Tuesday, 21 October 2014

31 Days of Horror: Shogun's Sadism (1976)

Shogun's Sadism (aka Tokugawa onna keibatsu-emaki: Ushi-zaki no kei) (aka The Joy of Torture 2: Oxen Split Torturing) (1976)
Director: Yugi Makiguchi
Starring: Yusuke Kazato, Rena Uchimura, and Akira Shioji
Running Time: 80 min

This is a period samurai film from Japan, but this film hasn't been noted for it's cinematic beauty or classic storytelling but it is noted for it's scenes of disturbing cruelty and explicit violence. So, this should be fun.   

After an interesting opening roll of perhaps the funkiest music from a 70's Japanese film ever, under a collection terrible pictures of torture,  we are then shown another quick collection of torture methods causing death  reenacted and told by a narrator that torture has been around for a long time.  Groovy.
  The film then focuses on it's first story, in ancient Edo, Japan.  A young samurai, Iori is bitten by a snake and a beautiful peasant girl, Toyo saves him, by sucking out the venom.  The two then fall in love and on Iori's days off, he spends them with Toyo.  Unfortunately, Iori's boss is a sadistic shogun and as of late, he's been trying to wipe Christianity of the face of Japan.  He's been trying to find new and exciting ways to make the Christians to renounce their gods through extreme torture methods.
  One day, guess who shows up in the shogun's office, it's Toyo and her family!  The shogun notices that Iori knows and loves the the girl Toyo, so he decides to make Iori his right hand samurai man and forces him to watch him rape Toyo and torture and kill her family.  What a great guy!  Is there any way that Iori can save his true love or is fate in the hands of this sadistic shogun?
  The second story, also in Edo, is about a man, who is forced into servitude at a brothel, after spending an evening there and he was unable to pay.  While there, he learns about how cruel this lifestyle is, from seeing the vicious catfights amongst the girls, their extreme method of birth control and what happens to people when they try and run away from there.  Ah, penis mutilation.  So, he finds the prostitute that he loves and they plan an escape to freedom, so he can pimp her out.  True love!  Can this couple get out of this brothel world and make it work or will they be strung up, beaten and have their privates removed like all the others?


  This movie is crazy violent and depressing.  There is no silver lining in any of these stories and I was really surprised at how far director Yugi Makiguchi (Nuns That Bite, Rashamen) was able to push the envelope for some of these disgustingly disturbing scenes.  Makiguchi and his team come up with some incredibly inventive scenes of killing people off and the camera does not shy away.  They boil people, the half quarter them by pulling there lower halves apart using oxen, pregnant woman stomping, they slice, they dice and it's just so, so nasty at times.
  Also there is a considerable amount of rape scenes in this as well.  Which I guess I was expecting  but maybe not to this extent.  These scenes are very hard to watch and they even do a double rape with two guys on a girl at the same time.  I don't think I've ever seen that, so bravo?  Unfortunately, unlike in most rape revenge films, there is a certain amount of justice but not here, at least not for everybody.
  However, as mentioned above the film is extremely gruesome but the effects are very well done.  Makiguchi and his team may have some very cruel and disdainful ideas but there is tons a of blood and body parts flying all over the place for any gorehound to appreciate.


  Issues with the film, being bombarded with horrific images that I will probably never forget, I didn't have time to look for flaws.  Just kidding, I did but it is filmed well and the stories are coherent.  There is no confusion about the characters or their motivations and what was occurring in the scenes.  The only thing I wasn't crazy about was how the stories turn out. **SPOILER**  They are depressingly realistic and it's unfortunate that none of the characters, more so in the first story, don't get a better ending that is fair or the revenge that they really deserve.  The second story, they get what they get and it's deserving but the demise of the one of the character is just so random, that it's almost comical in a dark humour kind of way.  **ENDSPOILER**

 
  To say it mildly, this film isn't for everybody.  This is one of the cruelest and deplorable films out there and it can be very difficult to watch at times. It does have some excellent gruesome effects work and a number of incredibly bleak and at times heartbreaking scenes.  I don't know how this wasn't on the nasty list because if you are looking for something disturbing to watch, this is as nasty as it gets.
(I couldn't find a trailer for this, so here are the funky opening credits)


