Halloween Horror Marathon: The Living Dead Girl

Posted in movies, reviews on October 16th, 2015 by Nick – 1 Comment
living dead girl header Each week, Halloween Horror Marathon does some themed posts. We sleep in on Sundays, then watch a zombie flick. We call it Resurrection Sundays. This week, we look at the French "zombie" film The Living Dead Girl. Rob Zombie associations aside, this French zombie film is worth watching simply to experience how horror can mean different things to different cultures. Jean Rollin's film has certain things with which I'm readily familiar, like the slow pace of Italian films and the hazy hallucinatory aspects of Spanish cinema, but at its heart, this is really a love story. A love story with gouts and gouts of blood, and a living dead girl who's a thirst for it, granted, but a love story nonetheless. It's one of two excellently-acted horror roles by Marina Pierro, coming fast on the heels of her role in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Miss Osbourne the year before. Much like Miss Osbourne in that film, Pierro's role of Helene sees Pierro going to great lengths to accommodate the object of her love. In both cases, killing and sexual desire find themselves intertwined. When Catherine tears a woman apart, her cries of agony and last gasps sound very near to the passionate responses of the realtor and her lover earlier in the film. Given the alternate views of gore and skin -- and, regularly, blood-soaked nude women -- it's difficult to see where Rollin's blurry line of desire changes from lust to hunger. The repeated switching between French and English requires an attentive viewer, unless said viewer is bilingual. It's worth your undivided attention, however, as this is an absolutely gorgeous film, both visually, and in terms of the strength of how love can triumph in spite of death. The Living Dead Girl can be had on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Films, which features an interview with the director. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucXKFAbFM9A[/embed]

Halloween Horror Marathon: Zombie

Posted in movies, reviews on October 12th, 2015 by Nick – Be the first to comment
poster - zombie flesh eaters Each week, Halloween Horror Marathon does some themed posts. We wrap up the work week with the films of Lucio Fulci. We call them Fulci Fridays, and for those, we team up with Liam O’Donnell of Cinepunx. This week, we look at Zombie, aka Zombi 2, aka Zombie Flesh Eaters. Nick: This was the first Fulci film I ever saw, and it’s still my favorite. There’s quite a few reasons why: its fantastic music by Fabio Frizzi, which includes the piece “Sequence 8,” featuring the ominous mellotron to which the composer would return for so many other Fulci scores like A Cat in the Brain and The Beyond. Additionally, the pace at which this movie unravels is something with which modern audiences ought to have an issue, but personally, I love. The heat of the island can be felt in the fact that Zombie moves at a sedate pace. However, the way it’s punctuated is almost metronomic -- it kicks off with two back-to-back situations that give the viewer a glimpse into what’s happening, but raises more questions than it answers. There’s then a long, mood-setting bit of expositional plot which seems to be going nowhere but some gratuitous nudity, until said nudity also leads into A FIGHT BETWEEN A ZOMBIE AND A SHARK. After that, Fulci’s film starts to pick up steam -- again, slowly, but with a purpose that starts stacking shocking horror upon shocking horror. zombie vs shark Liam: The pace is part of the magic. No, really. From the opening sequence, as messed up now as it was when I was 17, to the utterly depressing finale. Zombi 2 somehow manages to vacillate from entirely atmospheric to over the top gross without losing any steam. This film defined Fulci for me until I had really dug into the man’s output. Sure, it is an Italian rip off film, maybe lacking in certain unique qualities. Yet it also sets up so many of its own ideas. The aforementioned zombie vs shark is a brilliant if also insane move. The idea that SOME form of magic or voodoo is definitely to blame really adds a white guilt element missing from some of the other famous zombie films. The gore is some next level stuff. The infamous “eye scene” really established not only the point at which fun and stomach churning meet for me, but also made me watch for eyes n every other Fulci film and realize how much eye close-ups are a technique of his. Beyond all that, the cast are all scenery chewers in their own way. None plays it subtle, and none should. This film demands they respond to every aspect of it as if it were happening on some hyper plane of reality. I wonder though, do you think Zombi 2 became the new standard of undead gore over the Romero film of which it is an unlicensed sequel? Would a completely naive modern audience make it through the long stretches of inaction to get at the brief but wonderful moments of ultra gore? You can snag Zombie as an excellent Blu-ray from Blue Underground, and Death Waltz Records has remastered and reissued the Fabio Frizzi score on vinyl. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UYvhyzugtA[/embed]

