Friday, 24 June 2011
I do love horror movies, and one of my all time favourites is The Brood (d.David Cronenberg, 1979.) I've watched it many times but still find it pretty scary - it's about a father, Frank Carveth, whose wife is in an experimental psychiatric facility, where patients are trained to allow their emotional pain to manifest as physical afflictions. Whenever Carveth's wife feels hurt or wronged by someone, mysterious deformed children show up and bludgeon them to death. Like all good Cronenberg, the film makes you feel really disgusting about your own body, and aware of how vulnerable your mental health can be. There are some wonderful performances in this movie as well - Samantha Eggar as the disturbed Nola Carveth, a great child performance by Cindy Hinds as her daughter, an ice cold and creepy Oliver Reed as the psychiatrist. But what the film really needs to hold it all together is a well-played, grounded portrayal of Frank Carveth, who is one of the only sane and responsible characters in the film. The fascinating flaw of The Brood is that Art Hindle plays Carveth, well... kinda terribly. His eye rolling and scenery chewing and hammy yelling are particularly embarrassing next to the gravitas of Reed. I have a lot of affection for this frightening little movie, and I even have affection for Hindle's ridiculous performance, but a lot of the blame for why this isn't a great movie rests on his shoulders, in my opinion.
Hindle is from Toronto, and was encouraged to pursue a career on the screen by his uncle, character actor Michael Kane (not Michael Caine, as the IMDB claims.) He's been in many, many films from 1971 to the present, most of them Canadian, and is best known for his roles in the TV series Paradise Falls, and the 1978 Phillip Kaufman version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in which his acting is serviceable but not outstanding. I first saw him in a horrible made for TV movie called Liar, Liar (1993) (not the Jim Carrey comedy.) It's about a father who is brutally sodomising his children, and when his eleven year old daughter reports the abuse, no one believes her. The father is played with much creepy intensity by Hindle. For some god-unknown reason we were shown this film in our Social Education class in highschool, leaving us all traumatised.