Monthly Archives: May 2016

Chastity (1969)

chasity 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Hardships of a runaway.

Chastity (Cher), in an attempt to escape her troubled past, runs away from home. She initially hitches a ride with a truck driver (Elmer Valentine) who seems to have only one thing on his mind, so she leaves him and meets up with a younger man named Eddie (Steve Whittaker) who she takes a liking to. He brings her back to his place and she spends the night there, but then worries that things may be moving too fast, so she leaves him. She then treks down to Mexico where she gets a job at a whorehouse. The woman (Barbara London) who runs the place becomes sexually attracted to Chastity and makes an attempt to start a lesbian relationship with her, but Chastity is uncomfortable with this and runs away again. She then meets back up with Eddie hoping to restart their relationship, but her demons from the past catch up with her and make that impossible.

The film was written and directed by Sonny Bono and I got to admit I was surprised at how genuinely riveting this was. The dialogue is sharp with a definite cinema vertite feel. There’s little or no action, but like with a Jim Jarmusch film you still find yourself glued to it and interested in picking up any little nuance that happens. The subject matter is frank and uncompromised and there’s even a little bit of nudity as we see Cher naked from both the top and backside.

The plot is unstructured and works more as a portrait to the tough situations most runaways fall into than in actually telling any type of story with a beginning, middle and end. However, it flows pretty well and has some memorable scenes including Chastity’s attempts to change the oil in a stranger’s car, her visit to a church and most especially her stay at the whorehouse and the way she successfully fleeces money out of a shy and unsuspecting teenage boy customer (Tom Nolan).

Cher is outstanding and the main reason to why this thing is so compelling. Apparently she was unhappy with her performance and refused to do another film until 13 years after this one, which is a shame as she shows definite signs of being a star-in-the-making and she looks so young that she seems almost like a different person than the one we’ve become so accustomed to seeing.

My only quibble is the fact that we get very little insight to the character’s past or why she’s running away. At the very end we do start to hear some voices, which are apparently going on inside her head and that of her parents, but it was too late to bring that up and should’ve been introduced earlier. The ending is vague and leaves the viewer in-the-dark as to what the ultimate fate of the character is, which is frustrating.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: June 24, 1969

Runtime: 1Hour 25Minutes

Director: Alessio de Paola (Sonny Bono)

Rated R

Studio: American International Pictures

Available: DVD

Near Dark (1987)

near dark

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 5 out of 10

4-Word Review: Vampires in a van.

Caleb (Adrian Pasder) is a farm boy who spots the attractive Mae (Jenny Wright) one night while cruising around in his pick-up. He decides to take her for a spin and the two initially get along until they kiss and she bites him on his neck, which makes him very sick. As he is trying to get back to his farm where his father and sister live (Tim Thomerson, Marcie Leeds) he gets hijacked by a van carrying other vampires (Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, Joshua John Miller) who try to teach him how to hunt and kill humans, which is something Caleb isn’t ready to do despite his new found necessity of needing blood in order to survive.

Compared to other ‘80s vampire flicks this one is far and away ahead of the rest. I liked how Caleb’s transformation into a vampire is very emotionally and psychologically jarring, which is how I think it would be, even though other films from that period would gloss over this like it was no big deal. I also liked the way it circumvents the irritating erotic overtones by showing Caleb and others sucking up the blood from a human’s neck like a thirsty man coming from a desert instead of portraying it in some sort of cheesy sexy way. The film also has its share of genuinely horrifying moments including a long, drawn out scene inside a hick bar that is violent and ugly, but also quite effective and makes these vampires the menacing characters that they should be.

The acting is all-around quite good including having three actors from Aliens, which is amusingly displayed as the film being shown at a local theater in the small town that Caleb passes through. I was also impressed with the two child stars. Miller, who is the son of Jason Miller who played Father Karras in The Exorcist, is effectively disturbing as this baby-faced kid with a potential of doing some very nasty things. Leeds is also solid as a young, cute girl with some very down-to-earth sensibilities.

The special effects are great and I was impressed with how the vampire’s skin would burn when exposed to daylight, but I also had a bit of a problem with this as well. For one thing the burn would appear so severe that it looked like nothing short of grafting could repair it and yet we would see them in the next scene with their skin fully healed, or looking like it had been smeared with coal and nothing more.

