Abilene Reporter-News from Abilene, Texas on January 30, 1977 · Page 26
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Abilene Reporter-News from Abilene, Texas · Page 26

Abilene, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 30, 1977
Page 26
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"In Review THK ABILKNE REl'OKTKR-NKWS Abll«i«.Tcx»», Sun. Morn.. Jan. 30. 1977 3-B 'Carrie' Nice and Scarv SETZER By TOM SETZER Sttff Writer Carrie is a pop gothic fairy tale gone mad. It promises to be an audience favorite much like Jaws because It hits you in the same visceral mind- bending fashion. (Now showing at the Wcstwood, nudity, sex, language and violence give the film its R rat| ing.) Directed by Brian De I Palma, Carrie is his [tenth feature film and 1 his fourth major one. Two of his earlier successes -- Sisters, a bizarre talc of psychotic Siamese twins, and Phantom of the Paradise, a rock reworking of the Faust legend -- showed his ability with gothic themes. Last year's Obsession, albeit flawed in the script department, showed De Palma's growing romantic camera technique and his ability to handle actors, especially with Gcnovieve Bujold's artful performance. Carrie combines these skills in a neat, scary package. The screenplay, written by Lawrence Cohen and based on a fairly trashy book by Stephen King, is barely adequate but De Palma and an exceptional cast lift the film into the realm of popular screen art. Carrie is an adolescent misfit, despised by her high school peers and miserably tied in a love/hale relationship to her religious fanatic mother. Carrie's classmates display their hostility toward her in a vicious early sequence. The incident so traumatizes her that she begins to display telekinctic powers -- moving objects with concentrated mental effort. The school gym teacher sympathizes with Carrie and punishes her tormentors. With their teen-age capacity for cruelty, this only leads them to plot further against her by rigging her election as prom queen and then playing a hideous joke on her at this moment of triumph. They don't know -- but the audience can guess -- that this will trigger a telekinetic storm of revenge on her part. Thus De Palma sets up a perfect dramatic conflict. The audience becomes torn between its horror at the prom bloodbath and the sense of righteous revenge Carrie's destruction of her enemies evokes. A large part of this sympathy is engendered by the performance of Sissy Spacck, a native of Quitman, Tex., in the title role. Or maybe I should say performances, since the part can be split.into three distinct portions. The first has her effectively withdrawn as the ugly duckling and she makes a glowing transition to the second when she enjoys her brief happiness participating in the normal high school rituals. She then becomes Iruly terrifying in an other-worldly sense when rage possesses her and she unleashes her terrible power. Miss Spacek has done only a few films, her most notable role thus far being the young girl in Badlands, a fictionalized t r e a t m e n t o f t h e C h a r l e s S t a r - kweather/Caril Fugate murder spree. Carrie is her first star shot and she makes the most of the opportunity by not overdoing 11. She shows tasteful restraint throughout,"lmbuing her misguided Cinderella with an awkward grace. Even in the horror scenes she uses a narcotic remoteness to underscore the terror. Her Carrie is well worthy of acting awards -- the National Society of Film Critics has given its 1976 best actress nod -and hopefully the role that will make her a star. Besides De Palma's triumph with Miss Spacek. he scores another coup in luring Piper Laurie out of a 15-year screen retirement ( h e r last movie was 1961's The Hustler which gained her a best actress nomination) to play Carrie's demented mother. It was a wise choice. One hopes Miss Laurie continues in films for she almost manages to steal Carrie with a bravura portrayal. Some critics have quibbled about her performance being too hammy but the role is written this way. Besides this is not a realistic movie anyway, and Miss Laurie plays the part in the only way possible -- a grand theatrical style that so overwhelms you. you don't stop to question the character's validity. But when you get right down to it. the show belongs to De Palma. He takes a base subject and transmutes it to an artistic success coming up with a popular thriller in the process. He trips up at times by using some ill-advised effects (speeded-up photography in one scene ,is supposed to be funny but isn't and he errs in using split-screen photography during the telekinetic malest- rom at the prom) but overall Carrie is a noteworthy effort. Particularly since he doesn't rely on shock effects but uses suspense instead -the audience knows what will happen; the question is when. De Palma has become one of the few filmmakers, joining the ranks of Robert Altman and Ken Russell, whom'you can expect to be never boring. They may be bad or good; but never boring. To end on a teasing note, let's say there is one great shock moment in Carrie that will shake you out of your seat. It's worth the ticket price alone. 