Sunday, 24 February 2013

5 Oscar Caliber Horror Films

The Oscars, film's most prestigious honor and a time for the Hollywood elite to strut their stuff down the red carpet.  Throughout the years, I've never been a big fan of the Oscar's, outside of the gambling aspect, because I don't think that it recognizes all the genre of films out there.  Over the years how many times have we seen a good comedy, sci-fi, or action film being passed over for a film that you've trying to avoid watching with your significant other?  Well, I guess it's nice to be nominated,  Anyway, there are some films from the horror genre that have beaten the odds and taken home the gold.

Here are 5 Oscar Caliber Horror Films: 

5. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) - Dr. Jekyll is the nicest guy on the planet, he teaches, gives free medical assistance to the poor and only turns his nose up to the bourgeois class system that he finds himself a part of.  He also desperately wishes to marry his one true love, Muriel Carew but her uncle, Brigadier-General Sir Danvers Carew, try saying that 5 times fast, will not have it and is making the lovebirds wait a few months to make sure their love is honest and true.  Feeling totally cock blocked by Danvers, Jekyll and his buddy, Dr. Lanyon head for home but on the way, they see a pretty young strumpet named Ivy Pearson being manhandled.  Feeling more chivalrous than ever, Jekyll runs in and save the poor girl, then carries her back to her bedroom.  There she thanks Jekyll with a kiss only to be interrupted by the impatience of Lanyon. Dammit!  Blueballs in hand, Jekyll and Lanyon stroll home and Jekyll talks to Lanyon about his theory of split personalities and how there must be someway to keep them separated.  The next day, Jekyll gets a letter that informs him that Muriel and Danvers are leaving the country for a month, heart broken Jekyll buries himself with his work and comes up with a personality splitting serum.  He tries it out and it turns him from into the violent, angry man named Hyde.  Right away, he goes to the bar to meet Ivy Pearson and with the worst pick up line ever, she agrees to leave with him.  The month goes by and Ivy endures the abuses of Hyde, even though her friends are telling her to drop him but she won't because she is scared of him.  Jekyll learns that Muriel is home and runs to visit her.  They fall in love with each other all again and the old softy, Danvers says that they can marry in a month.  Jekyll decides never to take the potion again and floats Ivy some cash for being his punching bag this last month.  Unfortunately on the way to the party to celebrate their engagement, Jekyll turns into Hyde without the potion and is in the mood for violence.  He runs over to Ivy's pad and murders her with a vicious beating !  Now Jekyll is in trouble with the police after him and he doesn't know how to change back.  How will Dr. Jekyll ever get out of this one?  First horror picture to win an Academy Award for not only Best Cinematography, Best Adaptation of a Story but Best Actor in a Leading Role as well for Frederic March's portrayal of Jekyll/Hyde.  The picture is still very good and the special effects by Wally Westmore, which go uncredited, are fantastic considering the time and remind me of the work done by Jack P. Pierce ten years later for The Wolfman.  It's old school horror with not a lot of blood and a big chase seen at the end.  Great fun and well deserving of the award.

4. The Virgin Spring (1960) - Set in medieval Sweden on a small farm,  a young pregnant maid servant, Ingeri secretly prays to her fallen Norse gods, but she is interrupted and told to come help serve breakfast.  Once breakfast is served the land owner, Tore and his wife, Mareta give thanks and praise to their Christian god but the Tore wants to know where their daughter, Karin is?  Mareta says she is still sleeping, so the Tore tells the her that Karin should be up and ready because she needs to bring some special candles to the church.  Mareta leaves and wakes Karin up, dresses her in her Sunday best and gets her ready to go.  They give Karin the candles, wish her luck and send her on her way with Ingeri, who is secretly jealous of Karin.  On the way, they run into a one eyed man who freaks Ingeri out and she refuses to go any further to the church with Karin.  Whatever, Karin keeps going and unbeknownst to Karin, Ingeri follows behind spying on her.  Along the river, she meets up with three herdsman and offers them some lunch.  After lunch, the 2 older herdsmen rape and kill Karin, while Ingeri watches from the bushes.  They collect Karin's clothes and leave her on the riverbank.  Night falls and Karin's parents start to worry about her and Ingeri because they have not come back home yet.  Then a knock on the door, Mareta answers it hoping that it's them but unfortunately and ironically it is the three herdsmen.  They are invited in and fed, then when they are about to go to bed, they offer Karin's clothing to Mareta as payment for their stay.  They claim that the clothes are from their sister, who passed away.  They mother recognizes the clothes instantly and leaves with the garments.  She locks the door behind her and brings the clothes to Tore.  Tore is heart broken and decides that he will have to hand out a 13th century ass whippin but will his Christian god understand? Even though it was banned in Texas, Ingmar Bergman still won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film for this in 1960. It is considered a drama but the resemblance to Wes Craven's The Last House on The Left is uncanny and therefore fits into my horror realm.  The only element, that I noticed, that Craven removed were the religious aspects of the film but I haven't seen LHOTL for so long, I probably should watch it again.  Anyhoo, the casting is excellent with Max von Sydow (Strange Brew) as the heart broken father, out for revenge and Brigitta Pettersson (The Magician) as his daughter Karin.  It's a great revenge film and well deserved of the Oscar.  I can't find a trailer, so here's a scene with Max von Sydow's character attacking a tree. Oh the horror!

