Friday, August 31, 2018

They Have Changed Their Face (1971)

Unlike most of my posts, this review overview 

This is a very interesting, statement of a film that I had to give a little love to. They Have Changed Their Face has some horror elements, but it's really a statement about advertising of all things. It's an odd one. Director Corrado (Baba Yaga) Farina and his writing partner on the film Giulio Berruti deliver up a very interesting fairytale about the vampiric advertising industry and the consumerism it tries to send into a frenzy.

We have an odd business scene opening things up here where Alberto Valle is told that the owner of the company - Giovanni Nosferatu...yes....Nosferatu - wants to see him in his mountain villa right away. As Valle travels into the mountains and fog, things start to get strange. The locals don't speak to him and the rustic buildings seem to be falling into a horrid state. He meets a woman named Laura and she joins him for part of the journey. When they arrive at the villa, she says she'll wait for him and makes one more attempt to get him to come away with her instead of dealing with this business situation. He declines and makes his way into the villa.

I'm trying not to go detail by detail here, but there are so many fun details! :)

We see that guards travel around in little, European cars and find out later that there are eight of these cars in total. Cars are used to cover the massive grounds. Odd, kinda makes sense. Valle meets Corrina, Nosferatu's striking, willowy secretary who has a haunting appearance. Ghostly almost. She says that Nosferatu will meet him for dinner and that he never leave his office during the day. When he finally meets Nosferatu (played by the awesome Adolfo Celi of THUNDERBALL fame) he's a bit taken aback when Nosferatu tells him he wants Valle to be the new CEO of the company.

Now, this is where I was expecting a ham-fisted vampire story. But....NOPE! It's anything but standard. Here's where things get very spoiler. The film takes it on that the vampire has switched from stalking prey in the dark of night to seeking out more consumer prey in the light of day. They are entwined in everything. Politics so that they can change laws around the things they LSD. They have religious representation now. And, they run advertising and consumer products like a well oiled machine. Sucking the money from consumers...and blood from time to time. They also groom people from birth to be various positions within the company.  Valle even finds a photo of himself as a baby in a large tome and sees that he's been called out as future CEO since the beginning of his life. Very deep and trippy.

Valle is repulsed by Nosferatu and his mob and vows to take him down however he can. He shoots Nosferatu many times and escapes the vampire, his secretary, and his car guards.

That is until he finds Laura and sees that Nosferatu has gotten to her - sucking her blood and changing her from groovy, topless, hippy roamer to up and coming secretary with a desire to settle down and have a family.

At that, Valle gives in and let's Corrina escort him back to the villa...where he sees that Nosferatu is alive and well and ready to shake the hand of his new CEO.

The movie kinda hit me. It's a big, dreamy metaphor of course, but it's well done and highly entertaining. You also only really have a cast of four and the interplay is very engaging.

I love Adolfo Celi as Nosferatu. He's always a grand, mafia-like character that's fun to watch. He was great in EYE IN THE LABYRINTH as well. A great character actor.  Giuliano Esperati's Valle was pretty great as well. Really real and playing the "man in a strange land" role believably and realistically. Francesca Modigliani was riveting even though she wasn't around much in her Laura role. She had these fantastic, large eyes that were mesmerizing. Sadly, she's only done this and one other film - The Sin in 1972.

The most curious character here for me was Geraldine Hooper as Corinna. She's birdlike and ghostly with a skinny frame and strange, almost alien face. I was confused because she actually played a man in Dario Argento's DEEP RED. Though, now that I write that, I'm not 100% sure of anything anymore. hehehe . She's striking and unusual and fun to watch on the screen. She has a haunting nature and plays sweet as well as she plays sinister.

So...that was long winded, but only because I found the film to be so very interesting. It's really not "horror" honestly, but it has a undertone of the horrific and gothic that I loved. If you'd like to take a gothic journey into the 1970s world of "FIGHT THE MAN!" filmmaking, you'll want to check out THEY HAVE CHANGED THEIR FACE.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Slit (short)

SLIT is a solid little 11 minute short from 2015 that I recently caught on Amazon Prime. It really made me want to see more from writer / director Colin Clarke. It's a super tight and well put together giallo exercise that is done extremely well. We have our lovely ladies, stalker cam elements, and a black gloved killer, but the real goodness is in the smaller giallo flavor goodness.

The lighting is fantastic. Over the top reds, blues, and greens in true giallo style. Even the whiskey featured is J&B. That made me happy.

While the short is only 11 minutes and much if that is a lingering sexy scene, the short is well worth the time investment when it delivers up the more horrific elements.

Lillian Lamour, Miranda Cox, and Aley Kreinz turn in good performances even if their screen time is limited to the 11 minute production.

Fun stuff. Well worth the viddy!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Revenge (Hevn)

Full disclosure - REVENGE is not a horror film.

