Monday, February 15, 2010

Movie Review #6 + #7: "Dorian Gray" (1945) and "Mary Reilly" (1997)

When thinking of the combinations of romance and horror, sometimes it just all together seems a bit of an oxymoron to even imagine them side by side. But actually, if you look at the struggles within each of these genres, you can see why there are so many of these kinds of stories. I think within relationships, there is definitely a realm of fear to think about. Will he like me, find me beautiful, care about me in the future? These are all questions that can not be answered all at once, which in turn creates a fear and or horror within ones self. I think this is also a fear that we deal with in our own relationships with the fashion of Lolita itself. Will people accept me? Will I be called an ita? Will I can crowned the village weirdo? Again, these are require an emotional jump before the answer is given.
But what does this at all have to do with our movies this week? I believe that both films, in addition to sharing the romantic horror title, are also about people that can not seem to accept their current state. Wether it be their own emotional being or the fear of changing their appearance, this is a common thought and fright that I think all lolitas can connect on.... and with that I bring you the reviews.

First up, "The Portrait of Dorian Gray" (1945) starring George Sanders, Hurd Hatfield, and a very young Angela Lansbury. Now, I know many of you were probably looking forward to a review of the recent Ben Barnes version. Yes, I think he is ridiculously good looking, but based on substance, this is the version to watch of the famous story. It stars who I think is the most interesting Gray (not hot, just interesting) to be put on the film (Hatfield). His eyes are very striking and work for the character very well. If you don't know the story at all, all you need to know is the following: A picture is painted of Dorian, and it is cursed. Until the day he looks upon the portrait, Dorian will remain young and beautiful forever. Not to give the story away, but who shines in this movie is definitely Lansbury. Though only about 19 or 20, you would never question her abilities to carry her role well. She sings beautifully in this movie, along with having a very convincing character. Just for that alone, I highly recommend it. I give it 4 headbows out of 5.

Next up is "Mary Reilly" (1997) starring Julia Roberts and a favorite of mine, John Malkovich. COOL FACT ALERT: The guy that directed this movie (Stephan Frears) also directed one of my favorite movies, Dangerous Liasons. This movie is a twist on the classic tale of Dr.Jeykll and Mr.Hyde (probably in my top 5 favorite books of all time, I know I'm a bit old when it comes to my taste)but in this version, the story is told from the perspective of Mary, Dr. Jeykll's maid. As the tale continues, you find out about Mary's abusive past and see her love for Jeykll blossom. But at the same time, its obvious that she begins to feel for Hyde as well. The relationship is definitely romantic but dangerous, which is what makes these romantic horror films so interesting. They aren't just like the usual romantic film, they have an element of risk. This film is also a risk. It could have lost all gore and fear right away, going only romance, but it's very brutal. I don't recommend it for the tame of frill (or thrill?), the blood is pretty intense at times. The old English settings really is what gets me. This is the perfect film for fans of Atelier Pierrot and other slightly gothic brands, just take a look at this clip here for proof. The vote? Miss Reilly gets a nice bloody rating of 3 headbows out of 5. The romance is great, but the blood doesn't let me give it a better grade, since not everyone can handle it.

Final words? For some great gothic visuals and interesting inspiration, check these two out. Though they may not be for the faint of heart, neither is lolita, and with that I give them a high recommendation.


  1. Absolutely wonderful reviews! I have to say that I much prefer '45 Dorian Gray to the recent film.
    However, I have to disagree with your comment of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde being a "classic American tale", the novel was written by Rovert Louis Stevenson who was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland.

  2. Thanks for your insight! Wow, I actually didn't know that. As far as I had known that had been his birthplace, but it was originally published in the USA. So many people I guess seem to get this fact wrong, thanks for the correction