The House That Jack Built

The House That Jack Built – Note: This is my full walkthrough & film summary of this graphic horror movie. Not for everyone. If you are into horror, have a listen 🙂 I recorded this back in 2018 when I was exploring a “Full Walkthrough” approach to movies on the podcast.

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My rough notes (Only included for bots and meta functionality): The director and buildup 2 levels: the incidents of a serial killer / the walk to hell, escorted by the verge It’s weird because we are in jack’s head but not supposed to relate with him, and yet we may. Ocd etc are relatable things Mr. Verge (Demon) and Jack 1st incident – Uma Thurman’s character is a bit demanding/annoying. She insults him by saying he looks like a serial killer. She gives him tips in jest on how to transport and bury bodies. She’s demanding about having him drive her back. She pushes and pushes, apparently as a joke, about how he is a serial killer. He is being very cruel with her, sarcastic. She STILL gets in a car with him. Then she says she takes it all back, saying he’s way too much of a wimp to be a serial killer. He kills her. As an engineer, Jack sees the act of killing as an engineered art. We see the pencils straight as a sign of his OCD. The walk-in freezer. He bought a retired restaurant freezer. Pizzas included. Put her body in there with the others. 2nd Incident – Door to door killing. Trying to get in. The wolf. The Kirby salesman. She agrees to let him in after much consternation. Once in, he says ridiculous things, almost playing with the situation, proving his ability to kill. Gets her to put a pillow under her head. Pretends to cry apologizing, gives her tea w poison. She still doesn’t die. Gets knife out, counts up the ribs, pierces her heart. Takes a photo of her with a little antique camera. Drags the body out – so much work to this art. Cleans up with bleach it looks like. He is haunted by the idea he left blood at the scene so he goes back to clean again. The OCD coming out. Even with an alarm on full blast, he recalls one place there might be blood and goes back yet again! Sees a police car, pulls the dead body out of the van. Cops come up to his van. Gives the cop another smooth story. This guy is good. Starts demanding the room be inspected. He is so sure of himself. Ties the body to the van. The drive causes her face to be ground down. Grisly sight. “I went to great lengths to fake normal empathy in order to confound the masses. The scythes are beautiful, peaceful. Cutting off the duckling’s foot is grisly, sad, repulsive. The strangling scenes are awful but in truth, probably as bad as this film gets for gore. This film raises the question: what is hell to jack? Preferred the dark negative light “demonic.” Jack had no family. 3rd incident The family shooting. 4th incident “I had a romance” He says he had stronger feelings for Riley Keough’s character than a psychopath is supposed to have. Jack meets Jacqueline (Riley Keough), a woman that he calls “Simple,” as he believes her to be stupid. Jack confesses he has killed sixty people at this point and is the serial killer “Mr. Sophistication,” but Jacqueline does not believe him and thinks he’s lying. She tries to get away and tell a cop, but he dismisses her as a drunk. Eventually, Jacqueline fails to escape and Jack cuts off her breasts with a knife and murders her. He pins one of the breasts to the Cop’s car and fashions the other one into a wallet. 5th Incident[edit] Jack has detained six people and tied them to a makeshift post, lining their heads up in a row with the intention of killing them all with one bullet, but he realizes that the bullet he bought from Al (Jeremy Davies) is not a full metal jacket bullet. Al refuses to sell the bullets and instead Jack has to go to the trailer of a man known as S.P. (David Bailie). Knowing that the cops are looking for Jack, S.P. points a gun at Jack and thinks that he has caught him. Jack convinces him to drop his gun and kills him with a knife through his throat and then grabs the one bullet he needs. He then puts on S.P.’s red bathrobe and waits for the police to arrive as his van is now stuck in a ditch and he requires transportation. He kills the cop and steals his car, which he leaves outside his freezer space with the siren blazing. He tries to line up the shot but realizes it’s too blurry. He finally succeeds in prying open a door at the back of the freezer that’s always been stuck shut. He continues to try to line up the shot and sees Verge for the first time. Verge suggests that Jack has unfinished business and has never really built the house that he was intending to build. Using the bodies as material, Jack constructs a house out of them and when he enters the make-shift house, he sees a hole that leads down. At this point, the cops successfully torch through the door, and Jack decides to go through the hole, following Verge. Epilogue: Katabasis[edit] In a clear allusion to Dante’s Inferno, Verge is actually the poet Virgil and is guiding Jack through Hell. At the very bottom of Hell there is a bridge and a vast dark space below. The door on the other side of the bridge leads out of Hell and presumably to Heaven as Verge tells Jack. The bridge is completely broken, but Jack notices that one could climb around the cliff and over to the other side, although Verge tells him that he recommends against it and that this is not where he is to deliver him. Jack ignores him and decides to try to climb over anyway. Jack fails and falls off the cliff down into the abyss with the flowing fire below.