Halloween Horror Marathon: Slither

Posted in movies, reviews on October 8th, 2015 by Nick – Be the first to comment
Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters After nearly a decade, I finally sat down and watched the directorial debut of James Gunn, Slither. How James Gunn didn't get the pants sued off him for Slither blows the mind*. It's Night of the Creeps meets ... well, every other '50s sci-fi alien invasion movie ran through a Troma filter. Well, a Troma language and gore filter. It's surprisingly chaste, but the rather impressive number of animal mutilations, people infestations, and rampant disgusting imagery are pure Tromatic bliss. Big props to Gunn for shouting out Troma with a brief snippet of The Toxic Avenger and a Lloyd Kaufmann cameo, too. Dierector Gunn's approach to movie-making has really turned into a sort of formula at this point, but it's a good one: take a wackadoo script (in this case, an alien worm invasion in a small town turns people into zombie-like creatures), combine with a collection of fine character actors, soundtrack with fine soft rock classics, and let 'er rip with some impressive special effects. slither screencap The best part is that Gunn just lets his actors do what they do, rather than casting against type. These folks play exactly the parts you expect, and that's why Slither is so fun. Cases in point include, but aren't limited to:
Michael Rooker is abrasive and an asshole. Elizabeth Banks is cute and a little weird. Nathan Fillion is charming and awkward. Gregg Henry is arrogant and dickish.
It's most similar in casting to Tremors: no big names to speak of, weird tentacle-y things, and a really fun tone despite the impending sense of doom. And, much like Tremors, I waited a goddamn decade to watch it. It's loaded with quips, quips, quips, ridiculous creatures, and it's fun as hell. Double shame on me for waiting damn near a decade to put my peepers upon it. I'd go into further details, but really, I agree with the cats behind Two Cents over at Cinapse: "The best way to go into seeing Slither is not reading anything about it. Stop reading this." * Yes, I am aware of the Bloody Disgusting refutation of the Night of the Creeps / Slither debate. There's sadly no good American Blu-ray available, but you can snag a cheap widescreen DVD for like, $6 from Amazon. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-f8wU6Fpeo[/embed]

Halloween Horror Marathon: Night of the Demons

Posted in movies on October 7th, 2015 by Nick – Be the first to comment
night of the demons header Because Kevin Tenney's Night of the Demons score just received a luscious vinyl reissue from Lunaris Records, we figure it was worth bumping Witchboard for another Tenney film, but with more gore and nudity. We figured you all'd be okay with that. Goddamn, Night of the Demons is a stupid movie. It's delightfully fun, of course, but good lord, the acting is atrocious. The introduction of the characters is a painful exercise in looped dialogue and wooden intonation. Add in the fact that most background information is basically provided via Max's expositional speeches, and this is a movie that's essentially just trying to get to the good stuff. And yet, at that, it absolutely fails. It takes a solid 50 minutes before there's anything aside from a glimpse of a demon. That's a long wait for somebody to die, especially when this many people deserve it. What's the appeal here, aside from a brief shot of a couple female characters' underwear? Creepy goth girls getting possessed by demons and dancing to Bauhaus? I think that may be a big part of Night of the Demons' lengthy appeal, along with the ever-adorable Linnea Quigley, who always seems to be a manic pixie, even when turning into a murderous little nightmare. night of the demons screencap Granted, once the killing starts, it's really worth the wait. Shit gets supremely weird rather quickly, be it the disappearing lipstick, Angela warming her hands by the fire, or "STOP LOOKING AT ME!" For realsies: Night of the Demons' first half is a cringe-worthy slog, but the latter is a gloriously violent and disturbingly twisted ride worth sticking around for. Those violent deaths are something that ties into an issue which keeps popping up as I watch movies of this vintage: dudes who are supposed to be "slobs" now seem to be more "abusive jerk." Stooge needed to die first. He not only repeatedly verbally abuses Helen, but threatens to smack her? For real, that's like eight different kinds of bullshit. Same goes for Jay's behavior toward Judy, which is also supremely shitty. On a positive note, the really awful people get the worst deaths, so it's pretty rewarding when they finally snuff it. Another question: Is there a reason all the jokes in '80s horror seem to be written by borscht belt comics circa 1955? It's the most hackneyed collection of one-liners outside of a Henny Youngman set. Were it not for the fact that Night of the Demons balances out the wooden acting, bad jokes, and slow build with an excellent second half, I wouldn't have bothered to revisit this nearly 30 year-old piece of crudeness. Like we said in the intro, Lunaris Records recently reissued the album on vinyl. It's a double LP, cassette, and CD, depending on your preference, and all of those formats -- along with a dope art print and / or t-shirt of the Devin Whitehead art -- can be snagged from the Lunaris Records store. It's also available as a fantastic DVD / Blu-ray combo pack from Scream Factory. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKzuj2eavtU[/embed]

