29 March 2012

11-11-11

11-11-11

Alternate Titles:
11-11-11: The Prophecy / 666: The Prophecy


German Title:
11-11-11 - Das Tor zur Hölle

USA / Spain, 2011
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

3/10



Darren Lynn Bousman is a hit-or-miss director, and although I certainly expected a hit after the kick-ass "Mother's Day" remake, his newest film is a huuuge miss: "11-11-11", a stupid and frustratingly bad occult-horror schlockfest about the number 11 and some religious nonsense.

Boring and predictable from beginning to end, with incredibly weak acting (especially Timothy Gibbs' laughable performance), horribly dull dialogue sequences, an unimaginative violin score, a very far-fetched plot, a silly ending and a shitload of supposed scares that aren't scary at all!


Some cool settings, many beautiful shots of Barcelona and a super-sexy Wendy Glenn. Everything else about "11-11-11" is entirely forgettable.

28 March 2012

CONTAGION (2011)

CONTAGION

USA / United Arab Emirates, 2011
Director: Steven Soderbergh

8/10










Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion" is a captivating and visually stunning virus-outbreak-thriller, and I highly regret that I didn't see it in a theater, because this is a movie that was definitely made for the big screen.

Script writer Scott Z. Burns and director/cinematographer Soderbergh created an incredibly realistic doomsday scenario that kept me glued to the screen, due to the excellent direction, the gripping 'apocalyptic' atmosphere and the superbly written, superbly paced story with all its believable characters, fantastic dialogue and interesting sub-plots.


The cast is impressive (stand-outs: Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Matt Damon & Marion Cotillard), Cliff Martinez' vibrant synth-score is outstanding, the editing is awesome and I love the wide range of settings/locations that keep the film moving.

It could have been darker and a bit more shocking - nevertheless, I totally enjoyed "Contagion" and I think it's one of Soderbergh's most powerful movies next to "Traffic" and "Kafka".

Wiki ~ Imdb

27 March 2012

Marcello Avallone: SPECTERS / MAYA

The 1938-born Marcello Avallone is undoubtedly one of Italy's most unknown, most underrated genre directors of all time. His filmography is sparse: only 9 movies in 30 years, mostly erotic stuff and TV movies - but in the 80s he shot at least 2 wonderful horror movies which are in no way inferior to other 80s Euro classics from Ruggero Deodato, Lucio Fulci or Beppe Cino.


SPECTERS

Original Title:
Spettri

German Title:
Specters ...Mächte des Bösen

Italy, 1987
Director: Marcello Avallone

6,5/10





"Specters" is a pretty cool but quite underrated late-80s Italo-creepfest in the vein of Lamberto Bava's "Demons" and Wes Craven's "A Nightmare On Elm Street", flawed and cheesy but overall a must-see for Italo-horror-freaks.


The movie is quite a mess: the plot about a bloodthirsty ancient demon that rises from its grave is silly and makes not much sense, there are several unnecessary subplots that make even less sense, the acting is mediocre and the ending is just stupid.

Everything else is just brilliant: there are lots of eerie and incredibly atmospheric catacombs and corridors, lots of thrilling and highly suspenseful scenes, many creepy images, a few jump scares and some cool gore. The soundtrack is mostly pretty chilling, the cinematography is striking (cool angles, great tracking shots, stunning use of light & shadow), the film-in-film sequence is awesome and best of all, Donald Pleasence in it! Not his best performance but he's solid. Love how he says "Whether evoked, or not evoked... Evil will come."


Definitely one of the highlights of the late 80s, a time where the Italians started to produce crapfest after crapfest.

Imdb



MAYA

Italy, 1989
Director: Marcello Avallone

7,5/10











Marcello Avallone's second and last horror feature: "Maya", a quite stunning-looking and immensely atmospheric Euro-gem that looks and feels as if Lucio Fulci did a sequel to Wes Craven's "The Serpent And The Rainbow".


With a very good, quite original script about an old Mayan curse, and a pretty solid cast (Peter Phelbs, Mariella Valentini), Avallone travelled to Venezuela where he shot this haunting and unique little horror film which is just awesome (apart from a few plot holes and 2-3 annoying characters).

