Moviedrome Mondays: The Fly (1986) and Society (1989)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry is a double-bill consisting of two films within the body horror subgenre.

The Fly (1986)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to controversial Canadian master filmmaker David Cronenberg’s 1986 genuine sci-fi/horror classic The Fly. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was June 22, 1997 (read here). I agree with everything that Cousins has stated about this one. Along with 1982’s The Thing, director David Cronenberg’s 1986 version of The Fly ranks as one of the greatest cinematic remakes of the 1980’s. Whereas Kurt Neumann’s 1958 original was entertaining, Cronenberg’s version easily surpasses the earlier film in every single area. As usual, Cronenberg takes the script (which he co-wrote with Charles Edward Pogue) and uses it to typically explore all sorts of metaphors that connects with him on a personal level – whether it be within or out of the body horror genre. Last, but not least, we get a magnificent performance from Jeff Goldblum and Chris Walas jaw-dropping Oscar-winning make-up effects. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite David Cronenberg films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to The Fly

Here is another youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to The Fly

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Society (1989)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to director Brian Yuzna’s 1989 cult body-horror satire Society. Readers can also read Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was June 22, 1997 (read here). Once again, I am in complete agreement with Cousins on this one. On the surface and at it’s center, Society is a delightfully gory treat doubling as a biting social commentary on the upper class.

Here is a youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins intro to Society

Here is another youtube video link to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins intro to Society

Here is a youtube video link to British film critic Mark Kermode’s commentary on Society as his BFI Player choice of the week

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Westworld (1973) and Demon Seed (1977) (Mark Cousins Intro)

This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry is a double bill consisting of two science-fiction films that center on machines either turning against humans (the first feature) or becoming obsessed with them (the second feature).

Westworld (1973)

Since I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to director/novelist Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi thriller hit Westworld, readers will have to rely on Cousins intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was June 15, 1997 (read here). I wholeheartedly agree with Cousins praise for this film. Certain big fans of Jurassic Park (whether it be the film, book or both) will imply that this serves as it’s dress rehearsal, but I would personally rank Westworld higher than filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s 1993 adaptation of the former, despite the fact that both of them are every bit equal in quality.

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Also, here is a youtube video link to screenwriter Ed Neumeier’s Trailers from Hell commentary for it

Also, here is a youtube video link to British film critic Mark Kermode talking about Jurassic Park and Westworld

Demon Seed (1977)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins introduction to late Scottish cult filmmaker Donald Cammell’s 1977 science-fiction-horror gem Demon Seed. Readers can also read Cousins intro here. The episode’s original airdate was June 15, 1997 (read here). Not much to add except that I once again, totally agree with Cousins take on this film. On the surface, Demon Seed looks like little more than a studio assignment for the unconventional Cammell, but in the center, it looks like anything but. Not unlike the rest of his work (as unfortunately small as it is), Cammell’s trademark themes and visual style is what shapes the whole of Demon Seed. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Donald Cammell films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Demon Seed

Here is another youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Demon Seed

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Scarface (1983) (Mark Cousins intro)

When Moviedrome began it’s eighth season during the summer of 1997, Edinburgh-based Irish film writer-turned-later documentarian on the subject Mark Cousins became the new presenter. For my UK readers, he is perhaps best known for his celebrated 2011 documentary The Story of Film: An Odyssey. Sure, Cousins may not measure up to Cox, but then again, who can? Nevertheless, I personally feel that he is just as interesting in his own way. As with Cox, I agree with Cousins as much as I disagree with him.

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Mark Cousins intro to director Brian De Palma’s 1983 celebrated cult gangster epic Scarface. Readers can also read Cousins intro here. The episode’s original airdate was June 8, 1997 (read here). If anything else, De Palma’s 1983 update of Howard Hawks 1932 classic is one that I admire more than I adore. Make no mistake, De Palma’s version is a very good film, but I would not call it quintessential De Palma (i.e. Dressed to Kill and Blow Out serve as just two of many perfect examples). I do agree with all of the high points that Cousins places on the film of course. In form and content, it is flawless (especially Al Pacino’s iconic Tony Montana), but in the end, it feels more like a studio assignment for De Palma than anything else, despite directing the hell out of it. Personally, I think Michael Cimino would have been a more worthy candidate for this job regarding the film’s central theme of excess and given his reputation at the time – his labor of love Heaven’s Gate (a misunderstood masterpiece) reportedly bought him comparisons to Austrian-American filmmaker Erich von Stroheim. In other words, both men were cinematic masters of excess. Unlike von Stroheim and Cimino, De Palma does not really strike me as that – yes, his filmmaking style is operatic, but in the end, you could never label him as a true man of excess. Anyway, as a remake, De Palma’s Scarface is close to greatness, but no cigar. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Brian De Palma films (read here).

P.S. though Cousins correctly labels John A. Alonzo as the cinematographer for this film, Chinatown and Internal Affairs, he incorrectly credits him for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which was photographed by the late great Vilmos Zsigmond.

Here is a youtube video link to Mark Cousins Moviedrome intro to Scarface

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

While this is far from my last Moviedrome Monday entry, this week’s entry serves as Alex Cox’s final appearance on Moviedrome as host. 3 years later, Moviedrome would be rebooted with Mark Cousins taking over hosting duties from 1997 to 2000.

Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to legendary two-fisted director Robert Aldrich’s 1955 cult film noir classic Kiss Me Deadly. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was September 12, 1994 (read here). Considering how influential this film was on his own Repo Man, Kiss Me Deadly serves as the perfect film for Cox to end his Moviedrome years on. Since it is hard for me to do justice to this film noir gem, click here to read my review of the film from three years earlier. If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Robert Aldrich films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to Kiss Me Deadly

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s commentary on Kiss Me Deadly, but I can’t remember If this was the special feature from the US Blu-Ray/DVD Criterion edition or not.

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Also, here is a youtube video link to screenwriter Josh Olson’s Trailers from Hell commentary on it

Also, here is a youtube video link to TCM (Turner Classic Movies) Eddie Muller’s intro and outro to it as part of his Noir Alley lineup from last year.