31 January 2013

"THE REVENGE OF DOCTOR X" (Chilling Classics 50 Movies Pack, #19)

THE REVENGE OF DOCTOR X

Alternate Titles:
Venus Flytrap / Body Of The Prey / The Devil Garden / The Double Garden

USA / Japan, 1966/1970
Director: Kenneth G. Crane

4/10







How good can a movie be when it's based on an Ed-Wood-written screenplay, and directed by Kenneth G. Crane, the hack behind nonsense like "The Manster" or "Monster From Green Hell"? Well, surprisingly better than expected!


"The Revenge Of Doctor X" [title makes no sense - there is no Doctor X and no revenge...] tells the ridiculous story of a NASA scientist who crosses a Venus Flytrap with a carnivorous underwater plant, and creates a bloodhungry half-human half-Triffid monster-plant that looks like a massively deformed cushaw pumpkin with boxing gloves.

The movie is very similar to the 1930s "Frankenstein", complete with open ceilings, thunderstorms and a mob of torch-bearing villagers. The direction is bland, the pacing is too slow and the humdrum organ score is outrageously annoying. James Craig's over-acting is hilariously bad, and one-time-actress Atskuko Rome's performance is goofy as fuck.


However, it's packed with priceless dialogue lines like "You are no longer Doctor Bragan scientist... you are becoming Doctor Bragan madman!" or "Your father is the lightning! (...) Your mother is the earth, the rain your blood, the lightning your power! Ahaha!!", the special effects are a hoot and the ridiculous Franken-Plant design is "awesome". Oh, and there are even a few bare-breasted Japanese girls!

Overall, super-silly 60s rubbish. So bad, it's good! :)

Wiki ~ Imdb



30 January 2013

The Nods and References in "LIVID"

Julien Maury & Alexandre Bustillo's "LIVID" turned out to be one of my favorite horror films of 2012, not only because of the fascinating storyline, the breathtaking images or the haunting settings, but also because of some super-cool nods and references to various horror classics, as well as to the directors' debut movie "INSIDE".

The movie takes place on Halloween and there's a scene where three kids appear who wear the same masks that were produced and sold by the Silver Shamrock Company in "Halloween III: Season Of The Witch". One of the characters even starts to sing the famous Silver Shamrock jingle ("Happy, happy Halloween...").


One of the most important characters in "LIVID" is Déborah Jessel, a once-prominent ballet teacher, who is now lying in a coma. In one scene we get to see a certificate that certifies that Jessel has visited the "Tanz Akademie Freiburg" (=Dance Academy in the German town of Freiburg)...


...and avid fans of Dario Argento know that this is the same Academy where ultra-classic "SUSPIRIA" takes place!

Early in the film, two of the main characters visit a local pub called "L'Agneau abattu" which is French for "The Slaughtered Lamb".
Does that ring a bell? Yup, "The Slaughtered Lamb" is the weird pub in the Yorkshire moors where the opening of John Landis' "An American Werewolf In London" takes place. Even the pub signs look the same - yay for werewolf gore! :)

I'm not sure if this was meant to be a nod, but to me, the scene where the mysterious vampire girl Anna jumps from the cliff looks very similar to the clip in the the deadly video in the American "THE RING" remake, where Samara's mother Anna Morgan jumps from the cliff.
Oh btw, I just noticed that both characters' names are Anna...


Scissors play an important role in the uber-gorefest "INSIDE", and hey, there's also a pair of scissors in "LIVID"!
Further, the wonderful Béatrice Dalle, who plays the main villain in "INSIDE", has a small cameo in "LIVID".

Thanks to Imdb-user "bedlam75" who pointed out that the scene where Anna levitates, is extremely similar to the music video of Slipknot's "Vermillion Pt. 2".


Have you seen "Livid"? Is there more? If you discover more references, please let me know by leaving a comment below!



28 January 2013

WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT

WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT

UK, 2012
Director: Pat Holden

4/10










As a kid, I was obsessed with a book about ghost appearances and haunted houses in Europe. You know, stuff like the Enfield Poltergeist, the haunted Borley rectory, Theophilus Broome's screaming skull - and the fascinating case of the brutal Poltergeist activities in Pontrefact, better known as the "Haunting of the Black Monk of Pontrefact".

