Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Paddy's Day

Well, my senior class play is over and now I can get back to the blog.  Technically, I could have blogged these last several days...but I've just needed to be lazy, you know how that is?  I have another week (a few days actually) until I have to leap right back into production, this time for the musical, and so I'm relishing these days off.  That will be another six weeks of craziness and then done for the year...well done with shows.  Then I've got a mere two weeks left of classes until Summer.  Oh I do love summer...its nice out, I'm off work, and there are endless possibilities for things to do.  For one, I plan to save my money to be more prepared for the rest of the year but I'm gonna take some quick trips to cheap places too.  I've got to go visit my new nephew when he comes too.  I'm so pumped for the summer, its scary.  I think these last months of school will go well too, I just have to get everything squeezed in.  Anyhoo, for St. Paddy's Day this year I'm presenting a double feature of titles that are so full of Blarney that they can't be anything but fun. The first is a lesser known Disney classic and the third is a horror yarn that launched one of the biggest direct to video franchises that Vidmark ever had.  So let's dive right in!

The first title is a pet project of Walt Disney's based on the stories of Herminie Templeton Kavanagh called Darby O'Gill and the Little People.  It tells the tale of a man named Darby O'Gill and his endevors to catch Brian Conners, the king of the leprechauns.  The story also deals with his replacement as caretaker of his Lordship's summer house by the young Michael McBride and Michael's blooming romance with Darby's daughter Katie.  It is a wonderful little fantasy full of many staples of Irish fantasy and chock to the brim with grand performances, particularly a young Sean Connery as Michael.  There's some very spooky imagery in it as well, such as when Katie is menaced by a banshee and Darby is taken away by the cóiste-bodhar, the death coach.  Its not the kind of thing that would scare grown men of course...but it certainly will spook the kiddies.  Even today, I have memories of not sleeping after seeing the banshee and hearing her horrible cry.  You can't go wrong discovering this movie for the first time (or rediscovering it after not having seen it for years).

The second film of tonight deals again with a mischievous leprechaun...but this leprechaun is not playful and witty like Brian Conners.  He is fanged, clawed, and out for blood.  Leprechaun was a sleeper hit when it was released in 1993 due to a blitz of television advertising and a unique presence.  It was an old fashioned slasher movie with a St. Patrick's Day flavor...perfect for the release wasteland that is March.  The story is simple and opens with Daniel O'Grady returning home from Ireland after visiting his mother's funeral.  He bestows a bag of gold coins on his wife and tells her that he took them from a leprechaun he captured.  This is a bad move however, as the little imp kills every person who steals his gold.  Soon, the leprechaun shows up and dispatches them both....but not before Dan can seal the creature inside a crate, using a four-leaf clover.  Years later, Tory (Jennifer Aniston) and her father rent out the O'Grady house for the summer and inadvertently release the leprechaun from its prison.  He then begins to slaughter everyone in his path as he tries to regain his gold.  Leprechaun was originally intended to be a horror film for children according to writer-director Mark Jones, but the studio believed it could be R rated and so they added more gore and kills to make it appeal to the horror crowd...this probably explains the somewhat odd mix of hard-R horror and comedy that plays through the film.  Its effective at what it sets out to do, though, especially when compared to its rotten sequels.  At any rate, you could do a lot worse.



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