Wednesday, February 24, 2010

10 minutes of Terror - Apt Pupil

I told you I'd feature this one.
I believe Apt Pupil is one of the forgotten Stephen King movie gems. Probably because more people consider it a drama than a horror film. But personally I think this is a fantastic psychological horror film. Its not gory or scary in the traditional sense but it's extremely disturbing, intense, and really haunts you after you see it. I hold it more on par with the likes of Silence of the Lambs and Se7en.

In a nutshell, Apt Pupil is about a young troubled man named Todd who finds out that his elderly neighbor, Kurt, was a high ranking Nazi soldier in WWII. So Todd does what any young troubled man would do in a situation like this. He blackmails the shit out of him. The whole film becomes a battle of wills and wits between the two.

This scene is a bit different than the usual scenes I feature on 10 Minutes of Terror mainly because I'm not really analyzing the visual cues but just honoring the amazing acting of Ian McKellen...who I have a HUGE old gay man crush on. Seriously, I want to hang out with this guy for a weekend.
Lets take a look at the infamous (well infamous to me) marching scene.

What I love about this scene the most is the transformation of Ian McKellen's character during his march. It really is a beautiful acting moment that I don't think my words can even describe.
What we see before and through out most of the beginning of the film is a broken man who is desperately trying to hide his secret. In fact at some points in the film you're lead to believe he was just a soldier following orders and is now ashamed. Well this moment is the turning point for his character.
If you just watch his facial expressions, McKellen's transformation is so beautifully subtle. His eyes grow more intense and his jaw becomes more set and his marching grows. His body language is exaggerated yet his face is cold, cruel and almost dead except for that spark in his eyes. At this point you damn well know that this frail old man really is a monster and our dear Todd has just unleashed it again. In fact, this moment here is when the tables begin to turn and the battle of wills really gets intense. Todd is no longer in control, Kurt and his demons are.

I really do think Apt Pupil is worth checking out. Its a fascinating story and the acting is top notch all the way around. If you're into more psychological horror, rent this sucker.


Stac said...

The short story this movie's based on creeped me out SO badly. I had dreams about it for some time after I read it when I was 15.

Nojh said...

That was really cool. Yeah that movie seems like it'd require more patience than I'd normally give it. But the finality of that scene was awesome. The kid was the monster for the first half but by the end you knew the real monster was McKellen, not the kid.

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it