Friday, August 22, 2014

TGIF: "SEIZURE" compared to THE EXORCIST, 1977

If you ever want to confront the limits of language, try explaining the 1974 movie SEIZURE to someone.

SEIZURE is a weird movie, but the word "weird" doesn't quite do this film's oddball sensibilities justice. "Weird" is a word we use to describe the taste of that milk in the fridge that's on the verge of spoiling, but is still OK to drink if it means not having to make a trip to the grocery store. "Weird" is what you call that stand-up comic who pretends to have serious mental problems on stage, but seems well-enough adjusted after the show to pose for selfies with fans. "Weird" is just too tame of a word to use as a short-hand explanation of SEIZURE.

Even though it's difficult for me to believe, SEIZURE is coming to Blu-ray in a few short weeks. It's not exactly a good film (there's that language barrier again) but it's uniquely fascinating. Many of the people you'll see on screen in this film had previously been part of cultural groundswells so massive that they remain influential even today. Mary Woronov had been a part of Andy Warhol's "Factory" gang, and had been a dancer for the Velvet Underground's live "Exploding Plastic Inevitable" performances. Former teen heartthrob Troy Donahue was fresh off a performance in THE GODFATHER: PART II. Martine Beswick had appeared in THUNDERBALL, a film so successful that it's still in the Top 10 grossing James Bond films to this day (and might even top the list, if adjusted for inflation.)

And, of course, there's Jonathan Frid, who had been a living cultural touchstone during his days on DARK SHADOWS. His face was on trading cards, board games, comicbooks, posters, records and just about anything else that Dan Curtis Productions could attach his likeness to. For a few years, he was arguably the biggest star on television.

On the opposite end of the career spectrum is director Oliver Stone, who was making his feature film debut with SEIZURE. I'm not sure Stone's fans will see much of the director in this film, but the collection of personalities on both sides of the camera make SEIZURE an irresistible experience for movie buffs.

Below is a 1977 story from the UK publication, "The House of Hammer," a magazine that primarily focused on the films of Hammer Studios. This story mentions the "limited" availability of SEIZURE in the UK, as well as another film from the same mysterious distributor, THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON. That film featured an appearance by DARK SHADOWS alumnus Thayer David, for those of you keeping score at home.

(NOTE: Many of the images used for TGIF: Thank God It's Frid-Day, are courtesy of Elena Nacanther, who is part of an effort to get Jonathan Frid nominated to Canada's Walk of Fame, a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that recognizes Canadians who have excelled in music, sports, film, television, and other artistic endeavors. You can find the NOMINATE JONATHAN FRID TO CANADA'S WALK OF FAME Facebook page by clicking here. Please pay them a visit. You can see more selections from Elena's scrapbook each Friday here at the Collinsport Historical Society.)

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