Movie Review: House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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When it comes to 21st century horror directors, very few have been as polarizing as Rob Zombie up until now.  The general consensus with his films tends to be a love them or loathe them affair; those who enjoy his work do so for the same reason his critics hate it, and vice versa.  But when a new Rob Zombie movie is announced, people pay attention and that’s all that matters.

I remember when ”House of 1000 Corpses” was first announced; it was anticipated with a mixture of hype and dread.  Rob Zombie’s music always had a cinematic quality and his love for all things horror and exploitation has been evident in his songs and music videos his entire career.  Like me, many believed this would translate well to film.  Others were more skeptical.  Regardless of preconceived notions, the hype surrounding ”Corpses” was huge.  However, for awhile it was looking like it would never see the light of day: Universal, who owned the rights initially, had absolutely no desire to release it due to its content being too ”immoral for their studio” and it lay collecting dust for over a year until Lionsgate picked it up. When it was released eventually, it was a critical failure, but a modest commercial success and has since gone on to develop a strong cult following throughout the years.  But it did set the tone for Zombie’s divisive career in film, which remains split down the middle to this day.

”House of 1000 Corpses” is a strange movie.  If there was an episode of ”Scooby Doo” where the gang stumbled into ”The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and got brutally murdered then it would look something like this. It’s as camp and cartoonish as it is violent and deranged; another way to imagine it is as a retread of Tobe Hooper’s seminal classic – if it were directed by Oliver Stone.  When I first saw ”Corpses”, I had no idea what to make of it.  I wasn’t sure whether I loved it or despised it with every fiber of my being.  However, it possessed a strange allure which always made me revisit it – and I now consider it to be a heavily flawed masterpiece.

The story takes place on Halloween night, 1977, where a group of teenagers who are travelling cross country stumble upon a roadside freak show attraction run by a clown who goes by the name of Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig).  It’s here they learn about a local legend who goes by the name of Doctor Satan, a mad scientist who conducted horrific experiments on mental patients nearby and, according to legend, still lives.  Naturally, the foolish idiots demand to know where and Spaulding draws them a map to Dr. Satan’s supposed location.  On the way, they pick up Baby Firefly (Sherri Moon Zombie), a hitchhiker on her way home who just so happens to live close-by to where they’re headed.  When their car breaks down, she invites them into her home for Halloween festivities with her estranged cannibal family; this includes a living room pantomime with a musical number.  Long story short: torture and terror ensues.

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With this being Zombie’s first film, he just threw all of his movies into a melting pot and this was the results.  A 70’s grindhouse movie throwback, with a ”Texas Chainsaw Massacre” template mixed with the surreal carnivalesque nature of Todd Browning’s ”Freaks”, sprinkled with Marx Brothers and baked in surreal fluorescent imagery.  Yet, despite his obvious odes and nods, this is a film only Rob Zombie could make and would set the benchmark for a style he’d go on to hone to and make grittier with his following efforts.  Zombie has always favored his villains and he makes his films mean spirited, nasty and uncompromising; ”Corpses” laid the foundations and offers insight into what was to follow.

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The protagonists in ”House of 1000 Corpses” are overshadowed by the murderous and quirky Firefly Family.  Otis (Bill Moseley), Baby (Sherri Moon) and Mother Firefly (Karen Black) are the stars of the show, but fellow family members include the rude and crude Grampa Hugo (Dennis Fimple), the human giant Tiny (Matthew McGrory) and the imposing Rufus (Robert Allen Mukes).  This is a film that not only presents its villains as strong, well written characters – it celebrates them.  They’re the main attraction and Zombie dares us to root for them as they torment, torture and slaughter innocent victims, who are portrayed as arrogant douches.  But did they deserve to die?  Absolutely not.  Was I happy when they did?  Well, I enjoyed watching it happen.

