Produced by: Burt Weissbourd and Douglas Green
Written by: Lawrence D. Cohen and Peter Straub (novel)
Original Music by: Philippe Sarde
Cinematographer: Jack Cardiff
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Premiere: December 15, 1981
Synopsis (from VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever 2001): Four elderly men, members of an informal social club called the Chowder Society, share a terrible secret buried deep in their pasts- a secret that comes back to haunt them to death. Has moments where it's chilling, but unfortunately they're few. Based on the best selling novel by Peter Shrub. (2 out of 4)
It's not very scary, or very horrific. In fact, almost all the scary moments consist of a sudden cut to a face of rotting flesh. After the first few times, it loses its effect. There are other points of horror, but they don't really work. The man that the ghost enlists to help her isn't very convincing or very scary, and exactly why she needs the help of a mortal when she can apparently move anywhere and do anything is not explained.
The scenes of her in human guise walking around in a dream and uttering creepy words aren't very scary either- well, at least not for me. Put it this way- I'm a young man. I see a beautiful woman walking around naked as the camera lingers on her face and body. I'm obviously not going to have all my attention on what she is saying! In fact, the film seems to put her topless as often as possible, with little motivation other than perhaps to distract us men from the lack of suspense.
Included is also one of the most gratuitous full-frontal male nudity shots ever. It's the only thing in the movie that made me close my eyes!
Some good points. As can be expected, the four old men are terrific. All four are long time masters of the silver screen, each one a legend in his own right. They are simply masterful, as are the supporting cast of Patricia Neal and Jacqueline Brooks. They put the young people to shame, each and every one of them.
The cinematography is excellent, with a palette of greys and browns indoors contrasted with a very stark white snow and black buildings outdoors. One can almost feel the chill of the snow as it sweeps past, or the heat of the fireplace as the orange flicker plays on the walls.
Movie buffs also give high marks to excellent direction and script, in particular an unusual narrative structure, excellent use of metaphor and imagery, and great attention to detail.
By the way, any Trekkies out there, see if you can recognise the Borg Queen.
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