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February 10, 1988 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-02-10

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Page 10-The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, February 10, 1988

'Serpent' underscores


By Steve Knopper
How do you rate a horror film?
Should it scare your pants off? Or
should it make you want to vomit?
Master of horror Wes Craven
(Nightmare on Elm Street) achieves
little of the former in his new flick,
The Serpent and the Rainbow. As
for the latter, this film has it all -
maggots, human head-removing,
snakes jumping out of zombies'
mouths, and worst of all, scrotum-
In fact, each scene is expertly
crafted and filmed solely to make you
sick., But the thrills are predictable,
and Craven never really explains why

the characters are motivated to endure
their living hell.
The story, which often takes a
back seat to Craven's stomach-
wrenching effects, begins with a
flashback involving dashing young
anthropologist Dennis Alan (played
like cardboard by William Hirt look-
alike Bill Pullman). Alan drinks
medicine from an Amazonian
Shaman and finds himself running
through the jungle, chased by imagi-
nary tigers and falling into bottom-
less pits.
This scene sets the tone for the
rest of the movie. Ten years later,
Alan's company sends him to Haiti
to investigate rumors of zombies.
Alan, skeptical at first, follows lead
after lead, falls in love with beautiful

Haitian doctor Marielle Celine
(Cathy Tyson of Mona Lisa), and fi-
nally arouses the ire of police officer,
zombie-master, soul-possessor, and
slimebag Dargent Peytraud (Zakes
Peytraud, unfortunately for Alan,
is a sadist who enjoys inflicting pain
upon those he doesn't like because he
likes to hear them scream. After Alan
snoops around Haiti, trying to find
out why these backward Haitians are
whining about zombies, Peytraud
discovers that Alan is not just an-
other tourist.
Alan endures a nailed hole in his
scrotum, facial knife wounds, scary
nightmares (Craven's trademark), and
poison. But he stays in Haiti to find
the secret of the zombies, to kill
Peytraud and to win the woman.
Alan's experiences are graphically
portrayed by Craven, but it's never
really clear what motivates him not
to run back to America and hide un-
der his bed.
The movie tries to establish Ce-

line as the desire behind Alan's ac-
tions, but the relationship never gets
off the ground. The movie's lone
love scene seems to be thrown in
because there's nothing else to do.
Celine, who starts off as an accom-
plished zombie doctor, ends up a
spineless, stand-by-your-man Alan
Most of the Haitians are portrayed
as uncivilized, voodoo-loving sav-
ages who must be saved by the great
white doctor from America. They
look to him as a savior who must
single-handedly conquer Peytraud and
discover the secret of the zombies.
Craven's directing, taken scene by
scene, is effective and horrifying, and
he succeeds in giving the film a
dreamy aura. But the movie wears
thin, and it's not quite clear why
Alan submits to the hell he receives.
There are good points, such as Alan's
live burial and zombified march
through Haiti, but for the most part,
Serpent relies on effects without fo-
cusing on the story.


n of

at the


Haitian doctor Marielle Celine (C
dance for Harvard anthropologist
the new movie 'The Serpent and



By Brian Bonet
Tonight Eclipse Jazz explores the rhythms of Brazilian Jazz with
the first of a series of three lectures celebrating the realm and
influence of "Latin Jazz in America." The featured artists will be
guitarist Joe LoDuca and percussionist Jerry LeDuff, both of the
Detroit area.
LoDuca is a jazz performing artist and composer. In 1985 The Joe
.LoDuca Group represented Detroit at the Montreux Jazz Festival in
Beyond his role as a percussionist, LeDuff owns a jewelry store
where he actively designs merchandise. In addition, LeDuff is a
collector and researcher of percussionist instruments of all cultures.
"The workshop is designed to work at all different levels of
Brazilian music," says LoDuca. "We'll be talking about the music in
its own culture ... and how that culture has had a lot of influence on
"America's main music formation - which is jazz."
LeDuff adds that the workshop will contain some oral history and
contemporary samplings of the rhythms, followed by a question and
answer period. If time allows, there may be an opportunity for hands
on participation.
"It's going to be pretty loose," says LeDuff about the format of
the workshop. "If some students want to play or try some of the
rhythms ... they'll have an opportunity to do so."
LeDuff will showcase some interesting instruments from his
percussion collection: the surdo, a large bass drum; the cuica, a
single head drum with a stick in the center that is pulled with a wet
cloth as the musician makes sounds by applying pressure to the
drum head with his fingers; and the berimbau, an instrument that has
evolved from a bow and arrow and has a gourd that serves as a
From a percussionist's stand point, LeDuff says, the complexity
of the rhythm structure is what Latin Jazz has given to American
Jazz. "The polyrhythmic aspect of the music is the most intriguing,"
says LeDuff.
LoDuca will bring only an acoustic guitar to the workshop, but
.that's all he'll need. The one-time classical guitarist points out that
.besides percussionist instruments, the rhythms of Brazilian guitar
have also had an impact on American Jazz.
LoDuca adds that jazz has evolved as more than just a music of
the United States. "While jazz started as an American art form, it is
truly a cosmopolitan music. It accepts influences readily." LoDuca
points to World War II as an example of when Brazilian influences
were heavily incorporated into the music.
Wolverine Room of the Michigan Union, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Tickets are $3.