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”House of 1000 Corpses” is an experiment of a new director finding his style and voice, while celebrating the movies that inspired him.  It might not be entirely original, but at the same time there really isn’t else like it either. Rob would follow this up with a much better sequel I consider a flawless classic, but ”Corpses” is a viciously camp masterpiece in its own right; albeit for those of an acquired taste.  9/10

Director: Rob Zombie

Writer: Rob Zombie

Starring: Sid Haig, Sherri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, Rainn Wilson

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Running Time: 90 min

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Movie Review: Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead (1997)

Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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”Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead”, also titled ”The Fallen Angel” was the first fallen angel, according to legend in Olaf Ittenbach’s cult classic. Long before Lucifer had his little hissy fit, Premutos was rebelling against Gods decree because he wanted to rule the world with his army of the dead.  Throughout the ages, the son of Premutos has been reincarnated in different forms and through the dreams of a young man, we see the demon throughout different times in history slaughtering humanity.  When the young man finds a mysterious book, it turns him into the monster he was always destined to be and the son of Premutos is reborn once again.

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”Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead” is a film with lots to admire, appreciate and enjoy.  For a start, it’s excessively violent and gory, with a body count that’s well past 100 – all of whom die in fun, graphic ways.  The special effects are cheap and charming and the aforementioned gore is top notch.  Furthermore, the plot, in all of its simplicity, is interesting – especially when it bounces between different eras of history, which includes World War II and the middle ages.  There is a lot going on which will keep you entertained for the most part, but the filler in between is tedious.

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Splatter movies are at their best when they’re wacky, but so much of the humor in ”Premutos” is falls flat.  The moments madcap madness and bloody carnage are a joy, but waiting for them to come is tedious at times. Granted, when they do arrive it’s worth the wait; but movies like this need interesting filler if they’re going to run for 106 minutes, and ”Premutos” lacks in that department.  To put it bluntly: it gets boring.

With some trimming around the edges, ”Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead” could have been a trashy masterpiece of its kind.  Instead what we get is a film with a see-saw effect of highs and lows.  Pirates had to do some digging before they found the treasure; if you’re willing to stick around with this movie you’ll find gold in the end.  6.5/10

Director: Olaf Ittenbach

Writer: Olaf Ittenbach

Starring:  André Stryi, Christopher Stacey, Ella Wellmann

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Running Time: 106 min

Movie Review: Conjoined (2013)

Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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If you read my article on 5 Great Romantic Horror Movies, then you’ll know I’m a fan of a great love story – especially when there’s murder between hugs, smooches and coitus.  When it comes to relationships, you have to accept the baggage of your significant other if it’s going to work.  In a lot of cases, said baggage often involves imposing family members.  I’m sure you’ve accepted the faults of your other half by now, but if you haven’t then take a minute to compare yourself to Stanley – maybe you’ll feel better afterwards.

Stanley (Tom Long) is a lonely man; his only worthwhile friendship is with an online cam whore (Deidre Stephens) with amazing boobs, but he pays $2.99 per minute for her ears.  However, thanks to the miracle of online dating, Stanley meets Alina (Michelle Ellen Jones), she’s super cute, their love is real and Stanley is looking forward to spending his life with his potential soul mate, as is Alina. But there’s a problem: Alina has a Siamese twin sister who comes literally attached to her – and she just so happens to be a serial killer, with a drinking problem.

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”Conjoined” is offbeat and quirky, with some crude sexual humor and moments of gruesome violence.  It’s also very heartfelt and occasionally touching, as the budding romance between Stanley and Alina is a heartwarming tale of two outsiders is the core of the story.  Tonally, the combination of these ingredients might sound mismatched on paper; a splatter film, a sex comedy and rom-com is an unconventional mix that could easily turn into a mess. However, here every element blends together effortlessly to create a movie that’s unusual, but all the better for it.

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A good way to imagine ”Conjoined” is like a very twisted sitcom.  For a start, every character – major and minor – has their own little quirks and traits which make them unique and memorable, even if they are only there for a short time until they become a murder statistic.  Every new victim of Alisa’s (Keefer Barlow) killing spree presents a new scenario for them to react to, which provides the bulk of the laughs throughout.  Furthermore, the sets are minimal and mostly consigned to one room, which is understandable due to budget constraints; but, again, it made it seem reminiscent of a sitcom.  I loved this aspect of the movie; it provided hilarious satire of America’s longest running and most beloved television past time, only extended to 90 minutes with some unhinged edge.

