Movie Project #27 and #28: Blade Runner [1982] and The Night of the Hunter [1955]

The 50 Movies Project is a personal “marathon” of mine. In June, I compiled a list of 50 movies that I felt I needed to see by the end of the year. Old, new, foreign, English — it doesn’t matter. These are all movies that I have heard a lot about and have been wanting to see for some time. This project gives me a way to stay focused on the goal.

Blade Runner [1982, Scott]
Blade Runner [1982, Scott]
Starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young.

I was already somewhat familiar with Blade Runner thanks to the countless samples that have been used in the worlds of industrial and electronic music. The film’s gritty cyberpunk setting is simply awesome, and the intricately detailed environments are what impressed me most. This is one of the first “neo-noir” films that I have seen, and I really enjoyed it. It’s clear that this has been VERY influential to media of all types, and one of the first examples to come to mind recently is the much-loved video game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. That simply would not have been possible without Blade Runner.

I loved the replicants, especially Rutger Hauer’s character. It was a lot of fun seeing him play someone so deranged and unbalanced, and his final battle with Ford’s Rick Deckard was of epic proportions. I also developed a fond likeness for Darryl Hannah’s character and her odd-yet-sexy fashion selections. One minor issue I had was with the occasionally slow pacing, but I remained enamored with the stunning dystopian city of 2019 Los Angeles regardless.

I watched the theatrical cut, and didn’t mind Ford’s voice-over narration, though I can see how that would annoy some. I am pretty curious to check out the alternate versions now, and I get the feeling that this movie is one that will get better with each viewing. 8/10

The Night of the Hunter [1955, Laughton]
The Night of the Hunter [1955, Laughton]
Starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish.

Three words: Robert freakin’ Mitchum. His role as the “Preacher” Harry Powell is the stuff of legends, and he is easily one of the most memorable villains in cinematic history. This is a guy who has “H-A-T-E” and “L-O-V-E” tattooed on his knuckles, and doesn’t bat an eye when it comes to murdering women and children. He is a sadistic man masquerading as a reverend, and he is played to perfection by the charismatic Mitchum.

Equal parts horror and thriller with a touch of Film Noir, The Night of the Hunter is very tense. Watching the two children run away in terror from their new stepfather is frightening, and there were several moments that modern horror films have clearly copied over the years. It’s a shame that Charles Laughton didn’t direct another film because this one is truly remarkable. This is one of my favorite selections so far from this project, and it is unlike anything else I have seen from this time period. Magnificent. 10/10

Movie Review: Hobo With a Shotgun [2011]

Hobo With a Shotgun [2011]

Hobo With a Shotgun [2011]
Director: Jason Eisener
Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller
Language: English
Country: Canada

I’m not sure there’s a movie title that encapsulates the viewing experience better than Hobo With a Shotgun. It’s brash, in your face, and a perfect indication of the grindhouse shlock that it delivers.

Rutger Hauer stars as the shotgun-toting hobo, who doesn’t have a proper name. After living a life on the rails, the hobo arrives in the anarchic wasteland ironically known as Hope Town. After witnessing murder and general mayhem created by the town’s evil ruler, The Drake (Brian Downey) and his deranged sons, Ivan (Nick Bateman) and Slick (Gregory Smith), the hobo grabs a shotgun and starts dishing out justice vigilante-style.

Hobo With a Shotgun [2011]

Hobo With a Shotgun is as over-the-top as one would expect, and it dispenses gore by the truckload. In the first 10-15 minutes alone, there is a brutal decapitation, and Ivan and Slick even torch a bus full of small children with flamethrowers. This is only the beginning of a fucked up exploitation ride, as we run into a bizarre grab bag of freaks — a pedophile dressed as Santa Claus, a douchey director who films his own version of Bum Fights, and there’s even an oddly random encounter with some sort of tentacled object.

Seemingly the only other ‘decent’ person in Hope Town is Abby (Molly Dunsworth), a prostitute that the hobo saves and subsequently befriends. Watching the two of them team up together to take back the city is a blast, and they make a great, albeit unlikely, duo.

Hobo With a Shotgun [2011]

First time director Jason Eisener does a brilliant job making Hobo With a Shotgun feel like “you could have pulled [the movie] off a VHS shelf in the 80s”, as he once said. The movie is generally very dark with a nihilistic view that works well within its low budget. In fact, Eisener has crafted the genre almost too well because there is little to differentiate this from other like-minded titles. In a way, this is both a blessing and a curse.

There’s no denying that Hobo With a Shotgun is a well-made tribute to the grindhouse days of the late 70s/early 80s. It obviously has a limited audience, but those into over-the-top madness will have a great time with it. Hobo is a cut below Planet Terror and Machete, but it’s still a lot of fun.

7/10