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“Invitation to Dance - It’s a Dance. And sometimes they turn the lights off in this ballroom. But we’ll dance anyway, you and I. Even in the Dark. Especially in the Dark. May I have the pleasure?” --- Stephen King ::::::::::: MY CRITERIA FOR DISCUSSION ENCOMPASSES THE HORROR GENRE AND BEYOND, SO I USE THE TERM "NIGHTMARE MOVIES". SPOILERS CAN OCCUR WITH OR WITHOUT WARNING. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Horrorphile - October 2008


October 31st 2008 05:37
The screenwriter's original friend
My fellow horrorphiles and True Believers, I am talking a hiatus from my blog for a couple of weeks to delve deep into the dark and wicked pool of my imagination to conjure an exciting and provocative new draft to a feature screenplay I started four years ago.

Actually the concept was born back in the early 90s when I was at university doing film and drama studies. It was only a paragraph or two, a loose premise – an erotic nightmare - that concerned a male artist and a female demon. I had a title, imagery, and narrative ideas.

Over the years I’d jot down on a bit of paper a visual or character idea, but it was really just a premise that existed for more than ten years. Then one September four years ago I decided to put pen to paper proper. In the space of a week I had written the treatment, and in another couple of weeks I’d completed a 100-page first draft. It just poured out of me.

I had a talented and learned writer friend of mine read the script. A couple of days later he sat me down, said he liked it, and then proceeded to tear it to shreds. That was fun. So I retreated back to my writer’s bubble and tweaked the draft. I tweaked it something nasty and found myself with a revised first draft that was considerably better than the one I’d let my friend read.

And then I shelved it. I knew I’d come back to it, but I needed some distance, time out to let the story brood and fester. I watched movies that seemed to lift ideas straight from my screenplay, movies that dabbled with the same adult, boundary-pushing concepts I’d formed all those years ago. It was frustrating.

The Seduction of Lilith by Boris Vallejo
Earlier this year I took a thoroughly enlightening and creatively invigorating two-day course in screenplay story structuring that re-inspired me and taught me some valuable lessons in the so-called rules for writing a screenplay that sells (ie following the much-touted three act hero’s journey structure). I thought that if I can master the rules, then I can break them.

The class, which was tutored through Metro Screen by the wonderful Karel Segers, studied several commercially successful movies that use these rules and formula and have applied them to their stories, creating narrative arcs that have been used time and time again, yet each of these movies remain characteristically individualistic and uniquely stylish.

I was very impressed with Karel’s approach. We discussed how there are certain movies we adore, that have fundamentally flawed screenplays (Blade Runner), while there are other “children’s” movies that slip under the radar whose screenplays are brilliantly engineered, such as the Pixar animated movies i.e. The Incredibles (and more recently the amazing WALL-E).

Karel kept reminding the class that when it comes to writing the first (or next) draft procrastination is a virtue. The longer you can tweak the story ideas in your head before committing them to paper the better the screenplay will be. And so I have been procrastinating something chronic, and loving it. The best time for me is in the steam room at the gym. My body sweats and sweats and sweats, as my mind tweaks and tweaks and tweaks.

Now I am ready to begin work on a second draft of my screenplay.

Which brings me to the real point of this post; in order to commit to a high level of concentration I am taking leave of my blog for a couple of weeks as of this weekend. I will still be checking comments every few days, but I won’t be posting anything new.

I trust you understand. I will be back with a vengeance. Happy Halloween! Ciao for now.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

October 31st 2008 01:24
Halloween III: Season of the Witch movie poster
Sequels are peculiar things. John Carpenter and Debra Hill produced Halloween (1978) for little more than $US300, 000 and shot it in just one month. Within a year of its release it had made $60 million worldwide. Within a few more years it had become the most successful independent horror movie ever made. By the end of the 80s it was regarded by horrorphiles as one of the greatest modern horror movies of all time, and virtually untouchable (until Rob Zombie ruined its mantle).

