Sunday, November 27, 2011
I was looking around for Christmas gifts this weekend and realized that CALTIKI THE IMMORTAL MONSTER (1959) is still not available on domestic DVD. WTF? Co-directed by Riccardo Freda and Mario Bava this one should have already been snatched up by some fine DVD company for Region 1 and given a bells & whistles release. There are bootlegs out there sourced from a fine Italian disc but come on- this is long overdue. Is there some question of rights?
Well, until it finally hits these shores legally I feel no shame or guilt in pointing you toward the YouTube upload of the entire English version in 10 minutes segments. Enjoy!
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Thanksgiving has come and gone and my thoughts turn to Christmas and the joys this time of year brings. I love spending time with family and friends and I love watching holiday themed movies with them. Here is the poster art for several of my favorite films to watch during the season of giving.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
This is literally the only thing Eli Roth has ever directed that I have enjoyed- and I've seen all of his work. I guess if he keeps his films to less than five minutes he isn't too bad. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I recently reviewed the mighty YOR over at Eccentric Cinema and this new viewing of it has made me thrilled to be able to praise it publicly. If you never seen this great, crazed movie you need to correct this oversight. You'll be glad you did. After all, Yor is the man!
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
MINOTAUR (2005) is a good try at a modern retelling of the Greek myth of the powerful beast in the heart of the labyrinth. It has many things that point to the possibility of it being good including a strong cast of veteran actors and talented newcomers, nice location shooting and pretty interior sets but it doesn’t quite succeed. Once the action moves to the lair of the beast the characters trapped there trying to survive are poorly defined and interchangeable. There is some very good physical acting by Tom Hardy and other members of the cast as they struggle to kill the Minotaur but too often the film looks and feels thinner than it should. This shows in some shaky cave walls, a few bad CGI monster effects and in the already mentioned lightweight characters. Still, no movie that gives Tony Todd the central villain role and more than 10 lines of dialog can be a total loss and seeing Rutger Hauer as Hardy’s protective father in the opening scenes was good as well. In the end it’s just not a very good film and I can understand its lack of cult movie buzz.
On the other hand, the French film THE HORDE (2009) I heard about solely because of its cult movie buzz. That I watched these two back to back is interesting as it points out what type of film I enjoy more at this point in my life. Although I still really like the peplum genre (mostly the examples from the 1960s) I more often lean toward hard bitten crime stories especially if they are mixed with odd elements. This film is one of the few movies best described as RESERVOIR DOGS crossed with horror that could actually hold a candle to the incredibly fun FROM DUSK TO DAWN. Not that THE HORDE is perfect. Like MINOTAUR this movie could be accused of having stereotypical or thinly written characters but somehow in this taut, fast paced tale it works. Part of what may cause it to appeal to me might be that having the dialog filtered through subtitles makes me engage in a deeper way automatically. Or it might be that in this story the characters mostly become defined by their actions and in MINOTAUR they are all bland with little to differentiate them. Another thing that makes this one much more of my kind of entertainment is that it does deftly handle slamming two different genres together. If I haven’t already mentioned it, THE HORDE is a zombie film and a pretty effective one at that. The film opens with a police raid on a high rise building to take down some Nigerian criminals when the zombie apocalypse interrupts the bad situation in progress. That’s when things get interesting! This a tight 90 minutes of badass zombie action with very little that I found distracting or dumb and these days that is about the best critique of a zombie film I can give. More like this and less like …… the vast majority of zombie films out there.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
How long has it been since we've had a sexy, live-action Batgirl? Has it really been since the 1960s BATMAN TV show? I know they tried in that fourth lame-ass Batman film to foist off Alicia Silverstone as a modern crime fighting partner for the Caped Crusader but that entire movie was a disaster and Miss Silverstone was about as sexy as wet rag.
Monday, November 14, 2011
If you have ever wondered about the connections between the various monsters in various the universes (universi?) from across the speculative fiction catalog this image might help. I am impressed wit the work but have already spotted some gaps. Where is the Skunkacabra, for one thing! And where is the Love for Lovecraft? Click to enlarge!
Friday, November 11, 2011
I have no idea if this direct to YouTube film project will be as fun as the trailer promises it will be but I have my fingers crossed. The first episode premieres on November 21st so tune and let's get our Euro-Spy groove on!
DANGER 5 website
DANGER 5 website
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Now here's an idea I can really get behind! CREEPMAS!
