lucio fulci

NIGHTMARE CINEMA: A REVIEW

NIGHTMARE CINEMA: A REVIEW

We don’t get very many all-star horror anthologies these days, in terms of the talent either in front of or behind the camera.  A lot of that might be owed to the fact that we’ve lost quite a few of our icons in the past few years: Romero, Craven, Hooper, Cohen, and besides the beloved Sid Haig, too many great actors to review without things getting painful.  So as a few new opportunities to review these collections arise, how is the sub-genre faring thus far? Let’s take one of the more recently buzzed-about examples and see…

NIGHTMARE CINEMA is the work of a rotating “tag team” of directorial talent, spearheaded by MASTERS OF HORROR creator/showrunner Mick Garris (also director of several Stephen King adaptations, including his celebrated mini-series rendering of King’s beloved epic, THE STAND). The guest helmers include Alejandro Brugues (JUAN OF THE DEAD), Joe Dante (who should require no introduction, but hey: if you haven’t already seen GREMLINS, THE HOWLING or the original PIRANHA about a dozen times each, what the hell are you doing here???), Japanese gore-master Ryuhei Kitamura (VERSUS, NO ONE LIVES and the film version of Clive Barker’s MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN), and David Slade (the unsettling HARD CANDY, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and the controversial “Bandersnatch” episode of BLACK MIRROR.)

The wraparound story features a mysterious character known as “The Projectionist” in a creeptastic old grindhouse that the subjects of the tales find themselves irresistibly drawn to.  As they’re seated inside, the lights go down and the “movie” begins, not only do they discover that they’re the ‘stars’ of their own shows, but the climaxes reveal what their fates actually were. (Spoiler alert: nobody in this flick “lives happily ever after.” Usually.)

It’s a great format to present the stories in, as done in the old-school Hammer and Amicus traditions, and also as in those collections, the quality of the stories vary from one to the other.

In “The Thing In The Woods”, the opener that kicks things off, a group of friends finds themselves in a “FRIDAY THE 13TH slasher scenario, with each person dying horribly one-by-one at the hands of a masked killer called “The Welder”. But there is what I thought was a very clever twist mid-tale that turns the entire crazed killer trope on its head, as the tried-and-true convention becomes something else entirely. Director Brugues shows a great twisted sense of humor with this one, not unlike the tone James Gunn struck in his loving tribute to genre horror, SLITHER, which makes me curious to see JUAN OF THE DEAD, the movie that put him on the map.

Next, seasoned vet Dante puts a new spin on an old classic in “Mirari,” featuring classic movie and TV legend Richard Chamberlain. He is the ‘Dr. Mirari’ of the title; a renowned plastic surgeon charged with helping improve the looks of a disfigured young lady, whose fiancée is helping her in this endeavor, thanks to the generosity of her well-heeled mother-in-law-to-be. If you’re at all familiar with the original TWILIGHT ZONE, there’s an episode this segment draws from, called “Eye Of The Beholder.” However, it takes the premise of that story into a direction that only dyed-in-the-wool horror buffs will probably see coming.

If you’re familiar with his work at all, you know Kitamura for three things: lots of action, a dark and twisted perspective on the world and the ‘human condition’, and blood…lots and lots of blood.  And with “Mashit”, he doesn’t disappoint, in this gore-dripping saga of a priest and a nun at a Catholic boarding school, who must deal with a demonic threat that will engulf and destroy them and the kids, if they fail in their mission to vanquish it. Kitamura gives his usual bloodletting a bit of a Fulci-esque kind of twist, with the inclusion of religious iconography, so the episode does have that bit of giallo horror flavor going for it.

 

Slade gets what’s probably the most disturbingly mind-bending story of the bunch, “This Way To Egress”. At the office of a therapist she’s visiting, a woman finds that one of two things is happening: the therapy obviously isn’t working, as her grip on reality continues to slip into chaos, and she watches the people and the very walls of the building around her rot and decay. Or: she’s somehow begun to see that nothing in the world is as it seems, and she’s being driven mad by the realization of what lies underneath the veil.

