House of the Devil (2009)

In a market that is genuinely oversaturated with the same thing wrapped in a different package, it does get difficult for horror fans to find a low-budget masterpiece that forces their jaws to drop to the floor. In the past, there were plenty of “straight-to-video” gems that still have a special place in horror-film history, but these days, it seems that there are constantly 30 or 40 new “horror films” a week, made by some guy you’ve never heard of, and released by a brand new indie production company that you’ve also never heard of. By looking at most of his catalog, Ti West, a man whose filmography includes gems like Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, seems like he should fit right into this category along with that kid down the street who made a zombie movie a couple weeks ago. Much to everyone’s surprise though, West’s 2009 opus, The House of the Devil, gives true fans of suspense something that they have deserved for many years, and while it may not have been entirely inventive 30 years ago, to see a film like this come out in the past five years is really something that deserves notoriety.

Existing on a relatively simple plot, you are introduced to Samantha Hughes, played by Jocelin Donahue, a young college student looking for work in order to pay for a new place. After a slow opening sequence, plot exposition suddenly slaps you in the face, and Donahue comes across a flyer with a request horror fans know all too well, “In Need Of Babysitter.” After a bit of frustrating phone tag, our heroine sets out with her best friend to an isolated house far out in the woods. Upon their arrival, the audience is introduced to the owner of the house, Mr. Ullman, played by veteran actor Tom Noonan, whose filmography includes Wolfen, Manhunter, and The Monster Squad. Samantha then finds out that as opposed to housesitting for children, Mr. Ullman is requesting that she look after his mother, whom he swears will not even make herself known, while he and his wife attend a party for the lunar eclipse later that evening. After agreeing to take the job for what most of us would consider an exorbitant amount of money (even more so back in 1980, when the film is set), the Ullmans take their leave. Samantha then informs her friend that drove her all the way out to the house that the owners were uncomfortable with having both of them there, and that she could pick her up later that night. Despite her best friend’s apprehensive assessment of the situation, our protagonist decides to press on. By this point in the film most of the audience is already yelling at Donahue for being gullible enough not to realize a horror movie setup for a satanic cult when it’s waiving a severed goat’s head in her face, but God bless her anyway. Suffice it to say, after a while in the house, things begin to take a very serious turn south for Donahue, and the audience is left sitting face-to-face with every horror movie stereotype of a cult they can imagine. The climax of the film results in a bloody nightmare that, while some will feel it cannot make up for the slow pacing of the rest of the movie, most will agree that the payoff was well worth the wait.

Even with the age old horror setup of “babysitter alone in creepy old house,” House of the Devil does not fail to impress the veterans—or the newcomers—of the genre. Director West brings an almost overwhelming sense of impending doom with every shot after the homeowners leave the house. Menial time wasters like Donahue playing billiards or watching TV only seem to bring you closer and closer to the edge of your seat with no explanation as to why. Tension like this has not had serious play in horror movies since Hitchcock, and it feels wonderful to have it back. Instead of a constant barrage of blood and worn out jump scares, this film gets back to the idea that the actual event is often not half as scary as the buildup. An inventive sequence, in which the main character is doing nothing more than dancing around the almost empty house listening to her portable cassette player, puts the viewer ill at ease because they just “know” that something is going to happen, but the protagonist won’t be able to hear it. A moment in which the babysitter’s friend is doing nothing more than attempting to bum a light off of a random passerby on the road, resulting in her shocking death, succeeds in bringing the audience out of their mellow approach caused by the first half of the film into the uneasy second act. The audience spends the majority of the movie watching an unwitting co-ed inch closer and closer to her doom, knowing that there is nothing anyone can do to save her from this plight.

Everything in the film reeks of the 1980s, and it works so well that it’s hard to believe the film came out three years ago. It seems that the filmmakers thought of everything, from the clothes and the cars, to the hairstyles, to the strong soundtrack, which features the pop/rock hit “One Thing Leads to Another” by London rockers The Fixx. The film also prays on the “satanic panic” shockwave of the 1980s, and while it may be something that is lost on the younger viewers, those who understand the reference will definitely feel a resurgence in the dread of that era. In order to expound upon the myth that the film was in fact made in the early ’80s, the production company decided to run a limited promotion of the film, which appeared on VHS, and in the classic clamshell boxes we all remember from years of pilfering through video rental shelves. The acting also feels very much like that of the early low-budget ’80s horror films we all know and love. Instead of the feeling that these are second rate B-actors, the cast gives off the vibe that they are incredibly savvy with the type of film they’re doing. The characters show some complexity, and during the final payoff all of their motives are explained well. The dialogue and pacing are well done in accordance with the films that West is paying homage.

