Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The People Who Own The Dark

(Leon Klimovsky, 1976)
Things start out terse, with tight little scenes of uncertain continuity drawing us in up to a certain point at which you start to wonder what exactly is going on. Then suddenly we're at the opening remarks of a bourgeois orgy, which, just as suddenly, is rudely interrupted by a nuclear war. At this point the orgy party dubiously decrees that nothing will be radioactive for a couple days so they should go out and loot provisions now. Then they discover that the blast has turned everyone into insane and murderous blind people, all of whom seem to have managed to track down canes and/or sunglasses in their infirmity. And on it goes from there: the hostile attitude toward logic and motivation creates an atmosphere of chaotic incoherence that is pretty fascinating to behold. The producers hew to the formula, "when all else fails, rip off Romero" - various random echoes of Night of the Living Dead give way to a truly tasteless Crazies homage at the climax. The latter also indicates that some kind of Big Statement was intended - anti-nuclear, anti-fascist, anti-something. But while the un-expurgated European version may possibly have been less alienating, there's no way it was more profound. Accidental surrealism, anyone? In the Judith O'Dea trauma victim role there's this naked fat guy running around on all fours, and Paul Naschy's trigger-happy louse comes as close as anyone to establishing a character.

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