 3. The Fly (1986) - At a swanky party for science folks, reporter Veronica Quafie is cornered by an unusual man named Seth Brundle, who charms her back to his apartment to show her something that will change the world as she knows it.  I've used that line.  Once they get back there, she is less than impressed with the new wave telephone booths that he's created but he assures her that these Telepods will blow her mind.  He asks her for a piece of clothing and she hands him a sexy stocking; he then places the sexy stocking in one of the telepods turns a dial on his computer and flash, it's now in the other telepod.  Dumbfounded, she says that she has to get this story to print right away but he begs her not to and to come on board with him to document the whole process, which she rejects and gets the fuck out of dodge.  Unfortunately, her editor, ex boyfriend and maybe a character in Game of Thrones, Stathis Borans tells her she's been duped and they are not running her story.  However, Seth shows up at her office, creepy, and over a cheeseburger, offers her the same deal to document everything for fame and fortune.  He explains how he can't teleport people yet and once he can then they can tell the world of his work.  So, they set up some camera's in his loft and put a baboon through the telepods, but it doesn't go so well and the baboon comes out inside out. Eeeew!  After killing the baboon like any good scientist, Seth and Veronica have sex, which opens up an idea for Seth to teach the computer about flesh.  After some changes here and there, Seth stuffs another baboon (where is he getting these baboons?) into the telepod and this time..................(ding) success!  Excited Seth tells Veronica that they should celebrate, but Stathis sent a package to Veronica threatening to expose their project, so she ducks out leaving Seth alone to enjoy his victory.  Pissed off and drunk, Seth decides that baboon looks ok and jumps into the telepod. It flashes himself through to the other telepod and when he comes out the other side, he feels like a new man and has incredible strength, agility and energy.  However, he didn't know that a fly was hitchiing a ride with him and the computer merged their DNA.  Veronica returns later to apologize and reassures Seth that she loves him. Seth tells her about his telepodding and tries to force her into the machine.  No means no, so frustrated she leaves.  Fed up, Seth hits the town and wins a lady in an arm wrestling match. Classy.  After some awkward sex, Seth tries pushing his new lady friend into the telepod but Veronica shows up just in time. Busted!  She breaks up with him and vows to never see him again, but then she gets a call and Seth tells her that he's really sick.  She visits and Seth's body lots like it's deteriorating quickly, he tells her that he checked the computer and now it looks like his DNA was merged with a fly.  Shocked, confused and pregnant, Veronica doesn't know where her future lies?  Can a simple reporter girl and crazy fly guy make in this upside town world?  Maybe?  Chris Walas and Stephen Dupuis won the Academy Award for Best Make Up for their outstanding and grotesque job in this film.  The transformation of Seth Brundle to Brundlefly is quite amazing and a definite must see for any horror geek.  This is one of Jeff Goldblum's (Jurassic Park) and Geena Davis (Beetlejuice) best roles and the two play very well off each other.  Director David Cronenberg puts a nice spin on this version of The Fly and turns a good, but hookey story from the 50's, into a nightmarish tale which some critics saw as a metaphor for the AIDS epidemic.  There are some killer scenes in this film that any movie maniac will enjoy.  It has a good script and a fun watch on any night.

2. Misery (1990) - Famous author Paul Sheldon has just finished his new novel and heads into to the snowy conditions of Colorado back to L.A.  This is his first novel that he's written in years that isn't part of his romance series starring the character Misery Chastain, which he killed off in his last novel, that is being published soon. The snowy conditions quickly become blizzard conditions on the road and Paul loses control of his car, which sends him careening off a turn and into the woods.  Luckily,  a passerby saves Paul and his novel and brings him home out of the frozen woods.  Two days later, Paul wakes up in a bed with his shoulder and both his legs bandaged up.  Shortly after, he meets his savior, Annie Wilkes, who happens to be a former nurse and his number one fan.  She tells him that both his legs are broken and she had to pop his shoulder back into place.  She also lets him know that the roads have been closed since the blizzard and her phone is down but has soon as there up, she'll have an ambulance bring him to the hospital.  She mentions that she noticed that Paul has his new novel in his bag and asks if she could have chance to read it.  Paul tells her that she is welcome to read it, but warns that it is not a Misery Chastain book.  Annie doesn't care because she thinks Paul is brilliant and anything he writes will be great.  However, after reading the new novel, her demeanor changes and she tells Paul that she doesn't like the swearing in the book.  Paul tries to explains that this is the way the people that he is writing about talk and Annie starts losing her shit but calms herself down when she notices that Paul is getting uncomfortable.  The next day, Annie comes home and announces to Paul that she has the new Misery Chastain novel!  Paul asks if the roads are open and if he'll be able to leave soon.  She tells Paul that she has called his agent to let her know where he is and that she has spoken to the hospital but the roads aren't open in that neck of the woods yet.  She is so excited about the book and over the next few days, she swoops in to his room to sings his praises about how wonderful the it is.  That is until she finishes the book and realizes that Misery, her favourite character in the whole cockamamie world, is dead!  She storms into the room and threatens him, telling him that there is no way Misery could be dead.  Dirty birdie!  She leaves the room and tells Paul that she is going to have to think about what to do.  The next morning, she walks into Paul's room with his new book and a barbeque; then forces him to burn the novel.  Once he finishes burning his new book, she tells him that he is going to write a new Misery Chastain novel.  Paul tries to explain that he can't because the character is dead and Annie explains to Paul that she never told anyone where he was, so he's going to write the book or die there.  Paul realizing his situation, agrees to write the book and begins to plot his escape from his number one fan.  Kathy Bates won the Best Actress Award for her spot on portrayal of Annie Wilkes.  Even a simple smile from this character will send chills down your back and raise some hairs.  The cast although small is pretty fantastic, James Caan is brilliant as Paul Sheldon, Lauren Becall has a small but great role as Sheldon's agent and my favourite characters the old sheriff and wife, played by Richard Farnsworth and Frances Sternhagen are quirky but realistic.  Rob Reiner, usually known for his comedies, pulls together a chilling film about isolation from one of Stephen King's best novels.  More of a psychological horror, there isn't a lot of blood but I still wince at the hobbling scene.  Man, that is some fucked up shit, check it out if you get a chance.