My one minor complaint is the subplot of Detective Waters (Sara Gaston), who is investigating the murders only for nothing to really come of it when it could have added an extra element to the story if she posed any real threat exposing the leads as killers.  However, that’s not to say that the subplot wasn’t entertaining; Waters’ inner monologues are the source of some of the films best laughs, so it’s not like it was pointless.  I enjoyed her character, but I wanted her to pose more of a threat to Stanley’s laundry list of problems.

I liked every single character in ”Conjoined” and the script by Chuck and Tim Norton gave them all memorable moments.  It’s a funny script, and the small cast all have their chance to shine, even those who only appear for a scene to have their genitalia bitten off.  As I mentioned earlier, there are some gruesome moments in this movie and it does crossover into some dark territory towards the end, but for the most part it’s an entertaining good time.

So, next time you think your girlfriends sister is annoying put yourself in Stanley’s shoes.  If you would like to enjoy his unfortunate situation, you can rent if from Amazon for $1.99.  Also check out their Facebook for more reviews and information.  This is a funny flick, with enough blood, boobs and severed dongs to cater to your visceral needs, and characters who you’ll remember fondly after the end credits have rolled.  Joe Grisaffi is a filmmaker worth watching.  7.5/10

Director: Joe Grisaffi

Writers: Chuck & Tim Norfolk

Starring: Tom Long, Michelle Ellen Jones, Keefer Barlow & Sara Gaston

Genre: Horror Comedy

Running Time: 90 min

Movie Review: Dude Bro Party Massacre III (2015)

Comedy, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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”Dude Bro Party Massacre” is a beer soaked, blood drenched fever dream from comedy collective 5-Second Films, and it’s sure to please horror fans and hipsters alike with its satire.  Horror films posing as 80’s throwbacks and parodies have become a popular fad in recent years, as many filmmakers try to evoke the nostalgia of days gone by; some do it because they want to homage the movies that inspired them, where as others just want to make a quick buck at the expense of fans longing for a long gone heyday and looking for a modern fix.  The best ones display a genuine love and affinity for the genre, made by filmmakers who want to honor it, while lovingly lampooning it with copious amounts of absurdity; there is nothing worse than a throwback which thinks it has all the right ingredients, but fails to capture the essence.  Those are just empty and soulless, like Lindsay Lohan’s eyes.

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”Dude Bro Party Massacre III” falls into the category of parody: A slasher frat comedy posing as a banned sequel to non-existent predecessor films lost in the 80’s, it looks and feels like a relic from that era, with characters who could very well be the cranked up cousins of the goons from ”Porky’s” and ”Animal House.”  The plot is an over-the-top slasher revenge story, joined by a sub-plot of authority figures trying to put an end to a drunken frat house.  Throw in yet another sub-plot with a Satanic cult needing a virgin sacrifice and it becomes as convoluted and nonsensical as you’d expect -but, in this case, it is not to the films detriment.  Just roll with it, and the laughs will send you into a fit of hysteria for 90 minutes.

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”Dude Bro Party Massacre III” follows Brent Chirno (Alec Owen), a legacy who joins a fraternity to investigate the death of his twin brother, Brock (Alec Owen again).  After a prank goes awry, causing 2 commercial jets to collide over an orphanage, they boys are sent to a lake house as punishment, where a mysterious killer named Motherface lurks nearby, hellbent on punishing the boys for sins committed in the first 2 films, which we get a recap of at the start in classic 80’s flashback fashion. Her methods are brutal and she kills her victims by using their deepest fears against them.  Meanwhile, they are pursued by police officers, one of whom is convinced that the boys are a bag of oranges posing as drunken human beings who must be returned to their true form.

