Snow-White (Dave Fleischer, 1933)

MMC! keeps our creepy October rolling with Dave Fleischer’s spook-errific animation classic, Snow-White (1933). This Betty Boop masterpiece was animated almost single-handed by Roland Crandall over six months, his reward for loyal service to Fleischer Studios. The short features an array of creepy gags and set-pieces, the highlight of which is the Mystery Cave portion where a rotoscoped Cab Calloway performs “St. James Infirmary Blues” as a ghostly Koko the Clown. I first saw Snow-White in a class on the Disney Company where the very knowledgeable professor cited the rotoscoped appearance of Cab Calloway as an introduction of realism into the film, something I never understood given the very fantastic animation applied to the phantom Koko transforms into and the almost unnatural, counter-intuitive physics of Calloway’s glides and moonwalks. Snow-White has been preserved by the National Film Registry and can be found on Blu-ray in Volume 4 of Olive Films’ Betty Boop: The Essential Collections.

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10 on the 10th

Among the last ten films I’ve watched, top marks go to the traumatic chronology of Muriel, or The Time of Return and The Dust Bowl‘s heartbreaking ecology, while Nothing Bad Can Happen might be a feel-bad masterpiece if you can stomach its tortuous content. Those looking to kick off this Halloween month with a mix of class and trash might consider the double-bill of The Beauty of the Devil and Mystics of Bali, an unexpected celebration of supernatural deals gone wrong.

  1. Mystics in Bali (H. Tjut Djalil, 1981)
  2. The Beauty of the Devil (Rene Clair, 1950)
  3. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)
  4. Okja (Bong Joon-ho, 2017)
  5. Muriel, or The Time of Return (Alain Resnais, 1963)
  6. Fury of the Karate Masters (Alfredo B. Crevenna, 1982)
  7. Evil Ed (Anders Jacobsson, 1995)
  8. The Dust Bowl (Ken Burns, 2012)
  9. Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins, 2017)
  10. Nothing Bad Can Happen (Katrin Gebbe, 2013)

Finally, The Royal Tenenbaums remains a sad, warm blanket ready for when I need it.

Just Because It Has Tentacles, Doesn’t Mean It’s Lovecraftian

October is upon us and that means horror-themed shorts here at MMC!

We kick off our month with a trio of Lovecraftian parody films by Canadian writer-director Joseph Nanni. In the hustle and bustle of our workaday lives, it’s easy to forget the invisible world that exists alongside ours, abiding in slumber its fearsome indifference to our small place in an ancient multiverse. Thank goodness religion, medicine, and insurance are doing their parts to protect us!

Elder Sign (Joseph Nanni, 2009)

The Necronomicon (Joseph Nanni, 2009)

HP Lovecraft Insurance (Joseph Nanni, 2015)

Baxter (Jerome Boivin, 1989)

BEWARE OF THE DOG THAT THINKS

Jérôme Boivin’s faithful adaptation of Ken Greenhall’s novel Hell Hound takes viewers into the coldly logical mind of a bull terrier, creating a uniquely dark twist on the boy-and-his-dog story.

The inner thoughts of a brooding canine named Baxter reveal the animal’s unhappy search for an ideal master. Dissatisfaction with his elderly and afraid owners lead to the dog plotting their demise and it is not long before the ingenious Baxter finds the perfect guardian – a lonely, introverted boy with a macabre interest in Hitler’s personal life and a strategy to turn the pet into a thoroughbred killing machine.

Both chillingly satirical and bitingly terrifying, Baxter is an under-appreciated art-horror masterpiece that resembles American Psycho starring a sociopathic dog and set in a French suburb.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

  • Brand-new 2K restoration from the original camera negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original French mono audio (uncompressed LPCM)
  • New English subtitles
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand-new appreciation by John Waters
  • New interview with director Jérôme Boivin
  • New interviews with actors Evelyne Didi, Catherine Ferran, and Sabrina Leurquin
  • Theatrical trailer
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Booklet featuring writing on the film by Bruce Cherry

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Trailer Tuesday

With December announcements being decidedly reserved on all fronts, this latest “Trailer Tuesday” at MMC! requires a different tack and so we start with a future Criterion title a few years still to come – Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs (2018). For all of Anderson’s intricate, youthful peccadilloes, he’s never really stooped to fanboy fascination with Japan and I suppose that should have surprised. Isle of Dogs has the director jump into the deep end of Japan’s pop cultural swimming pool with this dystopic, retro, sci-fi story of a boy and his dog(s) (and as one of those fanboys myself, I couldn’t be happier). My next Arrow Video proposal has had me thinking about dogs a lot and so this announcement hits a particular chord. I love those dog sneezes!

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Double King (Felix Colgrave, 2017)

While I keep trying to work out the best approach to the next MMC! proposal, let’s wonder at the trippy, loopy joy that is Double King. This hilarious tale of rippling, obsessive regicide trended hard earlier this year, but maybe a reminder for one of 2017’s best films (short or feature-length) is now in order. Give all the credit goes to Australian artist Felix Colgrave who took two years to create Double King and even composed the short’s music.

Fans of this and Colgrave’s other work can head over to his corner of Society6 and pick up some sweet gear! Get me something too!