1. Silence of the Lambs (1991) - F.B.I trainee, Clarice Starling is called in by her boss, Jack Crawford and he asks her to do an interview with psychiatrist/cannibal/serial killer Hannibal Lecter at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.  The F.B.I want to see if Lecter has any insight on a new serial killer, who skins his female victims corpses, called Buffalo Bill. Totally jazzed, she heads to Baltimore and chats with Dr. Chilton, Lecter's psychiatrist and head admin guy there.  He gives her the run down about the do and don'ts of talking to Hannibal Lecter.  Do be polite and don't go anywhere near the glass, hand him anything and let him get into your mind.  She walks down the hall of cells and has an interesting but fruitless conversation with Lecter.  On her way out, she gets hit in the face with seamen from one of the other inmates, which outrages Lecter, so he calls Clarice back and gives her a tidbit of information.  It ends up being an anagram for a warehouse owned by a former patient of Lecter's.  Once she unscrambles the code, she goes to the warehouse and finds a head in a jar.  In the meantime, Buffalo Bill has kidnapped a new victim, and she is the daughter of a State Senator, so the press is all over it.  Clarice goes back to Lecter and offers him a deal.  If he helps the F.B.I find Buffalo Bill before he murders the girl, he will be moved to a kinder gentler prison, on beach.  Lecter accepts the deal under one condition, in exchange for information on Buffalo Bill, Clarice must give him personal information about herself.  Clarice agrees and Lecter feeds more information to her.  Unfortunately, Dr. Chilton is pissed and has a sit down with the Senator.  He goes back to Lecter and tells him that the F.B.I has lied to him but he has a new deal in place.  Lecter takes Chilton's deal and is whisked away to Memphis Tennessee, where he gives the name and other personal information of Buffalo Bill.  Clarice, realizes the name is another anagram and Lecter is playing with Chilton and the Senator.  With time running out, she sneaks in to the high security hotel prison to find out the real name of the killer.  After answering more of Lecter's questions, he reassures her that she has all the information in the dossier.  Then she gets busted and thrown out of the building but just as she is getting bounced, Lecture gives her one more hint.  Can Clarice find Bufffalo Bill in time? The Academy gave Silence of the Lambs, 5 Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Jonathan Demme), Best Writing (Ted Tally), Best Male Lead Actor (Anthony Hopkins) and Best Female Lead Actress (Jodie Foster).  Such a fantastic film, I remember seeing this in the theatre and being blown away.  Wonderful script, great dialogue and another thinking horror film that doesn't disappoint.  Must see for anybody.

So if you catch any of the red carpet nonsense or hear yourself groaning that the same people are up to win the same award for another year in a row, think of these films and know that sometimes the bad guys do win.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

5 Horror Movies From Down Under

Australia seems like such a friendly country and it reminds me of Canada in so many ways.  Both were British colonies, both have long stretches of barren landscape in between cities and both have funny accents according to Americans, eh.  However, behind those smiling eyes like Canada, Australia has a darker side and have been producing a number of great horror movies over the years, which I've been trying catching up on lately.  Recent titles like The Loved Ones, the Horseman and The Pit have me looking back at Ozploitation films for more Aussie scream and gore flicks.

Here are 5 Horror Movies From Down Under:

5. Long Weekend (1978) - Peter and Marcia are city folk, who want to take a camping trip to fix their broken marriage.  On the way there, Peter runs over a kangaroo but that doesn't stop this wilderness buff from getting to the great outdoors.  However, Peter doesn't seem to know where he's going and after asking for directions at a gas station, he realizes nobody's heard of this place but this won't stop him, he gets back in his jeep and drives them into the wilderness, only to be lost.  Marcia starts complaining about how she would rather be at a hotel, but he ignores her pleas and tells her that they'll sleep in the jeep and when it's light, they'll find the beach.  When Marcia wakes up, she is surprised to find that Peter was right.  The camp is set up and there is a gorgeous beach straight ahead.  They head down to the beach, Peter is drinking, throwing bottles into the ocean and shooting at them.  They're both littering and making a mess of the great outdoors.  The animals take notice of this disrespect of their home and decide to take their revenge on these city folks!  This was ok, it had some interesting elements to it.  There was a scene where an eagle attacks someone, which was pretty insane and I've never seen that before.  The environmental overtone is consistent throughout the film but it didn't really get scary until the very end.  The couples hot/cold relationship gets a little tiresome and sometimes, you really wish they would just go home.  Not a lot of blood but again it does vamp up at the end.  Only wish there was more tension in the film.  It's worth a watch  

4. Razorback (1984) - Jake Cullen is spending some bonding time with his grandson, when he hears the thunderous hooves of something outside.  He goes out to have a look when an enormous Razorback pig barrels through his home and snatches his grandson away.  When he goes to the police nobody believes him and he is put on trial for murdering the baby.  Fortunately, the judge doesn't have any proof that he did it, so he is let go but Jake Cullen is still guilty in the eyes of the town.  Flash forward 2 years later, journalist and animal rights activist, Beth Winters gives her husband a kiss goodbye and heads to the outback to do a story on hunting in the Australian Outback.  However, the local don't care for a snooping reporter watching them and on a late night excursion to a meat processing plant, she is attack by two deranged employees, Benny and Dicko Baker.  She drives away but they ram her off the road and when they finally catch her,  a strange rumbling of hooves is felt and something rams the Baker's car.   They scurry into the vehicle and get away, leaving Beth Winters to fend for herself but she isn't so lucky and is never seen again.  Sooooooo,  Beth's husband Carl flies down to get to the bottom of this but when he gets there, he's told by the locals that she fell down a mine shaft, mate.  Determined to find the truth, he leaves on a hunting expedition with Benny and Dicko but they leave him in the middle of nowhere to be mauled by wild pigs.  Can Carl escape the pigs and find out what really happened to Beth? Can he meet and expunge Jake Cullens at the same time? Let's hope so.  The film starts off really strong in the beginning then gets sidetracked with the Baker brothers sub plot.  They're assholes but I want to see more of the Razorback tearing shit up.  The Jake Cullen character reminded me of Quint from Jaws, determined and willing to stop at nothing to get his revenge.  There are some pretty intense scenes but there isn't a lot of blood shed on camera.  It's alright but again I would have liked to see more of the Razorback.

