Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Another year passes, and so does another Halloween. As per the last couple of years, the lead-up was a bit hectic, with me planning what to make and when. I was also a bit later than intended (read: a month late) with the majority of my October reviews, not because they weren't finished, but I was posting them in a certain order, and an earlier one wasn't yet done. Distraction after distraction (such as a hurry to learn the Arabic alphabet) prevented me from getting them posted until yesterday. Thankfully everything went up ok, and I'm pleased with the Mexican and Egyptian horror cinema I covered, even if I didn't end up having the time to cover some Greek, Russian, and Portuguese material too. Oh well, 8 reviews is surely plenty, especially for one such as I, who failed to do the '31 reviews in 3 days' the two times I tried it.
Getting to my day, I had my usual yearly marathon of Dead Gorgeous, enjoying plenty of storebought and homemade snacks and soda. I iced a Chocolate cake with an impression of the poster to Suspiria, which was theoretically easy given the poster's minimalistic nature, but easier said than done given the icing recipe I chose not being the easiest to spread. It ended up decently though.
Next up is the jelly I had in the skull mold I got last year. It almost came out perfectly, but for a few little sections. Unfortunately these little sections happened to be the eyes, nose, and mouth, so pretty much everything that makes a skull a skull. Oh well, at least it turned out a lot better than last time! The profiteroles were another semi-failure. They tasted fine, delicious even, but they got a little overdone in the oven, plus they didn't turn out exactly as balls so much as flatter circular globs.
Pumpkin carving went fine, although the only orange pumpkin left in the store was too big (read: too expensive), so I settled for a smaller blotchy green one. I followed a design I saw in a photo on Holly Horrorland's, and it went well! Not too hard, didn't take too much time, and I'm happy with the end result. They're a happy little jack-o-lantern!
Besides all of that, some miscellaneous activity I did today was listening to the soundtracks of Shadow Man, and Wuppo, as well as some further Arabic practice here and there, including a seemingly hilariously failed attempt at deciphering a line of Persian script a friend sent me. All in all, it's been an ok day. It wasn't even too hot! The last week or two has been quite cool, but the last couple of days have reminded me it's Summer. It cooled down soon enough though, and the night's been fabulous. I hope you all had awesome Halloweens too!...
Monday, October 30, 2017
El Eens We El Gen (1985)
Genies are often portrayed in Western media as either lovable goofballs, or forces of good, and at the very worst, perhaps an example of Monkey's Paw style stories. We don't often see them as outright villains though, ...
Fatma is a young woman returning home to Egypt after some time away, having mourned the death of her boyfriend in a car accident. She's started seeing someone new, and things seem to be going fine, until she starts having strange encounters with an off putting man. He soon reveals him to be a menacing Jinn, deadset on ensuring Fatma doesn't marry...
El Eens We El Gen is quite a good watch! It's not without issues, however. You'll see right away why the film is nearly 134 minutes long. Extended scenes of characters standing or sitting around, talking. Not by a huge deal, but when you have a few scenes like this, it all adds up, and before you know it, 'Whoops, we made a two-and-a-half hour film!'. The overall good quality of the movie saves it though, and while it is too long, it's not excruciatingly so.
The story starts a bit slowly, but not too much, knowing when to dip us into the deep end. I found what was happening interesting, and the pacing really good, helped by the actors. I found the early-on flashback to be a little overdramatic at first, but it has some really great imagery, from the locale of a simple date in Egypt, to the surreal nightmare that jolts us back to the present day.
The plot does start to get repetitive after a while. The Jinn menaces Fatma, demanding she obey him. She doesn't, but everyone thinks she's crazy with all her talk of Jinns. She gets on with her life, then the Jinn menaces her again, demanding she obey him, and you get the picture. It's tiresome to see the same thing happening over and over. The movie breaks out of this for the climax, thankfully, and it's quite satisfying for the most part, though a bit anticlimactic at the end.
