Friday, March 30, 2012

Countess Dracula 1971

Sorry it has been a while.  I have been going through the seven stages of grief over the end of The Walking Dead.  I have exited the "Depression" stage and now and entering the "Acceptance and Hope" stage.  The fact that Game of Thrones begins Sunday is helping a lot with my grief.  Also helping me is the beautiful Ingrid Pitt, my number one girl crush and star of Hammer's 1971 film Countess Dracula.

Inspired by the legendary Elizabeth Bathory (the original "Woman behaving Badly") Countess Dracula tells the story of Elisabeth Nadasdy, a 17th century Hungarian Noblewoman who has recently lost her husband.  And her looks. 

That is of little importance as she has been carrying on an affair with her Stewart Captain Dobi.

My God isn't he creepy!?!  Dobi (played by Nigel Green) is Elisabeth's lackey, and will do anything for a sweet, sweet piece of old Ingrid Pitt.  Everything is going well until Elisabeth gets a load of Lt. Imre Toth, a hot young soldier who was the son of her husband's best friend.  From this point on Lt. Toth, played by Sandor Eles, is my movie boyfriend.  He is tall and strange looking and has a weird nose, all traits I find very attractive.

So it bugged me because Sandor Eles looks so familiar.  IMDB was not a help.  I think he looks like a mix of Paul Rudd, Trend Reznor, Owen Wilson, and the dude from Gladiator with a scar on his face.  Anyway, he is young and horny and flirts with the old Elisabeth.  When Elisabeth "accidentally" cuts one of her female servants (she's kind of a bitch) she realizes that the young girls blood can make her look young again.

She kills the young girl and quickly seduces young Toth, who believes her to be Elisabeth's daughter, Ilona.  Ilona has been away at convent school or some other such shit for years, so the whole town believes that the new young Elisabeth is Ilona.  The messed up thing is that Elisabeth arraigned to have the real Ilona kidnapped so as not to expose her.  The real Ilona is played by Lesley-Anne Down, my new second girl crush.

So she looks like a mix of Patsy Kinset and Alicia Silverstone.  I had to IMBD her as well just to make sure she wasn't Patsy's mother.  Lesley-Anne Down starred in American soap operas for years which makes sense, because Countess Dracula is like one long soap opera. 

Elisabeth soon discovers that if she does not keep killing virgins and "loofa-ing" in their blood she will turn old again, and young Toth will not be interested.  She enlists the help of Dobi, and eventually Toth learns her horrible, horrible secret (it sucks when you walk in on your lover bathing in virgin blood.)  Elisabeth blackmails Toth into marrying her (soap opera!) but the luckily the real Ilona arrives in time to throw a wrench into the whole wicked plan.  Here is what is really messed up: Elisabeth tries to kill Ilona!!! What a bitch.

Countess Dracula has everything you could want in a Hammer film: blood, boobs, castles, and Ingrid Pitt.  Actually, the boobage is kept to a minimum, which is surprising given the subject matter.  I liked this film because I had a crush on everyone in it (except for Dobi) and it was based on historical "fact."  Yes, I am cracking up at that as well.  Ingrid Pitt is so charismatic I could watch her shill for toilet paper and be pretty happy.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trailer: Prometheus

This trailer makes me geek out so bad!  Everything about this looks awesome.

Trailer: Chernobyl Diaries

They deserve it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Walking Dead Season 2

Holy Shit!  That was an amazing season of The Walking Dead.  As I said each episode just got better and better and I am hard pressed to think of a more intense/stressful/horrific show that ever appeared on television (with Zombies.)  I now present my top Twelve moments of Season 2!

12:  The Merle Fever Dream

I love Daryl Dixon, but Merle scares the shit out me!  What an amazing performance by Michael Rooker: only appeared in two episodes last season but he is a fan favorite.  I have a feeling we will see him again..

11: Rick grows a pair.

"This is not a democracy."  A-Bout Time!  Rick does everything for everyone, and he is constantly getting shit on.  We are beginning to see the start of crazy Rick.

10:  Lady Macbeth

Lori made a play and the wrong man came back.  This is the end of Rick and Lori, and I don't know how much longer she can survive with no one fighting for her.

9:  Andrea goes bad ass and then gets some from Shane

Gawd she was bugging me at the start of the season (I did like her RV Zombie kill however.)  Now Andrea has found her purpose: being a bad ass. 

8:  Showdown at the Bar

This is actually one of my favorite Rick moments of the season.  This showdown was old fashioned and very intense.  I did not think Rick would do it but we have seen him turn a corner. 