The actual filming style of The House of the Devil is really something to behold. The influences drawn from classic horror and suspense filmmakers of the time—such as Roman Polanski or John Carpenter—are very evident and are, in fact, welcomed with open arms. Modern horror is populated by directors who want to pay homage to their predecessors, but very few do a good enough job of bringing the spirit of these older films back to the silver screen. Instead of relying on modern conventional filming techniques, West gets back to the way it used to be done, and while this may annoy those who have grown used to crisp picture and stunning sound quality, most of us aren’t looking for the horror equivalent of a Michael Bay film. For example, West opted to make the entire film using a 16mm camera, as opposed to using the current standard of digital filming with additional effects added post-production. If one was to simultaneously play The House of the Devil alongside any one of the countless low-budget horror films of the early 1980s, almost no one would be able to tell the difference in when the two were made. The cinematography also fits seamlessly with its predecessors, with an abundance of lingering shots and extremely slow zoom-ins, as West casts away the current industry standards of fast-paced, “what the hell just happened?” shots that make it seem like the filmmakers drew inspiration from a strobe light. Instead, The House of the Devil relies on building the tension through plot devices and camera work that dwells on a shot so long that the audience feels like they may see too much.

Overall, The House of the Devil is well worth the time of any horror-movie buff interested in finding something new to rekindle the golden age of Hollywood scares. With few to no flaws in its design, few people will be disappointed in the current apex of Ti West’s career. No matter what subgenre of the horror industry you love, there is something that you can get from this movie, be it gore, suspense, or the disturbing nature of the film’s climax. Most any serious fan of the genre would agree that films like these far surpass the never-ending barrage of mind-numbing trite that audiences are inundated with these days. While it may not have all of the bells and whistles that audiences have grown accustomed to over the past decade, this film brings horror back to a time when scares were simply better than they are now.

-Matt

Matt Oakley is a journalist and investigator of the unexplained.  He has written articles for the Politomatic & Culture of Spirits Blogs, as well as Intrepid Magazine, and made appearances on several radio programs.  Oakley currently writes, and is a radio personality for www.gralienreport.com and its sister radio show and podcast The Gralien Report.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

For many years slasher films have become a huge staple in the horror film industry.  Some people site their invention as early as 1932 with the film Thirteen Women, while others look towards the 1960 classic Peeping Tom, but it wasn’t until the late 70’s and early 80’s that the genre really started to evolve, and take off.  While many classics lurk in the bowers of what some call a misogynistic or exploitative category, there are three names that often rise above any other; Vorhees, Meyers, and Krueger.

In 1984 Wes Craven terrorized audiences the world over with the beginning of what was to be a long, successful series he titled A Nightmare on Elm Street.  The graphic special effects and nonadherence to the formulaic plot standards of the sub-genre were unlike anything audiences had ever seen.  Initially performing on a limited theatrical release, the film skyrocketed to success and gave way to seven sequels, a 2003 crossover that sees Krueger alongside Camp Crystal Lake madman Jason Vorhees, a 2010 reboot with director Samuel Bayer at the helm, as well as a whole galaxy of comic books, video games, novelizations, and television appearances.  Hardly a man, woman or child would draw a blank upon the mention of Fred Krueger.

Heather Langenkamp, a Hollywood unknown at the time, starred as Nancy Thompson, a high school teenager in the throes of sleep deprivation.  Nancy and her friends (which included Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, and a young Johnny Depp), begin to realize a frightening similarity in their dreams.  Each one is repeatedly haunted at night by a horribly burned man, with knives on his fingers, dressed in the dingiest Christmas sweater anyone has ever seen.  After several stylized deaths befall sleeping teenagers, startling revelations begin to surface about a child murderer who brought the hammer of vengeance down from the parents of Elm Street.  These concerned citizens decided to give the finger to our judicial system, and instead burned the man alive as punishment for his transgressions.  Nancy seems to be the only one hell-bent on stopping these mysterious murders, she takes it upon herself to put an end to Krueger by going “Home Alone” on his ass.

