Where Forgotten Films Dwell

Welcome to this site! It exists for one reason: to preserve the memory of films that have been forgotten about or under-appreciated throughout the ages. Take a seat, read an entry, leave a comment. You might discover your new favorite movie!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Update: No Review This Week

Well, folks...

Tomorrow I'm moving to New York City to attend film school at New York University!  Due to the flooding from Hurricane Irene, the next few days are going to be complete insanity.  Because of this, I won't be able to write a new review this week.

Hopefully, I'll be able to return next week with a brand new Forgotten Classic!

Stay safe and dry, everyone!

Nathanael Hood

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Directed by George A. Romero
The United States of America

There’s something strange about that new boy in town.  Nobody can quite put their finger on it...but something about that young man just seems...off.  Armed with a bag full of narcotics, razors, and needles, he can be seen milling around town and loitering.  Every now and then he stops to stare at people, young women, in particular.  But he always shoves off whenever someone approaches him.  It can’t help that he’s living with Tada Cuda, a local Lithuanian Catholic who seems to forget that he isn’t living in the 14th century.  The old man seems convinced that Demons exist and are plaguing his home of Braddock, Pennsylvania.  He can always be heard by neighbors yelling at the young man, even at strange hours of the night.  But that’s just Tada Cuda.  No...it’s that new young man who seems out of place.  His name, we learn, is Martin Mathias.  And he is a vampire.

At least...he thinks he is a vampire.  He can walk under sunlight, eat normal food, and even go to Mass.  But every few nights, he hits the town with his bag of goodies to feed.  Mercifully, he sedates his victims with his tools before fatally slashing them and drinking their blood.  The opening scene depicts Martin’s surgical precision in locating a target, preparing his needles, sneaking into her room, and moving in for the kill.  But as I said, there’s something...off...about this young man.  Before feeding, he strips naked and removes her clothes as well.  He slices her arm open, suckles at the cut, and then kisses her lips.  He even cuddles up to her naked form, almost crying at their macabre and bloody consummation.  Then, he cleans up the blood, wipes away all of the evidence of his intrusion, and positions her body so that it looks like a suicide, not a murder.  If Martin is a vampire, then he hates himself for being one.

This inner turmoil is the heart of George A. Romero’s Martin.  After reinventing the horror genre with the classic Night of the Living Dead (1968), he directed this introspective character study.  The film is undeniably a lost gem from the career of the man most remembered for turning the stomachs of millions with his graphic zombie movies.  In fact, knowing that Romero directed this film can be downright disorienting.  It doesn’t feel like many of his other works.  While most of his films are intense assaults on the senses of the audience, Martin takes its patient time, fully exploring and developing its characters.  It creates doubt and inspires skepticism.  Is Martin really a vampire?  Is he nothing more than a disturbed serial killer?  If he isn’t a vampire, why does he think of himself as one?

While the film doesn’t give any definitive answers, it does leave important clues.  While feeding, he is barraged with black and white visions of vampiric seductions of virginal beauties.  In another, Martin, dressed in clothes from the 19th century, is chased and assaulted by a group of puritans and townsfolk.  Are these memories of past encounters that haunt him during his bloody work?  Or could they possibly be fantasies spurred on by his animal-like thirst?  Could it be both?  Whatever they are, they haunt Martin in his darkest moments.

But most curious of all is Martin’s steadfast denial of magic and the supernatural.  This becomes evident during his interactions with Tada Cuda who is convinced that he is an Old World vampire.  He never refers to Martin by name, instead calling him “Nosferatu.”  He sets up garlic bulbs and crucifixes around the house to repel him.  Martin angrily rips the garlic off the wall in one scene, runs into Tada Cuda’s room, takes a bite, and screams that there is no such thing as magic.  His cousin Christina seems fascinated by Martin and tries to uncover his secrets.  He bitterly rebukes her time and again with, “There’s no real magic...ever.”  What causes his repulsion of the supernatural?  Perhaps his parents were like Tada Cuda and raised him in an environment of hatred and suspicion.  That would explain why he hates the supernatural.  In addition, it also explains why he would hate his identity as a vampire.

But let’s pretend for a moment that Martin isn’t a vampire.  Why does he identify himself as one?  Perhaps he is desperate for the intimacy and physical contact that his annual feedings bring.  Martin reveals to a local housewife who seduces him that he is a virgin.  So maybe his feedings answer some forbidden or misguided lust.  The Japanese film Ichi the Killer (2001) features a character who was raised to believe that sexual arousal was really a form of homicidal lust that could only be quenched by killing people.  Could something similar have happened to Martin?  Might he be confusing his own sexual frustration with a supposed need to kill and drink blood?  In one scene, he breaks into a house at night intending to feed on a young housewife.  He discovers her having an affair with a young man.  Enraged, he knocks the woman out with narcotics and proceeds to brutally murder the young man and drink his blood.  Why did he kill the young man?  He could have just knocked him out, too.  Was he jealous of what the man had in his relationship with the housewife?  Was it an act borne of confused sexual jealousy?

