DVD Tuesday: Twin Peaks meets ER in The Kingdom -- check your preconceptions with the triage nurse!
So, I'm still getting over the horror that was
's ill-advised foray into hospital horror. But I realized the perfect antidote was on my DVD shelf: Lars Von Trier's
Set in a vast, crumbling medical center built on a noxious swamp, Von Trier's haunted soap opera inspired Stephen King's short-lived
. But don't hold that against it: Everything
does exactly right.
The huge cast of characters includes arrogant Swedish neurosurgeon Dr. Stig Helmer, newly arrived at the Kingdom with a stained professional reputation and a seethining hatred for all things Danish; would-be psychic Mrs. Drusse, who makes real contact for the first time in the hospital's elevator; junior Dr. Krogen, the go-to guy who secretly lives in the hospital's basement and supplies everything from medical equipment to pharmaceutical cocaine; staff chief Dr. Moesgaard, who tries to combat the Kingdom's bad karma with a cheery feel-good campaign; and Judith, whose unnatural pregnancy is intimately connected with the ghostly manifestations oozing out of the hospital's shadows.
glides effortlessly between black humor and bleak horror: The slowly emerging stories of Mrs. Drusse's little-girl ghost and the living child permanently damaged by Helmer's carelessness are equally haunting in entirely different ways. Moesgaard's clueless morale-building efforts wouldn't be out of place in
, and yes, there are hijinks involving body parts from the pathology lab.
I hope I've piqued your curiosity sufficiently that you won't be put off by the fact that it's in Danish and is more than four hours long (it was originally broadcast as a TV miniseries). Trust me: The 93-minute
longer. I couldn't wait for it to be over, and I was sorry to see
Things to Consider:
pioneered the mix of soap opera/horror, and for a long time it was the only game in town.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
and others picked up the mentle. Do you like the mix of human drama and spooky stuff, or would you rather keep them apart?
How about humor and horror -- not spoofs, but movies like
An American Werewolf
in London that are both genuinely funny and genuinely horrifying?
Send your movie questions to
See Maitland McDonagh and Ken Fox review this week's new flicks on the
Previously in DVD Tuesday:
Touch of Evil
Bonnie and Clyde
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T
Shoot 'Em Up
A Mighty Wind
It's a Wonderful Life
All About Eve
Sweet Smell of Success
Daughters of Darkness
A Simple Plan
Ace in the Hole
Eyes Without a Face
Gone in 60 Seconds
Bob le Flambeur
The Girl Who Knew Too Much
I'm Not Scared
Shocking Grindhouse Double Bill! - Scanners and The Candy Snatchers
Don't Look Now
Kiss and Make Up
Kiss Me Deadly
The Long Good Friday
What Alice Found
The Devil's Backbone
The Devil Wears Prada
The Thief and the Cobbler
Panic in the Streets/Jack Palance Interview
The Pusher Trilogy
In Cold Blood