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Where do I start?  The plot on paper doesn’t even begin to cover the insanity barely contained within this movie.  I can’t think of many films in recent memory that have made my sides split for an entire 90 minutes, which means I’ll need to watch it again as it’s a certainty that I missed a lot of gags from laughing so hard.  The humor is wonderfully distasteful; inappropriateness is turned up full volume as gravestones are humped and hookers are slaughtered – and that’s only scratching the surface.  ”Dude Bro Party Massacre III” is so out there that it resides on its own island of low brow cinema: It is so goofy and gleefully mean spirited, with not a single taboo subject free from a good ribbing.

The cast includes cameos from Larry King and a key supporting role from Patton Oswalt, who not only chews scenery – he devours it.  Having known, respected names on board doesn’t hinder the offensive content, however: the body count in this movie is through the roof, with every single one of them killed in creative, nasty ways.  My favorite was when one of the frat boys was looking for the cork to his beer keg, only to have it rammed into his skull and twisted as it poured into his cup to quench his thirst before his mortal demise.

”Dude Bro Party Massacre III” is horror satire done right and the best comedy of the year so far.  9/10

Directors: Tomm Jacobsen , Michael Rousselet & Jon Salmon

Writer: Alec Owen, Jon Salmon, Michael E. Peter, Ben Gigli, Timothy Ciancio , Michael Rousselet, Tomm Jacobse, Joey Scoma, Mike James & Brian Firenzi

Starring: Alec Owen, Peyton Oswalt, Brian Firenzi

Genre: Comedy, Horror

Running Time: 90 min

Movie Review: Screamplay (1985)

Arthouse, Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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Troma, the company which is known for specializing in copious amounts of sleaze, nudity, low brow humour and shock value has been a household name for over four decades now.  So it’s to be expected that some of their releases will float under the radar from time to time.  One such release was ”Screamplay”, the one and only feature from Rufus Butler Seder, who wrote, directed, edited and starred in this offbeat murder mystery.  

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”Screamplay” is a unique entry in Troma’s catalog and a one-of-a-kind movie if there ever was one.  Filmed entirely in black and white, with set designs purposeful recreations of films from the 1920-30’s, it’s all very artsy; especially compared to the trash the company is known and beloved for.  The story focuses on a young writer named Edgar Allen who moves to Hollywood with dreams of writing murder mysteries for the big screen.  But when the murders in his screenplays start happening in real life,  he must confront an odd array of characters ranging from washed up actresses, rock stars, the police and off-kilter tenants as the mystery unfolds.

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While watching ”Screamplay”, I drew comparisons to the early Sam Raimi oddity ”Crimewave (1985)”, as they both adopt the stylings of a classic era of film, with the similar over-the-top caricature characters and set pieces, dialogue and filmmaking techniques.  However, they use them in such a way that hasn’t been done before, to create darkly comic horror films ripe with manic energy and 80’s violence.  If someone told you this was a Sam Raimi creation without prior knowledge, you’d believe them.

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Taking inspiration from German Expressionist cinema, Hollywood’s silent films, Italian giallo, Gothic horror and the classic whodunnit?, it condenses them into the form of an 80’s B movie to create an engaging mystery that is also a satirical commentary on the dark side of Hollywood.  It chronicles the actors and actresses who are hot one day and but a memory the next; the aspiring artists who leave their normal lives behind with dreams of making it, only to find their hopes dashed and dreams broken; the greedy money men willing to exploit anything in order to make a quick buck and the madness that comes with it.  Every character has succumbed to madness in some way and they each provide strange melodrama between murders.

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”Screamplay” is an oddity only a niche audience will enjoy, so if you appreciate the surreal, avant-garde, strange and experimental cinema you’ll no doubt find a special place in your heart – and on your shelf – for this weird little gem.  Rufus Butler Seder has never made, wrote or starred in another film since: let’s hope this isn’t his one and only, but if it is, what an innovative legacy to leave behind.  9/10

Director: Rufus Butler Seder

Writers: Rufus Butler Seder & Ed Greenberg

Starring: Rufus Butler Seder, Katie Bolger, George Kuchar

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Running Time: 90 min

Movie Review: The Tower (2008)

Fantasy Horror, Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi

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Above the city of Detroit, a long abandoned tower rots in the skyline.  The structure appears lifeless, but in the dead of night a bright light shines from the top window.  Doug (Rick Kunzi) becomes obsessed with entering the tower after learning about its mysterious history: According to legend it’s said to be a gateway to another world.  When Doug goes missing, his sister Lucy (Roxy Strickland) is convinced that he’s trapped inside the tower, leading her on a quest to save her brother while coming face-to-face with the mysteries of the tower and the dangers that lurk within it.