Monday, 20 October 2014

31 Days of Horror: ABCs of Death 2 (2014)

ABCs of Death 2 (2014)
Director: Various directors
Starring: Martina Garcia, Tristan Risk and Beatrice Dalle
Running Time: 125 min

  I have been looking forward to seeing this sequel because the ABC's of Death films are a fantastic avenue for young horror directors.  Most of the shorts showcase new talented directors that are up and coming to a larger audience.  Also, I enjoyed the first one, some of it was good, some of it was dumb and some of it was just disgusting, which isn't bad, but when 26 directors are given a letter and carte blanche in creating something terrifying, who knows what kind of twisted material you are going to get back.

  The series of shorts has a terrific animated opening credit sequence with kids playing and being mutilated.  From there, just like last time, they start with A and tell a terrible tale that accents a word that begins with that letter until they get to Z.  Each letter has a different director from someplace around the world.


  It would take far too much time to review or describe ever short because each film is unique and the only thing tying these films together is the alphabet.  However, this is a fairly decent collection of horror shorts.  Unlike some of the directors from the first film, who decided to get all artistic and existential, all of the directors here have created 26 pretty straight forward tales of terror, bloodshed and mayhem. My favourites include, Erik Matti's letter I creation, where a family tries to kill their grandmother for the inheritance money, or Hajime Ohata's O piece, which does a brilliant take on the zombie genre and I thought that Steven Kostanski's W, which takes every child's fantasy and totally crushes it was pretty cool as well.  For me though, my absolute favourite was Q by Rodney Ascher.   With an extremely difficult letter, I think the Ascher knock it out of the park with a disturbing vignette that touches on some horror tropes that have fallen to the wayside.  It's simple story but it has a great narrative and some excellent gore.
  These are just a few of my favourites, but there is a lot of talented people here who brought there take on terror to the table, like Jen and Sylvia Soska (See No Evil 2, American Mary), Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Haunter), Navot Papushado (Big Bad Wolves, Rabies) and even Academy Award nominee, Bill Plympton as an interesting piece in this.


  However, I found, like a lot of characters in these shorts, that the whole piece was a bit unbalanced.  Most of the first half, up until the letter O is mostly lighter, horror comedy stuff.  Don't get me wrong, most of the pieces were enjoyable but I would have liked to see the stories blended with the heavier horror stuff better.  It's like getting a chocolate/vanilla ice cream cone and having to eat all the vanilla before you get to the chocolate.  
  Also, some of the stories were good but didn't blow me away.  Which is expected, it's 26 short films, you're not going to dig them all but there didn't seem to be as many ironic twists of fate or memorable pieces that made you go, "Holy fuck, what was that!" and is then burned into your memory to scare you for life.  Like Timo Tjahjanto, L is for Libido, love it or hate it, you'll never forget it.  The ideas are there, and there is a lot of gore or there are some incredibly tense scenes but the some of the stories never seemed to climax properly or unfortunately at all.  Which of course, can be disappointing.


  Luckily, those pieces are in the minority and most of the films here create a very enjoyable collection of horror shorts.  The producers of this film have amassed some incredibly talented people for this film and it won't too long before you'll be watching their features and reading more about them.  This is like a glimpse into the future of horror and it doesn't look that bad.  Still scary but not bad.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

31 Days of Horror: Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014)

Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014)
Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Starring: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid and Vivica A. Fox
Running Time: 90 min

  The Asylum has been around for years, creating low budget "mockbusters" and B, maybe C rated creature features for the Syfy network and I think they were just as shocked at the success and social media frenzy of the original "Sharknado" as everyone else.  So how does one capitalize on the success?  Well, a sequel of course but will it have the same bite that the first one did?

  Fin Shepard and April Wexler are on a flight to New York to promote April's book, "How To Survive a Sharknado" and while they're there, to visit Fin's sister, Ellen and her family.  While on the plane, the plane flies into... you guessed it, another Sharknado! Luckily, Fin is able to take control of the plane, when the pilots are eaten by flying sharks and land the plane safely! But sadly April only loses a hand during this shark melee and she is taken to the hospital.  Fin tries to convince the New York officials that a Sharknado is coming and the must evacuate the city!  But of course, nobody listens to him, so he leaves April in the capable hands of the hospital and takes off to save his sister and her family.
  Unfortunately they have split up, Ellen, her daughter, Mora and some friends have gone to see the Statue of Liberty and Fin's brother in law, Martin and his nephew, Vaughan are at a Mets game.  Fin rushes to the Mets game but just as he arrives at the game and convinces them to leave, the stadium is bombarded by snow and sharks! They just manage to escape but the news is reporting that there are not only two Sharknados but an electrical storm coming as well!  Can Fin, April and his sister's family survive this downpour of shark terror and reunite safely or are they doomed to be beaten by this shark infested storm front!



  This is a surprisingly good sequel, director Anthony C. Ferrante (Boo, Headless Horsemen) and writer Thunder Levin (American Warships, 200 M.P.H) have created a great follow up to a now classic B-Movie.  Right from the beginning, they are hitting you with culture references, cameos, nostalgic nods and best of all action. You are bombarded with visuals throughout the film and there is never a dull moment.
  There is also more story in this film, if anyone cares, Ian Ziering's (90210, Tyrannosaurus Azteca) character Fin, not only has to save the Big Apple from being destroyed by a sharkspolsion but he has to make things right with his ex-girlfriend, Skye, played the beautiful Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill, Batman and Robin) and mend his relationship with his former best friend and brother in-law, Martin, played by Mark McGrath (Uptown Girl, Scooby-Doo).  So, there is some interesting development in his character but, more importantly, it doesn't take that much time away from people being killed by sharks.
  Also, Tara Reid's (American Pie, The Big Lebowski) character April also comes into her own.  She is done with screaming about sharks and is on the warpath.  Even with only one hand she is out to cut down those sharks and help Fin save New York City.  They also give a nice nod to the "Evil Dead" films with her character near the end, I just wish she said "Groovy", when she killed a shark.
  Speaking of sharks, the effects team did a fantastic job with them.  Much better than in the original and there are some great scenes with closer looks at the sharks flying and crushing people on the street.  Good stuff!


  What's bad about it, well....it's suppose to be bad right, isn't that the fun.  The only thing that might be wrong with this sequel is that it's become harder to distinguish the camp aspects of the film and the attempts to create a good picture/product.  This must be a difficult line to walk for the team, seeing that no one wants to make a crappy movie but at what point does something go from fun and campy to just a terrible film?  I think, Ferrante and Levin know their audiences well enough to know that if they keep the material light and at times ridiculous, with the right amount of gore that they can stay balanced and on the right path.  Godspeed you! Shark Emperors!


  The DVD, probably the same as the Blu-ray, of this film looks great and it has some decent features.  Like, a Cameo featurette that discusses how they were able to reign all the great people who pop up in the film.   There are so many great cameos, like Robert Hays as a pilot, Judd Hirsch as a cab driver and even Al Roker, as weather man!  But seriously, Ferrante and the casting director talk about how they tired to make each appearance into an experience and really make the cameo pop.
 As well, there is a Look Behind The Scenes at the production, which looks like it was a blast to make this film.  As well as a short on the amazing effects team and how they put together the sharknados on the screen.  And there is also a great gag reel and a Chum bucket of the cast and crew flubbing lines, being silly and just having fun.


For a TV movie sequel, about a tornado full of sharks attacking New York City, this is a pretty fun movie.  This movie knows what it is and makes no apology for it.  It's got some laughs, lots of action and tons of gory scenes with people being eaten, crushed, and attacked by sharks!  So c'mon,  what more could you ask for?  Basically if you liked the first one, then you'll probably dig this one 2.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

31 Days of Horror: Dead of Night (aka Deathdream) (1972)

Dead of Night (aka Deathdream) (1972)
Director: Bob Clark
Starring: John Marley, Lyn Carlin, and Richard Backus
Running Time: 88 min

  I've been dying to see this film for such a long time.  Not only is this directed by Bob Clark, who has brought us such great films like Black Christmas, Porky's and A Christmas Story but working along side with writer and makeup artist Alan Ormsby (Deranged, Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things) for the first time on make-up and FX is special effects master Tom Savini!  So, with these kind of credentials, even though it is early in their careers, how can it go wrong?

  While on patrol in the jungles of Vietnam, Andy and his buddy are ambushed and gunned down by the Vietcong.  Before the lights go out on Andy, he hears his mother's voice, saying that he promised her that he would come back.
  Back in America, Andy's family are sitting down to dinner and his mom, Christine is going on and on about how she hasn't heard about Andy and she wonders about how he's doing, and if Andy is happy and on an on.  Andy's father, Charles and sister, Cathy understand how much Christine misses Andy, so they let her natter on.  Then, there is a knock at the door, so Charles answers it and it's a soldier with a letter about Andy.  The soldier offers his condolences and gives Charles the letter.  The family is quite upset and that night Andy's mother wishes and prays that he comes home again.
  Meanwhile on a deserted highway, a truck driver picks up a soldier on the side of the road.  Later on, he stops to grab a coffee at the local diner and tells the nosy waitress that he has an odd soldier fellow in the truck with him, then heads back on the road.  Even later on that night, at Andy's house, guess who shows up?  It's Andy and he's really really creepy.  He doesn't talk much and answers questions with an creepy grin but his family is just glad he's back, except for their dog, who keeps barking at Andy.
  The next morning, the police discover the gruesome remains of the trucker, dun dun duuuuuun!  They start an investigation and all they have to go on is that the trucker had picked up a hitch hiker, who was a soldier.  However, back at Andy's house the family is just tickled pink that Andy is home again until..., he scares the neighbourhood kids by strangling the family dog in front of them!  The father decides to get drunk and find help for his son because he knows that there is something wrong about his son.  He doesn't remember Andy killing dogs like that before and he's not going to take that kind of crap in his house.  Can Andy's family find the help they need for Andy or is Andy too far gone and there are more sinister reasons for this evil ways? 


  This isn't quite what I was expecting from this film.  For a lower budget horror film, the film has a surprisingly good dramatic flair to it.  When the letter arrives about Andy's passing, director Clark was really able to capture that tender moment of loss within the family.  John Marley (The Godfather, The Car) and Lynn Carlin (Faces, Superstition) really shine in this film as Andy's parents, trying to uncover the truth about him and then later on protect him.  
  Also, writer Alan Ormsby appears to be using this zombie like state of Andy to reflect how soldiers, who were coming home from this war felt.  PTSD was a new back then and a lot of soldiers, probably felt isolated when they returned and may have turned to drugs to combat the nightmarish images that left in their minds during their time in the war.  Ormsby and Clark, seem to touch on this when Andy attacks the doctor and instead of simply drinking the blood, he ties off and injects in.  The scene ends with Andy looking more like a sad heroin addict, than a monstrous zombie.
  Worry not though, it's not all drama and there is still some good old horror in this film.  As mentioned earlier, Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead, Maniac) and Alan Ormsby do some nice work on the gore.  When Andy starts to fall apart both mentally and physically, there are some good deteriorating arm and face make up. 
  Also, the kill scenes may be somewhat simple but are gruesome enough to please.  Especially the kid getting run over at the drive in, which made me chuckle and wince a little bit.


  However, I didn't find that there was as much violence in this film as I was expecting.  Sure, he manhandles a dog, good luck doing that scene nowadays, but the human body count is pretty low.  They don't even show him taking out the trucker, which would have been good to see.  I think I was expecting more but what it lacks in mangled bodies, the film makes up in horror tension. 
  Also, I never figured out what kind of monster he was.  He's kind of like a zombie/vampire and is there anyway to kill him?  Does he need blood or not and if he does what is it for?  And how was he able to come back?  Did his mother's wish and prayers come true.  If they did, what kind of God would send you a zombie creature son?  Ormsby doesn't touch on any of this stuff during the film and at the end your still dangling.