Halloween Horror Marathon: Deathgasm

Posted in metal, movies, reviews on October 6th, 2015 by Nick – 1 Comment
poster - deathgasm We were supposed to review Spookies today, but two things conspired against that happening: 1) The copy we were able to get our hands on had audio, but not video and 2) We got a screener of Deathgasm in preparation for an upcoming From & Inspired By podcast. So, given the chance to watch this movie we've been jonesing to see for AGES, we lept at the chance. There's an album by Ghoul called Splatterthrash, and I can't help but feel that portmanteau is what most pefectly sums up the spirit of this New Zealand movie. Sure, there's been "splatstick" forever, going back to the early work of Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson, and director Jason Lei Howden owes more than a nod or two to those directors (especially to something like Jackson's Dead Alive), but while the gore is definitely played for fun, the main metalhead characters of Brodie and Zakk are rather deadly serious. You've comedic foils in Dion and Giles, but this isn't so much a horror comedy as a horror dramady. You've essentially taken your usual high school drama-comedy, wherein your lead character is an outcast with a small group of loyal friends who must overcome in order to secure their place in the social order, as well as winning the boy or girl -- i.e., every John Hughes film set in Shermer, Illinois. In this case, there's a lot more corpse paint and bullet belts, to say nothing of gallons upon gallons of stage blood, but the basic premise is the same. The soundtrack rips (especially the titular theme by Bulletbelt, which you can hear below). Mondo/Death Waltz is releasing a soundtrack for it soon, and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. It's fully death metal in terms of the music, which is refreshing -- it's nice to have a niche represented in a way that demonstrates that this music means something to some people, and isn't just noise. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdSebJy_ERw[/embed] And, honestly -- it's fun. There's something heartwarming in the sense of a group of outcasts banding together against first, the forces of assholery in their town and second, the forces of evil which could potentially destroy the world. They treat each other like shit -- or, rather, Zakk's a screaming dickhole whom my wife repeatedly wished horribly, screaming death upom at multimple times during the movie -- but, that's sort of standard teenage behavior, and the ending sort of wraps all of that up nicely. deathgasm brothers in steel The gore is exceedingly wonderful. It's a mix between practical effects and CGI, and works best when the CGI is used to augment the insanely violent deaths suffered by the various demon-infested townspeople. The practical always looks far more realistic than the CGI, with blood splatter never looking quite as effective when rendered by an algorithm, as opposed to the random spray of pumping corn syrup. It's another excellent release from Dark Sky Films, who in the last year have released this, We Are Still Here, and Starry Eyes, which is an amazing run all on its own, to say nothing of House of the Devil, the Hatchet franchise, or Willow Creek. So, yes: Deathgasm is fun as hell, and you should totally go see it. See this with friends, though -- it'll be a blast. It opens this weekend in Kansas City at the Screenland Armour, where it runs Friday, October 9, through Thursday, October 14. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6H3smk5sqc[/embed]