Or perhaps it is a cry for attention.  Martin develops a habit of calling up a local radio station and recounting his exploits as a vampire.  He becomes a big hit, even being affectionately dubbed “The Count” by the DJ.  Even though the attention is superficial (and exploitative) he seems to thrive off it.  Indeed, the radio seems to be the only time that he can confess his inner feelings and describe the forces that torture him.  The radio becomes a companion and confessor, as he recalls his feedings and crimes to thousands over the air waves.  The radio fills a void in Martin’s life that should have been filled by friends and family, yet has been cruelly denied him. 

Martin is a powerful, albeit curious film that proves that George A. Romero could direct films with genuine substance.  You might have noticed that I have asked quite a few questions during this review.  That is because the film itself gives rise to so many, yet answers so few.  Is Martin a vampire?  Does it matter?  He is clearly a disturbed young man.  Did his environment give rise to his need to drink blood, or vice versa?  Regardless, Martin is a penetrating look into the tortured mind of a tortured young man.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Directed by Derek Jarman
Great Britain

In a white room somewhere in Porto Ercole, Tuscany, a man lays dying.  At a nearby table, his deaf-dumb friend sits, cutting a small piece of wood into tiny pieces with a sharp knife.  The sick man’s breathing comes in difficult draws, much like the echo of the nearby sea.  His mind races as he recalls a short lifetime’s worth of memories, tragedies, and accomplishments.

His name is Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, and he was a painter.  Not just any painter, but one of the most celebrated, and despised, in all of Rome.  During his career, he had shook the art world to its core and shocked the heart of the Church.  Genius, rebel, lover, fighter...he was all of these things.  But now, in the little white room, he is just a man slowly dying to the rhythm of the waves.  Soon, it will be all over.  His passing will be noted but not mourned.  His art, once celebrated, will drift into obscurity.  But he will not be forgotten.  Instead of being remembered by critics and historians, he lives on in the 80 of his paintings to survive to the modern day.  Indeed, although mocked and ridiculed in his own time, he influenced countless other artists and imitators.  One of these was English director Derek Jarman.  In 1986, he released a film memorializing his work and life.  Simply entitled Caravaggio, is not so much a film, but a complete artistic realization of a man that time forgot.

The film is told via a sequence of disjointed flashbacks as Caravaggio literally sleeps on his deathbed.  We see him as a teenager who hustles old men and paints fiery portraits.  “I painted myself as Bacchus and took on his fate,” the old man recollects.  These works attract the eye of Cardinal Del Monte who takes him in and gives him an education.

The Cardinal molds his young mind, teaching him reading, philosophy, and religion.  He commissions several paintings and finds himself more and more amazed by what he finds.  Regarding a portrait of a sick young man that Caravaggio painted and modeled for, he asks, “Why is the skin painted green?”  Caravaggio answers, “Because I was sick when I painted it.” 

Caravaggio stuns critics and fellow artisans with his (for the time) unorthodox methods.  Painters of the time would hire models, draw sketches, and then paint based on the sketches.  Caravaggio painted the actual models directly onto the canvas at great speed, refusing to idealize them.  He would hire street people to pose for his religious paintings.

This would include the use of prostitutes as models for the Virgin and female saints.  Even more unusual than his methods were his finished products.  One of the pioneers of chiaroscuro, he drowned his subjects in stark rays of light amidst oceans of black and shadows.  There was almost no contrast to his works: there was light, there was darkness.  His paintings were also full of anachronisms: subjects and models for historical pieces would frequently be depicted wearing modern (17th century) clothes.

When he wasn’t painting, Caravaggio would raise hell by drinking, fighting, and brawling his way through Italy.  Along the way he discovers Ranuccio, a street fighter, who captures his imagination and heart.  He begins a torrid affair with Ranuccio and his girlfriend Lena.  Both Ranuccio and Lena are jealous of each other and compete for Caravaggio’s attention...at least until Lena announces that she is pregnant.  Ranuccio pleads with her and asks who the child belongs to.  “Why, to me,” she coyly replies.  In addition, she adds that she is leaving them both to become the mistress to the wealthy Scipione Borghese.  She adds, almost giggling in her defeat over Ranuccio, “The child...the child will be wealthy beyond avarice.”

Lena is later found dead, having been drowned in a canal.  Ranuccio is arrested for murder.  Caravaggio repents of his former lifestyle and begs the Pope to free Ranuccio.  Having succeeded in freeing him, Ranuccio and Caravaggio embrace.  “We sure fooled them,” Ranuccio laughs.  Caravaggio freezes.  “I did it so we could be together,” says Ranuccio.  A disbelieving Caravaggio slits Ranuccio’s throat and flees from the authorities.  For several years, he stays on the run.  He manages to avoid being found until he takes up a bed in that little white room in Porto Ercole.  He refuses to accept Last Rites from the Church.

