OR, "WHICH ONE DO YOU THINK DESERVES ANOTHER LOOK?"
On Friday, Daily Grind House posted an article in which its contributors either pick their favorite Brian De Palma film, or the one they think deserves another look. The art pictured here, by Andy Vanderbilt, accompanied the article (you can see a bigger version there). In the article, you'll find a lot of Carrie, a lot of Body Double, some Phantom Of The Paradise, a little Dressed To Kill and The Fury, a little Sisters, Snake Eyes, etc., etc. For a sample, here's Brett Gallman on Obsession:
While it was released earlier in 1976, Brian De Palma’s OBSESSION soon found itself in the shadow of CARRIE, meaning it was destined to be forever overlooked in the director’s oeuvre. In retrospect, it’s almost apt that these particular films arrived within months of each other because they capture a director at a crossroads. Over the course of the previous five years, De Palma had come to find a singular voice in films like SISTERS and PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, and CARRIE feels like a culmination: this was the moment De Palma truly arrived.
And yet, it wasn’t quite enough for Brian De Palma to just be Brian De Palma, as he found himself famously chasing the ghosts of Hitchcock. That chase was arguably never as furious (or obvious) as it is with OBSESSION, which finds De Palma and co-writer Paul Schrader circling VERTIGO (to the tune of a Bernard Herrmann score, no less). Cliff Robertson replaces Jimmy Stewart as the ill-fated, lovelorn man at the film’s center, a New Orleans real estate developer who loses his wife and daughter to a botched kidnapping scheme. Years later, he falls for and marries a woman who bears a striking resemblance to his dead wife, and déjà vu appropriately hangs thick as De Palma retraces Hitchcock’s steps.
The layers of familiarity are almost deceptive: it’d be easy to dismiss OBSESSION as De Palma’s fanboy attempt to ape his idol, especially since his devotion to recapturing Hitchcock’s sweeping, melodramatic aesthetic is almost slavish. However, it’s more a fitting decoy designed to lure an unsuspecting audience down a path that quickly veers into the sort of lurid territory that Hitchcock only implied. OBSESSION climaxes with a dizzying display of ambiguity, a sublime moment that rapturously lays bare the psychosexual preoccupations of its director. It can be argued that this, too, is the moment De Palma truly arrived — even if he only stepped out of Hitchcock’s shadow long enough to be caught in his own a few months later.