Robert Englund takes on the Freddy Krueger persona, a role which launched him into fame, and horror film history.  As opposed to most of the tight lipped psychos that were taking over the genre en masse, in films like Terror Train, Prom Night, Friday the 13th, and Halloween, Englund brought to the screen a murderer who had so many witty/vulgar quips under his hat, that audiences didn’t know whether to laugh or recoil in fear.  While later installments began to focus more on Krueger as a kind of psycho-comedian, the initial introduction or the character terrified audiences to a degree that the majority of Krueger’s peers at the time could not.

Craven found inspiration for his newest foray into the genre in a story he pulled from a newspaper article in the LA Times.  The article told the story of Cambodian refugees who had fled to the United States.  They began to experience horrifying nightmares, causing a refusal to sleep, and soon after several of the men died in their sleep.  Scientists began to refer to the strange occurrences as Asian Death Syndrome, for which they could provide no explanation as to the cause of death.  Coupling these events with elements of his own childhood, Craven produced a script that he shopped around to several different studios, before arriving at the then independent New Line Studios, who decided to release the film even though they were on the verge of bankruptcy at the time.  The box office success of A Nightmare on Elm Street single handedly saved New Line Cinema, and did so with flying colors.  The film is excellent and is executed almost flawlessly, even down to its tagline, “If Nancy doesn’t wake up screaming, she won’t wake up at all…”  Starting out on a very limited release of only 165 theaters nationwide, the film soon rocketed into popularity mostly through limited advertising and word-of-mouth.

A Nightmare on Elm Street relies on many great elements to present a truly shocking story.  Craven brilliantly attacked what at the time seemed to be the most innocent of places…the suburbs.  Grotesque murders, supplemented by the dark secret of the parents of Elm Street, give the audience an uneasy sense that despite the innocent exterior of the modern American suburb, something sinister can always lie beneath.  Viewers are left with a feeling that the fictional town of Springwood, Ohio, could just as well be their own corner of the world, and their own parents could be hiding a secret just as dark.  The film also incorporates the age old horror theme of the loss of innocence.  On this element Nightmare does very little to take the industry further, but due to the stylized way this theme is presented, it is little to no bother that most of us have seen this subtext played out for years.

The special effects are especially well done, considering the minimal budget the crew was working on.  Working with a modest filming budget of only 1.8 million dollars, the filmmakers gave audiences a show that seemed to be lacking from many of the slasher films of that time.  Any fan of the genre loves seeing Jason or Michael with a machete or butcher’s knife, respectively, but no one at the time expected to see a geyser of blood skyrocket through a hole in the bed, with no killer in sight.  Other highlights include a half-naked teenager being drug up the wall and onto the ceiling above her helpless boyfriend and being torn to shreds, the film’s heroine unwittingly having the infamous Freddy glove rising up between her legs while she’s sleeping in the bath tub, or Langenkamp attempting to walk up a set of stairs that begin to suck her in.

Not only does Craven strive to bring audiences some of the best gore, and in your face horror of the time, he also builds some good suspense.  There is, of course, plenty of the age old horror cliché of teenagers walking around in empty houses, which most of us have grown so accustomed to that we feel the need to get up and go to the fridge during these moments, but Nightmare adds a little something extra.  Most memorable being the small children jump roping and singing the song that would become a staple for the franchise, “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.  Three, four, better lock your door.  Five, six, grab your crucifix.  Seven, eight, gonna stay up late.  Nine, ten, never sleep again.”  Nothing quite captures a sense of dread quite like children, and of course it’s only an added bonus if they are singing.  Admittedly this is a device that is grossly overused by today’s standards, but at the time Nightmare was made, not every horror film maker was as subject to as much conformity as we see today.

While the good name of A Nightmare on Elm Street may have been slightly tarnished over the years by a slew of sequels, cartoons, and daytime television appearances by Fred Krueger himself, the original will always hold a special place in the hearts of all horror fans, and regardless of what some overly critical people might say, it’s a good movie.  One of Craven’s true masterpieces, and the madman associated with it, will continue to live on as a cornerstone of pop culture, not just for horror fans, but everyone.  So stop complaining, and embrace it…bitch.

-Matt

Matt Oakley is a journalist and investigator of the unexplained.  He has written articles for the Politomatic & Culture of Spirits Blogs, as well as Intrepid Magazine, and made appearances on several radio programs.  Oakley currently writes, and is a radio personality for www.gralienreport.com and its sister radio show and podcast The Gralien Report.

