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**What you are about to read is Film Critic history. We got together with our friends at LivingCorpse.com to create a cross-site Tag Team Review. Enjoy what we hope is the first in a long series of collaborations**
Ron: I’ve watched all three of SV Bell’s DVD releases, and I’ve really noticed a progression as a filmmaker from the shorts through “The Night They Returned,” and on to this release, Purple Glow. He’s learning the limits of his technology, he’s making his movies look progressively better, and he and his cast are growing more comfortable with one another, which is the key to getting a good performance.
Scraps: I’m with ya there; this is definitely a step in the right direction for SV as a director. I was impressed that he was able to make something so different from The Night They Returned, and it was GOOD! It was a great throwback to the classic sci-fi of the 50s. Nothing too over-the-top in the FX arena either. Sure, the CG was great, but he let the story do the talking instead of the gore.
Ron: This is one of SV Bell’s sexiest pictures, as well. There’s no nudity (yet), but there’s a lot of implied sexuality and, more important, sensuality, especially from Melantha Blackthorne as the blonde bombshell hitchhiker. Is she the hottest thing on screen, or what?
Scraps: I thought this was a great mix of female characters; Melantha as the raw sexuality, Magenta Baribeau playing a darker, raunchier character, and Elisabeth Faure with the girl-next-door good looks (and let me take this opportunity to say that I’d crawl through a half-mile of broken glass just to kiss Elisabeth Faure’s ass through a screen door). The sexuality of the film with a complete lack of nudity was almost necessary with the type of film that “Purple Glow” is based on. I approached this as a recreation of the classic ‘cautionary’ science fiction stories, warning the youths of society against horny Canadian chicks. Don’t let those girls straddle you Billie! Don’t pick up hitchhikers either! They’ll just rip your throat out!
Ron: There was a nice weird layer of kink to Baribeau’s character, definitely. It was weird, but a necessary weird. It helped reinforce the whole cautionary feel that the story seemed to be working on. She was definitely a naughty nymphette. She just lacks the necessary, uh, developments to be Russ Meyer-quality.
Ron: Not only was this SV Bell’s sexiest movie, it was also his funniest movie so far. There was just enough comedy to keep things light when they needed to be light, and there’s a lot of appropriate gallows humor to be found. Michel Brunet’s drunken fireside story really had me on the floor, and the way it was filmed with the mock EC Comics paneling on the screen was just the touch needed to bring it all over the top. Add to that the comedy of Brunet’s character and the necking astronomer couple’s line “I thought you astrologers loved this shit!” and I was really impressed with the comedic touches. Comedy’s kind of an underrated skill for a horror director, but it’s an important aspect to the modern horror film.
Scraps: The Suzi Lorraine side-story was awesome! That was just the hinting towards urban myths that the story needed.
Ron: As mentioned before, the acting’s improved, but it would’ve been nice to see more Suzi Lorraine. Costa, as he was in “Irish Whisky” did a great deal of the heavy lifting on the male side, with Brunet only there to be comic relief (effective comic relief, I might add). Melantha Blackthorne earns her top billing, as well, providing a good emotional breakdown (among other things).
Scraps: The cast was terrific, and you can tell that they all work well together. There were a couple of spots of stomping on lines, and once in a great while it looked like they didn’t know what to do with their hands, but overall some great performances by the whole cast. Not one of these roles seemed extraneous, and they were all assets to the storytelling.
Ron: Robbie Ribspreader’s script is spot on, too. I mean, maybe I need to put on my snout and pointy ears, but women are like that. Even look at another woman the wrong way around your girlfriend/wife, and you’re going to hear about it, and women always go after what they perceive as their biggest threat.
Scraps: Yeah, you’re a pig alright. Most women I know would be very open to picking up tall blonde hitchhikers and driving them to our campsite for the night. But then again, most women I know wouldn’t pack flip-flops and a mini-skirt for an overnight camping trip in the chilly woods. Must be a regional thing. Seriously though, the script was good. The conversations between characters were realistic, and the acting troupe was actually able to show (dare I say it) emotions! There was joy, fear, drunken rambling, anger, you name it!
Ron: Much drunken rambling; kinda like in our review.
Scraps: Overall, I’d say this is a good purchase for sci-fi fans looking for something different from the effects-heavy fluff pieces that are being put out right now. The extras were skimpy on the bare-bones variation I received, so if you’re into all that behind-the-scenes stuff, I’d recommend throwing in a few extra bones and getting the 2 disc set. It’s a Bell release that I can recommend to even casual viewers, and I’ll give it a solid 3 ½ cans (or skulls, for all your LC fans out there).
Ron: Since we at LC make you choose and don’t give half skulls, I’d give this a solid four, but with the caveat that it’s better than “The Night They Returned” or “Irish Whisky/Cold Blonded Murder.” Growth is a beautiful thing.
Added: Thursday, October 13, 2005
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