3. Road Games (1981) - Pat Quid and his dingo are ready for a day off from trucking meat across Australia.  They pull up to a motel but Quid is so long winded talking to his dingo, that the last room gets scooped up by a man in a green van and the female hitch hiker that Quid chose not to pick up earlier that day.  On top of that, he gets an emergency call from dispatch asking him to do a run.  Quid grumbles about him having days off but agrees to do it, signs off and wishes his dingo a good night.  The next morning, Quid is awoken by the sound of a garbage truck and lets his dingo out for a pee.  He notices that the dingo is not the only thing interested in the garbage because he can see somebody watching the trash being thrown away for a hotel window.  Once the trash is gone, Quid notices the man with the green van leave and he thinks that is weird.  Anyhoo, it's time to pick up his load and he is sent to Perth carrying a lot of ham.  While on the road, Quid makes some jokes that I'm sure even the dingo is shaking his head about, when he sees the green van zip past him.  Whatever and he keeps on trucking but there's something up a head and Quid has to jam on this breaks to not run into a road block of streamers.  Madeline Day jumps into his cab and begs him for a lift because her husband deserted her on the road.  Grumble, grumble and the truck moves on and after a little bit, Quid realizes why her husband left her behind.  During a road game of eye spy, Mrs. Day answer is a green van.  Quid looks and sees it parked in the middle of nowhere, he jams on the breaks and pulls out his trusty binoculars.  He sees the man from the green van digging a hole and burying something suspicious in the hole.  After some argument with Mrs. Day, they get back in the truck and head out to the next rest stop.  Quid tries to call the police but the connection is terrible and the music in the truck stop is too loud.  Fuck it and heads back to his truck, Mrs. Day has decided to get a ride from someone else, so it's just him and the dingo.  Back to the road and boring the dingo to death with his trucker philosophy, Quid sees a young female hitch hiker and decides to pick her up.  She says her name is Pamela, but Quid calls her "Hitch", and that she is tired of her family, so she is on the run.  Quid tells "Hitch" about the dangers of the road and then there is a announcement on the radio about a killer on the loose killing hitch hikers.  Quid tells "Hitch" about what he's seen involving the guy in the green van.  The call the guy "Smith or Jones" and play a game to guess his motives and how he commits the crime.  When they get to the next stop, Quid sees the van parked and notices that no one is in the driver seat.  He checks out the washroom and sees some feet in the stall.  Quid runs out and tells "Hitch" to explore the van and he'll stall/call out "Smith or Jones" in the men's room.  Unfortunately, Quid was wrong and "Smith or Jones" ends up kidnapping "Hitch".  Now Quid must save "Hitch" before she becomes another case of roadkill.  Director Richard Franklin (Patrick) wanted this to be something similar to Rear Window.  It has a similar vibe to Rear Window but I don't think that it achieves that same element of fear.  Also, they introduce the Jaime Lee Curtis character "Hitch" really late in the story, so the connection between Quid, played by Stacey Keach, is somewhat questionable.  The movie reminds me of a good made for TV film, which isn't bad but it's a PG horror and I was hoping for something more R rated.  Still, it's an good road movie, weird twists and if you like Stacey Keach,and who doesn't, you'll love it.

2. Night of Fear (1972) - A young woman is having a delightful horseback ride in the forest when she stops for a rest.  After strolling a few feet, her horse is startled and so is she by a deranged mountain man, who chases her through the woods to a rundown cabin.  He catches her and locks her in the cabin and then the strangest opening montage comes up for this film/pilot TV show.  After the credits, a young woman is on her way to play tennis with her boyfriend.  They play tennis and then make love behind the tennis fence.  After the sex, they wish each other well and head home.  I should really start playing tennis.  On the way home, the young woman is accidentally run off the road and into the woods.  Luckily, she ok, but for some reason doesn't want to drive back to the road and keeps driving deeper into the woods.  She has yet another accident and wrecks her car, then guess who shows up?  The deranged mountain man!  He ends up chasing her around through the forest and she eventually ends up hiding in the mountain man's creepy cabin, having rapey dreams while she snoozes and he has lunch with one of his pet rats at her car.  Will she ever escape? Probably not because I read that this was originally a pilot for TV called Fight and was commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Company.  The protagonist is similar to Ed Geins and the show is reminiscent of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which came out two years later.  I don't know how this got green lighted back then, Terry Bourke (RIP) must have been one charming mofo.  I can't even imagine the pitch. Sadly after it aired it was banned, no shit.  There are some interesting things about the show but the lack of dialogue and the length of the chase scenes really get tiresome.  However, the girl's dream sequence is so fucked up and the ending is so out there that you'll stay tuned in.

1. Wolf Creek (2005) - Liz and Kristy are British tourists backpacking across Australia with their new friend from Sydney, Ben.  Before they leave Broome and continue their trip to Cairns, Ben picks up a shitty Ford, so they can travel on the Great Northern Highway and save themselves some time.  After a night of partying, they get their shit together and hit the road.  Kristy picks up that Ben may like Liz and vice versa so during the trip she mentions something to both of them but it sounds like Ben may have a girlfriend back in Sydney.  They leave Halls Creek and stop at a gas station to fill up.  While filling up, some locals give them a hard time and Ben keeps his cool and everybody leaves without incident.  They stop at Wolf's Creek National Park to check out a giant crater that was left by a 50,000 ton meteorite.  When they reach the top of the crater, Ben and Liz split up for Kristy to make kissy face.  When they head back to the car, it's raining and the car won't stop. Ahh shitty Ford!  Everyone is pissed because they blame each other for leaving the lights on and getting stuck.  After a few hours, some funny lights shine around the car and they get scare because they think it could be aliens.  No, they're just idiots and it's a car, with Mick Taylor, not from the Stones, and he's wants to give them a hand.  Unfortunately, the car needs a new coil and he doesn't have one with him but he does have one back at his shop and he'll put it in for free! Hooray!  He gives them a lift back to his camp and gets them some fresh rain water.  They chat a bit, then Mick goes to work on their car.  Liz falls asleep.  When she wakes up, she is gagged and bound!  She finds some glass and cuts her hands free, then unties her legs.  She sneaks out the window, runs to the car but the keys are gone and so are all her friends but then she hears something.  She runs to the window and sees Mick Taylor, not from the Stones, torturing her friend Kristy!  Can she save her friend Kristy and possibly not have the worst vacation ever? And where the fuck is Ben?  Enjoyed Wolf Creek, loosely based on true life crimes that have happened over the years there.  John Jarratt, who plays Mick Taylor, is terrific villain with the ability to come off sweet and naive in one moment and ruthless and crazy in the next.  There are some good torture scenes but nothing too over the top and director, Greg Mclean leaves most that to audiences imagination near the end.  It does become a excellent game of cat and mouse about half way through the picture and that's what I liked the most, watching these characters try and out wit this relentless maniac.  Good Stuff.

After watching these films, people shouldn't be worried about babies being eaten by dingos, although tragic, and what size people knives are but be concerned of the vast highways and off road sites that sit in isolation, waiting for travelers without the common sense to respect the land and culture that their visiting.  Have too many Foster's and you could be the next shrimp on the barby.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

5 Movies about the Horrors of Love

Relationships can be difficult and strenuous.  Sure, love is all around but how do you know when that special someone is right for you.  The following films have characters in them, that believe that they have found their hearts true calling, no matter how strange, gross or taboo it is.  Now, I'm not here to judge, actually I am, but these romance films are not for the faint of heart and they take a stroll down the darkest chambers of the heart.  So put away your heart shaped boxes, your cheap red roses and try and hold on to that red lobster dinner in while watching movie.  Enjoy!