  Even with that said, this is a very interesting film and it shouldn't not be missed.  I think that Clark and Ormsby wanted to convey a message about the Vietnam conflict and how it affected the men and women coming home afterwards, so they took a chance by putting it into their film.  Message or not, this is still a fascinating low budget movie and that balances enough of drama and horror that will satisfy any fan of the genre. 


Friday, 17 October 2014

31 Days of Horror: The Tell-Tale Heart (1941)

The Tell-Tale Heart (1941)
Director: Jules Dassin
Starring: Joseph Schildkraut, Roman Bohnen, and Oscar O'Shea
Running Time: 20 min

  There are some great things about this film that interest me.  It is an adaptation of one favourite stories by Edgar Allan Poe and this is the first film, although it is a short, by director Jules Dassin, who has created some of the finest film noir films ever.  I am looking forward to seeing this collaboration, as Dassin's first crime film seems to be from the pages of a classic.

  A young man is fed up with the years of verbal and physical abuse from his boss.  The boss arrives home that night and the young man is waiting for him in the dark.  Unfortunately, the boss laughs it off and slaps the young man for his insolence.  He then tells the young man that he is too much of a pussy to do anything about it and that the young man will never be free until he is dead. The young man backs off at this encounter but later that night the young man returns and enters his boss's room with murderous intent.  There are screams and the boss is presumably murdered.
  The next day, with his boss buried in the floorboards, the young man cannot stop hearing the sound of his boss's beating heart everywhere.  The sound pounds inside his mind and he cannot seem to escape it.  Then, there is a knock on the door and the police have arrived to the home because the neighbours heard a scream the night before.  They come in and ask some simple questions like, "Where is your boss", which the young man lies and tells them that he went to town.  But the police are confused because the boss was suppose to go to the auction.  Caught in the lie, the young man tries to recover but the hideous sound of the beating heart is not allowing him to think straight.  Can the young man evade the police or will this beating heart be the end of this young man?


  Although this is a short, director Jules Dassin (The Naked City, Rififi) takes what he's learned over the years from apprenticing under directors Garson Kanin and Alfred Hitchcock and puts it to good use.  This is a very tight adaptation of the the Poe tale and Dassin's use of the camera and his lighting techniques gives this the dark and ominous feel that it needs.
  Veteran actor Joseph Schildkraut (The Life of Emile Zola, The Diary of Anne Frank), who plays the young man is exceptional in this.  You can see and feel his anguish and paranoia whenever the camera is on him.  His performance makes you feel torn because even though he has murdered his boss, you wanted him to escape the abusive life that he was living.  His descent into madness is quite enjoyable to watch on screen.
  Also, like in most adaptation of this piece, sound is an essential character and Dassin uses it brilliantly.  The thumping of the heart is so ominous and menacing that it puts you on the edge of your seat.   


  This is a very impressive short by a first time director and there is a hint of the potential of what is to come from Dassin later.  The only thing that I would have like to see, because I'm a ghoul, is bit of the corpse in the floor.  If he had just shown a quick shot of the old man underneath the floorboards or even had the police detective pull up an arm up to check a pulse, then it would have made it perfect. 


  Still, this is a great short film and can be enjoyed by anyone who loves Poe, classic films or horror.  Again, Schildkraut's performance is unmatched in any other version of this tale that I've seen and although you don't see any blood or gore, this is creepy story that is at the heart of horror. 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

31 Days of Horror: See No Evil 2 (2014)

See No Evil 2 (2014)
Director: Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska
Starring: Glenn Jacobs, Danielle Harris and Katharine Isabelle
Running Time: 90 min

  After releasing their 2nd feature, the gruesome "American Mary" the Soska twins, Jen and Sylvia have become a household name for independent horror fans everywhere.  So, last year, when it was announced that they would be teaming up with WWE star, "Kane" for the sequel to See No Evil, I was a little bit hesitant.  I haven't seen the original because there are so many movies out there but more so I heard that the original one wasn't that great.  Can the Soska twins bring there horror magic and give life to this limp franchise? Let's hope so.