Halloween Tom Atkins
Tom Atkins as Dan Challis
Halloween II (1981) was deeply flawed, but because the two charismatic leads (Donald Pleasance and Jamie Lee Cutris) returned to continue “more of the night He came home”, and co-writer/producers Carpenter and Hill continued with much of the same tone and atmosphere (including the masterful electronic score) the movie worked as a long dark shadow of its former self. Still it had nothing on the first movie.

Executive producers then decided to squeeze a little more pumpkin juice from the Halloween jack o’ lantern. Carpenter came up with the concept of a different themed Halloween movie for each year. Carpenter’s mate Tommy Lee Wallace, who had been production designer and editor on Halloween, and played a ghost in The Fog (1980), was handed the writing/directing reigns. Just prior to working on Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) Wallace had penned Amityville II: The Possession (1982).
Halloween III Dan O'Herlihy
Dan O'Herlihy as Conal Cochran
Halloween III has a strange and fascinating premise, but that’s about it, apart from the menacing and rather excellent electronic score from Carpenter in collaboration with Alan Howarth (different from the first two movies, but uses a similar tone), and a great poster. The story of Halloween III has nothing whatsoever to do with psychopath Michael Myers and his sister Laurie. So tenuous is the link it’s damn annoying. The “Halloween” should’ve been dropped from the title, but executive producers wouldn’t have liked that one iota, considering how much money the first two movies made for them using that potent all-American concept (not to mention George A. Romero had already made a feature using the title Season of the Witch).
Halloween III Tom Atkins and Stacey Nelkin
Dan and Ellie (Stacey Nelkin) find time for a little nooky
I saw Halloween III when it first came out and once again several years later on VHS. I remember liking the idea of the demented mask-maker and his evil mission to destroy the world through the indulgence of Halloween. I also remember a few decent special effects make-up sequences. Unfortunately the cheap-ass Australian DVD release from Force Video is a heavily-cut version. All the major gore effects have been removed. Damn, while watching the movie after all this time (and realising how dreadful the movie is), I was looking forward to a few choice moments of special effects make-up creator Tom Burman’s handiwork (and perhaps a sneaky perve at Ellie (Stacey Nelkin)’s ample bosom during the totally unnecessary sex scene). I was deprived of both.
Halloween III Silver Shamrock robots
Robots in a line, always a dead giveaway
[Some curious trivia: Stacey Nelkin, who back in the late 70s/early 80s looked like a cross between a Barbie doll and a Gelfing from The Dark Crystal, not only had an affair with Woody Allen as a teenager (Mariel Hemmingway’s character in Manhattan is based on her), but was cast as Mary, the sixth replicant in Blade Runner, but due to the movie’s escalating budget her part was cut just prior to shooting.]

Halloween III Ralph Strait
The Kupfler family watch the Silver Shamrock Halloween ad
The basics of Halloween III's plot goes like this: Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy), the evil head of the Silver Shamrock Corporation has implanted computer chips, each containing a tiny piece of rock from a boulder stolen from Stonehenge, into three different types of Halloween mask: a witch, a jack o’ lantern and a skull. On Halloween night when the Silver Shamrock TV advertising jingle plays it’s nursery rhyme tune it will trigger the computer chip to release all manner of supernatural nastiness and mass death for all who are wearing the masks. Only concerned doctor Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) and young Ellie can save the day!
Halloween III victim
This image was cut from the Region 4 DVD I purchased. Not happy Jan!
Nearly everything about Halloween III is hilariously bad; but especially the acting and dialogue, not to mention the haircuts and wardrobe. What’s with that blue hanky hanging out the back pocket of Tom Atkins slacks?! He does eventually use it twice, once to dab at his nose when he encounters a bad smell, and later to wipe robot goo off his hand. I almost expected him to pocket the hanky again, just so his look wouldn’t be compromised! As for his hair, and the hair of annoying fat idiot Buddy Kupfler (Ralph Strait), they both look like wigs!
Halloween III Wendy Wessberg
Wendy Wessberg in an Oscar-worthy performance as chair-bound Teddy
There’s a scene in a diner where Challis is watching an inane childrens' TV show. He asks the barman to change channels and we get to see the end of a trailer for Halloween describing it as “the immortal classic”. I’m sure if the movie had been an actor, they’d have felt sullied after appearing in this piece of tripe. Ha!
Halloween III sunset kids
The movie's best shot - from DOP Dean Cundey - used for the poster
The last ten minutes of the movie appear to be an outright comedy as Challis escapes the Silver Shamrock factory having rescued Ellie and set the giant building alight (a dire optical special effect!). Ellie turns out to be a robot (wow, how novel, no wonder she screwed the thoroughly unattractive Atkins, she was programmed too!!), and tries to kill Challis, but the car crashes and Ellie’s arm is torn off. Challis knocks her head off too, but the severed robot arm attacks Challis and tries to strangle him, whilst the decapitated robot head's eyes swivel and watch from the ground.

