And neither am I.
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People who have never heard of Jack Ketchum will likely be slightly confused by this film, because the biggest question goes unanswered: Who is The Woman? Who is this Mowgli-like wild creature living feral in the American wild, this apparently never-civilized killing machine with sharpened teeth and a taste for human flesh?
We who know Ketchum know who she is. We saw Offspring, and we read Off Season, and we know why a movie was made to the sequel to his first novel, not the book itself, and it’s all very confusing. I used to have a handle on it.
The Woman is Ketchum’s first made-for-probably-straight-to-DVD screenwriting project. He worked with director Lucky McKee on creating a sequel to the Offspring movie, but explored a complete shift in the cannibal dynamic by making The Woman (Pollyana Macintosh) almost the hero and reworking the earlier concept of a long lineage of Sawney Beaney cannibals living in the forests of the eastern seaboard by showing us that savage, twisted families can wear suits and ties, not rags and skins.
Plot: A successful lawyer, who lives on an isolated property with his wife, son and daughter, finds a savage feral woman while hunting, captures her, locks her in the cellar and claims he plans to “educate” her on modern life. But he has a darker agenda, one his wife and children know all too well.
McKee directed this, and it works. It really works. I loved Offspring, but this is an entirely different feel for a Ketchum concept. It borrows from his novel (later filmed) The Girl Next Door, but throws a Fritzl spin on it with an interesting (but badly telegraphed) last-scene twist. McKee takes some weird chances here, but they work: when sleazy lawyer Chris Cleek spots The Woman in the forest for the first time, hard-driving sexy rock music swells up over the scene (and in the trailer), and there are many other interesting uses of music that come close to montage but add to the story in a smarter way, if that makes any sense. Probably not. I just watched The Woman, so I’m a little scrambled.
There is some gore here. It’s Ketchum material, so you knew that. But there’s also a solid story about quiet evil, about how death dealers can be hiding in the woods or working in the next office building. And it’s brought to us in a solidly acted, smartly written and snappy little horror flick. The ending may make you wonder, but if you know the earlier stories, you’ll love it. It works.
Remember that question from earlier? Who is The Woman? Watch this movie, and ask yourself again afterward.
Jack Ketchum hides here.
This was the answer: “It is not concession machinery, but mitigating transparency will allow us to attrit to the steady state.”
Again, can you guess what my question was?
Why don’t men get mad cow disease?
Because we’re pigs.
Three dogs are sitting on a curb.
“Nice day,” says the first dog. “Might be the nicest day I’ve had in a long time.”
“Not me,” says the second dog. “For me, the best day I ever had was the day my master picked me at the dog pound. He brought me home, gave me a bed of my own and fed me and rubbed behind my ears, and I knew that at last, finally, I had a home with a master who loved me. That was my best day ever.”
“Well,” says the third dog, “my best day ever was the first day my master took me to the beach. I played in the water, I could run wherever I wanted and there were all kinds of delicious smells and tastes. That day at the beach was my best day ever.”
The first dog thinks about this. “All right,” he says, “I would say my best day ever was the day I broke my leash and ran away. I went downtown and ate from the garbage behind a restaurant, and met some other stray dogs and ran wild, and got with some fine bitches. I would say that was my best day ever.”
Just then, a horse comes clip-clopping up the road and stops. “I couldn’t help but overhear,” he says. “And I want to tell you dogs that you have no idea what makes a good day, because you’ve never been on a fox hunt. Until you have raced over the moors under the moonlight, until you have chased that rascal fox down, until you have had your master give you a rubdown afterward and tell you you did an excellent job, until you have done that, you have no idea what makes a good day.”
The first dog looks at the other two. “Holy shit,” he says. “A talking horse.”
Gordon Lightfoot: Not Actually Dead. This is news in Canada. In fact, it was front-page news for some newspapers. Forget the Olympics, folks — Our most legendary troubador is actually still alive.
Most of us heard Gord was dead because someone said so on Twitter. Now, as you know, 99.9999 percent of Twitter is either stupidity or bullshit, except for the two Twitter accounts I maintain (one for work, one for play) and, of course, yours. The best thing about Twitter is it allows people to share their thoughts quickly and easily and without a lot of effort. The problem with Twitter is it allows people to share their thoughts quickly and easily and without a lot of effort. Those of us who like to think before we speak also maintain blogs where we try to lower the level of stupidity and bullshit. I hope to have one of those someday.
In the meantime, here are some other Canadian celebrities who aren’t actually dead — in other words, people who are still alive.
- Sebastian Bach: The former lead singer of Skid Row put out a screechingly good, if not entirely original, solo album a couple of years ago called Angel Down. I play it a lot, as it proves Bach is still alive, and also that he passed out around 1987 and just woke up, which is good in a heavy metal way.
- Conrad Bain: TV’s Mr. Drummond is leading a pretty quiet life these days at age 87. A classically trained actor, he rocked the Shakespeare pretty fiercely before moving to the US and becoming known as a sitcom sort of guy on Maude and Diff’rent Strokes. He has a twin brother named Bonar Bain, who used to play his evil twin on SCTV. Bonar Bain, also still alive, has the best name ever issued to a Canadian.
- Pamela Anderson: The Baywatch Beauty is still alive, thanks to the wonder of plastic. Yeah, that was too easy. Sorry.
- Eric Lindros: Hockey’s Next Big Thing of 1991 (who turned out to be just a big thing, and not in the way you think), played for a lot of teams during his excellent (but not Most Excellent Ever, as promised) career, left the NHL in 2007 and is now the ombudsman for the league’s player union. This job involves investigating disputes, settling debates, and dropping gloves when necessary, or at least I like to think so. I suspect there’s a lot of work being done on the dental plan.
- Dini Petty: It’s okay if you don’t know who this is. You’re probably foreign. She’s still alive, and her guests stay at the lovely Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Toronto.
- Alan Thicke: Dad Seaver is still going strong, with a small role in last year’s The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, which was a pretty decent movie in a Jeremy Piven sort of way. Alan Thicke is from northern Ontario, like I am, and thus has that frozen-in-time youthful appearance. Thicke, known primarily as a talk-show host and sitcom star, also wrote the theme song to Diff’rent Strokes, which might be the most significant musical achievement of all time by a Canadian. Sorry, Gord.