Monday, September 11, 2017

The Black Cat



 

THE BLACK CAT is a fun film that's slightly silly at times, but that delivers the Fulci deaths we've grown to love. The basic premise is that this evil cat is killing people all over a small town. An investigator and reporter try to solve the murders and figure out that the cat is at the bottom of it, but why is a cat killing people?

Yes, silly at times for sure - like when the cat scratches a man's hand and causes him to fall to his death. However, the film is played totally straight and the POE-ness carries it through for sure. We're treated to some true Fulci nastiness and some of the wonderful shots and staging he's known for.



 

Poor Daniela Doria taken out again. "It's an airtight room. They use it for storing sails or something." (What could possibly go wrong?) Poor Mimsy Farmer is put through hell yet again which is always fun ::grin:: , the wonderful Patrick Magee (A Clockwork Orange) chews the scenery expertly, and David Warbeck James Bonds his way around being smart and dashing in a fun way. As the plot ramps up, things get more and more strange and magical.  Things heat up between Farmer and Warbeck as well....which....honestly....looks more awkward than anything else in the movie. But, in a fun way.

The musical score is grand. I heard it and thought THE HOWLING at once, then found out Pino Donaggio was the composer on this as well as the Howling. It's a sweeping and lovely series of compositions. 



I just love how Farmer's character is dragged in to photograph corpses - just because she's a photographer. "We need someone to photograph crime scenes. You're a photographer, right?"  And we get CAT-O-VISION POV shots galore, which adds to the fun.  It's a bit hard to believe that people can't fight off a small, black cat, but...you know...horror trope.  And, there are some really awful parts, but they are awful in a fantastic way. Lines like, "The cat did it, but it couldn't have acted alone...." hehehe   Like the cat was involved in plotting a series of murders. hehehehe  I love it.

And....bats.   :)



This is a fun little gothic horror tale and a cool little retelling of Poe's Black Cat tale. It's well worth a watch. Invite some friends!




 











Friday, September 8, 2017

Inner Demon

I caught INNER DEMON (2014) on Prime and thought that it warranted a mini-review.

This was a very watchable film, though I think it might suffer a bit due to the poster. Looking at it, I was thinking that this was a "demon tale" or something to do with possession, but it's really not. There's the other issue - Im not sure the film knows what it is, either. :::grin:::

From Amazon:
A teenage girl is abducted by a serial killer couple and manages to escape and find refuge in an isolated farmhouse, only to discover it is home to greater horrors and a malevolent spirit.


Yeeeeeeeeah....it has those elements in there. But, it leans way over to the serial killer couple stuff for what feels like 75% of the film. Now, it's done well and there are some good performances from the films leads, so even though I'm not a big fan of that sub-genre, it still held my interest and attention. However, I had the poster in my head and kept waiting for this demon thing which I found distracting. This happens - I get it. You have to sell the movie. And to be honest, if it leaned toward a serial killer poster, I probably would not have watched.




That being said, this "thriller, mystery, horror" (from Amazon's description) is well worth a viewing. Ursula Dabrowsky's writing and direction show really well in this. There are no wasted moves as we see things play out. There are interesting subsets of plot as well that had me questioning what it was I was seeing as well which made me sit up and pay attention in a good way. I'm looking forward to seeing more from Dabrowsky - she currently only has this film and another film called Family Demons (2009) to her credit.




Sarah Jeavons, Kerry Ann Reid, and Andreas Sobik are SUPER solid in the film, turning in emotional and sometimes brutal performances that really rang true. (You did a great job too, Todd Telford!) Interestingly enough, I can't seem to see the younger child actress in the IMDB listing She was grand as well and didn't fall into the painful child actor arena, thank goodness. The situations are riveting and had me chortling at the uncomfortable nature of them from time to time.


And, when things do ramp up, they do so in a fun way that payed off, so all was well when I rolled out of this. I didn't feel like time was wasted and had a great time with it once I got over my "but, where's the demon hand coming out of her mouth come in?" poster drama. hehehehe







Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Case of the Bloody Iris




"Wait till I try to make it with you and you find out what a bastard I am." 

