FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Jan 19, 2009

the EYES have it (wakka, wakka)

Once upon a time, some friends of mine and I started another review blog for stuff that wasn't horror-related. Long story short, it didn't really go anywhere.

CUT TO: now! A cyberpal recently asked why I haven't yet to review Eyes of Laura Mars, and I though to myself, "Didn't I review that already? I think I did. Am I crazy? Am I imagining things? Things I've done, things I've seen? Was my stint as a cast member of The Golden Girls also merely a figment of my imagination? Where am I? Did I really buy this shirt? It's awful."

Then I remember that I had, in fact, reviewed Eyes of Laura Mars for that other now-defunct blog. In the interests of humanity and laziness, I'm re-posting it here. Rejoice!


The 1978 mystery thriller flick Eyes of Laura Mars has been on my list of "must see"s forever, and when I saw Laura's eerie glowing eyes looking at me from the shelf at my local library last night, I decided to make the leap from dreams to reality. Was the film worth the long long wait? Sure, I suppose. Why not?

Faye Dunaway stars as the titular Laura Mars, a glamourous and edgy photographer whose glamourous, edgy photographs are pushing the boundaries taste. Though they often depict murders and crime scenes, Laura's photographs are nevertheless used in cool, hip advertising, forcing the audience to confront everyday violence and the ways in which society celebrates heinous crimes. It's fuckin' deep, man...her photos really make you think, you know? It's art, baby. You probably don't get it.

Laura is soon haunted by fuzzy psychic visions of the brutal murders of her closest friends and associates. Because she's seeing the crimes through the eyes of the killer, she has no idea who the perp is...this means it could be anyone! Anyone at all! Maybe even...Laura herself. Again...deep.

Eyes of Laura Mars is firmly entrenched in its era: the decadent late 70s. The first giveaway that this is a 70s flick is the fact that it's got its own theme song: Love Theme from Eyes of Laura Mars (Prisoner), sung by none other than Barbra Streisand. That's right, this is no B- or C-level theme song by, you know, Kiki Dee or something. Laura Mars hauls out the big guns straight off. Man, every movie from the 70s had its own damn theme song. The only hold out on that trend are the James Bond flicks. I say we bring it back, dammit! I want to see Love Theme from The Hot Chick (Pillow Fights and Strange New Feelings) sung by Marilyn McCoo sprawled across the screen. Are you listening to me, Hollywood? I certainly hope you are.

Oh, honey, the stars in this movie are mega-watt! MEGA-WATT! Behind the scenes we've got a script and story by horror maestro John Carpenter and competent, confident direction from Irvin Kershner- the man in the director's chair for a little something called The Empire Strikes Back. On screen, first and foremost we've got Faye Dunaway. I love Faye Dunaway. I mean...Network! Bonnie and Clyde! Chinafuckingtown, y'all. Tinseltown simply does not produce the caliber of woman equal to your Faye Dunaways anymore. While Ms Dunaway's presence is certainly enough to get me to watch a movie, Eyes of Laura Mars also boasts Raul Julia as Laura's creepy ex-husband, Brad Dourif as Laura's creepy chauffeur, Rene Auberjonois as Laura's creepy manager, and Tommy Lee Jones as Laura's sometimes creepy new boyfriend. Yes, he's the least creepy man in Laura's life, he's the lead detective on the case, and he's fallen head over heels for Laura and she's the love of his life immediately. Can you see where this plot is going? Yes...yes you can. I tell you, the Eyes of Stacie Ponder figured this movie out pretty quickly, but it really doesn't matter. Thriller/mysteries are always enjoyable to watch unfold, and Laura Mars is no exception. Besides, one spends a majority of one's viewing time transfixed by Tommy Lee Jones's unibrow, anyway.

