Posts Tagged ‘William Friedkin’

The Guardian (1990)

Friday, October 13th, 2023

William Friedkin often said that he didn’t think of THE EXORCIST as a horror movie. It was a drama “based on a real case.” If that claim grew out of any kind of anti-genre snobbery it must’ve melted away by 1990 when the director gave us THE GUARDIAN. It also has magic and monsters, but it’s definitely not based on a real case. It’s just a straight up horror movie in the ‘90s mold – a story about grown ups trying to be grown ups but running into some gore, some weirdness, some wild trashiness.

Friedkin’s way of talking it up was calling it “a contemporary Grimm’s fairy tale,” and that’s pretty accurate. It’s the ‘90s but there’s a druid wood nymph that carries babies off into the forest. And there’s wolves and shit. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Exorcist

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023

William Friedkin’s THE EXORCIST. Pretty good. Pretty popular. Pazuzu possesses the young lady, she behaves inappropriately according to most forms of etiquette, the two priest guys of different generations say the magic words and die, hooray for everyone. Please note that it’s not called “THE EXORCISTS,” there is only one exorcist of record, so either Father Merrin or Father Karras is getting the shaft in that title. Whichever one you like least. Fuck that guy. Who does he think he’s fooling, trying to be The Exorcist by sacrificing his life for a little girl? Go away, loser, there’s no room for you in this title.

There’s a persistent myth that when she pukes up green stuff it looks like split pea soup. In fact it looks like Nickelodeon slime. If you read the book it’s very clear about that. Anyway – good movie.

There are a handful of beloved classics that are part of what I consider “the modern era” of horror and yet were made before I, a pretty old guy, was born. Of those I’m more attached to PSYCHO, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, but THE EXORCIST is a good one too. It’s been around long enough and been considered important enough that arguably one or two people have said one or two things about it, and there might not be much room for new points to be made. But I’m not looking to make a definitive review here. I’m just trying to make one a little less dumb than the first time I wrote about it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Stalking Danger (aka C.A.T. Squad)

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

tn_stalkingdangerSTALKING DANGER is the video title for C.A.T. SQUAD, a 1986 TV movie directed by William Friedkin. You can tell it’s TV by the cheap video titles, the 4:3 composition (even though it’s shot by Wes Anderson’s Academy Award nominated cinematographer, Robert Yeoman) and the “guest starring” in the credits, but otherwise it’s very cinematic. It even has a blood-pumping score by Ennio Morricone.

This is another secret agent counter-terror thing, with badass Doc Burkholder (the Michael Douglas-esque Joe Cortese)  appointed to put together his own team to catch an assassin called Carlos (Eddie Velez, THE HUNTED, BLACK DAWN). It’s not supposed to be Carlos the Jackal, by the way,  just standard, human Carlos I believe.

We know who the guy is because we watch him come in disguised as a priest, see how he sets up in a tower, crosses himself after he snipes the guy, gets away. And possibly we realize that the reason he looks so familiar is because he played “Dishpan” Frankie Santana, the best special effects man in Hollywood who joined the A-Team in the last season. But if not we are excited to learn that from IMDb.

Then we switch to Doc going around recruiting each member of his group (always a favorite part of this type of story), following leads, doing surveillance, poring over the photos, comparing everything to what else they know. ZERO DARK THIRTY shit. Eventually they catch on that it’s this guy and they go look for him. They follow him on the street, he tries to lose them down alleys, goes through different apartments and out the back door, that kind of stuff. (read the rest of this shit…)


Thursday, December 27th, 2007

If you’re a never-give-up Rocky Balboa type of dude, a real achiever, or if you have to carry heavy objects alot as part of a job or strongman competition, then you know this feeling: your body is exhausted, bruised, broken, covered in sweat, maybe some blood, your task seems impossible, but you’re too stubborn to give up. You keep going until you’re done, powered by the sheer force of will. That’s what the second half of SORCERER is about. Four guys, two trucks, a bunch of nitroglycerin, and miles of untamed South American jungle. They gotta drive the nitro without blowing up, because it’s needed to put out an oil fire, ON DEADLY GROUND style. The job is ridiculously dangerous so it pays well, and they’re doing it for the pay day. They’re all fugitives hiding out here for a wide selection of crimes and the money they’ll get represents a chance to start over somewhere nicer. (The first half sets all this up.)