While this is not high on my gialli list, it's still a fun watch...mostly because I'm in love with Edwige Fenech! hehehehe

The film is a bit sloppy and slow, but there are scenes that resonate for sure. Classic giallo tropes abound in this clunky, awkward mystery.

Basically, two models move into an apartment where a woman was murdered. The murderer - a classic black hat, black coat, mask and tan rubber glove wearing maniac - is still prowling around the apartment and our models are stalked and frightened...for a long time. Like....a long time. :)

We have a ton of people roaming around the screen as well.

Edwige Fenech....the damsel. :::purr::::   Who always seems to be getting her clothes off...or ripped off.

Wacky roommate whose kinda like Goldie Hawn who just LOVES joking around - even about the former tenant who died in their apartment.  #TooSoon

Weak at the sight of blood architect who's taken an interest in the girls. 


The grumpy, pissed off Commissioner who's just pissed off about everything.


The gay Woody Allen photographer who has taken photos of the two models...and the girl who was killed in the apartment. 

Shitty old lady neighbor. 

Over the top jealous ex-husband. An obvious nutter.


 Lecherous lesbian neighbor and her grumpy Father.  


And the murderer with a cool black hat and mask. 




 
The story stumbles around and people show up dead and you just start ticking off boxes until you find out who the murderer is, but it's still a fun ride all the same. The soundtrack and the way the film is shot does keep things moving along while watching. It's kinda like watching a carousel go around and around with people being interviewed, questioned, walking, watching OTHER people, visiting, chasing, eating.... and a really awkward lovemaking scene which goes on WAY too long that has one of the best one liners attached to it.

 

 "It's Forenzi, Boss. Those two are really going at it. Don't be surprised if instead of a corpse we have a birth on our hands." 

Give it a viddy, but know that it's all over the place in a wondrous way.   It has a charm and heart to it that makes it a fun watch.









Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Wither


Vittra - made in 2012 - was kicked out here in the States as WITHER. I caught it on Amazon Prime here in the US and it was a fun little ride.

This is basically Sweden's EVIL DEAD take and, while it's not the EVIL DEAD, it's very entertaining and keeps things interesting and bloody.  A group of friends heads to an abandoned home in the woods (far cleaner than the cabin in Evil Dead!) And, in this film it's another ancient evil up to no good - a sort of wood fairy spirit being who can take your soul just by looking into your eyes, turning you into an evil, monstrous creature.

This start of slowly, but ramp up into some rather fun, gory goings on. Sadly, the pace falters from time to time, but it's well worth sticking it out through some heavy dialogue and WTF? moments to get to more of the evil beings.



The F/X work is grand. Blood flows and awful things happen to the group as the evil is spread through some wicked bites and gross out blood spraying. Little touches here and there - like glowing, milky eyes - really set this film apart from some other Evil Dead "homage" movies I've seen since the original film came out. They are doing Evil Dead for sure, but they do the copy-cat with their own, gruesome touches.



The acting is rather good. Or, at least I think it is seeing as the film is in Swedish. It was language that came off sounding bitchy to me - not sure why.  Like everything that was said had a snarky tone to it. Interesting language.



There are some great shots like the one above that really play on that "something is creeping up on you" feeling. However, there are also some moments where I was thinking, "Hmmm...the house isn't THAT big. Wouldn't the other folks hear this guy and girl struggling and growling in the room six feet away?"  Those moments took me out of things for a minute, but the film isn't all that serious anyway, so I managed to let it go after a time.

All in all, WITHER was a fun ride that is well worth a viddy!



Friday, September 1, 2017

Texas Chainsaw Massacre






Well, in light of Mr. Tobe Hooper's passing, I decided to re-watch the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It has been ages since I've watched and I really wanted to see it now that I'm older....maybe wiser? And I actually found things I had not seen in my youth. It's a film with a lot going on. Much more than a non-existent "massacre".









With a budget of $300,000, he cranked this film out as fast as he could - often shooting seven days a week. The film's lead - Marilyn Burns - must have been mute by the end of the shoot with all the screaming she does here.

I'm not going to go over the basics in too much detail. I'm sure if you're reading this, you've seen the film already. You've had over 40 years to watch it, lazy bones. :)  In short....



