Thursday, February 24, 2011

Danny Boyle's Frankenstein

If you can't make it to London you can still see Danny Boyle's Frankenstein at a theatre near you!!  Looks awesome!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Venus in Furs

Venus in Furs may be my new favorite eurotrash/erotic/jazz-horror film.  What is a EEJ-H?  Watch just about anything by Jess Franco and you will find out.  I have not seen many Jess Franco films, but the ones I have seen I love.  They are hip man, groovy.  They have a smokin' vibe, real smooth.  Watching his films is kind of like listening to Les Baxter: really cool although you can't quite explain why.

 Venus in Furs, best I can tell, is about a Jazz musician named Jimmy, who plays a mean horn and looks like he may one day star on T.J. Hooker.  The film begins in Istanbul, home of many great Jazz artists.  Jimmy has buried his horn on the beach-- he doesn't know why.  Luckily he remembers where he buried it and soon he is playing some sweet music.  Unfortunately, a dead woman washing up on the beach interrupts his session.  He knows her, but how?  Right, he saw her raped and killed the night before by Klaus Kinski.  Yes, this is that type of film.

Jimmy moves to Rio and hooks up with the incredibly hot Barbara McNair, who plays Rita, a Jazz singer.  When Jimmy is not having sex with Rita, he wanders around Carnival, which seems to happen every day.  One day he spots Wanda, the woman who washed up on the beach.  Is she a ghost?  Well, Jimmy soon beds her so she must not be a ghost, but what is her deal?  And why do the people involved in her rape (who all also happen to be in Rio except for Klaus) keep getting killed?  And why in one scene is her hair short and in another it is long, then short again? 

Venus is Furs is the type of film Christopher Nolan would have made had he been working in the Sixties and doing lots and lots of LSD.  It is a total mind-trip and you think it is making sense and then you realize it really doesn't.  The film is really about one man's obsession with a woman he couldn't have.  I think.  It is also a bit like The Sixth Sense.  I don't want to spoil it for you, but the ending is exactly the same.  Its like a film M.Night Shyamalan would have made if he was making films in the Sixties, doing lots and lots of LSD, and was talented.

Long live Jazz Horror!  Enjoy the theme song. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Night of the Demons (total crap version)

I only recently saw the original Night of the Demons and although it is no masterpiece, it had its charms, especially Linnea Quigley and the awesome 80's fashions.  Will some dorky horror blogger 20 years from now look back at the remake and go " Night of the Demons 2009 has its charms, especially Shannon Elizabeth and the awesome 09 fashions"?  Doubtful.  They might say "What the hell happened to the cute kid from Terminator 2"?  That is more likely.  Really, what happened to Edward Furlong?  He is a walking billboard for "Just say No" if I ever saw one.  During this whole film I couldn't stop looking at his softly rounded shoulders and man-tits. 

Directed by Adam Giarasch, Night of the Demons follows the original film very closely.  The only change is really an improvement: some added back story about the orgin of the demons and the events that cursed the house.  Shannon Elizabeth plays a party promoter who is throwing a Halloween party at a haunted mansion.  About 20 people show up (about all the extras this production could afford) and the party is soon shut down by the police, mostly likely because it is totally lame.  Elizabeth (not going to bother to look up the character name) and a bunch of her friends, including bloated drug dealer Colin (Edward Furlong duh) get trapped in the house.  They soon discover 6 corpses in the basement.  One of them "bites" Elizabeth and soon everything is going to shit.

At one point I actually paused this film and saw that I had 30 minutes left of it and I thought "Shit, I am really wasting my life."  Yes, it was that bad.  The whole thing kind of looks like a Rob Zombie video populated by 40 year olds pretending to be in their early 20s.  The director was obviously enamoured of the SAW films, as he uses the same kind of jump cut/slow mo/cheap scare method of storytelling.  Unlike the SAW films, Night of the Demons is not hysterical.  Watch the original.  Not that it is any good, but Linnea Quigley really knows what to do with a tube of lipstick.  The people involved with this remake do not.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Old Nurse's Story (1852): Short Story review

 Call this my "accidental" Women In Horror month contribution.  I really would have loved to participate, but I am too lazy and disorganized.  Plus, all my free time lately has been taken up with my new Blu-ray play and the magical gift that is "Netflix Instant Streaming."  All I really have time for is short stories.  Thank goodness I came across "Victorian Ghost Stories" edited by Michael Cox (hehe) and R.A. Gilbert.  I think I am moving into a ghost phase.  Zombies are just becoming too mainstream.  (Just kidding.  Zombies are and will always be my first horror love.)  The first story in this anthology (and one of the shortest) is "The Old Nurse's Story" by Elizabeth Gaskell.  Gaskell was quite the accomplished writer.  If you love PBS and Dame Judi Dench you are probably familiar with "Cranford", which Mrs. Gaskell wrote.  This Victorian ghost story was written in 1852 and has everything you could ever want in a ghostly tale: old crumbling mansion, orphans, storms, closed off sections of the house, two mysterious old women, odd, nervous servants, an absent Master, creepy organ music, ghost children, family secrets, murder, betrayal, and guilt.  I know, it sounds like a really awesome Mexican Telenovela. 

Besides being pretty good looking and really damn talented, Mrs Gaskell was a FOD (Friend of Dickens.)  He actually wanted her to change the end of this story, but she stuck to her guns and it was published as she intended.  It has a very interested ending, where living people see the "ghosts" of their younger selves, and are forced to relieve their most awful deeds.  In some ways it reminds me of the film The Others, in that it is not only the ghosts that haunt the house, but also the memory of the awful deeds that were committed within. 

