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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 - April 2009

Bram Stoker's Dracula

April 24th 2009 03:26
Bram Stoker's Dracula movie poster
Francis Ford Coppola’s movie adaptation is an anomaly. Well, almost one. Yes, it is more faithful to the novel than any previous version of Dracula, but it still isn’t faithful enough to warrant having author Bram Stoker’s name as part of the title. There’s still major poetic license taken with the novel by screenwriter James B. Hart and Coppola himself in the direction.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) does feature many stunning scenes and sequences, and it has one of the most intense portrayals of Count Dracula ever. Max Shrek (as Graf Orlok in Nosferatu) would give him a run for his money though. The fusion of history and fiction is cleverly intertwined; In 1462 Vlad Dracul (Gary Oldman), a fearsome warrior of the Order of the Dragon, loses his precious love, Elizabeta (Winona Ryder), to suicide after she believes him to have perished in battle. In utter grief he violently renounces his faith and in turn is transformed into an immortal, destined to drink the blood of the living in order to replenish his tortured soul.
Bram Stoker's Dracula Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman as Count Dracula
If you’re unfamiliar with the story of Dracula, it goes something like this: It is 1897, and a young English lawyer named Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) is given the job of assisting a wealthy foreigner, Count Dracula (Oldman) in his acquisition of property in London. He travels to Transylvania in Eastern Europe and to the mysterious Count’s castle where he has to create an inventory.

Bram Stoker's Dracula Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder as Mina
Bram Stoker's Dracula Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves as Harker
Whilst staying in the castle Harker comes to realise he is actually a prisoner. He is seduced by the Count’s three hungry brides (one of whom is played by Monica Bellucci!), but manages to escape the castle after the Count has departed, bound for England, following his bloodlust for Harker’s fiancee Mina Murray (Winona Ryder). Upon his arrival Mina’s dear friend Lucy Westerna (Sadie Frost) falls prey to Dracula’s carnal distractions, while her suitors Dr. Jack Steward (Richard E. Grant), Lord Arthur Holmwood (Cary Elwes), and Texan cowboy Quincey Morris (Bill Campbell) jostle for her affections.

Dracula’s reign of seduction and terror prompts the arrival of Professor Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins) who is familiar with the ways of the undead and how to deal with the curse of vampirism. But can Helsing and Lucy’s suitors save Mina from the evil clutches of Dracula before his dark design is complete?
Bram Stoker's Dracula Anthony Hopkins
Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing
One of the biggest liberties taken with this adaptation of the novel is the introduction of the destined romance between Mina and Dracula. It’s not in the novel. Bram Stoker, however, was inspired by the history of Vlad the Impaler, and based his powerful vampire on the Dracul legend. It’s a real contrivance that smothers the tale with a totally unnecessary Mills & Boon-esque cloak. It doesn’t help that Winona Ryder delivers a thoroughly grating performance with her irritating dialogue delivery (“Take me away from all this death!”). She looks the part; buxom and angular, wide-eyed and naïve, but she’s simply not good enough an actor for such a demanding part, especially when she’s up against one of the greatest actors of his generation.
Bram Stoker's Dracula Gary Oldman and Sadie Frost
Dracula ravishes Lucy (Sadie Frost)
But it gets worse; Keanu Reeves’ casting is probably one of the worst decisions in the history of mainstream modern horror. Apparently in the wake of the immense criticism Coppola admitted he was wrong in casting Reeves because he wanted a hot young star to appeal to the female audience. Damn straight! Reeves’ attempt at an English accent and his wooden acting is absolutely dire, and his presence in the movie virtually scuttles the entire movie. He was okay in River’s Edge, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and The Matrix, but that’s it. Period. He ruins this movie every time he’s on screen, and he’s one of the damn leads!
Bram Stoker's Dracula Bill Campbell, Cary Elwes, Richard E. Grant
Quincey (Bill Campbell), Holmwood (Cary Elwes) and Seward (Richard E. Grant)
Okay, so what’s good then? Well, plenty actually, but it’s the art department more than anywhere else. Arguably Anthony Hopkins is still channeling Dr. Hannibal Lector (he even leans in to smell Mina?!), and thus his performance is a tad ripe, but Oldman’s extraordinary invocation as the vampire lord of darkness towers over Hopkins. However, Sadie Frost’s feature debut as Lucy is something of a scene stealer (fiery red hair, crimson lips, pink nipples and all!). Tom Waits is inspired casting as madman Renfield, but he’s underused, and his role seems relatively thankless. And ‘tis a pity Coppola was forced to cut out some of the more raunchy footage of Dracula’s voluptuous brides in action.
Bram Stoker's Dracula Michaela Bercu, Florina Kendrick, Monica Bellucci
Dracula's brides (Michaela Bercu, Florina Kendrick and Monica Bellucci)
Bram Stoker's Dracula Gary Oldman
One of the many guises of Dracula
Eiko Ishioka’s costume design is stunning, and curiously she has a separate credit as “Design Collaboration”. Coppola originally planned on giving the majority of the movie’s production design budget to costume. Wisely he didn’t. Instead his son Roman was given the task of supervising all the special effects which hark back to the Golden Age of cinema trickery; almost everything being achieved in-camera through the use of matt paintings, miniatures, optical effects, reversed footage, split-screen, rear projection, shadowplay, etc. It is these old school effects which give the movie its real strengths. The whole movie becomes dreamlike; a supernatural pantomime. It is theatrical and staged, yet is pure expressionist cinema.

