Sunday, November 12, 2006

Trapped!

I first saw Buneul's The Exterminating Angel in the summer of 2000, in a crowded arthouse cinema somewhere in London. Their air conditioning wasn't working and the air was stuffy and cramped. As the film was about a group of people trapped in a room and gradually going insane, it was most thoughtful of the cinema staff to provide such a sense of reality - like those old B Movies where someone wearing a monster mask would run up and down the ailses at various points in the proceedings. It was a very unpleasant experience anyway. I saw the same film again today and enjoyed it a lot more. It made me realise that for some reason I like films of the genre (semi-genre) about people being trapped. Here are some of my other favourite films - you can see the theme emerging.

The Hole When Thora Birch was more famous than Keira Knightley, they were both in an odd little British/American film about 4 upper-class schoolkids who decide to get out of school trip by locking themselves in a bunker for the weekend. Except when it's time to leave, someone's misplaced the key...

The Telephone Box An odd short film by Spanish director Antonio Mercero. A man walks into a telphone box. The door closes behind him, and he's trapped like a fly in a spider's web. People surround him, laughing at him. And gradually his embarrassment descends into total fear. It's all here.

Demons A Dario Argento horror film about a group of people who receive tickets to the opening night of a new cinema. So they start watching this cheesy flick about Demons, when one of the patrons, after trying on a mask from a lobby display, turns into a demon herself and starts infecting everyone. Then everyone realises that they've been bricked into the cinema (how? why?) It's almost as surreal as The Exterminating Angel, but has a better soundtrack. I also seem to remember that a helicopter crashes through the ceiling at one point - also for no reason at all. And look out for the equally odd sequel Demons 2 - basically the same film, but set in a high-tech tower block.

Night/Dawn/Day of the Dead The Romero zombie trilogy all feature characters holed up in tight corners while marauding zombies gather outside, clawing to get in. I like Dawn for its "commentary" on consumerism (they're trapped in a mall), whereas "Day" depicts paranoia and the nastiness of humanity in a much more eloquent way.

I'm sure I can think of some more...

4 comments:

DazPaz said...

How could you leave out 'Lady in a Cage'?!

Lubin said...

You're right! I'm having a bit of a "slow" day. I also forgot And Then There Were None and The Birds.

Old Cheeser said...

And "Alien" is a truly classic trapped-on-spaceship-with-rampaging-monster movie. There's real palpable tension as you wait to see which of the Nostromo crew is next for the chop. As it was so famously said, in space, no-one can hear you scream.

matty said...

You know, I still have nightmares from DEMONS.

...From Beyond The Door freaked me out as a child.

But there was this one French drive in type horror film which really bothered me as a child. These two big-busted hitch-hikers end up in a cementary and then in a tiny castle populated by vampyres who chase them about.

I don't know what it was called but it really freaked me out. There was loads of silly nudity and pseudo-lesbian sex. But, there was something really creepy about it. Hmmmm...

Then, there was Romero's MARTIN. That is a classic!