The final story, “Dead”, pretty much gives itself away in the title. A young piano prodigy is the sole survivor of a carjacking-gone-wrong that results in the death of his parents. His own near-death brush leaves him open to seeing and communicating with the spirits of those who have passed over, in the hospital where he ends up. It’s a weird and unsettling ‘gift’ straight out of similar stories like GHOST, and just like in that movie, not only are some ghosts not ‘Casper-friendly’, but there are specific ones who have an agenda for the boy…and it’s not a good one. Director Garris uses this last story to bring the entire film full circle.

Let’s talk quality first. As the stories go, it’s my opinion that Brugues’ episode is the most clever, with its Eighties direct-to-video throwback vibe and darkly funny ending; “Egress” is the most imaginative, with its nods to Lovecraft, David Cronenberg and SILENT HILL (both the movie and the games).  You’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next, or what horrible oozing visual you’re going to be subjected to at any given time, which shouldn’t bother a “hardened” horror vet like myself…and yet it does, thanks especially to the strong psychological horror bent of the story, a stunning performance by Elizabeth Reaser, and makeup/visual effects that are far above in their quality what appears in the other episodes. So for me, “Egress” definitely takes the top spot, with “The Thing…” coming in a close second.

It’s no surprise at all that Kitamura’s vignette is the one that will satisfy gorehounds the most. Once upon a time, it was considered an almost unbreakable taboo to put kids in any kind of dire peril in any film let alone a horror film, and this is a convention he takes a mad glee in slashing through (literally), as the demon known as “Mashit” wreaks unholy havoc upon the school and all who live – and die there. I want to avoid as many spoilers as possible, but the bottom line of the tale is this: even the secrets you think you can keep from yourself will be revealed sooner or later, and the outcome is never good.

However, where “Mashit” fails is the under-development of the characters. It’s not a good sign when you aren’t really rooting for anyone, and it’s worse still when the “heroes” are members of the clergy…and you still don’t care all that much what happens to them.  I suppose this may have been intentional, considering the turn the story takes as it nears its gruesome climax.  Where that is unsuccessful, though, “Dead” manages to instill nothing but empathy in the audience, thanks in huge part to the performances of newcomer Faly Rakotohavana as Riley, the child prodigy, and Annabeth Gish as his late mom, Charity.  Lexy Panterra also gives a great supporting turn as Riley’s smart-assed next-door “roommate”, Casey. The chemistry between the actors, and Garris’s touch as a director with ensembles is what elevates it to third place over “Mashit.”

Surprisingly, Dante’s “Mirari” is the one that comes in last. An episode that wouldn’t be at all out of place as an episode of HBO’s TALES FROM THE CRYPT, though it boasts a reliable performance from Chamberlain, it still plays as somewhat derivative. The same could be said of “Dead” as well, but it’s the handling of the stories that determine their effectiveness. Even with the clever twist at the end, Dante can’t avoid the curse of “been there, seen that” in this particular story, while the emotional heft of “Dead” is the main thing it has going for it, helping it overcome the familiarity “hump.”

And speaking of that, since CINEMA is intentionally paying homage to past horror anthologies, the music clearly reflects this, provided by several different composers. Kyle Newmaster tips his hat to John Harrison’s great theme for the immortal CREEPSHOW with a very familiar-sounding riff on it, followed by some good Marco Beltrami-type flourishes in the score for “Woods.” Fan favorite Richard Band does his thing on “Dead” and really has a lot of fun with “Mirari” as he “mirrors” some leit-motifs of his own, cribbing from Alan Silvestri’s wonderful DEATH BECOMES HER score.  Composer J.G. Thirlwell goes for creepy Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross-like discordance and ambiance on “Egress”, while Aldo Shllaku goes full-on Simon Boswell/Claudio Simonetti/GOBLIN with the score for “Mashit”, which does help with its gonzo giallo touches. (And by the way – the sound design on “Egress” really ramps up the skeevy feel of the visual effects, so kudos to that team.)

And finally, the glue that binds this all together: the wraparound sequences. Handled by Garris in addition to the “Dead” episode, they feature Mickey Rourke, having a blast as “The Projectionist.” As with any classic anthology, you need a strong premise to hold it all together, and barring that, a narrator like “The Crypt-Keeper” or “The Creep” with a strong enough presence to keep viewers engaged. Rourke’s performance – which for me is one of the best he’s given in a while – has been debatable among fans to say the least, but I find less fault in his acting, or Garris’s direction, than I do in the scripting of the “binder.”