"CREEPMAS is for those Halloween lovers and Monster Kids who want to say "enough is enough" - if they're going to put their Christmas into our Halloween, then let's put our Halloween into their Christmas! The 13 Days of Creepmas is an online Celebration of Spookiness from December 1 - 13. The idea is to bring a macabre twist to Christmas and the holidays. Get creative and post it on your blog - share your twisted yule visions with the world!"
I think I'll try to participate in this new Yule celebration by posting Holiday themed horror things the first two weeks of December. Should be fun!
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
The Naschy Musk is strong in this one! THE FRENCHMAN’S GARDEN is a very rare film with no English language dub and almost no release outside of Spain making it very hard to obtain. Luckily for us it turns out to be one the best we have yet encountered from Naschy’s list of credits. Much like EL CAMINANTE this film is a different kind of tale than we’ve come to expect from the great Spanish horror filmmaker. Best described as a drama or crime film it relates the true story of Juan Andres Aldije (nicknamed The Frenchman) who ran an Inn that doubled as a gambling den and tripled as a whorehouse! Don’t ever say the man was a less than ambitious businessman. All of those things might have been no big deal even in rural Spain but his side business of murdering rich travelers caused him some serious trouble eventually.
This is an excellent movie that, while far from being a horror film, has enough horror elements to make it clear what drew Naschy to the material. He said in an interview “I’ve watched it a number of times, and with what I now know about filmmaking, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is little more I could have done. Nothing is perfect, but this film, for me, is almost perfect. If not my best film, it is among the top two or three.” Neither of us can disagree with that assessment and we can only encourage others to seek out this hidden gem.
Our discussion ranges all over the place, as usual, with talk of Stephen Fry, THE WILD BUNCH, horror movie hosts of Nashville and Chattanooga, the allure of the charming bad guy and the plot elements that might have made this story a natural for Paul Naschy, scriptwriter. Remember that we spoil the film in detail so if you want to have a blind viewing of it but want to hear us answer emails you can skip to about the 2 hour mark. Yes- that means there is about 40 minutes of us going through the mailbag and talking about whatever you people asked about. If you’d like to get in on this segment please write us at email@example.com and we’ll dig into your questions next time. And if you subscribe to the show through iTunes please consider leaving us a review or drop us a comment on the Naschycast Facebook page. Thanks to everyone for the love and encouragement. And once again we have to thank our amazing artist director Jeff Nelson. His stunning image above gives an idea of the sinister goings on and the dangers of a well tended but hidden garden. Maybe one day we'll let him see the films before he crafts us an image to represent it! Jeeze! Thanks!
NaschyCast #22 LINK
Monday, November 07, 2011
Saturday, November 05, 2011
I watched 37 movies in October. Wow. I knew I was racking them up but I wasn’t counting as I barreled through the month. I guess it shows what you can do if you’re a lazy, movie-loving freak with the desire to see some horror movies before Halloween night. And by ‘some’ I mean as many as possible.
Among the rewatches were some favorites of my youth and a few mid-level titles I’ve grown to cherish over the years. I showed my girlfriend the second Kolchak TV movie THE NIGHT STRANGLER and really enjoyed her reaction to it. She liked the original NIGHT STALKER better but she loved the character and when she saw my favorite episode of the follow up series ‘The Ripper’ she was hooked. I’ll have to show her more of the series in the future.
Seeing the original FRIDAY THE 13TH on Blu-Ray was a revelation. I’ve liked the movie for years without thinking of it as much more than a cheap cash-in but the sharpness of the new disc made me appreciate the real beauty of the film. The movie looks fantastic and the enhanced clarity actually made me think better of the entire affair. Later in the month I rewatched PART 6 of the series with a buddy and for the first time realized that it and JASON X are the most fun of the sequels. They have a similar playful tone making light of the mad ideas that are being used to advance the crazy story of this immortal killing machine. I’ve often heard hardcore fans claiming that JASON X is a terrible film because of the humorous tack it takes but 6 uses the exact same tone of winking at the hopefully knowing audience right from the beginning. How else do you rationalize the amusing James Bond parody in the opening credit sequence? Both movies are a lot of fun and while delievering on the scares and thrills also manage to poke fun at the silliness of the concept.
Via NetFlix streaming I watched a few films including the newly released to Blu THE NESTING (1980). This is an interesting movie but sadly it isn’t particularly good. The story about a supposedly haunted house is nothing special but the setting makes it a curiosity for anyone fascinated by old country homes with unique architecture. While the actors are certainly trying their best they are mostly an over-eager group of under-talented people that might have needed a few more takes or a better sense of how ‘big’ their performances were playing onscreen. It’s not a bad film but it hasn’t got enough for me to recommend it either.