Yet he dies with the memory of seeing the Passion as a child lingering on his mind.  Here ends the life of Caravaggio, a contradiction until the very end.

Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio is a stunning film to behold.  Jarman’s care for scene composition is astonishing.  Every second of the film has been framed as if it were a still life or fresco done by the master painter himself.  Jarman used candles and other unusual means to replicate the same chiaroscuro shadows and lighting that dominated Caravaggio’s paintings.

In addition to merely replicating Caravaggio’s paintings via composition and form, Jarman replicated the very techniques that he used to create his masterpieces.  He would deliberately cast odd choices for various roles, most notably that of Jack Birkett, a flamboyant homosexual, as the Catholic Pope.

For Lena, he cast Tilda Swinton in her first on-screen role.  Swinton does NOT make a convincing street urchin as she somehow radiates straight through the dust and mud that covers her body. 

Just as Caravaggio placed historical anachronisms in his paintings, so too does Jarman.  In an early scene when Caravaggio lives on the street, he robs an older man dressed in a contemporary white suit.

At a local bar, the actors smoke cigarettes and bask in visible electric lights.

During a premiere of his work, light jazz is heard playing.  Afterwards, an art critic lounges in a tub while banging away at a review on a typewriter.

And, most notably, a high church official plays with a small electric calculator while being attended on by three servants wearing black and white suits.

But these are all trivial details.  The true triumph of Caravaggio can hardly be summed up in words or explanations.  The film is simply majestic to watch.  It has a beauty that has only been matched by a very few films, Days of Heaven and The River being two prominent examples.  It is a consummate, tortured, and nearly uncontainable work of art.  But most incredibly, Jarman’s film is not the story of Caravaggio’s life.  Instead, it is the story of Caravaggio’s art, his techniques, and his tragedy.  Indeed, Caravaggio could quite possibly be the very film that Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio would have made if he had been commissioned to make a film about his life.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blogathon Final Thoughts

Well folks...

It's been an amazing two weeks. 

I've had the pleasure of meeting many new, incredible bloggers and discovering a whole mess of films that I've now had to add to my "to-see" list.

This blogathon went better than I could have hoped.  My favorite part wasn't the movies or even the entries, though.  It was the people.  I have watched from afar, high atop twitter accounts, facebook updates, and comments sections to see new friendships being born out of thin air.  It warms my heart to see relationships break out over blog updates and movie reviews.  People, we've done more than just create an impressive amount of new content for our blogs...we've created a community.  It's a community made up of people from all over the world, from different lifestyles and backgrounds, who have all come together over a common love: film.

THAT is the true success of this blogathon.

I've been overwhelmed by the love, passion, and commitment that you have all demonstrated over the past two weeks.  Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

Many of you have asked if there will be another blogathon on this site.  The answer is "yes."  Here's the problem.  I'm starting graduate school in two weeks.  I don't know what my workload will be like when I start.  Therefore, I don't want to commit to hosting another blogathon before I know whether or not I'll have the time to curate it.  But if I find that I'll be too busy, then the next blogathon won't be until May, when my classes let out.


If I find that I CAN manage my workload and have enough extra time left over, I'd like to hold my next blogathon in December or early January.  Of course, I will post the information for the next blogathon on my site a few months in advance so that we have enough time to write our articles.  And, yes, I DO have a topic picked out for the next blogathon.  NO, I will not be telling you all, yet.  I have a certain...how shall I put this...connection...that may be able to bring the next blogathon a great deal of attention.  By that I mean that my next blogathon could very literally gain a wee bit of media attention...at least among the world-wide blogging community.  It's on a topic that literally ANYONE who loves film can write on.  It isn't limited to any genre, country, or time period.  And, no...it isn't another "favorite film" blogathon.  I'll let you know as soon as I have more details.

Anyway, I just want to say thank you again for all of the bloggers and readers out there who have made this blogathon special.  I hope to see all of you again come this December.

Nathanael Hood

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


And the Grand Prize Winner...as voted by our bloggers is:



Stay tuned, folks...there's still one last update left.  

Nathanael Hood

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

2nd Place Winner

Well everyone, time to announce our second place winner!



Stay tuned for our Grand Prize Winner!

Nathanael Hood

Monday, August 8, 2011

3rd Place Winner

Well folks, it's time to reveal our Third Place Winner!

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Congratulations, Ivan!  Take a bow!

Stay tuned for our Second and Grand Prize Winners!

Nathanael Hood

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blogathon Awards: Finalists

Hey gang!