When I first heard that there was a movie in the making about that particular case, I was like "Fuck yeah! Finally!" because I thought that this would really make a great movie. Unfortunately, "When The Lights Went Out" ended up as a clichéd and highly predictable lame-o ghost flick that has not much to do with the actual story of the haunting, and also totally doesn't know what it wants to be: a 70s period piece? Another Amityville sequel? A comedic horror-drama??


Settings and costumes look awesome, and really give you the feel that this takes place in an early-70s Yorkshire. The acting is solid, the piano score is nicely done and the cinematography looks superb.
Everything else is just lame: it's dull, way too slow and unscary as hell. The ghost scenes are foreseeable and unspectacular, the Ju-On-like appearances of the ghost girl are rather annoying, the exorcism/séance sequences are terribly unspectacular, and the CGI is mostly awful.


If you're a fan of the Spanish "Exorcismus" or the countless "Amityville" sequels, then you just have to see this. Everyone else: don't bother.

27 January 2013

Horror Blog Of The Month: THE MOON IS A DEAD WORLD

Whoops! Been quite a time since we last had a HBOTM on the Diary. I blame it on my oh so stressful life ;)
Anyway, hello and welcome to the very first HBOTM of 2013:
"THE MOON IS A DEAD WORLD", the glorious blog of Ryne Barber, a nice guy from Massachusetts.


"THE MOON IS A DEAD WORLD" always reminds me a bit of Fred The Wolf's "Full Moon Reviews", because Ryne also covers a broad range of genres, not only horror, but also action movies, comics, comedies etc. You'll also find lots of book reviews and TV-related stuff here.

Ryne's writing style is simple and clear, and gives you a great insight in what he's thinking about all the stuff he watches / reads. Also, I love his banners which are always immensely eye-catching!



Hi Ryne! Who are you and why do you blog??

My name’s Ryne Barber. I studied English in college, and while I was whiling away my time (I wasn’t much of a partier back in school), it occurred to me that I might get some good experience in writing if I started my own blog.
Horror’s always been my first love, and I was pretty much watching a horror movie a night when I was done with all of my work, so I put that fascination to use and began to write reviews about what I was watching. Over time, that blossomed into a huge commitment - one forged in love, I assure you.

Which movie made you a horror fan (and why)?

That’s a good question, and I will probably have to indirectly answer it. That’s because the first horror movies I remember “watching” were actually films that intrigued me and also scared me. My dad owned a video store when I was a kid, so we always had movies playing when I got off the bus after school. He had a huge collection of horror movies with awesome VHS covers, so I was always attracted to that side of the store more than others.

I remember "Tales from the Darkside: The Movie" playing in the store one day, and I always thought that it looked pretty awesome - but I never actually watched all of it, because in a way I could never get over my fears. The same is true for "Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings"; I always thought the cover art looked great, and I was a big fan of Halloween, but when my dad brought it home one day for me to watch, I couldn’t do it. The movies that really influenced my love of horror were actually ones I never watched.

Who is your favorite horror director (and why)?

I like David Cronenberg a lot; I think that the movies he directs are often so weird and different that they appeal to my tastes much more than straightforward horror does. I like movies that don’t end well, that challenge thinking, that stray from the path. I think Cronenberg often tackles difficult subjects in metaphorical and symbolic ways, and they’re movies you can watch over and over to pick out the subtleties.

What are your alltime horror favorites?

1. Halloween
2. A Nightmare on Elm Street
3. Black Christmas
4. Suspiria
5. Videodrome

I know some of those picks are blasé, but these are really the films that I can watch again and again without getting tired of. They might be cliche, but there’s a reason why they make most people’s top lists.

What's the worst horror movie you've seen so far?

I’ve seen a lot, so that’s really hard to say. But if I have to pick one, and if I limit myself to bigger movies rather than some of the indie schlock I’ve seen, I would have to say something like "Jason X". That movie is some atrocious garbage, and I’ve only been able to watch bits and pieces of it because I can’t bear to see my friend Jason Voorhees in such a waste of a film.

Most of my friends don't like horror films. How about your friends?

Nah, mine either. It’s disappointing, too, because I don’t really get to watch horror movies with other people because they dismiss them so easily. I’m a lone horror viewer, and it’s not as much fun.