It’s pretty obvious what purpose The Projectionist serves, but I would’ve liked to have seen the ultimate fates of the doomed characters made more clear. And the gorier their demises, the better, even with what happens in the climax of each tale. But as the disclaimer always states, this is just how things resonated with me…Your ‘mileage’ may vary.

I don’t think a NIGHTMARE CINEMA series would be all that bad an idea. It was fun enough that a weekly two-story installment (similar to Shudder’s CREEPSHOW revival) would be something I’d welcome into my schedule, if they decided to go with it.  Overall, I give CINEMA three-and-a-half out of five stars!

Posted by Samuel Glass in Categories, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments
Essence is coming soon and you can help!

Essence is coming soon and you can help!

I had the pleasure to see the teaser trailer for the new film by Jeff KACMARYNSKI’SESSCENSE” the film has a real late 70’s vibe to it from what I saw and have to say I’m intrigued along with the grindhouse feel of the style of old film. The trailer gave a little bit of what to expect but didn’t reveal all too much which is good because seeing this I’m interested to see what will transpire and want to walk in  surprised on how it escalates. I was lucky enough to get a little more information from the Director on the plot and inspiration of the film “After the death of her son, Joanna discovers a hidden room in her home, with a power that could lead her back to him. However, the room instead, unleashes a malicious cosmic entity, that feeds on her fears and sanity, ultimately unleashing a terrible mind game. Our cast includes legendary Lynn Lowry, and veteran actress Maggie Wagner. We are doing a very psychedelic surreal horror film, influenced by Cronenberg, Lynch, Lovecraft , Argento and Fulci.” I have to wonder will we see body horror, over the top gore that will get under our skin? One thing is fore I myself can’t wait to see more. This will be his first feature film that he’s done since his shorts he did some time back DEAD THERAPY is featured in Wild Eye Releasing’s movie WELCOME TO HELL which all have won several awards. Right now there’s a indigo campaign so if you like to contribute by all means even a share helps! For more information here’s a direct link to the Indigogo campaign

 

 

Posted by Jai Alexis in COMING SOON, FEATURED ARTISTS, HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly) (1981)

MOVIE REVIEW: Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly) (1981)

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Any horror fan worth their weight in shrunken heads, has at least heard of Italian director Ruggero Deodato’s infamous carnival of cannibal carnage, Cannibal Holocaust, and how its notoriety set off a mini-explosion of cannibal knock-offs during that same period. Not to be bested, City of the Living Dead helmer Umberto Lenzi wanted to see if he could equal, if not top Deodato’s, claim to ‘fame’, and the result was a nearly identical ‘homage’ to Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox (retitled under numerous names as most films of the period were but recognized mostly under the alternative Make Them Die Slowly).

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.You’ve got to hand it to the Italians; when it comes to mixing and matching hybrids, they go for broke, which makes for some of the goofiest, most unexpected plot twists and turns you’ve ever seen! Not content to simply settle for Cannibal Holocaust’s scenario of having ‘students’ going into the Amazonian wilds for anthropological reasons, Lenzi begins his screenplay as…wait for it…A CRIME THRILLER.

The story immediately starts off with a bait-and-switch, with a guy who we think will be a major character, until he’s promptly murdered by two goons in a New York apartment. Turns out they’re looking for a guy named Mike, who swindled them out of a lot of money, and unfortunately for him, they didn’t believe he had no idea where Mike was.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Enter the cops, as the murder case is headed up by Lt. Rizzo (Robert Kerman) and Sgt. Ross (Venantino Venantini). If Rizzo looks familiar, he should. Kerman also appeared in Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust, underscoring the intentional similarities in the two pictures. But just wait…Lenzi encroaching on Cannibal Holocaust’s turf doesn’t stop there!