College folks in a van head to their family home in Texas, they give a ride to the WRONG hitchhiker, they get involved with the wrong folks, and most of them are dispatched quickly and horribly.



The film has several iconic scenes that come up in almost every horror documentary you can see. heheheh  Some of them are chilling to this day. Hooper's direction is fantastic. Scenes are shot well with a ton of thought put into the framing and execution. You can see the vision behind the shots. They are worked out brilliantly with a lot of work put in to get them looking right.


This shot for instance.....


The character of Pam played by Teri McMinn is sitting on a rocker outside and stands when her boyfriend doesn't answer her from inside the house. (Yeah...this doesn't end well....)  She makes her way to the house and the camera follows, slipping under the rocker and gliding with her as she walks to the house. As she gets closer, the house looms up - bigger and bigger as it blocks out the blue sky. GREAT shot. 



There are other shots where the framing is spot on.  Sally (Marilyn Burns) runs for help and, as she waits for the person to get their car, she's blocked in on the far right of the screen with an open room behind her. This creates a TON of tension. I really thought someone was going to creep up behind her. But, no, just tension. Fun stuff.

The grinding, banging, discordant soundtrack helps build that tension as well. With the screaming madness of the Family, Burns' desperate screams, and the insane soundtrack, things are ramped up quickly and you get a feeling of nails on a chalkboard.

And overall, for a film called Texas Chainsaw Massacre, there's not a ton of death and violence in here, but what IS there is really, really awful and terrifying. Hammer blows, meat hooks, and the titular CHAINSAW come into play and the visceral, violent goings on are cringe worthy.


There's also an attention to detail that kinda blew me away. I mean...$300,000 in 70s cash is nothing to shake a stick at, but it's also not a TON of money. There is so much work done to the sets and little details in the characters that I noticed this round that it's a little mind-blowing. Even down to Leatherface's serrated teeth. It adds to the creep factor. There are some aspects that didn't do as well - like Grandpa's old age makeup, but it's still a sight to see.

I didn't really pick up on the supernatural elements until this viewing. They almost elude to the happenings happening due to the Hitchhiker's actions - the bloodletting and writing of a symbol on the van as it drives away. Did he bind the van folks to him through magical means? Did the items left of the porch drive the van folks to the horrific ends they met? Kinda interesting to think about.


There are a LOT of people that need to thank Mr. Hooper for their successes. At least giving him MAJOR props for ideas and styles. (You know who you are, horror filmmakers!) I think I'll be running through more of Tobe Hooper's work in the near future.  I just caught the film I'M DANGEROUS TONIGHT - a solid 1990's made for TV film, and his work is super solid and interesting. I think SALEM'S LOT will be next if I can track it down!

Thanks for reading! 




Thursday, July 6, 2017

GIALLO - Recent reviews so far





I've been watching a TON of gialli lately. I figured I'd lump all the links to what I've reviewed so far into one page to keep track of them.

ENJOY!

STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER

One of my favorite that encompasses TONS of gialli tropes...STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER! A rather nasty sounding title, but a fantastic film...PACKED with J&B references! :)
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2016/10/strip-nude-for-your-killer.html


A great, slow burn.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-house-of-laughing-windows.html


PERFUME

Strange mind games.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-perfume-of-lady-in-black.html






"So bad, it's good." :)
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2017/06/a-blade-in-dark.html



BLACK BELLY of the TARANTULA
Creepy and fun.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2017/06/black-belly-of-tarantula.html


More mind games with Mimsy Farmer. Totally insane.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2017/06/autopsy.html


Classy and cool.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-fifth-cord.html


Engaging, strange little tale.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-bloodstained-butterfly.html


DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK?


