Friday, September 30, 2016

The Cat o' Nine Tails

Another Argento classic, The Cat o' Nine Tails leans more towards giallo mystery thriller rather than horror, but there are some horrific moments in the film for sure. Seeing as this came one year after Bird With the Crystal Plumage, a more straight up mystery film with a few kills makes a lot of sense. That's what he was producing at around this time period. Four Flies on Grey Velvet came out in the same year as The Cat o' Nine Tails. This is what people refer to as the ANIMAL TRILOGY - far more successful a trilogy than the THREE MOTHERS trilogy, sadly, thanks to the Mother of Tears fiasco.

Reporter Carlo Giordani (James Franciscus)  investigates the goings on at a lab facility after a failed robbery attempt leaves a guard rattled. He enlists the help of Franco Arno (Karl Malden) - a blind ex-reporter who happened to spot a car near the facility on the same night. As they get closer to the one they are hunting, they become the hunted themselves.

It's a fun little mystery. As with most giallo films, when you find out who did it and why, you might find yourself blinking at the screen blankly and mumbling, "Uh...ok....sure." But, it's still well worth a watch seeing as this is Prime Argento at the height of his film career.He really keeps things moving forward well and manages to get some humorous elements in that really work well, too

Gigi   :)

Franciscus and Malden are fantastic in this. They really sell their characters and work well as the crime sleuths. Other standouts are Rada Rassimov and the odd faced Ugo Fangareggi as the awesome criminal helper Gigi the Loser - really dug that character as well. 

The robot award for the movie goes to Catherine Spaak who's as stiff as the doll from DEEP RED. :)

While I'm still not sure why this was called The Cat o' Nine Tails (...were there nine suspects? Hmmm...maybe?)  this is definitely a new fave of mine now that I've finally seen it. I need to revisit Four Flies now that I'm older. I originally saw it "back in the day" after ordering a VHS bootleg. We're talking the, "You send me $15 and...who may actually get a VHS of the movie you want from me a few weeks later," time period in the 80s when that was the only way to see these films here in the States. :)

Where does this film sit in the Animal Trilogy for you? I put it second to BIRD, but above FOUR FLIES, I believe. Check it! 


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Nightmares / Stage Fright (1980)

As you know if you read my blog at all, I don't post many nasty reviews. If I don't like something, I just don't write about it. However, there are times where something is warrants a little write up because it's so bad it's good. NIGHTMARES aka STAGE FRIGHT from 1980 is exactly one of those films. It's a ham-fisted mess and it's so much fun to watch.

In a year where biggies like The Shining, The Changeling, The Fog, Motel Hell, and most of all Friday the 13th were coming out, it's no wonder why Nightmares hit the scene. It's a copy - style wise - of Friday the 13th in many respects.  Now, don't get this confused with STAGE FRIGHT from 2014 (...that looks interesting...) or STAGE FRIGHT from 1987 directed by Michele Soavi - also really good. This is the version from John Lamond who made other nuggets like Felicity in 1978.

We open with the classic date on the screen (...with a musical score that would be more fitting for a movie showing 18 knife swinging murderous clowns chasing nuns...)  with a little girl walking in on her mother and her mother's boyfriend having sex. TRAUMA! Oh, but then it gets WORSE! She is in the back seat of the car as the three of them are the middle of the night...for some reason...and the boyfriend is man handling the Mom. Well, the daughter gets angry and slaps the boyfriend in the back of the head or some such, then the car smashes into another car when her mother turns to yell at her for the slap. Annnnnd, out the windscreen goes mom!  MORE TRAUMA!

She's catatonic for the most part and in the hospital. Boyfriend says things like, "You killed your mother," at her angrily. YET MORE TRAUMA!!!   She has some nightmare, then we cut to her waking up in present day - a beautiful blonde with sad eyes.She's an actress and is auditioning for a play. And so begins the nightmare that is Nightmares. hehehehe

Some of the AMAZING acting poor Jenny Neumann delivers  :)

It's so much like a bad giallo version of Friday the 13th that I found myself giggling at it all the way through. It's a clunky murder mystery that's poorly edited, poorly written, and has some really awful acting in it, but I really liked it! hehehe   It's like a film that they've made specifically to play on a television set in a horror film about Halloween. Does that make sense? Like the film the characters would have on that you'd see playing every now and then in the background.