Bram Stoker's Dracula Gary Oldman
... and another more grotestque visage
There are dozens of beautifully nightmarish sequences that linger long in the mind; the Count’s carriage-driver extending his unnaturally long arm, the eerie throne design of the castle, Dracula scurrying down the side of the castle wall (my favourite moment from the novel), Dracula as hideous hirsute beast raping Lucy in her garden (he’s become a demon incubus and Lucy has become the Devil’s concubine), Lucy returning to her tomb with juicy baby to devour, then projectile vomiting blood, the eerie green mist, Dracula slitting open his breast for Mina to drink from, Dracula transforming into a figurine of rats that drop to the floor and scurry away, Van Helsing desperately creating a ring of fire to protect himself and Mina.
Bram Stoker's Dracula Sadie Frost
Lucy feels the heat of the Cross
Greg Cannom’s make-up effects are a stand-out as well, but pity Coppola didn’t go the whole hog and make a truly adult version with even more emphasis on the visceral horror and the sexual deviance. I never realised until the most recent viewing that Annie Lennox provides an original track which plays over the end credits: Love Song for a Vampire; it’s not half bad.

If only Reeves and Ryder weren’t so damn insufferable, Bram Stoker’s Dracula could actually be a great movie. In the end it’s not one of the great vampire movies, but it’s a great piece of cinematic filmmaking; “There is much to be learnt from beasts …”, and yes it does have a handful of truly memorable lines, such as the immortal “I have crossed oceans of time to find you …”, and, of course, “The children of the night, what sweet music they make.”
Bram Stoker's Dracula Monica Bellucci
Bride Monica between Harker's thighs
I’ve said enough, suffice to say, if you haven’t seen any versions of Bram Stoker’s seminal novel Francis Coppola’s take is definitely one of the better ones; vivid and atmospheric, oneiric and expressionistic. Watch it for Gary Oldman, Sadie Frost, the production design, and the special effects.

Here's the very rare original teaser trailer:


Brides of Dracula Florina Kendrick, Monica Bellucci and Michaela Bescu
Publicity still of Dracula's brides