”The Tower”, despite its flaws, is a highly ambitious, deeply imaginative low budget gem, where the sheer scope of the storytelling, abundance of atmosphere and creature designs draw you into a world that’s nightmarish and surreal.  This is not your standard horror film with zombies and beasts; the story is complex and full of mystery, where science fiction and fantasy intersect with horror to create something bizarre, engrossing and original.  It’s a journey into hell, where reality is a blur and danger awaits in every corridor.

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The horrors within the tower include an assortment of zombies, demons and spirits, with more other worldly beings introduced as the story evolves at a brisk pace, which never feels like its dragging.  The Clive Barker influence shines throughout; this isn’t your conventional type of horror film and it’s hard to categorize it alongside anything else.  The demons are reminiscent of Barker’s work, whereas the dimensional aspects and sci-fi crossover evoke memories of Don Coscarelli; especially the latter ”Phantasm” sequels.  However, this is its own beast entirely; boasting a nightmarish vision that drags us with its protagonist through a limbo between worlds as she tries to find her brother and a way out before she becomes just another victim of the void.

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The acting is the only gripe I have with ”The Tower”; nobody experts Marlon Brando levels of character portrayal from an independent horror film, but this cast was amateurish and bland.  However, it’s not the worst either and it doesn’t take us out of the story – which is as engrossing as it is haunting. All of the money they had has went into special effects, which are rather impressive – especially the creature designs which you’ll see in the trailer at the end of my review.  What really carries ”The Tower” though is heart and passion: These filmmakers have put their all into this project and it shows.  For fans of this type of cinema, especially myself, that goes a very long way and makes the flaws irrelevant.

One of the main strengths of this movie is how it transports us to another world.  It’s surreal and leaves a lot to be dissected and interpreted, but very few movies have captured the feeling of actually being stuck in a hellish limbo quite like this.  It possesses a strange, dreamlike quality similar very few movies have managed to capture; watching it is like being thrust into the haze of a nightmare.

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The only available DVD copies are Japanese bootlegs and they don’t come cheap, but you can buy it here.  Even trying to find it through more nefarious means will prove to be a challenge unless you’re a member of some exclusive sites which specialize in rare, underground films.  It’s quite heartbreaking to know this will fade further into obscurity as the years go by; there were even points where I doubted it was even a real movie.  There are no reviews to be found online, nor is there any trace of the filmmakers or any word of mouth about the film.  Movies with this much imagination, made by filmmakers striving to be different deserve to be seen.  But alas, the world isn’t fair sometimes.

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I could include spoilers as it’s highly likely you’ll never see it.  But I’m not going to.  If the following trailer sparks your interest enough to buy it or delve into the far reaches of the web to find it, you deserve the joy of experiencing it firsthand.  This is a movie which throws surprises at you and defies expectations.  Highly recommended.  8/10

Directors: Dan Falzone & Dan McGowan

Writers: Dan Falzone, Dan McGowan, Lon Strickland, Roxy Strickland

Starring: Roxy Strickland, Rick Kunzi, Norm Roth

Genre: Horror

Running Time: 90 min

Movie Review: The Brood (1979)

Body Horror, Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi

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”The Brood” is a science fiction body horror film from David Cronenberg, and is now widely regarded as a horror classic.  However, upon initial release critics were not too kind to it.  Described as Cronenberg’s ”family” movie, ”The Brood” is the artistic manifestation of a filmmaker exorcising his demons; the product of a man going through a divorce and trying to gain custody of his child.  Like most of his films, there was a message to the madness – and the madness ”The Brood” entails is very unpleasant. Roger Ebert labelled it ”a bore” and ”nasty” in his opposing, but much better written review to mine.  For many, it would be boring; not much excitement happens until the final minutes.  However, with time this film has garnered much more appreciation.  Why is that?

