Friday, December 28, 2012

Maniac remake.

Have you seen this? (skip to around 40sec in to avoid the billion boner-killing studio logos).

I am having so many feelings about it. All of them good. The MUSIC, the END to that clip. Elijah Wood doing yet another good job at creepy and fucked up. Hubba hubba, I want to see!!!

(Out March 2013 in the UK).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Zoltan... Hound of Dracula (1978).

With almost as many canine cast members as human, this is a rare thing: a horror film where it seems as though the pooches have a fighting chance... nay, emerge victorious!

*punches air in freeze frame*

Bitchin' title screen!

 Bitchin' poster, tagline and alternate title! (from here)

Okay, Zoltan, Hound of Dracula, I'm listening. 

Well of course it made sense I should watch this. I'd have to be sillier than a box of puppies not to give it a whirl!

Bringing to mind Food of the Gods (thankfully minus the [at least overt] animal cruelty) and countless others, Zoltan is that special kind of 70s "so bad it's good" horror flick. It's one to get the beers and popcorn in for, get some friends round and repeatedly splutter together, at the straight-faced silliness of it all.

So let me introduce you to Zoltan. He's a hellhound Doberman with an intense stare and a pursed lipped, wrinkly-faced master.

 Why are you laughing? This is deadly serious!

The plot is simple: hound and half-vampire companion get resurrected and travel to the States to find Count Dracula's ancestor. The guy in question - who is a bit of an annoying dick, actually - is on holiday with his wife, children, family dogs and... a box of puppies.

Puppies! Puppies. How happy was I?!

I think the best way to approach Zoltan is to discuss what we can learn from it. There are an awful lot of lessons here. Very important lessons. Are we ready? Then I shall begin.

When standing guard over a crypt marked with the family name "Dracula", feel free to remove the stake from any of the inhabitants. It's fiiine, go for it.

Make your mouth look like a bum hole when addressing your hellhound.

Putting big fake teeth on a Doberman will suffice in conveying its hellhoundness.

When in the middle of nowhere, let your children, dogs and puppies sleep outside the RV, whilst you cosy up inside.

Puppies can get bitten too :(


My absolute favourite. Take a shot of a dog yawn and with the help of fake blood and canny dubbing, viola! It's a terrifying howl!

Two dogs can tear the shit out of a little wooden hut in a matter of minutes.

The best type of barricade is one comprised of a blanket jammed into an open window. That'll keep the evil out!

Don't be afraid to get a little Cujo with proceedings.

A severed owl head = bad omen. Obviously.

Zombie puppy!

Wait, what?!

Okay I may have completely lost the already skittish thread by the end, there.

What isn't pictured:
  • Hurling a dog at someone from off screen is the same as the dog leaping of its own accord (couldn't cap this as it was too blurry/I was laughing too much). 
  • All of the dogs in the film will have the same two dubbed barks; hey, why not bung some elephant and chimp sounds into the mix, too?
So then, file this one under "chortles rather than screams" - but there's nothing wrong with that! The beauty of this genre we all love so much is that it happily encompasses both. 

Right, I'm off to throw some dogs...

Friday, April 13, 2012

I'm drawing a line in the fucking sand here.

It's Friday the 13th today! I saw a horror movie at the cinema!

Simple things, etc etc.

So! While a review (the sort where I don't want to tell you anything if I can help it, because it's so much better going in blind) or... at least something with a bit of meat to it tries to take shape in my brain, I just wanted to check in with you guys and say that I saw The Cabin In The Woods tonight and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Friday, April 06, 2012

And the latest WTF award goes to...

This sounds interesting enough to warrant a look:
Twenty-six directors. Twenty-six ways to die. The ABC’s of Death is perhaps the most ambitious anthology film ever conceived with productions spanning fifteen countries and featuring segments directed by over two dozen of the world's leading talents in contemporary genre film. Inspired by children’s educational books, the motion picture is comprised of twenty-six individual chapters, each helmed by a different director assigned a letter of the alphabet. The directors were then given free reign in choosing a word to create a story involving death.
The poster? I...

I am assuming it's meant to be weird and wrong and mad... to my eyes it's just coming off as funny.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

P2 (2007).

