“Elizabeth Pena”

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Four – 10/04/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Four – 10/04/18

10/04 – 1990: JACOB’S LADDER

 

I was a pretty big Adrian Lyne fan when JACOB’S LADDER came out. I mean, come on! FOXES, FLASHDANCE, FATAL ATTRACTION, NINE AND A HALF WEEKS.  If anyone had the kind of eccentric visual flair that would translate very well into horror, it would be him. Plus, the script was by BRUCE JOEL RUBIN (BRAINSTORM, GHOST, DEADLY FRIEND). How could I not anticipate this movie?

Well, anticipate it, I did.  And hate it, I did, too (sorry for the “Yoda-isms”). But the strong emotions that it evoked in me and the audience I saw it with – who were about as pissed-off as I was by the ending – may have been Lyne’s intention all along. It just took me a decade or two to realize that. And now I kind of see it in a different light than before, because…why? I can relate to it better, now that time has passed, and I have a bit more life experience under my belt? Maybe.  But enough about me. The movie is what’s important here, and if you’ve never seen it before, it’s one of those where you owe yourself the chance to start it at the very least.  As with any cinema, you can always bail if you’re not into it.

TIM ROBBINS plays Jacob Singer, a Vietnam vet affected by a pretty severe case of a kind of dissociative disorder. In English, that means he has an extreme problem keeping fantasies, nightmares and delusions separated from reality, and that’s if he can keep track of when and where they happened.  Or even if they happened to him at all.

He may be back ‘in country’, but it doesn’t appear that he came back alone, as he is constantly bombarded with horrific visions and images that only he is able to see. He literally brought his demons back from the war with him, and they seem ready to skin him alive…and do things much, much worse than that.

Only two seemingly bright spots in his life give him a reason not to go completely fucking looney tunes: his sympathetic girlfriend, Jezzie (ELIZABETH PENA) and a good friend who’s also his “doctor”, Louis (DANNY AIELLO.)

It seems that the harder Jacob tries to run from the apparitions pursuing him, (in a series of eerily shot, terrifying set-pieces), the more intense and terrifying his experiences become, leading to a climax where…well, I won’t say here, but I will give you a hint: think back to when you studied Ambrose Bierce in high school English. And for you more literate types, that is one helluva huge spoiler.

JACOB’S LADDER was, to my knowledge, my first exposure to the concept of an ‘unreliable narrator’, where the lead character you’re invested in either purposefully, or through no fault of his or her own, are caught up in circumstances that convince you that one thing is happening, until you find out at the end that everything you thought you knew was dead wrong.  Which explained the pissed-off audience.  And little did I know – it wouldn’t be the last time I encountered this kind of thing in a film, especially a horror film.

But overall, Lyne, the cheeky bastard, did a splendid job of mind-fucking his viewers, as he should have, following the Rubin script. And it is pretty much one of Tim Robbins’ best performances.  Not to mention that the striking and disorienting special visual FX were the kind of images that no one had really seen at that time – not outside of a weird MTV video, anyway. Now, it’s par for the course for many horror films, and usually considered “tried-and-true.” Whether or not I think it’s Lyne’s best work is irrelevant now.  When people ask about good horror films with a Vietnam theme, I always mention JACOB’S LADDER in the same breath as Bob Clark’s groundbreaking cult classic, DEATHDREAM, or even “ANTHONY M. DAWSON’S” CANNIBAL APOCALYPSE.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, PARANORMAL, SATANIC/DEMONIC, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
Is STRANGELAND 2 headed our way??

Is STRANGELAND 2 headed our way??

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By : John Roisland

 

Big news today for both horror and metal fans. Legendary front man Dee Snider of hard rock metal group, Twisted Sister announced today that Strangeland 2, is in the works!

Back in 1998 Dee Snider  released  Strangeland , that he wrote and co starred in along with other such stars as Robert Englund, Kevin Gage, Elizabeth Pena, and a young Amy Smart. It was the story of a internet predator, who enjoyed performing different kinds of sadomasochistic torture on his victims. And a detective to find his daughter, who has fallen victim to his trap.

As of this morning  Snider re-tweeted an Instagram photo  from Christopher Petzel, the president and CEO of Strangeland rights owners Emaji Entertainment, which was captioned with the words “We’re going to Strangeland!“. Snider of course , added  his own caption along with the tweet , confirming that “the Strangeland sequel team begins to be built…“.

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Obviously, there is no further information given as it was just announced this morning, but bet your ass we here at www.houseoftroturedsouls.com will be following this one very closely! I did a review on the original back in October, the movie, I absolutely love. I think it was a breath of fresh air that at the time, the horror industry needed!

The storyline I think was great, and give mad fist bumps to Mr. Snider who wrote the story. It was however , never given a real big push with the  release of the film. I must say, that I am very excited about this, and hope it gets a better backing by the studios for a bigger release.

Strangeland did go in to become a bit of a cult classic with a big following especially with the metal heads, as it had a great soundtrack, but also with those involved with tattoos and body modification, as the story deals a lot on the subject.

Either way, this is one I will be on the look out for!

Keep It Evil.

 

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR NEWS, PREQUELS AND SEQUELS, 1 comment
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Strangeland (1998)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Strangeland (1998)

By John Roisland

Strangeland

October 2, 1998, was a time when people were still learning about the Internet and body modification was really breaking through. Director John Pieplow brings us Strangeland.

The story is about “Captain Howdy” (played by Dee Snider of rock band Twisted Sister, who also wrote and produced the film), a sadist Internet predator who invites other internet friends over for a party, where they soon meet their end.

Kevin Gage (Heat, Blow, G.I. Jane, Laid to Rest), the town sheriff, is quick on the case after his daughter, played by Linda Cardellini (Grandma’s Boy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Freaks and Geeks), falls to the hands of Captain Howdy.

The chase continues to find Howdy, and the scenes of the torture with his victims and his own self-mutilation are actually pretty impressive. A few scenes are actual textbook history of how different cultures used different devices to either torture or elevate one to a higher sense of body limitations.

Now I’m not saying its the best film ever made…it’s not. At moments it’s actually kinda slow. But I will give Dee props on his first attempt and writing, producing and starring in….he put forth a very valiant effort. At the box office, this film actually lost money. If not for its huge impact as a cult classic…it would have been a complete bomb!

It offers a pretty impressive cast, aside from Dee Snyder, Kevin Gage, and Linda Cardellini, it also stars Elizabeth Pena (Jacob’s Ladder, Down in the Valley, Things Behind the Sun), Brett Harrelson (The People vs. Larry Flynt, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Wishmaster, Urban Legend, 2001 Maniacs, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon), Amy Smart (The Butterfly Effect, Crank, Just Friends, Starsky and Hutch) and Robert Lasardo (Death Race, The Human Centipede III, Anarchy Parlor, Nip/Tuck). Now with this line up, one would expect a little more…but they only acted in it

For those headbangers out there like myself, the film did have a pretty kick fucking ass soundtrack though: Bile, Pantera, Megadeth, Coal Chamber, Anthrax, Soul Fly, and Hed PE – to name a few.

I can’t say this is honestly on my every year must watch Halloween films…but it is always this time of year when I do think about it the most. Does that count?

I REALLY want to say better things about the film, but sadly it is what it is, a great idea, that just wasn’t executed to its fullest potential.

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“So much flesh…so little time”- Captain Howdy

Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments