Archive for January, 2010

Cold Prey 2 (Fritt Vilt II)

by on Jan.23, 2010, under Daily Review

Mats Stenberg, first time director has a tough role to follow after Roar Uthaug offered us the first film back in 2006 (here as producer) and does a fine job, seamlessly knitting this sequel to it’s predecessor, so we infact have one long tale as a single film even. Beautifully shot with incredible cinematography with nice depth of field. Stunning vision also. One of the initial scenes sees Jannicke (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) almost causing a crash as she awaits at the snowy side of the road, covered in blood, pick axe in hand. Beautiful scene.

So what do we have. Jannicke is taken to hospital. Cops follow up her story and discover the bodies and ship them back to the morgue. (in the hospital) After the thaw, and Jannicke giving a few revenge punches to the chest it appears that Geir OlavBrath (this time around, played by Robert Follin as the killer snowman) is not quite dead. Unbelievably, the hospital staff set to work to save the life. Strange one this as the first film is strongly set about survival, and here we see the villain being saved by the hands of doctors, obviously their main job in life. So he’s back, and the bodycount continues.

There are some moments I would have trimmed out. A scene with the main cop investigating the missing persons lists from over the years, tracks down an old doctor involved with Geir Olav as a child, even at the birth! We don’t need to know this. Other moments could have been explored. The nurse and cop scenes offer some real nice characteristics and real cinema magic. Ingrid is stunning once again though and although sparkling in every scene, takes a back seat in many sense allowing other actors to push though and breath. Marthe Snorressdotter Rovik, first time actor as head nurse, Camila as an example, who does a great job.

These two films are stunning. It’s great to see a fine pair of slasher flicks that aren’t going out of their way for ultraviolence instead offering classic plot, well filmed with a magical cast. Could possibly be my favorite Horror Double bill and with a third film on its way; Something I’ll be looking forward to.

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by on Jan.22, 2010, under Daily Review

Adam Green has hit gold with this movie. Writer and Director, we have a new horror icon on the screen, Victor Crowley. The tale of a young deformed kid who lives out in the swap with his father. Kids make fun of him, and on one Halloween, accidentally set fire to the house. As Victor burns to death, his father attempts to save him, but breaks an axe right through his sons head. 10 years later, Victor is back to haunt the swap and take revenge. OK, so this sounds like a bunch of other slasher films. The Burning and Friday 13th are prime, but as with all things, books, film, art; everything is lifted from the cauldron, but it’s what you put back in that matters. This is super fresh and original.

Joel Moore (Dodgeball and Avatar) takes the lead as Ben, visiting Mardi-Graas with a bunch of friends who are all out for a good time. Ben has recently been dumped by his longtime girlfriend and is struggling to get over her and rather than opt for some crazy party, takes an unofficial Horror tour of the swap (Advised by horror legend, Tony Todd – Candyman). After some unfortunate events, the guests of the tour end up creeping around the swap, trying not to get picked off by Victor.

This film has the lot. It’s perfectly shot. Has a great balance of humor and horror with fast quick on liners, likeable characters and plenty of inventive gore sequences. Tamara Feldman, Deon Richmond and Joel Murray offer great characterisations, whilst Joleigh Fioravanti and Mercedes McNab offer an original double bimbo act. It’s also great to see a few cool genre cameos from Todd, Englund, Buechler, Joshua Leonard and Kane Hodder which adds credence to this new offering. Sequel is due out later this year.

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The Loreley’s Grasp

by on Jan.21, 2010, under Daily Review

Amando de Osserio, Director who gave us the Blind Dead movies, here tackles a local folk lore tale, along the lines of the Wolfman, we have the Loreley. A Beautiful magical woman (Helga Line) from the lake who transforms into a terrific beast at night, when the moon is full, collecting the hearts of victims from the local rural village; The Loreley! Trouble starts when the murders get closer to the village, and a school for girls. (What else would you drop into the middle of this film?) So the school hires a hunter (Tony Kendall) to track down the beast and save them all; they did not expect him to arrive dressed in Elvis attire.

It’s a great film. With all sorts of love interests going on, Sirgurd (Kendall) being the object of desire here with even the beast falling for his charms, even though there are moments when he has a bit of a dickie fit, Kevin & Perry style, stamping his foot. Elke (Silvia Tortosa) and Brigitte (Marisol Delgado) also cannot resist.