You know what I wish? I wish P2 was as awesome as its poster suggests.

That wonderful, gritty, hard-boiled eighties-ness. There's absolutely none of that in the film itself.

With an opening sequence jump-scare which genuinely got me, being set in one location (a within-the-genre favourite thing) and a nice colour motif running through the movie, this certainly seemed like it should be a winner...?

Despite all this, there wasn't much of a kick to be gotten from P2. It suffers from poor characterisation and pacing and to be honest I lost count of the number of times I checked how much was left of the run time. Never a good sign!

Angela (Rachel Nichols) is a hard-working businesswoman. Before embarking on her drive home for the holidays, she stays late at the office and when she's finally done, finds her car won't start. Odd but seemingly harmless (wuh-oh) parking attendant Thomas (Wes Bentley, elevating himself from "creepy guy in American Beauty" to "creepy annoying guy in P2") tries to help. 

What Thomas does not offer.

She accepts but then decides to cut her losses and get a cab. Only, when the cab arrives and she tries to exit the building, she finds all the doors locked and the rest of security nowhere to be found. The cab drives off as she looks on helplessly. The lights go out and she's left to wander nervously through the garage. Suddenly Thomas appears behind, grabs and sedates her.

She wakes up to find herself chained to a chair in his office, sat at a Christmas dinner table and wearing a low cut, flimsy satin dress.

What follows... well, you can guess. A game of cat and mouse as Angela escapes and gets re-captured by Thomas, who becomes increasingly more batshit as the film rolls on.

One of my main problems with this film is Thomas, actually. He's not a good villain; he's derivative, manages to somehow be both hysterical and bland, and to add insult to injury he's portrayed as an Elvis fan!

As a huge fan of both the king and horror, I'd be okay with this if he were a decent psycho... but he's not. The scene where he watches Angela on the CCTV monitors whilst lip-synching to 'Blue Christmas' was cringeworthy where it should have been creepy - or at least funny. Just, no.

For a film with only really two characters in it, one has to wonder how they both ended up so depthless. As entertaining as it may be watching the transformation from prim office worker to this:

...we just don't spend enough time with Angela to get very attached. We're shown nothing of consequence to connect with or particularly like about her. It's hard to get too involved with the torment when you feel ambivalent toward the tormented, y'know? If she were a complete bitch at least we could find it in ourselves (some of us) to cheer for her fear. As it stands, however, it's all a bit "...Meh." As the finish line of the 98mins was in sight, I just wanted it over with and didn't care who had to die to make it happen - though I wish that poor rottweiler hadn't met such a gruesome end :'(

Still, there are a couple of moments of nice gore.

See how the red of the blood really "pops" out of the image, there? It does that throughout the entire film. A basic technique I am a sucker for.


So it's not an exploitation picture as the promo artwork promises. Instead, the pendulum swings the other way, toward style over substance.

I wouldn't go so far as to say the look of P2 saves it from mediocrity completely, but it certainly sugars this Christmas cookie a little bit.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pieces / Mil gritos tiene la noche (1982).

I've just traded up my LOVEFiLM subscription so that I have unlimited streaming, rather than disc rentals. It's only until I wrote that sentence just now that I feel a little sad about it! I am giving up properly renting films, probably for good. It's another step into "the future" but also another reason to be nostalgic.

Pieces is the film that may very well be my last ever disc-in-the-post rented movie, then. A good one to go out on!

Um, hello awesome poster art, too...?!

From here.

The tagline "It's Exactly What You Think It Is!" pretty much sums this film up, although don't make my mistake and presume this to be a bad or un-entertaining thing.

I put this DVD on for the simple reason that my unlimited streaming isn't activated until LOVEFiLM get their outstanding disc back. I wanted to watch this so that I could return it. Effectively, I put Pieces on because I wanted it out of the way.

Well ladies and germs, my face is red, because this film is pretty damn good.

From the get go we have that wonderful sense of slight disconnection, due to the film being dubbed from its original Spanish. That, and the seedy 80s look of the thing bring Fulci to mind, which can only be a good thing.