Halloween III mask mayhem
More of the creepy-crawlie stuff please
Finally Challis makes a phone call to authorities to try and prevent the TV ad from airing, but it’s in vain. The doom-laden end is a failed attempt to add further "wickedness" to the movie. A curious note is that the bulk of the movie takes place in Santa Mira, where Invasion of the Body Snatchers is set. It seems Santa Mira is rather apocalyptic town, and probably one to steer clear of.
Halloween III factory alight
One of the movie's more expensive shots
So the movie finishes as Halloween begins, bridging the way for Dr. Loomis to spend the next 24 hours in pursuit of the boogeyman. Halloween III: Season of the Witch performed poorly at the box office, but executive producers weren’t done yet. They returned to Michael Myers and made five more sequels. All of which are dreadful, dreadful, dreadful!
Halloween III Stacey Nelkin
Poor Ellie ... Stacey's body double fills the denim nicely though, ahem!
Do yourself a favour this weekend and watch the original Halloween. It’s like a fine whiskey; it just gets better and better with age, unless you’re a glutton for punishment, in which case watch Halloween III, or any of the sequels that followed. Or better still; Rob Zombie’s version … yeah, that’ll sting.

Wow, I wish the movie had been as good as this original teaser trailer:

One of several gore sequences cut from the Region 4 DVD release:


Ju-on: The Grudge 2

October 30th 2008 00:32
Ju-on: The Grudge 2 Japanese movie poster
Ju-on: The Grudge 2 (2003) was released the same year as Ju-on: The Grudge, and is more of the same deadly shenanigans from malevolent ghosts Kayako (Takako Fuji) and Toshio (Yuya Ozeki). More croaking and crawling, squatting and staring, with more people frozen in fear and either ending up paralyzed corpses or vanishing altogether. If you enjoyed the terrorizing in the first movie, then you’ll no doubt have a right old scary experience this time round too.

Pregnant Kyoko (Noriko Sakai) and her fiancé Masashi (Ayumu Saitô) are driving along when the spectre of young Toshio appears below the steering wheel and gives the couple the fright of their lives. The car crashes, Kyoko loses her baby, and Masashi ends up in a coma.
Ju-on: The Grudge 2 Noriko Sakai
Noriko Sakai as Kyoko
It’s revealed that Kyoko was involved in a television production that investigates haunted houses. She and her skeleton crew have been cursed after entering and tampering with the home where Kayako and Toshio once lived, before they were murdered by their husband/father. The cursed rage – Ju-on - is as strong as ever, perhaps even more wicked than ever. It certainly likes to “play” with its “food” so to speak, preying most heinously with its victims before they shuffle violently off this mortal coil, petrified shells of their former selves.

Ju-on: The Grudge 2 Yui Ichikawa and Takako Fuji
Yui Ichikawa as Chihura and Takako Fuji as Kayako
Writer/director Takashi Shimizu is certainly having fun with his set-pieces. Ju-on: The Grudge 2 might not have quite the same concise feel as the first movie, but there’s definitely a lot going for it. At times it feels like a David Lynch movie, swinging wildly through dream and nightmare logic (or should that be nightmare non-sequiturs?) I was even reminded of A Nightmare on Elm Street during one imaginative scene involving schoolgirl Chihura (Yui Ichikawa) who somehow survived the first movie.