Here are 5 Movies about the Horrors of Love

5. Wedding Trough (aka Vase de Noces) (1975) - A man lives in a burned out building and spends his days with his animal friends.  He has some pigeons, some chickens and a pig, which he loves to caress and cuddles with at times.  Eventually he has sex with the pig and it sires 3 baby piglets, which he considers to be his own.  Now a family, where can this love story go?  This movie is very disappointing because when I read the synopsis on IMDB, it said "falls in love with his pig and has mutant piglets with it".  I was expecting twisted wretched halfman/halfpig creatures to be born but they were just piglets.  Very frustrating.  The film is dull and boring and there is no dialogue.  You watch this man play with animals, poop, jar the poop and have sex with a pig.  Then it's back to pooping and jarring again until the piglets are born.  This is a very stupid film, I can't believe it took three people to write this movie.  Try and avoid this film if you can because it isn't worth your time.

4. Love Object (2003) - Technical writer,  Kenneth Winslow is very shy and not very good with the ladies, so he orders a sex doll.  At work, his boss, Mr. Novak gives him a huge project to work on but he only has three weeks to finish it so, Novak gives Kenneth a new temp, Lisa for the typing pool to help him get the work done.  Kenneth falls in love immediately with Lisa and when his sex doll arrives, he fashions the doll to be like Lisa.  Fortunately for him while at her desk, Lisa shows him an old zine that she wrote in high school and Kenneth steals it away for more information on her.  While working together and from practicing with the sex doll, Nikki, Kenneth and Lisa start becoming more comfortable with each other and spending more time together.  However, when Kenneth gets home from work, Nikki the sex doll is getting jealous of where Kenneth has been and who he's with.  These fights get so loud that the building manager next door is unsure if he should call the cops or not.  At work though, everything is great because of the project is getting done on schedule, Kenneth is promoted to editor and he promotes Lisa to a writer.  Excited, Lisa goes shopping with Kenneth, gets her hair done and when the day is over Lisa looks like Nikki!  When Kenneth gets home, somehow Nikki has gotten out of her box and has some choice words for Kenneth.  This is the last straw, Kenneth cannot stand it anymore and chops Niki and throws her in the garbage a few blocks away.  The next day, he asks Lisa on a date and she excepts, Hooray! The date goes great and they even spend the night together but the next day, Lisa finds the advertisement for the sex doll and sees that her and the doll have the same hair cut and clothing!  She erupts in the office, dumps Kenneth and to make matters worse Mr. Novak fires him because he doesn't want Lisa to sue for sexual harassment.  Poor Kenneth has no doll, no job and no Lisa but he has the instructions on how to make a doll and a girl who looks his doll.  So that's what he'll do, he'll make Lisa into Niki!  This is the only project written and directed by long time television producer, Robert Parigi (Tales From The Crypt, King of the Hill) and I found it surprisingly good.  Great cast with Desmond Harrington (Dexter, Wrong Turn) playing Kenneth and Melissa Sagemiller (Law & Order:SVU) as Lisa, who really go all out, especially in the ending that will have you gripped to your seat.  Also, Udo Kier, Ellen Green, Michael Pena and Rip Torn show up throughout the picture.  The story is creepy and there is a great twist at the end that really makes the picture.  There's some blood and guts stuff but watching the Desmond Harrington character lose his mind is really worth the price of admission on this one.  Check it out if you get a chance.

3. Tromeo & Juliet (1996) - The Que's and the Capulets have been at war with each other for years.  It all started when Cappy Capulet stole the video business and wife of Monty Que, leaving him broken and with his only son, Tromeo to raise by himself.  Since then the two families have been blooding the streets of New York with each other for revenge. One evening, Tromeo, his cousin Benny and friend Murray sneak into a Capulet costume party to find Tromeo's girlfriend and mess with the Capulets.  While there, Tromeo discovers that his girlfriend has been cheating on him but what do wondering eyes do see, but a fair maiden.  Although still devastated, Tromeo falls instantly in love with the maiden, approaches her and asks her to dance.  While dancing he finds out that she is Juliet Capulet, daughter of arch nemesis Cappy Capulet and she is destined to marry, London Arbuckle, a millionaire meat guy.  However, they fall in love on the dance floor and decide they must meet again.  The next night, Romeo sneaks into house and with the help of the sexy cook, Ness and Tromeo finds Juliet locked away in a glass box.  They spend the night together and decide to get married as soon as they can.  Will they love turn to tragedy, like in the original or does this relationship have a fighting chance Troma style! Lloyd Kaufman delivers a wonderful modern version of William Shakespeares Romeo & Juliet, with a few change.  This ain't your grandpa's Romeo & Juliet, this is exactly what you'd expect from the Troma team, sex, violence and fun!  Great cast of people, Will Keenan, Jane Jensen,  scream queen Debbie Rochon and even Lemmy from Motorhead show up in this.  Terrific film, lots of laughs, tons of gross out and an ending that you won't see coming.  Watch it!