Originally, I wanted to do five awards:

-Two "finalists" awards for 4th and 5th

But lo and behold...things don't always work out as planned.  We had a FOUR WAY TIE for fourth place.  So...Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear is PROUD to award four Finalist Awards.  Here they are, in no particular order:

Vulnavia Morbius

Grand Old Movies


Jim Lane

There you go, folks!  Congratulations to the four finalists!  Stay tuned for our first, second, and third prize winners!

Nathanael Hood

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Blogathon Voting

Well gang, it's been a great week of blogging!  We had 41 incredible entries that examined everything from movies, television shows, comic books, and recipes!  But now it's time for everybody's favorite part...AWARDS!!

Here is how it'll work:

1) Voting will take place over the next three days: August 4-7.
2) Everybody who participated gets FIVE votes.
3) You cannot vote for yourself.
4) You cannot vote for anybody more than once.
5) Award winners will be announced on August 8th.


So get out there and start voting, folks!

Here is a list of eligible voters and candidates for awards:

Ivan Lerner (http://ivanlandia1.blogspot.com/)
Kevyn Knox (http://themostbeautifulfraudintheworld.blogspot.com/)
Stacia (http://www.shebloggedbynight.com)
Rick (http://classic-film-tv.blogspot.com/)
Toby (http://fiftieswesterns.wordpress.com/)
Jaime Grijalba (http://Exodus8-2.blogspot.com)
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. (http://thrillingdaysofyesteryear.blogspot.com)
Team Bartilucci (http://doriantb.blogspot.com/)
Michaël Parent (http://cinephiliaque.blogspot.com/)
Barry P. (http://cinematiccatharsis.blogspot.com/)
Chris Michael (http://recentlyviewedmovies.blogspot.com/)
Hal (http://hornsection.blogspot.com/)
Paul J. Marasa (http://theconstantviewer.blogspot.com/)
Hal C. F. Astell (http://www.apocalypselaterfilm.com/)
KC (http://classicmovieblog.blogspot.com/)
Grand Old Movies (http://grandoldmovies.wordpress.com/) 
100 Years of Movies (http://100yearsofmovies.blogspot.com/)
Lauren (http://laurenhairston.blogspot.com)
Amanda (astairerogers.blogspot.com)
Dave (http://davesclassicfilms.blogspot.com/)
Caroline (http://garbolaughs.wordpress.com/)
Jim Lane (http://jimlanescinedrome.blogspot.com/)
Rich (http://widescreenworld.blogspot.com/)
Stuart (http://www.undy-a-hundy.com)
Yvette (http://yvettecandraw.blogspot.com/)
Tim Brannan (http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/)
Kevin (http://kevinsmoviecorner.blogspot.com/)
JHeft (http://whatheft.com/)
Mr. Exploit (http://xploiting.blogspot.com/)
Caftan Woman (http://caftanwoman.blogspot.com/)
Erin (http://initforthekills.com/)
Doug Bonner (http://www.postmodernjoan.com/wp02/)
John Greco (http://twentyfourframes.wordpress.com/)
Rachel (http://thegirlwiththewhiteparasol.blogspot.com/)
Cliff (http://www.things-and-other-stuff.com)
Thomas Duke (http://cinemagonzo.blogspot.com/) 
W.B. Kelso (http://microbrewreviews.blogspot.com/)
Vulnavia Morbius (http://krelllabs.blogspot.com/)
Dr. Strangefilm (http://www.moviefanfare.com/)
Secret Sanctum of Captain Video (http://captainvideossecretsanctum.blogspot.com) 
Brandie (http://trueclassics.wordpress.com)

So start voting, folks!

Nathanael Hood

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


It's the final day of Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear's 50's Monster Mash!!

Remember...follow my twitter feed for up-to-date information concerning new posts and blog updates! Follow me at NateHood257!

 The Aztec Mummy Against the Humanoid Robot
Jake Heft

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Jim Lane

 Not of This Earth
Doug Bonner

The Phantom Creeps
Secret Sanctum of Captain Video

The Giant Behemoth

 Curse of the Undead

 Curse of the Demon
Mr. Exploit

And while you're here, take a look at our friend Kevyn Knox's list of the 10 Best 1950s Sci-Fi Films!

Remember! Read, enjoy, and leave comments!
Nathanael Hood

Monday, August 1, 2011


It's Day Five of Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear's 50's Monster Mash!!

Remember...follow my twitter feed for up-to-date information concerning new posts and blog updates! Follow me at NateHood257!

 The Screaming Skull
Tim Brannan

Plan 9 From Outer Space

Bride of the Monster
Michaël Parent

The Blob
Ivan Lerner

 Earth vs. The Flying Saucers

She Demons
W. B. Kelso

The Manster
Dr. Strangefilm

Remember! Read, enjoy, and leave comments!
Nathanael Hood