Sunday, 3 November 2013

MOVIES: In Brief (November 3rd 2013)

A round up of recently viewed movies....

The Mask Of Diijon
US 1946, 73m, PRC (Producer's Releasing Corporation)

DVD: Image Entertainment (US import) - UK never classified

When a stage illusionist's comeback goes awry, and he suspects his wife of having an affair, he plots to hypnotise others into carrying out his plan of revenge...

A product of poverty-row studio PRC, this is an occasionally effective second feature, mainly due to Erich Von Stroheim's presence. He's suitably menacing, and gets to use every facial muscle to good effect in close-up. Sadly, the print used for this release is a worn out TV broadcast copy. Still, if you can get past the variable sound and picture, it's worth a look for horror buffs, especially as it features one of the last credited screen appearances by the original 1931 Van Helsing, Edward Van Sloan. Similar basic elements would get a more fully realised outing in 1954's The Mad Magician. 5.5/10

Sorority Row

US 2009, 100m, Summit Entertainment

DVD: Entertainment One (UK) - Cert 15

When a sorority prank goes wrong and ends in a brutal murder, all involved must remain tight lipped. However, someone knows what happened, and starts to stalk and kill the sorority sisters and others in the know...

As "re-imaginings" of oldies go, this isn't half bad. Some enjoyably over-the-top set pieces keep the attention from wondering too far, although it does tend to over-egg the pudding as it goes on and drags on a good 20 minutes more than it needs to. It also suffers from a problem blighting many modern slasher films: all of the lead characters seem to have wondered in from a particularly bad reality TV show. Still, the young leads are good enough with what they have, although Carrie Fisher gets sadly very little to do. No classic, but worth catching if it's a cheap rental. 6.1/10

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