"Maya" is packed with impressive scenes (a possessed man who vomits snakes, a brutal finger wrestling fight), eerie settings (the Mayan pyramid, an almost abandoned gas station) and inventive kills (death by fish hooks, metal rod through head).
Gore and make-up effects all look fantastic, there's some gorgeous nudity, and I love all the obvious John-carpenter-influenced scenes and sequences (loads of creepy fog at the climax; a "Christine"-like killer-car...).


The movie is incredibly tense and thrilling, well-directed and very well-paced. The cinematography is fabulous, the editing is terrific and the electronic/Caribbean soundtrack is highly effective and fits the mood.

A fascinating and visually stunning true Italo-chiller. It's a pity that Avallone fell into obscurity afterwards.


Imdb

25 March 2012

R.I.P. ROBERT FUEST

Robert Fuest, one of England's most interesting 70s genre directors has died on March 21 at the age of 84. Between 1970 and 1973 he created the incredibly stylish horror opus "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" and its sequel "Dr. Phibes Rises Again", the stunning suspense-fest "And Soon The Darkness", the sci-fi classic "The Final Programme" and the Emily Bronte adaptation "Wuthering Heights".

His promising career ended after the savagely reviewed 1975 horror-flop "The Devil's Rain". Subsequently, he did lots of mediocre TV stuff, a weak "Stepford Wives" sequel and the softcore drama "Aphrodite". He retired in 1987 and focused on his passion for painting and lecturing at the London International Film School.

Rest In Peace, Robert Fuest
1927 - 2012


23 March 2012

CREATURE (2011)

CREATURE

USA, 2011
Director: Fred Andrews

3/10











Not as bad as I expected, but still pretty poor:
Horror-Fan hater Fred Andrews' "Creature", one of the least-profitable films ever released in the USA. A lame low-budget quasi-tribute to the good old 'man-in-a-rubber-suit' monster movies from the 50s. Badly written, badly directed and complety unoriginal.


What's good:
Some fun performances from horror icon Sid Haig and the superhot Lauren Schneider. The opening scene is quite cool, there's lots of gorgeous nudity, some cool shots, a few fairly tense moments and at least the first half is somewhat entertaining.

What's bad:
It's obvious that Andrews is not only a lame an untalented director, but also a horrendous writer: the script is a an awful mess of worn out horror clichés and the plot is just stupid.
The acting is mostly bad, nearly all settings look just ugly, there's no suspense or atmosphere whatsoever, there's hardly any gore, the special effects all look cheap, the editing often feels very amateurish and worst of all, the Creature itself is one of the goofiest and most silly-looking monsters in horror history.


Dumb and avoidable backwoods nonsense. For bad-movie fans only.

Wiki ~ Imdb

Patrick Rea: THE EMPTY ACRE / THE SEARCH FOR INFLATA-BOY

THE EMPTY ACRE

USA, 2007
Director: Patrick Rea

4,5/10











Before the kick-ass "Nailbiter" and lots of awesome short movies, there was
"The Empty Acre"
, Patrick Rea's debut feature film - an interesting but ultimately disappointing low-budget horror-drama about a dead acre of land that feeds on the inhabitants of a small farming town.

The movie is highly atmospheric and very well shot. There's lots of beautiful sceneries and eerie settings, a few quite chilling scenes, the acting is neat (most notably Jennifer Plas), the basic plot is cool and I just love the bleak ending.


Unfortunately, it's hardly ever tense or thrilling, due to some horribly slow pacing, the story doesn't flow, the music doesn't fit, nearly every character is completely unlikable, and it's annoying that we get to see the same Acre-shots over and over.

I'm sure "The Empty Acre" would have worked way better
as a 20-30 minute short film.

Imdb



THE SEARCH FOR INFLATA-BOY
(8minute short)

USA, 2003
Directors: Patrick Rea & Ryan S. Jones

8/10





Next to a few deleted scenes, an alternate ending and a still gallery, there's also a bonus film on the "Empty Acre" DVD:
"The Search For Inflata-Boy", one of Patrick Rea's very first short films, an absolutely hilarious mockumentary-spoof about the 'Inflata-Boy', a mysterious creature (part boy, part inflatable) that wants to annihilate the Human race (sic!).


