Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Horror Update: Sweeney Todd

That's right... I said SWEENEY TODD. Truer to horror than the endless stream of prequels and sequels that Hollywood has been shoving down our throats for the past 5 years, Sweeney Todd is an elegant and terrifying return to what horror is supposed to be.

It's been so long since I've seen a truly GOOD horror movie that I had actually convinced myself that maybe Hostel 2 wasn't just a contrived, formulaic excuse to see some 2 seconds of inverted boobs. I was distressingly undisturbed by the image of a chick cutting off some jerks (ridiculously unrealistic latex) penis. I mean c'mon. What guy hasn't already lived through the same thing at least a half dozen times?

The feeling of relief I got when I watched Sweeney Todd is hard to describe. It feels like the end of a 5 year crap.

I saw Sweeny Todd in the 80's when it was on Broadway, so I was VERY skeptical when I saw it was being adapted to film.

I was wrong.

Tim Burton adhered elegantly to the original script, intent, and vision of what Sweeney Todd was meant to be. It was not a "re-imagining" or whatever the heck the Hollywood buzzword is these days for taking a classic and turning it into pop feces. They only changed a handful of lines, and only when it was appropriate to the change of medium. The changeover from stage to screen was done with astounding grace and skill.

The choice of stars, which had bile churning in my stomach as soon as I heard it, turned out to be extraordinary.

Let me explain... I LIKE Johnny Depp, but I still see 21 Jump Street any time he opens his mouth. The guy STILL looks like a kid, and the Benjamin Barker character is supposed to have just gotten out of prison after 14 years. Boyish good looks are just not gonna cut it. As for Helena Bonham Carter, she's hot. Every movie she's ever done has tried to ugly her up, and it never works. Mrs Lovette is NOT supposed to be hot! When I saw the stage version all those years ago the part of Mrs. Lovette was played (brilliantly) by ANGELA LANSBURY.

There's no way a pair of Hollywood Hotties were going to pull off Sweeney Todd.

Wrong again. I could go on for hours, and may yet when I have some more time... but the short version is...

What a fantastic freakin' movie!!! I mean nothing will ever touch the Broadway experience that, as a child, made me decide that I was going to dedicate my life to stage acting (yeah... well that's a different story). The stage version was much funnier. Stage happens from a distance which makes the whole serial killer thing a little less gruesome, but film is up-close and personal so it couldn't help but be a very different experience. Still... standing on it's own it's tons of stage blood n' latex fleshy fun!

Ummm... Don't bring a date, though, unless she's turned on by the sound of skulls being crushed on cobblestones.

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