I was also confused with how these vampires manage to obtain such super-human strength. They possess the same bodies that they had when they were human with no apparent additional muscle mass, so where is this extra strength coming from? Is it ‘magic’ and if so where does that come from? This film tries so hard to keep everything on a gritty and real level, but that unfortunately gets hurt by having this illogical and unexplained phenomenon thrown in.

The astronomical odds that these vampires would meet up with Caleb’s father and sister at some random, isolated hotel is a bit hard to fathom as well, but I was willing to forgive it as the one loophole every story is allowed to have. However, the scene where Miller’s character takes Caleb’s younger sister back to the motel room to watch TV and they find that all the stations have signed off for the night just doesn’t hold true. By the late ‘80s, which was when this movie was made and takes place, most broadcast stations where working 24 hours and most if not all hotels where offering basic cable, which included free HBO and these stations were definitely broadcasting throughout the wee hours making this scene completely false for the period it was in.

The film did poorly at the box office when it was first released, but has managed to attain a strong cult following since. I liked most of it, but didn’t care for the eternally thumping music score that gets played in literally every scene and gives it too much of a music video feel and the climactic finish, which is exciting and has some terrific special effects, became too protracted for my tastes.

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My Rating: 5 out of 10

Released: October 2, 1987

Runtime: 1Hour 34Minutes

Rated R

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Studio: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

Available: DVD, Blu-ray

Westworld (1973)

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By Richard Winters

My Rating: 8 out of 10

4-Word Review: Cowboy robot goes berserk.

Peter and John (Richard Benjamin, James Brolin) are two buddies who decide to take the vacation of a lifetime by visiting an amusement park that replicates the old west. The people inside the park are actually robots who are so lifelike that it’s almost impossible to tell them apart from humans. Gunfights, barroom brawls and even whorehouses are the name of the day. At first both men enjoy their stay, but then the robots begin to act erratically especially the nameless gunslinger (Yul Brynner) who chases Peter throughout the park determined to kill him and no one, not even the technicians running the place, are able to stop him.

Michael Crichton’s directorial debut is a smashing success. The film is compact making for maximum use of tension and excitement and I liked how some sequences were done in slow motion. What I liked most about the film though is the way it gives the viewer a three dimensional viewpoint. Not only do we see things from the perspective of the main characters, but also the technicians behind the scenes and at one point even the robots.

The story brings out many interesting themes. Most people will jump on the man-versus-machine concept, but the one I liked better was how we have these suburbanite males living otherwise cushy lifestyles deciding they want to ‘prove their manhood’ by roughing it in some sort of adventure setting. However, pretending to be ‘rough and tough’ cowboys means nothing when ultimately it’s all still in a safe and contained setting where ‘nobody gets hurt’. In the real west there was no such things as ‘time outs’ or ‘safe places’, which is why I actually found it quite amusing when the robots do go berserk because it was the one thing that kept these suburban softies egos in-check and gave them a true taste of what the west was REALLY like.

A few things though that did bother me was the scene where Peter has sex with one of the female robots and enjoys it, which seemed weird to me because I would think having intimacy with a machine would have to feel way different than one with a human. We are told earlier that the only way to tell these robots apart from real people is by looking at their hands, which the technicians apparently haven’t yet been able to perfect and yet they were somehow able to get the vagina ‘just right’?!

I also found the idea that these robots would be given guns with real bullets to be absurd. Apparently the humans are also given real guns, but they’re equipped with sensors that detect body heat and therefore will shut off if aimed at a real person and if that were the case then the robots guns would do the same and therefore the scene where the gunslinger shots and fatally injures one of them would be negated.

I also found it equally preposterous that these same techs who were able to create such brilliant life-like robots would be dumb enough to make a control room that would lock-up when the power shut off and not allow them to escape. Certainly someone during the building stage would’ve had the brains to think up a secondary, emergency route to use should that situation occur, which makes the scene where they all suffocate seem quite laughable.

Having the robots all malfunction due to some ‘contagious-like disease’ that runs rampant amongst them didn’t really register with me either. To me it’s an overblown concept that would’ve worked better had it just been the gunslinger robot that goes crazy and relentlessly chases the two. He may even kill others who do try to stop him, which I think would’ve heightened the menacing quality of the Brynner character, which is already strong, even more.