The Accountant

I love watching a film I know hardly anything about that has mediocre scores on Rotten Tomatoes and that surprises the hell out of me to be on my best films of the year list. Watching the Accountant was like that for me.

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The rest of this review may contain spoilers

This is a film of two worlds: 1) a history and upbringing of an autistic boy and 2) The path of adulthood and a career for that boy after becoming a man. As it turns out, high functioning autistic people make ingenious accountants. Ben Affleck is this man and he is so good, many underground crime bosses use him to “uncook” their books. Let me reiterate, he is really good at it.

We are catapulted from stories of his youth where his father mercilessly trains him to fight a exist alone to his life as a criminal accountant who’s cool as a cucumber. If you heard he was doing well and not getting caught year after year, you might think to yourself, “Ok, so what’s the problem. This guy has it made.” Wrong. There are some real issues that would prevent the average person from being happy in his shoes. First, he can’t have relationships. His autism gives him tunnel vision and he is literally unable to walk away from projects. He attempts a relationship with Anna Kendrick but it never really pans out because of his disorder. In more than one way, it gets in the way.

In this film we see what Affleck’s character can do as a result of his father’s horrifying training. He is a machine when it comes to fighting. He is able to see details no one else does and this makes him not only an accounting weapon but also what we might call a para-military soldier and killer.

So, these are just some if the amazingly creative particulars written into this gem of a film. Affleck is at the top of his game. There are many shoot-em-ups from which he generally emerges victorious. I loved every minute of this film. They say people with autism are on a different level than the rest of us. This film shows that shouldn’t be looked down on. Someone with autism, trained in this way, could save the world. Would he be happy though? The jury’s still out.

‘The Congressman’ – Memorable Maine & Treat Williams

Watching “The Congressman” I was taken back by the video images of a sleepy Maine fishing town and impressed by the acting skills of Treat Williams.

There is care given to capture sunsets, active fishing expeditions, and more. There is one sunset that is unforgettable.

This film is about a Congressman named Charlie Winship, played by Treat Williams who is known for Hair and Deep Rising, among many other television and film roles. Charlie has a bad day when he is captured on iphone video sitting wile the rest of Congress is doing the pledge of allegiance. In our viral world, it gets publicizes fast and Charlie gets a lot of judgement for what he did. It gets a lot worse before it gets better and the idea presented is that we tend to worship rituals instead of concepts of freedom.

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Charlie retreats to an island off the coast of Maine and while there he recovers the small town values that once made up his political his platform. He connects with a woman, Rae Blanchard, played by Elizabeth Marvel. She is very important in his return to his previous morals about Freedom. The film moves around rather quickly with not too much time on any one person. It focuses a spotlight on an issue and then moves on leaving the viewer to form her/his own opinions.

TC_CharlieJaredBoat_finalThis may be seen by some as a “light hearted” film that doesn’t make any grand stadium statements. The other reason to see this film is Treat Williams’ performance. He speaks with such seasoned ease in acting. He delivers his line as though he were an actual congressman. It’s a great film to watch and internalize at the theater or on Video On Demand where you can find it now. For the reasons stated above, I hope many get to see and enjoy this film.

Directors: Jared Martin, Robert Mrazek
Writer: Robert Mrazek
Stars: Treat Williams, Elizabeth Marvel, Ryan Merriman
R | 1h 38min | Drama

Midnight Cowboy

I almost feel like if I don’t give this film 5 stars, bad movie karma will visit me. It is mentioned in so many reviews I read as well as in interviews with directors and actors. It was released with an “X” rating which is laughable by our standards today. I think you see one female breast in about three short, clothed sex scenes. It later received an R rating.