Halloween Horror Marathon: It Follows

Posted in mp3 on October 5th, 2015 by Nick – 4 Comments
poster - it follows Each week, Halloween Horror Marathon does some themed posts. We go back to work on Mondays with a recent release. We call it New Movie Mondays. What nobody ever mentions about It Follows -- except, evidently, me when incessantly and effusively praising this movie after I finally saw it -- is the constant movement. Watching the film, I never felt scared, per se, but definitely felt a sense of tension. It Follows is a movie whose tautness is its real weapon, and it comes from that constant movement. Said movement could be the characters in a scene: either talking, fiddling with their hands, swimming, or otherwise involved in an activity. However, it could just as likely be the movement of the camera: zooming in, pulling back, panning, or following the characters as they sit. It's that incessant motion which gives It Follows the unyielding anxiety that makes it so very watchable. The Disasterpeace score places further strain upon the viewer, as well. It's the sort of music which has melody to hook you, only to disintegrate into digital noise at the end of each section. It's beautiful and haunting in its more lovely moments, but absolutely intimidating when it wants to menace. What's great about the motion of the camera or the characters onscreen is that it's entirely at odds with the pace of the plot itself. It unfolds at a relatively slow pace -- some would say glacial -- similar to the likes of '70s or early '80s films like Zombie Flesh Eaters or The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, wherein you spend time living with the characters in between moments of supreme violence. It's not rapid-fire hit, hit, hit in terms of violence. It builds and builds and builds between each instance. if_01 And, of course, the open interpretation of so much of It Follows is what really allows for repeated viewings. Are we going to consider the religious imagery this time, or possibly the mutable timeframe in which the movie takes place? Every instance adds a different perspective , and you could easily waste an entire afternoon reading the various think pieces. Add in the female lead of Jay, as portrayed by Maika Monroe, with demonstrable agency of her own, and you've a modern horror film that manages to still seem timeless. For sheer entertainment value, as well as repeated, multi-faceted perspectives, It Follows is definitely my favorite movie this year, and possibly in the last five. I can't think of another film which not only lived up to the hype which preceded it, but also surpassed it to such an extent. It Follows is available on Blu-ray and DVD, but I suggest getting the Blu, because goddamn, it looks amazing. We also suggest snagging Disasterpeace's score on vinyl, as released by Milan Records. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX38jXwnRAM[/embed]

Halloween Horror Marathon: The Dead Next Door

Posted in movies, reviews on October 4th, 2015 by Nick – 3 Comments
the dead next door header Each week, Halloween Horror Marathon does some themed posts. We sleep in on Sundays, then watch a zombie flick. We call it Resurrection Sundays. The Dead Next Door has always been one of those zombie movies which popped up on lists of lesser-known cult flicks, but never really ever came up as a best-ever. When I watched it the first time, it obviously didn't make much of an impression, because I couldn't remember much before this viewing other than "I know I've seen The Dead Next Door before." Within five minutes, it all came rushing back, and I remembered that this is what I want every zombie action movie to be! It's late '80s vintage, but this scrappy little Ohio movie readily predicted quite a bit of the modern zombie Rennaissance. There are elements of The Walking Dead (except it's not boring), World War Z (book, not movie), and lifts from the finest pieces of Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. I really hope the cult leader's look is supposed to be a Deathdream homage, too. The Dead Next Door is b-movie sci-fi horror all the way through. There's a level of science that seeks to cure the zombies, or allow them to speak, but never actually goes so far as to actually explain any part of the contagion. In addition to being a delightfully weird zombie flick, it works as an action movie, too. Think 28 Days Later -- but fun, instead of nihilistic killjoy boring. Once you learn that Sam Raimi worked as a secret producer, The Dead Next Door's tone makes a lot more sense. dead next door screencap The tone's not quite splatstick, because rarely is there a wink or nod to the camera. It's played fairly straight, but then again, every bit of dialogue being looped in post helps keep it from being something you'd take too terribly seriously. Still: it's got a sense of internal logic, there's a definite scruffy style to the whole affair, and it's not just a mish-mash amalgamation of disparate pieces. It's a ridiculous movie, yes -- much like Night of the Creeps, characters are named after famous horror directors -- but it's way more entertaining than most films at ten times the budget. It kind of peters out at the end, but I enjoyed the hell out of myself, and given the enthusiastic devotion to the bizarre plot, you'd think this would be way higher on the list of must-see zombie flicks. It looks like Tempe Video will release a definitive Blu-ray / DVD combo later this month, which also includes the soundtrack on CD. They still have a few copies of the 2005 DVD release, as well. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRpPDGHeFqs[/embed]