7:  Well Zombie

Had me screaming at the TV: Holy Shit!!!  Amazing makeup effects!  Greg Nicotero and his team are geniuses!

6: First Horde: The Highway

I love a Zombie horde and season 2 gave us two big ones.  I liked the Highway Horde in the first episode.  Zombies are still really scary in the daylight.

5:  The Prison

Season 3 is going to be awesome!

4:  Shane's last stand

Not surprising at all but so well done and well acted.  I was crying and I hate Shane!!  My only question is: how the hell did Carl become such a good shot?

3:  Goodbye Dale

Totally surprising and unexpected.  Can a good, moral man survive in this world? 

2:  Sophia

Again, totally unexpected.  A perfect mid-season finale.  Showed what kind of man Rick was.  I was bawling!!!

1:  Michonne

Again: Season three is going to be awesome.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

"The Future of Fear" and other thoughts

Last night, after The Walking Dead, I obviously couldn't sleep (more on that in a minute) so I watched something I had DVR'd, The Future of Fear, which originally aired on "Chiller" last November.

I am kind of late to "Chiller".  I was thrilled when we got it, but when I saw that it was mainly Buffy reruns and shows that were canceled after one season I checked out. (I love Buffy, don't get me wrong, but I was expecting a little something more from a channel devoted to horror).   The Future of Fear is a talking heads documentary that gathers some of the most esteemed horror filmmakers and writers to talk about where the horror genre might be headed.

I love listening to people who love horror talk about horror, and the Future of Fear delivers. We get commentary by the likes of Carpenter, Romero, Landis, Anne Rice, and my new horror crush Tom Holland. My only complaint is that for a show called the Future of Fear we don't have that many contemporary, up and coming filmmakers or writers throwing in their two cents. James Wan and Leigh Wannell are interviewed (James Wan is so hyper I can't imagine what it must be like to be on set with him) as is Oren Peli. My favorite sound bites come from Jovanka Vuckovic, former head of Rue Morgue magazine. It's great to see her sharing her opinions on the horror genre.

So in what direction do these experts think the horror genre is headed?  The big conclusion is "we have no idea."   The one thing they can agree on is that women will take a bigger role in horror, both as writers and directors.  Let's hope.

As I said earlier, I couldn't sleep because of The Walking Dead.  I don't talk about that show much here, but I love it.  I think every episode this season has been better than the last and last week's unexpected death devastated me.  I was bawling.  Last night's episode, Better Angels, was equally amazing.  I am not going to spoil, but let's just say it was downright Shakespearean.

The last 20 minutes were so intense I could barely watch.  I think we all knew what was coming, but that didn't take away from the actual shock of it.  Everything this season has led up to this point, and those that complain that the show is too slow or too talky need to realize that last nights episode wouldn't have had the same impact if we had not gone on this journey with the characters.  And for those that just want some Zombie action, don't worry: they are coming!  The final shot is what kept me up all night.  The siege is coming! 

On a final note: I just want to declare my nerd love for John Carter.

People are bashing it but I found it old fashioned, exciting, and rather charming.  I am not a huge Sci-Fi fan, but I love pulp, I love Edgar Rice Burroughs, and I love the thought that kids reading the Barsoom series back in the day could look up at Mars and wonder if there really was life up there.  That sense of wonder is becoming a faint memory.  John Carter restores it a little.  It's long, but there are worse places to spend a few hours than on Mars.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge

Sorry it's been a while.  I have a touch of bloggers block. The cure for bloggers block, of course, is a really bad film.  Ladies and Gentleman, I present, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge.  Also known as the Gay one.  The obvious (to modern audiences) homosexual subtext in NOES2 is really the only thing that makes this entry interesting.  But it makes it VERY interesting, especially when you consider that this film was supposed to launch the franchise. 

Before we get started can I just talk about how bad that poster is?  I would say it belongs on "Photoshop Disasters" but it's not photoshopped.  Is the guy a hunchback? Why are they in the bathroom?  Why are his hands so big?  Where the hell is Freddy Kruger?  Lets look at a better poster....

Thank you!  That's more like it.  That original poster is a good indication of everything that is wrong with this film.  It's just "off."  Freddy has about 10 minutes of screen time.  He kills only men (until the end) and one of them is an adult.  He can somehow leave the dream world and kill in the real world.  And he really doesn't have that much of a sense of humor.  All the hallmarks of the series are missing in this first sequel.  Freddy's Revenge is like the Season of the Witch in the "Halloween" series: it just doesn't fit.  It's like the producers just didn't know what to do with the series and tried to take it in a whole new direction which didn't work.  Which is pretty much what happened.  You can learn more in the excellent documentary Never Sleep Again, about the entire Nightmare franchise.  Just be prepared: it's like 5 hours long, and you won't be able to stop watching.

