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Jaws {1975}.

Directed by a 28 year old Steven Spielberg, Jaws is a gripping, multi-faceted masterwork. This thriller/cult classic features resonant, memorable work by Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss, and a mesmerizing, iconic performance by Robert Shaw. Also involved is a 20+ (25!) foot-long shark. One of the most perfectly realized films of the 20th century.

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Hitchcock’s Psycho {1960}.

The plot of Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, pivots on the fulcrum of a red herring. Janet Leigh’s character fears that she is in imminent legal danger, and suffers from a troubled conscience, when in fact something far, far worse, something having absolutely nothing even remotely to do with events up to that point, awaits her.

When he dines initially with Leigh, the reaction/mood of Norman Bates {portrayed iconically by Anthony Perkins} changes rather drastically, from chipper, to utterly incredulous, to overtly hostile, to a resigned world-weariness, to a last attempt at joviality. He appears to be friendly and caring, if a bit troubled and mercurial.

When the dogged, unswerving Milton Arbogast {Martin Balsam} calmly dissembles the slowly dissolving structural integrity of Norman’s version of events, he opts to do nothing less than trot out the heavy artillery, proclaiming “If it doesn’t gel, it isn’t aspic; and this ain’t gelling.” Stunned silence proceeds to take over the entire universe, and Bates is duly provoked.

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Psychopathic Types IV

Ian Holm I

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Some fine work here by some of our best. First, Ian Holm does Jack The Ripper. Mr. Holm, not usually known for this type of thing, “kills” it. Amazing creativity. Then my guy Tom Noonan plays John Lee Roche, a towering psychopath who is soft-spoken but quite hilarious: nothing could beat “You’re just resisting me.” for a bit of dialogue with such a type. Next, career “Hey! It’s THAT guy!” actor…..which means you’re doing something RIGHT….Mark Holton allows John Gacy to inhabit him utterly in Crawl Space (2003). Very cool, very deadpan….then, in a (for me) surprise of sorts, Brian Dennehy pulls a devastating gem from his arsenal in his *own* portrayal of The Killer Clown in 1992’s To Catch a Killer. This is the only scene in the TV-movie with any violence, really,Β  of any kind….and here it’s 100% psychological (which, if you’ve been there….)….but/and Dennehy’s undeniably intense psychopathic trance is unforgettable, poignant, tragic.Β  And plenty frightening. Whoa.

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Ravenous.

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Brilliant actor Robert Carlyle, and the extremely weird, uneasy cult masterpiece Ravenous (1999). Directed by Antonia Bird.