There are numerous excellent fright-pieces through-out the movie, my favourites being the double murder strangulation by Kayako’s poison ivy hair. Top marks for originality there! When Megumi is combing the wigs and you’re expecting Kayako to appear under one of them, but instead she appears from behind the changing room curtains, when the television director is freaked out by the photocopier machine duplicating blurred images of Kayako’s face and he’s about to leave the room you can make out Kayako’s face filling the whole of the monitor room window, yikes!
Ju-on: The Grudge 2 Takako Fuji
Kayako does the terror-crawl
Like I said, there are lots of great moments, and perhaps this sequel is less a sum of its parts, and more about the individual brilliant set-pieces (Dario Argento comes to mind). The Ju-on movies have polarised some viewers; they just don’t find them scary at all. Dare I say it, but there is a risibility that exists in both movies; imagery that should be disturbing, but can appear amusing. Then the grotesque truth emerges, rearing its ingeniously ugly head: the imagery combined with the sound effects, the music rising, the way director Shimizu moves his camera to reveal or has the actor slowly turn. These elements combined are pure nightmare material, and for those who aren’t scared, I suggest you check your pulse … perhaps you’re already dead?
Ju-on: The Grudge 2 Yuya Ozeki
Yuya Ozeki as hellboy, err, Toshio
Ju-on: The Grudge features a birth scene that wasn’t too dissimilar to the outrageousness of Takashi Miike’s Gozu and its over-the-top denouement. The finale scene leaves a nasty, but satisfying taste in the mouth and paves the way for what is apparently to be the third and final part which director Shimizu is currently in production on.
Ju-on: The Grudge 2 wigs
Straight black wigs will never be the same
Curiously although the Hollywood remake of the original (The Grudge) followed the narrative of the Japanese version, the remake of the sequel (The Grudge 2) did not follow the plot of this, but instead Shimizu wrote entirely new narrative threads, apart from the schoolgirl’s plight. If a third Hollywood movie is made, which direction will it take?
Ju-on: The Grudge 2 Yuya Ozeki and Erika Kuroishi
Hiromi (Erika Kuroishi) craddles Chihura, whilst Toshio lingers
Ju-on: The Grudge and Ju-on: The Grudge 2 make a terrific double whammy ghost fest. If you haven’t seen either, make sure you indulge over the weekend; it’s Halloween remember, a perfect time to scare yourself and several mates shitless.

Here's the UK trailer:

Ju-on: The Grudge 2 DVD is courtesy of Madman Entertainment, and is also part of The Grudge Boxset (1 & 2), many thanks!

Ju-on: The Grudge

October 29th 2008 00:07
Ju-on: The Grudge movie poster
Hideo Nikata’s Ringu (1998) raised the bar high for J-horror with its insidious supernatural terror, otherworldly atmosphere and pervasive mood. It was followed by a genuinely impressive sequel Ringu 2 (1999). Takashi Shimizu cleared the bar, and then raised it even higher with Ju-on: The Grudge (2003), another atmospherically-drenched tale of malevolent spectres and dark supernatural energy.

In 1998 Shimizu was originally commissioned to make two short, scary vignettes for a Japan television show called Gakkô no kaidan G. After producers saw how simplistic, yet genuinely original and frightening his efforts were they approached him to make a feature. He delivered two low-budget “V-cinema” video movies (Ju-on and Ju-on 2) in 2000, using the ideas from the original vignettes. They were never released internationally, but were very successful in Japan. Thus Shimizu was given the green light to make a proper theatrically-released feature, so he decided to develop the Ju-on story concepts into one full-length movie set around a haunted house. The result was one hell of a ghost thriller

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Here's something to get excited about! George Romero began shooting a new zombie flick at the beginning of the month in Ontario. It’s an independent production with a cast of mostly unknowns; although several of the actors have Saw III (2006), IV (2007) and/or V (2008) on their resume, which gives me great concern for the calibre of acting.