'Sundown' a Movie You '11 Dread WHITAKER By WILLIAM WHITAKER Staff Writer As a relatively new resident of Abilene,-^ had opportunity of spend the night ih Texa r k a n a about three weeks ago as I made my way to the Big Country, so I was understandably interested in the film The Town That Dreaded Sundown, a f i l m conc e r n i n g s o m e gruesome and baffling murders in Texarkana about 30 years ago. But where I was expecting a dramatic ret e l l i n g o f t h e mysterious case concerning the phantom killer and his bizarre murders, I was greeted with an extremely uneven picture, collapsing into the most sickening, blood- weltering scenes one minute and then lapsing into some incredibly bad comedy relief the next. Such vivid contrasts in the film's approach to its subject lead to its downfall. Any effect the disgustingly boring and extremely brutal murder scenes have go to waste seconds later when director Charles B. Pierce leads the picture into some of the type of poor comedy relief that one is used to seeing in budget pictures of the '60s. As a result, the film is unable to conjure up any mood or suspense. The two capable actors in the cast, Ben Johnson and Andrew Prine, prove themselves to be quite capable in the film, but before they can summon up any real tension, the scene and mood shifts on them, often in r i d i c u l o u s and unnecessary directions. Johnson, a former rodeo and cowboy star who won an Academy Award in -1971 for fht Last Picture Show, provides the film with its best acting as the crusty Captain Morales of the Texas Rangers, who comes Texarkana to capture or kill the hooded phantom killer. But while he seems tough enough for the job, his own personal inter- play and determination to solve the gruesome murders is never allowed to grow, primarily because of the sketchy script. . '', ,="But at least Johnson gets some decent lines. Andre'iy Prine. who most will immediately recognize as one of the better of the nameless stock nasties on TV, plays Deputy Sheriff Ramsey and is reduced to looking around inquisitively for something to happen. It's really a pity considering the sampling of talent he's displayed as a villain in the past. While both are potentially vivid actors, the seripl never allows them to give any real scope to their own characterizations. In a picture where the brutalness of the murders is so vividly presented, one ends up searching in vain for really sturdy characters to place some hope in. Pierce might have spent more time concentrating in this section instead of dwelling on the sickeningly gory murder scenes. Another familiar face in the 1 film is that of Dawn Wells, who used to be Mary Ann of the old Cilligan's Island, but like all the others in the picture, her characterization is minimal if not nonexistent, and her plight in trying to escape from the phantom killer after he has killed her husband remains strangely unsuspenseful. Indeed, it's odd she even shared top-billing, since, except for two lines in the film, she does nothing but moan and groan as the murderer pursues her. All in all. the picture is an unpleasant little film and Pierce, after going overboard on the blood and gore scenes, never seems to be able to decide as to how serious the picture should be. The 'R' rating on the picture should not be taken lightly. While there is no nudity or noticeably lewd language, the disgusting murder depictions, including one scene where a woman tied to a tree is repeatedly stabbed with a daggar attached.to a trombone, is nothing for the juvenile audience, or for that matter, any audience at all. The sadism of the killer does not show him biting his victims at any time, but does extend to show the results of his mandible activity. Both mature and immature minds should avoid the film. Abilene Screen Scene £ lo ue stotv What the song thatsjoyous didn ' tte llyou you will never jorget ·'.'. 'Based on the Song and Sung l)y ijobbie Gentry THE MOVIES I Through The Week The Front. Woody Allen. Zero MosUl and Hcrschcl Her- nhardi star in a comedy- drama in which a blacklisted writer, during the McCarthy "witch hunts," has a friend act as a front (or his television scripts. The front becomes famous and celebrated, and falls in love with a script editor, but then must face the truth when called to testify before an investigative committee. Rated PG because of some language. THE MOVIES II Through Thursday The Adventures of the Wilderness Family. A G-rated family film based on the true-life ad- venlures of a modern family, bored with the hassles of city- life, who opt for a life in the wilderness. The film is filled with wildlife footage, moderate performances, and plenty of action. The film has enjoyed unusual critical acclaim for its genre, and critics have said it is not as sacarine as might be expected. Starts Friday Burnt Offerings. Stars Karen Black. Oliver Reed and Burges Meredith. A chilling gothic tale about a college professor and his wife who rent an isolated and neglected mansion for ihe summer. The family is ;hen confronted with a nameless terror during their vacation. Ratrri pr. MAJESTIC Through Thursday Ode to Billy Joe. Robbie Benson and Glynnis O'Connor star in this film, directed by Max Baer (Jethro from "The Beverly Hillbillies"), based on the ballad by Bobbie Gentry. The play explores the mystery of the ballad -- what was it that happened on the Tallahassee