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Cut to: somewhere near Bogota, Colombia. (Yeah, the transition is just that abrupt – get used to it!) Gloria Davis (Lorraine De Selle) has come here with her brother Rudy (Danilo Mattei aka Bryan Redford) and her best friend, the model/actress/free-spirit Pat Johnson (Zora Kerova), for something of a dual purpose. It’s for an adventure in the Amazon, sure, but Gloria is also a student of anthropology (shades of Cannibal Holocaust!), who is here to work on a dissertation that will disprove the entire concept of cannibalism and expose it as a myth created by colonialists who wanted to paint indigenous tribes as some kind of evil threat to more “civilized” people and, therefore, justify their extermination.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.It takes a while for the fun to begin— nearly the entire first act — as Gloria, Rudy, and Pat eventually make their way down the Amazon River and begin their trek into the jungle to find the village that is the center of Gloria’s intended research. The usual ‘antics’ take place along the way: a cute little — lemur? Anteater? I’m not sure what the hell it was, but it was given to Pat by a native on the boat trip— is horrifically crushed to death by an anaconda (and probably eaten later, off-camera); the jeep gets stuck; and they wind up having to make their way to the location on foot.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Dying screams of agony lead them to a clearing where they find the slashed and impaled bodies of another native man and woman, and wouldn’t you know it — here’s where our intrepid heroes run into…MIKE! As in the “Mike” everyone’s looking for back in NYC. Mike Logan (Giovanni Lombardo Radice, the iconic star of such Lenzi hits as House on the Edge of the Park and City of the Living Dead, billed here as John Morghen) runs into them with his wounded buddy, Joe Costolani (Walter Lucchini aka Walter Lloyd) in tow.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.When questioned by Rudy about what happened to them and the two dead bodies, Joe recounts a fantastic tale of looking to score some “really good shit” down here, when they ran afoul of a native tribe that enjoys snacking…on humans. He and Joe barely make it out alive, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda. Having seen enough of these, it’s not hard for the audience to see from the jump that Mike is more full of shit than a livestock farm. Pat, however, is immediately intrigued. (I guess you know where THAT’S going.)

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.The now-enlarged group of five finally does make it to Gloria’s village, but for the most part, they find it nearly deserted, save for a bunch of elderly indigenous men, some women, and a few kids…none of the young men around whatsoever. And things are just about to get a lot stranger…and dangerously awkward.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.

It takes a good little while to get to the “making them die slowly” part, but remember: it’s not about the destination, but the JOURNEY. Mike turns out to be an even bigger asshole than any of them realized, and it’s his actions that bring about the gruesome retribution from the natives, well-deserved or not. And unlike the jaw-droppingly realistic effects of, say, The Green Inferno, the practical and visual work here may elicit more giggles than screams from viewers since a 21st Century audience can’t help but notice how painfully “primitive” the bloodletting is. (Though it was probably anything but for moviegoers of that time period.)

The same thing that has many overly sensitive horror fans concerned about Cannibal Holocaust is present in Cannibal Ferox: the real-time, on-camera killing of animals. The anteater-thing that was Pat’s pet, as well as a large turtle that the natives dismember and eat ‘au naturel’, will probably be more of a turn-off to some than what happens to the humans. Yes, the anaconda sequence seems especially cruel, as it feels more like something set up intentionally by Lenzi in order to get some exploitative footage.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.But to be completely realistic about it, anyone who’s seen a nature documentary has witnessed everything you’ll see here in the way of animal deaths and worse. The butchering and consumption of the turtle are so matter-of-fact, you can pretty much tell that it wasn’t the first time the tribe had consumed such a meal and probably wouldn’t be the last. Yes, it’s questionable that something so unsettling should have been used as the basis for entertainment, but it’s a bit hypocritical to dwell on this as an issue if you’re going out after the movie for a Wendy’s Triple if you get my drift.

But back to the movie. The NYC/Amazon scenario split keeps you wondering if it’s all going to come together eventually in a way that makes any kind of sense, and I guess it does at the climax.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Whether or not Cannibal Ferox one-ups its Cannibal Holocaust predecessor is up for you, the viewer to decide. For my taste, it’s just way too close to call. The very “Seventies” message that the violent nature of “civilized” man is contagious seems rather quaint now, or way too obvious to take seriously from a film that — let’s face it — hasn’t aged very well. As expected, the scenery chewing and horrendous English dubbing job are present as usual, though no one can ever say the cast wasn’t up to Lenzi’s demands. Everyone gives their best, and Radice is especially hissable as the amoral Mike.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.As for the direction, Lenzi is very similar to his contemporaries — Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, etc.— in the way that nothing ever stands between him and telling the story. Crappy acting, substandard special effects, iffy locations, hiccups in photography and/or editing — none of it matters. You may scream, cry, puke, be repulsed or tickled pink…entertainment is the main objective, and there’s no way that anyone into the human fast-food sub-genre WON’T be completely captivated. And there’s something to admire in that determination and sense of commitment — even if it’s only good enough for grindhouses and drive-ins.

