Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gods Of Cinema: Jeff Lieberman

Jeff Lieberman has only 5 feature films under his belt as director, and I found something special in each and every one of them. His films are in turns intelligent, primal and funny. You get a sense of someone with a genuine point of view behind the lens and someone who's not afraid to reflect some personality up on the screen. Jeff's one of the most unsung filmmakers who has worked in genre films. 1976's Blue Sunshine is exactly as it seems. It's one trip of a movie show! Zalman King of all people plays the Hitchcockian wrong man falsely accused of murder. Bald headed mass hysteria and zany LSD antics ensue. Squirm, also 1976, is one of the smarter and more satisfying 'Nature Runs Amok' films released in the wake of Jaws. Watch as scores of worms take over a rural community and cause absolute mayhem. But who can blame them, we harnessed the electricity that woke them up in the first place. The atmosphere and tension displayed in Lieberman's previous film Squirm reaches absolute heights with 1981's stellar Just Before Dawn. A small group of nature lovin' campers encounter one nasty inbred fella. My favorite of the slasher films set against nature. Remote Control (1988) is a sly nod to the Science Fiction films of the 1950's. Set inside a video store, Remote poses the silly yet fun idea of Aliens taking over the world with the evil inside of that top loading VCR you know you had back in the day. I never would have imagined I'd enjoy a horror film set on Halloween as much as I have since John Carpenter's original first 2 films, but I sure enjoyed the heck out of Satan's Little Helper (2004) A young boy befriends a mysterious costumed madman on Halloween. Soon he and his family have one serious problem on their hands.
Jeff, we love you. Make more movie shows!

1 comment:

The Film Connoisseur said...

Ive been so curious for Blue Sunshine, I need to get my hands on it.

Squirm I love. Saw it a couple of years ago and it actually surprised me! After seeing it, I knew where films like Night of the Creeps and Slither came from.

Plus that ending with all those thousands upon thousands of worms, freaking cool visuals. Unfortunately, the films first half is kind of a bore, but it quickly picks up once the worms start showing up.

Never seen Remote control, but looks cool. Kind of along the lines of films like Stay Tuned..or Shocker.

Saw Satans Little Helper a while back, enjoyed it. Nothing mind blowing, but not a bad film. Very simple in execution, yet effective.

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