Let’s Get Criterion


Recently I decided to go through my collection of Criterion films, a total number of which I can’t remember as I have lost track due to buying so many. It’s probably over a 150 at least. I haven’t viewed all of them yet either, and some of them have already been reviewed so a fresh perspective would be nice. I’ve also decided to do this after viewing several ones I purchased during Barnes & Noble’s 50% Criterion Sale. I hope they keep holding those sales again and again, and I am registered as a member of the Criterion website and follow them on Twitter. Here’s the list so far:

  1. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970, horror/fantasy)
  2. Repo Man (1984, satire)
  3. I Married a Witch (1942, comedy/fantasy)

Horrorfest 2015/Let’s Get Criterion Presents: Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970, Jaromil Jireš)


Made before Buffy and many other female heroines, Jaromil Jireš’ strange and whimsical film Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is an exercise in magical realism. It is also a horror movie, a coming of age story, a realization of innocence ending and a journey into fantasy. Despite its flaws Jireš manages to keep things together, molding elements into a unique whole. It also helps that the film has a strong performance from Jaroslava Schallerová as Valerie, a young girl trying to understand her place in the world and figure out where she came from. Her search for her parents is a trip down the rabbit hole into a world that may be mostly in her imagination. I prefer to read the film as literal just because its more fun, but also since doing so helps me further grasp what Jireš is trying to accomplish. I also viewed this film during my Horrorfest and was able to purchase it from Barnes and Noble thanks to their 50% off Criterion sale.

In fact this movie requires multiple viewings, something I have not yet accomplished despite owning the movie. Schallerová is sweet and kind as Valerie, never despairing even when she is handed over to be burned alive at the stake! There are other characters in this film that are either nice or creepy, and Valerie’s interactions with them determines the course of her journey. The movie does operate in the guise of a carnival, and there are hints that some of the people involved are actors or magical characters. Not to mention its strong fairy tale elements, as this movie can be classified as such and is also shot and scripted that way. One thing I was uncomfortable with is that the movie does have a young girl experiencing a sexual awakening, although I’m guessing that 1970s Europe had a less prudish reaction. Regardless this is a strong aspect of the film and cannot be ignored.

I’m not sure I got the ending, and I don’t know if I fully understood all that happened. Yet for some of its flaws (not all of the acting is well done, and I feel that some parts don’t work or fit) that this is a near great film from a director I want to see more from. As for the film’s extras I did not bother to explore them further, however the movie has a decent amount for a relatively obscure (at least to me and other Americans) 1970s Czechoslovakian film. Considering that I do not own enough foreign movies I’m glad that I added this one to my collection. One last thing: this movie is gloriously shot and has some amazing visuals. One cannot help but admire old school cinema, crafted before the days of digital.

Horrorfest 2015: The Final Chapter


There’s no theme this year. Also this might be the last one. Maybe. List which is always subject to change endlessly and whenever I feel like it. Especially when Netflix decides to pull horror films before October like they often do. Bad Netflix:

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Netflix Instant Viewing

1. The Babadook (2014, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/horrorfest-2015-presents-the-babadook-2014-jennifer-kent/
2. Pet Sematary 2 (1992, demonic)
3. Housebound (2014, ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/horrorfest-2015-presents-housebound-2014-gerard-johnstone/
4. Late Phases (2014, werewolf)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/horrorfest-2015-presents-late-phases-2014-adrian-garcia-bogliano/
5. The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977, mad scientist)
6. Troll (1986, creature feature)
7. Disturbing Behavior (1998, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/disturbing-behavior-1998-david-nutter/
8. Nightbreed: Director’s Cut (1990, monsters)-Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Nightbreed (1990, Clive Barker)
9. V/H/S: Viral (2014, anthology)
10. Starry Eyes (2014, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/horrorfest-2015-presents-starry-eyes-2014-kevin-kolsch-and-dennis-widmyer/
11. Almost Human (2013, slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/horrorfest-2015-presents-almost-human-2013-joe-begos/
12. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2013, giallo)
13. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014, vampire)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/a-girl-walks-home-alone-at-night-2014-ana-lily-amirpour/
14. The Quiet Ones (2014, ghosts)
15. Ghoulies Go To College (1991, monsters)
16. Leprechaun 3 (1995, creature feature)
17. Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997, creature feature)
18. Ju-on: The Grudge (2002, ghosts)
19. Damien: The Omen II (1978, demonic)
20. Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981, demonic)
21. The Fly (1958, creature feature)
22. Dead Silence (2007, killer puppets)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/horrorfest-2015-presents-dead-silence-2007-james-wan/ 23. Deep Star Six (1989, creature feature)
24. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988, demonic)
25. Vampire in Brooklyn (1995, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/horrorfest-2015-presents-vampire-in-brooklyn-1995-wes-craven/
26. The Sacrament (2013, crazy people)-I finally watched this in 2016, heh: https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/7750/
27. Murders In The Rue Morgue (1971, slasher)
28. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978, aliens)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/horrorfest-2015-presents-invasion-of-the-body-snatchers-1978-phillip-kaufman/

Other Media:

29. IT (1990, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/it-1990-tommy-lee-wallace/
30. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986, slasher)
31. Society (1989, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/horrorfest-2015-presents-society-1989-brian-yuzna/
32. Murder Party (2007, slasher)-I also finally watched this in 2016: https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/horrorfest-2016-presents-murder-party-2007-jeremy-saulnier/
33. Q The Winged Serpent (1982, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/horrorfest-2015-presents-q-the-winged-serpent-1982-larry-cohen/
34. Night of the Demons 2 (1994, demonic)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/horrorfest-2015-presents-night-of-the-demons-2-1994/
35. God Told Me To (1976, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/horrorfest-2015-presents-god-told-me-to-1976-larry-cohen/
36. Campfire Tales (1997, anthology)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/horrorfest-2015-presents-campfire-tales-1997-matt-cooper-martin-kunert-and-david-semel/
37. The Conjuring (2013, demonic)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/horrorfest-2015-presents-the-conjuring-2013-james-wan/
38. The Vampire Lovers (1970, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/horrorfest-2015its-hammer-time-presents-the-vampire-lovers-1970-roy-ward-baker/
39. The Woman in Black (2012, ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/horrorfest-2015its-hammer-time-presents-the-woman-in-black-2012-james-watkins/
40. The Final Terror (1983, slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/horrorfest-2015-presents-the-final-terror-1983-andrew-davis/
41. What We Do In The Shadows (2015, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/horrorfest-2015-presents-what-we-do-in-the-shadows-2015-taika-waititi-and-jemaine-clement/
42. Phantom of the Paradise (1974, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/horrorfest-2015-presents-phantom-of-the-paradise-1974-brian-de-palma/
43. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/lets-get-criterion-presents-valerie-and-her-week-of-wonders-1970-jaromil-jires/

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