Overall though it’s still a great movie with a terrific performance by Brynner as well as Benjamin playing a sort-of everyman who seems wimpy at first, but eventually learns to survive by using his brains over brawn.

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My Rating: 8 out of 10

Released: November 21, 1973

Runtime: 1Hour 28Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Michael Crichton

Studio: MGM

Available: DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube

On the Air Live with Captain Midnight (1979)

on the air live with captain midnight

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 2 out of 10

4-Word Review: A renegade radio station.

When high school teen Ziggy (Tracy Sebastian) finds himself fired from a radio station he decides to get revenge by setting up his van with equipment that will allow him to broadcast his own pirate radio station from it. To his surprise it becomes a hit especially from the area teens who even pay him to play their favorite songs. Things seem to be going great until the FCC catches on and they send out a very determined agent (John Ireland) to catch him.

This film, which isn’t too great to begin with, might’ve had a shot had it not starred such a pathetic actor in the lead. This guy, who is the son of the husband and wife team that directed this and therefore the only reason anyone in their right mind would’ve given him the part, is just downright terrible. A dead, rotting corpse would’ve had more charisma than this guy and he conveys his lines like he is reading them directly off a cue card, which really gets annoying. Having his presence take up almost the entire runtime when he isn’t even deserving of a brief walk-on bit is what categorically kills this film and makes it almost a wretched experience to sit through at all.

The idea that this bland kid would somehow create such a fervent teen following is equally ludicrous. He does nothing creative, or interesting when he is on-the-air and basically just introduces songs with his monotone voice that wouldn’t excite anyone, so seeing these kids go wild over him and even tear off his clothes when he parachutes out of a plane and then lands on the ground is just plain dumb and unintentionally funny in a bad way.

Barry Greenberg, who plays his chubby friend Gargen, is a little bit better, but the way he stutters every time he gets nervous is hooky. Mia Kovacs plays Spunky who is Ziggy’s girlfriend and was the only child of legendary comedian Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams. This was her one-and-only film appearance as she ended up dying tragically in a car accident a few years later that was eerily similar to the one that killed her father.

The veteran performers help a bit. Although Ireland, whose career plummeted badly in his later years to the point that he was forced to place a full-page ad in Variety that literally begged agents/producers to hire him, does not play up his antagonistic part enough. However, Dena Dietrich, as Ziggy’s mother, is a delight and the best thing about this otherwise limp movie.

Ferd and Beverly Sebastian had made a few drive-in flicks before this one including the cult-hit ‘Gator Bait, which starred Claudia Jennings and that is the type of genre they should’ve stayed in as anything else was clearly out-of-their-league and the ultimate result here is pretty flat.

My Rating: 2 out of 10

Released: November 24, 1979

Runtime: 1Hour 25Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Ferd and Beverly Sebastian

Studio: Sebastian International Pictures

Available: VHS

Wanda (1970)

wanda 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 8 out of 10

4-Word Review:  How the poor survive.

There is a scene near the beginning that shows our main character played by Barbara Loden from a distance walking through mounds of coal to get to her father so that she can ask him for some money. The shot stays on her for what seems like several minutes with the camera slowly panning forward as she progresses. Some may say this is boring or the work of an amateur that doesn’t know when to cut. Yet this shot becomes the essence to the plight of the character and what this film is all about. In life she is constantly moving unable to fully grasp the true dissolution of her existence she searches for something, anything while becoming a victim to life’s cruel riddle that has no answer.

This may be one of the saddest movies you will ever see because Wanda’s condition is not unique and makes up more of what the working poor go through than we care to think. It helps clarify the desperation that people in these circumstances feel while also explaining why they get into bad situations and at times make such misguided choices.

Here drifter Wanda meets up with a two-bit crook named Norman Dennis (Michael Higgins). The two create an odd relationship, which proves to be beneficial for both. She brings out his long dormant tenderness, while he, in one truly touching moment, actually gives her some confidence. Of course it doesn’t last, but it is an inspiring scene and shows that even the most pathetic of people in the bleakest of situations can still transcend themselves.

This is a powerful film with a stark, home movie-like look that is actually an asset. No stylized interpretations here. The dingy bars, restaurants, homes, hotels, and factories are all very real and the viewer feels as trapped in the grayness as the characters in a film that is far more emotionally taxing than one might initially expect.