The movie does also get a bit frustrating with how nobody believes Fatma, and I was especially annoyed when she's crafty enough to use a tape recorder, and when she listens to it, it plays the full conversation between her and the Jinn, but as soon as she shows it to the authorities it suddenly becomes a one sided conversation. You'd also think she'd learn not to call people over to see the destruction the Jinn has caused when she knows it'll be gone before she can show them. It also also seemed strange that at some points it seems like people believe Fatma about the Jinn, then they don't, then they do, then they don't. Fatma's own mood seems to change often too. She'll go from being nervous and terrified to all smiles in the span of a single scene change.
While I was fine for the most part, not understanding the language did start to have a detrimental effect after a while, so if you decide to watch this movie, I really recommend finding a copy with subtitles.
The effects on display here are good! The majority of them are related to the Jinn and his powers, such as the freaky way he hovers or floats. These are achieved by not showing his feet (presumably on rollerskates), and by sometimes visible strings, but despite being able to tell easily enough how these were accomplished, they're effective in showing him as an unnatural force. It's also creepy how he often either just strolls into a room without warning, or simply appearing (for example, two characters talk, he's clearly not in the room, then BAM, we see him seated in a chair menacingly). The great lighting really helps too. Some scenes, especially near the end, look interestingly abstract, and are realized well, thanks to some creative set design! Finally, there's one scene where a chicken is sacrificed, and it isn't really killed! Phew, given Egyptian cinema's track record with these things, I was seriously afraid for that fowl's life!
Once or twice, there's a jumpscare, specifically the aforementioned 'inconsiderate friend' one I mentioned in my previous review, but it's acknowledged to be the friend actively messing with the lead, rather than how everyone in other horrors just do it as if it's a normal way of getting someone's attention, and for that reason it's a bit more welcome than it otherwise would have been.
The acting is good all round. Adel Imam is great as the antagonist. As well as looking creepy as hell, he also exudes a very swinging 70s playboy vibe, somehow! sometimes takes the form of an adorably evil cat.
=== does quite well as the beleaguered yet proactive and steadfast heroine. I was impressed by her character! How many people could talk back to the evil genie they're deathly afraid of? Unfortunately though she doesn't contribute anything to the climax. Also, maybe it's just the lighting, but I could've sworn her hair changes colour from scene to scene, sometimes looking blonde, other times orange!
I was very pleased when === showed up He doesn't do much for the majority of the film though, and his character's a bit boring. Unfortunately he does contribute to the climax! The rest of the acting is ok, though the guy playing the magic priest who shows up later on is pretty bad, amusingly so.
One sort-of complaint I have isn't really a mark on the movie, or even the actors themselves, but rather an observation, and one shared by many other Arabic countries-Egyptians really do talk too fast sometimes!
The soundtrack to El Eens We El Gen is pretty good. The most used track is whenever characters are threatened by the Jinn, and it's neat, sounding a bit like malevolent circus music. It's good, but it gets a little too positively bombastic at times, like if for a brief moment the composer forgot they were scoring a horror film. Thankfully it's never bad, nor overused.
One odd scene was at a nightclub, with what resembles a carrot top Village People burlesque number! They also wear devilish themed outfits, too, with the scene acting as a lengthy segue to a Cinderella style freak-out and escape by Fatma.
El Eens We El Gens is a good film, and a great example of what horror cinema in Egypt can be. In fact, most of the movies I looked at this month from the region show that fact off. I'm glad that the genre did manage to take off, and I'm hopeful that the decades since have seen further improvements to the genre and its status. As for El Gen, I recommend it if you have an interest in foreign horror media...
Ad Leyantaqim (1988)
Some time after tragically losing his daughter to a car accident, Man moves to a new house, with his girlfriend. Strange things start happening soon, and it appears the house is haunted, yet only shows activity around Man, leading others to think he may be losing the plot. Man soon works out the reason for the ghost's activities, and he sets out on an investigation to find out who they were, and what became of them...
