Horror Triple Feature: Solomon Kane, A Good Marriage, and Late Phases

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Welcome to Horror Triple Feature! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. The idea is that I wrap up the last three horror films I’ve watched in mini reviews. Let’s have at it.

solomon_kaneSolomon Kane. “Horror” might be a debatable genre slot for this one. It’s more like fantasy horror, but I’m counting it. Especially since it’s based off of the Robert E. Howard stories about Solomon Kane’s adventures, and I’d definitely call those stories suspense and horror even with the fantasy trappings. I’ve read a few of them, and I felt like this was a decent adaptation of the character and his world. James Purefoy puts in a great performance as the titular character. Yet ultimately, even though the stories were some of the first of their kind, the movie’s not super original. I’ve seen things like it. It actually reminded me a lot of Season of the Witch starring Nicolas Cage. Believe it or not, that’s not a swipe at the movie. I enjoyed Season of the Witch. But the feeling that they’re interchangeable was not good. I wanted Solomon Kane to stand out, and while it’s entertaining, it could’ve probably had a tighter plot and a look and feel that was more its own.

Final Rating: 3/5

good_marriageA Good Marriage. This is another adaptation, this time of a Stephen King novella of the same name collected in Full Dark, No Stars. Of the four tales in that book, “A Good Marriage” was my favorite. It was a meditation on the family members of serial killers. Did they ever guess what their loved one was really like? What kind of responsibility does that person take on, feeling like they could have stopped it? How well can you really know someone, even when you’ve known them for years and been intimate with them? As always with King, such creepy stuff. Very well-done to boot.

Joan Allen plays the lead, the wife discovering her husband’s awful secrets, and her performance is incredible. In fact, I’d say she’s actually too good for this production overall. She outshines everyone and everything. She had to carry this movie as the center of attention and pathos, and for the most part, she does. I would say to watch it for her alone. The other half of the story that had to work was the husband. He’s played by Anthony LaPaglia, who goes for affably evil and it only sort of works. For the most part, he seems ridiculous. He also has a lot of accent slips that are distracting. In order for this movie to work, I had to believe him as much as I did her, and it depended on the scene. He just wasn’t carrying the character all the way through the movie like I’d hoped.

One last note: Stephen Lang does the best Maine accent I’ve ever heard. The end.

Final Rating: 3/5

laphLate Phases. Shout out to GoodBadFlicks for the video that brought this one to my attention. Anytime someone says “werewolf movie,” I’m at least intrigued. I was assured this one was good, and it was. Mostly because the werewolves are a vehicle for a much deeper tale. We follow Ambrose McKinley, a blind, retired veteran, as he moves into a retirement community. His first night there, his neighbor and seeing-eye dog are killed by an “animal attack”. He knows it’s no normal animal, and he spends the next month between full moons readying himself for the fight of his life.

Mostly the movie is about this man wanting to die on his own terms with one last act of heroism. Meaning it’s a horror movie that manages to be really gripping and moving at the same time. There’s also a mystery to be solved. Who is the werewolf? It must be someone with access to the community. So unraveling who it could be with what little evidence Ambrose has is pretty involving as well. If I had a complaint, it would be that the werewolf effects range from “wow, what a great job!” to “okay, that’s just a fuzzy costume.” But the transformation scene. That is solid gold. My favorite part of any werewolf movie is the transformation scene, and they really blew the doors off.

Final Rating: 4/5

That does it for this triple feature. Until next time, happy geeking!

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2 thoughts on “Horror Triple Feature: Solomon Kane, A Good Marriage, and Late Phases

  1. Jean says:

    I had so many problems with Anthony LaPaglia even just being cast, and then the performance did not assuage me. He’s a big guy, really physically imposing and potent, which is the opposite of what the character’s supposed to be. He looks like people would think a killer looked, which is against the point, LOL! But I like him and was willing to go for it, but the performance is about 50-50, like you said. Eh.

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    • quillsblog says:

      Yeah, he didn’t feel like an everyman, the guy that blends into the background, the way that the character reads in the novella. And then he was being kind of ridiculously light with his performance? That was the wrong tone. Also, while I realize it was a movie and it would’ve been difficult to work these details in, they left out some minor stuff that made Beadie so chilling. Things he did, gory details of his crimes, that affected the wife so much. I think the movie needed that extra push.

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