DARK TOWER (1987) is a film that was started by director Ken Wiederhorn but finished by legendary cinematographer/director Freddie Francis. Francis directed the movie as a favor to one of the movie’s producers but took his name off the released cut because they removed all the things that made him willing to participate at all. This meddling is evident throughout the movie as story elements are dropped randomly and new characters are introduced with little reason. The removal of a key final scene makes Michael Moriarity’s performance ridiculous as the reason for his odd reactions to the strange ghostly goings on have been chopped away. It’s a mess and not even my desire to stare at Jenny Agutter could make me enjoy the ride.
MY DEAR KILLER turned out to be a good giallo that I’m sure I’ll rewatch in the future. I finally caught up with SEVERANCE and really enjoyed it even if there is one scene that should have been left out of the movie. The director’s follow up movie TRIANGLE is a better film and the one I would recommend seeing first. Having now seen 1986’s NEON MANIACS I can state that my avoiding of it for decades was a sign of correctly judging a film by its poster art. It was easily the worst film I saw the entire month and that is truly impressive when you realize that I also finally saw the incredibly bad SLEEPWALKERS in October as well. Those two would make a ‘worst double feature’ list for nearly anyone.
STAKE LAND (2010)- 7 (solid post-apocalyptic vampire tale)
THE NIGHT STRANGLER (1973)- 7 (rewatch)
CORRUPTION (1968)- 6 (interesting if not great)
FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)- 6 (rewatch)
FINAL DESTINATION 5 (2011)- 5 (about the fifth best of the series)
I SAW THE DEVIL (2010)- 8 (vicious Korean revenge film)
MIMIC (1997)- 8 (director’s cut improves a good film) (sort of a rewatch)
THE ROAD (2009)- 7 (well done, downbeat post-apocalyptic tale)
I MARRIED A WITCH (1942)- 7 (fun supernatural romantic comedy)
EDGE OF THE AXE (1988)- 6 (Spanish made slasher)
THE NESTING (1980)- 5 (tries hard but just can’t manage to be what it wants to be)
DARK TOWER (1987)- 4 (not vey good American made film set in Spain- great cast)
THE RESIDENT (2011)- 6 (pretty good thriller with a strong cast)
FACE OF MARBLE (1946)- 5 (fun, nonsensical Poverty Row combo of mad science & voodoo)
THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. RX (1942)- 6 (rewatch)
DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1968)- 7 (rewatch)
ROGUE (2007)- 8 (rewatch)
THE MAD GHOUL (1943)- 6 (rewatch)
BERZERK! (1967)- 5 (the ending makes no sense but OK until then)
THE FLY (1986)- 9 (rewatch)
THE FLY II (1989) – 6 (rewatch)
THE THING (2011)- 5 (prequel works for a while but then fails when they board the alien craft)
MY DEAR KILLER (1971) – 7 (solid, satisfying giallo)
SEVERANCE (2008)- 7 (good stalker film with a touch of humor)
HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP (1980) – 7 (rewatch)
FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 6: JASON LIVES (1986)- 6 (rewatch) (silly, knowing slasher fun)
SLEEPWALKERS (1992)- 2 (mind-bendingly bad – the combo of King & Garris remains one of the worst possible)
THE FRENCHMAN’S GARDEN (1978)- 8
THE MUMMY’S HAND (1940)- 7 (rewatch)
NEON MANIACS (1986)- 1 (stupid, incompetent and dull)
TRICK ‘R TREAT (2009)- 9 (rewatch)
FRIGHT NIGHT (2011)- 7 (remake actually works really well – the R rating helps too)
THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTIEN (1942)- 6 (rewatch)
ZOMBIE (1979)- 8 (rewatch on the big screen!)
SQUIRM (1976)- 6 (rewatch on the big screen)
HUSK (2010)- 6 (killer scarecrow tale)
BROTHERHOOD OF BLOOD (2007)- 2 (lame low budget vampire tale)
Thursday, November 03, 2011
I think I'm suffering from a bit of Halloween Hangover. I feel the urge to continue watching horror films but lament the October month is now gone. All I can think of are the movies I had hoped to watch and didn't get to see this year. Since I can hardly believe I didn't catch at least one of the first three HALLOWEEN films I'll fill that gap here by posting these behind the scenes images from the production of the first one.