My Rating: 8 out of 10

Released: September 2, 1970

Runtime: 1Hour 42Minutes

Rated GP

Director: Barbara Loden

Studio: Bardene International

Available: DVD

My Best Friend is a Vampire (1988)

my best friend is a vampire

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: Teen turns into vampire.

Jeremy (Robert Sean Leonard) is just your average teen attending high school in Houston while also working as a grocery delivery boy part-time. On one of his deliveries he meets a mysterious, but beautiful woman named Nora (Cecillia Peck) who bites him on his neck, which slowly turns him into a vampire over the course of several days. It also causes a vampire instructor named Modoc (Rene Auberjonois) to appear who helps mentor him on what life as a vampire is like while also giving him a vampire instruction manual to read. Once the initial shock is over Jeremy begins to enjoy the change, but still must avoid a couple of overzealous vampire hunters (David Warner, Paul Willson) who are out to pierce his heart with a wooden stake.

The film starts out amusingly enough and has a nice balance between being funny and still maintaining an interesting plot. It even manages to throw in a few original spins to the genre, so it doesn’t come off as just another mindless vampire movie retread, at least initially. Leonard is engaging in the lead and the dialogue between the teenagers is more realistic than in most other high school flicks from the ‘80’s.

Unfortunately the film starts to go south when, after faced with all these changes, Jeremy still decides to ask a geeky looking girl named Darla (Cheryl Pollak) out on a date, but I would’ve thought with all the stresses he was going through that starting a relationship would be the last thing on his mind. The romantic angle is boring and adds nothing to the mix. Pollak is a weak actress and her character’s presence could’ve easily been cut out altogether.

The finale is a real letdown and comes off like a typically uninspired farce where the writers have run out of creative ideas and thus try to wrap things up with a benign car chase and frantic running around by the characters. The story is full of logic loopholes and the promising elements at the start ultimately devolve into inane silliness by the end.

I’ll give director Jimmy Huston credit for managing to raise himself up from his humble beginnings, which was as a director to an Earl Owensby produced movie, which is about as low as one can go, but this film becomes just another tired casualty in a long line of films hoping to be the next vampire cult classic, but not making the cut.

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: May 6, 1988

Runtime: 1Hour 29Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Jimmy Huston

Studio: Kings Road Entertainment

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video

Portnoy’s Complaint (1972)

portnoys complaint 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 4 out of 10

4-Word Review: Jewish man digs prostitute.

Alexander Portnoy (Richard Benjamin) is a man who no longer believes in a God or any of the other conventional ways of life taught to him by his old-fashioned Jewish parents (Jack Somack, Lee Grant). He enjoys the ‘art’ of masturbation and will routinely find excuses to go do it when his parents aren’t looking. As he grows older he finds that his sexual appetite broadens in a way that regular women won’t be able to fulfill. Then he meets Mary Jane (Karen Black). She’s a prostitute nicknamed ‘The Monkey’ due to all the wild positions that she can get her body into during sex. The two enjoy a lot of kinky times, but then she ends up falling in love with him and wanting to get married, but Portnoy resists as he considers her to be intellectually inferior and fears she’ll become an embarrassment to him with his other friends.

Philip Roth’s landmark and controversial novel comes to the big screen with only lukewarm results although it does start out funny. I laughed-out-loud at the scene where Portnoy pretends to have a bout of diarrhea just so he can sneak into the bathroom to get-off and his parents misinterpret his moans of ecstasy as being that of gaseous agony. The dream segment where Portnoy finds that his penis has fallen off and onto the kitchen floor while his parents come into to inspect it is pretty good as is the bit where Jeannie Berlin tries to give Portnoy a hand-job.

Unfortunately the film shifts too much in tone. It starts out as this quirky, dark-humored, sex-laden comedy only to end up being a brooding drama. The novel was written as a continuous monologue spoken by Portnoy while talking to his therapist, which doesn’t effectively come off here. We see a few scenes in his therapist’s office, but they are brief and I didn’t like the fact that his therapist never speaks a word of dialogue, which seemed weird and unnatural.