2. Warm Bodies (2013) - A Teen Zombie humorously narrates his background and stumbles around an airport.  He doesn't remember his name, how the zombie apocalypse happened or where he's from but he's got his own pad in an abandoned airplane and likes to listen to 80's rock records there.  He explains that zombies get a hunger and have to eat humans but most zombies are ok, unless you become a "Bonie", because those are the evil zombies.  Lucky, there are still humans and they live on the other side of town, behind a wall.  However, when they run low on supplies, their leader, Grigio sends teams of people into the world to collect them for the town.  His daughter Julie, her boyfriend Perry, her best friend, Nora and a few other victims, ah, people are on such a mission, when they are over taken by you guessed it, zombies!  Teen Zombie is in this pack of flesh eaters and while stumbling into the room, he notices and immediately falls in love with Julie.  He makes a B line, straight for her but is shot in the chest by Julie's boyfriend, Perry.  So he grabs Perry and eats him.  While devouring Perry's brains, Teen Zombie lets us in on a secret, that when zombie's eats brains, they get the memories of the person their eating.  When he eats just enough of Perry, he staggers toward Julie, calls her name and then tries to rescue her from his zombie compatriots.  Julie is of course is confused and thinks that she is taken prisoner by the Teen Zombie.  She follows him back to the plane and Teen Zombie, grunts "safe" to let her know she is safe.  The next morning, Julie tricks the Teen Zombie, how hard is that, and tries to escape but gets herself trapped on the tarmac with dozens of zombies trying to sniff her out.  Luckily, Teen Zombie comes to the rescue and gets her back to his plane pad just in time.  There Julie realizes that this zombie ain't so bad and slowly they become friends.  She names him R, they talk about records, drive around a bit and she thinks she may be falling in love.  However, Julie wants to get home still and tries to make another escape but this time gets into some real trouble with the "Bonies" and the good guy zombies, who still want to eat her.  R comes to the rescue and saves her again but this time he 's bringing her home.  Do R and Julie have a chance in this crazy post apocalyptic world, where 2 star crossed lovers come together and overcome their differences with the power of love?  This is a really simplistic movie and that really stays on one level.  There are some humorous parts moments, especially at the beginning and then the laughs fade away into the background and only pops back up a few times when Rob Corddry is speaking.  Nicholas Hoult, who plays R and Teresa Palmer, who plays Julie are adequate and don't really bring anything new in the way in which romance movies play out.  There's no bloody scenes, no real tension and once the two hit the road, everything seems to be smooth sailing and by the numbers, which is a shame.  Even John Malkovich is disappointing, as Julie's father.  He seems to accept everything although his background is full of hatred of these zombies for killing his wife and family.  They also introduce a new kind of zombie villian, which makes it a little confusing at the end. The idea is good but the execution could have been better.  There wasn't enough tension for it to be a horror, not enough laughs to make it a comedy and if you look at it as a romance, it just kind of falls dead.  I've seen worse but I wouldn't see it again.

1. The Loved Ones (2009) - It's a lovely afternoon, Brent and his dad are having a drive, when all of a sudden Brent needs to swerve to avoid hitting a bloodied guy standing on the road.  He swerves off the road and hits a tree, killing his father.  Six months later, Brent is at his locker, getting ready to go home and Lola Stone asks him to take her to the Prom that night.  Brent lets her down easy and says that he can't because he is going to the Prom with his girlfriend, Holly.  He leaves school to go meet Holly and get a ride home.  On the way home, Holly and Brent stop for some sexy time but don't notice that Lola has followed them and is watching.  Holly drops Brent off at home and he lets her know that Lola asked him to the dance.  She giggles and jokingly says that Lola can have him if she wants, then takes off for home to get ready for the dance.  Brent is still upset about his father's death, so cranks his \metal/ and sits in his room in the dark.  His mother comes up to see if he's ok and asks how he's going to get to the dance.  He tells her that Holly is picking him up but she gets worried and thinks that a cab would be safer.  They argue and he storms out of his room with his dog in tow.  He takes a walk in the wood and scales an enormous set of rocks that almost kills him but when he gets to the top, he reflects on life, listens to his tunes and realizes that everything is good.  Then, he is grabbed from behind and chloroformed.  Dusk has settled and Brent's mom is wondering where he is and when the dog returns, crawling on it's hind legs because it was stabbed, she knows something isn't right and calls Holly.  When Brent wakes up, he is tied to a chair, wearing a tux and sitting at a table with Lola Stone, her father, Daddy and a lobotomized woman, they call Bright Eyes.  He notices that they have turned their dining room/living room into a prom with a mirror ball and everything.  Lola injects Brent's throat with bleach, so he can't talk and scream, then the festivities of torture begins.  Can Brent save himself from probably the worst prom date ever?  Will Holly and Brent's mom find him before his brains become soup?  I was pleasantly surprised by this film and when I first got the title and started watching it, I thought it was going to be some Heartbreak High shit but not even fucking close.  Director Sean Byrne assembles a terrifying film, that keeps getting more disturbing as it continues on.  Robin McLeavy (Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hutner) is spot on as Lola and balances out the spoiled teen who loves her daddy with the psychopathic tendencies of any killer, I've seen in film.  She works well with John Brumpton (The Hunter, Red Hills), who plays her father and the pair become a very scarey duo.  Xavier Samuel is excellent as Brent, that puts on a very strong performance as their victim du jour.  There are tons of gory scenes, nightmarish allusions and some scenes are just tough to watch without wincing.  Also, I love the fact that the mum's name is Bright Eyes, which may or may not be a shout out to Charlton Heston's character in Planet of the Apes. Great story, fantastic characters and this film is bound to be a classic in the future.

From what these films demonstrate any type of relationship can be difficult.  Be it a suitor that your  dad has kidnapped, an attractive zombie or even a pig, there are going to be moments where you think to yourself, is this what I really signed up for?  During those moments, maybe put the drill down and reflect on your past and try and think where this relationship going to be in the next 5 years? 10 years?  This is when you need to take those rose coloured welder glasses off and then you'll know if this person, animal, thing that you're lobotomizing is really right for you.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

5 Cult Films that Sacrifice Everything

Cult films are great but films about cults are usually pretty scary.  They involve a secret group of people trying to obtain power using religious ceremonies and magic by summoning devils or elder gods of their choosing.  The secret group usually ends up being your family, friends and neighbours, so it's like a surprise party for evil, which I guess could be fun but it's never good to be the last to know.  So here are some films to watch, so you can detect heathen/satanic cults at work or home.
Here are 5 Cult Films that Sacrifice Everything:

5. Brotherhood of Satan (1971) - Ben, his daughter, K.T and Ben's girlfriend, Nicky are off on a summer vacation heading to grandma's house for a birthday party, when they come across a terrible car accident.  They try to report it to the sheriff in the next town but before they can tell anyone anything, the town turns into an angry mob and they chase them out of it.  Worse vacation ever.  On the way out of town, Ben almost hits a little girl and crashes the car.  They get out of the car and search for the little girl, but she is nowhere to be found, so Ben and the gang head back to the crazy town.  Little do they that children in that town have been disappearing and their parents have been murdered.  Whose doing this?  Why a group of elderly satanists who need to steal the body and souls of children to stay alive.  These geriatric devils are just waiting for the 13 children to be collected, then the ceremony can begin.  Ben gets back in down and waits for the sheriff in what looks like a barn full of bodies on ice.  Finally, he talks to the sheriff and the sheriff realizes that there is a mystery afoot because no one has been able to get in or out of the town for the last little bit.  The sheriff invites Ben and his family to stay at the station for the night. During the night, Ben's daughter K.T disappears!  They search nowhere and can't find her! Then the town priest shows up and tells them about Satanic cults.  They realize that 12 kids have been stolen around the same age and there are only a couple kids left, so it's time to stake them out!  Can they stop these old satanist's in time and save the souls of the town's children?  This movie is pretty funny at times and I understand the rejuvenation element of the script, but to see these old people attack each other is pretty humorous.  The story is ok and you can tell the the budget was loooow for this one.  I think, Charles Robinson, who played the priest, did a awesome job.  He delivers these long winded speeches that really sold the rituals.  There isn't a ton of blood but there is a good beheading scene that comes out of nowhere and probably make you smile.  The ending, I found disjointed but works for what it is.  It's free on Crackle, if you ever get bored.