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

For more than a decade audiences have been inundated with so-called found footage films that either tread water for a while, or drown horribly in shark-infested waters. The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, Quarantine/REC, Chernobyl Diaries, and Grave Encounters, as well as the upcoming V/H/S are just a few of these movies that keep theater goers firmly planted in their seats with one thought in their heads, “This one just has to be better than the last one I saw.” It’s easy to see why any studio would back these films; while some do bring plenty to the table, most are shelled out on shoestring budgets that more times than not turn over millions in profit to the studio that was willing to produce them. But before the latest fad of true stories and found footage, and before these guaranteed moneymakers began to numb our minds, one film stood alone, and it is still shocking to audiences all over the world to this day.

The film is Cannibal Holocaust, a venture by Italian director Ruggero Deodato, a project that has been banned in more than fifty countries on charges of obscenity, and even led to Deodato himself being arrested. Filmed in 1979, but not released until 1980, many regard Cannibal Holocaust as the quintessential Grindhouse movie, as well as the peak of the cannibal movie craze of the 1970s. As much of a one trick pony the cannibal genre was at this time, Deodato brilliantly brought something to the table that audiences had never seen, and that was the innovation of the “found footage” aspect. For the first time in film history, audiences were told that they would be the first to see the horrific footage that was discovered by researchers and has now been deemed fit to see by the general public. In this way, Cannibal Holocaust broke a barrier that would not come into serious play until almost twenty years later with the arrival of The Blair Witch Project.

Filmed within the Amazon rainforest, the plot revolves around four missing U.S. documentarians who go to shoot a film about native cannibalistic tribes deep within the Amazon Basin. The film opens with protagonist Harold Monroe, an NYU anthropologist played by Robert Kerman, volunteering to lead a rescue expedition to extract the lost team. The rescue mission, with the help of a captured native being used as a sort of unwilling pseudo-guide, comes across the tribe of the Yacumo. Initially being met with hostility, the team learns that their colleagues had caused serious problems on their way through, months earlier.

The next day, the rescue team sets out to locate the two largest indigenous tribes, the Yanomamo, and the Shamatari. After coming across a battle between the warring tribes, the team assists a small group of the Yanomamo in their escape. Upon their being brought back to the village by the surviving warriors, the team discovers the bones of the missing American crew placed atop a shrine. Monroe is then forced into a barter situation with the tribe for the last remaining reels of film, which are only given to him after he participates in a cannibalistic ritual.

After his return to America, Monroe begins to review the horrifying footage that was shot by the initial film crew, discovering their deterioration of humanity all in order to capture the most exciting documentary possible. The unedited footage shows the murder of villagers, the rape of a young village girl, and the mutilation of countless animals. After all of these terrible events, Monroe eventually comes face-to-face with a harrowing explanation into the film crew’s demise.

The movie does exactly what it set out to do, which is to disturb audiences everywhere, and in doing so exacted political, social, and media backlash. After a mere ten days of the film’s opening, the reels were confiscated by Italian police, and the director found himself in jail. After the overwhelmingly positive reaction by audiences, it appears that several theater-goers filed complaints with the courts regarding the film. Deodato was detained due to suspicion that he had actually murdered actors and tribal people in order to accomplish the effects shown in the film. One scene in particular that was flagged shows a native who, after being brutally raped, is vertically impaled on wooden pole, the top of which is shown to be jutting straight out of her mouth. The director had also included in the contracts with all of the film’s stars that they were not allowed to appear in any film or television endeavors until a year after the films initial release. During court proceedings, Deodato was required to retract this clause within the actors’ contracts and allow them to appear on television as proof that they had not been slaughtered. Another part of the trail forced the director to divulge how exactly the vertical impalement special effect was achieved (which consisted of the actress sitting on a bicycle seat fixed to the pole, and hold a long piece of wood the same size in her mouth while looking straight up).

Another issue that is repeatedly brought up are the instances of animal cruelty depicted in the film, of which there are several to choose. As opposed to attempting animatronics or other means of special effects to depict the killing of animals, the filmmakers opted to actual mutilate several creatures on camera. Those included are a tortoise, a muskrat, and a baby monkey, all of which are disturbing sequences that most will not be able to stomach. These scenes are largely unwarranted and simply used to provide even more shock value than the viewer has already been subjected.

Many people also have an issue with the explicitly violent sequences, both sexual and otherwise. In an interview with a colleague who had also seen the film, it was stated that “frankly, the level of hedonism and sexual depravity the film features isn’t so much shocking or tantalizing, as it is instead rather cheap, disgusting, or in the majority of cases, just pathetic.” Many critics at the time the film was released came to the same conclusion and that because of these issues; the bad definitely outweighs the good, and there is hardly a redeeming factor to Deodato’s self-proclaimed masterpiece.

