Tuesday, September 20, 2022
BEGOTTEN was filmed in the late 1980's, but not widely seen until it was released on VHS in 1995. Watching it back then, late at night on a grainy VHS tape on a crappy CRT TV, BEGOTTEN was a trippy pre-internet arthouse mindfuck. Revisiting it nowadays it's still watchable, but more of an interesting cinematic artifact than anything else. Sparse story that really goes nowhere, no spoken words, less violence than you would expect, cricket sounds overdose, creepy nasty-looking people wallering around in the mud, suicide, lots of images of clouds and nature, flickering screen overdose, zero ninjas. The best thing that BEGOTTEN has going for it is the extremely impressive optical effects that make the entire film look totally fucked up. Like there's no grays or something. Everything is either extremely black or white. It looks freaky as fuck. Whatever the effect is, it's awesome!
I am curious what BEGOTTEN would look like without all of the optical effects. But it's probably for the best that it was released the way it was because while there is obviously no way to track all of the ways that BEGOTTEN has influenced people (either consciously or subconsciously) over the decades, the list has got to be a mile long. I won't bore you, or myself, with a list.
Long story, short: if you're interested in exploring the weirder side of Cinema, especially in a historical context, then BEGOTTEN is required viewing. Or, if you're simply looking for a creepy horror movie, you'll probably find the first few minutes entertaining and then fall asleep.
Sunday, August 21, 2022
Anyway, although the title of the film is THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, there's actually very little Commandments action going on. Nope, the vast majority of the movie is about a dude named Moses. Moses was born in Egypt way the fuck back in the day. Around the time that he's hatched there was a prophecy that a great deliverer would be born to lead the slaves out of bondage. So, the guy who owned all of slaves, the evil Pharaoh puts out a decree that all newborn male slave children shall be murdered. Goddamn! Moses' mother places lil' baby Moses in a basket and sends him afloat down the Nile river. As Fate would have it, within one minute of being yeeted into the Nile, the evil Pharaoh's adult daughter (of all people) finds Moses and raises him as her own child. Awww. The End.
Oh sorry, that's actually just the beginning of the film! Moses soon grows up to look like Charlton Heston and it's down to him and the Pharaoh's legitimate son, Yul Brynner, as to who will take over once the Pharaoh dies. Things are looking pretty good for Moses, but then he fucks up and before you can say "I really wish Twenty One Pilots would cover Phil Collins' 'One More Night'" Moses is now a slave himself! What the fuck? Talk about a rags to riches and back to rags again story.
For being an older film THE TEN COMMANDMENTS is still very entertaining. Yeah, it's as historically accurate as DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR?, but who cares. Solid acting by an impressive cast (I think Anne Baxter is the highlight of the movie), great sets, an insanely huge amount of extras, animals all over the place, wildly imaginative story, badass costumes, strong direction, groundbreaking special effects and a quick pace that makes the 220 minute runtime fly by. I've seen TTC a few times over the years and I'd gladly watch it again right now. My only real gripe is the ten plagues of Egypt stuff is passed over way too quickly. It shows a little bit about water turning into blood and the hail storm, but it completely skips over the frogs and boils and locust! Lame. Still, it's easily worth multiple watches. Check it out.