Choose: Freddy? Jason? Michael? Pinhead? Other?

Freddy. I think he’d be super-fun to hang out with if I ever turned evil and wanted to kill teenagers for fun (you know, jet black hair and everything like Peter Parker in Spider-Man 3). He’s got the sense of humor, but his powers allow him to do so much in the dream world. If Freddy was for some reason averse to my presence, I’d pick Pinhead because he’s got similar cool powers.

Choose: US horror? European horror? Asian horror? Other?

I prefer Euro horror because I think it’s very stylish (plus, I like the names they think up for gialli - damn good alliteration and symbolism). Asian horror is often too formulaic, and US horror is often too lazy.

Do you prefer watching horror at home or at the theater?

That depends on who is in the theater. If there’s a good, mature crowd, then I’ll have a blast watching with them - the laughs, the shrieks, they’re all added entertainment and for a moment, it feels like you know them just a little bit better. But if they’re teenagers with bad attitudes and a penchant for ruining key moments, give me a DVD and some popcorn instead.

What music do you like?

A lot of stuff - indie, death and black metal, hardcore, grindcore... the weirdest is harsh noise and harsh noise wall
(plug for my harsh noise wall project Hearse Fetish here!).

What do you read?

I read anything I can get my hands on, but it’s mostly horror, although for my blog I’ve been reviewing a lot of new mystery fiction coming out.

Tell me the first 3 things that come to your mind when you think about Austria (not Australia):

Drew a blank there. Guess that’s what happens when you’re an American! To be honest, my first thought was, “Gee, I should look something up about Austria and then put it down as if I knew it all along!”

Anything else you wanna tell us?

Keep reading all the horror blogs out there - they’re doing such great work, and it often feels lonely!

Thank you, Ryne!

http://www.themoonisadeadworld.net/



26 January 2013

"THE WITCHES MOUNTAIN" (Chilling Classics 50 Movies Pack, #17)

THE WITCHES MOUNTAIN

Original Title:
El monte de las brujas

Spain, 1972
Director: Raúl Artigot

5,5/10








Bizarre and intriguing but utterly disappointing Spanish horror-mess about a mountain in the Pyrénés inhabitated by a coven of witches, written and directed by prolific cinematographer Raúl Artigot ("The Ghost Galleon", "The Demons").

"The Witches Mountain" offers some great and compelling atmosphere, thanks to many grim-looking settings and locations, and a mindblowingly awesome soundtrack that consists of infernal choirs and thundering timpani.
Tha acting is decent, the camera work is good and it's full of impressive scenes, e.g. the opening (woman burns her own child), the scene with the dead witches in the photographs, or the grotesque climax.


Unfortunately, large parts of the film are way too slow, way too tedious, especially in the first half. The story makes absolutely no sense at all, and there are sooo many plot holes, sooo many illogical plot points, sooo many completely pointless and senseless scenes, it's extremely annoying. Plus: the editing is lame.

An interesting but frustrating movie, recommended to fans of "A Bell From Hell" and "The Vampires' Night Orgy".

Imdb


23 January 2013

GIRLS AGAINST BOYS

GIRLS AGAINST BOYS

USA, 2012
Director: Austin Chick

8,5/10











Last year at the /Slash Filmfestival, there was one film I had absolutely no idea what to expect of: "Girls Against Boys". There was hardly any information on the internet, no teasers, no trailers, only a few stills. The poster artwork looked strange, the synopsis was vague on the details and I was completely unfamiliar with the sparse filmography of Austin Chick.


When I finally got to the see movie, it totally blew me away. I gave it a very positive review (see here) and it even made it into my Top 25 best of 2012 list (see here).
On February 1st, the film gets officially released in theaters, on DVD/BluRay and on VOD, and thanks to Falco Inc. who sent me a screener, I got the chance to rewatch it and to once again dive into the awesomeness
that is "Girls Against Boys".

It's a weird, but super-impressive and highly unique film that combines elements of the classic rape-and-revenge flicks (without getting too exploitative), female buddy films like "Thelma & Louise" or the immensely underrated "Fun", love-dramas, modern day slashers and semi-feminist thrillers ("Millennium" trilogy).