This movie opens in a pretty startling way! Whereas Asdeqa El Shaytan took forever to make it apparent that it was actually a horror film, Ad Leyantaqim establishes a darker tone in the first minute.
Rather than be a more violent and bodycount-focused horror, this is a slower-paced and low key ghost story. While it gets a bit less scarier when you realize the lead isn't in any danger, the 'investigation spurred from beyond the grave' aspect is solid, and there's an interesting parallel in the story, when comparing the protagonist, and a certain other character.
As with all the other Egyptian movies I watched this October, I saw it without subtitles (they weren't an option). While I was a bit lost in certain scenes, I got the gist of pretty much everything. It's thankfully easy enough to understand what's going on even if you don't speak Arabic.
The acting is good all-round from what I could tell. I especially liked === as the lead. He gets across the emotions of his character well, and is very believable, and likeable.
Most of the scares are well handled, though some are a bit...non-threatening, I suppose you'd say? There's a plot-related reason for that, of course, but it still kinda bugs me. There are a couple of cheap jump scares here and there. You know the ones, where there's a POV shot of someone silently approaching a character, menacingly reaching a hand out, AND it's just a friend who for some reason decided to greet their buddy like a psychopath, and thinks nothing of it.
The score is pretty decent. There's one track that's particularly good, and that's because I'm pretty sure it's lifted from the Friday the 13th movies! Ah well, Ad Leyantaqim is better than at least half of that series, so I guess I can let this slide. The ending though is weird! What happens itself is all fine, but it's the choice of music that's bizarre. Not only does it play the F13 music again, but also the 'Chi chi chi, ka ka ka' noise! Well that just confirms the music's providence! What's weird is that the ending isn't a scary or bad one, so the spooky musical choice makes no sense.
One scene tells me that the sound balancer wasn't perfect at their job. The movie's pretty good on a sound level, except this one scene, where we can barely hear the characters on a street talking thanks to the loud noises of passing cars. The editing can get a little...abstract at times, but is all competently handled.
Ad Leyantaqim is quite a good ghost story! It's a little slow, and not the scariest movie out there, but it builds up an effective atmosphere, and tells an engaging story, acting as proof positive that while it can usually be welcome, a horror film doesn't need violence to be spooky...
Asdeqa El Shaytan (1988)
It's amusing how not knowing the language of the movie you're watching plus not having subtitles can hinder you when it comes to knowing things like the names of the characters! If you're lucky or a good listener, you might pick them up early on, or perhaps it might take the majority of the film. In the case of Asdeqa El Shaytan though, I didn't ever catch them! Well, unless one word I heard repeated doesn't mean what I thought it did...
Guy is a young man living in a small community in Egypt. One day he meets Girl, and there's an instant attraction. They eventually get married, despite her disapproving father (I think?), but at the ceremony, a crime lord's minions attack, and Girl is killed. Despondent, Guy fights back against the gang and wrests control of the town away from them, taking the seat of power himself. Still uneasy, changed by the death of his love, Guy decides to consolidate his power by seeking the counsel of dark forces...
Asdeqa El Shaytan takes a little while to get going-Too long! I appreciate that it slowly and carefully builds up the story, springing the scary stuff when the times comes, rather than just inundating us with gore and jump scares from the first frame, but this goes too far in the opposite direction and ends up not being interesting enough for the first couple of acts, and I was left wondering if it even was a horror film! It does eventually though, and it's not scary due to ghosts popping out and going BOO, or people getting picked of by a deranged madman, but moreso a cautionary tale of how tragedy can lead one to the dark side.
I appreciate the film taking the time to build up the lead's character arc, and you really get a good impression of how this guy went from being a random working class joe, to a despairing widower, then a borderline religious/spiritual leader, and finally a corrupt and powerful villain.