Screenwriter Ernest Lehman, in his one and only foray behind the camera, implements too much of a slow pace to the proceedings. Many scenes go on far longer than they should and at certain points the camera gets nailed to the ground giving it a static presence. He also hired Michel Legrand to do the film score, which is beautiful and majestic, but the lush tones are better suited for a romantic flick, which this definitely isn’t.

Karen Black gives an outstanding performance as ‘The Monkey’, but her character is too one-dimensionally dumb almost to the point that she seems mentally handicapped, which I don’t think was the intention. Either way it is never funny, touching, or even real while bordering into the stereotype that all prostitutes ‘must be really stupid’.

One of the most annoying elements of the film is that it keeps cutting back to a matted image of Black jumping from a skyscraper and towards the viewer while she screams. The image looks very hooky while giving the film a real amateurish feel. I also didn’t like how at the very end we spot Black walking amongst a crowd of people from a bird’s eye perspective. The supposed demise of the character was meant to be murky as she threatens to jump from a building and Portnoy leaves her without ever knowing if she ended up doing it or not, which then causes him a major source of guilt afterwards. By having her suddenly appear at the very end ruins the mystery and brings up far more questions than answers.

Roth’s novel was very much ahead-of-its-time and deserved a film that could match it, but Lehman’s staid approach doesn’t do it justice.

My Rating: 4 out of 10

Released: June 19, 1972

Runtime: 1Hour 41Minutes

Rated R

Director: Ernest Lehman

Studio: Warner Brothers

Available: DVD (Warner Archive), YouTube

Angel, Angel, Down We Go (1969)

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By Richard Winters

My Rating: 4 out of 10

4-Word Review: Singer manipulates rich family.

Tara (Holly Near) is an overweight teen who feels like a social outcast. Her family is rich, but empty on love. Her mother (Jennifer Jones) is a former star of stag films and boozes it up on the bottle, but still manages to look quite attractive, even better than her daughter, which she constantly reminds her of. Her father (Charles Aidman) is a closet homosexual who routinely brings in male lovers for entertainment. When a rock group with a dashing lead singer (Jordan Christopher) arrives at her sprawling family home to help host a party Tara doesn’t hesitate to fall into his open arms. At first he seems to be the answer to her loneliness, but after a while she realizes he has a plan of his own as he not only seduces the mother, but her father as well before manipulating his way into the family fortune.

The main reason to watch this film, if not the only one, is for the performance of Jones in this her second-to-last cinematic appearance. She gives an incredibly strong, multi-faceted portrayal of a middle-aged woman on the emotional edge who realizes she’s being used, but allows it to happen simply so she can still feel desirable. Her presence lifts the sleazy material to watchable heights and comes just a year after she herself tried to commit suicide after hearing of the death of a close friend in real-life.

Near, who has later become a well-known folk singer, gives an effectively sensitive portrayal of a troubled teen, which allows her to be the one character that the viewer has any sympathy for. The rest of the cast though, which includes Roddy McDowall and Lou Rawls as Christopher’s band mates, are essentially wasted although you will get a full view of McDowall’s bare bottom for those few who are interested.

The garishly colorful collages done by Shirley Kaplan are visually alluring, but writer/director Robert Thom goes back to them too often. The aerial skydiving footage is excellent, even breathtaking, but the script as a whole, despite its lurid and even groundbreaking subject matter, falls flat. A lot of the reason for this is the fact that it’s poorly paced with too much time given to Christopher who sings a total of five songs, which does nothing but slow the proceedings down to a screeching halt. The ending is vague and aloof, which only helps to cements this as a misfire and good only as a curio.

The film did quite poorly upon its initial release, so it was reissued under another a title called Cult of the Damned in hopes that it could cash in on the hysteria of the Manson murders that had occurred around the same time, even though the story doesn’t have anything to do with a religious cult and the movie still fared no better at the box office.

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Alternate Title: Cult of the Damned

My Rating: 4 out of 10

Released: August 19, 1969

Runtime: 1Hour 29Minutes

Rated R

Director: Robert Thom

Studio: American International Pictures

Available: DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video

The Longshot (1986)


By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: Betting on a horse.

