Mini Film Review: The Devils (1971)

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Ken Russell’s film “The Devils” is currently playing on Shudder. Naturally, as a proponent of free speech, I was drawn to this film, as I am a sucker for anything that is banned and or controversial. This film originally received a “X” rating and was subsequently banned here and in the UK. It has never received an uncut release (except in bootleg versions), and is still difficult to obtain, even censored.

I was disappointed to learn that even Shudder’s version omits some of the more controversial scenes and once I looked up what they omitted…holy shit…I would LOVE to see an uncut version! That said, this is a BRILLIANT film. Simply brilliant. And a BIZARRE film at that! That’s putting it mildly, really. Russell also made ‘Altered States‘ if that gives you any indication, but from the opening scene all the way to the credits, ‘The Devils’ is as brilliant as it is surreal – like an acid trip.

It’s billed as a horror film but really, it’s much more than that. What makes this film so horrifying, you realize, is that it’s all true! As brutal and grotesque as this film is, and trust me, (this is one fucked up movie), it becomes even more so when you realize it’s all historical…this film left me thinking about it, long after, in the middle of the night, when I kept replaying scenes over in my head, particularly the ending, which is just goddamn brutal, and haunting.

The editing on this film is magnificent and plays on your subconscious, hence the LSD reference above.

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Without delving too much into the plot (17th century France and sacrilege/heresy), I would suggest either just diving in and watching it yourself, or Googling it and looking up the history that the film is based on – both are shocking, literally. Seriously, do some research, it’s crazy!

Again, what makes this film so goddamn terrifying is that it’s all true, even documents from the event still exist and they’re nuts! These characters all existed and the events actually happened. I realize I’m repeating myself, but once you watch it, you’ll understand why. Truth is, after all, stranger than fiction.

A word of caution: this film is not for the squeamish or easily offended! If you’re devoutly religious I would avoid it if I were you…

That said, I challenge you to watch it and NOT ask yourself: what the fuck…Oh! And Roger Ebert hated it! HA!

 

 

 

 

 

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Mini Film Review: Colors (1988)

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Mini Film Review: Colors (1988) – Dir. by Dennis Hopper | Blu-Ray by Shout Factory

I’m fairly confident I know more about the film ‘Colors’ than the average person. I saw it in the theater approximately 8,000 years ago and it made a huge impression on me, and on many others. Recently, I purchased the “collector’s edition” on Blu-Ray from Shout Factory. I was hesitant to buy this film, yet again…I owned it on VHS and have watched it on cable a ton of times. But it’s an American classic. It’s a brilliant film. It’s also a time capsule and what it captures is something for historians IMO.

Other generations have Easy Rider, my generation had Colors. Yes, I feel that strongly about it. This version has the “unrated” cut of the film, which immediately drew me in (I’m a sucker for uncensored films and extras!). This unedited version has a MUCH longer sex scene between Maria C. and Sean Penn 👀 and it also has the brutal stabbing in Venice Beach, which is often edited out, and includes longer versions of other scenes, like Pac-Man making a crip choke on his crack rocks.

This version also includes interviews with screenwriter Michael Schiffer and technical advisor, and ex-L.A.P.D. gang division, Dennis Fanning, who has cameos in the film and who Sean Penn based his Pac-Man character on. Both interviews are fascinating, especially if you’re into the lore of how this film was made and why.

A few years back, I wrote an article called “Everything You Wanted to Know About Colors but were Afraid to Ask.” I included all kinds of “nasty cheese” in it and I still get e-mail about it to this day, which trips me out. I’m happy to announce that I will be including that essay, along with many others in an upcoming book of my essays.

Also, I’m having a hard time deciding where to post my mini film reviews, so that’s why I’m dusting off this blog! Ha!