This is a movie that care has clearly gone into. The music is nice, sometimes foreboding, the lighting is effective in places too, and the direction is very good. The characters are staged really well, and some scenes are shot interestingly, like one that's nearly all in one take. The setting sometimes feels kind of like a character in its own right. I especially dug one scene that reminded me of High Plains Drifter.
The acting in Asdeqa El Shaytan is good all round. The standout player is the lead, ====, who delivers a multi-ranged performance as...Errr...Guy. He nails the emotions of his character perfectly, and his descent into villainy is believably handled, even down to his looks and clothing changes. I also like the actress playing Guy's second love interest. Not so much in the ending though. The main friend is played well, though he stops appearing as much in the last third or so. One performance, from the weird teleporting man, was downright...maybe bad? Definitely amusing!
A lot of the music we hear is diegetic, comprised of local tunes, and they're good. Mainly they reminded me I need to get back to playing Shantae: Risky's Revenge! The soundtrack pieces are fine too. The foley work isn't that great though, and it sounds fake whenever characters headbutt one another (which is a lot).
Asdeqa El Shaytan takes forever to get started, and at a patience-testing 132 minutes, it's too long, but that doesn't mean it's bad. It's still worth a watch if you feel so inclined...
The Talisman (1987)
There are still three more horror films that Fangs (Egyptian Rocky Horror) director Mohammad Shebl made, and at first I didn't have any luck finding them, but then I had a realization. 'Oh yeah, Me, just search for them with Arabic text, not English', and would you believe it I found two of 'em instantly!
I originally considered not reviewing these films until I've learnt Arabic (not too far off), but as I was watching it, words were coming into my head, and I figured I can judge pretty much everything about the film as is, bar the dialogue itself. So, let's dig in to 1987s The Talisman!...
Family man Mahmoud lives happily enough in his apartment, but his villainous landlord is in league with the devil, and wishes to own the property all for himself, using his dark forces to torment the family into moving out. Can he control the malevolent power though, or will it consume him? And what will become of the family if this happens? Will they escape the evil that haunts them?...
The Talisman is a departure from Shebl's previous outing in that it's a more conventional and serious film rather than a comedy or musical. It actually manages to be quite effective! One of the spookier scenes is when the young boy's ball doesn't stop bouncing, and he ends up following it.
The movie is a bit talky, but perhaps that'd be less of a problem if I actually understood what they were saying. The villain's motivations seem incredibly petty, and we barely see him interacting with anyone, so it seems even more flimsy. Is he really only doing this because of real estate?! And would this come across as clumsy social commentary akin to Fangs' satire if I knew the language?
There's one super frustrating moment during the ritual the wife has organized, when Mahmoud comes home and is having none of it, breaking up the procession before its completion. Well don't go complaining to them for a refund once the devil comes to Earth, you dick! Oh well, I suppose I can't be too hard on him since he doesn't know he's in a horror movie, nor has he peeked ahead ala Spaceballs and seen the film's final 10 minutes, but surely he knows that something is up? Thankfully he does eventually come around, but geez, it takes a while!
Finally, the ending is a bit random. At one point, the mother walks into an elevator with her young son, and the supernatural haunting starts happening again. She starts yelling at the evil force, which apparently causes the villain to...turn into a lizard person? He is never seen or mentioned again. Then the devil in all his malevolence bursts out from hell like the Kool Aid Man and impales who I presume to be the villain's henchman on his horns. He is also never seen or heard from again. Following that, I guess we got a happy ending? It's a confusing one for sure, but awesomely spectacular, especially when compared to the rest of the movie, which was a basic haunting flick up until that point.