Bram Stoker's Dracula Gary Oldman and Sadie Frost


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Planet Terror

April 22nd 2009 01:35
Planet Terror movie poster
Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan), a spunky go-go dancer with an ambition to do stand-up comedy, quits her job and hooks up with her ex-boyfriend El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) a mechanic with a secret past, at The Bone Shack owned by BBQ-lovin’ JT (Jeff Fahey). Meanwhile a group of military officials led by unhinged Lt. Muldoon (Bruce Willis) confront black market scientist Abby (Naveen Andrews) over his bio-chemical weapon code-named “Project Terror”, but things go seriously awry when the super-toxic gas is released and starts turning people into hideously ravaged, flesh-eatin’ sickos. It’s up to El Wray, Cherry, Dr. Dakota (Marley Shelton), Sheriff Hague (Michael Biehn), the Babysitter Twins (Electra & Elise Avellan), and the rest of a rag-tag posse of survivors with attitude, to try and save the night ... so there's a morning to look forward to.
Planet Terror Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan as Cherry Darling
Robert Rodriguez’s half of the Grindhouse project he made with fellow deep trash-lovin’ cinephile Qunetin Tarantino is the better of the two, simply because it’s closer in look, feel, tone to the original grindhouse flicks of the 70s. Tarantino’s Death Proof (2007) reeked too much of Tarantino being, well, Tarantino. Death Proof started off okay, but quickly turned into a talk-fest, and then meandered off into an extended car chase that petered out altogether. Plus, Tarantino did away with the purposeful "weathering" (all those celluloid scratches, pops, discolorations, etc) as his movie went along. Rodriguez however embraced the grindhouse sensibility and rode that noisy fatboy all the way to deep trash heaven.
Planet Terror Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Marley Shelton, Naveen Andrews
Cherry, El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), Dr. Dakota (Marley Shelton) and Abby (Naveen Andrews)
Planet Terror Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis as Lt. Muldoon
You gotta hand it to Rodriguez, he’s a one-man cine machine; not only did he write and direct, but he co-produced, was director of photography, camera-operated, edited, supervised the elaborate special effects, composed the music, and even acted as his own on-set chef! His own studio Troublemaker did the digital visual effects (and there’s plenty of them, but they’re executed in very clever B-grade style), whilst KNB (Greg Nictoero & Howard Berger) designed and supervised all the disgustingly brilliant and over-the-top special effects make-up (SFX makeup legend Tom Savini has a small role as a deputy).
Planet Terror sickos
Sickos on the loose
Planet Terror Josh Brolin and Nicky Kat
Dr. Block (Josh Brolin) about to get some from sicko Joe (Nicky Kat)
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie when I was lucky to see on the big screen as part of the originally-intended Grindhouse double feature when it had a brief theatrical season in Australia (and included the additional fake horror trailers). Whereas Death Proof had its own separate theatrical run, Planet Terror was denied one in Australasia (much to the fans dismay). The DVD version of Planet Terror on DVD is extended (as was the separate Death Proof theatrical release), with the most memorable addition being JT realising the missing ingredient to his BBQ sauce is his own blood, but also the sex scene between El Wray and Cherry is even more of a scorcher, resulting in the classic moment where the movie’s actual celluloid appears to melt within the projector (a semi-regular occurance with the cheap B-movie prints and the even cheaper grindhouse projectors), and a inter-title card comes up saying “Missing Reel – apologies from management”.
Planet Terror Stacy Ferguson
Stacy Ferguson provides a little voluptuous victimization
Rodriquez never shot the missing ten minutes and apparently isn’t interested in knowing, so suddenly the audience is thrust forward in the narrative action, and The Bone Shack is burning fiercely and the rag-tag posse has garnered several more uncredited survivors. But hey, it all adds flavour to this vivid depiction of blood-thirsty carnage and utter chaos.
Planet Terror Tom Savini and Michael Biehn
Deputy Tolo (Tom Savini) and Sheriff Hague (Michael Biehn)
Tarantino makes a cameo as “Rapist #1”, but he’s never been much of an actor himself, and the irony is he sticks out like a sore thumb (make that a very sore schlong!) All the other actors are excellent in their respective roles, yet Tarantino’s performance comes across as forced, as if he’s gone out of his way to play the most repulsive character possible. I suppose in the bigger slimy picture that’s all hunky-dory, but it grates against the rest of the movie.
Planet Terror Marley Shelton, Rose McGowan, Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino as one nasty motherfucker
The other big irony is that for a “grindhouse” B-movie (which would’ve been produced with a skeleton crew on the smell of an oily rag) Planet Terror has a huge production crew. The end credits go on and on and on (that’s when I discovered Rodriquez does his own cooking, in fact, on one of the Sin City DVD featurettes he hosts a ten-minute cooking class!)
Planet Terror Freddy Rodriguez, Marley Shelton, Rose McGowan and the Avellan twins
El Wray, Dakota Block, Cherry and the babysitter twins (Electra & Elise Avellan)
Planet Terror is unbridled ultra-violent midnight fun, with severed tongue-in-cheek, a shit-eating, pizza-smeared grin slapped on your spliff-ripped face, and an insatiable hunger for all things fleshy an’ drippin’ … Slurp! Grunt! Moan! Snap! Crack! Rodriguez has made an homage to those cheesy 70s Euro-zombie flicks (think Dr. Butcher MD and Lucio Fulci) that looks like a grindhouse movie, but it’s not meant to be exactly as one (the Weinstein brothers would never have released a genuinely-styled grindhouse movie). It’s a real shame the Grindhouse double feature bombed in the States (a depressing irony that Joe Average punter missed the point of it and didn’t want to sit through a three-hour movie session).
Planet Terror Danny Trejo
Danny Trejo as Machete in the fake trailer that precedes the feature

