Once again, we’re hugely honoured to have Canadian film critic, television and radio personality and author Richard Crouse join us, this time as part of Apocalypse November. Richard, whose great new book Raising Hell: Ken Russell and the Unmaking of The Devils is available from our good friends at ECW Press, chose to highlight the Andrei Tartovsky film Stalker. In a sad coincidence, just a few days after writing this piece we found out that, Boris Strugatsky, co-writer of the original story which became Stalker, had passed away at the age of 79. We post this in his memory.
“The Zone wants to be respected. Otherwise it will punish.” — Stalker (Alexandr Kajdanovsky) in Stalker: A Film by Andrei Tartovsky.
Patience, we were all told as a child, is a virtue. It’s a virtue that will stand you in good stead while watching the sprawling 163 minutes of Stalker (Russian title: Сталкер), a punishing but fascinating Russian art sci-fi film.
Chernobyl Diaries is the latest “found footage” style horror flick to hit the big screen. Released this week to theatres, it stars a cast not worth mentioning led by director Bradley Parker in a significantly forgettable debut. The only notable name in the movie is Oren Peli, the screenwriter behind the Paranormal Activity Movies – and from watching the flick, it’s painfully clear that this movie was sold based on Peli’s previous efforts.
Chernobyl Diaries tells the predictable story of a group of young American tourists who, desperate for adventure, place their trust in a foreign adventure tour guide who offers to take them to Pripyat. Pripyat gained notoriety when it was flagged as a ‘safe’ zone near the Chernobyl reactor; tourists began to come in just to see the town’s state of abandonment, since being evacuated suddenly during the disaster.
The allure of seeing this authentically creepy historical artifact sucked me in to this movie just as the hapless victims are sucked in to the contrived plot. I’ll keep the spoilers to a minimum but really, I think you already know exactly how Chernobyl Diaries plays out.