Monday, July 2, 2012

117. HEAVENLY CREATURES (1994)

As I watched Jean Rollin's THE TWO ORPHAN VAMPIRES for the first time, I found that the two young leads (Isabelle Teboul and Alexandra Pic) reminded me very much of Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey (pictured) in this Peter Jackson film, his first "serious" picture and bid for mainstream respect after three fairly caustic and cartoonish send-ups, BAD TASTE (1987), MEET THE FEEBLES (1989) and DEAD ALIVE (1992). It had been so long since I'd seen HEAVENLY CREATURES, my only viewing had been on laserdisc, and as I refreshed my memory, I was pleased to discover that the film -- based on the true 1954 story of Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker, two New Zealand teens who bonded in an unhealthy way and eventually conspired to murder one of their mothers -- had parallels to the Rollin film above and beyond mere resemblances. I'll save those thoughts for my essay, which will accompany Redemption's forthcoming Blu-ray and DVD releases of THE TWO ORPHAN VAMPIRES and THE LIVING DEAD GIRL, but suffice to say, this film continues to stand out as one of Jackson's most absorbing and cleverly conceived achievements, though the quirkiness apparent in the earlier works isn't completely out of his system yet.

Viewed on Netflix.

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