Funny Games with George and Martha - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

In memory of the passing of the incomparable Elizabeth Taylor, one from the vaults:

You can sit around with the gin running out of your mouth; you can humiliate me; you can tear me to pieces all night, that's perfectly okay, that's all right.

So you think you've seen horror films, huh?  You think you've had your nerves shattered by Freddy, Norman, Michael and Jason?  You think you've been taken to the edge watching movies like Saw and Hostel?

Ha!  That's all kid stuff when you stack it up against one of the most gut wrenching, nerve racking, unapologetic kick to the balls that is Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.   Go ahead, strap yourself in and see if you can really stand being dragged to hell.

Based on a play by Edward Albee, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.tells the tale of George and Martha; he's an alcoholic, impotent college professor - she's his  blowzy, boozy wife... and she's also the daughter of the college's Dean.

One night George and Martha invite a young couple (Nick and his wife, Honey) over to their home after a dinner party, and that's when the fun begins.  Mind games are on the menu tonight, and these games put anything  Jigsaw ever dreamed of to shame - oh sure, you won't see any blood or guts, but that's besides the point, these games go deeper and they rip open and trample the heart, the soul and the psyche.   You see, George and Martha are well versed in verbal and psychological abuse, and they'll make their way into the deepest recess of your being to where your  insecurities lie, and expose them to the booze soaked light of reality.

Worried about your man hood?  Martha's got your number.  Think your wife might have made sexual advances to your son?  George has got you covered.

But innocent bystanders fall by the wayside when the collegiate creeps turn the dark rays on each other...it's no holds bared when you can so fuck with each others heads that you can create and kill a child that has never really existed!

For the young folk out there, keep in mind that Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.is a long, talky, drama - these were the kind of movies people used to pay good money to see before our collective brains went all ADHD thanks to television and video games- also, most of the film is set in a cluttered living room, there are no special effects to speak of ...well except one:  Elizabeth Taylor (who plays Martha) was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time (Think Angelina Jolie,  but with talent) - in order for her to become believable as a hateful, gin soaked harpy, she gained 35 pounds, and went through a make over that went something like this:
The rest of the cast is equally phenomenal.  Richard Burton (Taylor's husband at the time) is a slimy, scary creation - he's so believable, you can almost smell him (I imagine cheap cologne, gin, cigarette smoke and something musty). 
As for the young couple:  George Segal is a handsome if innocuous young professor, but Sandy Dennis steals the show as his dippy, naive wife.
All in all, Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf separates the men from the boys.  You can talk a big game about how you might have watched Cannibal Holocaust, but if you really want to earn your merit badge in the world of cinematic mind fucks, try and sit through this one and see if you don't come away battered and beaten down.

I'd love for my fellow horror bloggers to give this one a chance, if you do watch the film, or if you've seen it, let me know what you think.  As for the rest of you: what are you waiting for?  George and Martha are waiting, bottles in hand, ice in glasses, and games ready to be played - dare you join them?


Will Errickson said...

You are so right: horror is truly kids' stuff when it comes to a flick like WHO'S AFRAID. It also has one of my favorite soundtracks: ice tinkling in a highball glass. Pretty much nonstop in this one.

Sam79 said...

It's a tough ride but one of the best trips I've ever taken, perfectly executed and even sharper than All About Eve in my opinion. Brilliant. Liz's finest performance.

Pax Romano said...

Will, I concur about the soundtrack. Brilliant observation on your part, sir!

Sam, oh yeah much sharper than Margo Channing and company, no comparison there.