Now, even these films have their upsides at times and this one is no different. While there is a nasty smell to most of the movie, the "scary", gloved attacker parts are not bad as they stand. They are well shot and there are some little touches added that make them interesting - like the fact that glass is the main murder weapon and that every murder involves the sound of glass breaking somehow. Interesting for sure. We also get the classic "camera as killer" and we float along with them as they stalk their prey.

The sad and laughable thing is we keep being subjected to the "actors" in the play we're seeing the rehearsals for going through their lines (badly) and getting yelled at by the Director. Or we see Jenny Neumann's blank stare or confused, fear faces as she tries to show us just how scared and alone poor Helen Selleck is. The more I think about this film, the more I believe it to be a masterwork. hehehe Something to put on with friends at Halloween and eat pizza and drink to.

Now I'm going to do something else I don't often do. I'm going to add a spoiler in below. It's a biggie and it's pretty great. If you don't want it spoiled, go seek it out RIGHT NOW on SHUDDER! If you don't really give a care, read on, McDuff!   :)

So sad a production that it doesn't even get it's own trailer. It has to share. :(

Keep scrolling.....almost there....

SPOILERS warned! Keep scrolling......

The big spoiler is the big reveal at the end of the film. The thing that we're supposed to...not be aware of? Really?  REALLY?! D'uh!

The killer is....a big surprise. So shocking! So amazing! Nothing like it since the likes of PSYCHO! Since the end of Friday the 13th! It''s....   Yeah, it's Helen Selleck. You know, the little blonde girl who saw her mom humping, saw her mom go through the windshield in the beginning, and who was told that she was the cause of her mother's death by the boyfriend. The same boyfriend (I think - it's not super clear) and she had to push away when he tried to kiss her and the same one this little 7 or 8 year old stabbed in the neck with a broken glass in the very beginning of the movie! THERE IS NO TWIST, really. It's all presented right in the beginning of the movie! hehehehe  That in and of itself is BRILLIANT! I kept waiting for the humping mother to be revealed as a man in drag, or a clown, or her aunt who's crazy.....SOMETHING. But, nope, the secret, hidden killer was her all along...which we all knew already. HILARIOUS! The more I think about this film, the more I believe it to be a masterwork. hehehe Something to put on with friends at Halloween and eat pizza and drink to.

Murder Party

What a ton of fun! MURDER PARTY brings a cutting edge humor to the horror genre that I have not seen for a while. This low budget dark comedy jewel is packed with laughs and commentary on the art scene, but doesn't skimp on the gore either. Jeremy Saulnier's direction keeps this tight, 80 minute film hopping from item to item in a wondrous way.

The story is simple. A man finds an invite to a Halloween party on the street and decides to venture out and away from his quiet life in search of a little All Hallows Eve excitement. However - slight spoiler - it turns out that the MURDER PARTY he's stumbled into is for HIS murder. Several artists want to use him as the subject matter of their art pieces, but they fight over who's method of murder will be used and...who will get a $500,000 art grant they've been after for months.

And then, things get REALLY crazy and a hilarious way.

I found myself laughing out loud along with cringing and giggling as things played out. There are some truly hilarious moments in here. The acting is fun - it has a playfulness about it that made me think back on old 80s films like NIGHT OF THE DEMONS and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD where the actors look like they had a lot of fun making the movie.

If you're looking for a fun addition to your Halloween Movie Lineup, MURDER PARTY is the perfect item. There's really not much more to say about it.

The Witch Who Came from the Sea

The Witch Who Came from the Sea is one of those interesting films that gets a sort of pass for some of it's shortcomings due to the fact that it's such a time capsule of the time it was created in - in this case, 1976.

Millie Perkins plays (Aunt) Molly, a somewhat sad waitress at a bar who is struggling through working, drinking too much, and memories of a very shattered past. Her boss, Long John (Lonny Chapman) helps her out when he can as does her sister and two nephews, but things start to unravel and spiral down a very dark path when Molly turns into a kind of siren - luring men in and slaying them viciously. The reason behind her violent actions is rather easy to figure out, but watching it play out on screen is very interesting.