So there they are, in a couple of fucked up trucks, rolling over craggy roads, along the edges of cliffs, through swamps and across the shakiest bridges you’ve ever seen. And who better to lead the charge than Roy Scheider*? I think he’s the right man for the job, and if you disagree I think you will change your mind pretty quick when you watch the movie. In one harrowing scene they come to a broken rope bridge in the middle of a storm. It seems logical to give up at this point, but Roy refuses. He has his partner crawl across the bridge guiding him inch by inch all the way across. It’s a terrifying ordeal that seems to take forever and then the second they’re safely across the movie cuts to the other truck getting to the bridge and having to do the same damn thing. No time to catch your breath. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Hunted (2003)

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

Not to be confused with THE HUNTED (starring Christopher Lambert) or BENJI THE HUNTED (starring Benji)

Early in William Friedkin’s THE HUNTED we are introduced to its hero, L.T. Bonham (Steven Seagal), an expert in tracking, knife fighting and wilderness survival who used to train special ops soldiers in these skills. As he learned that the guys he was training were being sent to assassinate people for purely political purposes he grew disillusioned and quit. So now he’s in the BC wilderness where we see him track an injured wolf through the snowy woods, get the trap off of his paw, chew up a root and rub it on the wound as a homeopathic healing agent. Then he tracks the responsible poacher down at a tavern, bangs his head against a table and tells him never to do it again.

Oh wait, did I say Steven Seagal? Actually L.T. Bonham is played by Tommy Lee Jones. I was surprised how much of this movie reminded me of Seagal, though. The story is about a special ops badass (Seagal– er, I mean Benicio Del Toro) who comes back from Kosovo totally wacked out and kills some guys, and Tommy Lee Jones (UNDER SIEGE) is the guy who trained him so he has to help catch him. So I thought it was gonna be like FIRST BLOOD meets THE FUGITIVE. Not Steven Seagal meets Steven Seagal. (read the rest of this shit…)

To Live and Die in L.A.

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

I always knew the title to this one, because of that song by Wang Chung. But I never knew what exactly it was about. Turns out it’s loosely based on a novel by this guy Gerald Petievich. He was in the Secret Service, and the book was inspired by some of his experiences. So it’s supposed to be about the weirdness of that job, where one day you’re protecting the president of the United States and the next day you’re working for the treasury department so you’re just chasing some dude with counterfeit twenties.

This movie has the thumbprints of great filmatism smeared all over it. It has the kind of opening I’m a sucker for, the kind that throws you in the middle of something, sets the tone, then goes into the opening credits. Like a preamble or an overture. The main character Richard Chance (William Petersen) is on security detail for a Reagan speech (you just hear Reagan’s voice off screen, they don’t have Martin Sheen or anybody playing him). The guys are just kind of killing time when he notices something odd that leads him to the roof, where he finds an Islamic suicide bomber. (oh, shit.) He’s not able to talk him down but his partner climbs up the side of the roof and yanks the guy by the leg so that he explodes in mid-air, like a big balloon full of blood and chunks of meat. Then the two sit on the edge of the building to think about what has just happened. Chance says, “Let’s go get drunk and play cards” and it cuts into a stylish opening montage showing various images from the movie and that represent L.A. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Reviewing God Named Vern looks at the EXORCIST: The Version You’ve Never Seen Before!!!

Saturday, September 23rd, 2000

Hey folks, Harry here with a look at THE EXORCIST: THE VERSION YOU’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE that has opened up in over 600 screens across the country…. Now, some of you good folks are concerned that it will never play in your little neck of the woods… Well, this rerelease is being handled in a ‘platform’ manner. What this means is this… between now and the middle of October, you will see THE EXORCIST open on more and more screens nationwide… the word has it, that it’ll be on around 2000 screens when all is said and done. Meanwhile, the reports I’m getting from this release thus far is that all nighttime screenings in San Diego have already sold out (according to ‘surfbrat’) I just got back in Austin from the World Premiere of this version… Which is actually a bit different than the test marketed film that played in Austin. But more on that later… Here’s Vern… now be really afraid… he’s scary…


Dear Harry and friends. Last night I went to a promotional screening of the big movie for this coming weekend. Now it is not often that ol’ Vern is allowed to see a picture before its official release, so I decided to throw you boys a review and see if it sticks. I hope you are willing and able to share it with all your fine readers.

Now, alot of motherfuckers are familiar with the 1973 William Friedkin directed Catholicsploitation picture known as THE EXORCIST. But are you familiar with THE EXORCIST: THE VERSION YOU’VE NEVER SEEN? (read the rest of this shit…)