John Otteni

Shocktober: Amer

Amer (2009)

This might be the most in the dark I’ve ever been going into a Shocktober pick. Though there were two big reasons I wanted to watch this movie. 1) This was included in “Fangoria’s 300 Best Horror Movies” list back in 2010. A list I’m still making my way through after all these years. 2) I saw a trailer for Let the Corpses Tan back in 2017 and knew I had to get around to diving into the work of husband and wife team Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani at some point

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Shocktober: Messiah of Evil

Messiah of Evil (1973)

I chose Messiah of Evil as my first entry for this year’s Shocktober for the talent involved. I’m referring to husband and wife writing/directing team Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz. The pair is best known for co-writing American Graffiti with George Lucas. They were also the screenwriters behind Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and surprisingly, were script doctors on the original Star Wars. It’s believed that Huyck and Katz were responsible for fixing most of Leia’s dialogue and making her a more comedic character. They also wrote and directed Howard the Duck. Though we do not speak of such evil on this website.

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Shocktober: 15 Days of Fright

Welcome boils and ghouls to Mildly Pleased’s 12th Annual edition of “Shocktober”! This year we’re celebrating some of the finest female directors or dare I say “FEARmale” directors the genre has to offer.

We’ll cover established auteurs like Karyn Kusama, Kathryn Bigelow, Mary Lambert, Mary Harron, just to name a few. We’ll also cover some up and comers, a few husband and wife teams, even an aunt and nephew directing team. Because this blog is all about family.

We have films from Austria, France, Belgium, jolly old England, and of course the scariest place of all… America. So join us as we countdown Fifteen Days of Fright starting tomorrow. Also, we’re only posting on the weekdays, so don’t get too confused by that 15 days thing. Anyways, I’m sure you’ll find it appealing or dare I say APPALLING?!?

Criterion Month Day 30: Certain Women

Certain Women (2016)

I can’t believe I almost forgot to write my last review for Criterion Month! I was distracted watching a guy get his fingers ripped off in the latest Saw. It made me feel dirty. Not this movie though. Quite the opposite. Like Colin said in his review of Kelly Reichardt’s Old Joy, the unassuming nature of some of Reichardt’s work is a warm bath compared to a lot of overstimulated modern media. Which is good cuz I need something to wash off all the blood and cartilage from these finger bones.

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Criterion Month Day 27: The Piano Teacher

The Piano Teacher (2001)

I just realized out the nine films I’ve watched for Criterion Month so far, six of them have featured promiscuity or having an affair as a prominent plot point. Is this a coincidence? Or is there a reason I’m drawn to taboo subject matter? I think a parallel can be drawn with my passion for horror movies. I’m drawn to what that scares me. Watching things you feel like you’re not supposed to be watching is exciting. Uncomfortable, sure. But you can learn a lot about humans from discomfort. The Piano Teacher is thus pure unfiltered Michael Haneke.

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Criterion Month Day 24: Crash

Crash (1996)

I didn’t mean to post this so late but I had a splitting headache for most of the day. Yeah… that’s what happened. I mean, it’s not like I have some fetish where I sneak out late at night and get off watching cars crash. Or have sex without a seat belt in a speeding convertible. No uh, nothing like that.. um, anyways I watched David Cronenberg’s 1996 erotic thriller Crash.

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Criterion Month Day 21: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

As a cinephile, or in layman’s terms, “A movie liking’ guy” Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar is a blind spot. Yasujirō Ozu is another (better watch out pal I’m coming for ya!) I’m not sure why it took me so long. I got so close to watching that Penelope Cruz movie with the creepy mask. I wanted to see Pain and Glory, but it felt weird to watch a semi-autobiographical film by a filmmaker I have no history with. All I knew about Almodóvar is that he casts strong women and sometimes Antonio Banderas. So Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown felt like a good enough entry. It may have come out a decade into Almodóvar’s career but it was his international breakout, nabbing a Best Foreign Language Film nom at the Oscars. So what did I learn?

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