Thirst, directed by Park Chan-Wook, 2009

After bowing in limited release in late July, Park Chan-Wook's latest has finally made it to my neck of the woods, and although I've already reviewed it elsewhere, let me put a bit more plainly how I felt about the acclaimed director's take on the vampire genre.

At the very least, it's interesting, but more often than not, it's little more. When Park starts out concerned about how our priest protagonist (Kang-ho Song, very good at internalizing his guilt) will keep his newfound blood-sucking tendencies in check, it's a nimble and unpredictable little morality play. When Kang-ho re-unites with a childhood friend, it's a passionate and peculiar little romance. But beyond that, the plotting takes a turn towards self-destructive junkie-love turf and is never quite as engaging for it.

Thoughout, Chung-hoon Chung's cinematography proves lovely, and Park doesn't shy away from especially juicy sound work when the time comes for it, but for all the technical prowess on display, Thirst isn't as dramatically complete an outing for Park as his Vengeance Trilogy, JSA: Joint Security Area or I'm a Cyborg.... For running 2 hours and 15 minutes, it doesn't drag so much as ramble, and while it's bound to hold the interest of those already interested, I struggle to think that it's ultimately much more than the sum of its (body) parts. strong>Q: The Winged Serpent, directed by Larry Cohen, 1982

There's a dragon-like Aztec god flying around Manhattan, snatching up sunbathers and window washers alike, and David Carradine could care less. He's skeptical to be sure, but his NYC detective really just wants to team up with his partner (Richard effin' Roundtree) to find a small-time crook (Michael Moriarity, a relentless skeeze) who's stumbled across the beast's lair and won't give up its location until the Big Apple pays up. Writer-director Larry Cohen's cheeky tone kicks in from the start and makes the film's dated effects and the characters' muted reactions part of its charm more than anything.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, directed by Joe Chappelle, 1995

Leading up to the release of Rob Zombie's sequel to his re-imagining, I decided to dutifully catch up on all those original Halloween sequels that I never really grew up on, just as I had with Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street earlier this year. Alas, I didn't finish up by my unofficial deadline, so I'm still making my way through the last few in the franchise. This time around, a very young Paul Rudd helps protect the baby of the niece of Michael Myers when he (wait for it) returns to Haddonfield on another Halloween night. The seams of a troubled production and the final performance by the late Donald Pleasance result in an extra-choppy narrative and one seriously abrupt ending, but in spite of his success with comedies of late, Rudd may have never been funnier than when trying to explain the supernatural Druid ritual origins of Myers with a straight face.

Halloween: H20 is sitting pretty in a nearby red envelope as we speak...
categories Horror