The music is an outstanding factor to the film. Composer Riz Ortolani, whose music has been featured in such films as Inglorious Basterds, and the Kill Bill series, brings a score to the table that should not work with the images flashing before you on the screen, but somehow molds and ties itself in seamlessly with the film and also works very well on its own. Having come across a rare copy of the soundtrack myself, I was compelled to pick it up and listen in confusion and enjoyment. The soundtrack is made up of a wide collection of different styles, and for someone who has not seen or heard of the film, it would definitely throw them way off the mark, from pieces that are reminiscent of 70s and early 80s pop and rock music, to soothing strings and synthesizer orchestrations, to pieces that seem like they came out of some cheesy late 70s porno. Some critics have even asserted that the only good thing in the film is its astonishing score.

But the really amazing factor to Cannibal Holocaust lies in its deep subtext. Many see the film as a comparison between modern Western civilization and the tribal cultures depicted in the film. The illustration is present that even though we in the Western world would deem ourselves more civilized or advanced than the indigenous people depicted in the film, that it no way makes us immune to the same sinister urges or actions that we feel could be separating the two cultures. The characters in the found footage sequences operate on a level of amorality that most would not think is possible. This aspect leaves the viewer not with a feeling that those are necessarily bad people but that it is possible for almost anyone to become the monster depicted onscreen in the right circumstances.

All in all, this is a phenomenal piece of work from the exploitation-horror subgenre of the 1970s; the only catch is that you need to have a strong stomach in order to make your way through it. After a viewing of the film with several friends, I have heard the film referred to as “an exercise in depravity,” and that “anyone who has a caring spirit would have serious ethical issues with this film.” For the majority of viewers, this would be a fair representation of what is put on the screen in front of you. It is very hard to move past the face value of the images on the screen and not read more into the subtext of what is going on, but if you are able to, the film is well worth it. It is not strictly the gore that warrants these cautions, but the utter realism and intense nature of its subject matter. Modern horror filmmakers rely, in a large part, on gore or scenes of over-the-top violence to shock the viewer, but this film does something entirely different. It shocks and scares you by showing the absolute deterioration that can occur within even the most moral and civilized people. One of man’s greatest fears is of the monster within himself, and this film unleashes it in full force.

-Matt

Matt Oakley is a journalist and investigator of the unexplained.  He has written articles for the Politomatic & Culture of Spirits Blogs, as well as Intrepid Magazine, and made appearances on several radio programs.  Oakley currently writes, and is a radio personality for www.gralienreport.com and its sister radio show and podcast The Gralien Report.

BREAKING NEWS!!!

The horror genre is a favorite around here at Film’s Okay (I Guess), and what better time of the year to celebrate the macabre than October? Therefore, the editors of this blog will post on horror and suspense films until the 31st passes us by (with one or two exceptions). There will be a series of guests posts, a theme week revolving around The Nightmare on Elm Street series and discussion on all different types of film found in the horror genre, from Monster Squad to Cannibal Holocaust. And remember no matter how intense it gets, no tears, please. It’s a waste of good suffering.

Editors 1/2/3/4

Grace Kelly: A Tribute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From time to time here at Film’s Okay (I Guess), we like to have special posts about entertainers/directors we enjoy or talk about movies that are important to us on the anniversary of their release. September 14, 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the passing of Grace Kelly. The editors of this blog are pleased to bring you this guest post on the legendary performer and humanitarian.

The summer of 2002 was significant for two reasons. I watched Rear Window for the first time and my family went on vacation to Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles, we made a pit stop in a Burger King near Graumann’s Chinese Theatre. Inside were huge pictures of old movie stars and one of them was Grace Kelly. I begged my mom to take a picture and while she thought it was silly, she took it anyway. It was the highlight of my day and one of my favorite pictures from that trip. You see, Rear Window was my first Hitchcock film and it was the beginning of my love affair with Grace Kelly. I was completely enthralled by her ability as an actress (I was an impressionable young actress myself) and I soon wished I had a tenth of her talent, poise, and presence. Rear Window is now one of my favorite films of all time, and in the decade since I was first introduced to her, my admiration has not waned but only intensified. I’ve read several books about her, including one about her impact on the fashion world, and I own all but 2 of her movies.