”The Brood” is the story of a marriage in ruins: Frank (Art Hindle) and Nola Carveth (Samantha Eggar) are a couple in ruins, with Nola undergoing psychological treatment at the Somafree Institute of Psychoplasmics, where Dr Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed) uses his experimental radical therapy to manifest psychosis through physical symptoms.

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One day, when Frank picks up their young daughter Candice (Cindy Hinds) from a hospital visit with Nola, he’s shocked to find bite marks and bruises on her body.  He suspects his sick wife has been abusing her and revokes visiting privileges – much to the disapproval of Dr. Raglan, who claims it’s a bad idea.  It is.

Through the effects of the mysterious Psychoplasmics and Nola’s ever increasing rage, she starts to give birth to drone children, who then do her murderous bidding without her even knowing.  Once Frank states he’s filing for sole custody of Candice, it sparks a homicidal rage in Nola; she would rather her daughter die than be with him.  So she tries to kill them both, naturally.

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Some criticized the film for being anti-feminist at the time: I see it as more of a statement on the animosity that can occur when a marriage falls apart. Frank’s disgust when he witnesses Nola giving birth to homicidal embryos has been interpreted as a patriarchy seeing child birth as ugly.  When he finally killed Nola, many viewed it as male dominance feeling threatened. To me, I saw Frank’s disgust as a representation of children being used as pawns in a divorce and how it can be damaging to every person involved. The anti-feminism argument may have some merit, but can’t it just be symbolic of resentment towards the one particular woman who was the cause of a stressful time in his life?  This is not a scathing attack of women as a whole; it’s the work of an artist coming to terms with his situation and pouring his soul out on screen.

Cronenberg’s previous work made use of urban landscapes to symbolize society’s growth for the worse; ”The Brood” makes use of rural settings to represent the isolation of its main characters.  The performances from Samantha Eggar and Art Hindle are confrontational and tragic – and the start of Cronenberg’s excellence in working with actors to exude dramatic human prowess in his world’s of science fiction and horror.

The 70’s was also a time of controversial psychological studies.  Cronenberg explores the ethical concerns and potential dangers of them with exaggeration, but he gets his point across in the unsubtle kind of way we know and love him for.

So, to answer my original question.  Why is ”The Brood” now considered a genre classic?  It’s because it’s the beginning of a legendary director finding his voice; an artist at his most open and brave; a filmmaker exploring his own humanity.  It’s also a neat little body horror that’s very entertaining in its own right.  By no means my favourite of Cronenberg’s, but it’s a feature I greatly admire.  7/10

Written & Directed By:

David Cronenberg

Starring:

Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle

Genre:

Horror, Sci-Fi, Body Horror

Running Time:

92 min

Movie Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

Action, Comedy, Movie Reviews

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It’s been awhile since we’ve had a great spy movie; not since Matt Damon’s previous incarnation of Jason Bourne in 2007’s ”The Bourne Ultimatum” can I say I’ve been particularly impressed by any that I’ve seen – and that includes the recent Bond films with Daniel Craig.  However, since that series became the phenomenon that it did, subsequent spy films have replicated its serious approach.  ”Kingsman: The Secret Service” injects the genre with some fun again: Ian Fleming’s iconic British agent and older film adaptations are the inspiration behind Matthew Vaughn’s caper; humour, flashy rodomontade and an eccentric villain hellbent on world extermination are all firmly present.  The spirit of classic Bond is alive and well.  However, much like Vaughn’s ”Kick Ass (2010)” was to superhero movies, ”Kingsman” takes the basic premise and throws in crude humour and sensational, bloody, R rated violence to crank a worn genre up a few notches.

Taron Egorton plays Gary ”Eggsy” Unwin, a down-on-his-luck petty criminal who is facing a jail sentence for stealing a vehicle from a local ruffian.  But thanks to having a father Harry ‘Galahad” Hart (Colin Firth) owes a debt to, he’s miraculously cleared of all charges and recruited to join a training camp for the shadowy secret service organization Kingsman, who are led by Arthur (Michael Caine) and his knights of the round table sworn to protect Britain (the organization members are all named after characters from the old tale).