  Amy and Seth work in at the city morgue and they secretly have a crush on each other.  Before Amy leaves at the end of her shift to meet her friends, Seth gives her a long and much needed big surprise, a birthday cake!  Yeah!  So, they head over to the main office to join their boss, Holden and to have some cake.  Don't worry it gets scary.  While having cake, they hear on the news that the police have discovered a shitload of bodies from the Jacob Goodnight murders, including the body of Jacob Goodnight. He was so tough, he murdered himself.  Anyway, Amy offers to stay and miss her birthday party with her friends because she knows how swamped Seth is going to be and because she loves Seth.  awww.
  Seth and Amy head down to the docks and start unloading the bodies into the morgue and the last one they bring up, just happens to be, none other than, wait for it... Jacob Goodnight.  After giving him the welcome to the morgue treatment, which apparently is a measurement and a check to make sure he's dead, Amy leaves to let Seth finishes the work. As she is walking down the empty corridors, she hears her name being whispered in the halls.  She follows the whisper into a dark room and his surprised by a birthday party!  Holden called Amy's friend, Tamara and she brought the party to the morgue.  Hooray!  Seth comes by to see what all the commotion is about and stays for a drink but leaves early because Amy's douchebag brother, Will tells him he's not good enough for his sister.  Upset, Amy tells her brother he's a asshole and tries to enjoy the party.  Whilst this is going on, Tamara and her boyfriend, Carter leave the party to go and explore the morgue because she has heard that the corpse of Jacob Goodnight is there.  They soon find the his body of Goodnight, so she straddles it and gives it a kiss.  Carter tells her, that ain't cool and then they have sex nexxxt to the body but while they're doing it, they notice that the body is no longer there.  Then the lights go out and only Tamara escapes the bloody rebirth of Jacob Goodnight.  She runs to tell the others that there is a killer on the loose in the morgue!  Can the gang escape this predicament that they're in or will they pay for there sins at the hands of Jacob Goodnight?


  This was alright, as far as sequels go.  The film has a cool 80's feel to it and there are some interesting twists.  There seems to be a interesting role reversal with, Danielle Harris's  (Hatchet 3, Stake Land) character Amy, and Kaj-Erik Eriksen's (88 Minutes, Danger Bay) character Seth, who happen to be excellent in this film.  The Amy character is independent and is handling the crisis better than Seth and in the end, it's Seth's character that grows stronger has the film goes on.  Usually, I find it's the other way in horror films, where the female lead starts terrified then become ass kicking machines by the end.  I'm not sure if this is intentional but I think it plays out really well.
  Speaking of good characters, I love Katharine Isabelle's work in this but I hated the character of Tamara and I'm sure/hope that was also intentional.  Isabelle played this obnoxious character to the nines and like Shelly in Friday the 13th Part III, you just can't wait for that character to die.


  Unfortunately, I could tell that this wasn't written by the Soskas because it was much more linear, which can be good but the murder scenes are far less graphic than I was expecting.  Don't get me wrong, there are some good kill scenes throughout the film but it's not like when they had full control over "American Mary".  If they work with the WWE again and they should consider having more input into the script because they can tell a great story.
  Also, I don't think that Glenn "Kane" Jacobs, who plays Jacob Goodnight should speak.  He is brilliant as the lumbering monster killer and is incredibly scary just storming around.  Buuuut, then he tries to speak and it just doesn't come across well.  If there is going to be a third one, maybe Goodnight gets stabbed in the throat, so we don't have to hear him speak.


