Thursday, April 30, 2009
You Were Right To Be Afraid.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Don't Kill The Messenger XV.
Time to get your splashguards out again, Yoshishiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) has a new feature on the way. Behold the trailer for Vampire vs. Frankenstein Girl.
Here's a trailer for a movie called Hysterical Psycho that is playing at Tribeca this year. At first, it was ho-hum, but as the trailer went on, it won me over.
And, I can't let this one go without a mention. In case, you didn't get enough of zombie-killing-cowboy-hat-donning-bikini-clad-samarai-action in last year's Chanbara Beauty, there is another one on the way. See the trailer for Chanbara Beauty: Vortex, complete with characters named "Mystery Girl" and "New Enemy" below.
The Cannes Film Festival lineup was announced, and it is loaded with heavy hitters. Lars Von Trier and Park Chan Wook are premiering their newest films (Antichrist and Thirst respectively) and so has the now infamous Gaspar Noe (Enter The Void). In the midnight screening category are three films. Front and centre is Sam Raimi's much anticipated return to horror Drag Me To Hell, as well as Ne Te Retourne Pas, a "psychodrama" starring Monica Bellucci and Sophie Marceau and the stop motion animation feature A Town Called Panic. I don't know much about ATCP beyond a trailer Twitch directed me to, but it kind of reminds me of those old Swiss Pingu shorts. Things are looking up!
But Why All The Vomiting?
I see there's a new 30 Second Bunnies Theatre short online. This one re-enacts 2007's vampire flick 30 Days Of Night. I couldn't embed it here, but if you want to check it out, click here.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Time For A Look Back.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
A HorrorBlip On The Radar.
Thanks again Robyn for including me!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Stop Looking At Me!
It suddenly occurred to me that many of those vintage VHS covers used that disembodied eyes design. It makes sense, as spying a set of predominantly displayed glazzies staring back at you from a video store shelf is certainly an eye-catcher (ptp). Following that trend, I did a little investigation and cobbled together some examples for this week's Coverbox Wednesday. Fulci would be proud.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Don't Kill The Messenger XIV.
New Blood In June.
The teaser poster for the upcoming second season of HBO's vampire show True Blood appeared this week.
Sexy! It took me a couple of episodes, but I really warmed to this show last year and am anxiously awaiting its return.
Von Trier Does Horror.
There are very few directors that can get under my skin like Lars Von Trier. Two of his previous films (Dancer In The Dark and Dogville) left my psyche battered and bruised for... well, I still don't think I've fully recovered. When I heard he was doing a horror film, I was intrigued. Check out the new trailer below.
I think I might be okay with this one, but I still have to be wary because that crazy Dane really knows how to twist the knife.
Brought To You By Roland.
I found out over at Icons Of Fright that the soundtrack for Steven Mena's 2004 film Malevolence has just been released. This is relevant because the score for this movie ROCKS. It is pure eighties synth in the tradition of John Carpenter, which seems somehow appropriate considering Mena also served as writer, producer and composer on his film, as well. I was lukewarm on Malevolence itself, but the music was SO good, it made the film way better than it actually should have been. If you click here, you can check out some samples from the CD.
I’ve finally come out on the other side and The Wizard Of Gore was indeed great fun. It has all the usual things that make H.G. Lewis’ movies so entertaining. The dialogue, oh the dialogue. I’m definitely using Jack’s foreplay remark “I didn’t come here to play Scotland Yard” whenever I can. Lewis certainly raised the bar with the bloody set pieces in this one. He’s a smart guy and knows the business. After seeing the crowds eat up his previous horror offerings Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs and Color Me Blood Red (known collectively as the Blood Trilogy), he knew what audiences were looking for and he gave it to them in spades. Ray Sager’s performance as Montag the Magnificent is deliciously over-the-top. I had a smirk on my face the whole time Sager was onscreen, yet I was still somehow engaged. Possibly even hypnotized???
Another thing that I love about The Wizard Of Gore is that it doesn’t seem to care about how ghetto it is. It never pretends it is anything other than what it is – gore and cheap thrills. They didn’t try to hide the plastic wrap on the floor or cut around the actress that looked like she was laughing rather than screaming when getting a spike driven into her head. Miraculously, it doesn’t hurt the experience. Now, I should address this. Why is it that The Wizard Of Gore – or any of H.G. Lewis’ works for that matter – should receive my praise for its low budget underpinnings, yet a movie like yesterday’s Slime City was dismissed for the same reason? Well, that’s a tough one. The only tangible way I can put it is – influence. H.G. Lewis was a pioneer and his movies have inspired countless filmmakers. He was the first to really market the gore film and though some of the effects may seem rudimentary now – a lot of them do still hold up – at the time they were a revelation that had people running from their seats. They don’t call him the Godfather Of Gore for nothing. That’s really the only explanation I can give you. Always the sly dog, H.G. Lewis just slapped an R-rating on the picture without even consulting with the MPAA. That’s the way it was in the early seventies. The censors were so concerned with nudity and sex that small films with excessive gore would just slip by unnoticed. I also thought that Montag’s speech where he likened his act to the Roman gladiators and public executions of the Spanish Inquisition was oddly poignant. It could also speak of the gorehounds such as myself that are always looking for the next big effect. I think my only disappointment was I hoping for a more elaborate end for Montag. After Fuad Ramses’ crushing encounter with a garbage truck in Blood Feast, I wanted something a little more spectacular for the climax of The Wizard Of Gore. And then there was that weird WTF ending! I mean, huh? I will say THIS redeemed it though.
