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a la Mod:
We're celebrating Halloween season with a commentary track for one of Agatha's favorite movies, Brian De Palma's 1974 cult horror musical Phantom of the Paradise! Listen as we praise the amazing songwriting of Paul Williams, identify De Palma's various references to classic films, and marvel at Jessica Harper's dancing. Listen for our countdown to start your copy of the movie. Warning: Contains explicit language, spoilers, and awkward traveling mattes.
Jonathan Anderson‘s eponymous British brand, JW Anderson, doesn’t shy away from a bold print or a heavy reference. In recent times, the designer has drawn influence from the South Korean cartoon Run Hany, delivered a Spring/Summer 2023 runway show dispersed with kitsch nods like goldfish swimming in a bag, and has also released his infamous FW22 pigeon clutch. Now, the designer gears up for spooky season as JW Anderson has collaborated with MGM on one of its most notorious horror films, Carrie.
Released in 1976, the Stephen King-adapted film directed by Brian De Palma went on to become a cult classic. With Carrie White — played by Sissy Spacek — as the film’s protagonist, it was a film unlike many others of its time as the bullied Miss. White became the unlikely star of the film, using psychic powers at her school prom to release her telekinetic terror.
As for the capsule collection, Anderson spotlights Carrie herself across a number of key womenswear-centric items (although, much of JW Anderson’s clothes lean into the genderless realms of fashion). Here, a black shirt sports classic Carrie masthead branding alongside a depiction of a prom tiara, while another graphic shirt shows the moment Carrie is crowned prom queen — moments before she massacres students en masse.
Printed co-ords expand this theme with the help of formal pants, while T-shirts, hoodies and a puffer jacket round off the capsule’s RTW, with accessories including the Bumper Moon bag, a baseball cap, and tote bags also making an appearance. Take a look at the Jurgen Teller-shot campaign (staring the model Lily McMenamy) above, and shop the collection online or in JW Anderson’s flagship Soho, London store, now.
Also yesterday, IndieWire posted an article with the headline, "Spooky Strings and Scary Synths: IndieWire’s Favorite Horror Scores." It features a nicely-stated appreciation of Pino Donaggio's score for Carrie by Jim Hemphill:
Brian De Palma worked with one of his heroes, Bernard Herrmann, on “Sisters” and “Obsession,” and he planned to have Herrmann score “Carrie” as well. When Herrmann passed away, De Palma was faced with an unusual challenge: How do you find a composer worthy of following in the footsteps of arguably the greatest that ever lived? The director must have been happy with what he found in Italian composer Pino Donaggio, because they would go on to collaborate on many future films, including “Dressed to Kill,” “Blow Out,” “Body Double,” and “Raising Cain.” “Carrie” remains one of their greatest triumphs, a film in which Donaggio’s lyrical strings and woodwinds seem to be speaking for telekinetic high school outcast Carrie White herself — and in which the stabbing, shrieking strings interrupt her reveries to pave the way for her assaults on her enemies. Donaggio viewed “Carrie” as less of a horror film than a tragedy, and his music evokes almost physically painful feelings in the viewer toward the doomed title character. It also makes the film all the scarier when the horror does kick in, because we’ve grown to care about Carrie to a degree uncommon for a film of any genre. —JH
And on a final note, last week, New City Film posted an article by director Jennifer Reeder, with the headline, "Made for Horror: Favorite Genre Films, Led By Women." The article focuses on films directed by women, but at the end, Reeder adds on "Special-mention genre films I love about women but directed by men." --
Carrie (1976), Brian de Palma
This film features the most perfect ending to all films ever made. It’s a great example of why the “teen film” is a perfect nest for horror. Sissy Spacek is brilliant as both hero and villain.
Rebecca (1940), Alfred Hitchcock (based on a book by Daphne de Maurier)
A wickedly morose telling of a lady love triangle between a newlywed, her maid and a ghost. I saw this film for the first time when I was very young, and it’s been under my skin ever since. It’s possibly one of the reasons I am a filmmaker who works in genre.
Made with the reflexive panache that would make most modern directors weep, De Palma’s second collaboration with Pacino proved to be a much more muted affair than their first. Carlito’s Way sees a reformed Puerto Rican gangster trying to keep things clean upon his release from prison, but his attempts to own a garish nightclub that’s an assault on the senses of sight and sound inevitably gets tied up with the nefarious deeds he wanted to avoid. Poor guy! There’s not much hope for him throughout the two-and-a-half-hour runtime, seeing as the opening shots show his dead body being carried away. It’s great seeing Pacino, the same year he won his Oscar, slum around as a noble ex-con building his life up from nothing.
