Films From the Void on ‘Mosquito’ at Cinepunx

mosquito-bug
Mosquito is one of those films which I missed as a kid, and finding this in a video store closeout sale was me taking a bit of a chance, and man, did it ever pay off. This flick is fun as hell — definitely in the same vein as 1989’s The Dead Next Door, in that it’s gross, dumb, and acted with more enthusiasm than skill. However, much like that Midwestern diamond in the rough, Mosquito is just such a gem that it’s a damn shame more people aren’t aware of it.
Read the full review at Cinepunx. Published 10/7/16

The Well-Read Ghoul: 10 Essential Books for the Horror Fan at Cinepunx

well-read-simpsons
Horror movies are so much more than splatter and jump scares, if you want them to be. While repeated viewings can sometimes yield surprises, there’s nothing quite like an informed opinion from a different perspective to offer further insight into longtime favorites. While the pendulum horror film criticism seems to frequently swing from fannish enthusiasm to academic dryness with little in between, there’s a slew of interesting reading to be had. What follows is a list of the most-readable and interesting books any self-respecting horror fan should have on their shelf.
Read the full list at Cinepunx. Published 10/3/16

Halloween Horror Marathon: Zombie

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

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]

Peirse’s “After Dracula” ably argues the importance of post-Universal horror

book cover - after draculaAlison Peirse's new book from I.B. Taurus, After Dracula: The 1930s Horror Film, certainly does what it sets out to. The author begins with "the idea that Dracula has been canonised to the detriment of other innovative and original 1930s films produced across Europe and America." It's a logical approach: given that Dracula is, in essence, a stage play brought to the screen, it wins primarily due to financial success and -- one could argue just as importantly -- the fact that it was first. Followed closely by Frankenstein, one could even further and make the point that Universal Pictures' role in defining the canon is primarily by virtue of getting out of the gate before anyone else. And while she doesn't explicitly make that connection, Peirse does effectively argue that Universal's The Wolf Man is almost unequivocably cited as being the start of werewolf movies, ignoring or relegating 1935's Werewolf of London to a footnote, being "damned to obscurity [...] its narrative debt to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde undermin[ing] it critically." It seems that Universal's first two successes (three, really, if you want to count The Mummy) really set the tone for every picture that would follow in their wake. Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff feature prominently, even in the movies that Peirse is attempting to rescue. Lugosi's part in White Zombie is part of that film's role in defining the zombie picture. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N5-UzUxBss[/embed] While secondary to the role architecture and set design play in The Black Cat, Lugosi and Karloff's roles are still a large part of that film's chapter. The poster of that film serves as the book's cover, and Lugosi has a distinctly vampiric stare working in that particular image, only serving to reinforce that, despite the role any of these films may play in a greater narrative, they still come after Dracula. Peirse does her best work in After Dracula by elevating European films to the same level as the American pictures of the same time. Well, film, singular, actually. Vampyr gets an excellent chapter of its own that ably makes the point that film should be applauded for its "amalgamation of of 'high' art cinema and 'low' horror culture." The chapter on '30s British horror really only serves to demonstrate that the Hays Code and its various counterparts could easily defang a movie. The Man Who Changed His Mind is more important as an example of what could have been that a film worth entertaining on its own merits. Still -- as I've said before, there's no higher compliment a book on film can receive than making me want to watch the movies about which it speaks, and I've been tracking down the films Peirse discusses since I finished After Dracula last week. You can watch White Zombie above, and I'm going to make The Island of Lost Souls my next viewing.