Well-directed, well-shot, superbly edited, full of neat actors playing goofy actors, and packed with super-funny ideas, e.g. the Inflata-Boy POV, silly grainy photos, the Inflata-accident dramatization, the Mexican guy ("Pitter patter, pitter patter..."), the drawings and the Inflata-sheddings which totally made me laugh my ass off.

Like one Imdb-user said, it may be 'not the most amazing short film ever', but it's definitely a brilliant laugh riot, almost as funny as Rea's fake-trailer "The Fluff".
I loved it!

Oh btw, if you believe to have seen the Inflata-Boy near your home,
call us at:

21 March 2012

Austrian Slasher Cinema: DEAD IN 3 DAYS 1 & 2

DEAD IN 3 DAYS

Original Title:
In 3 Tagen bist du tot

Austria, 2006
Director: Andreas Prochaska

8/10








It's not Austria's first horror film (that's probably "The Hands Of Orlac" from 1924), but it's definitely Austria's first slasher movie:
"Dead In 3 Days", a great-looking and wonderfully entertaining horror movie in the vein of post-"Scream"-slashers like "I Know What You Did Last Summer" or "Urban Legend", written and directed by Andreas Prochaska, the editor of Austria's best-known horror movie "Funny Games".

 
I admit, it's a bit unoriginal and adds nothing new to the genre, but that doesn't matter because it's so much fun. It's full of thrilling and highly suspenseful scenes (kitchen scene, toilet scene), superb kills (death by aquarium, hospital dream sequence) and incredibly creepy / atmospheric settings and locations (the boathouse, the Traunsee, the murderer's house, many eerie woods and corridors).

The actors (all unexperienced newcomers) deliver fabulous and highly believable performances, especially Sabrina Reiter, the strangely gorgeous Julia Rosa Stöckl and Andreas Kiendl as some kinda 'Austrian Dewey' ;-)
 The cinematography is fine, the score is chilling, the rocking soundtrack is pretty nice and I really, really love that the whole movie is spoken in Austrian dialect, not in Standard German.


A prime example of a good and well-made modern-day slasher flick.
Austria ftw! :)

Imdb



DEAD IN 3 DAYS 2

Original Title:
In 3 Tagen bist du tot 2

Austria, 2008
Director: Andreas Prochaska

6/10








"Dead In 3 Days 2" (horrible title) is a good and interesting sequel,
but no match for Part 1.

 
What's good:
It's not a rehash of the first part, but rather some kinda backwoods-horror that takes place in the snowy Tyrolean mountains. Reiter, Kiendl and Stöckl brilliantly repeat their roles, the other actors are also very good, there's lots of brutal gore (bitten off penis, stabbed throat, death by boiling fat...), lots of eerie settings and creepy images, a cool score and incredible camera work (weird angles, great close-ups, cool tracking shots).

What's bad:
The first half is way too slow and tedious, the whole movie runs far too long (almost 110 minutes!), the story is pretty weak, it's full of lame and pointless scenes that don't make much sense, and the ending is just laughably poor.


No disaster, but no masterpiece either. Watchable but somewhat forgettable.

20 March 2012

THE CALLER (2011)

THE CALLER

German Title:
The Caller - Anrufe aus der Vergangenheit

UK / Puerto Rico, 2011
Director: Matthew Parkhill

7/10







From the first time I saw the trailer, I knew I would like this movie... and I was right! "The Caller" is a fascinating and intriguing suspense-horror-thriller with some terrific time travel / time loop elements. Think of "Frequency" or "Lake House" as a horror film, throw in some "Butterfly Effect" and Stephen King's "Sorry, Right Number", and you get the idea.


