Looks like Thursday (at the Vancity) is going to be the last chance to see the neglected Canadian horror classic Rituals
onscreen (I can't imagine this getting projected again here in the next 20 years, and tho' a DVD release might eventually happen, I wouldn't bet on it). Attentive readers will know that I greatly like this film
; I was at Saturday's screening, and can say that while the print shown was a tad pink and that there were indeed some scratches, the damage was not so bad as to hamper my involvement in the story. There's a good description of the plot of the film on the Canuxsploitation site
(thanks to Caelum Vatnsdal
for pointing that out during his Saturday introduction to the film)... tho' I would disagree that the film simply abandons what they claim is the usual "atoning for bad ethics" theme of urban/rural horror films, preferring -- as the authors seem to suggest -- realism to parable; the film is in fact richly rewarding as parable, though a bit disturbing in its implications. I mean, Hal Holbrook practically looks like Moses when he walks out of the forest -- but what could possibly be carved on the tablets he's carrying? "Thou shall not kill" sure ain't on them, I'll tellya that. If the film indeed charts a ritual, what has he passed from and what has he passed into, and what's the meaning of the dogtags he's given? (How do victims become victimisers, anyhow? Is Matthew trying to pass something on?) Hal, far from being chastened for his vices (which the other doctors are, natch), is punished for his virtues; will he have to rethink them? ...all this makes for a pretty unique variation on the theme.
...I wish I knew if Carol J. Clover
had seen this film. She never answers my emails...