“I prefer animals to people.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
… and some early scenes are quite eerie and erotic, but Alan Ormsby’s script becomes incoherent, the John Bailey [cinematographer]-Ferdinando Scarfiotti [production designer] visuals become too surrealistic, and Schrader completely forgets the subtlety, sensuality, and taste that distinguished Lewton’s film” — instead filling “the screen with nudity and gory violence that are antithetical to Lewton.” In a 2000 interview, Schrader apparently admitted that Lewton’s film didn’t mean much to him, and that he wanted “the movie credited as ‘A Paul Schrader and Fernando Scarfiotti Film'” — but despite significant narrative differences between the two films, there are enough scenes that are direct homages (i.e., the swimming pool scene) that it’s hard not to make comparisons.
Unfortunately, I’m in agreement with Peary that this more literal “version” is much less successful, and actually pretty icky. McDowell seems comfortable building on the theme of incest from his infamous turn in Caligula (1979), but why in the world would audiences want to hear him saying to Kinski, “We are an incestuous race; we can only make love with our own — otherwise, we transform.”? I get that this is the mythos behind the storyline, but it’s simply unappealing. Kinski is alluring, and good use is made of New Orleans settings — but this one isn’t must-see viewing.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: