And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


Enter the Dragon (1973)
Symbolism...I think...then again, I shouldn't be thinking, should I? I should just be.

Symbolism!…I think…then again, I shouldn’t be thinking, should I? I should be water, which can flow…or crash. So be water, my friends.

Even though this was the last (complete) film Bruce Lee made before his untimely death, it became an introduction to the man’s work for a lot of North Americans, including yours truly.

Which is too bad, really, because Enter the Dragon‘s far from Lee’s strongest work. As a kid, of course, its vibrant, comic strip-inspired color scheme and its Bruce Lee-choreographed fight scenes kept me happy. But now that the film’s pushing forty I can’t help but see the cracks in its foundation. Just goes to show you can never tell what will ultimately become influential, and you don’t have to be a perfect movie to be well-regarded, well-remembered, or perpetually ripped-off. (Hell, look at 2001…Or save yourself two hours and don’t! Ha! Zing!)

You also don’t need me to tell you how influential this film’s been: pick a martial arts movie from the last forty years. Odds are you’ll see St. Bruce’s hand prints somewhere, and in more than a few cases filmmakers intentionally invoke his spirit, hoping to make their film a even a tenth as cool as…ohsayforexample, this one. Allow me to dash those hopes right now, filmmakers of the future, because until the day you really can make Bruce fight back…from the grave… it ain’t gonna happen. Continue reading



Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
Yep. We're pretty much his children.

Yep. We’re pretty much his children. No, not in that way, you pervert…

I’m supposed to warn you away from early-90s [Famous Person’s Name] [Semicolon] [Actual Title] films, but I’m pretty sweet on this one. It’s no Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but New Nightmare is something we hadn’t seen for quite some time by 1994: a decent Wes Craven film.

(And yes, though I’ll continue to call it New Nightmare for brevity’s sake, I’ll be filing this under “W”). As a member of the Home Video generation, I’m culturally obligated to mention the Craven movies most people (including Craven, it seems) would just as soon forget. People like Shocker and if I tilt my head and squint, I can see that. People like The People Under the Stairs and, hey, why not? But by the mid-90s, a sizable minority of horror fans had begun to vocalize The Unthinkable: maybe Craven just got lucky. Twice. Three times if you stretch. Maybe he’d never been the Master of Horror everyone wanted to believe. Or maybe, like George Lucus, he’d just spent too much time inside The Hollywood Bubble, constantly hearing people tell him how much of a Master of Horror he was/is/will forever be. Continue reading