NY Dispatch: It has been a dreary wet day here in New York. With so much going on in the world tonight is the perfect night to disconnect, curl up on the sofa, and watch a good movie. With Halloween fast approaching here are three of my favorite thrillers based on books. Make some popcorn and join me for a movie marathon…
The script for Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby was taken from Ira Levin’s novel almost word for word. The movie made the Dakota (more) famous a few years before John and Yoko moved in. The beauty of the movie is that you aren’t sure whether Mia Farrow’s Rosemary is paranoid or living through a genuine nightmare until the last few minutes. As her pregnancy progresses her theories become increasingly wild, her hair gets shorter, and we are pulled along in the torrent of her escalating panic. It makes you look at the world around you differently, a little more suspiciously. Are your neighbors a kind but nosy older couple or Satanists? It is also a good reminder why you shouldn’t date actors. And who doesn’t love Ruth Gordon?
Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a movie you either love or hate. I’ve never met anyone who felt indifferent about it. The psychological thriller based on Stephen King’s novel begs you to question what is real and what is imaginary. Casting Shelly Duvall against an unleashed Jack Nicholson frames the opposing points of the movie, but it is the central relationship between the child actor, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers that grounds the film in otherness. They could not be more different, yet share a gift that joins them. What sets this apart from other horror movies is the cinematography that juxtaposes sweeping vistas against claustrophobic closeups, as well as the chilling score. “Come and play with us, Danny.”
A quieter thriller is the The Vanishing (Spoorloos) by Dutch director, George Sluizer. A young couple on holiday in France pull into a rest stop to get gas, the girlfriend disappears. The movie follows her boyfriend, Rex, over his years’ long obsessive quest to find out what happened to her, making poor choices in his quest to uncover the truth. The film was adapted from the novella The Golden Egg by Tim Krabbé and explores the psychological trauma caused by a sudden disappearance, as well as the darker side of humanity.