Alan Van Sprang
Saw III's Alan Van Sprang
The screenplay is by Romero; the plot involves inhabitants of an isolated island off the North American coast who find their relatives rising from the dead to eat their kin. The leaders of the island feud over whether or not to kill their reanimated relatives or preserve them in hopes of finding a cure to the zombie plague.
Athena Karkanis
Saw IV and V's Athena Karkanis

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Donnie Darko - The Director's Cut

October 27th 2008 23:51
Donnie Darko - The Director's Cut movie poster
“Incidents when the fabric of the fourth dimension becomes corrupted are incredibly rare.”

Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko (2001) is indeed a rare Hollywood beast; a dark psychological sf thriller that appears on the surface to be a high school drama; a cosmic puzzle that gets thematically deeper and more complex the more you try to piece it together. It’s a thoroughly enlightening piece of cinema designed as a mind toy that plays on your primal fears and the wonder of existence

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October 27th 2008 06:14
Martin movie poster
Martin (1977) is George A. Romero’s only paean to vampirism. For the rest of his filmography zombies pretty much rule the roost. Martin is a strange and schizophrenic creature; a psychological thriller, a dark character study, a twisted romance with mortality, a theological noir-horror, and an existential chamber piece on the themes of psychosis and loneliness.

Martin John Amplas
John Amplas as Martin
Martin might be a low-budget B-movie, but it has aspirations and a resonance that belies its inherent trappings. The acting isn’t much to write home about, and the blood effects are far from convincing, but there’s a sense of conviction that permeates the film, from all the cast and crew. In that it treats vampirism in a pseudo-realistic light makes Martin arguably Romero’s darkest hour (and a half). This is vampire as emotional cripple, one who deviously manipulates those around him in order to facilitate his addiction

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The House That Dripped Blood

October 24th 2008 01:05
The House That Dripped Blood movie poster
Anthologies are always a mixed bag. There’s usually a couple of tasty treats though. In The House That Dripped Blood (1971) there are four stories, all written by Robert (Psycho) Bloch and all directed by Peter Duffell, with a framework that binds the tales together; in this case the wraparound is the eponymous house, an English manor nestled into the undergrowth off the beaten track.

A disgruntled Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Hollaway (John Bennett, looking like a young Boris Karloff) is investigating the mysterious disappearance of an eccentric movie star Paul Henderson (Jon Pertwee). Local sergeant Martin (John Malcolm) spins a yarn detailing the house’s ominous history and the fate of its previous tenants. You see, the house is let by a Mr. Stoker (John Bryans). Yes, there is a tongue pressing into the side of the cheek with this production, no more so than in the movie’s last story, but we’ll get to that

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October 22nd 2008 04:33
WAZ movie poster
The Price equation is a mathematical (algebra) description of evolution and natural selection. It is also what is being carved into the flesh of victims in this very dark, very grim, very despairing crime thriller which plays like an intense urban nightmare, a social disease feeding on itself.

Originally titled Devil’s Algebra, W DELTA Z (2007, or WAZ as it is most frequently called) is a nasty slap in the face. Director Tom Shankland and screenwriter Clive Bradley have made an intelligent and difficult movie with deep scars. If David Fincher had made one of the Saw movies, it would be like WAZ . Set in New York City, but with a European sensibility to the narrative, it is equally frustrating and satisfying

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John Carpenter's Village of the Damned

October 21st 2008 05:03
Village of the Damned 1995 movie poster
It’s hard to take Village of the Damned (1995) seriously. I’ve never read the John Wyndham novel it’s based on called The Midwich Cuckoos (he also wrote the more famous The Day of the Triffids), nor have I seen the original version of the movie from 1960. Although the premise itself is fascinating and ominous there is too much about John Carpenter’s remake which flounders in mediocrity and borders on risible.

