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  • Event Horizon

    Event Horizon

    Shopping and Mortal Kombat aren't insignificant to W.S.'s ensuing filmography, their images and portions of their structures being reused repeatedly, but this was the leap forward. The hostility of design, or form cursed by the darkness in the designer. It authoritatively establishes the key conflict of his cinema, that between organic and more exacting geometries. One character cheekily likens a space to a meat-grinder. The grids and mutating, rapacious logic of Umbrella issue from here, a "dimension of pure chaos" given mathematical form, creating its own images.

  • Black Sunday

    Black Sunday

    Only barely related to its Gogol source, despite original intentions, Black Sunday instead finds Bava & co. interpolating his studio-trained artifice with the sensibility of Poe and suggestions of De Sade. Reality bends around Bava's improvisations as much as his effects -- the film having been insufficiently prepped -- so that two characters may enter a space in one sequence, and two others, later, can find new features in that same space (the nude of Asa in the secret passage). Propagating…

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  • Zombie Flesh Eaters

    Zombie Flesh Eaters

    Post-narrative. This is not to confirm the common (mis)conception that Fulci is narratively inept (this idea is directly contrasted earlier in his career: Don't Torture a Duckling is a fluid network narrative decades ahead of the vogue; Beatrice Cenci cogently layers differing flashbacks, investigations, and personal reflections). Rather, Fulci here begins his radical stage (culminating in the films he'd make in the 1980s) of dismantling linear plot in order to explore ideas or aesthetics.

    Fulci, however, does not fully abandon…

  • Die Hard

    Die Hard

    Practically a musical, McTiernan, Urioste, Kamen so in tune that it becomes a choreography of formalized emotion and adrenal thrills. The wealth in observation can distract one in multiple interpretive directions -- husband fighting for wife after losing his supremacy in the family, in the ultimate (constantly exploding) phallus; overtures to the fabled end of history: emissaries of multiple continents meeting in one space spliced together from Western modernism and Eastern minimalism, fighting over a vault of bearer bonds, Asian…