Friday, May 27, 2016

HE'S IN THE HOUSE! : What came first?

I recently watched DON'T HANG UP (aka DON'T OPEN THE DOOR) from 1974    and something came to mind: What the heck came first - this one of BLACK CHRISTMAS?! IMDB has BLACK CHRISTMAS coming out in 1974, but December, while DON'T HANG UP is May of the same year. I thought this was really interesting. There are elements of both that are very similar.

Of course, BLACK CHRISTMAS is the better film by far. DON'T HANG UP is entertaining, but slow and amateurish with acting that' for the stage of a college play, really. But, it does look like it came out before BLACK CHRISTMAS. I just never heard about it before.

DON'T HANG UP is very giallo - even down to the lighting with it's bright red and green lights blasting from time to time. SO Bava it hurts with it's old dark house feel and who done it nature. It follows in the BAY OF BLOOD styling.

There are family goings on and murders and sick grandmothers and memories of past events that happened to the lead when she was a little girl. And, someone (an obvious someone) who wants to get the lead and her grandmother out of the way. That someone makes a series of phone calls and seems to be very aware of where our heroin is, what she's wearing and what she's doing when he's talking to her. VERY much like old Creepy Giggle Voices from BLACK CHRISTMAS. That's pretty much it.

The reason why this film doesn't come rocketing into people's minds when they think back on the genre is due to the fact that S.F. Brownrigg just is NOT Bava when it comes to direction and Schaefer and Newcomb don't really bring much to the table on the writing side. The pace is slow and the style is VERY B movie. However, it does have something to offer and should be viewed if you're into the genre from a historical standpoint. It's an entertaining watch, albeit slow.

Check it out if times allows!

DON'T HANG UP (Don't Open The Door)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What Have You Done to Solange?


What Have You Done to Solange? (Italian: Cosa avete fatto a Solange?)

I finally caught this classic giallo a while back and enjoyed it. It's a strange one, but so are most gialli. 

If you're not aware of what giallo films are.....
"Giallo is a 20th-century Italian genre of literature and film, usually with mystery elements and often with slasher, supernatural horror or crime fiction elements. In Italy, the term simply denotes thrillers, typically of the crime fiction, mystery, and horror subgenres, regardless of the country of origin."

And this film has some classic elements for sure. Gloved killers. Women in distress. A LOT of violence. It's not for the weak of heart - that's for sure. Giallo films also tend to have a lot of violence against women and this is no different. Triggers for some for sure. But, sadly, that's a horror trope that's hard to avoid. 

We're dealing with a fun mystery here. There are murders happening and a teacher MAY be having sex with a student...and may be involved in the murders. At least, that's what the police suspect. As we twirl down this particular rabbit hole, we start learning that there may be something more going on at the school....and with the missing beauty... Solange. 

I loved the overall look of the film as well. It had a style to it that I found appealing. Very 1972, but somewhat slick as well. Massimo Dallamano directed the film - credited with such hits as A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, and also helped write it along with Bruno Di Geronimo.

Seeing THE EDITOR recently had me thinking about these old classics. It was a perfect send-up of films like SOLANGE. I loved the twists and turns SOLANGE had. It was a fun watch. 

At the time of this posting, you could find the film here:

Give it a watch and find out what they've done with Solange! :)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Editor (UPDATED April 26th, 2016)

Like Italian giallo films of the 70s and 80s?

Like a good giggle mixed in with your violence?

Well, you're going to love THE EDITOR. These folks NAIL the feel of 70s and 80s giallo films coming out of Italy and have such a grand sense of humor about it that I laughed all the way through while saying, "TOTALLY NAILED THAT!" out loud several times.

Silly and perfect, The Editor hits every giallo trope it can and does it with a laugh, wink and smile that I loved.

They even dubbed the actors so it has that Italian dub feel.


UPDATE: April 26th, 2016

I'm still thinking about this film! 

They got so much right here it kinda hurts. hehehe  Now, I can see someone who is not familiar with the giallo style and tropes saying, "This film is a silly mess of crazy scenes!" But, that's the beauty of  giallo films. There are so many strange and wonderful silly aspects to these films that when you are familiar with them, you're rather upset when you DON'T see them represented. 

These folks must have just put on a bunch of the classics one week and taken notes on everything they saw in them. They even catch some of the paranormal elements shown in films like SUSPIRIA and the like. 

The use of this overdubbing really sold the whole of it for me. After looking back at the trailer, I had another giggle about it. It is definitely an element of the genre. 

The film is super solid as well. Unlike some parody films of late where jokes and gags are just tossed at you like confetti on New Years ("HERE! BOOM! FUNNY, right?! And...HERE! And....HERE!) with little to no effort to string the humor along a solid backbone, THE EDITOR actually crafts a giallo-style tale to weave the humor into and they do it really well - again, following the classic stylings of these murder mysteries of the past. 

If you're a fan of the classics like DEEP RED, FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON, A BAY OF BLOOD, or TENBRAE and you like humor, then you simply MUST make an effort to see this film at once. I'm sure you'll love it.

Monday, February 15, 2016



It's been a while since I've posted anything. I've been sticking to my Facebook page ( and my Twitter page (  and leaving the blog alone for the most part.

However, last night I saw SOUTHBOUND and I thought I'd write a little short post about it. Not that anyone reads this blog, but.....  :::grin::

I really enjoyed this new format for a VHS-style anthology. While I loved most of the VHS saga, I was starting to get a bit jaded with the format. It was starting to become a bit repetitive. This Southbound style is fun and equally based in storytelling and the anthology style, but the flow was much stronger - going from story to story seamlessly without stopping at the "station" every time between segments. Loved that aspect. I was thinking that this story style could be played out in various places in future releases (...he said, hoping they make more!) and not just out in the desert, though that was a fun little spot. This could easily work in a rundown area of a city, some snowy wasteland, or even in a jungle paradise.

