Archive for July, 2010

Week 40

by on Jul.31, 2010, under 365 Schedule

Christ, will this series of Summer gore ever finish? Almost. Not much more left to go, and this week is the beginning of the 2nd part of my Horror Legends series. Jason!

  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre (remake)
  • Hostel
  • Hostel 2
  • Break
  • Friday 13th
  • Friday 13th 2
  • Friday 13th 3
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Harpoon: Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre

by on Jul.31, 2010, under Daily Review

Madness on the high waves off the coast of Iceland with Whale hunters turning their attention to a group of tourists on a holiday boat to see Whales in their natural habitat.

The film jumps all over the place with actors and characters from every ethnic background with all sorts of slight sub plots, many of which just don’t tie up.  There’s a sailor who rapes a girl for no reason really, who afterwards just hops in a boat and sails off. For the most part, this is Hills Have Eyes on sea with murder in every possible sense. I didn’t get though, that for most of the film, people are running and hiding on a boat which isn’t too big really; making phone calls and casual chats, even a romantic moment. Strange. A great scene has a crazy captain blast a harpoon into the sea after a Chinese business man; brilliant moment in the film. There’s also a really good effect with a crowbar type device, thumped right in the face of a tourist.

It all looks good, some beautiful cinematography from Jean Noel Mustonen, with great performances all round. Gunnar Hansen makes a brief appearance which gives the film some credence in its attempt to shoot Chainsaw in the Ocean. It’s good and enjoyable, but not as straightforward as it should have been. There’s some kinda side story with a bloke pretending to be physically challenged who strikes a deal with a Chinese woman who pretends she can’t understand English. What was that all about? There are also issues around the only survivors fighting each other.

The other crazy bit for me too, which some might enjoy, was at a low point when the boat is floating aimlessly before the crazy folk attack, one of the girls starts singing Bjork’s ‘It’s oh So Quiet’, although it’s a great touch over the end titles with a cover version.

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Bay of Blood (Twitch of the Death Nerve)

by on Jul.30, 2010, under Daily Review

I don’t know where to begin with this one. I was a bit nervous to revisit this film after all these years, but how glad am I that I did. It’s a beautiful experience, not only the cinematography, but the perfection in Mario Bava’s execution of style reinforced with intriguing plot and gorgeous Italian flair. This is the beginning of the slasher genre. Right here in Italy, 1971. This is the inspiration for the rest.

The basic plotline involves the inheritance of a beautiful, natural bay with a nice big manor house on the grounds. A husband apparently bumps off his crippled wife which starts a whole string of murders by the hands of relatives in order to gain the booty. Through flashbacks we get some incite to reasoning, later on in the film this is, but prior, a group of free loving friends break into the home for fun and frolicking. These soon meet the hatchet and are taken out in a style which will be replicated over and over in millions of slasher films. The original Friday 13th actually recreates some of these murders if my memory serves me well.

Performance wise, the cast are cool looking and offer an awful lot to the film. Charasmatic and beautiful, enigmatic and charming. Italians know style and for me, the 70’s is the height of cool. Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli, Brigitte Skay are brilliant, with Claudio Camaso stealing the show as the lesser known about, young son (Simon) of Countess Donati (Isa Miranda).

The film is a triumph not only in intriguing plot and great acting, but Bava’s celebration in film making. He’s the original master of cinema using (or creating) every trick in the book. Inferior camera angles, panning shots, close ups, beautifully constructed framed scenes which could be perfect photographs. One thing I love is his use of constructed angles during dialogue with each sentence, the angel changes from a low shot, to a frame of multiple characters, to close up then high shot etc. Giving a real sense of involvement, a technique I’ve never seen to this extent before. Another great style point is his use of focus, or should I say, his use of out of focus. Finishing scenes blending out of focus and lingering on other scenes still out of focus with dialogue of soundscape taking priority over senses.  His work is a joy to watch.

So, what about the gore. Plenty and from numerous weapons. Boiling water to the face. Hatchet to a face. Spiky stick through the back of two lovers, the old pole in the chest, nailed to a door keeping the victim upright. Loads. A few real highlights. The wheel chair death at the beginning of the film is outrageously good with the viewer feeling every chocking moment as she twitches and struggles with her toes along the floor. The other, would be the body found in Simons boat with a squid wrapping it’s tentacles and suckers all over the blue rotting pasty flesh.

What else can I say? I could go on and on. The music is brilliant too, very atmospheric. Who’d have thought the use of bongo drums could be so effective. This should be the first port of call for anyone wanting to dabble with a bit of Mario Bava and for those looking for some real summer camp slaughter. This is the original and its perfect.

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Summer Camp Nightmare (The Butterfly Revolution)

by on Jul.29, 2010, under Daily Review

I was expecting something completely different with this one. It’s far more innocent than I expected, but has some vicious undertones and shocking connotations. For the most part, the film looks like an afternoon drama, but at various moments, we have some brutal events.