The acting is absolutely terrific, especially the wonderfully natural and strangely haunting performances of Danielle Panabaker (what a beauty!), and the superhot Nicole LaLiberte who mesmerises as mystifying but merciless avenging angel.
Script and direction are almost pitch-perfect, pacing and build-up are excellent. There's lots of gripping tension, gorgeously polished photography, a few shockingly brutal kills and many scenes/sequencesthat will burn into your memory (most notably, the powerful opening and the badass samurai climax).

Best of all, the eargasmic soundtrack. Nathan Larson ("Silent House") created a fantastic score, consisting of emphatic electro sounds, psychedelic post-rock-like music, electrifying beats and pumping techno. Also, lots of fabulous tunes from The Cars, Donovan and Joy Division.


"Girls Against Boys" is a fascinating and perplexing little monster of a film.
 If you have no problem with genre-bending, provoking AND thought-provoking films, you must check this gem out!

Imdb

22 January 2013

BABY-SITTING

BABY-SITTING
(20minute short)

France, 2012
Director: Lucas Masson

9/10










I haven't seen a good French gorefest in quite a time, that's why I'm very happy that Kevin Sommerfield (writer / producer of "Popularity Killer" & "Teddy") brought me into contact with French director Lucas Masson, because - holy effin' shit!! - this guy pulled off an absolutely fan-fucking-tastic little bloodbath
that totally kicks ass!


"Baby-Sitting" is about a young girl who is baby-sitting for a rich couple, not knowing that their two kids are the weirdest, creepiest and most evil brats you can imagine. Think of "Village Of The Damned", "Babysitter Wanted" and "The Children (2008)" and you get the idea.

It starts out quite eerie and creepy in the first half, at times funny and highly amusing, but overall unsettling. Then in the second half, it goes batshit insane! Gore and blood all over the place, knifes in throats, axes to faces and gruesome burn wounds, plus: we get to see some animated scenes of a comic-rabbit killing and eating other comic-animals.


Direction and pacing are excellent. It's extremely tense and thrilling, and you never know what happens next. Every actor delivers a top-notch performance, especially main actress Morgane Housset and the two child actors (Vasco Bailly-Gentaud & Prune Richard). The violin-driven score is powerful and very Bernard-Herrmann-esque, and the camera work is just terrific.

Who would have thought that baby-sitting could be that awesome? ;-)

Imdb
Baby-Sitting on Facebook

Horror Movie Diary quoted on "FAMILIAR" poster!!

Huge, HUUUGE Thanks to director / writer / producer Richard Powell and producer / editor Zach Green for putting a quote of my "Familiar" review onto the brandnew and super-awesome "Familiar" poster! Woot!! :-)


http://www.fatalpictures.com/



21 January 2013

DEADBOX

DEADBOX
(9minute short)

USA, 2011
Director: Richard Karpala

8,5/10




In Austria, movie kiosks have the same 'significance' as VOD-sites: they 'exist', but they are no match for the rental stores which are still extremely popular here around. I would love to have one of these rental kiosks in my area. The concept is simple, fun and easy, and it would me spare the time to hop on the bus and get to my local rental stores which are a few miles away from my place - well, as long as it's not a "Deadbox" kiosk! ;)


Richard Karpala's debut short "Deadbox" is a fabulous little Twilight-Zone-like chiller about a vending machine called 'Deadbox', created by a mysterious company, and filled with POV-snuff-movies. The storyline is as simple and effective as the kiosk-concept, and thanks to Karpala's competent direction, the short length and the top-notch pacing, the film comes off as cool and extremely entertaining.


The cinematography is nicely captured, the filming locations look great (especially the eye-popping video arcade) and the soundtrack (mix of rock tunes and synth music) is superb. The acting is very solid, and I love the editing and the well-designed 'Deadbox' user interface.

An excellently enjoyable short film. Deadbox rocks!

Imdb
DEADBOX on FB

Attentions, people of Toronto: "DEADBOX" will be playing on January 23 at the MLT Carlton Cinema!! Full Details here!