"The Caller" impresses with a complex plot, interesting characters and Matthew Parkhill's surprisingly gripping direction. Sergio Casci's script is not without its flaws (a few plot holes, illogical plot points, 2-3 pointless scenes), but it definitely is very well-built, very well-paced: starts out as divorce-drama, quickly changes into an a thrilling, almost Hitchcockian mystery-horror and ends up as powerful shocker.

All of the actors give great performances, especially the beautiful Rachelle Lefevre and the ever-awesome Luis Guzmán. The cinematography sets a dark and eerie atmosphere, there are many quite creepy sets, the soundtrack is unevocative but effective, and the finale is just kick-ass.


It's not perfect, it's a bit flawed, but overall, "The Caller" is a chilling and thoroughly satisfying low-budget gem. We definitely need more movies like this!

NOSTALGIA

NOSTALGIA
(12minute short)

UK, 2011
Director: Harry Bartholomew

4,5/10










"Nostalgia", the debut short from first time filmer Harry Bartholomew (15 at the age of filming!), is a weak little vampire-themed comedy/drama/horror-short that desperately tries to be entertaining and original, but ultimatey fails due to its obvious similarities to Romero's "Martin", a somewhat half-assed script and the unexciting direction.

Starts out quite promising and amusing, but after the first 5 minutes it gets boring and tiresome. There's no tension or atmosphere, the 'twist' is presictable and to me it seems as if Bartholomew was more interested in 'cool' camera angles, than in actually telling a story.


Wesley Skelly's (director of "Footsteps") performance is superb, the soundtrack is well-composed and the editing is very well done (both also by Skelly) - but apart from that, "Nostalgia" is definitely not my cup of blood.

18 March 2012

The Awesomeness of Movie Packs

Yay, I finally made it! 12 months after I won my Pure Terror 50 Movies Pack, 
I finished watching all 50 movies *woohoo*

Here you can find the links to all 50 reviews:
horrormoviediary.net/PureTerror50


Top 10 BEST Pure Terror Flicks
1. The House By The Cemetery - 9,5
2. The House That Screamed (La Residencia) - 9
3. It Happened At Nightmare Inn - 7,5
4. Bloody Pit Of Horror - 7,5
5. Mutant - 7
6. The Werewolf Of Washington - 7
7. The Undertaker And His Pals - 7
8. Hands Of Steel - 7
9. The Tell-Tale Heart - 7
10. Death In The Shadows - 7


Top 5 WORST Pure Terror Flicks
1. Curse Of Bigfoot - 0,5
2. Point Of Terror - 1
3. Night Fright - 1
4. They Saved Hitler's Brain - 1
5. Manos: The Hands Of Fate - 1





My next 2 projects:
1. CULT TERROR CINEMA 12 Movie Collection
A pack of 12 horror / horror-related flicks from the 50s-90s, I won together with the Pure Terror box.


2. CHILLING CLASSICS 12-Disc Set
Another incredible 50 Movies Pack incl. 50 horror flicks from the 40s-90s. Didn't win but bought it. Yes, I bought it myself and no, I'm not insane. I'm just madly in love with all the Exploitation / Drive-In / Grindhouse stuff.
Um... I guess I have no life LOL :-)


But before I go back to weird monster schlock and hilarious Euro-crap, 
there's lots of contemporary stuff a-coming. Prepare for "The Hunger Games", "The Caller", "The Tapes", "The Woman In Black", "51", "Chronicle", "Contagion" etc. etc.

"BLOODY PIT OF HORROR" (Pure Terror 50 Movies Pack, #50)

BLOODY PIT OF HORROR

Original Title:
Il boia scarlatto

Alternate Titles:
The Red Hangman / The Scarlet Executioner


German Titles:
Scarletto - Schloss des Blutes / Das Schreckensschloss des scharlachroten Henkers

Italy / USA, 1965
Director: Massimo Pupillo

7,5/10


1965 was a prolific year for Italian director Massimo Pupillo and the pinnacle of his otherwise sparse filmography. He made 3(!) horror movies that year: 
the atmospheric "Terror Creatures From The Grave", the hardly available "Lady Morgan's Vengeance" and this one, "Bloody Pit Of Horror", an extremely campy, pretty fast-paced and highly entertaining piece of Euro-trash (loosely based on the works of Marquis De Sade) about a group of models and photographers who come to an old castle which is inhabitated by a mad ex-actor who believes he is the reincarnation of the gruesome 17th century hangman "The Scarlet Executioner".

