Tag Archives: Raising Cain

Brian De Palma’s Raising Cain

Not too many films can claim to be as certifiably, outright insane as Brian De Palma’s Raising Cain. Crazy, off the wall, nuts, there’s plenty of that in Hollyweird,

but Cain is so thoroughly deranged that I’m curious how De Palma arrived at such a specific brand of left field lunacy when he sat down at his typewriter. Get this: John Lithgow pulls an overtime shift playing Dr. Carter Nix, a slightly disturbed child psychologist who shows an unnatural budding interest in his daughter’s upbringing, so much so that it unnerves his wife (Lolita Davidovitch) to a degree. I describe him as only slightly disturbed because his level of mania pales in comparison to his multiple emerging split personalities, which is where the trouble really begins. Carter’s father (also Lithgow) was a psychotic Norwegian doctor who had a habit of using children for bizarre mind control experiments, and it seems that one of Carter’s multiples has decided to take up his work. Soon there’s a rash of baby kidnappings in the area and all hell breaks loose. His wife is too busy having an adulterous affair with a hunk (steamy Steven Bauer) to really take control either. Sounds crazy in writing? The film takes it way further than you could ever imagine. Lithgow always seems a bit nuts, even when playing straight-laced characters we always get this vibe like he’s a court jester who has lost his marbles, and he revs that organic looniness into overdrive here. Frances Sternhagen is a hoot as the obligatory exposition here, a stern doctor who lays out Carter’s complex, condition to two cynical detectives (Tom Bower and Gregg Henry, both great) who try to keep up with this whole circus. I can understand why this film didn’t do too well, I mean… how do you even classify it? Almost everything about the subject matter is highly uncomfortable stuff that threatens to siege over into the lands of taboo, and there’s all kinds of freaky shit in this screaming haunted asylum of a flick. That’s the fun of though, if you’re able to have some. De Palmer has always had a gift for shocker material even when he’s not operating in the thriller genre. There’s a cold, caustic edge to this film that barely contains the sea of menace and mirth roiling beneath, which is an odd, off colour and chilling mix. See it for yourself.

-Nate Hill



_vb_3133-optPodcasting Them Softly is extremely excited to present a chat with editor, filmmaker, and movie buff Peet Gelderblom, who most recently re-cut Brian De Palma’s 1992 thriller Raising Cain as a passion project. Indiewire posted the re-cut on Vimeo, it went viral, De Palma saw it, and it became a director approved special feature on the newly released Shout! Factory Special Edition Blu-ray. Raising Cain had a troubled production history, with changes made to the overall narrative after poor test screenings; De Palma has long felt that the released version was in a compromised state. Peet is a massive De Palma aficionado, so this was an especially fun chat to record. And considering that this personal experience for Peet is something of a surreal dream come true, we couldn’t help but gush a bit — it was very enjoyable to speak with someone who shares the same sense of cinematic excitement as all of us do at PTS. Check out Peet’s work at http://www.directorama.net/   If you’ve not seen Raising Cain, you can order it right here https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-crime/raising-cain-collector-s-edition And then check out Peet’s version, as De Palma himself says it’s the best way to see it!