film, he would have rejected Eminem before the fucker even opened his mouth, thanks to Dwayne’s attempt at busting out some dope rhymes.

Great stuff.

Car Crashes?: Uncle Tom Guy’s whip gets a beating, yes.
Denigration of Women?: Verbally, at least. And with Dwayne’s mangled phrasing, it’s as bad as being slapped.
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?: Dwayne fills half of this Theme with a little popping-out-of-my-skull eye acting.
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: Hood didn’t have to hunt Dwayne down. All he had to do was look for the cloud of hairspray vapour to find him.
Big Twist Ending?: If by twist you mean “Twisting Reality”, then yes.
NEW THEME!-Jungle Fever?: Hell, yeah.

CARDIO?: Sure, you need your energy in case an unexpected Ballet-Off breaks out.
DOUBLE-TAP?: Dwaynes punches are like little taps, I supppose.
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: No, but you might want to check where the stereo. Went.

Skeeters’ Summary: Cheap, cheesy and relentlessly silly. Loved it.

We took a half-hour dinner break after RAPPIN’ came to it’s hilariously awkward conclusion. Before the crowd dispersed to hunt down sustenance, Ant informed us of the first contest of the night… a Rap-off! I contemplated jotting down a few rhymes about the flick, but couldn’t come up with a satisfactory word to rhyme with “Shithouse”.

While most of the crowd dispersed to various places for grub, I hung in the theatre with Campbell and worked out our current Running Themes list. Degradation of Women was rapidly becoming the Theme of the Night, and we still had the 3am Sleazeathon Slot to come.

When the Rap-Off was announced, two of our section made a beeline for the stage. But with only five spots open, Andrew Todd managed to make it in, while Doug was sixth in line. As he headed back to his seat, a sixth entrant emerged from the balcony and was permitted to join in. D’oh. I’m not sure of Dougs skill as an MC, but he would have had to go a long way to beat our eventual winner.

Andrew Todd.

Yes, MC A-to-the-T-to-the-O-Double-D destroyed all but one of his opponents, then took out the last guy (Who I affectionately dubbed “Rappin’ Jesus” due to his awesome beard) in an improvised Rap-Off. As Andrew is part of an Improv group in Christchurch, I was hardly surprised he was able to fire out a rap on THE LOVE BUTCHER on thirty seconds notice.

Clutching a selection of DVDs’ and Blu-Rays, Andrew returned to the cheap seats, and the show continued.

Part 4: It’s Apparently Not AS Good, Yet Still Damn Good!
Saturday 20:20-LET ME IN

Having not watched any trailers for some months, in order to see any premieres absolutely unprepared, I was amazed to see the words “Hammer Films” appear on screen. What the hell? Is it 1975 again?

And then the title appeared. This was going to be interesting, as I’m yet to get around to seeing the much-hyped Scandinavian original, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. It’s been on my “Should Watch” list for some time, but somehow I never found the time to check it out. On hearing this, I’ve already been told by Al that I WILL be watching it as soon as is humanely possible. I should probably double-feature it with THE ROOM, just to get both out the way.

Predictably, this film split the room cleanly in two. The people who HAD seen the original thought the remake was inferior and totally superfluous. The attendees who HADN’T watched it, thought it was an excellent film.

I loved it.

It’s got incredibly strong leading actors, and seeing as they’re both around 12 or 13 years old, that’s saying something. Trust me, in the last few years I’ve seen many, MANY child actors that made me want to pass a law banning under-20’s from appearing on film. (Michael Phillip Stephenson from TROLL 2 is excepted, of course.) The production design is simply beautiful, the pace is perfect and the gore is neither over-the-top nor surplus to requirements. (I’m looking at you, EMILY ROSE.) There’s a little jarring CGI to annoy me, but the practical effects, including a stunning car crash scene that’s not only terrifying to witness, but an incredible technical achievement. (A one-shot wonder shot from INSIDE the car that one-ups the directors previous helicopter crash in CLOVERFIELD.)

The story itself, if you’re even more out of the loop than I was, is more of a character study than a horror flick. It’s a touching story of first love, with the major complication being that one of the couple isn’t exactly… human.

Okay, she’s a vampire. Let’s face it, it becomes pretty clear pretty fast. (Although the “V” word isn’t uttered for quite some time on-screen.) It’s a fairly simple concept, but as Hollywood has proved over and over, a clever idea can easily get destroyed by a stupid script.