The gore is good. Some really nasty scenes, one especially bad, made me cry out ‘jesus christ’, which is not the usual thing I do whilst watching a bit of horror. There are some scenes also which just make you question, ‘what are they doing?’ A scene where they find a dead bloke (Not just dead, but skin ripped from the face) Sirgurd just spins the chair the corpse is sitting on around. Acts as though it’s the most usual thing in the world. Soon after they find some parchment. Sirgurd reads some they mentions he cannot read the rest, casually flings the paperwork to the floor. Odd. Also, look out for the maid finding the second victim, as she walks straight past the bloody mess.

There’s another strange thing going on here. The film has a look of mid 19th century. (Set on the Rhine in Germany) Villagers with pitchforks and carts and flagons of ale, but then the school for girls is swinging 60’s, big hair and two piece bikinis. It’s a good contrast and it works well. Another highlight is Loreley’s secret under lake cave with a few other women hanging out in leopard skin bikinis, who for some unknown reason end up rolling around having a cat fight. Class. There’s also a really nice poetic twist at the end. Nice camera filming effect too.

The version I have is dubbed, but I hear there is a English subs version available. This would be highly recommended, as the translation of the dubbing is bad at times.

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The Fifth Cord

by on Jan.20, 2010, under Daily Review

One of the lesser known Giallo films, this is a real gem. The Fifth Cord takes the usual premise of giallo. A gloved murder stalking the shadows, long coat and a quick step. What reason can one have? Vendetta, revenge, obsession or desire. A recoded message is played over some crazy POV with a fish eye lense. ‘I’m going to commit murder’. Creepy little voice. ‘I can imagine the thrill and pleasure as i stalk my victim.’

The 70’s always looked so cool too, especially in Italy. High fashion with a beautiful cast, many who end up with a knife in the neck. Franco Nero (Django) heads the bill as Andrea the alcoholic journalist, investigating a series of murders, or is he being framed? The stunning Silvia Monti plays single parent, a plot thread which leads us to an amazingly edgy scene late on in the film. Ennio Morricone adds a fine score whilst Luigi Bazzoni directs, offering contrasting locations from dark concrete landscapes to beautiful tree lined parks which reflects with Nero’s bleak character, surrounded by death against beautiful victims. Pamela Tiffin and Agostina Belli add to the whole atmosphere of the film. But it’s Nero who keeps this film on track. A stunning performance, with real character and presence.  

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The Car

by on Jan.19, 2010, under Daily Review

There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, no way to stop… THE CAR! Great catch line. This is everything that you can expect from a killer car film. It’s Duel and Christine. It’s fast moving film which rockets along, characters getting knocked off all over the place when you least expect it. The car terrorises a small community. The local Sheriff (James Brolin, father of Josh, most famouse for Amityville Horror and Capricorn One) makes it his mission to stop the car and save the town.

It’s actually a good film. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s quite good. One thing which stands out is the script. Nice and snappy with some brilliant lines and brutal, realistic characters. I think it would be wrong to actually compare this to Duel, as it’s a much faster paced flick and feels more like Jaws than anything else. Brolin is great, a real star, but the rest of the cast are about as perfect as could be. John Marley, Kathleen Lloyd and Liz Thompson to name a few. Behind the scenes, Mike Butler wrote the screenplay, a great piece of work. He later worked on The Gauntlet and Pale Rider but little else. Likewise, Director Elliot Silverstein had some Twilight Zones and Tales from the Crypt to his name, and it’s easy to see as The car feels very much like an extended Twilight Zone.

But apart from fine script and edgy pace, Brolin’s dramatic lead, the Car is the true star of the film. It’s a beautiful motor built in a time when cars had some style. A true piece of art, racing along the dusty roads of the Nevada desert. Crushing cyclists and pedestrians alike. A spectacular high impact ending too.

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The Norliss Tapes

by on Jan.18, 2010, under Daily Review

Dan Curtis pilot for what should have been a quite a good TV series, kind of a similar idea of Kolchak (Curtis’ earlier TV movie, later turned series), tells the tale of an author, Norliss (Roy Thinnes) researching work for his latest commission, a book to uncover the myths of supernatural and strange goings on and offer a viable rational reasoning for these events. In essence, Scooby Doo. When Norliss is noticed as missing, all that is left behind is a series of tapes, each uncovering a different tale of strangeness and mystery.

During this first outing, we have a killer artist rising from the grave with a very blue face and a beatnik haircut and a strange sculpture of a demon, covered in blood. There are some other lose ends which would have been tied up If the series would have been commissioned, alas, not to be.

It’s a shame, as this pilot shows some real potential and although not the finished article, could have claimed it’s place in TV history. Several years later, Kolchak was commissioned and Norliss was long forgotten. Worth a look, Thinnes is a good lead actor (later seen in Falcon’s Crest and Law & Order), Angie Dickinson is a gift to the show, whilst Claude Akins is brilliant in every scene as Sheriff Hartley.