In terms of delirious performances, Pacino actually struggles to let his Hooah-ness shine, thanks to the dominating lifeforce that is Sean Penn as Carlito’s insecure, belligerent, coke-fiend best friend. When Pacino isn’t trying to calm down Penn’s sweaty turn, he has to fend off a scenery-chewing Viggo Mortensen (wired and wheelchair-riding in his one scene) and a luminescent John Leguizamo as the flashy wannabe bigtimer Benny Blanco (from the Bronx). And, like all good movies, Luis Guzmán is in the background somewhere. It’s understandable how straight Pacino plays it; even in a De Palma movie, there’s a limit on how many insane performances you can have before a movie bursts at the seams. And while Pacino hadn’t yet leaned fully into the shouty, eye-bulging indulgences that the ‘90s would represent for him, he did get to lead a classic dialogue-free De Palma suspense sequence, evading sinister characters across a big railway station. Little victories.
THE FILM VAULT is launched this December, a brand new collector’s range featuring titles across the Warner Bros. Discovery and Universal Pictures catalogues, with four highly-collectable and beautifully packaged titles on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-rayTM: BLADE RUNNER, GOODFELLAS, SCARFACE and 1917. With striking, newly-commissioned artwork based around a key scene from each of the films, and unique packaging, these limited edition 4K releases are sure to be a must-have for any serious film collector’s shelves. Each title will build towards a numbered Film Vault collection, comprising some of the greatest titles in cinema…
The four titles are on 4K UHD for ultimate home cinema picture and sound, and packaged in an acetate slip-cover detailing the title’s numbered entry in the collection, with newly commissioned key art from Vice Press by renowned artists Matt Ferguson and Florey, printed on a rigid clamshell outer case with a magnetic clasp, that contains a digipak housing a 4K Ultra HD and a Blu-rayTM copy of the film, a branded envelope, deluxe art cards, and in some cases a reproduction ‘in world artefact’ from the film. Completing each set is a new premium collectable – a beautifully etched and individually numbered crystal display plaque, bearing each film’s title treatment and motif.
Welcome to The B-Side, from The Film Stage. Here we talk about movie stars and directors! Not the movies that made them famous or kept them famous, but the ones they made in between.
Today we get a little nasty. We get a little creepy. We dig into the works of Brian De Palma! Conor and I are joined by filmmaker and returning guest Chadd Harbold, whose new film Private Property is now available on Hulu! We also examine the film Private Property from 1960, which Harbold’s 2022 film reimagines, along with the new film’s De Palma-esque inspirations.
The B-Sides discussed are: Phantom of the Paradise, Casualties of War, Femme Fatale, and The Black Dahlia. We also take lengthy pit-stops at The Fury and Mission to Mars.
Harbold explains why Femme Fatale is De Palma’s best film, why the old, great directors need to hire young DPs when shooting digital, which actors know what they’re doing in The Black Dahlia, and which actors do NOT. There’s references to this Slant Magazine article as well as De Palma, the superb documentary from Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow (now streaming on Showtime). Finally, we must mention the intensive retrospective of De Palma The Film Stage took on in 2016.
Oh, and we talk about the greatness of that Mission to Mars by Ennio Morricone.
Margot Kidder is Danielle, a beautiful model separated from her Siamese twin, Dominique. When a hotshot reporter (Jennifer Salt) suspects Dominique of a brutal murder, she becomes dangerously ensnared in the sisters’ insidious sibling bond. A scary and stylish dissection of female crisis, Brian De Palma’s first foray into horror voyeurism is a stunning amalgam of split-screen effects, bloody birthday cakes, and a chilling score by frequent Alfred Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann. Film critic Carrie Ricky writes: “In movie shorthand, ‘Sisters’ paraphrases elements of ‘Rope,’ ‘Rear Window,’ ‘Vertigo,’ and ‘Psycho.’ Yet its searching camera work — often doubled in split screens suggesting both split personalities and clashing perspectives — is uniquely De Palma’s. While ‘Sisters’ is not his first overt nod to Hitchcock — that was ‘Murder à la Mod’ (1968) — it is the best, and most mordantly funny, in a career that also includes the glosses ‘Obsession’ (1976) and ‘Dressed to Kill’ (1980).”
Here's the description of the newest episode, which was let loose today:
American Giallo Pt. 1: Dressed To Kill / Eyes Of Laura Mars (with Eli Roth)
Quentin, Roger and guest customer Eli Roth (director of Hostel and Cabin Fever) kick off our first themed series: American Giallo! After outlining their thoughts on the genre, they start with Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill. A mysterious tall blonde woman wearing sunglasses murders a psychiatrist’s patient, and now she’s after the prostitute who witnessed it. Quentin, Roger and Eli talk about how the villainous Bobbi affected them, discuss the controversy surrounding the film, and reveal how the story changed from script to screen.
Next, we’ll look through Irvin Kershner’s Eyes Of Laura Mars. A famous fashion photographer develops a disturbing ability to see through the eyes of a killer. The hosts discuss strange plot devices, read excerpts from interviews that shed light on the true history of the film, and hear how Eli would have rewritten the ending. Tune in next week for the conclusion of this two part episode, with Alice Sweet Alice and Happy Birthday To Me!
Learn more about this week’s films, get Video Archives merch and more at videoarchivespodcast.com. Follow us on Twitter @videoarchives, and on Instagram @videoarchivespod. You can also write us a question by sending a letter to The Video Archives Podcast, c/o Earwolf Media, PO Box 66, 5551 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90028.