20 January 2013

Project Asylum: ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES / BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES

"Project Asylum" is a loose spin-off of "Project Terrible", created by grandmaster of crap movies Mondo Bizarro. It's not punishing each other with Asylum-movies, it's actually three loonies (Mondo, Gaming Creatively & me) watching a few Asylum-flicks voluntarily.
I decided to check out these two mockbusters because I wanted to know if they're both better or worse than the originals. To my surprise, both turned out to be way, WAY better than expected!

ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES

USA, 2012
Director: Richard Schenkman

6/10










Either I'm getting stupider and stupider, or The Asylum finally starts to make better and better films. Seriously, this is undoubtedly the best Asylum flick I've seen so far. Fuck Tibur Bekmambetov and his shitty "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" which (against my expectations) turned out to be one of the unfunniest movies in 2012.
"Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies"... now, THAT is a fun flick!!



Ok, the movie suffers from the usual Aslyum flaws: low budget, cheap ass CGI, a mediocre screenplay and some really weak acting. It's also way too long (96 minutes!) and should have been at least 20-25 minutes shorter.

Besides that, "Abe vs Zombies" simply kicks ass! There's lots of entertaining zombie action, hilarious beheadings and silly-looking gore. Tons of cool action and some surprisingly tense scenes, a neat opening, a satisfying climax, and an unexpectedly grim, unexpectedly fascinating ending. Camera work is solid and the score is pretty effective.


The acting may be weak, but there are at least many highly amusing characters, such as the two prostitutes (one of them is an ex-lover of Abe), a young Teddy Roosevelt and agent slash actor John Wilkinson who's actually John Wilkes Booth.

Best of all: the fantastic performance of Bill Oberst Jr. as Abraham Lincoln. Holy shit, this guy is great! Not only the best acting performance in any Asylum flick so far, but also lightyears better than the poor performance of Benjamin Walker in "Vampire Hunter".
Oberst swings the shit out of his sickle and slashes off the zombies in really badass ways, whilst delivering fantastic one-liners like "Emancipate this!" or "Kill all these zombies!"



Who actually needs a Steven Spielberg adaptation of Lincoln's life when you can have gems like this instead? ;-)

Wiki ~ Imdb



BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES

Alternate Title:
Attack L.A.

USA, 2011
Director: Mark Atkins

4/10








Last year in April, I got to see one of the worst theatrical Sci-Fi movies of the last 20 years "Battle: Los Angeles", an unbelievably dumb and super-shitty big-budget-crapfest that left me and my mates utterly disappointed. My review turned out to be one helluva rant, and led me to assume that the similarly-titled Asylum-ripoff would be more fun to watch - and now that I finally seen this ripoff, I can assure you: YES! "Battle OF Los Angeles" is DEFINITELY more fun than "Battle: Los Angeles".


Don't get me wrong: it's not exactly a good movie. It's basically your average low-budget Asylum-mockbuster. Mark Atkins ("Haunting At Winchester House") is a pretty bad director and also unable to deliver a proper script. The story is stupid and unoriginal, it's packed with unoriginal dialogue and plot points that lead to nowhere, the camera work is lame, the score is generic and most of the CGI is laughably bad.

However, there are many things that made me enjoy it more than I wanted to:
The first 20 minutes are surprisingly tense, fun and entertaining. Emmerich's "Independence Day" in a nutshell, plus some silly time travel stuff and a few decent-looking effects. There are also some mildly thrilling scenes in the middle and the ending is cool.



Theresa June-Tao is hot as hell, Nia Peeples delivers a super-fun performance as Katana-swinging babe and Robert Pike Daniel is simply hilarious as grumpy old sergeant who constantly says stuff like "We ain't dealin' with the Rooskies here." or "I'll come down and blow your brains out!"
There are also some silly-looking robots and slimy aliens, tons of fire, explosions and shit, fight scenes, flight scenes and one uber-dumb beheading.


Say what you want, I kinda liked it. It's dumb fun and quite entertaining - and it makes me forget about the horrible original :-)


Wiki ~ Imdb

19 January 2013

MAMÁ

MAMÁ
(3minute short)

Spain, 2008
Director: Andrés Muschietti

9/10









"Mamá" is the second short film from Spanish director Andrés Muschietti, a super-short but super-effective little chiller about two girls who try to leave the house because their mother has come back, and mother isn't exactly a sympathetic person. Hell, she's not even a person!