Halloween Horror Marathon: Psycho

Posted in movies, upcoming events on October 3rd, 2015 by Nick – 2 Comments
poster - psycho Each week, Halloween Horror Marathon does some themed posts. We kick off the weekend by seeing a movie in the theater. We call it Cinematic Saturdays. We were supposed to see Eli Roth's new cannibal flick, The Green Inferno, with our brother, but he's in Wichita for a wedding. Rather than sit by ourselves and feel grossed out, we're going to talk an upcoming cinematic screening. I've had the experience of watching Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho in a variety of situations. I'm pretty sure the first time I saw it as a kid, I already knew the basic premise, but the film is so well done, it really didn't matter -- and, honestly, the real kicker is that even if you know the shower scene is coming, nothing really prepares you for its rapid and confusing savagery. Then, after said big to-do, there's still an awful lot of creepy, disconcerting film to come, made all the more odd by the fact that you'd become quite invested in Marion Crane as a viewer. Now what? Everyone knows the first part of the film, but while that's a bit of a crime caper, the vast majority is a typically taut and engaging Hitchcockian thriller. Calling Psycho a horror film is pushing the boundaries of the genre somewhat, but I feel that, as giallo and other psychological thrillers like Eyes of a Stranger have horrific elements to them, it's a valid inclusion. As a matter of fact, I saw the movie in not one, but two classes in college. The latter was a class called "Pop Culture of the 1960s," which makes perfect sense, but the first class was entitled "Literature of the Gothic." Psycho as Gothic seems almost more absurd than outright horror, until you consider Gothic's tropes. psycho house There's the uncanny, which is there in spades. There's what's referred to as "a pleasing sort of terror," meaning that you're frightened, but pleasantly so. And obviously, the double, as well as the idea of the architectural setting of the story reflecting the characters of the story. Given that the rather more modern Bates Motel sits below what is essentially a Second Empire home, there's a mirroring of modernity and the past. Add into that the fact that the interstate left the hotel on what is now a rarely-used side roaad, and there's another layer. Psycho is a film that offers up new things every time one sees it, and even though the basic plot points mean that seeing the big setpieces will no longer surprise even the youngest and most naive viewer, it's a gorgeous piece of economical filmmaking. Hitchcock's use of his television crew means that he gets the most out of a lean budget, squeezing every scene for the maximum allotment of discomfort. This is all a roundabout way of saying Lawrence's Liberty Hall will screen Psycho on the big screen tomorrow, Sunday, October 4, at 7:00pm. Tickets are $8.00, and more information is available here. It's also available as a quite-affordable, very loaded, extremely gorgeous Blu-ray, which you can purchase right here. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps8H3rg5GfM[/embed]