For never being boring and maintaining its promise of off-beat entertainment at the very least, Cannibal Ferox gets two-and-a-half leg-gnawing stars out of five.

Posted by Samuel Glass in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MOVIE REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
History of Horror in March

History of Horror in March

Join House of Tortured Souls as we celebrate significant dates in the history of horror in March. Click on thumbnails for full images.

March 1 - 7


03/01/1974 – Blood for Dracula released theatrically

19740301_Blood_for_Dracula-Italian-poster / Fair use doctrine.



19740301_Fleshforfrankensteinposter / Fair use doctrine.


03/01/1974 – Flesh for Frankenstein released theatrically



03/02/
1933 – King Kong (1933) released theatrically

19330302_Kingkong33newposter / Fair use doctrine.



20000303_Castlevania_Legacy_of_Darkness / Fair use doctrine.

03/03/2000 – Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness released on the Nintendo 64 in Europe



03/03/2004 – Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital premieres on television

20040303_Khospitalpic / Fair use doctrine.



19220304_Nosferatuposter / Fair use doctrine.

03/04/1922 – Nosferatu released theatrically



03/04/1965 – Paul W. S. Anderson (director of several horror films) born

19650304_800px-Paul_W._S._Anderson_by_Gage_Skidmore / Fair use doctrine.



19990304_Silent_Hill_video_game / Fair use doctrine.

03/04/1999 – Silent Hill released on the PlayStation in Japan



03/05/1943 – Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man released theatrically

19430305_298px-Frankenstein_Meets_the_Wolf_Man_movie_poster / Fair use doctrine.



19540305_800px-Creature_from_the_Black_Lagoon_poster / Fair use doctrine.

03/05/1954 – Creature from the Black Lagoon released theatrically



03/07/1946 – The Mask of Diijon released theatrically

19460307_Mask_of_diijon_poster_small / Fair use doctrine.



20030307_Rezerobox / Fair use doctrine.

03/07/2003 – Resident Evil 0 released on the Nintendo GameCube in Europeborn

March 8 - 14


03/08/1972 – Tales from the Crypt released theatrically

19720308_Tales_from_the_crypt_film_poster / Fair use doctrine.



20050308_Rings / Fair use doctrine.

03/08/2005 – Rings released on DVD



03/10/1997 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer begins its run on television

19970310_Buffy_the_Vampire_Slayer_title_card / Fair use doctrine.



20060310_The_Hills_Have_Eyes_2006-film / Fair use doctrine.

03/10/2006 – The Hills Have Eyes (2006) released theatrically



03/11/1931 – F.W. Murnau (director of Nosferatu) dies (b. 1888)

19310311_F._W._Murnau_circa_1920-1930 / Fair use doctrine.



19970311_Castlevania_Legends / Fair use doctrine.

03/11/1997 – Castlevania Legends released on the Game Boy in North America



03/11/1999 – Castlevania 64 released on the Nintendo 64 in Japan

19970311_Castlevania_Legends / Fair use doctrine.



19990312_RageCarrie2 / Fair use doctrine.

03/12/1999 – The Rage: Carrie 2 released theatrically



03/13/1942 – The Ghost of Frankenstein released theatrically

19420313_220px-The_Ghost_of_Frankenstein_movie_poster / Fair use doctrine.



19810313_The_howling / Fair use doctrine.

03/13/1981 – The Howling released theatrically



03/13/1987 – Evil Dead II released theatrically

19870313_Evil_Dead_II_poster / Fair use doctrine.



19960313_Lucio-Fulci / Fair use doctrine.

03/13/1996 – Lucio Fulci (director of several horror films) dies (b. 1927)



03/14/2003 – Willard (2003) released theatrically

20030314_Willard_2003movie / Fair use doctrine.

March 15 - 21


19430315_220px-David_Cronenberg_2012-03-08 / Fair use doctrine.

03/15/1943 – David Cronenberg (director of numerous horror films) born



03/15/2002 – Resident Evil released theatrically in the United States

20020315_Resident_evil_ver4 / Fair use doctrine.



19250316_Themonster1925poster / Fair use doctrine.

