Though its tone is often that of a soft-core bit of tease and erotica, the film never quite follows that path (apart from some nudity) and always seems on the verge of careening into something far more sinister.The two young school girls at its centre hover between naive and far-too-worldly for their age, but their interest in satanic rituals (its implied the hypocritical nuns of their school have driven them towards it) slowly lead them to commit acts of increasing evil.
Harlan Ellison has long been one of my favorite authors--he might just be my absolute favorite. I could go on for paragraphs about the brilliance of Ellison's "Repent Harlequin Said The Tick Tock Man", "Croatoan", "Shatterday", "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream", "A Boy And His Dog", just in case some of you only know him as the guy who wrote the "Star Trek" episode with Joan Collins in it, or as the creator of the schlocky Canadian s.f.
Just don't call him a science-fiction writer (though he's gladly accepted many Hugo and Nebula awards), or he'll knock your block off..he reportedly did to one of Frank Sinatra's mouthy bodyguards back in the swingin' 60s (confirmed in Gay Talese's famous "Esquire" expose "Frank Sinatra Has A Cold") when he was one of Hollywood's rising angry-young-wunderkinds who before the age of 30 had already written a bad movie (the camp classic "The Oscar" with Stephen Boyd), some of television's classic "speculative fiction" teleplays ("The Outer Limits", "Star Trek", "Alfred Hitchcock"), and was campaigning to write for "The Flying Nun" because in his words, he wanted to "nail" Sally Field... series "The Starlost" (which really isn't quite as bad as you remember it)...
Not to mention an impressive number of short stories (literally in the hundreds), novellas, and novels that redefined "science fiction" (indulge me just this once, Harlan) as a legitimate literary vehicle for something other than spaceships and rayguns. But instead, I'll alert you to a new documentary that's due later this year (it was just screened a few days back for the Writers Guild in LA) which could serve as an ideal introduction to his unique persona and creative voice, and confirmation to the devoted that Ellison is, indeed, alive and hoping to make up for more than a decade of inactivity, due largely to health problems (he's now past 70, after all) and a lengthy lawsuit with AOL."Dreams With Sharp Teeth", from writer/director Erik Nelson, is part straight biography, with a bit of Spalding Gray thrown in, as much of the film is devoted to Ellison performing his own works (in the 70s, he'd pioneered the "audio book" with a series of successful spoken word albums) amidst comments from friends, family, and peers.
This is the man who conceived and edited the "Dangerous Visions" anthologies--absolutely essential reading that still shocks today with its collective audacity, imagination, and blissful shunning of any middle-brow notion of "taboo", and likely your only chance to experience rare tales from such giants as Philip K. In the meantime, we're all still waiting for the long-promised third "Dangerous Visions" anthology (35 years late, although Ellison assures us it's on-the-way), and for ABC to run their "Masters Of Science Fiction" series, which stars John Hurt and Brian Dennehy in an adaptation of Ellison's "The Discarded" (Stephen Hawking will serve in the Rod Serling role in the miniseries...).
The film simply never achieves any consistent or long-lasting sense of tension and ends up falling flat.
Unfortunately too much of the film suffers from some amateurish pacing, acting and script.
It also has a nice little plot device which is implied quickly early on and never overplayed so that its reveal was quite satisfying.
Containing some lovely & creative shots, a fantastic score by Klaus Schulze (did my day ever brighten up when I saw his name in the credits) and some deft changes of pace, this is easily one of my best horror finds in a very long time. Somehow it both equals its high praise and completely dilutes it at the same time…One of its most impressive angles is allowing its prim and proper “final girl” to become more feminine and sexy as the movie goes on – though perhaps not necessarily for the best reasons, it was at least refreshingly different.
This little known Australian flick about a woman who returns to run the family rest home after her mother passes away not only covers a variety of stylistic and thematic horror approaches, it does so wonderfully well through an extremely well-orchestrated story.