Tuesday 22 Jul

Fashionable revolution

JEWEL Fashion Show
6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Gaillardia Golf & Country Club

5300 Gaillardia Blvd, Oklahoma City ieew.org
$100 advance purchase online only

07/16/2014 | Comments 0

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Science Fiction · Splice
Science Fiction


Doug Bentin June 10th, 2010

You may choose not to see "Splice," but don't make that decision based on the belief that it's just another horror movie with more ick than ideas. This picture is packed with thematic material and thought-provoking visuals, from the opening credits to the last shot.

Now, that's not to say the film is all somber contemplation of the themes on which it touches. Yes, the two lead scientists in the story violate ethics and the law, and end up creating a monster daughter, but the company they work for is Nucleic Exchange Research Development. Look again at those initials: N.E.R.D.

Clive (Adrien Brody, "Fantastic Mr. Fox") and Elsa (Sarah Polley, TV's "John Adams") — as in Colin Clive and Elsa Lanchester, the two stars of "The Bride of Frankenstein" who weren't Boris Karloff — splice together DNA of different animal species in an attempt to develop a super-protein that will cure everything from diabetes to diaper rash. We don't see them mixing in snake oil, but that doesn't mean they haven't tried it. Company CEO Joan Chorot (French actress Simona Maicanescu) pays lip service to humanitarianism, blah blah blah, but her real concern is profits, and she puts pressure on her staff to deliver.

Just to see what will happen, Elsa adds some human female DNA to the formula, and the resultant creature looks like something from a Guillermo del Toro movie. Which shouldn't surprise us, as del Toro is one of this film's executive producers.

But as it ages, which it does at an accelerated rate, the thing begins to look more and more like a young woman from the waist up (Delphine Chanéac, "The Pink Panther"). Elsa names her Dren — spell it backward — and soon, that whole Electra complex thing starts up and worsens when Clive becomes attracted to his test-tube daughter. As part of the civilizing process, Elsa gives Dren her old Barbie and soon, the part-human begins comparing her appearance to that of the perfect doll, just like every other young woman in America.

Clive and Elsa really lose control when something unexpected occurs with an earlier experiment and we start wondering if the same thing could happen to Dren.

The film is essentially a three-way character study, but strong, convincing support is supplied by Brandon McGibbon ("Saw V") as Clive's brother, and David Hewlett (TV's "Stargate: Atlantis") as the lab manager.

Technically, the film goes well beyond its B-monster-movie roots. The production design by Todd Cherniawsky (the "Ginger Snaps" trilogy) gives us a lab and an apartment that look they're inhabited not by generic scientists, but by these two in particular. Cyrille Aufort's modernist score is reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann's work on "Psycho," while the script by director Vincenzo Natali ("Cube"), Antoinette Terry Bryant and Doug Taylor demands post-viewing contemplation. 

Finally, there seems to be disagreement as to whether the film is a pure horror picture or a black-comedy variation on mad-scientist themes. The main characters' names do reference "The Bride of Frankenstein." Go back and watch that classic again, then make up your own mind. —Doug Bentin

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