The movie also appealed to me due to my past. Having spent a good deal of my school years being bullied, I could identify very easily with male lead Owen. The moment he strikes back at his tormentor was both cathartic and disturbing in equal measures. Considering that even the most graphic violence I’ve seen lately (And I’ve watched several Italian Zombie and cannibal flicks this year) doesn’t get that much of a reaction out of me, this film is doing a lot of things right.

To sum it up, If you haven’t seen the original, this film is required viewing. If you have seen the original… see it anyway. Distance yourself from LET THE RIGHT ON IN if you can and judge it on it’s own merits. You might be surprised.

Car Crashes?: Oh, fuck yes..
Denigration of Women?: If by “denigrate” you mean a case of horrendous throat injuries.
Tough Guys With Crazy Eyes?:
More like Old Guy with Sunken Eyes.
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted?: In many forms, yes.
Big Twist Ending?: Not so much a twist as a “Told you so!”
Jungle Fever: Dude, they’re twelve. Don’t be weird.

CARDIO?: How long can YOU hold your breath?
DOUBLE-TAP?: From the fifth floor.
CHECK THE BACK SEAT?: Check everywhere. If that kid moved into my neighbourhood, I’d spray holy water onto my sandwiches before I ate them.

Skeeters’ Summary: Four out the five new films this year got the thumbs up from me. This was one of them. In fact, this was probably the top of the heap.

With my legs starting to cramp up badly (Sarah’s beanbag had been inching backwards during the show, and I therefore watched LET ME IN sitting on a 45-degree angle in my seat) I moved down the row and joined Campbell and Anthony. (Anatol had snagged a vacant beanbag for this flick.) I settled in, hoping for a sleaze-and-cheese flick to balance out the last films glossy production values. But first, a trailer for KILLER FORCE appeared.

And then it happened.

The trailers audio was garbled, distorted into incomprehensibility. “I think this trailers soundtrack must have derailed” I remarked, not realising until I started this review that that particular turn of phrase is A-Grade gibberish. The trailer stopped. Started again. Yul Bryner fired a rifle, causing a helicopter to explode. Even the explosion was distorted to hell. The sound cut out. Several well-know actors pantomimed their parts for us. A second trailer followed. The sound came back on, resulting in a burst of sound and fury that had 90% of the audience clutching their ears. Seriously, if someone taped that, we could play it at 3AM and wake the entire theatre at once. The sound cut out again.

And then the curtains majestically swept close.


And so it had happened. Ant’s record-breaking schedule had suffered its first hitch. (Even though we had already been behind schedule by the time the third film rolled around.) He was out soon with a status update… and it was a doozy. For the first time in Marathon history, we’d managed to blow out a speaker. And this wasn’t a case of twiddling the wires and giving it a few swift kicks. We were talking about replacing the thing entirely. Ant’s estimate was at least 25 minutes of downtime.

The fourteen-film record of 2008 and 2009 was safe for another year. Unless Ant deliberately clipped a reel or two off some film along the way. (Which was what apparently happened with BLACK AGENT LUCKY KING some years ago.)

We migrated out into the street while the Hollywood team swung into action. The mood was pretty upbeat, with everyone confident that the show would be running again soon. There was also a number of suggestions of what we could do to keep the show running if we had lost the sound completely. Silent movies, live improving and script readings were all mooted. I of course figured we could just make shadow puppets for a while. It’d still be less amateurish than my trailers.

The break stretched past the half-hour mark, with Ant apparently going as far as to drag a 90-year-old audio professor out of bed to help with the fix. We headed back to our seats, discussed the flicks we’d seen, ate some pretty damn good home baking and drummed our heels.

There was a brief blast of sound.

We waited.

Another bit of detached audio.

Ant appeared on stage to do a few giveaways. He asked his first trivia question , an audience stumper about what trash classic was written by Wyatt Ordung, director of WALK THE DARK STREET. (Unbelievably, it was ROBOT MONSTER!) Suddenly, the projectionists asked Ant to switch of his mic.

And the curtains pulled back. We held our collective breath as the trailer we had last watched re-appeared onscreen…


By my watch we had lost 45 minutes, but it didn’t matter worth a damn. Because as the trailer ended a second or two later, three words appeared before me. Three words that made up the title of a flick that would have made the entire show worthwhile, even it’d been the ONLY flick we saw that night.



November 2011

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