This is more an exploration of sexual trauma than a horror film, but there are horrific elements in the film to be sure. The film leans towards an art house esthetic as well as the scenes play out with dreamlike and nightmarish twists and turns as she falls deeper and deeper into a state of mental illness.

There are also interesting references to television. As a matter of fact, I think it's safe to say that television itself is a major character in the film. The sexual and drug morays of the day also play out wondrously as people party, speak freely about drugs and sex, and wander from lover to lover like shaking hands.  

Matt Cimber's direction is rather interesting.  He takes his time with shots and really lets you sink into the scenes as they unfold. He introduces certain elements throughout with care and grace, but some he just shoehorns in almost as an afterthought. There are some police characters that seem like Cimber is just showing them because he has to and he jumps away from them quickly so he can linger on more of Molly and her madness.

I caught this on SHUDDER and almost switched over to something else when I saw the look and style, but it slowly pulled me in and held my interest. Fans of 70s films really should check this out. It's a slow burn, but the acting and overall visual interest of the shots and clothing and acting style make it a fun watch.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Night Terrors - Turn your house into horror movie


Dear....LAWD! heheheh

Mind you, I'm a horror movie nut. I listen to podcasts like THE NO SLEEP PODCAST, LORE, and KNIFEPOINT HORROR when I go to sleep sometimes. Ice water in these veins, Baby. But, when I played NIGHT TERRORS on the iPhone, things changed drastically.

Something about having your own home - a place you know well and feel safe in - turned into a fright's scary!

So, you invest the .99 in the game, down it, clear the schedule for the next few minutes, turn off all the lights, headphones in - very important, then you start to prowl around your home.

The light on the phone is active and lights your way. The object - use your phone like a ghost hunting device, really. Find the spots in your home where the signal is strong and...see what happens.

I was involved with the beta testing for this and I got to see the pieces come into play. The audio side and the improvements there. The light and how that changes. And the signal and visuals pieced in, then all put together expertly to create a really chilling experience. it what is in the trailer yet? Crap falling off walls, ghosts in doorways, and things standing in front of you?  No, this is just the beginning. But...what a FUCKING CREEPY BEGINNING IT IS! heheehe  While some of these visual elements would be lovely to see in future revs, the audio involved in Night Terrors and the atmospheric visuals are masterful I've stated...FUCKING CREEPY!!!!!

How devoted am I to making this work? I went into my BASEMENT with this thing running and the light started flickering and the signal got strong and there was music and a voice and.....HOLY CRAP! I made the choice to return upstairs at once. Oh, but it didn't get better. It was far worse. I went into the room where all my kid's toys are and then....

Well, find out for yourself.

This is a major, major thing. It's huge. Sure, there are scary games on all sorts of systems where you see horrors and deal with them, but NIGHT TERRORS brings the horror to your home. You see YOUR stuff and hear these...things in YOUR house.

Mind you, this is the first phase. THE BEGINNING. freaked me out. Like...look behind me every two seconds JUST to make sure things were not slipping up behind me freaked out. When it ended, I muttered, "Ok...that was fucking great. Now let's get some of these lights on," out loud.

I can not wait to see what's coming next! I want them to do another round of funding somehow so I can toss more cash at them to keep moving his forward. It's a serious dive into the right direction for interactive horror augmented reality! BRAVO! quiet or they'll here you. 
  • $0.99
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Updated:
  • Version: 1.1
  • Size: 94.4 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller:
Rated 12+ for the following:
  • Frequent/Intense Horror/Fear Themes
Compatibility: Requires iOS 9.2 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Blood Splattered Bride

Another quicky review. 


Based on Carmilla (loosely, I'd say...) , BLOOD SPLATTERED BRIDE skims across the line of giallo and sexploitation. 

Newlyweds are off to  a rocky start as they begin their new lives in the husbands family home. When a mystery starts to unravel and a mystery woman enters the picture, things start to get very...violent. 

