Friday, May 31, 2013

Natural Enemies

Natural Enemies Directed By Jeff Kanew. Starring Hal Holbrook (1979)
   I'm reviewing this forgotten flick because Kris Gilpin mentioned that it had an orgy scene and Elizabeth Berriage from Tobe Hooper's Funhouse. It's got two people that later worked together in Creepshow and it was directed by the same guy who made Revenge Of the Nerds. I plan on showcasing different non-horror films that he mentioned for later reviews, but don't worry gore freaks, there's still most ghastly nightmares to be reviewed.
   Paul Steward (Hal Holbrook) is a mentally unstabled prick who says all men think of killing their families and he has a definite plan and a loaded rifle. He methodically loads his rifle, why is he suicidal? He lives out in the country in a pretty cottage and the location and film stock reminds me of that quarry rock cereal commercial from 70's SNL. So why do down Charlie Brown? 
Quarry Cereal film stock

   His wife is Nurse Ratchet or Louis Fletcher, she O.D's on ritalin and says romantic shit like "did you enjoy the sex, while I was asleep"? The narration is all Holbrook talking trash about his rotten family that he can't wait to murder (and apparently wants to screw his daughter played by the Elizabeth Berriage from Tobe Hooper's Funhouse). He says the family slaying will take the same amount of time as an orgasm. His silent family has no lines and just watch cartoons as he secretly talks smack about all of them. The media violence and monotony is pushing this unstable jerk to the breaking point. His negative introspection and hatred toward himself and his family make him a perfect candidate for psychotherapy. He blames his marital entrapments and anger toward himself on his children and wife's mental illness. All the melancholy and depressing shit made me feel better about my life.

I'm still depressed
   His life has lost all meaning because he has to care for his mentally ill wife (why doesn't he hire a nurse)? Holbrook is a magazine publisher, who acts like an amateur psychiatrist as he talks to holocaust survivors and astronauts. The survivor tells him what the audience is thinking "why don't you just divorce your wife". Since he's fantasizing about the murder of her and his children, he should check himself into a psychiatric hospital, instead he visits a whorehouse! He has an orgy with five girls and then later subjects them to more of his dime-store psychology. The whores even mention "why doesn't he talk to his wife"? The film flashes back and forth to moments of his wife's insanity, why they sleep in separate beds and when they both really checked out on each other. 
Boo Hoo, I'm still sad

Speaking as someone who's completely anti-gun and not wanting to bother to get preaching on here, insanity and guns don't mix and people that hate each other should get divorced, no matter what, especially if there's no shred of compassion or intimacy left. This film hates marriage, but it does have a good point about divorce (just leave don't prolong it or have fantasies about murder). Later on the holocaust survivor tries to change Hal's mind, who says nothing matters "because we're already dead" and quotes Nietzsche, if this were the 80's, Hal would be wearing eyeliner and have Robert Smith hair!  Viveca Lindfors shows up and argues for a nuclear war! Which is funny because growing up during that time period with Reagan that's all I feared!     
The 70's bleakness and isolation reminds me of The Ice Storm (although that was fake 70's). The resurgence of that alienation is happening now, but there's wonderful advancements in psychiatric medicine, ha! Gun nuts are more present then ever (or have they always been lurking around)? I guess things are still basically just as shitty! The film is really fascinating, thought provoking and grim, but has no connection to Deep Red, it comes off more like a lost tv movie. I wonder if George Romero saw this when he casted Creepshow and thought, "too preachy, needs a crate monster and a zombie who wants a cake".This whole film in a nutshell is like that Patton Oswalt breakfast treat joke about marriage. Breakfast Joke Link. I would have been more satisfied if all the violence was shown instead of implied and its definitely overly talky.

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