Meanwhile, the lisping lunatic Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) – an eccentric billionaire who wants to destroy the world for its own good – is set to bring an end to mankind, because he believes people are destroying the environment.  With human existence in jeopardy, new recruit Eggsy is thrown in at the deep end to try and save the dead.

Valentine’s plan is quite brilliant: he uses sims in cell phones to trigger a satellite which turns human beings into homicidal maniacs.  It’s the type of ludicrous, out-of-the-box villain and scenario we’ve been missing for quite some time now – and it allows for the movie to break out into some scenes of over-the-top carnage.  There is one particular scene involving Colin Firth’s character, to the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ”Freebird”, massacring a church full of people that’s sure to send shocks down the spines of the many middle aged housewives who’ll watch it just for him.  It’s a Colin Firth we’ve never seen before – a merciless cold blooded, killer who can more than capably perform action scenes.  Bridget Jones would soil her overgrown panties if she seen her man like this.

The movie does contain some not-so-subtle messages about Britain’s class divide, the danger of global warming and America’s role as a world domineering superpower.  Whether you agree with the political undertones or not shouldn’t derail your enjoyment of the film; it’s more parody and satire than preaching, but it won’t sit well with some.  For the entire 2 hour duration, ”Kingsman” is lighthearted fun that homages classic spy movies and throws in the crude humour and cartoon violence 21st century audiences are accustomed to. Some people may find the violence to be unnecessary to a story which didn’t need it to be enjoyable, but I loved it personally.  Despite it’s charms, it’s crudeness and occasional mean streak is a much appreciated delight. At least for me.  ”Kingsman” is one of 2015’s best thus far and I’m sure it’ll remain as such for the remainder of the year.  9/10

Directed By:

Matthew Vaughn

Written By:

Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goodman

Starring:

Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong

Genre:

Comedy, Action

Running Time:

129 min

Movie Review: ReGOREgitated Sacrifice (2008)

Extreme Horror, Horror, Movie Reviews

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Lucifer Valentine’s ”Vomit Gore” is a series I have no interest in seeing. The only reason I watched this was because a friend told me the Soska Sisters were in it and I had to see for myself.  There is no record of it on their IMDB pages – which is understandable as no aspiring filmmakers with career ambition would want to associate themselves with what is essentially a fetish porn film.  And yes, Jen and Sylvia Soska were present.

The plot?  Well, much like the mind that created it, the plot was lost before it even began.  It’s an incoherent, hallucinogenic nightmare of sorts; where pissing, puking, sex and gore all enter the same blender to concoct a nuclear cocktail sure to kill a few brain cells and make most people physically sick.  But if I had to hazard an interpreted guess, it’s about the nightmares of a young woman as she enters Hell.

So, is this where I call ”ReGOREgitated Sacrifice” a pointless piece of trash not worth your time unless you’re a complete sicko?  Not quite.  Many have already and even though it’s not something I enjoyed, per se, dismissing it without acknowledging its merits would be dishonest of me.  It contained so many moments that left me questioning my own sanity for watching it that it deserves credit.  Furthermore, the gore effects are masterful; I’d go as far to say they’re the best I’ve ever seen.  Or the worst -depending on how you view it. They’re so well done they’re sickening: it’s not something I would describe as fun, like say, FX from a splatter movie – but they have to be commended.

The film also contains a strange, hypnotic aura throughout; it’s arthouse for the scathouse and it’s very successful in its bid to be as unsettling as possible. It’s an unrelenting assault on the senses which challenges the viewer with every segment.  I don’t consider this to be a good movie by any means, but Lucifer Valentine possesses a lot of talent and achieves exactly what he sets out to do.  I have no doubt in my mind that he has a potential good film in him somewhere, but whether he decides makes it is up to him.