Village of the Damned 1995 Christopher Reeve
Christopher Reeve as Dr. Chaffee
Director John Carpenter holds a special place in my horror heart, he made two of my very favourites: Halloween (1978) and the superlative re-envisioning of The Thing (1982). He’s made other solid productions; the post-apocalyptic cult fave Escape from New York (1981), In the Mouth of Madness (1995), loosely based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, and Christine (1983), based on one of Stephen King’s excellent earlier novels, which is a kind of horror-romance-satire

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The Serpent and the Rainbow

October 20th 2008 00:20
The Serpent and the Rainbow movie poster
Wes Craven has made so many crap movies that it’s a wonder his career hasn’t sunk under the weight of the bullshit. The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) is an exception and is Craven’s best movie since A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). The frightening power of voodoo is still strong with The Serpent and the Rainbow and it makes for harrowing nightmare material.

Dennis Alan (Bill Pullman) is an anthropologist who travels to Haiti on a dangerous mission to uncover and bring back the ritual secrets of zombification, a witchcraft practice that renders a human “dead” so they can be buried (alive) and their souls harnessed for black magic energy by an evildoer; in this case corrupt police official Dargent Peytraud (Zakes Mokae

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Bizarre Zombie Fest chow down
Just when you think you’re really enjoying yourself, along comes Zombie Fest, and the fun shit really hits the fan!

Bizarre Zombie Fest make-up call
Make-up call 10:00am
According to Bizarre magazine Zombie Fest is a Live Action Role Play (or LARP) event. Attendees invent their own cannibalistic corpse character and play dead with each other for five blood-spattered, brain-splattered hours, spontaneously spinning plotlines around a general theme devised by organiser Ed Thurlow, know affectionately among locals as "King of the Zombies".
Bizarre Zombie Fest white collar zombie
Read to play!

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Sukiyaki Western Django

October 16th 2008 02:38
Sukiyaki Western Django movie poster
It’s a little tenuous to review this movie within the context of my Pleasure of Nightmares, but I couldn’t resist, since it’s directed by one of my favourite horror directors Takashi Miike, and it’s certainly oneiric and gloriously violent.

Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) is a wild and bloody hoot! It’s one of Miike’s most accomplished and ambitious movies to date; it swings and spits and slices and smashes and re-invigorates a classic genre with more stylistic chutzpah than you can hurl a dead rattlesnake at

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Don't Look Now

October 14th 2008 00:01
Don't Look Now movie poster
British cinematographer-turned-direct or Nicolas Roeg is most famous for four seminal, darkly brilliant movies made between the late-60s and the mid-70s: Performance (1970), Walkabout (1971), Don’t Look Now (1973), and The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). Each film tackles the themes of identity, relationships, survival, sex and death. Each film is directed with a non-linear approach to visual narrative, and each film is saturated in deep ambiguity and filled with symbolism.

Don’t Look Now is based on a story by Daphne Du Maurier and focuses around a married couple, John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura (Julie Christie) Baxter who are grieving over the loss of their daughter Christine (Sharon Williams) in a drowning accident. He is a restorer and after the harrowing tragedy on their country property (she dies after falling into a freezing-cold pond) takes a job working on church mosaics in Venice. His wife joins him, and they leave their young son Johnny (Nicolas Salter) in the care of a boarding school back in England

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I’ll try to keep it brief; I don’t want to sound like a stuck record (although I am starting to sound like a stuck record if you check any of the posts in my vitriol category). Remakes: they give me the shits. As a rule that is, but of course there are exceptions to any rule.
Suspiria Jessica Harper
Jessica Harper is disturbed by the prospect of Hollywood remaking Suspiria
Slowly and surely all the modern horror movies are being remade. It’s depressing. Especially when there is nothing wrong with the original, it does everything right, yet the Hollywood machine is programmed to run in circles forever plundering and re-cycling the past instead of invigorating cinema with fresh untapped blood.
Alien Kane's stomach ache
John Hurt writhes in agony at the thought of a remake of Alien
I was dismayed when I first learned that George Romero’s seminal Dawn of the Dead (1978) was going to be given the re-envisioning treatment. However, in one of those rare examples Zack Synder’s new look turned out to be rather excellent. However I was utterly mortified when two of my very favourites were plundered: John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) and George Romero’s Day of the Dead (1985). Rob Zombie completely fucked up as far as I’m concerned, and the less said of Day of the Dead (2008) the better

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Mother of Tears (La Terza Madre)

October 9th 2008 00:47
Mother of Tears movie poster
I can quite comfortably say the most anticipated horror movie amongst True Believin’ horrorphiles for more than twenty-five years; the third part to Dario Argento’s witchcraft trilogy known as The Three Mothers: La Terza Madre, Mater Lachrymarum … Mother of Tears.