Bridge? Rated PG. THE METRO Sunday The Treasure of Matecumve. Robert Foxworth. Joan Hacked, Peter Ustinov, Vic Morrow, Jane Wyatt and others star in this Disney f a m i l y film, rated G. The story is the adventures of five companions who journey from Kentucky to Matecumbe Key in quest of buried gold. Action adventure, including a spectacular hurricane scene. Also The Giant Spider Invasion. Barbara Hale and Leslie Parrish star in a combination sci- fi/horror film. Giant spiders from outer space invade the earth. Rated PG. Monday through Thursday Closed. Starts Friday The Gumball Rally. Michael Sarrazin stars in an almost- slapstick humor film, rated G. The film involves a coast-to- coast race with vehicles ranging from HoDs Royce and Ferrari to old clunkers. CINEMA I Through the Week A Star Is Born. Barbra Strei- sand and Kris Kristofferson star in this modern re-telling of the old Judy Garland film. A very traditional love story, set against the glittering background of the entertainment industry. Kristofferson is John N'orman Howard, superstar rock singer turned alcoholic, and beginning to fall from his star status. Streisand is Esther H o f f m a n , a struggling young singer trying to make it big. The two fall inlove, but t h e i r careers conflict. Produced by Streisand, the film is a showcase for everything she does well. Parts are extremely sad. but the overall effect is moving. Rated R, due mostly to l a n g u a g e , since the sex scenes arc as mild as those shown on television. Also some emphasis on drugs may have contributed to that rating. CINEMA II Through the Week The Town That Dreaded Sundown. Based on the true story of a hooded killer that stalked Texarkana in the spring of 1946. Ben Johnson. Andrew Prine and Dawn Wells star in this film rated R for excessive violence. The murders always !ook place after dark, so (he town began to lear sundown Hence the title. The movie «'as filmed in Texarkana. and purports to follow the truth rather closely. It deals with the fight against the hooded killer, and the community efforts to caputre him. WESTWOOD Through the Week Came. Sissy Spaceck stars as a misfit teenaged girl who is not liked by her classmates and is subjected to constant t e a s i n g . She has an evil power, however, to take care of those who are cruel to her. It is a psycho-horror film, but at the same time it offers a rather sensitive treatment, at times, of the problems faced by adolescents. Rated R for nudity, violence and language. PARAMOUNT Through the Week The Enforcer. Clint Eastwood stars in another of the "Dirty Harry" series, a sequel to Dirty Harry and Magnum Force. Rated R, for violence is the- name of the game, and "he's not called 'dirty' for iiolhin'." A little violence. MOVIE GUIDE FOR FAMILIES G: General Audiences. Film contains no materials most parents are likely to consider objectionable even for younger children. I'C: Parental Guidance Suggested. Rating cautions parents they might consider sonic material unsuitable for children. It urges parents to inquire about the film before deciding on attendance. ' R; Restricted. Film contains adult-type material and those under 17 years of age arc not admitted except in the company of a parent or an adult guardian. X: This is patently an adult film, and no one under age 18 is admitted. Motion Picture Assn. of America ·MOVIES!; J I I J S O . J7T» MWMOUON , SHOT MK cum MI-WI AU TICKETS $1.00 TIL 3:00 PM THEATER-1 America's Most Unlikely Hero. Fee Cream Began As Treat for Rich MT. MORRIS, 111. (AP) Ice cream began as a treat for the rich. From the Romans to King Charles I of England to fashionable restaurants in 17th-century Paris, ice cream was for the wealthy and powerful, says Bob Krebs, editor of American Dairy Review. "It wasn't until 1851 that the commercial ice cream industry was born in the United States." Krebs notes. "Abolitionist Jacob Fussell converted surplus cream from his B a l t i m o r e d a i r y into i c e cream and was awarded the c o n t r a c t to supply Union troops with ice cream during the Civil War." "Trensvre of Matecumbe" and The Adventures of the ' 'Ciont Spider Invasion" Double Feature Adult-Si. 10 Child-50 NOW SHOWING! " OPEN 6:30-SHOW 7:00 DEMON WflcH · OAK DRIVE-IN · ton* m coumui en u HEW SHOW SUITS HID. CRESCENT DRIVE-IN 3440 NORTH FIRST STREET j SATURDAY 1 SUNDAYS Opm t:30 Sfcowlim. 730 XMtil.50 CMMffufnt l:uO2:35-4:20 6-.10.7 : SS-9:40 | 6TH BIG WEEK FEA. AT 1:45.4:30-7:15-9:55 DPI!» JO SHOWTIME ·mm 1.75 OII1MU .51 PETER FONDA.SUSAW GEORGE "IIITT MIT CIAZY LAIN Mil KONAISKI MIVIS MAIN ··VAIISHMC POM!" JOHN 1RWOIIA · ·* F1PER LAURIE -,.«, n-LAWRENCE 0 COHEN ,ARCAI MATINEF LVEBtwr tlll-GO'.M I (VLlStAIS CLINT EASTWOOD Hill Oll» OHI 1:30 SHOWTIKE 7,00 ADULTS 1.75 OtllllM .50 "UIWASH" FEATURE TIMES 1:45-3:45-5:45-7:45-9:40 IN 1946 THIS MAN KILLED FIVE PEOPLE... ...TODAY HE STILL LURKS THE STREETS OF TEXARKANA, ARKANSAS! OPM 6:10 SIMWTMI 7:00 ADULTS 1.75 .50 ·SISIII Sinn FICHTEI Pint "lilWIMlHE STIItT NCHTII" )ON StARDIN "SOUIIM" "TMt CAM! »OM WUHII IrilOIMn I7l«^k,i f Pifcnt tr An nVtniC/VN INI fcRNATKJNAl HI I EA-,1 BEN JOHNSON · mm PRINE WnlMl.ytARLE SMI1H · naliKnd.iiKiltoKl«M MiBKbrJAIME ItthDOZA.NAVA · c r.U" i TYTTTTTI11

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