Guillermo del Toro was so impressed by "Mamá" that he immediately got in contact with Muschietti and helped him turning the short into a full-length feature (which hits US cinemas this weekend, Austrian cinemas in April).


It's easy to see why Del Toro was so impressed. "Mamá" is a well-made, well-developed mini-shocker that takes place in a beautiful but eerie house. The cinematography is polished and striking and the music is gripping. The girls act very believable, the CGI is surprisingly very good (considering the ultra-low budget) and I love the fact that it looks more like a scene from a film, rather than an actual short film. Highlight: the jump scare at the 2minute-mark which is so freaking awesome, it almost made my heart stop.
 
Overall, a kick-ass short that really needs to be seen. I doubt that the feature film will live up to it, but... well, I keep my fingers crossed.

17 January 2013

Project Terrible: DUMPSTER BABY / THE SUCKLING

Congrats to PT mastermind Alec (Mondo Bizarro) who once again managed to give me a painfully stupid and super-annoying cinematic piece of shit *ugh* ;-)

DUMPSTER BABY

USA, 2000
Directors: James Bickert & Randy Hill

1/10










Cover and title make you think that this is some kinda killer-baby-trash in the vein of "The Suckling" or "It's Alive"... Hell no! "Dumpster Baby" is actually an unbelievably bad no-budget piece of shit about the unwanted baby of a fat crackwhore. We never get to see this baby, just a bunch of wrapped up blankets that get passed around from person to person, mostly potheads and retarded douchebags. This passing-around happens over the entire movie. At the end, the baby dies. That's it! That's the whole movie! Grrrr!!!


"Dear God No!"-director James Bickert (and some other guy) created one of the most terrible Troma-productions I've ever seen. The whole thing is stupid, dull and boring. The acting sucks and apparently every single character is annoying as fuck. Camera work and lighting are awful, and the sound quality is so goddamn crappy, most of the dialogue is unhearable.

If it wasn't for some nice boobs and a neat soundtrack, I'd give this turd a 0/10.

Imdb



*phew* I've done it! I've fuckin' done it! Yay!! Now it's time for a worthy reward. What about some killer-baby-sploitation that is actually good? Fuck you "Dumpster Baby", here comes the "Sewage Baby", better know as "The Suckling"!! :-)

THE SUCKLING

Alternate Title:
Sewage Baby

USA, 1990
Director: Francis Teri

6,5/10








Anti-abortionists and pro-lifers - stay away!
Everyone else, welcome to one of the most tasteless, most ridiculous and most hilarious indie-horror-flicks of the last 30 years: one-time director Francis Teri's "The Suckling", a silly and grotty but fabulously entertaining and wonderfully absurd trashfest that takes place in an abortion clinic that is also a whorehouse, where one aborted foetus gets flushed into the sewers. There, it gets in contact with some toxic waste which transforms it into a blood-hungry mutant-monster. It returns back to the house with vengeance, puts goopy flesh-stuff on doors and windows, and starts to kill off all the inhabitants. Fun! :)


The bad - most of the acting is pretty shitty, due to the fact that nearly all of the actors are complete amateurs. The editing is weak and the cinematography could have been way better. Also, the pacing is pretty odd, many scenes in the middle are lengthy and quite tedious.

The good - the movie has a gritty and quite compelling atmosphere that make it look like an exploitation movie from the 70s. It's packed with gruesome gore and cool-looking practical effects, and the "Suckling" itself is just awesome. Just take a look at its bulging eyes, its huge needle-sharp teeth and its bizarre skin. Man, you just have to love this creature!


There's also a grotesque but awesome opening dream squence that almost feels Argento-esque, a pointless but highly amusing post-credits scene, a surprisingly haunting piano-soundtrack (composed by a guy named Joseph Teri, probably the director's brother) and some hot nudity. Plus: as poor as the acting may be, at least all of the characters are funny as hell. Remember all the quirky girls and guys from 'Hotel Broslin' in Frank Henenlotter's "Basket Case"? Yup, we're talking this level of hilariousity!

Overall, an absolutely fabulous little b-movie that will always have a special place in my horror heart. You see, it's movies like these that make me hate CGI so much...


Wiki ~ Imdb


Total Pageviews

:-)

:-)