I remember watching Freddy's Revenge as a kid at a slumber party.  We watched all the Nightmare films at slumber parties.  I was too young to pick up what was really going on in this film, but as an adult it is obvious.  Blazing even.

Mark Patton plays Jesse, a young kid whose family moves to Elm Street, taking over the Thompson house.  Immediately Jesse begins having horrible nightmares featuring one F.Kruger.  Kruger doesn't want to "kill" Jesse.  He wants to take him over and have him start killing.  Trying to save Jesse is Lisa (Kim Myers), the local rich girl who has the hots for him.  She is not going to get far because Jesse is deep, deep in the closet.  How do we know?  The producers give us plenty of helpful hints:
  1. The effeminate scream
  2. The effeminate gestures
  3. The dance sequence
  4. He frequents gay clubs while sleepwalking
  5. He keeps a board game called "probe" in his closet
  6. He flips the bird like a girl
  7. His first victim is the gay gym teacher
  8. whom he smacks to death with a wet towel
  9. He leaves Lisa (who is trying to seduce him) and breaks into his best friend's house, asking to stay the night.
  10. That jump at the end.
It actually is great fun looking for all the clues in this film.  It's the only thing that got me through it.  The writer has admitted that he added the homosexual subtext intentionally.  Most of the cast and crew claim that they were not aware of it!  Come on!  It's so obvious!  And it's fun.  Not only for a horror film, but any film from 1985.  Pretty bold as well.  Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge has been embraced by the gay community, as it should.  Check out the excellent CampBlood for more info. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

SNL: Psycho!

Check out the SNL cold open from the Lindsey Lohan episode!  I promise, Lindsey is not in this sketch!  But a very odd Shepard Smith is.  I like creepy things too!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My second favorite horror genre trailer: INBRED

Thanks to Freddy in Space for the heads up on what may be the greatest inbred cannibal film of 2012: Inbred!  Check the offical site HERE.

I guess we can't call them hillbillies if they are British. 

ZAM Book Review: The Spectre Bride

I may be pushing it to call this a book review since The Spectre Bride takes about 10 minutes to read.  I downloaded to my Kindle, although you can find it all over the net for free.  Also, check your ghost story anthologies: I bet it's in there.  Turns out I had two copies in my house!  Luckily, the $1.99 download is not going to bankrupt me!  I was turned on to The Spectre Bride by Noel Carroll in his book The Philosophy of Horror.  I can't get through The Philosophy of Horror because I keep stopping it to read his suggestions.  It was a lovely passage Carroll quoted about worms and corpses and brides that made me want to read The Spectre Bride.

 Poor girl, I am leading thee indeed to our nuptials; but the priest will be death, thy parents the mouldering skeletons that rot in heaps around; and the witnesses to our union, the lazy worms that revel on the carious bones of the dead. Come, my young bride, the priest is impatient for his victim.' As they proceeded, a dim blue light moved swiftly before them, and displayed at the extremity of the churchyard the portals of a vault. It was open, and they entered it in silence. The hollow wind came rushing through the gloomy abode of the dead; and on every side were piled the mouldering remnants of coffins, which dropped piece by piece upon the damp mud. Every step they took was on a dead body; and the bleached bones rattled horribly beneath their feet. In the centre of the vault rose a heap of unburied skeletons, whereon was seated, a figure too awful even for the darkest imagination to conceive. As they approached it, the hollow vault rung with a hellish peal of laughter; and every mouldering corpse seemed endued with unholy life. The stranger paused, and as he grasped his victim in his hand, one sigh burst from his heart - one tear glistened in his eye. It was but for an instant; the figure frowned awfully at his vacillation, and waved his gaunt hand.

William Harrison Ainsworth (1805-1882) was a writer (and friend of Dickens) who dabbled in the Gothic.  The Spectre Bride was written when he was 19 (there is a question of authorship, but most seem to agree that Ainsworth is responsible.)  It is a classic Gothic ghost story that features "The Wandering Jew", grisly catacombs, rotting corpses, the Devil, and a ruined girl.  If it sounds a bit like The Monk by Matthew Lewis you are right on the money.  The Monk is my favorite Gothic novel.  It is a cornucopia of Gothic-y goodness. 

You can read The Spectre Bride and other great short horror stories at my new favorite website:

 The Road to Great Cthulhu has the complete text of H.P. Lovecraft's Supernatural Horror in Literature.  Not only that, but it also has links and complete texts to every author and story referenced by Lovecraft.  This is why I haven't been watching any films lately!