This nice little anthology has quite a few ghost stories written by women and I am looking forward to being kept up all night.  If you would like to read "The Old Nurse's Story" you can check it out here:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Vampire Lovers

I have seen perfection and it is Ingrid Pitt.  Really, how awesome is she?  I have seen a few films with her in it, such as The Wicker Man and I am sure something else, but after seeing The Vampire Lovers I am 100% totally in love with her.  She IS this movie.

So any horror nerd worth their salt has seen The Vampire Lovers.  I am only a horror nerd apprentice.  I have never claimed to be anything more.  I can't speak with authority on shit, and I don't claim to.  Seeing The Vampire Lovers was like a horror nerd revelation to me.  Now, it may just be the 3 glasses of wine after a shitty day of work talking, but this was almost life changing.  OK, that was definitely the 3 glasses of wine talking.

So this amazing Hammer production from 1970 is based on J. Sheridan Le Fanu's short story "Carmilla."  Written years before "Dracula," this was not only an early vampire story, but one of the first "lesbian" themed stories that would become so popular.  The film actually follows the story pretty well.  Pitt plays Marcilla/Carmilla, a mysterious woman who is always getting pushed upon wealthy families by her mother.  See, Mom always has an emergency to get to, and wouldn't it be nice if this very wealthy family takes this hot young piece in for a few weeks.  They always agree. 

Carmilla has a thing for the young women in the family and a thing for blood, which pisses off certain people like Peter Cushing's General.  The Vampire Lovers has anything you could ever want in a Hammer film: crumbling castles, Peter Cushing, hot chicks, boobs, blood, characters that appear and then disappear and you can't figure out what they were there for, and amazing cinematography and music.  Really, this is as close to a perfect film as you can get.  I heart Ingrid Pitt, I really do.  I am closer to becoming the horror nerd I was always meant to be.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Happy Belated George!!!

Happy Belated Birthday George Romero (2/4)!  Thank you for being awesome.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Beyond

 “My idea was to make an absolute film, with all the horrors of the world. It’s a plotless film, there’s no logic to it, just a succession of images.”- Lucio Fulci

Well, congratulations Fulci, you succeeded!

The film in question is The Beyond by Lucio Fulci, the second in his "Gates of Hell" trilogy.  I finished it last night and I have to say at first I hated it.  Really, my first reaction was "fuck this movie, fuck Fulci, I am done."  But now that I have had a chance to sleep on it I have to change my original opinion.  Plus, I have the third and final film in the trilogy, The House by the Cemetery at home now so I just can't give up. 

The Beyond is basically a film without a plot, without logic, without any sense of purpose except to unnerve the viewer.  It begins in Louisiana in 1927 at the "Seven Doors Hotel."  An angry mob storms the hotel and kills an artist, I guess because his work was really awful.  They don't just "kill" him, they melt him but not before nailing him to the bathroom wall and whipping the shit out of him.  This somehow opens one of the "seven gates of hell" that happens to be in the basement.  Oh, there is also a hot blond and a book called "Eibon" which is like the Necronomicon except 100% less awesome.

Jump to the 80s (alright!) and we meet Liza (Catriona Macnoll) who has just inherited an old hotel in Louisiana.  Yeah, you guessed it: the Seven Doors Hotel.  It needs a lot of work and there still is that pesky "doorway to hell" problem to deal with in the basement.  Now to try to continue to describe the plot would be impossible, since I am not quite sure myself what I saw.  I will now resort to my new favorite, lazy writing crutch: the numbered list.

What happens in The Beyond the best I can tell.
  1. The hotel is haunted
  2. The two people who "came" with the place may be ghosts
  3. or they are just weird
  4. Joe the plumber gets his eyeball popped out
  5. This does not seem to concern the cops or the town Doctor
  6. The town Doctor is a stud
  7. The hot blond from 1927 is back and now she is blind!
  8. The hot blond must be a ghost
  9. A blind ghost?
  10. Blind ghosts have their own seeing-eye dogs.
  11. Is the seeing eye dog a ghost?
  12. Some horrible stuff happens in room 36
  13. The stud Doctor does not believe Liza
  14. but decides to help her anyway
  15. A redhead girl (who I think was Joe the Plumber's daughter) watches her mother get killed and then turns into a tiny blind demon.
  16. The hot blond blind ghost gets killed.
  17. by her dog.
  18. Another guy gets killed by tarantulas
  19. Enough tarantulas can tear a grown man's face apart
  20. What tarantulas have to do will the gates of hell I will never know.
  21. Hey, it's that Necronomicon rip-off "Eibon"!
  22. The Doctor and Liza are in the empty hospital
  23. empty except for Zombies!!
  24. who were all deranged white mental patients
  25. except for the redhead girl who gets shot in the head by the Doctor
  26. The doctor really can't figure out you have to shoot the zombies in the head to kill them?
  27. Seriously, he like shoots 10 zombies in the stomach: no effect.  One in the head: dead.
  28. Yet he continues to shoot them in the stomach.
  29. Where did this man go to medical school?
  30. All of a sudden Liza and the Doc are back in the hotel basement.
  31. They look confused as well.
  32. Then they are in Hell, which looks just like the painting that artist from 1927 was painting when he was killed.
  33. They look confused as well.
  34. End film.

The scene in hell is one of the best in the film, and one of the few were there is no eye trauma.  No, wait, they both turn blind.  Eye trauma.  Thanks to for the Fulci quote.  I can't really recommend this film to anyone except Fulci fans.  They say this is his "masterpiece."  I say it is very interesting: just don't expect it to make any sense.