03/16/1925 – The Monster released theatrically



03/16/1995 – Alone in the Dark 3 released on PC and Mac

19950306_Alone_in_the_Dark_3_cover / Fair use doctrine.



19430317_Iwalkedwithazombie / Fair use doctrine.

03/17/1943 – I Walked with a Zombie released theatrically



03/17/1994 – Castlevania: Bloodlines released on the Sega Genesis in North America

19940317_Castlevania_Bloodlines / Fair use doctrine.



20000317_Finaldestination / Fair use doctrine.

03/17/2000 – Final Destination released theatrically



03/18/1950 – Brad Dourif (actor who portrays Chucky in the Child’s Play films) born

19500318_Brad_Dourif / Fair use doctrine.



19940318_250px-Castlevania_Bloodlines / Fair use doctrine.

03/18/1994 – Castlevania: Bloodlines released on the Sega Mega Drive in Japan



03/18/2005 – The Ring Two released theatrically

20050318_Ring_two_ver2 / Fair use doctrine.



20050318_Resi4-gc-cover / Fair use doctrine.

03/18/2005 – Resident Evil 4 released for the Nintendo GameCube in Europe



03/19/2004 – Dawn of the Dead (2004) released theatrically

20040319_Dawn_of_the_Dead_2004_movie / Fair use doctrine.



19640320_2000maniacs / Fair use doctrine.

03/20/1964 – Two Thousand Maniacs! released theatrically



03/20/1994 – Castlevania: Bloodlines released on the Sega Genesis in Europe

19940320_Castlevania_Bloodlines / Fair use doctrine.



19970320_Castlevania_SOTN_PAL / Fair use doctrine.

03/20/1997 – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night released on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in Japan



03/21/2001 – Castlevania: Circle of the Moon released on the Game Boy Advance in Japan

20010321_Castlevania_CotM_boxart / Fair use doctrine.



19250316_Themonster1925poster / Fair use doctrine.

03/21/2006 – Stay Alive released theatrically

March 22 - 28


03/22/1985 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning released theatrically

19850322_Friday_the_13th_part_V_a_new_beginning / Fair use doctrine.



19860322_Choppingmall / Fair use doctrine.

03/22/1986 – Chopping Mall released theatrically



03/22/1996 – Resident Evil released on the PlayStation in Japan

19960322_250px-Resident_Evil_1_cover / Fair use doctrine.



20020322_Blade_II_movie / Fair use doctrine.

03/22/2002 – Blade II released theatrically



03/22/2002 – The Chronicle ends its run on television

20020322_The Chronicle / Fair use doctrine.



19630323_PeterLorre / Fair use doctrine.

03/23/1964 – Peter Lorre (actor in several horror films) dies (b. 1904)



03/24/1939 – The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) released theatrically

19390324_800px-Cover_(Hound_of_Baskervilles,_1902) / Fair use doctrine.



19740324_Rhs1974kingsrd / Fair use doctrine.

03/24/1974 – The Rocky Horror Show premieres at the Roxy



03/26/1994 – System Shock released on PC and Mac

19940326_Sysshock / Fair use doctrine.



19730327_Sisters_(1973) / Fair use doctrine.

03/27/1973 – Sisters released theatrically



03/27/1986 – April Fool’s Day released theatrically

19860327_Aprilfoolsday_poster / Fair use doctrine.



19910327_Ralph Bates / Fair use doctrine.

03/271991 – Ralph Bates (actor in several Hammer horror films) dies (d. 1940)



03/28/1920 – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) released theatrically

19200328_220px-Dr_Jekyll_and_Mr_Hyde_1920_poster / Fair use doctrine.



19630328_The_Birds_original_poster / Fair use doctrine.

03/28/1963 – The Birds released theatrically

March 29 - 31


19960330_Resident_Evil_1_cover / Fair use doctrine.

03/29/1996 – Resident Evil released on the PlayStation in the United States



03/30/2000 – The Typing of the Dead released on Dreamcast and PC

20000330_TTOTD_Packshot / Fair use doctrine.



20000329_RECV_boxart / Fair use doctrine.

03/30/2000 – Resident Evil Code: Veronica released for the Dreamcast in North America



03/30/2001 – Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare released on Game Boy Color

20010330_Alone_in_the_Dark_A_New_Nightmare / Fair use doctrine.



