Bless the Child Preview

Alright, well this week we made a terrible mistake. Not that we chose a bad film for our Horror/Thriller week (in fact it is the perfectly chosen Bless the Child starring a BMT favorite Kim Basinger), but the book is 550 pages long! Like super, duper long! It took me forever to read. I just finished it this afternoon in fact. Starting to get worried I might not have time to finish the next book on the docket (my life is pretty tough guys). But I can’t worry about that now. I gotta get to Bless the Child. Oddly, this was always in the back of my mind for BMT. Not just because it is one of the worst reviewed films in history, but also there was a time that I thought it might take place in Vermont for some portion of the film… which would have obviously trumped A Change of Seasons for mapl.de.map. Unfortunately, after doing some research I figured that it’s unlikely that Basinger’s character even makes it to Vermont… but that’s neither here nor there. Let’s go!

Bless the Child (2000) – BMeTric: 49.8 (Generated on December 12, 2017)

BlesstheChild_BMeT

BlesstheChild_RV

(I’m surprised at how high the BMeTric is given only 11 thousand votes. But then again, most films don’t get ten thousand votes I suppose. And a 5.0 rating is awful. Pretty consistent rating through time, which suggests it is just as bad as it was perceived at the time.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Basinger has raised her addict sister’s daughter to the age of six; when she shows signs of spiritual powers, the child is sought by millionaire Sewell, who’s involved in a series of child killings. Smits is the detective on the case. Religious horror thriller veers wildly from the promising to the ludicrous, and is never remotely convincing. Based on the novel by Cathy Cash Spellman.

(Ludicrous is the name of the game here at BMT. Why do you think he’s called LudiChris Klein? Glad we got a pretty poor rating from Leonard. Hard to keep trotting out films and have him let us down by giving them mediocre reviews.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM7wV9KCAwc

(Yeeeeesssssss, yeeeesssssssssss. The power. It feels good. That looks like straight dog poo and I love it. Some creepy practical effects on those demons, but let’s hope they end up being super silly when watching the film.)

Directors – Chuck Russell – (Known For: The Mask; The Scorpion King; A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors; The Blob; Future BMT: I Am Wrath; Eraser; BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: Hasn’t made a film in more than a decade, but apparently has one in post right now. It’s called I Am Wrath, stars John Travolta, and I would be severely disappointed if it wasn’t a BMT film… more likely it doesn’t get a theatrical release.)

Writers – Cathy Cash Spellman (novel) – (BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: The writer of the book. I think this book was just buying hook-line-and-sinker into the weird satanist panic of the time. Otherwise I can’t find much about her.)

Thomas Rickman (screenplay) (as Tom Rickman) – (Known For: Coal Miner’s Daughter; Hooper; Everybody’s All-American; The Laughing Policeman; BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: Won an Oscar for the screenplay for Coal Miner’s Daughter.)

Clifford Green and Ellen Green (screenplay) – (Known For: SpaceCamp; Future BMT: Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend; The Seventh Sign; Three Wishes; BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: Married writing partners. Clifford is into space apparently (they wrote Space Camp after all), even agreeing to send his DNA into space as part of the Immortality Drive.)

Actors – Kim Basinger – (Known For: 8 Mile; The Nice Guys; Batman; L.A. Confidential; 9½ Weeks; Never Say Never Again; Cellular; The Natural; The Door in the Floor; Wayne’s World 2; Final Analysis; People I Know; Fool for Love; Nadine; Future BMT: Cool World; The Informers; My Stepmother Is an Alien; Ready to Wear; While She Was Out; The Getaway; The Real McCoy; Blind Date; The Sentinel; The Man Who Loved Women; Even Money; Third Person; Charlie St. Cloud; The 11th Hour; The Burning Plain; BMT: Fifty Shades Darker; Bless the Child; No Mercy; I Dreamed of Africa; The Marrying Man; Grudge Match; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress in 1987 for Nine 1/2 Weeks; in 1992 for The Marrying Man; in 1993 for Cool World, and Final Analysis; in 1995 for The Getaway; and in 2001 for Bless the Child, and I Dreamed of Africa; Notes: A BMT hall of famer basically. I secretly love her. We managed to do back-to-back Basinger by accident here. She isn’t in Fifty Shades of Grey, but she’s in the sequel(s).)

Jimmy Smits – (Known For: Rogue One; Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith; The Jane Austen Book Club; Running Scared; Who We Are Now; My Family; Mother and Child; Old Gringo; Vital Signs; Future BMT: The Million Dollar Hotel; Switch; The Believers; BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: I know him as the main antagonist in Dexter season 3. Which was the terrible season in the first four. After four it falls off a cliff anyways, so whatever.)

Rufus Sewell – (Known For: The Holiday; A Knight’s Tale; Hercules; The Illusionist; Dark City; Hamlet; Paris, je t’aime; Dangerous Beauty; Amazing Grace; Carrington; The Sea; Vinyan; Blinky Bill the Movie; Twenty-One; A Man of No Importance; Future BMT: Extreme Ops; Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter; The Legend of Zorro; The Tourist; All Things to All Men; I’ll Follow You Down; Downloading Nancy; Tristan + Isolde; Hotel Noir; The Very Thought of You; BMT: Gods of Egypt; Bless the Child; Notes: British, grew up in Twickenham which houses the big Rugby ground in London.)

Budget/Gross – $65 million / Domestic: $29,381,494 (Worldwide: $40,443,010)

(Clearly a bomb. The budget doesn’t even make much sense… where would $65 million go for a film like this?… Dear God! Please say to sadly misguided attempts at CGI in scenes that don’t need them (judging from the rats in the trailer, I would say yes). It is the 66th highest grossing Supernatural Horror right behind BMT film Ghost Ship (with the most ship) and future BMT The Fog.)

#147 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(The slow increase in audiences coming out for R-rated films maybe? You can kind of even see the uptick at the end which saw It just absolutely smashing it this year.)

#73 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

blessthechild_supernaturalhorror

(Blair Witch and The Sixth Sense blew the genre out of the water and since then the releases have been pouring in. Hasn’t hurt the per-theater take that much which is probably why they keep on making more and more.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (3/112)Bless the Child squanders its talented cast on a plot that’s more likely to inspire unintentional laughs than shivers.

(One of the worst reviewed films in history, given the number of reviews it garnered. I would say the phrase “talented cast” is being a bit generous from the get go. Unintentional laughs would be certainly welcome.)

Poster – Bless the Sklog (A)

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(I’m going to be perfectly honest, I really dig this poster. Look at it. Nice color contrast, good use of the shape of a cross, Basinger is portrayed prominently but in a clever way, and all the words are placed well in the frame. I like it.)

Tagline(s) – Mankind’s last hope just turned six. (B+)

(The tagline is kinda the definition of a tagline. It’s short and sweet, gives us some insight into the tension in the film, and holds some cleverness in the paradox it presents. “So why isn’t it an A+?” says everyone. It’s just so god damn cliche. I feel like I’ve seen this tagline a million times… still, can’t give it anything less than a B+ cause it is pretty much what we’re looking or here on Jamie’s Taglines and Such)

Keyword(s) – fbi; Top Ten by BMeTric: 81.6 I Know Who Killed Me (2007)78.7 Torque (2004); 77.1 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002); 76.6 Taxi (I) (2004); 75.3 Death Note (2017); 73.6 Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003); 72.5 Big Momma’s House 2 (2006); 71.7 The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000); 68.5 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998); 66.9 Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009);

(Nice. A very cool variety there actually. Oh Big Momma, I am so glad you just smash it in this regard. None of the others (besides a rewatch of Ballistic) are really on our radar at the moment.)

Notes – The line, “The devil’s greatest trick was convincing man that he didn’t exist,” is reminiscent of a similar line in another movie of the same genre, End of Days (1999), in which Father Kotak (Rod Steiger) says: “Satan’s greatest trick was convincing man that he didn’t exist”. It is also similar to The Usual Suspects (1995), where the line is, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing man that he didn’t exist”. In fact, that idea goes back to Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867): “La plus belle des ruses du Diable est de vous persuader qu’il n’existe pas!” (English: “The finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist.” (I’m always down for a bit of a literature lesson in the notes)

The bridge where the car “accident” takes place, is actually the Blue Water Bridge between Point Edward, Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan. It was being “twinned” at the time, so the whole bridge was closed down for repairs, and was available for uninterrupted filming. The scenery shots of New York City were then placed in the background, but people who grew up there, recognize the shores as being Point Edward and Port Huron, respectively, not New York City.

The subway station where the attack on Meg takes place is a “ghost” station on the Toronto subway that is used frequently as a stand in for New York City subways. The city’s film office wanted to leave it set up as a New York City station, but the Toronto Fire Department nixed that idea. The station is below the Bay station on the Bloor line, on the track connecting the Bloor and Yonge lines. At one time, trains went from one line to the other, thus the station, but the practice was discontinued because of switching problems. (There is also a “ghost” station beneath the Queen Street station. It was roughed in 1954 for a planned Queen Street subway which never was built.)

In the original script, a character is deliberately pushed off a subway platform. This had to be changed to an accidental fall before the Toronto Transit Commission would allow filming on its property.

When the candles in the cathedral ignite together, the camera pulls back and Maggie’s shirt can be seen blowing, as if the candles were in fact being blown out, and film was run backwards. (I do like things like this, the technical details of filmmaking)

“Ego fum papa” roughly translates as “I am the Pope”.

According to a March 1, 1999 Variety magazine article, in the script as originally written Cody was Maggie’s autistic granddaughter who was abandoned by her drug-addicted mother. Since Kim Basinger was the mother of a young daughter in real-life, she seemed too young to play a grandmother, so her character was changed to the child’s aunt. (Yup)

Based on the novel of the same name by Cathy Cash Spellman.

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Kim Basinger)

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