For more bang to your butt, I also reviewed the complete Grindhouse (2007) double feature experience.

Planet Terror movie poster


Here's the excellent trailer:


But what I really wanna know is what the hell happened to Rose McGowan’s face?! I know she had a minor car accident which resulted in a little cosmetic surgery to her face, but she looks so damn different than the gorgeous rose from Scream-era. She’s lost a lot of weight, and it looks like she’s had a face-lift as well. A commenter on imdb.com described her as looking like “a cross between Michael Jackson, a bag of spanners, and a pitbull chewing on a wasp.” Harsh, I know, but he’s got a point.
Rose McGowan before and after

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Lord of the Flies

April 20th 2009 01:24
Lord of the Flies DVD cover art
Following an evacuation from the threat of a nuclear war a plane full of English school boys crash lands in the surf and they are marooned on a tropical island. With no adults to guide them the group soon fractures and they begin to behave like savages.

Like most Gen-Xers I studied William Golding’s brilliant novel Lord of the Flies in high school. I assume the book is still on most school syllabuses along with The Catcher in the Rye. I never saw the original film adaptation but I was very familiar with a few images from the movie especially that of Piggy squinting through his cracked spectacles. I finally saw Lord of the Flies (1963) recently and found it to be as disturbing and compelling as I had always expected.
Lord of the Flies James Aubrey and Hugh Edwards
Ralph (James Aubrey) and Piggy (Hugh Edwards) with the symbol of power
Many filmmakers wanted to turn the novel into a movie but Golding resisted. Director Peter Brooks, a highly respected and acclaimed theatre director, was the man who broke the beast. After auditioning 3000 boys he was allowed to workshop the novel with a group of youths on an island location off Puerto Rico. Once filming began Brooks largely dispensed with the script he’d penned and encouraged his talented young cast to improvise. He shot over 60 hours of raw footage!
Lord of the Flies choirboys
The choirboys led by Jack
The 60 hours, shot in 1961, was edited into a four hour rough cut, then cut down to a 100 minute feature which screened at Cannes Film Festival. Further dialogue over-dubs had to be made a year later, which proved troublesome as James (Ralph) Aubrey’s voice had dropped three octaves (so had to be electronically manipulated) and Tom (Jack) Chapin had lost his English accent (so another actor’s voice was used).

Lord of the Flies Tom Chapin
Tom Chapin as Jack
The film was shot on black and white 35mm stock in the standard 1.33:1 ratio, but looks as if it was shot on 16mm. This adds a level of proximity and claustrophobia to the action, which is imperative to the dramatic intensity which steadily builds over the course of the movie. Not only is the story filled with metaphors, but the entire premise is symbolic; a moral parable exploiting the theme of humans reduced to power struggles and survival of the fittest when under duress is universal. It is particularly affecting in that this is happening between young adolescent boys.
Lord of the Flies Hugh Edwards and James Aubrey
Piggy and Ralph after relations start to deteriorate
A tribal mentality takes control quickly. At first level-headed Ralph is leader, using a huge conch shell as the official communiqué device. But aggressive Jack soon challenges Ralph’s position and a rivalry ensues which ultimately ends in deadly pursuit. The ending of the novel, which director Brooks faithfully films, is one of the most powerful and unsettling in modern literature, right down to the Ralph’s final desperate scramble across the sand.
Lord of the Flies savage boys
The tribal mentality takes over ...
The performances are all excellent, especially the two leads, but also Hugh Edwards, and Tom Gaman as Simon. Considering the movie originally ran at four hours the editing job by Brook, Gerald Feil and Jean-Claude Lubtchansky is amazing. The final theatrical release was a lean 90 minutes and is superbly paced.