That's as good a segue as any other to dive into the effects. They're well executed, and the finale is really good! While the lizard man make-up/mask isn't that great, the skin tearing effect is neat and ghoulish. The devil is very well designed here, looking not too dissimilar from Tim Curry in that movie Legend. You have to wonder how much of the budget this make-up and prosthetics cost, because it's friggin' impressive as hell! Pun absolutely intended. Finally, the impalement that follows is also cool. I have to warn you though, there's an unpleasant scene involving a chicken sacrifice that may or may not be fake. Whatever the case, this is two for two now regarding the number of Mohhamed Shebl films, and number of dead chickens. The villain's henchman seemingly being in blackface is also weird!
There is one pretty hilarious goof I noticed at one point. The Evil Dead inspired POV shots are good, but in one, we see the shadow of the cameraman! Oops! Hehe.
The performances here is pretty good. Mahmoud Yassine is an ok lead. Nothing special, but he does his job ok. The actress who plays the mother is a trooper! She really puts her all into the movie, and is even willing to be [drenched] in real chicken blood for the role! That's what I call determination! Also of note is the presence of famed bellydancer Taheya Cariocca.
The Talisman has a fun soundtrack of licensed tracks like You Can Leave Your Hat On, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Living in America, plus it settles an age-old question: Do Egyptians enjoy Walk like an Egyptian by The Bangles? Yes. The answer is yes.
The Talisman is a mixed bag, but at the very least, it's a competently made horror film, the occasional technical oopsie aside...
Ship of Monsters (1960)
Hey, the existence of Gene Autry shows there are singing cowboys, right? And horror-comedies are of course a thing. Sci-fi westerns? Not so much, and they tend to be overly serious CGI fests, or ripoffs of said movies inevitably starring Billy Drago. But what about a horror-comedy-sci fi-musical-western? You heard...
The women of Venus are facing a serious problem-All their men have died off. They've scoured the solar system looking for suitable replacements, and the two Venusians Gamma and Beta eventually reach Earth, finding the singing cowboy Laureano, resident teller of tall tales. Gamma falls in love, but Beta does too, and when she sees she can't have Laureano, she exposes her true colours as a traitor to the Venusian cause, and unleashes the alien men kept prisoner on the spaceship, releasing a scourge onto Chihuahua, Mexico...
Ship of Monsters truly is a delightfully wacky movie, of the highest degree! Fondly remembered in its home country even to this day, it's only recently started becoming more well known elsewhere.
At 83 minutes long, it never wears out its welcome, and is just the right length. The movie is a bit slow to start, but once over that bump, things move along at a fine clip. The story is fun, with plenty of imaginative ideas, never takes itself too seriously, and delivers a few laughs. The various genres all seam together well, never clashing. If I had to pick one part to be irked by, it's that it is a bit frustrating when Laureano inevitably goes to the townsfolk to warn them about the monsters and none listen, but Laureano is totally a character who deserves such treatment, so eh, I'll let it slide.
Local singer Eulalio 'Piporro' González is plenty of fun as the lead. This kind of casting and character has the potential to backfire, but luckily it doesn't here. He's is a good actor, consistently entertaining, and he can sing, too! The movie also doesn't shove his star status in your face or anything, which is good. He's used just enough, never obnoxious.
Lorena Velázquez appears here as the villainous Beta, and in-case you're wondering, the answer is yes. Ana Berthe Lepe plays her role quite well, starting out as a more detached Venusian woman, and becoming a more lovestruck person, discovering the wonders of the emotion we hu-mans call love.
Moving onto the more fantastical cast members, firstly Torr the robot. Even if his whirring noises can get annoyingly repetitive at times, he's still amazing, and definitely a neat addition to the cast. The titular monsters are quite the characters themselves, each getting their own mini-backstory
Before watching the movie, I wondered if it really was a proper musical, or if its star just happens to sing diegetic songs here and there. Yes and no. Yeah, he's mostly the only one who sings, but nope, this is totally an actual musical, with backing music, the audio as part of the soundtrack, the whole shebang!