4. All the Colors of Dark (1972) - Jane Harrison has been having nightmares since she lost her unborn child in a car accident.  Fortunately, her boyfriend Richard Steele, pharmaceutical rep, has been giving her vitamin pills to keep her happy.  However, her sister Barbara thinks that Jane should go see a psychiatrist, so they visit Dr. Burton and he discovers that along with the nightmares, Jane hasn't felt in the mood for love making either.  He suggests that she stop taking the vitamin pills and to set up another appointment with him.  On the way home, she notices the man from her nightmares is following her.  He chases her from the train all the way home.  Luckily, she runs into a neighbor that she's never met before, Mary and goes for coffee with her in her new apartment.  She tells Mary all about her life and after explaining everything to Mary, her new besty; Mary suggests what every best friend suggests, a Black Mass.  Jane is shocked but after thinking it over she decides the Black Mass is exactly what she needs.  Jane confirms plans with Mary to go to the Black Mass tomorrow before supper and then heads home.  When she gets home, Jane receives a mysterious call from a lawyer, who asks her to meet him tomorrow at his office to discuss something that he can't say over the phone.  Luckily, it's before the Black Mass, it'll be tight but she agrees to go.  When she arrives at the office the next day, the creepy guy from the train chases her again.  She gets home just in time because Mary was about to leave without her, Whew!  They go to the Black Mass and everybody is wearing robes and chanting.  The priest welcomes Jane and kills a puppy in her honor, then makes her drink it.  Once she's drank the puppy blood, she is then fondled and kiss by the whole group.  The priest then starts to make love to her and the camera whip pans back to her at her house, making love to her boyfriend, Richard.  After sex, Richard and Jane are happy again.  All she need was puppy blood and to get trained by satanists!  Who knew!  Unfortunately, not everything is golden showers because she is still having bad dreams, the creepy guy is still trying to kill her and at the next Black Mass, it's not all puppy blood and group sex!  The satanists want her to kill Mary, her best friend for the last 72 hours.  Can Jane solve these mysteries her dreams, keep her relationship with Richard and live to see another day?  When all is said and done, I did enjoy this movie.  Director Sergio Martino (The Mountain of the Cannibal God, Torso) puts together a great devil cult film in a Giallo style.  I really enjoyed the dream sequences, which were creepy and strange.  I didn't expect the ending whatsoever and it really was a brilliant twist.  Some good bloody scenes and a good use of tension.  Check it out if you enjoy Italian cinema.

3. House of the Devil (2009) - It's the 80's and college student, Samantha has finally found a house that she likes and wants to rent.  The landlady is very nice, gives her a break on the damage deposit and tells her that if she can get the money to her by the end of the week, the place is hers.  This is awesome, she heads back to dorm room but her shitty roommate has a sock on the door.  So, Samantha goes for a walk and sees a listing for someone needing a babysitter.  She gives it a call and gets the answering machine, so she leaves a message.  She walks away from the pay phone and it rings, reluctantly she answers it and it's Mr. Ulman, the man looking for a babysitter.  He asks her to meet her at the one of the building's on campus, so she runs over but he never shows up.  Pissed, she goes for pizza with her friend, Megan and tells her about this great place she found, how she has no money to rent it and how this jerk stood her up for a babysitting gig.  Megan tells her that she should tear down all the Mr. Ulman's babysitting signs to pay him back for ditching her.  They laugh and head home.  When Samantha's gets home, her shitty roommate tells her that she got a call from Mr. Ulman.  Samantha calls him right back and he apologizes from ditching her.  He begs her to come and babysit tonight and promises to pay her double.  She gets the address and wrangles Megan to give her a ride out to the house.  On the way the radio is talking about the amazing eclipse that will be happening that evening at midnight.  The girls don't care and quickly change stations.  Megan asks if she can stay with Samantha at the babysitting gig.  Sure, why not, if Mr. Ulman doesn't mind.  When they get to the creepy house, Mr. Ulman answers the door and towers over the girls.  He invites them in and asks if he can speak with Samantha alone.  They go into the kitchen and he lets Samantha know that Megan can't stay because his wife won't like it. Then he tells her that he doesn't have a child to babysit, but an elderly woman.  Samantha says she can't do it but after he offers her 400 dollars and money for pizza, she is waves good-bye to Megan.  She meets Mrs. Ulman and is assured that everything will be fine and not to worry about the old lady.  The Ulman's leave and Samantha roams around the house.  After a while, she's bored so she tries to call Megan but no luck, so she calls the pizza place to get some food.  After she orders food, she continues to roam around the house and notices some discrepancies in the Ulman's story after breaking a vase.  Do they really live her? Who are these people in the photo?  She is getting really creeped out when the dorrbell rings and it's THE pizza man.  She is relieved, eats the pizza but unfortunately the pizza is drugged.  I hate when that happens!  When she wakes up, she is the center piece of a Black Mass ritual!  Can she escape this torturous band of satanists or she going to be sacrificed for their lunar ceremony? Director TI West (The Inkeepers, V/H/S) is hit or miss with me but I like this film, it has a nice slow burn that takes a while to set up and when it gets there, it really pays off.  Excellent mix in casting with the new talent actress like Jocelin Donahue as Samantha, Greta Gerwig as Megan and then some of horror veterns  like, Mary Woronov (Chopping Mall, Warlock) and Tom Noonen (Manhunter) as the Ulman's.  Even Dee Wallace (Critters, Cujo, Howling) is in this movie! Great movie and one you should check out.