Grace Kelly had a very short but brilliant career. She made 11 movies in 5 years and her first two films, High Noon (1952) and Mogambo (1953), were well received, but she was hardly the main draw. High Noon was certainly Gary Cooper’s movie but she made an impression as his young Quaker bride trying to reconcile her thoughts between violence and pacifism. Mogambo featured an aging Clark Gable and a radiant Ava Gardner, who stole the movie. Gardner and Kelly were excellent foils for each other as they vied for Gable’s affection. Mogambo is truly the only film Kelly ever did where her character was hard to root for, but she pulled it off with aplomb. In 1955 she managed to swipe the Academy Award for Best Actress from Judy Garland for The Country Girl (Kelly was nominated the previous year for Best Supporting Actress in Mogambo). She played Georgie Elgin, the wearied wife of an alcoholic has-been entertainer. Up until this point, Kelly played characters that were incredibly feminine and wore clothes that accentuated her beauty. Here she wore unflattering sweaters, skirts, glasses, and no makeup to speak of. There was no hint of the Grace Kelly America had come to love and there was a sarcastic, bitter tone to her performance. She dealt with every hard knock she was handed and she still had the strength to care for her sick husband, even when she desperately wanted to get out from under him. It was quite the transformation and the Academy took notice (one might say that Kelly’s The Country Girl and Olivia de Havilland’s performance from The Heiress started the make-under phenomenon that nets starlets acting nominations).

Her most fruitful collaboration was with Alfred Hitchcock. She made three films with him: Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), and To Catch a Thief (1955). Hitchcock was a man renowned for his love of blondes and Grace Kelly came to represent his ideal woman: reserved with a fire inside them (he once called her a snow-covered volcano). Dial M for Murder was a turning point for Kelly. You can see with her performance in this movie how much she grew as an actress and how comfortable she was working with Hitchcock. She was more at ease in front of the camera. But Rear Window is where she really started to shine. Her character introduction is one of cinema’s all-time bests and it certainly captures how stunning she was (show below).

Kelly’s chemistry with James Stewart set the screen ablaze and one couldn’t help but wonder why he was so damn hesitant about settling down and marrying her. In the end, she proves that she can be elegant, work in fashion, help solve a murder, and still go with Stewart on his photography assignments. In truth, she played the perfect woman. To Catch a Thief was her last film with Hitchcock and it’s one of his most frothy screen delights. Half of the fun watching this movie is seeing her seduce Cary Grant’s cat burglar who is out to prove his innocence from a series of copycat thieving. She radiates sex appeal, humor, and warmth in this role and she is definitely at her playful best here.

Her last two movies, The Swan and High Society,which were both released in 1956, continued to show her range. In The Swan she plays a very shy and awkward princess with the weight of securing the crown on her shoulders. Her rapport with Alec Guinness is hilarious and her chemistry with Louis Jourdan is sweet. It’s a very subtle performance and one worth checking out if you haven’t seen it. While art imitated life shortly after the release of this film (she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956), her last film to be released to the public was High Society, a musical remake of The Philadelphia Story. She was reunited with her Country Girl costar Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra also starred. This film has excellent music from the aforementioned gentleman and Louis Armstrong. Kelly herself sings a sweet duet with Bing Crosby that spawned a platinum record. It is the only platinum record ever given to sitting royalty as Grace Kelly had become Princess Grace by the time it was awarded.

Grace Kelly left at the height of her career in Hollywood to marry Prince Rainer and she never looked back. One can’t help but wonder what her career might have been had she not left to live out her own fairy tale ending. Nevertheless, she was beloved by her subjects, devoting herself to her family and causes close to her heart. She worked extensively with the Red Cross and was active in improving the arts institutions of Monaco. On September 14, 1982, she suffered a stroke while she was out driving with her youngest daughter, Stephanie. She died the following day. She once said, “I would like to be remembered as someone who was a kind and loving person.” Grace Kelly no doubt succeeded in that endeavor.

–Hilary

Hilary is a long time movie buff, with a staggering love for, and knowledge of, TCM style features. She is an actress by trade, appearing in plays throughout the North Carolina region. As a child, Jack Nicholson, frozen alive at the end of The Shining, gave her nightmares for weeks. As an adult, it was just one night.

BREAKING NEWS!!!

As some of you may know, from time to time here at Film’s Okay (I Guess), us editors like to band together, collecting and shaping our efforts into something resembling a tribute week. The upcoming 7 day span is one of those times. What is the subject of this week you may ask? Bruce Campbell, we answer in unison. Hail to the king, baby!

-Editors 1/2/3/4