The film gets off the a very...woman abuse sort of start. LOTS of potential triggers here for folks. It's really rather awful. Poor Maribel Martín is constantly getting her clothes ripped off or forced into amorous interactions. She's so sweet and lovely that I almost turned the film off because things start off in such a mean way. 
There is a lot of exposition and talking as the newlyweds roam around exploring and humping their way along. :::grin:::

However, as things start to unfold and the story gets rolling, the actions are more part of a larger picture and less masturbatory, so it becomes more interesting. The giallo aspects alone really start to engage you. I actually was trying to sort out what was really going on. 

We have a lot of the classic Italian tropes going on here. 
Testosterone men, animal cruelty, mistreatment of women, nudity, strange children, mysterious women, and an odd mystery begging to be solved. 

 The film was engaging and interesting, but I can't say that I'd watch again any time soon.

The Baby

Super quick review for THE BABY.

I recently re-upped on my SHUDDER account, so I'll be side viewing some movies while I get some production work done leading up to Halloween. Films like THE BABY are perfect for this. There are not a lot of big visuals to concentrate on, just some great, gritty dialogue to laugh through while working. heheheh

The Baby is about a special needs man in the care of his Mother and two sisters. When a social worker shows up for her assessment of the situation, she gets to see what's really going on with the situation.

This is classic 70s grindhouse style goodness. The daughters are sexy and evil. The Mother is awful and growls out her lines between clenched teeth beautifully. The social worker sits atop her soapbox and preaches expertly. It's just full of camp goodness. It would be perfect for a party with pizza and adult beverages. :)

Fun and wacky stuff!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Train to Busan: I love you.


Another HORROR SHOW short, sweet, and to the point spoiler free review for ya. 

Yeon Sang-ho - wow. You directed the HELL out of this film! 

My wife - NOT a horror fan - loved the film as well. 

It's my favorite horror film in ages. 


Because the film has a soul, a story, and a goal. Unlike many films made these days. You care about what you are seeing. You care about the characters. You can see what's going on without jump cuts and shake-cams. Yeon Sang-ho, thank you for this. 

The folks at HORROR NEWS RADIO already did a fantastic job with the review side.  

The plot is super simple. A father takes his daughter to see his ex-wife in a city an hour or so away. He's not thrilled about having to do it, but it's his daughter's birthday and he feels like he needs to fulfill her one request. guessed it. It's not that simple. There's been a "RAGE VIRUS" like infection that's taking out everything in it's path. Will the folks on the train to Busan make it? Will they help each other or fight each other.

There are tropes - don't get me wrong. There are things we've seen so many times before. Characters that do the same thing. Scenes that have you groaning, "NO! Don't do THAT! GET OUT OF THERE!" But, the way they are presented is refreshing and interesting and vibrant and bound to have you clawing your legs and praying your personal favorite character makes it out alive. You're invested in the outcome. You care about the people on the screen.

THAT is what is missing from American horror offerings of late. Hell, that's what's missing from most American big budget offerings of late. You just don't give care one about what you are seeing. Train to Busan flips that script and makes you care so much that people were crying in the theater at the finale.  

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Again, my wife - NOT a horror fan - said, "This is the first good film I've seen in....a long time."

Now...careful...the film has...subtitles! ::::insert DUM DUM DUUUUUUUUM music here::: And, it has a foreign esthetic that some may not enjoy.  But man oh man....was it a fun ride!

This limited release gem will be great to see in the theater, but if it's not playing near you just make an effort to see it ASAP. 

World War Z? is a better World War Z film that World War Z was. ((Sorry, Brad))

Like 28 Days Later? Yeah, this is the Korean counterpart.

Man...I love this film! It brings new items to the zombie lore. It brings great action and acting to the genre. It delivers on high tension and white knuckle action. Practical effects are augmented expertly with enough CGI to get the story told.

It's now 12:10am and I'd gladly sit - in my living room - and watch the whole damn thing again.

My favorite horror film of 2016 so far for sure. 

As an allegory of class rebellion and moral polarization, it proves just as biting as Bong Joon-ho's sci-fi dystopia "Snowpiercer," while delivering even more unpretentious fun. Full review
Maggie Lee
Train to Busan is a public-transportation horror movie with a side helping of class warfare. Full review
Jeannette Catsoulis
The New York Times