2. Eye of the Devil (1966) - During a very swanky party at his home, Philippe de Montfaucon is mysteriously given a an urgent message to go to his office.  He leaves the party quickly, much to the dismay of his wife, Catherine.  After the party, Catherine visits Philippe to see what the matter was and he tells her he must return home to the village of Bellenac, because the vineyard has been dry for another season.  She asks if she and the children can come along but he says that it is not necesary and he would probably be won't be long there.  The next morning at breakfast, Philippe is seems distracted and ignores his sons pleas to come with him to Bellenac.  After breakfast, he sets off for his journey and when he arrives at his family's castle, he is greeted by Pere Dominic, the towns priest.  Pere Dominic reminds Philippe of his duties and is glad that he has returned to fulfill them.  Catherine decides to visit Philippe after spending an evening with family friend, Jean-Claude and packs up the kids to be with the man she loves.  When she arrives she is greeted by a relative of Philippe's Countess Estelle and by Christian de Caray, who kills a bird in front of Catherine with his bow and arrow.  Countess Estelle tells her that Christian and his sister, Odile are weird but harmless.  She also tells Catherine that she should pack up the kids and return home but Catherine will not.  She has come to Bellenac to stand by her man.  That evening she sees Philippe returning home and waits up for him but when he doesn't come up, she goes downstairs asking the butler, if he has seen Philippe but he hasn't.  Catherine puts on her detective hat and searches the castle, when she sees a light in one of the towers.  She runs over and peaks through an open door to see a number of hooded figures chanting.  She here's footsteps and quickly ducks out of the way, so not to be seen.  She watches as, Odile de Caray carries the bird from this morning into the ritual room and the door closes.  She hears a whisper and sees a man at the end of the hall beckoning her with his hands.  She runs over and he tells her that she needs to take the kids and leave.  After seeing this satanic ritual, she is torn between staying should in the castle and trying to save Philippe or should she listen to EVERYONE and take the kids and run?  David Nivens and Deborah Kerr star in this occult thriller from director J. Lee Thompson (Cape Fear, Happy Birthday To Me).  It also has a young, if you can believe it, Donald Pleasence as the Pere Dominic and it introduces Sharon Tate as Odile to cinema goers.  It's an interesting story and Nivens does a wonderful job, the Philippe.  He is torn between his family and this mysterious duty and Deborah Kerr is on the verge of madness trying to save the man she loves.  Nothing to gory and they use a less is more mentality and have a number of dream sequences, which give a sense of where the film is headed. I think the film is a little longer than it needs to be but still a classic tale of horror that should be seen.

1. Wicker Man (1973) - Police Sergeant Neil Howie is devout and celibate Christian, who gets an anonymous plea from the island of Summerisle to help the find a young girl, Rowan Morrison, who has been missing for a number of months.  With picture in hand, he packs his bag and flies over to the island, where he is met with a mixed reaction by the islanders.  The harbor master and his friends are friendly but say they've never seen or heard of Rowan Morrison.  They suggest speaking with Lord Summerisle or visiting Mae Morrision in town to find out what's going on with her daughter.  He decides on the latter and goes to Mae Morrison's sweets shop. He is greeted kindly but she is confused as well.  She tells him that she doesn't have a daughter by that name, she only has the one daughter,  Myrtle.  Frustrated, Sergeant Howie heads to the school to find a record of Rowan, on his way he watches the boys decorate the Maypole while singing, what he deems to be a cheeky song, about sex.  He arrives at the school room only to find that the girls talking about the penises.  Outraged, he pulls the teacher, Miss Rose aside and threatens to report her.  She laughs and assures him, she has not done anything wrong.  He asks the class if they know Rowan Morrison, but they all deny knowing her but when he looks in the class attendance list,  her name appears before she went missing.  He calls them all liars and Miss Rose alludes that Rowan may have passed away.  He investigates the cemetery and is annoyed that the church is no longer in use.  With the help of the grave digger, he locates Rowan Morrison's grave and is told that she may have been  burned to death.  He decides to call it a day and goes to the inn to spend the night.  There he is given a room and fed but the food is not to his liking. He takes a walk and finds people having sex in the park.  He returns to the inn, where the town people are singing a droll song about the innkeeper's daughter, which he alone finds offensive and heads to his room.  That night, he hears Lord Summerisle outside calling to the innkeeper's daughter, Willow and asking her if she'll spend the night with this young man.  Best Wingman ever!  She accepts and Sergeant Howie gets to hear them doing it for the rest of the night.  The next day, Sergeant Howie heads out to solve the mystery and goes to the see Lord Summerisle house.  Lord Summerisle explains that over the years, the people were happier with they're old gods then the news ones the church had to offer and his family thought do what your comfortable with.  Sergeant Howie cannot believe what he's hearing and demands the right to dig up Rowan Morrison's grave.  So the Lord Summerisle says sure and off Sergeant Howie goes to digs up Rowan Morrison's grave but all he finds is a dead hare inside her coffin.  Enraged, he returns to Lord Summerisle castle and tries to give Lord Summerisle a verbal smack down but Lord Summerisle and Miss Rose just laugh at him.  He leaves the castle, threatening to bring an army of officers to the island and stompss back to the inn but makes a stop at the chemists.  It's closed, so he breaks in and looks through the photos and finds that Rowan was part of a bad harvest festival.  Sergeant Howie puts it together,... they are going to sacrifice Rowan at the festival tomorrow, so the crops will grow better this year and he must stop them!  This is such a great film! Edward Woodward (The Equalizer, Hot Fuzz) is absolutely brilliant as Sergeant Howie and plays so well off Christopher Lee's (Hammer Film Icon) Lord Summerisle.  The banter between the both of them is excellent with Summerisle always one step ahead.  Britt Eckland (Asylum, Man With The Golden Gun) is gorgeous and gives the most interesting sexy dance, I've ever seen in a movie.  The story is excellent, so good that I read that Christopher Lee waved his fee just to play the role.  Not graphic but a smart horror with a slow burn and when you get to the end, you'll wish that you were on Summerisle as well.  I always do.

So the next time your at a party take a look around and if you notice your the only one not chanting to the music, wearing a hooded robe or wearing some sort of animal mask.  If you are, you may be in a lot of trouble.