Time for a change

Posted: February 8, 2011 in [Misc]

After several protests against changing the name of my blog, I decided to keep it’s name the same. However I was still craving a change, so viola…..New layout! I quite like it, I hope you do too.🙂

 

I’m pretty stoked to talk about this one, as it is a film that is dear to my heart. As I’ve mentioned before in my blog, my Dad has always been a huge influence in my love for horror cinema. I began watching movies with the greats at a really young age, and for some reason I really loved Vincent Price’s work. There was something very obscure and classic about him that I’ve always been so enthralled by. In fact I recently found out that my aunt met him in the 80s and they had a lengthy conversation apparently. I’m very, very bitter about that. ANYWAY.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes stars Price, playing Dr. Anton Phibes, a famous organist and musical genius. In 1921 after a devastating car crash that leaves him horribly disfigured and his wife Victoria severely injured, Dr. Phibes goes into hiding after learning that his wife died on the operating table. For several years he plots his revenge against the doctors that killed his wife. Four years after the accident, with the help of his mute sidekick Vulvania, the Doctor begins to put his plan into motion, with a series of grotesque murders.

I love love love this film. It is so completely bizarre and imaginative. For example, Dr. Phibes is left without the ability to speak after the accident, so he uses his knowledge of music to create a device that allows him to speak through a Victrola. To obscure his scarred face, he creates a lifelike mask and wig.

The best aspect of this film in my opinion is the creative death scenes. Each medical professional faces a horrifying and inventive end, obviously calculated with extreme care. This film is really a pleasure to watch. It has been described as having an art deco feel, with its vibrant colors and 1920s fashions.

To put it all together, this is a super great flick with awesomely bizarre characters, fantastic contraptions and a storyline that will keep you interested all the way through. A classic for sure.

For fans of frog masks, animatronics, and embalming fluid.

Session 9 (2001)

Posted: February 3, 2011 in *NEW!!*, Psychological, Supernatural

Gordon is the owner of a small asbestos removal company, and is in desperate need of cash. He places a bid on a job for a huge abandoned mental institution, telling the client that he can have the job done in one week. After winning the job, Gordon and his crew get to work, but start to show strange effects from being inside the institution.

(This is not a still from the movie, but an actual photo of the state hospital.)

This film has a very calculated feeling to it. It builds tension slowly, to the point where you are completely on edge. I found it to be suspenseful from beginning to end, and for the first time in month if not YEARS, I was frightened during a movie. Yes, frightened. Nervous. I wanted my Mommy. The only thing I found issue with was the ending, I feel like it was drawn out a bit much but overall I was satisfied and I got my taste of gore.

If you are looking for cheap scares or heavy violence you won’t find it in Session 9, but you will find a damn creepy movie with some really great cinematography, since it was set in the real Danvers State Mental Hospital, in Danvers Massachusetts. I have seen it in person and it’s huge and such an amazing place to film a movie like this.

This movie is for fans of hazardous materials, David Caruso smoking weed, and multiple personalities.

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die is the story of Dr. Bill Corter, a young surgeon who is obsessed with the possibility of the transplant of human organs and appendages. His increasingly risky operations on the living and the dead cause worry to his father, an established surgeon and his assistant whom he has performed unsuccessful procedures upon. Dr. Corter is presented with his most challenging task yet when he is involved in a fatal car crash with his girlfriend Doris. Doris’s body burns in the crash, but not before her boyfriend retrieves her decapitated head from the wreckage. By using a serum that he developed, he manages to keep her severed head alive in his basement. Now all he needed was a body…


It’s no wonder that this film was used in an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, as it’s completely ridiculous. From it’s comical music to it’s amateur-at-best acting, this movie will have you laughing the whole way through.

In my opinion, the best part of the movie is when the doc decides to go out and find a suitable body for his girlfriend/girlfriend’s head. There is this ridiculous saxophone music playing. Reminds me of a low-budget beatnik porno. He ventures off to a “strip club” where he meets this weird-looking blonde who is both horny and the worst actress ever in history. She never really makes full eye contact with the doctor so it looks like she is reading cue cards the whole time. Then there is a hysterical cat fight out of nowhere. What the f*ck?!


In spite of the limited settings and terrible acting qualities of this film, there was one shred of gold in it. Doris’s severed head is talking about the sadness of being without a body, being a freak of nature and misunderstood. She says, “People fear what they can’t understand, and can’t see”.

I’d say that is extremely relevant to the state of our society, don’t you?

This film is for fans of date rape drugs and corny monsters.

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Shock

FYI: This controversial film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini (who was murdered shortly after its release) is based on the book, The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade. It is very graphic in nature so viewer beware! It’s still banned in Australia!

This notorious film is set in the Republic of Salo of Italy in a fascist area in 1944. Four old political guys (including the president) decided to marry each others’ daughters in the start of a bizarre ritual. They then orchestrated the kidnappings of 18 young men and women. They took them to a palace where they subjected them to violence, sex and corruption.

Now, back to what I was talking about before, how this film is MORE. It takes talent to be able to direct a film with complete balance between art and obscenity. I knew what I was seeing, and that it was repulsive, but it didn’t feel that way.

The reason for me was the camera work. There were lots of long shots, figures in a hallway, a person at the foot of the stairs, someone through a window.