If you have not seen the trailer yet, don't watch it! While it doesn't give anything away, it had to show a lot to get viewers hooked in, so I would have preferred to go in a bit more cold than I did. It would have been fun if they shot something special for the trailer that tied in with the film, but didn't give the goods of the stories within. know...I went looking for it because I thought the trailer was so cool, so....

Southbound is a rather standard horror anthology for the most part. Folks are introduced (again, seamlessly) and you watch as they go through their own little, nasty story. The writing is fun and entertaining. The characters are a good mix of likable and unlikable, so you don't get caught up in a "set 'em up, knock 'em down" mentality.

The film was made by some familiar folks. The Directors this round were Roxanne Benjamin,  David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath, and Radio Silence - many of the same folks involved with the VHS series. The writers were many of the same folks as well. Roxanne Benjamin, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Susan Burke, Dallas Richard Hallam (as Dallas Hallam), and Patrick Horvath.

I just like calling out these folks when I like a film. :) Credit where credit is due.

So...the honest part now that all the sycophantic, butt kissing is over. hehehe

When I finished the film last night (mind you, after tons of yard work both Saturday and Sunday that wore me out physically)  I said, "Well...yeah...that was good, I guess. Not super strong...but good. I feel good about dropping $7 on it and would probably do it again if I had the choice." I wasn't blown away like I was when I saw VHS in the theater, but I wasn't demanding my 90 minutes back, either.

HOWEVER, when I woke up this morning and thought about it again when describing it to a Horror Friend of mine, I told her that it really stuck with me. In that haunting, mind worm way. The visuals and situations swam around in my brain and I re-thought a few things and had myself a few chuckles whenI remembered how things played out. Most of my malaise about the outcome of watching was due to me being SO excited about the film - especially since it was being released on my birthday. I over-hyped it in my head. Thinking back, it was a super strong film with a great story, good acting, and some scenes that had me wincing and bashing my foot on the floor. ( a good way.) :)

My suggestion -  
Go into SOUTHBOUND as cold as you can, avoiding the trailer and other reviews that go deep into the stories. Let it wash over you and pay attention. It's a great film and well worth a watch. 

Great work, Folks!  I'm looking forward to revisiting this style in the near future!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Netflix is on a roll with it's suggestions. DARK WAS THE NIGHT is a fantastic little monster movie. This slow burn really builds up the characters and tension as the film rolls along at it's slow burn pace. Those who want to see the action clear and crisp won't like this film - the majority of the cryptozoological fun happens in the shadows, but the creepy factor - tromping around in the dark looking for the bump in the night - makes it all worthwhile and really enjoyable.

Jack Heller's direction in DARK has made me even more excited to see BONE TOMAHAWK and I'm moving that up in my list. Kevin Durand and Lukas Haas brood through their performances and relay the darkness and sadness that dwells within humanity perfectly. This isn't an uplifting film, but it's a fun little monster movie for sure.

Sadly, the film's creatures do tend to look a little "computer-esque" in their somewhat flat appearance, but the whole of the film does more than enough to support the difficult creature work the 3D folks tried to get across. I almost think a large puppet or animatronic creature might have done this more justice for the third act.

That aside, DARK WAS THE NIGHT is a must see for creature feature fans! 

Last Shift

 LAST SHIFT was one of those NETFLIX suggestions I back burnered for some moment when I really wasn't going to be watching a lot of what was on - model making, file organization,  or something where some background noise was needed, but where I wasn't going to be doing a lot of looking at the screen. I tossed it on, but didn't have high hopes. Man, was I pleasantly surprised!

The film is like a lifeboat or bottle episode of something - one location with a very limited cast. The lion's share of the actor heavy lifting is done by the rather talented Juliana Harkavy who plays an officer assigned to hang the old precinct waiting for a hazmat crew to come in and take the last of the hazardous crime scene materials away before the place is shut down. All the other officers are at the new place blocks away, so she's there...alone...and waiting.

Then shit gets strange.

I'm not going to say much about this film - again, keeping things short and sweet. film has a lot of good stuff in it! It's a new fave for sure.

Anthony DiBlasi's (Dread) direction is super tight and there's nothing in here that's forced or yawn worthy. Once the ride starts, you're strapped in and you just need to hold on. DiBlasi does some fantastic tricks in here and there are many, "Wait....WHAT the HELL was THAT?!" moments to keep you're eyes open for.

The rest of the cast take their roles and really make them stick. They may not have a lot of screen time, but when they are on, Joshua Mikel, J. LaRose, Natalie Victoria, Sarah Sculco, Kathryn Kilger, Matt Doman and Mary Lankford really take things and run with them in a great way. 

If you dig creepy....ghosly....and hallucinogenic horror, give LAST SHIFT a go for sure! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pino Donaggio film scores

I just re-watched the brilliant TOURIST TRAP. I used to watch it all the time in my teens when it was showcased on pay cable. When it was on and I was home, I'd be watching. So good, strange and creepy.
One of the things that made it so odd and grand was the score. Well, it seemed familiar, but I thought it was just due to the fact that I had watched it so many times before. But, when someone mentioned Donaggio, it clicked in my head.

He's done TONS of scores for some of my favorite films! :::slaps forehead:::

I thought I'd dig some up and post them for kicks. Enjoy!