Lord of the Flies savage boys
... And soon it consumes them all
The opening still photograph montage depicting the evacuation is a terrific example of economy and style. The violence is mostly suggested, yet the threat is inescapable. It is this implicit violence and the horror of what the boys are capable of which permeates the movie. An unexpected dream scenario (the freedom of a tropical island with no teachers to pester them) becomes the nightmare (resorting to primitive hunter behaviour in order to eliminate competition for authority).

WARNING! CONTAINS SPOILERS!
Lord of the Flies lord of the flies
The lord of the flies
There are many memorable scenes, and one that lingers in my mind is when Ralph and Jack climb to the island’s highest point and discover the “beast” lolling between the rocks. Also highly memorable is the movie’s last ten or so minutes following Piggy’s tragic demise and Ralph’s mad dash to the beach where the boys are finally re-acquainted with the presence of adults.

As much as I enjoyed the novel as a teenager, I wish I’d seen the movie at the same time, as it is in many ways even more powerful than the book, which is a very rare beast indeed.

Here's the original trailer:


Here is a great deleted scene, which should never have been deleted:


Lord of the Flies DVD, complete with oodles of extras, is courtesy of Madman Entertainment, many thanks!
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Tokyo Gore Police

April 16th 2009 23:48
Tokyo Gore Police movie poster
Set in a future-world vision of Tokyo where the police force has been privatized, public self-mutilation is so casual that certain advertising targets to the "cutter" demographic, and mutant homicidal freaks known as “engineers” are savagely tearing apart society. It’s up to the “hunter” called Ruka (Eihi Shiina), a specially-trained police officer who wields a samurai sword, on a mission to avenge her father’s horrific assassination.

Tokyo Gore Police Eihi Shiina
Eihi Shiina as Ruka
The human mutations are a result of a virus created by a mad scientist known as Keyman (Itsuji Itao). Ruka and Keyman share a common bond: the murder of their fathers. Trying to eradicate the human mutations will prove a truly bloody and ghastly job. But someone’s got to get blood on their hands, and their hands, feet, heads, penises, you name it, it’s gotta be cut off and on the floor


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Monsters vs. Aliens

April 15th 2009 04:49
Monsters vs. Aliens movie poster
Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is about to tie the knot with Derek (Paul Rudd), when she is inconveniently slammed by a cosmically altered meterorite moments before the wedding. At the altar Derek remarks that she’s positively glowing … literally. And before you can say “Holy Deep Trash Sci-fi Flick!” Susan has grown fifty feet tall (rather conveniently her clothes stretch alongside her body). Looks like the wedding’s off!

Susan is whisked away by a secret government organization and held hostage in an underground compound where she meets three other “monsters”; Dr. Cockroach (hugh Laurie), The Missing Link (Will Arnett) and B.O.B. (Seth Rogan), not to mention Insectasaurus, the giant non-conversational monster. They’ve all been rounded up over the years and kept on a short leash in case of a national emergency


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The Uninvited

April 9th 2009 01:38
The Uninvited movie poster
I haven’t seen the original Korean movie Janghwa, Hongryeon (2003 aka A Tale of Two Sisters), so I can’t compare, but as a stand alone twisted supernatural tale The Uninvited (2009) is surprisingly good. A lot of its impressive weight rests on the disturbing ending which is where the movie pulls the rug out from under the audience and says “Ahhhhh, gotcha!”

Anna (Emily Browning) returns to the family home after a stretch in a mental institution where she has been recovering from the deep trauma surrounding her mother’s freak accident death. She is reunited with her slightly older sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel), but is very wary of her father Steven (David Strathairn)’s new girlfriend Racheal (Elizabeth Banks), who had been the in-house nurse looking after sick mother (Maya Massar


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Lolita (1997)

April 7th 2009 02:15
Lolita (1997) movie poster
I championed this remake when it was (finally) first released in Australia two years after it had been completed (it suffered the same fate in America where it languished before finally being relegated to a Showtime cable television premiere and a subsequent brief art-house theatrical run). I saw a media preview and then had to wait. Initially it was banned in Australia, but eventually had an R18 slapped on it - and fair enough as its subject matter is highly controversial, but less so than the original novel.