The movie has a charm and grandeur to it that cushions everything else that may be objectionable.

This film is clever in that way, because you lose sight of the seriousness. Several parts are just plain funny, other scenes are visually beautiful, until the ending, when the reality of it comes crashing back down.

If you are used to these sorts of films and haven’t seen it I’d say watch it. But I know there are some of you out there who are new to the exploitation genre, and to you I would say have caution! This is not the type of movie you invite a new girlfriend to watch with you, or watch “just for fun”. You might hate it or think it’s brilliant, but the bottom line is that it’s a real piece of work.

This film was based on the novel Hell House (for some reason WordPress doesn’t allow me to underline this…wtf), by Richard Matheson.

In this film, a dying millionaire hires three people to investigate the possibility of life after death. To do this, they must spend several days in the notorious Belasco house, said to be the most haunted in the world. The investigation is headed by Dr. Lionel Barrett, a physicist who dabbles in the study of parapsychology. His wife Edith has accompanied him during his visit.

Assisting the doctor is a mental medium, a young woman by the name of Florence Tanner, and also a physical medium named Franklin Fischer. Many years earlier Mr. Fischer had been in the house for another investigation, and was the only one of the group to make it out alive.

I own the novel Hell House and as a Richard Matheson fan I was hoping this film would stay true to the story. I was pleasantly surprised with it’s accuracy. The atmospheric qualities of the film created a tension that I love. The minimal use of music made the story feel realistic as opposed to theatrical. No special effects or excessive jump scares people.

What I love most about this flick is the story itself. I don’t want to give it away but it’s pretty dark shit which is good if you’re a freak like me. This is a pretty entertaining movie, some blood but nothing to write home about.

The Legend of Hell House for me was way better than The Haunting. Radical classic haunted house story. Worth a watch. For fans of black cats, amputees, and sleepwalkers.

Black Swan (2010)

Posted: December 19, 2010 in *NEW!!*, Psychological

I loved this fucking movie! The director Darren Aronofsky also directed other such great films like Pi, Requiem For A Dream and one of my favorites of the past 10 years, The Wrestler.  I was at first hesitant to review this because I thought going into it that it would be more in the psychological thriller category…Which is is, but it most certainly is still a horror film. It may be one of the most unsettling and unique ones I’ve seen in a very long time.

Nina Sayers played by Natalie Portman, is a ballet dancer at a New York company, trying to make her way to center stage. When the company’s prima ballerina suddenly retires, Nina tries for the now open part of queen swan in the production of “Swan Lake”. The story of Swan Lake is very tragic one. There once was a princess who was turned into a white swan. The only way she could break free from her swan form was from the magic of true love. The swan finally met her prince and was going to be free, but the prince was tricked by the good swan’s evil twin, the black swan. Knowing that she would never become a princess again and would be trapped forever, the white swan killed herself.

(Winona Ryder as Beth, the ex-prima ballerina)

The manager of the company, Thomas, casts Nina because of her wonderful dancing and portrayal of the white swan. She is fragile and timid, innocent and pure.  But Thomas cannot see the role in her of the black swan, whom she must also play. The black swan is sensual and commanding, charismatic and dances with reckless abandon. Nina’s life of pressures; her eating disorder, constant training and overbearing mother have turned her into a living doll. To try to control the chaos in her life, Nina has made her dancing mechanical and perfect, never a step out of place. Then a new girl joins the company named Lily, played by Mila Kunis. Lily is everything Nina isn’t; dark, dangerous, carefree—perfect for the role of the black swan. Lily pulls Nina into her world, and from there things start to get freaky.

I was so drawn in by this movie. I’m trying to figure out how to even convey how I felt about it because a.) I have limited writing ability and b.) I can’t really think of the words to describe it. Included in those words would be frantic, claustrophobic, paranoid, and confused. These were all things I felt in Nina’s character, a girl who was so dedicated and determined literally be perfect that her real life became the dream and Swan Lake became her reality. Her descent into complete delusion was moving and the ending sequence was beautiful and heart-breaking. I want to say more but I just can’t spoil it. All I can say is that I was invested in Nina so much and was so sucked in and her descent into darkness was perfection. I found Natalie P’s performance to be tremendous in this film.

The subtleties of this movie were wonderful. I especially liked the use of bird-like sounds while Nina was dancing, the tap tap tap of feet on the floor or a whoosh of wind caused by the flapping of wings. These became more and more apparent as Nina became more and more delusional toward the end of the film. More obvious was the use of mirrors throughout the film, which gain more symbolism as Nina’s self-identity comes more into question. I was impressed with the authentic portrayal of the ballet industry. I’m not a ballet dancer obviously, but had several dedicated dancer friends growing up. It was not always a pretty picture. This film showed those parts….Broken toenails and blisters, blood, nasty feet…I was very squeamish during many scenes, including any and ALL of the ones involving fingernails or tiny cuts, etc. Honestly that is more disturbing to me that seeing a guy get hacked to death with a chainsaw. In addition, even if you don’t like this movie, it just LOOKS great. The photography is gorgeous.

I could really go on about this but you just have to go out and see the film. I’d have to say that this is the second ballet-oriented horror film I’ve ever seen, second to the fabulous Suspiria! Black Swan is for fans of girl on girl action, feathers and gross skin problems.