Monday, August 22, 2011
When I was young I was drawn to things that frighten me. It follows me to this day. I have a distinct memory of being 8 or 9 when Dressed To Kill made it’s television debut. 8 or 9 was also the time most television movies began and therefore there were hundreds of films that I started watching with my parents but then was ushered off to bed before they were finished. My father (like most fathers in those days) was a fan of Angie Dickinson. She did exude sexuality like few others. I remember the shower scene as the film began, even edited for television, it had my mother sending me off to dreamland earlier than usual.
Our 20 inch color was in the rec room which meant I could sit, just as the stairs rounded, and if my parents weren’t paying attention, could still watch for awhile. This night I watched, at least up until the elevator scene. With the first slash of the razor I ran up to bed, but not to sleep. The brief few seconds of that scene gave me plenty of sleepless nights.
Of course several years later in my early teens I was drawn to Dickinson’s legs on the faded VHS box at the video store and finally got to watch the whole thing. At the time I remember thinking the movie got sort of boring after the elevator scene (which is a classic), but on re-watching the special edition DVD last week I gained a new appreciation for the film as a whole.
Many reviews call the movie more style than substance and that is partially true. The style however is quite magnificent, especially in the museum scene which as directed by Brian De Palma and scored by Pino Donaggio is one of the reasons I love movies so much. My crush on Keith Gordon remained in tact. Keith, who played Dickinson’s son might be known to many for his turn playing another son, this time Rodney Dangerfield’s in Back To School and has since gone to direct both motion pictures and television, including multiple episodes of Dexter.
Dickinson, almost 50 at the time, played ‘sexual frustrating’ well and Nancy Allen proves herself a much better actress than she gets credit for. Allen also is the most enjoyable to watch and listen to on the DVD’s special features. Dennis Franz play a NY detective pre NYPD Blue and Michael Caine was still a respected actor, something he sort of lost by taking each and every role put in front of him (Jaws 4 anyone?).
I have read there was a bit of a understandable backlash from the transgender community, but creating any type of thriller with a genuine twist is hard enough that I cut De Palma a bit of slack given it was the early eighties. If I were to be critical of any aspect of the film it would be the addition of two scenes. The VD letter scene seems to be viewed as brilliant by some but I felt it totally unnecessary. It was the one scene in my recent viewing that jerked me out of the story into how dated the reference was. I also really disliked the murder of the nurse near the end of the film. Like the VD scene it did not fit the tone set and as filmed was unrealistic and even for this film, overly sensational.
If you have not seen the film and wondering what to rent/download or netflix this weekend, skip the latest Matt Damon thriller and give Dress To Kill a shot. I think you will either love it or hate it. In moments horribly bad, in others horribly great, but for the overall a pretty fun and scary ride.
If there were one room in your home which held all your secrets it would be the bathroom. In the bathroom, behind the closed door, we are naked, both physically and emotionally. We look into a mirror, that sadly never lies to us with a false compliment. The bathroom is the room the sins of the past 24 hours are flushed, washed away and then covered up again. It the place we go to first thing in the morning and the end of every day.
It is a strange phenomenon that in a room in which we are both completely exposed and completely natural, we try our best to change nature. We shave facial and body hair, fill the hair on our head with product and cover imperfections. Between body wash, shampoo, deodorant and cologne we have virtually no part of our body with any natural scent. Yet…when we look into that mirror, before the shower, and after all the product is applied, what we see really has not changed.
It makes perfect sense to me then that photographer John Fallon chose the room of secrets as the base his series toilette. On his site, John showcases both men and women exposing more than just skin. No matter what life is throwing at you, happiness, sadness, depression, disease, addiction or fetish, it all usually comes out, one way or another in the toilette.
John describes his style as sort of all over the place; edgy, dirty, dust, organic, vintage Hollywood to modern high fashion to simplicity. In addition to taking the photographs, John acts as Wardrobe Stylist and Art Director on each of his shoots creating each image from concept to completion. It is concept that is John’s favorite part of the process, creating a visual story and executing that vision into reality.
Although based in Los Angeles, John has lived and worked in over 30 countries. John was traveling when I first contacted him about a profile, completing photography assignments in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Besides documenting the human condition, John is also committed to improving upon it. John is the founder of Love Bully, a non-profit organization involved in anti-bullying and suicide prevention. John also acts as co-creator and designer of the organic apparel line Fuze Organics.
Above: Artist within the art.
'Photography inspires me every second of the day. I love to capture moments in time that can never be repeated. I love to tell stories. I feel that photography is a portal for humankind to share thoughts and experiences without imposing them. An image can mean many things and can not tell a lie.'
From John's Website:
'His ability to marry though provoking and provocative imagery with sometimes unusual situations ask the viewer to reexamine their own boundaries and take foothold into the unknown. Sometimes his work is portrayed in the purity of nature, while at other times infused with colors, texture and vice.'
Check out much more of John's work on his site HERE: