Jeremy Richey over at Moon in the Gutter has been hosting a fabulous Paul Thomas Anderson blog-a-thon for over a week now. He invited me to contribute and you can now read my short essay about Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. And after you do that, make sure to check out all of the thoughtful, splendid essays from the other contributors.
My film blogging comrade over at Moon in the Gutter, Jeremy Richey, is hosting a P.T. Anderson blogathon September 13-19 and it will no doubt be an entertaining, exciting event. I’m contributing an essay–not sure which film I’ll be focusing on yet–and I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. I wrote a short piece about Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love in my first book, a film that is (I feel) one of the best of the last decade and a rather damn fine romantic comedy at that, so there’s always the temptation to revisit it… maybe do some screengrabs or something. But I’ve been dying to write about There Will Be Blood since I saw it in January 2008 the day before I left for Europe and then watched again in the Leitrim Cinemobile when I was living in Ireland. Seriously, some enterprising cinephiles in the States need to bring cinema to the masses with trucks like these. They’re great. And they’re warm too, which was surprising since it’s always so damn cold in Ireland year round! Also, the cool thing about the Leitrim Cinemobile was that it would screen international films and smaller indie fare from the States… not blockbusters. This was out in the boondocks, mind you. We didn’t live in the city. And these were real 35mm prints, not DVDs or digital projections. Real films, real patrons in seats, and loads of arguments afterward as you scurried down the pub for a few pints. Make sure to check out the video below that gives you a glimpse of how cool the Leitrim Cinemobile is. But I digress.
P.T. Anderson. Blogathon. Moon in the Gutter. That has Awesome all over it.
He reeks of death. But death is his trade and he has a taste for it. Yet he’s never “killed in hot blood” before, never killed in war.
As Mord, the royal executioner and ally to King Richard III (Basil Rathbone), Karloff personifies the cruel representation of political violence behind the throne, the workmanlike brute force that does his master’s bidding to preserve the peace.
Mord may hide behind the throne, but Karloff’s gleefully morbid turn is nakedly, aggressively terrifying. He is the prototypical executioner, the death dealer of our childhood nightmares. The first moment we see the powerfully built but cadaverous looking Mord–hunched over his grinding wheel, sharpening his oversize axe with a black raven perched on his shoulder–it’s like watching Cain himself readying the next murder. But where Cain acted impulsively, emotionally… Mord is pure professional. There is little overt art to his blood-letting, hence why he yearns for something a little more exciting, creative, arousing. Karloff is almost touching as he pleads to Rathbone to take him into battle. Warfare must be a wonderful, crimson bounty for a man like Mord. The opportunities for passion are no doubt endless. God knows how energized Mord will be when he returns from murder on such scale.
I’ll be contributing at least one post sometime this week, although I hope to get two done if time permits. I do love me some Karloff.
Hope to hear from some of you here or on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else. And I’m looking forward to reading some of the more than 100 various bloggers who are joining in.