Lolita (1997) is a tale of forbidden love, of carnal desire, of possession and obsession, of loneliness and the madness of unrequited love. It’s a modern tragedy and a brilliant movie, a rare example of a remake that is better than the original. Although I am very fond of Kubrick’s version, there is a poetic melancholy and an essence – both sensual and heartbreaking – that is evident in Adrian Lyne’s version that is diluted or missing in Kubrick’s original. Of course, Kubrick made his version in 1962, Lyne made his thirty-five years later. Still, Lyne suffered a lot of grief when his version was released, and in this even more sensitive climate (ten years on) of social networking sites and the proliferation of black market web porn, I doubt whether Lolita would be made with such high-profile stars and director


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In the Realm of the Senses movie poster
Still one of the most controversial “mainstream” movies ever made, Nagisa Oshima’s In The Realm Of The Senses (1976) is a powerful and disturbing tale of sexual obsession set in Tokyo in 1936. It’s based on a true incident.

I first saw the movie in a much scratched print at the old Encore (Third Eye) Cinema in Sydney which doesn’t exist anymore. I’d known of the movie for years, but had never seen it as it had been banned in Australasia. In fact it was banned in many countries for a long time, including Japan. Even after it was filmed the undeveloped footage had to be snuck out of the country to France (who helped finance the movie) to be processed due to Japan’s strict censorship laws


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Loma Lynda: The Red Door Iglesias Estefania
A Night of Horror international film festival here in Sydney is wrapping up for the third year in a row. Work commitments meant I couldn’t see all the features I wanted, but most of the ones I did catch were excellent. Also of note were the 60 odd short movies programmed throughout the ten-day festival. Along with the requisite one or two shorts which accompanied most of the features were four mini-programmes; including animation, Ozploitation and last night’s selection affectionately named "Fucked Up People Doing Fucked Up Things".

The mini-programmes were a bit of a lucky dip. Let’s face it, many filmmakers never make the transition from short film to feature-length movie, simply because the movies they make are crap and they’ll never find the funding to make a feature, unless they’re Uwe Boll. Or they fund the feature entirely themselves


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I'll Never Die Alone movie poster
Rape-revenge flicks are a particularly tough sub-genre. Not only are they literally tough, as in brutal, but they’re difficult movies to juggle in a moral sense. If a horrorphile says they get off on monster movies, that’s fine, if they say they get off on slasher flicks, that’s cool, if they say they get off on torture-porn, that’s okay, but if they say they get off on rape-revenge movies, it sounds a little dodgy. The depiction of rape on screen is still considered one of the last taboos of filmmaking, especially if its used in the context of an exploitation flick.

I Spit On Your Grave (1978) is one of the most notorious rape-revenge movies ever made. It’s also a reprehensible movie where director Meir Zarchi wallows in the degradation of the woman far more so than her revenge. In fact the gang rape goes on for thirty minutes! It's deeply nasty with no redeeming features apart from a memorable title (re-named from the dreadful Day of the Woman) and a sensational poster design (albeit completely fabricated with virtually no resemblance to the movie in image or description


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Adulthood

April 1st 2009 23:25
Adulthood movie poster
The wasted youth of Noel Clarke’s London really are a pitiful bunch. In the sequel to Menhaj Huda’s Kidulthood (2006) screenwriter and actor Clarke has been handed the director’s reigns. Adulthood (2008) takes place six years after Sam (Clarke) killed Trife with a baseball bat and was sentenced for manslaughter. He’s out of prison, back on the streets and keen to go straight, but trouble finds him immediately; Trife’s younger brother Jay (Adam Deacon) is out for revenge.

Sam has to stay one step ahead of Jay and his posse, he has to keep his wits about him as every second familiar and not-so-familiar face he sees might or might not want to trick him or spit in his face or stab him in the heart. Sam is befriended by Lexi (Scarlet Alice Johnson), a young cokehead, but is she genuine? Sam’s mother can only stare at him in abject sorrow. Claire (Madeleine Fairley) and Alisa (Red Madrell) don’t want a bar of him


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