Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kingdom of Shadows (1998)

Director: Bret Wood

Writer: Bret Wood

Composer: Joseph Turrin

Starring: Rod Steiger

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Rise of the Horror Film

Plot: Explores the sources of our fears and reveals the birth of the frightful conventions from which the modern-day horror movie has evolved, including the menacing shadows of the German Expressionists.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I dig Rod Steiger but he's so bad in this that my score dropped a good two points just for that.  He's at times wildly overacting and at others he sounds like he's about to fall asleep.  It's great that writer/director Wood was able to secure such a high profile name but Steiger turned out to be a big mistake.  He's not cut out for it.  Now, the film itself is very good and it's filled with an incredible amount of amazing images.  I've seen a few of the films featured and it's got me craving to watch them again and catch the rest of them.  It just goes to show you how exciting and advanced early cinema was.  The special effects techniques and story-telling abilities rival many modern films.  It's truly remarkable. Joseph Turrin's electronic score has some very effective moments when paired up with these silent images but there are times when it's kind of cheesy and thin.  This picture almost exclusively covers the silent era but it does touch on early sound films in the last couple of minutes. Is it worth watching?  Yes because of the amazing visuals but no because there's no escaping Steiger's poor narration.  It's currently streaming on Netflix.  Here's a laugh...I go through spurts where I write a lot of reviews from the backlog of films I recently watched countered with some lazy days where I don't write a thing.  I generally go two months out with single posts and then work backward and fill the days out with a second post.  This just happens to get added to a day with a Rod Steiger movie, W.C. FIELDS AND ME (1976).  I love it when a coincidence comes together.

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