Saturday, February 28, 2009

57) Long Weekend (1978)

57) Long Weekend (1978) Dir: Colin Eggleston Date Released: March 1979 Date Seen: February 24th, 2009 Rating: 3.25/5

I get the appeal of a film where Mama Nature turns on us, the callous jamooks that have used up her resources and pissed on her rug. No matter what the justification, there’s a lot of resentment that can’t be swept under the rug about what we’ve done in our thoughtlessness. That having been said, Colin Eggleston’s Long Weekend would have been a lot more effective if it had taken a few more chances and either gone more over-the-top or really buckled down and tackled what makes Peter and Marcia (John Hargreaves and Briony Behets) such omnivorious dickheads.

Long Weekend can however and should be watched for what it delivers successfuly, namely a horror film with an overbearing political monster dreamt up by lefty hippies. Its superficial intelligence is in a way its biggest asset, even if it does ultimately limit how much impact the film can have. Peter and Marcia’s callousness towards their natural surroundings is successfully parlayed in drive-in movie terms: they litter, kill lots of animals and are in general loutish nits with no regard for life. This culminates in a silly revelation about Marcia and Peter’s personal history but that’s ultimately negligible. What matters is that we have a few stupid and pat but believable excuses to watch them get attacked by ants, eagles and harpoons fired by no one in particular.

As the couple descends into madness, it becomes clear that the real reason to watch Long Weekend is to watch these kids get theirs. Despite its lack of serious gore, the film is (gasp) sadistic in this way and in ways that today’s ill-named “torture porn” filmmakers adore. Simple set-up: punish the normies, who are actually more disgusting than the aggressor. The difference here is that the aggressor is the “beautiful victim” archetype whose beauty comes from her abundance and mystery, at least according to Eggleston’s infrequent Nova-esque faux-doc segues. Take that level of abstracton away and you have a paint-by-numbers slasher pic.

Long Weekend is probably as satisfying as it is because it’s neither here nor there, a weird little pic that will more than likely remain in limbo. And yet, while it may not be subtle, cheesy or original enough to be of interest to the taste-makers that create the canon of cult cinema, it is very satisfying for the level of faux-class it brings to the exploitation genre it dabbles in.

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