Friday, August 15, 2008

French Couture Graduate Seminar: How to GET IT RIGHT

I've said it before and I have no problem saying it again - when it comes to horror movies, the French ROCK.

Witness, as evidence, the film I watched earlier this week - Christophe Gans's Le Pacte Des Loups.

I'm not going to tell you what it's about, except that it's set in France in the 18th century and it takes as its premise the legend of the Beast of GĂ©vaudan. You need to either see it or read the synopsis if you really want to deprive yourself of a visual treat. Aside from the fact that it's well acted, beautifully filmed, with impeccable production values and a plot that clicks along at a brisk enough pace to make you forget this movie is two-and-a-half-hours long.....the costumes are PHENOMENAL.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what I call GETTING IT RIGHT. Look at the freaking COATS.

There's no Ren-Faire panne' velvet knockoffs here, kids. No bargain-basement Hot Topic corsets or vinyl raincoats.

Best of all, even though this is sort of a werewolf movie (very much "sort of"), there is no Kate Beckinsale in a bad outfit, with a bad accent, looking like she walked in from a different movie.

Oh wait, I'm thinking of Van Helsing. Sorry.

Screw it, let's have some more coats.

Notice how the two protagonists, Fronzac and Mani, never wear red, but the potentially evil aristocrats do?

I thought you'd like that. That's some good designing there. Props to costumiere Dominique Borg. I want to be YOU when I grow up, Dominique.

Now, there were a couple minor flaws in this movie. First of all, they cast the Chairman from Iron Chef America:

...and sadly, they gave him lines.

They really should have just let him kick ass and stay mute. Because he DOES kick ass and take names in the fight scenes. And he IS rather easy on the eyes.

He needs to leave the talking (and, wisely, the Liberace outfits) to this guy.

I am now imagining Chairman Kaga in the Mani role, flinging a few yellow peppers at his opponent and crushing him with the sheer weight of his rhinestone-and-ruffle-encrusted tuxedo. Good times.

Anyway, back to the eye candy.

I am going to go out on a limb here and risk my possible banishment from the Tenebrous Empire by saying that now that Helmut Berger has Reached A Certain Age, I would not object to seeing Vincent Cassel take his place in the pantsless department.
I mean, even in a red velvet coat and a sweeping black cloak, with a latex hand borrowed from the closing scenes of Suspiria, he is totally hot. In a creepy Marquis de Sade kinda way, but still.

I'd let him challenge me to a fencing match (IYKWIM) any day.

Speaking of pantsless, there is a high volume of attractive nekkid people in this film. Kudos for making the costumes totally droolworthy and casting actors who look pretty damn good with them OFF.

Monica Bellucci. Naked. In a super awesome choker necklace. Thumbs up.

I will also admit that the ol' Chairman doesn't look half bad in a loincloth.

And Samuel le Bihan brings to mind a younger Frenchier Rutger Hauer. Yum.

You can all wipe my drool off your screen now.


Jack said...


Why don't I own a copy of this?

The Costuminatrix said...

Jack: Never mind owning a copy, why don't you DRESS like this? Why don't we ALL still dress like this?

(Probably because we'd all die of heat exhaustion, but still.)

Tenebrous Kate said...

What a great movie this is! Awesome write up of a thoroughly gorgeous flick.

I'm not sure if Cassel is allowed to *take Berger's place*, but he does have a bit of that similar creepycool allure. I'll enthusiastically second the notion of casting him as De Sade! Someone has GOT to make this a reality. Might I recommend him in another creepycool role in The Reckoning if you haven't seen that already? Bonus points for Willem Dafoe.

Soiled Sinema said...

Vincent Cassel is the greatest thing about this film.

Great movie though.