One also might be forgiven for not thinking a movie that looks this goofy is a horror comedy, but it actually does get kinda sorta violent at times. Sure, the costumes for the monsters aren't exactly the stuff of nightmares, but the sounds they make, plus what they do makes them quite the menacing adversaries. Poor Lollobrigida! You'll be missed, beautiful bovine!
The effects in Ship of Monsters are goofy, and probably not what you'd call convincing, but they're creative and fun, and you can tell that work was put into their designs! Visually the weakest is probably the skeleton monster*, which is fine but not as interestingly designed as the others, and sometimes has visible strings. My favourite was the bulb-headed saucer man. The spaceship set is good, while the ship itself is actually realized kinda well!
*What happened to him, anyway? He just vanishes!
If you're into Mexican cinema, and/or if the idea of a horror-comedy-sci fi-musical-western hybrid appeals to you, Ship of Monsters is a great find! Absolutely go for it...
La Bruja (1954)
Dr. Boerner has developed a new wonder drug that can reverse the effects of aging, but refuses to sell it to an eager company. They send some thugs over to steal his formula, but they kill his daughter Mirta in the process. Affected greatly by the tragedy and poisoned with hatred, Boerner plots payback. In return for saving the life of Paulesco, the head of a secret community of gypsies, they agree to help the doctor in his pursuit of revenge, loaning him their resident servant witch, Nora. Rejuvenating her with his miraculous serum, Boerner sends her out to kill those who wronged him. But he didn't account for her falling in love...
La Bruja seems like it's a pretty predictable movie to start with, and is mostly is, but then it takes a weird turn! You'd expect the entirety of the film to just be about the witch seducing and killing the murderers one by one, then something happens to give us a climax, like maybe the doctor realizes the folly of his ways and tries to stop what he's started. The film starts out with the witch getting revenge, but in the middle is a strange detour into a secret society of hooded individuals holding vigilante cage matches in order to murder those who have escaped justice. This seems to come out of nowhere, then disappears just as quickly, the story reverting back to what you'd expect, before crowbarring its way back into the ending.
I have to say, the story takes quite a bold choice before the climax! As for the outcome itself, it's mostly fine, though two things bugged me. First, Paulesco's knife stuck in the front of his pants is so clearly signposted that you just KNOW someone's gonna grab the thing and stab him good while he's taken unaware, presumably laughing about how he's on top. That never happens though! The other thing is that there's not really any resolution to the whole 'secret society' stuff, even though they're a bunch of assholes.
Nora is a pretty rubbish bruja. She needs a scientific potion made by another person to change her appearance, and she kills with a gun! What even makes her a witch? Or is the title meant to be metaphorical? Still annoying!
Dr. Boerner's progression from caring father and honest scientist to one of the mad variety is well-handled, straddling the line of villainy to an interesting degree. The people he's going after may be bad, but he doesn't exactly stay good. If I had a complain though, it's that we see very little of the villains behind what happened to Mirta. I'm also disappointed that we only get one scene with her before her death, as we don't really get the chance to know Mirta before then outside of a single conversation at the beginning. It is kinda neat though that the fate of this character we see so little of has such weight.
The capture scene leading to the first murder is really effective, if a bit farfetched, but the majority of the kills are pretty basic. The effects in La Bruja are quite good! Any violence is accomplished through basic but well-accomplished means, and the real stand-out is the make-up for the titular Nora before she's taken the potion. Lilia de Valle impresses as the bruja, like a female Lon Chaney. Julio Villareal is also good at playing his character's descent into villainy.
It has its problems, but otherwise La Bruja is an entertaining and somewhat macabre example of Mexican horror, and it's worth checking out...
Monday, October 23, 2017
Le Hombre Que Logró Ser Invisible (1958)
En la ira de dios, los monstruos reinan supremos, de hombres lobo, a asesinos invisibles. ¿Quien puede decir lo que pasara…?