When I got the screener, I THOUGHT it was a horror film, but no. I was fine with the fact, however. I don't JUST watch horror. After I figured it out, I said, "Well, I just won't put it on the blog," and continued watching. However, when I finished it, it was so damn good that I had to write about it even if it's not horror. It's a fantastic film.

Note two. It's a foreign film and I know some people are deathly afraid of subtitles and having to read, so if you are one of those folks, be warned.  Moving on.

The film is about Rebekka - a woman looking for payback. She goes after her sister's violator in Western Norway and manages to get into their family and community looking to kill the person who ruined her sister. But, as Kahn says, "Revenge is a dish best served cold."  :::grin:::   Why not really make the suffering last? She begins a campaign to ruin the person who ruined her sister's life.

I just finished watching the film and it's just fantastic. It's a character driven drama with so many sharp edges to it that it really keeps you engaged and wondering what will happen next. There are moments of dread that spike up and really added a small "thriller" element to the film that I loved. Like when you are driving along in a car and suddenly hit a dip or hill in the road that shifts you around like a roller coaster for a moment. You're left slightly shocked and you heart is beating faster...and it's fun!

Kjersti Steinsbø's screenplay (based on the story by Ingvar Ambjørnsen) is super tight and rockets along at a pace that makes it a really fun ride. I had to look up Steinsbø's other work and now I plan to seek out the other films which include a film about a son who's umbilical cord is permanently attached to his mother so they are together all the time (WTF?!) , another about a death metal band getting stuck in a Catholic school and another that needs nothing more said about it than it's title - Viking Vampires. Love it. :)

The acting is fantastic as well. Just...mind blowing. Siren Jørgensen's performance as Rebekka rolls through so many emotions throughout the film that it's mind blowing. She has her big secret about her sister, comes to kill someone, than changes her mind and works on becoming part of his inner circle - all the while plotting his demise. She becomes friends with his wife. Watches their child. All the while bouncing between blank hate and kind cheer and friendship. Wonderful.

And the supporting cast is fantastic as well. Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Trond Espen Seim, Helene Bergsholm, Maria Bock Maria Bock all come in as amazing and move through scenes solidly. There's something about the European acting style that I really enjoy. Not sure what it is. It's more...believable? I can just watch and I don't get caught up in thinking they are acting. They just...are the characters. Especially the tension between Frode Winther as Morten, the man who did the sister wrong and Siren Jørgensen as Rebekka. Jebus....tension you could cut with a knife.

And the environment is like a "COME TO NORWAY" advert. It's friggin BEAUTIFUL! I want to go now!

But...and I'll try not to lean into spoilers, though there are not two wrongs of this nature make a right? Especially if she took her first course of action and just killed him. I mean, sure - he's not around to hurt anyone else, but that's against the law as well. And the tack that Rebekka takes to fix things has an edge as well. Is it fair? Does Morten make valid points about Rebekka's role in what happened as well?

It's a really intense and thought provoking film that dials in the RIGHT OR WRONG nature of peoples actions expertly. Most people in the film do or say something that you can look at and say, "Well...wait a minute. Um...that sounds right and I totally get where you are coming from, but do you see how it's also really...REALLY wrong?" I love that in a film. The blurry lines between right and wrong.

Long and the short is that I LOVED this film. I think I'll go see it again when it comes to theaters - tomorrow, August 17th 2018 across the US - so I can see the visuals again on the big screen. So beautiful.

Film fans.  Acting fans. Story fans.   You need to check out REVENGE (Hevn) at once. It's a fantastic film that needs people to see it and enjoy it. It's earned it in my book. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Suite 313

Easy does it. Eeeeeeasy. This is not a "great" film. This film isn't going to be on many "BEST OF" lists.'s totally entertaining and with a 63 minute's well worth checking out.

Basically what we have here is a first person shooter horror game brought to life. And, they actually do a pretty good job of it.

An officer is called out to answer a 911 type call. When he arrives on the scene, he can tell that things are far from ok. There are several grisly scenes laid out before him and as he tries to piece things together, he gets a call from the original 911 caller telling him that he's in danger and that he needs to listen to what she has to say very carefully.

The female caller guides him along as things become more and more grim. But...what is the true nature of Suite 313?

 The film has all the video game tropes. First person perspective. Traps. Monsters. Jump scares. I found myself giggling from time to time because it actually kinda reminded me of the old SEGA games they were knocking out with video clips playing as you played along. Like the one I loved and made it through called SEWER SHARK. Just...without the horrid compression artifacts. :::grin::::

The filmmakers also manage to avoid the horrid camera vortex found in many found footage style films. The camera sweeping around in an awful way making the viewer ill. The cam is rather steady throughout Suite 313 and I REALLY appreciated it.

The effects are rather well done overall. While the budget is rather low, the effects play out in some gory and ghastly ways.

I hope that writer/director Aaron Pederis continues making films. Maybe one with a more standard narrative the next round. I dig his style and he seems to have a real grasp on the genre.

Give it a go! Free with AMAZON PRIME as of the time of this posting.