Halloween Horror Marathon: Don’t Torture A Duckling

Posted in movies, reviews on October 2nd, 2015 by Nick – 3 Comments
Dont Torture a Duckling poster Each week, Halloween Horror Marathon does some themed posts. We wrap up the work week with the films of Lucio Fulci. We call them Fulci Fridays, and for those, we team up with Liam O'Donnell of Cinepunx. This week, we look at Don't Torture A Duckling. Nick The real mark of a zonkers Italian flick is being able to watch it over and over, reveling in its strange visuals and plot twists, and having fun with the absurdity of the violence. The first time through, Don't Torture A Duckling is an enjoyable watch, but the second? Man, knowing the ending and all the twists just make for a slog. It's good, solid, filmmaking, but Fulci hadn't yet learned to be fun at this point. There are moments of ridiculousness, like a naked woman mocking a young boy, or repeated zooms on a Donald Duck toy, but nothing really goes into "nasty because we can" territory. I appreciate that, at heart, this is proto-Fulci. Notably, it’s the gore effects that you’d see in his later works. When the villagers corner the village witch, Maciara, and attack her, take a look at the way she’s beaten with the chain: seven years later, in The Beyond, it’s pretty much repeated when the villagers attack Schweick. You also have your woman with no agency until a man takes charge -- in this instance, Barbara Bouchet as Patrizia (you could also include Irene Papas as Dona Aurelia Avallone, the priest's mother). That's a pattern that repeats in each and every Gates of Hell movie, as well as the likes of The New York Ripper. It does get delightfully fucked-up in the middle, while the witch confesses and speaks, but it's otherwise a blip in the middle of an otherwise pretty bog-standard thriller. Once her very disturbing, and hallucinogenic death scene is over, it's back to boring until the end. For the five minutes it lasts, it's quietly disturbing violent intensity. The ending is great pay-off if you’ve been watching attentively, but if you’ve seen it once, that’s enough. don't torture a duckling screencap Is it giallo? There's a mystery, there's highly-stylized violence, very pointless nudity of very beautiful women, and strangely-framed shots. And, much like a giallo, the actual plot is pretty negligible -- but, in this case, not full enough of absurdly psychedelic imagery to make being able to ignore it a possibility. That's what separates this from Fulci's Gates of Hell trilogy: in the case of those films, you don't need to know what's going on to enjoy them. Don't Torture a Duckling is too much detective story to be able to just sit back and zone out on the oddity unfolding in front of you. But having watched it a second time, there is something a little more which can be sussed from the film, beyond the action highlights. For instance: is there something we're supposed to take from the opening scenes of the town witch, holding a child's skeleton in her hands, standing within view of the modern highway? Absolutely: the film's as much about the battle of a small town against encroaching modernity as it is a search for the killer of these young boys. If you really want to read into it, you can reduce the film to being about trying to freeze time in a specific mileau, be it the city trying to cope with modernity (even as they hide their own perversions or stone a witch) or the priest "saving" the boys from their own adolescence, or even when they intersect in the priest's lecture on the people who watch TV or read the news, and how "certain magazines" don't make it to town. There’s a line in this old Video Watchdog review that sums it up perfectly, saying that Don't Torture A Duckling "transcends glib finger-pointing to speak truth to a culture unbalanced by having one foot planted in an ancient world of saints and martyrs while the other is set in a modern age of lonely people without a vocabulary to express their sadness." Liam I am not gonna lie, this is one of those Fulci films which, for whatever reason, I entirely missed. I am not sure if it is the “giallo” nature of it, or perhaps the simple fact that it is an early movie which is more difficult to find. However, while I have seen the Gates of Hell trilogy so many times they feel like home, this film was not even on my radar to watch until you suggested it. Don’t Torture a Duckling is a real head scratcher when you consider the entire breadth of Fulci films, and I am not sure how I feel about it. I agree with your basic idea that, while this movie is well made, it lacks a lot of the ridiculous aspects of Fulci’s later work, the strange and cruel elements that make those movie so unavoidably entertaining. I think though, when it comes to questions I have about Fulci, this film is now at the top of my list of examples. In fact, if one is concerned about the ways Fulci depicts gender, and issue only further complicated by stories of his behavior on set, this film doesn’t help. I cannot think of another of his films I have seen in which women are so clearly objects of both fear and derision. Not to say that a film like New York Ripper does not have many of its own problems. What gets to me here though is how many varieties of stereotypical female characters are on display here, and how many of them are negative. From the loud and large prostitutes to the young drug addict, and of course the witch who is murdered so brutally, the film seems to have no little anxiety about women. don't torture a duckling screencap 01 This of course bleeds into a second aspect of the film, which is its anxieties around sex. Here though, I suspect your idea about the old/new dynamic, or rather the traditional smashing into the modern is really at play. Still, while Fulci wants to use sex in his film in the same entertaining and sultry manner of many giallo, this film drips with a certain awkward attitude about sex. The scene which really stuck with me was the one of the hip young women with the young man. Yes, there is more going on in this scene, but there was also some really strange sexual tensions in it. I was impressed by it in some ways, but taken as a whole I am not sure what to make of it. I was reminded again of New York Ripper in that it is the only other of Fulci’s films I could think of in which sex plays such an important role thematically. Yet, it was entirely different. Of course, I am reading far too deeply into this one, as is my tendency. Unfortunately, what Don’t Torture a Duckling suffers from, for me, is more plot turns and reveals than interest. Giallo are deliciously lurid, disturbingly violent, and stylistically masterful. For a director who, in many ways, is one of my favorites specifically in his stylistic mastery, I was disappointed at how bland the film is. The small bursts of gore are very satisfying, and the murder of the witch is as you described. A nightmare scenario hinting at some of the beautiful insanity that was to come later in Fulci’s career. The final reveal (spoiler: the priest!) speaks for me very much to this anxiety around the old Italy and the modern. In this I am not referencing the most recent scandals around the catholic priesthood, though this film may remind any of us of that for sure. No, but they are also not unrelated. In Italy, if not around the world, for many the priesthood represents some sort of hold over from another time. An entire class of people living off of superstitions that for many seem not only irrational, but archaic. The reveal of his murderous rampage is not entirely unsympathetic, but it does hint at this feeling, that old Italy must make way for the new. In this case, the old is literally killing the future, in the form of the very young men it was meant to protect and prepare for the future. There's a pretty great Don't Torture A Duckling DVD you can get from Blue Underground, while there's a discount version from Anchor Bay with lesser video quality, but it comes as a two-pack with City of the Living Dead. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_M3a3m6wOc[/embed]