Young man Carlos is building a happy future with his fiancee Beatriz, but all is ruined when he's framed for a murder by some unscrupulous gangsters. Held in prison for the rest of his days, Beatriz enlists the help of Carlos's brother Luis to use his burgeoning invisibility formula as a last resort. Their plan works and Carlos escapes the police, seeking to root out those who framed him, and bring them to justice. But is it too late already? Has the invisibility serum driven Carlos hopelessly mad?!...
The Man Who Made Himself Invisible takes a while to get going, and even when it does, it never really interested me. The titular invisible man doesn't do all that much, nor really take advantage of his transparency until the last half hour.
I did like that the police detective works out he's dealing with someone invisible and takes effective measures against them, instead of just being ridiculed and ignored for his apparently crazy belief. Far from it, his underlings listen to him, and engage in tests to find someone who can't be seen, actually succeeding, and proving his theory! That's cops in Mexico for you. If they suspect a man is invisible, or turning into an ape monster, they don't pay any heed to how ridiculous that sounds, but instead just do their jobs, and yield results!
I also really like how the first of the criminals Carlos goes after is forced to sign a confession under sufferance by the invisible enemy (very nearly tearing it up and running away until it's made clear he can't escape), then following that, he's the one forcing his boss to sign a confession to the police, not wanting to go to jail without taking the crime lord down with him, and he doesn't even realize that Carlos doesn't seem to be present anymore.
The final act starts off really well, and I thought it'd at least partly save the movie, but then it suddenly decides to ape The Invisible Man in a pretty rushed manner. What's especially irritating is that the film seemed to be reaching an earned happy ending, which it then suddenly works against, despite the script having naturally been building up to that. If the movie had wanted to go the route of the H.G. Wells story and have him go crazy, it should've done that in the first bloody hour when I was bored off my ass! It then culminates in a finale that asks us to accept a lot.
The effects here are really something! Some of them you can imagine being done with strings and wire, but then there are bits that couldn't possibly be, and are surprising for a movie from this period and country!
It also seems like the movie got lazy after a while. We see Carlos applying gel or something to his hands and face, in a neat effect, but following that he looks perfectly normal, not like an invisible man smeared in gunk. And then he disrobes offscreen, so we're deprived that potentially neat effect! Soon after though, it seems like we get a second chance, in a great scene where Carlos tears off his disguise as the police chase him...Unfortunately we only see him doing that a little before a cutaway reduces him entirely! Goddammit, movie! From then on, Carlos truly is invisible, and the film stops bothering as much as it once was in showing his presence.
One problem that stood out to me is that certain scenes where people are holding conversations with the invisible man aren't blocked that well, with it either looking like they're talking amongst themselves, or to someone offscreen. It can be difficult showing an actor talking to someone who isn't there, but I at least wish they'd make an effort in showing the empty space where they're conversing with Carlos.
Swinging back to a positive, I liked the illustrations over the opening credits! Some are quite creative, and they set the mood perfectly.
The acting's decent, but doesn't really seem like anything special. Arturo de Córdova is an ok lead, but his voice isn't quite as impressive as an invisible Claude Rains or Vincent Price, though I won't hold that against him. I will say this for the cast though-They really do a good job at interacting and wrestling with someone who isn't there!
The American dub is odd. It's pretty much the same movie, with the dialogue staying much the same (though with regional changes of course, such as anglicizing or changing names, or saying 'the country' instead of Mexico), and no violence is excised (because there's not a huge amount to censor to begin with). The strange part is how everything's in its proper place save for the opening scene! The introduction showing Carlos and Beatriz discussing their future at a construction site for future housing is completely excised, the movie instead opening with Carlos stumbling onto the murder. This is annoying as it eliminates some character and interaction from the leads for no good reason! It's only an 88 minute long movie. Did it really need to be three minutes shorter?!
The Man Who Made Himself Invisible is an ok watch, and it's worth checking out if you wanna see another country's take on the Invisible Man story, but that aside, it's not the most gripping of movies...
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