Fucking classic. According to the audio commentary on the DVD, Lewis says that The Gore Gore Girls is even more over-the-top than this one. Well, guess what’s getting Zipped right away? And I promise not to take fourteen months to watch this one.
Oh and btw; here’s a message for Diablo Cody. The Wizard Of Gore is good, but nowhere near Suspiria.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I don’t know whether to call Slime City ridiculously outrageous or outrageously ridiculous. It’s not what you’d call a good movie, but I can’t say that its low rent nature wasn’t sometimes appealing either. I mean there were plenty of things to laugh at. The sex pot across the hall’s – and by ‘sex pot’ I mean I wouldn’t touch her even if I was triple raincoatin’ it – sensual dancing skills were a strange hybrid of yoga and an epileptic seizure and the Greaser downstairs had some odd ideas about how to entertain guests. I’m sorry, but if a dude invites me to dinner and then serves something called ‘Himalayan yogurt’, I’m slowing backing away from the table; politeness be damned. Slime City works best when it appears it’s in on the joke, but I don’t think the filmmakers were always aware of that. Even director Gary Lamberson said that they didn't know they were making a comedy until it started screening in New York. I fail to see how that could be the case though with things like the boombox gag thrown in after Alex gets mugged by a gang of thugs. It was at that point that I tuned into the frequency of the movie and it became palatable. I have to tip my hat to the attempted sexual frustration angle, as well. The acting is often suspect – “you crazy bastard” – but I do have to admit that I did not realize that Mary Huner was playing both Lori AND Nicole until I watched the DVD’s special features.
I guess I have to cop to taking retard pills on that one because I could see that Nicole was clearly wearing a wig. It should be no surprise that I love it when movies have scenes in video stores; especially the old ones with the tapes stacked everywhere and the old clamshells on display. I like to see if I can pick out any of the covers. It’s like a mini-game! The comparisons to the early Troma films like The Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke 'Em High are hard to ignore and I wasn’t surprised to learn after that a lot of the Slime City crew – including the effects guys – worked on those films. And let’s talk about the effects, as they are pretty much the main draw here. They run the gamut from pretty good to laughable. I will say though that considering the budget, the climax had some pretty sweet appliances.
I’m conflicted. Should I condemn Slime City for being so cheesy, or commend it for being so bold on a super tight budget. I’m going to lean toward the latter. I think anyone who is into Troma films should check this out for a laugh. As for everybody else… It’s probably not your bag of puss.
Friday, April 17, 2009
When Roberto (Michael Brandon) accidentally kills a man who has been following him for days, he sees a figure in the distance snapping pictures. At first Roberto suspects blackmail, but the stranger never asks for money. Then, people around him start dying.
Watching Four Flies again reminded me why I love Argento so much. I mean just look at this clip from the energetic opening credits sequence.
I get the feeling Dario was really experimenting with this one, as there is some really crazy shit going on here. Even though some things work better than others, the kinetic camerawork is quite remarkable in places. It is what really drives the piece, but I suppose you could say that about most gialli. Style over substance and all that. The music is fantastic and is front and center because the main character is a musician. What I found interesting was that Ennio Morricone scored the film (it was the last Argento film he would work on for many years because of a falling out) even though it often sounded more like what we would come to expect from Argento's other musical collaborators Goblin. Four Flies looks like a typical giallo, yet I found there were a few things that stood apart from Argento's usual recipe. First, the protagonist is kind of an asshole. And I don't mean arrogant like David Hemmings' character was in 1975's Deep Red. I mean, Roberto is a douchebag. He doesn't seem to like many of the people he hangs out with and once in a tight situation, he treats it with a perplexing air of nonchalance. Take this tender moment with his wife Nina, played by the lovely Mimsy Farmer.
“Tell me. Something's wrong.”
-“I told you it was nothing... I killed a man a few days ago.”
Further breaking from tradition, Four Flies doesn't sport the if-I-could-only-remember-this-really-really-important-thing device. There's a 'thing', but it's not setup until much later. It also has this cool little foreshadowing bit that is unique to this film, as well. However, for every path strayed; there is one familiar. Four Flies still has the expected parade of eclectic characters, including a local thug named God and Arrosio, a gay private detective. It also has a large helping of hilarious pseudo-science, introducing the likes of a 'homicidal paranoid' and a medical procedure that I first saw in a first season X-Files episode. I wonder if Chris Carter is an Argento fan?
Four Flies falls right in the middle of 'the animal trilogy' for me. I like it more than Cat O' Nine Tails, but it falls far short of my favourite Argento film The Bird With The Crystal Plumage. For those out there who have been underwhelmed by Dario's last few efforts – I'm not one of them btw – you should definitely check this one out. It will bring back some fine memories for you, I'm sure.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
An awesome trailer and a few rave reviews were all I had to go on, but that was enough for me to reel it in. I’d give you a synopsis, but this trailer sums it up better than I ever could.