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The Stone Tape

by on Jan.17, 2010, under Daily Review

Interesting one this. I’ve been wanting to see this for as long as I can remember, and I’ve wanted to like it, but it really doesn’t live up to the hype and it’s a real, damn shame.

Written by Nigel Kneale the outstanding writer of supernatural fiction, (Quatermass), a group of scientists find themselves in a haunted house, studying and attempting to capture data of it’s former occupants. This teleplay from Christmas 72, terrorised viewers and thus claims its place in horror history. Nearly 40 years later, although the plot holds up and the acting is of a pretty good standard, there is just something missing and I’d point he finger at Peter Sasdy’s direction which is dry and flat. The actors, mainly TV, stars of Crossroads etc are left with a script of two dimensional characters and struggle to offer any empathy. Eve at strong emotional moments, characters shouting or crying, the viewer never gets too involved.

Jane Asher and Michael Bryant carry the whole film and take their roles on board, fleshing out the characters and knocking out fine performances, but the production isn’t big enough. Drab camerawork and direction just contrasts with their performance making the whole thing unbalanced. On top of this, we have the whole thing shot on video which looks awful. This could have been a very different film with a quality director, and real film stock.

All that aside, the plot and script are great and as it builds, the dry, bad production takes a back seat as the viewer is encouraged to want more and find out what is the meaning to this haunting which is a credit to Kneale, but also to Asher and Bryant who are astonishing. There are also some tremendouse scenes, especially ten minutes from the end and the final twist in the last scene which offers a real chill to the spine and gives you something to think about. 

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Week 12

by on Jan.16, 2010, under 365 Schedule

Real mixed bag this week, and a few more suggestions from Sean. thanks!

  • The Stone Tape
  • The Norliss Tapes
  • The Car
  • The Fifth Cord
  • The Loreleys Grasp
  • Hatchet
  • Cold Prey 2

Next week, watch out for Sorority Week! 7 films that celebrate that US College tradition.

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House of Whipcord

by on Jan.16, 2010, under Daily Review

Pete Walker and writer Dave McGillivray offer this dark tale of morality and correction of those seen as misbehaving in the public eye. An old couple have set up a school for girls, who get picked up by their son Mark (Robert Tayman), kidnapped and taken to the school where they are sentenced for their crimes and locked in a cell. Barbara Markham is Mrs Wakehurst, her husband, Justice Bailey (Patrick Barr) with the assistance of head jailer Sheila Keith treat fashionable young women to a good beating for their wrong doings. It’s a terrifying tale which could be seen as very appropriate in today’s media obsessed culture.

Anne-Marie (Penny Irving) is one such woman, treated to a death sentence, tries several attempts at escape with the help of some of the other captives. One such failed attempt results in a lorry driver contacting Anne-Marie’s friend Julia (Ann Michelle) who, with the help of boyfriend Tony, (Ray Brooks, last seen as an exJailbird in Eastenders) tries a rescue.

Another scorching movie from Walker with a great script and perfect performances. The story is quite horrific and brutally realistic. Some nice motors too: a gold Jenson and a Police Rover are always good to see on the screen.  

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by on Jan.15, 2010, under Daily Review

I can’t believe I’ve avoided Pete Walker films for so long. I’ve seriously been missing out. I actually find myself having a Tarkovsky moment, discovering such a fine film maker and now having the chance to explore the back catalogue.

Walker captures the essence of 1970’s England with rich realistic charm which uncovers a dark under current of the British culture. Interesting characters are flung into slightly edgy scenarios, captured with sharp camera work which can be claustrophobic at times, which only adds to the dread to be uncovered. Script is flawless which is so important in a film which could very easily fall into a Robin’s Nest/Minder category, although with more gore and nastiness. It’s brutal and realistic which obviously give the actors something to sink their teeth into and knock out sterling performances.

Sheila Keith and Rupert Davies are terrifying in their roles with Keith playing a crazy old granny tarot reader, Dorothy Yates with a taste for flesh. Her Husband (Edmund, played by Davies) although not in support does little to prevent this practice which is somewhat more disturbing, especially in the final moments of the film. Deborah Fairfax and Kim Butcher play contrasting sisters, (Jackie and Debbie) and daughters to the crazy Yates. Jackie is off the rails out of control whilst Debbie is kind and caring, although still delivering animal flesh each week to her mother as a way to keep her cannibal instincts under control.

It’s shocking that neither Fairfax or Butcher had much of a career, (Single roles in Doomwatch, Catweazle, Terry & June and Chocky to name a few)  as they both offer real charisma. But Sheila Keith is triumphant in her role here as always.

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