Darkman – Unseen Movie Marathon

unseenmovies

This is the third of at least 224 planned posts in which I shall slowly work through my DVD collection. The reason for doing this is first and foremost to admit that I have a problem. I buy way too many DVDs that I want to watch but never watch. On the morning of May 24th, 2009 I owned 224 DVDs which I have never seen. I have never seen them theatrically, on television, on VHS, on Beta or even by means of the DVD which I own and possess on the shelf. My plan is to watch at least one of these each week. If I’m lucky I will see more than one but to keep this reasonable considering my time restraints one a week is pretty good. I will write up my thoughts on each movie.

I have purchased a few more DVDs so I am back up past 224 DVDs to watch. I’ll add the new ones to the list coming up. I have this bad feeling that by the time I am done DVDs will no longer even be available at the rate I keep adding new ones.

Darkman

DarkmanFor my third movie I chose to watch Sam Raimi’s Darkman. Before Raimi was brought on to direct the Spiderman series he had Darkman. Darkman tells the story of Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson), a scientist who is attempting to discover a way to grow skin. Peyton wants to marry Julie (Frances McDormand) but Julie discovers that her boss is involved with some nasty criminals led by Robert Durant (Larry Drake). Durant and his goons break in and attempt to kill Peyton while looking for evidence that Julie has. Unfortunately for them they don’t kill Peyton. Peyton ends up with such terrible burns that the doctors perform a special surgery that remove his sense of touch and pain sensors. Peyton seeks his revenge while trying to keep himself under control as he looses control of his anger which is a side effect of his surgery.

I’m still trying to come to terms with why Darkman is such a fun movie. Recently, I was listening to the Film Junk podcast and they were talking about 80s action movies and how they were just more fun (or at least that is what I took from their discussion). While watching Darkman I couldn’t help but think about just how much fun it is to watch. It is bizarre, funny, scary and cheesy all at the same time. If I was asked to pick a superhero movie to watch Darkman would definitely be high up on the list. The superhero movies today either take themselves too seriously or else they make them for all ages. I would love it if there was more camp still being done in this genre.

I should mention that I had seen this one before but I remembered nothing of it. I do not know if my sense of humour and what I like in movies has grown or changed since I watched this way back in early 1990s but all I could remember about it was that I was not that impressed. Upon this re-watch I have decided that it definitely deserves a place amongst the top of the superhero movies. I don’t think it will ever get the respect that it deserves (except amongst the cult movie crowd and fans of Sam Raimi) but I for one will recommend it to all my friends who haven’t seen it.

3 Comments

  1. Fun/Cheesy/scary is not just the 1980s, it was intrinsic to Sam Raimi's particular filmmaking style. It's in all of his films (and for that matter the vibe is in a lot of the Coen Brothers' work in which Raimi was a regular colaborator early on).

    You can see elements of this in the Spiderman films, in his more conventional studio work like The Gift and A Simple Plan, but really it is full on display in the goofy and totally entertaining DRAG ME TO HELL.

    p.s. Darkman Rules.

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  2. That is a really nice post over at AV Club.

    You are right on the other Raimi movies. I guess I'm just feeling a bit overloaded and annoyed at the big blockbusters right now. They take something like GI Joe or Transformers which could be fun camp and just rely on the big special effects to draw people in when it really should be the story that does so.

    Of course, all we have to do is look at something like Drag Me to Hell and we see that while it will have a strong cult following and the respect of the critics it will not draw people into the seats. The same would apply if Darkman was released today.

    Now I'm feeling bitter.

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