The film is set in a summer camp. The new director is a bit of a god worshipping dictator who soon gets on the wrong side of the kids. The kids are of various ages which makes this film stand out fro other summer camp style movies that mainly focus on teens. Here we have some very little fellas looking up to the older kids who take control of the camp after a run in with Director Warren (Chuck Connors). The kids cause a riot and revolution with Franklin (Charlie Stratton) taking control, taking the law into his own hands with some brutal results.

The cast are great. Some real good youngsters, Adam Carl is a little star. Then we have Harold Pruett and Stuart Rogers, not forgetting Melissa Reeves. This is not the usual Camp movie which focuses on a killer in the woods. Here we have dangerous minds controlling youth and dealing with issues in archaic manor. The film tackles murder, rape and abuse, all difficult due to the style of the film which plays more like a drama. There are some other shocking scenes, the cooking of a young pig, still alive over an open fire; although nothing is shown, it’s a nasty thought and reinforces what’s going on in these kids minds.

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A Perfect Getaway

by on Jul.28, 2010, under Daily Review

So, who are the killers? Is it couple number one? The newly weds, a little nerdy, a little lovey. Couple number two? Rock n rebel hippy free lovin’ with a bit of a temper. Or couple number three. Action adventure athletic with tequila. Who knows? Could be any of them, could be all of them, or even none.

The basic plot follows the newly weds Cliff and Cydney (Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich) as they head off to an amazing island for their honeymoon. It’s a paradise, gorgeous weather, beaches, calm waves, glorious. They hear of a local murder of another couple on holiday and from this moment on, the viewer suspects everyone as Cliff and Cyd head off into Paradise. Getting on the wrong side of two hitchhikers, Cleo (Marley Shelton) and Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and the right side of a pair of adventure freaks, Nicko (Tim Olyphant) and Georgia (Kiele Sanchez). We see a series of good and bad sides from all of the couples, never quite sure what the twist will be, who the killers will be.

David Twohy, famous for his Riddick flicks, here creates a great looking, cool feeling movie. It’s easy to watch as it flows along nicely. The cast are great too with all using this as the perfect film to explore different characteristics to trick the viewer into thinking they could be the viewer or actions in their favour of being the good guys. All knock out a great performance with Zahn especially good here. It’s got a good twist, although I’m sure there are a few moments, which could not have really happened as the viewer finally discovers the truth. The last 20 mins are great. Real action with some great moments. Knife in the leg late on is brilliantly done and really had me cringing.

This is a good and slightly ambitious take on the ‘who-dun-it’ with a couple taking the murderous role rather than a single person. Good stuff.

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Island of Death

by on Jul.27, 2010, under Daily Review

This is a dirty little horrid film. Why have I watched this again? God only knows, but for my sins, here’s the review.

Two cousins, Celia (Jane Ryall) and Christopher (Bob Behling), head off to a beautiful Greek Island to cause some bother. Simple plot. It’s a grizzly old film, with the pair causing all sorts of mayhem and atrocious activities. Every taboo is covered here and yes, I really mean every taboo. It’s not very nice at all really.

But, let me say this. The film has an uneasy feeling about it, which apart from all the nasty stuff, this unease throws the viewer. It has some very nice looking shots, the scenery is beautiful and is captured here well. This balanced against the unholy pair causes such a disturbance, even when they are not up to no-good. We also have a ‘Peeping Tom’ thing going on as the pair take it in turns to seduce man, woman and goat as the other watches taking photos. Murders occur in all forms from force fed paint to blow torch to the face. Shocking stuff. Nico Mastorakis creates something here to shock and disturb rather than build any kind of terror or horror, but you can see a direction that he wanted to take: A Bonnie and Clyde route, but doesn’t quite get there, lost along the way in a spiral of sickness. A good final scene though offering no-remorse from the more dominant member of the killing partnership, which up to that point seemed to take a back seat in the actions.

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Camp Utopia

by on Jul.26, 2010, under Daily Review

Ratt! What a great band from the 80’s and this is what draws me to this film, front man Steve Pearcy. He’s pretty good too but unfortunately, one of the only highlights of this film.

The film begins with some great re-imagined footage of the summer of Love, a crazy time of freedom, sex and drugs. Tim Bach (Pearcy) is a cult leader who takes a little too much funny stuff, which results in a massacre of his followers. Then we jump to present day. A group of friends go camping, to the same site of the massacre. The murders begin again. Bach’s ghost?

It’s a shame that this film fails as it could have been pretty good. The pace of the film grind to a halt after the first 5 minutes, with a poorly performed script by pretty lame actors. I don’t think it’s their fault really with the blame mainly focused on Director Robert Madero for allowing such a flat performance. The film picks towards the last 20 minutes which is a relief. Sarah Megan White springs to life and gives us a stunning performance. Where was that for the other part of the film?

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