Kudos to Lucifer Valentine for creating something so balls-to-the-wall and courageous; this trilogy has encouraged stalkers and death threats sent his way.  The gore is a triumph of FX and there’s plenty of insanity and WTF? moments worth noting – even applauding.  However, it has too much shameless piss/puke pornography within it for my taste.  4/10

Written & Directed By:

Lucifer Valentine

Starring:

Ameara Lavey, Lucifer Valentine, The Soska Sisters

Genre:

Extreme Horror

Running Time:

65 min

Movie Review: Hotel Inferno (2013)

Action, Horror, Movie Reviews

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”Hotel Inferno” is yet another slice of gore filled, brazen lunacy from Necrostormthe Italian production company who brought us ”Adam Chaplin (2011)” which I reviewed here.  Now 2 movies into my quest to complete their back catalog, I have a basic idea of what they’re all about: gore, gore and more gore – splattered all across genre pictures inspired by retro movies, comic books and video games.

In recent years, ”retro” homages to B movies of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s has become the in-thing; some are genuine love letters to their influences, where as some are hipster parodies which fail to capture the spirit of the films they’re trying to imitate.  However, Necrostorm films don’t come across as homages whatsoever; they are authentic works of cyberpunk insanity born from forward thinking creative minds, as opposed to ones seeking nostalgia, which just happen to include influences from yesteryear.

”Adam Chaplin” was like a comic book come to life in movie form.  ”Hotel Inferno”, on the other hand, adopts another approach us geeks love – first person shooters.  The movie is filmed POV from the perspective of our protagonist as he slaughters his way through hordes of deformed baddies to try and escape from a hotel that poses as a front for an occult organization.  Furthermore, the scenes between slaughter are very reminiscent of video game cut scenes, which makes for some welcome exposition to inform us on the story and mythology behind it all.

The films ”hero” is Frank Zimosa (Rayner Bourton); a contract killer hired by an organization who call themselves the ”Luman Corporation”.  His task sounds routine at first: carry out a hit on a couple of serial killers holding up in a hotel.  Frank is equipped with a pair of special sunglasses, which are used to communicate with Luman Corporation’s owner Jorge Mistrandia (Michael Howe), as well as a recording device to film his every move.  Jorge is very particular with how the executions must be carried out – and soon Frank learns his mystery employer has greater, more sinister intentions in mind.

Once Frank abandons the mission, he must fight to survive.  Violence and mayhem ensues as he shoots, hacks and slashes his way through the hotels secret corridors, pursued by zombie-like henchman, with a supernatural demonic force lying in wait.  The demon demands specific violence to appease ”Her” – or else she’ll rise from her Hellish slumber. And nobody wants that.

The acting and dialogue is akin to that of a video game as well, with interactions kept brief and to the point when the chaos is having a breather; this is only enhanced by the dubbed voices, which are over-the-top and, quite frankly, too cliched to resemble real people.  Jorge Mistrandia speaks with a posh English accent that’s eloquent and sinister.  Frank Zimosa sounds like an ape who can only blurt out vulgar slurs and repetitive phrases.  It takes you awhile to accept the awful dubbing, but once the movie gets going you find it adds to its charm, as it does feel like you’re watching a video game progress through levels before climaxing at the big boss.

”Hotel Inferno” blends digital and practical effects perfectly, but it’s the practical effects which stand out out most impressively.  These include decapitations, spines being ripped out and countless other acts of frequent artistic butchering.  The crew know what us horror fans love, and they don’t take any shortcuts unless it’s completely necessary.  The digital effects are used to create fire and explosions mostly, but they never seem out of place.

Overall, ”Hotel Inferno” is another inventive gem from the Necrostorm team.  It’s as ultra violent, dark and demented as they come, but it does so in such a gleeful manner it maintains a sense of gleeful fun throughout.  This is a company worth following; much like Astron-6 they’re a company who share a connection with genre fans who seek more than your typical, run-of-the-mill fads.  If you like your movies left field, ”Hotel Inferno” is worth checking into.  7/10

Written & Directed By:

Giulio De Santi

Starring:

Rayner Bourton, Jessica Carroll, Michael Howe

Genre:

Action, Horror

Running Time:

80 min