Archive for the ‘Kurt Russell’ Tag

The Thing (1982) 31 Days of Horror: Terror-Thon at the Somerville Theatre   Leave a comment

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The men at a remote arctic outpost have a stranger in their midst. Based on John W. Campbell’s 1938 novella Who Goes There?, The Thing shows how this stranger affects the men and how they deal with it. The simple plot works because of its cast of talented character actors and skillful direction by John Carpenter. Starring Kurt Russell, Keith David, Wilford Brimley, Richard Masur, David Clennon, Richard Dysart among others, the film has a fast pace and crackling dialogue thanks to screenwriter Bill Lancaster and we get to know each man in only a few lines. The set-up reminds me of Alien with Antarctica standing in for the Nostromo.

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Howling winds and music by Ennio Morricone add to the eerie atmosphere and the special effects rule. Rob Bottin and his crew made most of the creatures with Stan Winston doing some fantastic work on the dog. The film is unpredictable and scary. You really get a sense of paranoia. My heart was racing for two hours and I’d seen it before. This is definitely one of those films in which you want to yell, “Look behind you!” The overall quality of the acting, writing, and effects make this one of the best horror films of the 1980s. I’m glad I got to see this on film in the theatre.

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Trivia: Kurt Russell plays computer chess with the lone female (voice only) in the cast. She is actress Adrienne Barbeau, director John Carpenter’s wife at the time.

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Death Proof (2007)   Leave a comment

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  In Death Proof, Tarantino pays homage to exploitation films, feminist revenge flicks, 70s muscle car films, and his own works. Kurt Russell’s likable/sickening character ties two vignettes together. Each story, led by a group of strong, beautiful women starts, as many horror films do by introducing us to these women and watching them interact during a short span of time. Their dialogue, while filled with different subject matter, reminds me of the conversations in Reservoir Dogs and True Romance. Even the cadence sounds familiar. This is not a bad thing, mind you. RD and TR are gems and the dialogue in those films stands as some of the best of this era. That being said, the dialogue does not rise to the level of a Reservoir Dogs or certainly not a True Romance mostly because of the subject matter. I guess Tarantino thinks the only thing women talk about when they’re together is men and sex. If the characters had a Royale with Cheese-like conversation in Death Proof, I’d have been thrilled. As usual, QT fills the film with actors you like to see and fun cameos and there’s no shortage of lovely ladies. Of course, Tarantino makes an appearance as well. The film lasts too long though. Self-indulgent describes QT in general and it certainly applies here. One last comment: enough with the feet already.

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