This film is old, it came out the same year I was born.

Oldies are often goodies though and “Midnight Cowboy,” while gritty, is a drama treat with award winning actors that make the story come alive.

I love movies that show us the naked city. From the playbills stapled and frayed on side streets to the honking of taxicabs. People are trying to survive and we get to travel with the camera, taking it all in. Of course, we can pause at any time or come back to revisit another time. People in the real city can’t. Maybe that’s why we like watching what they will do, often out of desperation.

Just seeing John Voight and Dustin Hoffman in their prime is very entertaining.

These guys were showing us acting like university drama instructors here in their mid twenties. John Voight has always struck me as one dimensional and stupid. That actually works for his character here. Hoffman is a con man, a sick one at that. We get a slice on 1969 in this very well made and incredibly acted film. I recommend it.

Title: Midnight Cowboy
Number of times I’ve seen it: 1
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: R
Year: 1969
Director: John Schlesinger, (“Marathon Man”)
Top Billed Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles

Brief Synopsis: Man moves to the big city and makes an unlikely friend.

The Story of Us

Some movies are feel-good the whole way through. Others are just sad. Others still take you through ups and downs to leave you sighing because you have just experienced life as it is, or almost anyway. This film is definitely one of those. I won’t call it feel good but it can still be called a romantic comedy. Hat tip on this one to Rob Reiner.

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Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer play a couple who have been married for 15 years and have reached the breaking point. It’s a series of flashblacks intermingled with present day challenges. There are some real keen insights into marriage: what works and what takes years to work out.

The rest of the review may contain spoilers

They have two kids, which makes the film more heart-rending. In one scene their daughter lays in bed with them pulling their hands together, very touching. You go through the whole movie asking yourself if they will get back together. In fact, you sometimes hope they won’t, the fighting is stressful to watch. You ask yourself if she has a real gripe with him because he “talked intimately” with another woman at work. She caught wind of it and initiated the separation. The issue of affairs and what really constitutes one comes up again and again.

It seems to me there were a lot of conflicts prior to the questionable “talking.” As you watch the film it seems questionable whether they should have ever gotten together at all. She is a mathematical, ordered thinker whereas his head is in the cloud. Can an analytical type ever be happy with an artist? That’s another question brought up here again and again.

It’s a movie singles and couples can enjoy. If you don’t identify with the couple, perhaps you were the children at a younger age. The great thing about this film is that it dares to present real people. I’ll take that over a fake romance, unless I want to watch fake romance, which from time to time I do, then I wouldn’t watch this. Still, I’m glad it’s here, I’m glad this film was made.

Diabolique (1955)

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An abused, neglected wife and her husband’s jaded mistress plot the perfect murder.



The biggest pat on the back for this film goes to the writers. The way the characters are developed turns the screw of intensity until finally the ending is revealed. If you haven’t seen it, let me say it is not like other endings, it is a magnificent one, set apart.

Many writers were involved in starting and completing this film. After the final scenes’ power, you will likely agree with me it shows! The director is Henri-Georges Clouzot. He is known for other intensely dark yet compelling thrillers like this one. The films he has done as listed in his IMDB bio are: “Le Corbeau and “The Wages of Fear.” I admit to not seeing these films, but I want to after seeing “Les Diabolique.” He is compared in the bio to Hitchcock except with films that “do not have as much light relief.”

Le Corbeau got Georges in a lot of trouble. The French government thought he presented France in a dark and bad light so he was banned from making films for several years. Though there are many other stories about this director, I feel that one is the most telling about his honesty and integrity as a filmmaker. Thank goodness I don’t live in a censored state like he did. I don’t think I would be able to stand for it. Inevitably, this made him tough and thoughtful about his craft.

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The brutal scene pictured here is a good followup to the director who crafted this amazing film. By today’s standards, it’s tame but for 1955 it was more brutal & mysterious than Hitchcock and that’s why people still love it to this day.