Aside from said unibrow, I found quite a few things about Eyes of Laura Mars amusing. First, there's Laura's photographs. While they're talked of as "reprehensible", "ultra violent", and "tasteless", they're really quite tame. In fact, most people probably wouldn't use "reprehensible" to describe a photo of two topless models pulling each other's hair. I certainly would, however, use that word to describe their crimped and frizzy hair.

I also immensely enjoyed the fact that Laura has a driver amd must be driven everywhere in New York rich! How positively glamourous! Eventually, the camera pulls back to reveal the vehicle in which Laura is chauffeured around the city:

It's a fucking battle wagon! Do we think that Sue Ellen Ewing is glamourous driving around Dallas in her battle wagon? No. Everyone else is driving Mercedeseseses and Corvettes and Porsches and we feel bad for Sue Ellen Ewing. Battle wagons are not sexy. Those are some sweet rims, though.

It's difficult for me to be objective about a thriller like Eyes of Laura Mars because I almost always love a thriller like Eyes of Laura Mars. Even if it's (or is that because it's...?) silly and over-the-top and I know whodunit about 5 seconds after they walk onscreen, it's always a good time. Look into my eyes!


B.E. Earl said...

Saw this a loooong time ago and I never realized that Carpenter wrote the damned thing. Nice! Gonna have to check it out again soonest.

Sam said...

I'm in much the same boat as BE, though when I saw it in 1978 I did so with my mother, which adds a whole level of creepy to the proceedings. Shudder.

Anyway, I've been meaning to watch it again one of these days (read: a long, long time from right now), and there's a novelization of the movie floating around, as well. Maybe I'll jump on the latter first, as I saw it pretty recently on the shelves at my local used book shop.

JA said...

Lord I love faye Dunaway. I'd say I wish I could see through the eyes of Faye Dunaway, but looking at her these days I don't think she can close them all the way and that would be exhausting.

Talking about TEOLM reeeeally brings out the gay in me, but her outfits in this movie are FAAAAAAAAAB. Stacie, you were just complaining that you can't figure out how to be stylish - DRESS LIKE THIS. I demand it. I wanna see you in capes and caftans ASAP.

Also - excuse me while I put my Snooty Art Person hat on (yes, it's a beret) - her photography is a rip-off of Guy Boudin's work, who kicked ass. Huge feathered hair, furs, blood everywhere.

Anonymous said...

JA thanks for the Boudin link - truly outstanding! I've bookmarked it for later perusal. Only got through the first few snaps - total comedy caption heaven!!! Bliss!

Arboghost! said...

Faye Dunaway stars as the titular Laura Mars

I think of her as the eponymous Laura Mars but then I'm very chaste.

Evol Kween said...

Hey umm, on a totally unrelated topic. Do you know when the Friday 13th remake is hitting Australian shores? I can't find anything about it online. And since you're the Horror QUEEN (!!!) I thought you might have ways of knowing? Cause you're like psychic and stuff?

Richard Doyle said...

I think of her as the eponymous Laura Mars but then I'm very chaste.

Well now, it's the movie that would be eponymous, not the character.

"titular" is to "eponymous" as "pseudonym" is to "pseudonymous"

Joe said...

Wow - I can't believe I inspired a post! I feel so special (no actually special).

I asked Stacie if she'd seen this because I knew she'd be ALL over that fashion and hammy acting, the crazy gays (Odo from Deep Space 9). My favourite part is when her gay friend is about to get attacked and she sees the attack coming and she's running down the street screaming "Dooooooooonnnnnnnaaaaaalllllldddddd" Ah it's so funny...

Fun fact: Ugly Betty and Devil Wears Prada totally rip off the car wreck photo scene.

Kevin said...

I'm a little late to the scene, but I just wanted to mention that the photographs may have been reminiscent of Bourdin, but they're by Helmut Newton - a contemporary of Bourdin's. My guess is that they influenced each other's work, like Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff.

Okay, maybe nothing like that.

Anonymous said...

Request over here! Please review "Eyes Without a Face".

Jessica said...

The photos were by Helmut Newton. You should know that.