A few of the other guys here and at Horror Squad have championed the enigmatic thriller Triangle. It's even been a movie club pick recently (if you love the film or hate it, please discuss here). I finally watched it the other night and was taken with filmmaker Christopher Smith's homage-happy style. Many horror geeks might relish in the way Triangle visually quotes from films like The Shining and Friday the 13th Part II, among others. On the other hand, I was more interested in finding out what influences I didn't pick up on, and that's how I was introduced to the 1945 Ealing Studios film Dead of Night (co-starring Sir Michael Redgrave, father of Lynn), which Smith acknowledges as a major inspiration for his film's plot. (And yes, of course, I was also now more eager to check out Timecrimes, despite it's indirect, coincidental connection to Triangle).

Either you go into a movie like Triangle or Inglourious Basterds or Hot Fuzz with full (or fairly good) familiarity with their respective genre's history and delight in the ability to recognize all the references and homage (just try to claim you're so well-versed in all of cinema; go on, just try it), or you come out of them with an interest in going backwards through film history and widening your knowledge and tastes. Maybe because I'll always feel a relative ignorance to the entirety of cinema or maybe because my memory sucks, I'm not much good at the forward game of movie homage appreciation. But I love to play the backwards game of discovering the classics by way of the currents.
And that's how directors like Quentin Tarantino and Edgar Wright will often be celebrated, as gateways to the old stuff. Tarantino even now owns a movie theater for sharing his favorite films. When Hot Fuzz came out, Wright toured around the country screening films that inspired him (I saw Electra Glide in Blue for the first time at one of these events). Yet Smith seems to be derided more for being a "quoter," and there are people who think Tarantino relies too much on homage, as well. But just as I got into much of my favorite music by way of lesser modern bands and artists, I prefer the reverse method for film acquaintance, too. And I guess I'll never call a filmmaker out for being too derivative or a rip-off as long as I can become familiar with an otherwise great unknown-to-me movie like Dead of Night. And hey, if you've never seen it either, queue it up, because it's a trip.
categories Features, Cinematical