Friday, October 23, 2009

The mind does strange things: Oliver Stone's Seizure

Oliver Stone has made some great films in his career and some underwhelming ones. But landing squarely in the pantheon of mind-warping camp is his debut feature Seizure (1974), which stars Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins himself) as a horror novelist whose characters invade his house while he is having friends over for a weekend vacation. The trio of characters are a giant black man, cult-movie goddess Martine Beswicke as “the Queen of Evil,” and the immortal Hervé Villechaize as… I don’t know, some little jester guy who speaks in a thick accent and will kick your ass even though he comes up to your thigh. Do not fuck with Hervé (this was attested to in my interview with Carol Lynley).

I felt that Seizure needed to be represented on YouTube (if only to attest to the wonderful chemicals folks used to ingest in the Seventies), and so uploaded some choice clips. First, a Frid blooper that Stone kept in the film — either because he thought it “seemed real” or because he was pissed off at Frid. Jonathan was known for losing his lines on Dark Shadows and making up new ones that paralyzed his fellow actors. He also cursed to occasionally make the tape stop (outside of cursing, there was no way the directors of the low-budget soap were going to stop tape — actors regularly lost their lines and the take in question aired). The slip occurs at about :24 seconds in:

Hervé’s best moments:

And the film would be utterly insane and still memorable without them, but a little sex appeal never hurt, so here we have the amazing Martine and her ruby lips, and Ms. Woronov and her amazing gams:


Bob Fingerman said...

Seems the entire soundtrack is percussive, too. Is it?

Media Funhouse said...

I didn't get into that on the show or here, but I love the fact that it's got a serious amount of kettledrum, which means that Oliver either took a leaf from Herschell Gordon Lewis's "Blood Feast," or he just happened to be on the same wavelength. And they say exploitation films don't influence the mainstream (if "Seizure" can be said to be mainstream....).