By Jennifer Kohn
Last weekend I was a prop in a
self-perpetuating production, pos-
sessed by the funds and momentum
of self-interest, media hype, voter
initiative, and perhaps altruism. The
Iowa Caucus weekend was a baroque
farce en route to deciding the fate of
our nation, yet I afforded myself a
position of critical subjectivity, as if
the city of Des Moines and the state
of Iowa were overtaken by a perfor-
mance for my benefit.
Like many theatre goers, I was
uncertain what to expect from the
spectacle. The initial scene revolving
around the Reverend Jesse Jackson
was overwhelming. A banjo barn
band played "The Jesse Song" while
fans and media concentrated on the
then empty stage. The media was an
amorphous blob, assuming an al-

leged role of irrelevancy, while actu-
ally monopolizing the direction of
The city of Des Moines is the
dream of an urban planner. It is a
sprawling shopping mall connected
by skywalks (elitist sidewalks float-
ing above the streets). As if the city
had been created for the campaigners,
the skywalks were filled with the
media, the Skywalk Golf Open, and
the relatively few civilian volunteers
marching between hotel ballrooms
and bars in support of their candi-
Again, I was increasingly struck
by the portrayals of the primary
actors, the candidates. Each was
deliberate in establishing an identity,
to be reinforced by his supporting
cast. Sunday morning Mike Dukakis
invited his local supporters to a
pancake breakfast and strutted
casually around the room, (recall,

this is in the presence of 22 mini-
cams), gracefully recalling Gus'
Pizzeria in Cedar Rapids, and
reflecting on his 25th wedding an-
niversary (June 20). At 3 p.m. Paul
Simon had the same room and lobby
sprawling with supporters eating
popcorn, drinking $2 beers, and lis-
tening to Big Band Muzak. His
toothy family stood behind him as
he philosophically discussed arms
control and rural living.
I tried not to allow my politics to
affect my theatrical observations, but
I did notice this: Robert Dole and
George Bush concentrated less on the
contrivance of their relative
"identities," and more on their clout
as darker, more serious Republicans.
I saw Bush and his wife in a subur-
ban living room, grovelling for
votes, as the country club member-
ship sympathized with his com-
plaints of the Iowa weather (What

T. h{
-athy Tyson) performs a voodoo
Dennis Alan (Bill Pullman) in IV
the Rainbow.'
about the homeless freezing in the
streets, George?). Dole received a,'O
lukewarm welcome at a progressive,
Catholic high school. Confident of
his own power in Iowa, he sonde-'
scended to the teenagers, ignorng 5
their questions, correcting their facts,'-
and propagating the Bad Guy image,
of the Russians as '"a Godless',
Communist Country."
The performances were thorough,
well-financed, and well-staged. As a
theatre reviewer, not a member of
the objective "Press," I saw the
spectacle of the year, the descending
of 4,000 media reps, and II candi-
dates on a small Bible Belt state. For
all the expense and pomp, I spoke
with a prop - a waitress at "
Dukakis' breakfast, a mother of fiver,
and slave' to the skywalks. She told,
me she hadn't thought about whom
to vote for; her husband knows more,
about politics because he listens to"
the radio in his truck.

(Continued from Page 9)
David Lynch, and, perhaps his fa-
vorite, Albert Brooks. In portraying
neurotic schlemiels who long for
some sort of transcendental satisfac-
tion but haven't got the guts to find
it, Brooks knows that, in Edelstein's
words, "the critical ego can some-
times get elephantine, and the best
solution is to deflate yourself pub-
At the same time the critic shies
away from some directors with


akes refreshing a
enormous reputations, including nature, Edelstein does not foresee
Hitchcock and Kubrick. The former, himself remaining in what he affec-
Edelstein contends, offered a limited tionately calls "this racket" for much
world view that unfortunately has longer. He gives himself maybe two
been incorporated into social con- more years before he proceeds to a
sciousness; the latter is a "terrible
misanthropist" skilled in "anal

new venture, making a clean break ate
30. "I'm still forming myself," he,
says, and then adds, "I've always
wanted to be a doctor."4

retentive" filmmaking. "I have trou-
ble welcoming the message of any-
one who is that out of touch with
human nature," Edelstein says of
Getting in touch with his own

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