Sunday, July 5, 2015

Foreign Correspondents 1

I realize this blog has been remiss in a number of areas, we didn’t address the passing of Christopher Lee, which we intend to, and the comic reviews have been sporadic, but we should be continuing with those shortly. Obviously all of the attention on The X-Files Revival has directed out focus on that, which it should after all, and the focus again on providing more great content for the main site, and to retool the site to adapt to the changes within X-Philes community. There has also been the writing for the huge site, Den of Geek, which continues. I will attempt to continue this occasional series with like minded interesting films as I proceed with the following.

I wanted to mention a few obscure film sources that are interesting in their own right, and while I have doubts such material ever came to the attention of the folks of the production team for Ten-Thirteen, I thought these films are worth mentioning.

The first is a Swedish / Danish silent film from 1922 titled Haxan (Witchcraft Through The Ages), which has been restored, and an interesting mix of a historical documentary, with staged reenactments that is broken up into four sections. A number of the visuals are striking for a film of that era, and it is notable how many silent films had some striking images where it made you wonder how they achieved such visuals in the early days of film craft.

The next film cited has to be credited with creating another science fiction film from the mid 1960s. The American made Queen of Blood, directed by Curtis Harrington, and starring John Saxon and Basil Rathbone and a young Dennis Hopper, was an interesting and impressive looking low budget space opera from 1966, that dealt with our future where an American space agency is contacted by beings from another world who announce their intention to meet with us under the guise of peace. But the craft holding their envoys, including their queen, crashes on the planet Mars and one of the Moons of Mars, an American team is sent to rescue the survivors. Their queen is the only survivor, she is a silvery green humanoid being who attacks the crew one by one on the way back to Earth, she turns out to be a space vampire, and their mission had to do more with finding a new planet of potential hosts than peaceful intents, as reflected in the bitterly ironic ending. One can find the trailer here.

Roger Corman had bought the rights to two Russian films from the late 50s and early 60s, Mechte Navstrechu and Nebo Zoyzot and used the effects footage and settings to build up Queen of Blood into a unique effort. The bulk of the more impressive and imaginative footage came from Mechte Navstrechu, a film that had a elements of a similar plot to a degree but was heavy handed in it’s propaganda against America. One of the differences being that aliens have heard beautiful Russian songs in their transmissions and felt compelled to visit Russia, the title translates into A Dream Come True. But the sheer visual invention of the footage make it’s worth taking a look, and should give fans a taste of European cinema from a bygone era.

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