  This isn't a groundbreaking piece of work but it's still a decent horror flick.  There are some good surprises and unlike most sequels this doesn't seem like a rehash of the original or a low budget feature trying to cash in on the original.  This is a good stand alone piece with great young cast and two directors that are coming into their stride.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

31 Days of Horror: Anguish (Angustia) (1987)

Anguish (Angustia) (1987)
Director: Bigas Luna
Starring: Zelda Rubinstein, Michael Lerner, and Talia Paul
Running Time: 89 min

What sparked my interest in this film, besides the number of horror movie lists it shows up on, is that the leads in this film are better known for their work as secondary roles in a lot of great films.  For instance,   Zelda Rubinstein was the unforgettable psychic who helped get Carol Anne back in Poltergeist and Michael Lerner is an incredible character actor, who has turned up in so many great films like Elf, Barton Fink and even X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Outside of that, I'm going in blind but that's a lot of eyeballs on the poster.

John lives with his mother and although he seems like he's a little slow, he seems to have a successful job as an optometrist or an optometrist's assistant and his mother for some reason claims that he is the best surgeon in the world.  Anyway, while at work he puts the wrong contact lenses into a woman's eyes and she complains to the nurse about him being incompetence.  Of course, John's mother can hear all the bad things this woman is saying about John because she at home and is listening to a beach shell.  John is fired that evening, so mother hypnotizes John and using her psychic ability forces him to go out to for revenge.  John shows up at the mansion of the disgruntled lady, apologizing for the incident this morning and begs the woman to allow him to put in her new contacts.  She resists at first, then allows this strange man to go upstairs with her to put in her and touch her eyes.  Luckily the husband has put on some loud music, so John is able to kill the woman and cut out her eyes as his trophies.  Then does the same to the same to the husband.  I guess eyes are just his thang.
  Then, we the audience, realize that this is just a film called "The Mommy" and in a movie theatre.   Two teenage girls, Patty and Linda are watch sickened and terrified of what they are seeing on the screen.  In the next scene, there are some more hypnotic stuff and it ends up making Linda feel sick, so she excuses her self to the bathroom.  While in the bathroom, she notices that there is a man in the washroom with her and runs to tell Linda.  Linda goes to investigate and luckily, the weird man has left the bathroom for a moment to go and murder the ticket girl and the concessions chick. Who's gonna make the popcorn now!  The killer then begins to mirror what is going on in "The Mommy" film, because the John character also is killing theatre patrons at the moment.  Do Linda and Patty regret watching this film as much as I do and will they escape this rampage by a gun toting madman or will they become part of the body count of this theatrical nightmare.


  This film reminded me a lot of "Demons", by Lamberto Bava, but I think the Bava film was done much better.  I felt annoyed when we were pulled out of "The Mommy" story and into the new story line.  Also, I found that the film really started to drag it's feet once the camera stopped flitting around to the other theatre goers and set it's focused on Linda and Patty.  Too much of Patty complaining about being scared and not feeling well, annoying not scary. 
  The other thing that bugged me was when Linda does get a chance to escape, she doesn't just run next door to use the phone and call the police but begs random people to come and help her. She even has to prove to one person, before the went to use a pay phone.  WTF?  Your friend is trapped with a killer, hurray the fuck up and call the police. 
  As well as the double ending drove me up.  It could have been a clean break, fade to black but they just had to tag something inane and completely impossible on the end.  Instead of terrifying, I thought it was just dumb.


  However frustrated I am with certain aspects of the film, I can still appreciate what director Bigas Luna (Lola, Golden Balls) was going for and it is an interesting concept.  The fact that the "Killer" is hypnotized by the film and becomes a killer is definitely a novel idea.  Although plodding and at times unrealistic, there is a good story here that would have been better wrapped up quicker and the end. 
  Also, the special effects are excellent and Francisco Teres and his team won a Goya award for their work on this film.  The eyeless corpses in the film are pretty gruesome and seeing a wall of eyes is worth the price of admission.


 This isn't such a bad film, just there are points in the film that I found disappointing and a bit irritating.  After investing 20 some minutes into one film, then jerked into another, that introduces new characters that aren't really that likeable is difficult road to go down.  Luckily, there is enough of gore and the story line is interesting enough that it seems to balance itself out, kind of.  Again not my favourite film so far but it does have it's moments at times and if you are looking for something unusual then this might be for you.