I think I can confidently say that one of my top five slots of ’09 has just been filled. Like High Tension, The Descent, [REC] and Them before it, The Children is a title I will be passing around the proverbial campfire for sure. I say eff The Children Of The Corn remake, this is all you need right here!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The Brood is an excellent horror film. Even with very few bells and whistles, it hits you over the head with ample atmosphere spearheaded by Howard Shore’s awesome score. It is one of those instances where many simple things line-up together perfectly. It had been about twenty years since I’d seen The Brood and it was shocking how much of it I’d forgotten. I had completely blotted out the film’s climax! A device that I loved and one that is not utilized nearly enough in horror films is that most of its horrific events take place in the daytime. It throws the light-equals-safety rule out the window and adds an extra layer of tension. I have to concur with Edgar Wright’s thoughts about how this movie was made during a time when horror movies were actually about something. The story unfolds in an engaging way and has all the elements we’ve come to expect from Cronenberg’s genre films, like twisted visuals, quirky characters and of course, body horror. There are so many memorable shots in this movie…
I was delighted to find that even after thirty years, The Brood still holds up beautifully. Even though its low budget shows at points, it has an energy that resonates with images that just burn their way into your psyche. After watching The Brood, my assertion that Toronto is a great place to film a horror movie has been further cemented. If you don’t mind filming around the snow or construction – depending on which time of year you come – you’ll be golden.
Lastly, there was a really fun Q&A after the film and rather than me trying to recall it, you can watch video of the event taken by fellow Toronto blogger Movie Moxie by clicking here.
*-The second film of the double bill was Don McKellar’s 1998 end of the world picture Last Night.
Marilyn Chambers 1952-2009.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Admittedly, I did roll my eyes when I saw the ‘based on true events’ thing come up on the screen. I would find out later however, that this was actually the case for once. After the first scene, I was ready to write this off as another Hostel clone set in Mexico – which would have been easy to do considering all the torture early on – but by the end it actually turned into a solid little movie. The acting here is quite good. Rider Strong doesn’t look like he’s aged much since I last saw him in Cabin Fever and Sean Astin shows up cast against type. I’d also like to point out that Martha Higareda is a fucking rocket! I have to say I kept thinking I had this movie pegged – who thought Spellbinder towards the end? – but this is a straight up story. It’s an extremely dark one to be sure, yet with no tricks. It was kind of refreshing really.
So, at the end of Borderland I found out this story – though obviously embellished – was, in fact true. What is most crazy about this is not what happened, but WHY they did it. I mean, these cats were cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. The documentary on the DVD about the real case did not do anything to restore my faith in humanity either.
Though it comes off as more of a true crime tale than a horror flick, Borderland is a well-done and worthwhile venture. It’s not going to make you feel good about the world, but then again… what were you expecting?
Monday, April 13, 2009
April Showers Day One.
As shocking as this might sound, there really wasn’t much going on here. There was a lot of girl-picks-up guy-in-a-bar-and-goes-back-to-his-place-where-she-promptly-disrobes-before-chainsawing-him-to-pieces. Rinse. Repeat. Wow, that was a lot of hyphens. In between we are treated to the voiceover musings of Sam Spade wannabe Jack Chandler (Jay Richardson) trying to track down a missing girl (Linnea Quigley) who turns out to be the chainsaw cult’s newest pledge. All while Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre) stands in the shadows glowering.
Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers was directed by Fred Olen Ray, a man who, over the last few decades, has become a B-movie kingpin. He wasn’t the first to incorporate softcore porn with horror, but he’s certainly one of the most prolific and this is definitely the impetus behind HCH. It is basically the aforementioned kill scenes with some chaff in between. Now, I know there are those who consider the whole slasher genre (and the gialli before it) to essentially be porn of a different colour – they both have ‘money shots’ after all – but I don’t subscribe to that. There is more artistry involved – in the good ones anyway – to just dismiss them like that.
You know, HCH is a movie I wish I’d seen when I was a lot younger. With excessive nudity still being fairly hard to come by at that time, I think this would have kept me more than interested. Despite its many shortcomings, I’m sure it would’ve been one of those titles that I look back on fondly, much like Cannibal Women In The Avacado Jungle Of Death – and that movie was PG-13! I wager that THIS would have been more stimulating to me then, as well.
Now, it just looks… oh, who am I kidding? That was awesome. Regardless of how underwhelming HCH may have been, it had Linnea Quigley in it and I never tire of seeing her – with thirteen or thirty-four-year-old eyes. Like other B-movie vixens Elizabeth Kaitan and Kathleen Kinmont, they represent a wondrous era of… discovery in my life.
Whatever your stance on the subject, I’m thinking there must be a demand for horror-themed porn, otherwise I wouldn’t have walked by new releases with titles like The Texas Dildo Massacre and Night Of The Giving Head the last time I was at Eyesore.
It takes all kinds...