The plot, in all of its uncomplicated glory: a young boy murders his violent overbearing mother, back in 1942. (Did they have plastic bags in 1942? There's a moment in this sequence when she screams for him to fetch her one so she can bag up his things to burn them. Hmm) In any case, the kid's having none of it and chops her into bits - or pieces, if you will - with an axe.

It might have been this moment, this face, which made me realise I was gonna love this movie.

And this one which clarified the fact.

Many years later the little boy is all grown up and he's been serial killer/stalker wardrobe shopping. Black gloves, brimmed hat, long black coat... the works. He prowls around a Boston college campus breathing heavily, killing women - now using a chainsaw - and collecting body parts in order to assemble a gruesome human puzzle, harking back to the moment he offed his mum.

She flipped out when she caught him putting this together.

With each real "piece" he collects, he builds this puzzle along with it. We follow the many murders as the police, aided by male student Kendall (Ian Sera) try and mostly fail to work out what the bloody hell is going on. Bizarrely, the university seems pretty happy to continue to stay open and fully functioning, even as the body count rises. I love you, horror movie logic.

There's even time for some dancing.

But mostly there's a lot of this.

As the above shows, the first thing to love about this film is the gore.

The internet informs me that a pig carcass was used for this one.

Keeping to the Pieces keyword of "simple", the butchery is just that. The quick, bloody and solid practical effects do the job in each and every appearance. Shots of dismemberment tend to be fast, giving them more impact and the viewer less time to nitpick. Not that there's much to complain about for the most part. I mean, look:


This film is so capable in its gruesomeness though, that even the "mistakes" (such as the disembodied head pictured earlier obviously moving during its short screen-time) come across as endearing.

Another excellent facet of the Pieces personality is how gratuitously it sets up characters as potentially being the killer. Two favourite instances of this are...

Willard the sweaty, squinty-eyed groundskeeper lovingly polishing his chainsaw. It couldn't be... could it?!

This one made me laugh out loud. So unnaturally posed, it's brilliant.

A tableau of suspects! These people weren't even standing near one another a moment ago in this scene, now they're suddenly all crammed into shot like this!

The adorable heavy-handedness continues with the clumsily inserted inclusion of a Bruce Lee kung-fu type for no reason other than he was starring in the director's other film at the time (see the first trivia point here) and an early mention of something which was later to become a murder scene. Why was this heavy handed, you ask? Because it's a water bed. A water bed in a college gymnasium. Hush with your protestations though, because the kill is worth it.

The audience aren't told of the killer's identity until just before the final showdown. Being as I am someone who doesn't generally try to work out things like this and who suspends their disbelief to a ridiculous degree, I hadn't guessed it (I never do, it's great).

For what on first glance appears to be nothing more than a scuzzy Spanish slasher flick, there are some rather wonderfully composed shots in here.

Climax of the water bed scene. Love this.

Thankfully it also manages to be something of a scuzzy Spanish slasher flick...! So many tits!

A shot of a girl peeing herself in fear!

Furthermore, I was delighted surprised to notice an appearance of a cock, too. No I didn't screencap that. Tempted, but no. The character of Kendall, doing remarkably well for someone whose fuck buddy was drowned and dissected only days ago, is seen in bed with an insatiable brunette before jumping out and yes, introducing us to Little Kendall. Ahh the 80s; ahh the European casual attitude to nudity.

Hitting the spot right up until the end credits, we have the eventual discovery of the human jigsaw by way of... a comedy lean onto a revolving bookcase.

The composite corpse promptly flops forward onto our campus stud.


One final treat, one final scare: in a moment of vulnerability, Little Kendall is mauled by the pieced-together corpse!

Maybe that was the purpose of showing us the healthy, apparently very well performing penis earlier on? We became attached to it and then its demise is all the more tragic! RIP little guy.

And no, there is no explanation as to why the franken-lady is able to come alive that way, but it doesn't matter. It makes for a brilliant ending! Freeze-frame, screaming continues and then fades out with an electronic echo. Fantabulous.

Speaking of screaming, have a bonus screencap which will only amuse those who have seen the film...

"You baaaaaaastaaaaaard...!!!"