Halloween Horror Marathon: Tourist Trap

Posted in movies, reviews on October 1st, 2015 by Nick – Be the first to comment
tourist trap header We're not off to a good start with this year's Halloween Horror Marathon. I basically haven't been home any night this week before 6:00pm, and there's been something waiting for me every night. I barely watched Tourist Trap in order to get this written, and I feel like I'm basically trying to write about something only vaguely half-remembered. That said, I love this movie, and I need to watch it more often than I do. Why more often? Because I can't remember character names or any of the particulars right now, but suffice it to say, Tourist Trap is a movie that I both can't believe isn't bigger than it is, while also being confused that as many people know it as they do. It's a movie that is simultaneously '70s and '80s. The creepy weirdness of everything in Tourist Trap lines up perfectly with other movies of the era, especially the likes of Phantasm, which was released the same year. However, it also presages the sort of strange things director David Schmoeller would later to go on to do. Watch Tourist Trap, then consider Puppet Master. By no means will you be surprised that they're by the same man. It's just so fucking uncomfortable, while at the same time run through with a sense of levity that doesn't actually ever release any tension. While watching, you know that you're supposed to laugh at this, but you're just wondering whether or not the intention of all of this is deadly serious. The music in the film, especially the copious amount of slide whistle, really makes this seem like a funhouse gone wrong. The mannequins are obviously creepy, but the strange psychic powers (very '70s) are what really makes this flick bizarre. Things are never quite explained, and watching it, you're just left to assume that everyone has gone mad and just accepts that it's happened to them. People deal with crazy, horrific shit, and then move on by living with plaster versions of their loved ones. No bigs. I think it's particularly telling that Pino Donaggio did the score. He did movies that were just weird -- The Howling, The Barbarians, The Black Cat, and especially Crawlspace, amongst others -- and seeing his name after "Music By" usually means that you're in for something astonishingly uncomfortable. The score is on sale as of yesterday via Waxwork Records. You can snag the LP right from their shop on blood red with black marble vinyl. You can also grab the movie on Blu-ray for pretty cheap. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQGui4LUwDw[/embed]