This was made in the "Remember when Argento made great films?" era, but I have to say that I really enjoy it. It's solid and interesting and well made. Well worth a viddy!
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2016/11/do-you-like-hitchcock.html



"There were also many lovely WTF?! moments that I found endearing"
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2016/10/seven-deaths-in-cats-eye.html

 

DEEP RED
Another WAY up on my TOP OF GIALLI list. A fantastic film by the masterful Dario Argento!
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2016/10/deep-red.html


I'm sliding this nutty film onto the giallo list, but it's more slasher. And, it's full of crazy.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2016/10/pieces.html


T and A and Blood. Another classic giallo.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2016/10/torso.html



CAT 'O NINE TAILS
A fantastic mystery. And, yes, also from Argento!
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-cat-o-nine-tails.html


Another "SO BAD IT'S GOOD"    Yikes. :)
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2016/09/nightmares-stage-fright-1980.html


Loose plot and acting, but a highly entertaining mystery with some stunning visuals.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-killer-reserved-nine-seats.html


This film nails the giallo world. A fun and hilarious giallo spoof of sorts. Well worth the watch if you are a gialli fan and are familiar with the giallo world.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-editor.html




STENDHAL SYNDROME
More Argento goodness with the lovely Asia Argento. A tight, Hitchcock style mystery.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-stendhal-syndrome.html



Another favorite of mine. While not strictly giallo in nature, there are gialli elements in here for sure. The visuals are a delight.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2015/01/amer.html

This one gets beat up a lot with the "style over substance" argument, but I found it to be utterly engaging, unique, and strange in a wondrous way.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-strange-color-of-your-bodys-tears.html

 The Bava classic - a must see!
 http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-bay-of-blood.html

Another brilliant gialli classic from Argento. Grand!
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2013/10/tenebre.html



SUSPIRIA
Tops in giallo loves, SUSPIRIA hits the paranormal side of giallo. And it does it marvelously. It's a beautiful nightmare.
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2012/11/suspiria.html


A comedic moment from STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER

Saturday, July 1, 2017

XX

>> AS SPOILER FREE AS I CAN BE <<
 

I was finally able to sit down and watch XX - the film shouted about A LOT before it came out.
"LOOK! A film with nothing but FEMALE DIRECTORS!"

I TOTALLY get it, but it made me sad to think we live in a world where we need to do this sort of thing. A world where it's not just DIRECTORS WHO ARE GOOD. I think it's a sad state of affairs, to be honest. It's another sign that humans are still fighting ridiculous battles that really should have left us ages ago.

Know what's NOT ridiculous however? This film. XX was a fun and entertaining watch that I really enjoyed. 

This anthology had five main stories directed by five different directors:

Roxanne Benjamin ... (segment "Don't Fall") (screen writer / Director)
a writer and Director on SOUTHBOUND and a Producer on the VHS series. 

Karyn Kusama ... (segment "Her Only Living Son") (screen writer / Director)
Director of Aeon Flux, Jennifer's Body, and a few episodes of Man in the High Castle

St. Vincent ... (segment "The Birthday Cake") (as Annie Clark) (screen writer / Director)
relatively new to the game, really. Mostly known for her St Vincent music work
Jovanka Vuckovic ... (segment "The Box") (screen writer / Director)
writer and Director of several shorts and former Big Wig and writer over at FANGORIA magazine.

The film went with a somewhat chilling little Brother's Quay-like stop action creepfest as it's wrapper instead of having another story wrap the whole of it. This really worked for me. It was fun to see the little strange narratives play out in between the stories.

The stories themselves were solid overall, though I think only on of the segments was classic "HORROR" while the others were more...disturbing than anything else. Again, well done and engaging - they all really held my interest.

Maybe this was the "female" feel of the story writing and direction? I'm not sure. All but one of the segments was very "female-centric" as far as the main character and their journey. Well...all of them had that, really. It's just that one of the destinations was...more feral than the others. :::grin:::

I don't even want to go into story lines for this spoiler free review. That would ruin some of the stories for sure. I'm just going to say that I loved something about every story and that the acting was strong in every one as well. 

I was happily surprised to see Melanie Lynskey in here. Fantastic and interesting as usual.

I also enjoyed seeing Angela Trimbur. I saw her DANCE LIKE NOBODY'S WATCHING segment and I have to say that I have a little crush on her. :::sigh:::  :)

I think your best bet for watching this film is going into it expecting something more along the lines of "chilling" rather than "horrifying" for the most part. The stories are strong, the acting is grand, and the direction is interesting in every case. I wish i purchased the VOD version as soon as it was available instead of waiting so long. I would not have been disappointed.

Currently available on NETFLIX.