This film takes place in a French boys’ school where most the characters work. The Headmaster has been cheating on his wife for years and his mistress as well as the wife, work at the school. This is where the story is told and the exquisite tension begins.

You see a far different school than ours in America today. The teachers are smoking in the presence of the students, the kids food fight regularly, although it is smart how they just don’t feed them for the malfeasance. It seems to be ameliorated the next day. Funny what a schoolmaster hunger can be right? The headmaster is a womanizer, a rapist (in theory), and an all around unlikable guy. We start to see right away he needs to be killed, or at least we hope. As the two women drive together, they discuss a plan to get rid of this guy once and for all. For all intents and purposes, it seems like a perfect plan for murder.

I want to make a comment about the practical effects. Obviously back then it was all they had to work with but they are so much fun to watch. I recently watched “Eyes Without a Face,” another classic horror, and the car scenes were so funny to me. It looks so fake and yet they probably thought it was so real for the time. The scenes in these cars are even more archaic and also more funny to me. It really shows how far we’ve come with effects. Now back to the idea of this plot, with no spoilers.

The film is black and white of course and filmed almost entirely at the house which is the school for boys. The swimming pool that is part of their plan is at the school. They do a great job distracting the viewer with activities of the children. We find that the husband/headmaster has a lot to lose if his wife divorces him. He hits her and treats her miserably. As the viewer it’s hard to not imagine killing him, he’s that bad. BUT as we all know in the civilized world, it’s never appropriate to kill someone. We watch these two women make their plans, as he equally humiliates the mistress though not as badly, and their path takes them to another location: a holiday hotel.

The little couple that manage the hotel are side-splittingly funny. They are innocents and it’s funny how people intending to kill can look at innocents with such jealousy. Once the deed is done, there’ll be no going back.

I’ll leave my summary there for you. I haven’t given anything away except the fact that there is a great ending. I would challenge you to be brave and watch this old film. It’s better than so many modern murder mysteries.  If you’ve seen it, do leave some thoughts in the comments. I enjoy discussing this and other murder mysteries in this genre. Thos eare my thoughts, what did you think of this film?

 

Cemetery of Splendor

I won’t try to overstep my grasp of this film. I figure readers like to read something by a guy who knows what he is talking about and at the very least comprehends what is happening. I can’t say I do 100% in this film. BUT, I will take this review opportunity to tell you exactly how I took this film and the hedonic components as they revealed themselves to me. I call this sort of film impressionistic hedonism and let me tell you, it’s not for everyone. Note this partial genre: fantasy. Available From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video.

Cemetery of Splendor (2015)
Rak ti Khon Kaen (original title)
Unrated | 2h 2min | Drama, Fantasy | 2 September 2015 (France)
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From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video
A group of soldiers in a small town on the Mekong River in northern Thailand are struck with a bizarre sleeping illness.
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Writer: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Stars: Jenjira Pongpas, Banlop Lomnoi, Jarinpattra Rueangram

I love Thai food. I also love Buddhist temples. There’s one close to us here in Southern California that I have gone to many times “when I was confused” (quote from the film and also my life). What was I confused about you might ask? As in the film, the answer would be “love.”

In the last 1/4 of the film there is this contraption that propels water and yet doesn’t move. Actually it’s impossible to tell if it is propelling or being propelled. It make the sound of a free shooting sprinkler and it’s magnificent. There were many times in this film I got that relaxed feeling you get after a good meditation or even a massage. Thailand appears to be so beautiful. There are numerous scenes that appear chosen in color and framing as if to hang in a temple. The only thing missing is a padded stool and lovely incense. Is there a story here? Oh yes but it’s a lot like the hedonic imagery, you better not make a judgment, better to just relax and accept that everyone around us is dead. Not sad, dead.

Shall we pretend that we’re dead? Like the water propellers, there are a dozen or more deeply fascinating and ethereal objects & images. I collect these types of images in my mind. If you don’t, you won’t get it.

There are a few women, one in particular, who take care of men in a comatose state. We find out why they will never wake up at some point. Then we learn more about the living women and what their life is all about. Or is it life? This film was great for breathing exercises and armchair traveling in my lazy boy. For those who would like that and “get that” I recommend to you 8/10.