Four middle-aged losers (Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Ted Wass, Jack  Weston) who’ve spent years attending the racetrack and betting on horses, but never making any money off of it, finally get a tip from an insider. Santiago (Jorge Cervera Jr.) tells them to place a bet on a horse with a longshot of winning because he will feed the animal a certain drug, which will make him run faster. Since the four do not have any funds of their own they decide to borrow the money from a local gangster (George DiCenzo) who gives them $10,000, but with heavy interest added. The men are convinced that they will be able to easily pay it back, but then just as the bet is placed they find out that it’s been a set-up, which sends the four into a panic.

The screenplay was written by Conway who has been an avid horse racing fan for years and even considered becoming a jockey before entering into acting. Like with his other films that he also scripted it is poorly paced with long stretches where nothing much happens. Very little of the runtime is spent on the actual plot and the majority of the film instead deals with meandering conversations and wacky/sketch-like comedy that has nothing at all to do with the main story.

Some of it is mildly amusing like with different euphemisms the men use to describe the male sex organ, but overall it’s pretty desperate. Some of it is too dumb to be believable: for instance what sort of person in their right mind, even a complete idiot, would light a grill inside a parked car with the windows up and not expect problems? The scene dealing with Conway’s rendezvous with the Stella Stevens’ character inside her hotel room is needlessly prolonged and pointless and the segment where Korman eats his beef stew while making loud slurping noises is gross sounding and should’ve been cut out completely.

The one thing that I found interesting is the fact that this film is a bit edgier than most of Conway’s other ones. During the ‘70s he was locked into perpetually G-rated material, but here it gets more PG-13 with one character even using the F-word and Conway close to using it himself a couple of times. He also plays more of a normal person instead of the vapid, dopey one that he usually does. Instead Ted Wass handles the duties of the numskull and in many ways is much funnier with it.

The supporting cast is the only thing that saves this otherwise limp excursion. Anne Meara is great as Conway’s sarcastic wife and Jack Weston becomes a scene stealer as his pal. Other familiar faces pop-up in minor bits including Frank Bonner as a real estate agent, Susan Tolsky as a would-be topless waitress, Jonathan Winters as a pick-up truck driver and Eddie Deezen as a carhop. Edie McClurg is seen briefly as Korman’s wife and Paul Bartel, who has the dubious honors of directing this flick, can be spotted as a racing spectator during the opening credits.

Conway fans will most likely be more forgiving, but others beware. If you do watch it you’ll be treated to an opening rap duet between Conway and Ice-T, yes you read that right, and a closing song done by Irene Cara.

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: January 17, 1986

Runtime: 1Hour 29Minutes

Rated PG-13

Director: Paul Bartel

Studio: Orion Pictures

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video

The Tenant (1976)

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By Richard Winters

My Rating: 10 out of 10

4-Word Review: He loses his identity.

This intriguingly odd horror film may well be Roman Polanski’s best work and even better than Rosemary’s Baby as it manages to be scary in a unique way while also bringing to light many of the subtle ugliness of everyday life. Here Polanski plays a tenant who moves into an apartment were all the residents, and even the landlord (Melvyn Douglas), act slightly peculiar. The woman who lived in the apartment before him killed herself by jumping out the window and as he continues to live there he starts to feel a connection towards her while also getting the idea that somehow the other residents are in a conspiracy against him.

The film’s brilliance comes from the fact that the horror and tension is not based on any of the usual devices.  No ghosts, monsters, or psychos here. Instead the viewer gets sucked into the harsh realities of the modern urban world. The feelings of isolation, people who are cold and impersonal and apartments that are bleak and small as well as showing how these urban jungles swallow up our identities until we’re just another face-in-the- crowd.

This amazingly deep and penetrating study gets astutely underplayed with no action and little or any true scares. The tension comes through its psychological implications and the paranoia that only the Polanski character feels. Are these people really out to get him, or is it all just in his head? There are no definite answers, but theme and ideas are quite real. It’s a sort of twisted version of Rear Window and extension of Repulsion that may require a second viewing in order to completely appreciate.

Polanski scores on all levels as his performance is interesting and his ability as a director to make you feel the smallness and bleakness of the character’s apartment is also amazing. You are given a very real sense of the room’s dimensions without any inclination that it was done on a stage, or with the presence of a film crew. The eerie segments are subtle but successful with imagery that is both strange and lasting.

My Rating: 10 out of 10

Released: May 26, 1976

Runtime: 2Hours 5Minutes

Rated R

Director: Roman Polanski

Studio: Paramount

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube