Saturday, March 28, 2009

How Not to Decorate

Final Girl's Film Club pick this month is Italian splatter-maestro Lucio Fulci's 1981 gut-wrenching, optic-nerve-abusing thriller "The Beyond".

Unlike his long-treasured films such as "Zombie", "Gates of Hell", and "House by the Cemetery", this one is considered something of a lost classic, due to the sketchy availability of the notoriously censored video version (released in the murky 80's as "Seven Doors of Death"). This is unfortunate, as it stacks up technically pretty impressively next to his more well-known works - too bad I'm a little long in the tooth to really appreciate it on a truly visceral level. What a shame, because this sucker does not want for viscera.

Since its restoration, The Beyond has been praised as a masterpiece. I'm not disputing this, and no offence to my fellow Fulciphiles, but after two viewings it still hasn't had much of an impact on me. I just can't come up with much to say about this movie besides the fact that it's definitely faster-paced than HBTC, marginally less coherent than GoH, and nowhere near as unsettling as Zombie. The set-pieces are very effective, Catriona MacColl is fetching as always, and the music doesn't completely trample the mood. Is Fulci in top form here? Absolutely. Yet somehow it all feels a bit empty. Or maybe it's just me that's empty. Not to be gross here, but I've got a nasty flu and...well.

So in light of my present inability to formulate any kind of sincere commentary (thanks Nyquil!), I'm turning this review over to my esteemed pals* from across the pond - a pair of recent Toronto émigrés who never lack for opinion (solicited or otherwise) - those shrewd-eyed Scotch stylistas - Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan!

Watch 'em on HGTV


"When decorating a large space, such as a vintage hotel, avoid repeating the same colour scheme in every nook and cranny. Sepias, browns and beiges are great for warming up a space, but too much of the same will soon have your guests reaching for the pitchforks and torches!"

"Don't let dark, dingy spaces turn your luncheon into a lynching. A smart, decorative wall hanging can redirect the eye away from the shadows and onto that striking hand-crafted focal point."

"Contractors - can't live without them; can't kill them. Well you could, but it's cheaper in the long run to just hire the right ones. Always check for references, never sign a blank cheque (or a carte blanche, for that matter), and never pay out a lot of money up-front. That way, those malingering painters and plumbers can never take you to the cleaners!"

"MIRRORS! Not only fab from a vanity perspective, they also can be used to visually double the size of your smallest room. Position them opposite windows to brighten up a sitting room or piano parlour. Unless your name's Ray Charles, why entertain in the dark?"

"Speaking of light, if you've got no natural source for it, don't be gloomy. Put a little of your budget toward recessed lighting panels. They more than pay for themselves when you look at the finished product. The effect is so cheery and relaxing, your guests won't want to leave!"

"Stripes will grow on you! As I'm always pointing out to Justin, stripes truly are slimming. But when applying this tip to a room, use horizontal stripes. They'll make you feel cosy and ensconced, as if cocooned in a snug silk blanket."

"Red and white. A favourite partnership of ours for many years. In its various mergings it can be 1950s scarlet meets pure perfect snow, or decadent crimson wed with soft creamy beige. Executed properly, this timeless pairing will help elicit a wonderfully stylish scheme. And our favourite red and white combination? That's simple: raspberry and cream – the mouth watering pairing is pretty much foolproof where design is concerned."

"When considering the bathroom, la salle de bain doesn't have to be the bane of your house. Here's a tip to keep everything stylish, safe and sanitary: create a non-slip surface beside the tub by installing a pattern of mini-mosaic tiles. As for the tub itself, a family heirloom like this clogged, filthy claw-foot antique may well prove more of a hair-loom in the end. Unless your idea of luxury is soaking in a stew of turn-of-the century germs, heave it in the trash and start fresh."

"When decorating, always make sure the eye has somewhere to go."

"Och, Colin, it's the Drapes of Wrath! Spare yourselves (and us) the shame of ruffled curtains. These ghastly things look like the discarded bloomers of a frontier saloon girl. Do you really want to be dressing your windows in a pair of old knickers that's been mounted by the entire U.S. Cavalry?"

"Ever wonder why we use red in our kitchens so much? Simple. In the Colin and Justin colour dictionary, red is the ideal shade for digestion. It's true."

"French doors are indispensable. They create a lot of flow and really open things up."

"Fun project: DRIBBLE ART! Just paint a canvas to suit your scheme. Next, spoon blobs of latex – in a complementary tone – along the top and allow gravity to do the rest. Hang, and enjoy. Simple, eh?"


"Time for the reveal!" "Open your eyes, kids!"

"Justin, they're speechless."

"As they should be. Our mission isn't just about spreading the gospel of good taste, it's also about enlightenment. Look at them, Colin. Pure rapture."
"What's happened to their eyes?

They're sort of marbleized, aren't they? Like fine Italian porcelain."

"Hmmm, yes quite subtle, but very sheik. They're learning, Colin."
"Who knew style could be contagious?"
"Actually, I did. My interior design thesis was..."
"Oh, here we go. More twaddle from your psych major days..."
"Colin, the fact that I'm the better designer isn't something you should feel threatened by. Besides, green is a terrible colour for you."
"The older designer. Not better, older."
"By a year. Not even that."
"So...who d'you think would win a no-holds-barred cage match - Schweick or Dr. Freudstein?"
"What on earth are you faffing on about?"


*Editor's note: C&J are not my pals. Nor have I ever even actually technically met them. :(