Went and saw Wicked, Wicked, which was playing a very limited engagement at Metrograph.
I don’t usually dismiss gimmicks out of hand; after all, the drive to experiment and defy conventions (Griffith’s early adoption of intercutting, Hitchcock’s desire to simulate a single unbroken take in Rope) can sometimes be the first step towards genuine innovation. Unfortunately, this schlocky proto-slasher flick’s “groundbreaking” Duo-Vision (basically a split screen effect that spans the film’s entire running time) doesn’t quite measure up to those other examples. The best I can say about it is that it enhances the film’s inherent kitsch value; in choosing to juxtapose a tender love scene with footage of a cavalry charge, crashing waves, and an atomic explosion, director Richard L. Bare accidentally discovers the kind of comedy gold that the Zucker Brothers spent years developing and refining. It’s an absolute stinker—and I (and the rest of the audience) loved it for all the wrong reasons.
[Originally written March 3, 2018.]