Dario Argento had a huge cross to bear; the weight of anticipation, the burden of expectation, the challenge of succession. The first part to the trilogy, Suspiria (1977), has come to be regarded by horrorphiles as one of the scariest, most intensely garish horror experiences ever made (mind you, it must be said that for every Argento fan there are those that simply don’t get it; they don’t like his visual stylistics, they can’t stand his disregard for logic, and they loathe his penchant for graphic violence – which is often unconvincing

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October 8th 2008 00:27
Inferno DVD cover art
“I do not know what price I shall have to pay for breaking what we alchemists call Silentium, the life experiences of our colleagues should warn us not to upset laymen by imposing our knowledge upon them.” --- E. Varelli (The Three Mothers)

Not that the plot is hugely important in Inferno (1980), Dario Argento’s unhinged second part to his witchcraft trilogy, "The Three Mothers". Inferno operates more like a series of set-pieces that glide into each other. The movie is drenched in atmosphere, soaked in mood, and saturated in colour. Inferno is Argento’s most expressionist film

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October 7th 2008 00:17
Doomsday movie poster
Writer/director Neil Marshall has dropped the ball. Dog Soldiers (2003) was a terrific werewolf movie, The Descent (2006) was a brilliant monster movie. Doomsday (2008) is a mess. It is a hotchpotch of too many other movies, features too many mediocre to poor performances, and has a dramatically flat ending. I can see now why the movie bombed overseas, which has dictated a straight-to-DVD release for down under.

Doomsday begins like 28 Days Later (2003), then starts to act like Aliens (1986), becomes Escape from New York (1981) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1983), then shifts into Lord of the Rings meets Excalibur territory, before moving back into Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) mode, with the ending reminding me strangely of Army of Darkness
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The Meth Epidemic

October 3rd 2008 03:59
The Meth Epidemic DVD cover art
There’s nothing scarier than reality, nothing harder than the truth, nothing more sobering than statistics. If the Devil really exists, then his current weapon of choice is called crystal methamphetamine.

Siren Visual are distributing an American hour-long documentary called The Meth Epidemic (2006), co-produced by the investigative journalism programme Frontline in conjunction with The Oregonian newspaper. It is a disturbing documentary everyone should watch, especially since it depicts a nightmare that is consuming the world at an alarming rate

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The History of the Devil

October 2nd 2008 00:34
The History of the Devil DVD cover art
I do love a documentary that plays Devil's advocate. The History of the Devil (2007) is wickedly good, informative and concise. A no-frills Welsh film produced in association with SBS Australia and distributed by Siren Visual, it’s roughly 52 minutes in length (presumably leaving eight minutes for televised ad breaks) and packs a fair dinkum amount of history into its slender running time.

The documentary itself is made up entirely of mostly still images alternating sporadically with talking heads; religious scholars, theologians and reverends. Directed by Greg Moodie and written and produced by Dave Flitton, it was researched by Eibhleann Ni Ghriofa, Deirdre Learmont and Craig McGregor (Gaelic names if ever I heard them!) It’s an impressive and very open-minded account and offers some fantastic insight into the evolution; the hows and whys the spectre of the Devil has existed and morphed through the ages from the dawn of civilization through to the new millennium

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Jan Svankmajer's Faust

October 1st 2008 07:06
Jan Svankmajer's Faust movie poster
Faust: “How comes it then that thou art now out of hell with me?”

Mefistofele: “Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it. Thinks thou that I, who saw the face of God and tasted the eternal joys of heaven, am not tormented with ten thousand hells in being deprived of everlasting bliss?”
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