“TV Horror” more notable for what it omits than what it covers

book cover - tv horrorLorna Jowett and Stacey Abbott's new book from I.B. Tauris, TV Horror: Investigating the Darker Side of the Small Screen, is an excellent, scholarly look at how the horror genre is portrayed on television. The authors look both to Stephen King's oft-quoted opinion that television limits the terror that can be portrayed, as well as examining the possibilities offered by the small screen. It's strange, though -- the book mentions the likes of the X-Files, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the Twilight Zone, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and even the likes of Twin Peaks. However, the greatest number of pages are devoted not to those particular shows, but to Doctor Who. While I understand Jowett and Abbott are coming to the topic from a British persepctive, it just seems strange to focus on a science-fiction show as your main example for a book on horror in television. One could assume that this the program with which the authors are most familiar, and thus, it's that which they choose to run with. And, yes, there are horrific elements involved in Doctor Who, but they're less of the creepy-crawly, blood-and-guts, or even the thrills-and-chills kind. It's more your bog-standard unpleasantness. Same goes for the likes of Dexter. Perhaps the authors are attempting to focus more on the "dark side" mentioned in the subtitle, but it seems that the focus of the book is more on the modern horror resurgence than the totality of the genre. twilight zoneBackground and historical perspective comes in the form of Quatermass and the Twilight Zone, and even the likes of Kolchak, but it seems that much of the '70s and '80s are glossed over in favor of moving to modern day. What of the schlock that characterized much of the late '80s and early '90s? Why not demonstrate how you move from the artistic and literary influence of the '60s to the cinematically-influenced modern age via the shows that really offered little of neither, like Freddy's Nightmares or Amazing Stories? Eventually, what defines the book isn't so much what's included as what's excluded. For a brand-new book, it already seems dated, for what book on television horror could exclude the recent phenomenon of American Horror Story? It's a shame -- I would've loved to have seen how that would have changed the dynamic of TV Horror, as the show frequently walks the line between the standard jump scares and gore of so much modern horror, and really reveling and relishing the way in which true horror comes from the casual cruelty perpetrated by one person upon another. While the analysis of what Jowett and Abbott choose to cover is excellent and spot-on, the omissions make TV Horror for a frustrating read for genre fans.

Clomid And Pregnancy

poster-zombies2Zombies 2 marks either my third or fourth Horror Remix Clomid And Pregnancy, . Given my propensity for swigging as many $2 Free State draws as my budget and liver allow, it always gets a little fuzzy. Honestly, I'm pretty well able to recall the first half of every Horror Remix, but the last fifteen minutes to half hour are usually cloaked by a beer haze. Yes, I have a problem. However, there's nothing better on a Tuesday night than cut, 750mg Clomid And Pregnancy, chopped, and otherwise improved-upon horror movies.

The first film in this month's Horror Remix is The Video Dead, Clomid And Pregnancy. It is poorly acted, with a plot that seems to focus on a cursed television set that brings forth zombies upon the world. Some of the humor involves jokes that deal with a dog trying fuck skunks. This is the caliber of film with which we're dealing.

It's pretty much as fantastic as it sounds. Clomid And Pregnancy, All of the effort in this flick went into the special effects, which involve some truly stellar makeup ... to a point. Clomid And Pregnancy coupon, See, there are a couple zombies that look amazing - the main zombie, who has bone showing through the rotting flesh of his skull, with everything looking like it's fresh from the grave is perhaps the best looking zombie I've seen outside of The Walking Dead. There's also dessicated mummy-like corpse brides that make me shudder to recall.

Then, there's a couple that look like the director watched a rough cut, realized the zombie count was pretty low for a film with "dead" in the title, and smeared toothpaste on a PA and told him to shamble. Still, bad as toothpaste zombie's makeup might be, it distracts from the terrible music, which sounds like outtakes from the vaults of '80s no-hits, Clomid And Pregnancy.

The plot makes absolutely no sense, Clomid And Pregnancy japan, and I've not the ability nor the desire to try to explain how the zombies appear or how they're dispatched. Needless to say, it's violent, gory, and might give you nightmares. Ignore the lack of logic, and you'll be fine. Is The Video Dead good. Clomid And Pregnancy, No. 100mg Clomid And Pregnancy, But it's fun enough that I'd easily and eagerly watch it uncut. Why. A zombie with a motherfucking chainsaw, that's why.

I only managed to make it through this month's Horror Remix for about an hour, before lack of sleep, beer intake, and the need to be at work five hours later sent me home to bed. You can still catch it, however - showdates and locations are at the Horror Remix site, 40mg Clomid And Pregnancy.

Also, check out my interview with series creator EJ Antilla.

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