The movie is jam-packed with amusing characters and gorgeous semi-nude girls, all played by quite decent actors (best: Alfredo Rizzo as very likable publisher, Walter Brandi as cool horror writer and the beautiful Femi Benussi as silly blonde), all delivering super-funny dialogue lines:
"I'm not just a dumb blonde, you know." - "Who says you're a blonde?"
"The Crimson Executioner invented the torture of icy water... for creatures like you!"
"You met the owner of the house... what's he like?" - "It's difficult to say, really. He was half-hidden behind a table."
"He's dead and I want to go on living." - "I'll double your salary!" - "My life's worth more than that." - "Triple it!" - "Ok, it's a deal."


Highlights:
- Mickey Hargitray as Executioner, one of the most hilarious over-acting performances I've ever seen. He's wearing a hysterically funny wrestling outfit (eye mask, red hood, black belt), constantly moans about how the world 'corrupts the harmony of his perfect body', and seems to be immensely excited when killing or torturing one of his victims.
- All the goofy torture devices, e.g. boiling oil, the torture rack, a fire cage and THE highlight of the movie, the uber-awesome spiderweb-room incl. criss-crossed steel cables and a mechanical spider!
- A bunch of damned funny scenes, like the one with the dead body at the wheel of a car car that drives aimlessly in circles, or the ridiculous photo shooting.

Excellent 60s nonsense - together with "Undertaker And His Pals" and "Werewolf Of Washington", the most entertaining movie in this wonderful movie box.



Wiki ~ Imdb

17 March 2012

"SCARED TO DEATH" (Pure Terror 50 Movies Pack, #49)

SCARED TO DEATH

USA, 1947
Director: Christy Cabanne

3,5/10











"Scared To Death" is a silly little mess of a comedy-thriller, at times fairly entertaining but overall quite silly and forgettable.

The story is stupid and confusing, and the script is even more confusing, full of huge plot holes, illogical plot points, badly written characters and pointless scenes. The repetitive score is unimaginative and annoying, the perpetual flashbacks are unbelievably laughable, the settings all look cheap, it's hardly ever tense or thrilling, it's packed with scenes that are supposed to be funny but aren't funny at all, and Nat Pendleton's detective character is a pain in the ass.

Ok, Bela Lugosi's performance is pretty cool, some of the other actors deliver solid performances, the midget is fun and there are some hilarious lines that made me chuckle ("Lorette, Lorette, I'll make a bet the man in Green will get you yet..." / "Pardon me Professor, but didn't I just see you baying at the moon?").
Nevertheless, I guess "Annoyed To Death" or "Bored To Death" would have been better fitting titles :)


16 March 2012

"IT HAPPENED AT NIGHTMARE INN" (Pure Terror 50 Movies Pack, #48)

IT HAPPENED AT NIGHTMARE INN

Original Title:
Una vela para el diablo

Alternate Titles:
Nightmare Hotel / A Candle For The Devil


German Title:
Die Saat der Angst

Spain, 1973
Director: Eugenio Martin

7,5/10


A surprisingly thrilling and highly interesting, but unfortunately completely forgotten horror-thriller from Spanish director Eugenio Martin, the man behind the awesome 70s classic "Horror Express".

Incredibly tense and gripping from beginning to end, packed with a huge amount of breathtaking atmosphere and full of stunningly suspenseful scenes and moments. The story about the 2 murderous sisters is told in a a haunting and fascinating way, thanks to an intriguing script and Martin's powerful direction.

The acting is great (especially the 3 main actresses Aurora Bautista, Esperanza Roy and Judy Geeson), most of the settings look quite creepy, the cinematography is beautiful and the intense string soundtrack is very well fitting.

A forgotten Euro-gem, definitely worth checking out!

Note: the version on this box is heavily edited. If it would be uncut, I'd give it a 8,5/10.

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