Capital Celluloid - Day 187: Friday July 8

Ring (Nakata, 1988) 6.45pm & Poltergeist (Hooper, 1982) 8.50pm: Prince Charles Cinema

The Cigarette Burns crew are adding another venue to their list this week in addition to the Rio Cineman in Dalston and the Mucky Pup pub at the Angel as they invade the West End for the first time with their innovative brand of programming.

Tonight's offering has been labelled the Kill Your TV double-bill and consists of the hugely influential Japanese horror movie, Ring, from the late 1980s and the Steven Spielberg-produced Poltergeist about the invasion of a young family by hostile spirits through the TV.

You can read a good introduction to Nakata's truly terrifying movie here at the Cigarette Burns website while the Time Out reviews of the two films are reproduced below:

Ring review: 

'Time has been very kind to Hideo Nakata’s sublime, quietly terrifying 1997 techno-horror, re-released for Halloween night (see more Halloween screenings  on page 79). Time, coupled with the fact that 99 per cent of the ensuing copycat Asian (and often then US remade) chillers have been rather naff. Here, the thrilling, simple conceit is that of a haunted VHS tape: watch it, and you’ll snuff it within a week. The film follows a divorced journalist as she travels around the country, desperately trying to uncover the tape’s mysteries, a task which becomes even more urgent when her young son accidentally watches it. Seeing it again, you can’t help but notice the stylistic parallels to the David Lynch of ‘Mullholland Dr.’ and ‘Inland Empire’, especially with its use of distorted imagery, creeping camera movements and avant-garde sound effects. The finale, too, still feels as twisted, bizarre and down-right nightmarish as it did all those years ago.' David Jenkins 

Here is an extract from Ring.

Poltergeist review:

'Credited to Hooper, but every inch a Spielberg film, this is a barnstorming ghost story, set in one of the small suburban houses Spielberg knows and loves, where the family canary is called Tweety, and the kids read Captain America comics and eat at the Pizza Hut. Gradually this impossibly safe world is (in a truly ingenious plot development) invaded by something inside the family television. Soon the plot takes off into a delirious fight with demonic forces suggestive of nothing so much as a Walt Disney horror movie; and although the sub-religious gobbledegook (including a tiresome midget medium) is hard to take, it is consistently redeemed by its creator's dazzling sense of craft. For this one, Spielberg has even contrived a structural surprise which leaves the audience spinning like one of his house's haunted rooms, and arguably matches the opening of Psycho in its impudent virtuosity.' David Pirie

Here is the trailer for Poltergeist.

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