20060331_Slithermovieposter / Fair use doctrine.
03/31/2006 – Slither released theatrically

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments
HISTORY OF HORROR: JUNE

HISTORY OF HORROR: JUNE

By John Roisland & Woofer McWooferson

Join House of Tortured Souls as we celebrate significant dates in the history of horror in June.

June 1 – 7

June - Phantasm

 

06/01/1979
Phantasm released theatrically

June - Poltergeist (original)

 

 

06/04/1982
Poltergeist released theatrically

June - Robert Englund

 

06/06/1949
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street actor) born

June - The Omen (remake)

 

06/06/2006
The Omen (remake) released theatrically

June 8 – 14

June - Hostel 2

 

06/08/2007
Eli Roth’s Hostel Part II released
theatrically

June - Damien: Omen II

 

06/09/1978
Damien: Omen II
released theatrically

June - Poltergeist III

 

 

06/10/1988
Poltergeist III released theatrically

 

June - Tales from the Crypt (original)

06/10/1989
Tales from the Crypt premiers on TV

June - Rosemary's Baby

 

06/12/1968
Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby released theatrically

June - Jason Voorhees

 

06/13/1946
Fictional mass
murderer
Jason Voorhees is born

June 15 – 21

June - Herschell Gordon Lewis

 

06/15/1929
Herschell Gordon Lewis (Blood Feast, The Wizard of Gore) actor, filmmaker, and Godfather of Gore born
June - Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

 

06/15/1948
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein released theatrically
June - Gremlins 2: The New Batch

 

06/15/1990
Gremlins 2: The New Batch released theatrically

 

June - Psycho

06/16/1960
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho released theatrically
June - Jaws 2

 

06/16/1978
Jaws 2 released theatrically

June - Lucio Fulci

 

06/17/1927
Lucio Fulci
(The Beyond,
City of the Living Dead
writer, director) born

June - The Exorcist II: The Heretic

 

06/17/1977
Exorcist II: The Heretic released
theatrically

June - Willard

 

06/18/1971
Willard released
theatrically

June - Haute Tension

 

06/18/2003
Haute Tension
released theatrically in France

June - Daria Nicolodi

 

06/19/1950
Daria Nicolodi (Dario Argento’s Opera actress) born

 

June - The Twilight Zone06/19/1964
The Twilight Zone original TV series ends its run

June - Jaws

 

06/20/1975
Jaws released theatrically

June - Frenzy

 

06/21/1972
Frenzy released
theatrically
June - Lifeforce

 

06/21/1985
Lifeforce released theatrically

June 22 – 28

June - Bruce Campbell

06/22/1958
Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead (1981), Army of Darkness actor) born

June - Elvira's Haunted Hills

 

06/23/2001
Elvira’s Haunted Hills released
theatrically

June - Land of the Dead

 

06/24/2005
George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead released theatrically

June - The Omen (original)

 

06/25/1976
The Omen released theatrically
June - The Thing

 

06/25/1982
John Carpenter’s The Thing released theatrically

 

June - Peter Lorre06/26/1904
Peter Lorre (The Comedy of Terrors
actor) born

June - Dark Shadows

 

06/27/1966
Dark Shadows premiers on TV

June - Blade the Series

 

06/28/2006
Blade: The Series premiers on TV

June 29 – 30

June - The War of the Worlds (remake)

 

06/29/2005
War of the Worlds released theatrically

June - Vincent D'Onofrio

 

 

06/30/1959
Vincent D’Onofrio (The Cell actor) born

 

Keep it Evil

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: City of the Living Dead (1980)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: City of the Living Dead (1980)

City of the Living Dead

Intestines Anyone?

By Amy Mead

poster-The-City-of-the-Living-Dead

Directed by:Lucio Fulci

Starring:Christopher George, Catriona MacColl, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Janet Agren, and Michelle Soavi

Anyone who knows me knows that I love my Italian horror. Namely Lucio Fulci films. I'm a Fulci girl all the way and no Halloween could or would ever be complete without a full on Fulci marathon. Unfortunately, I do not have time to write up his entire library of work so I had to narrow it down and choose one of my favorites, City of the Living Dead (AKA The Gates of Hell).

I was just nine years old when this masterpiece hit the theaters but it wouldn't be until my late teens that I would discover this cinematic gem, and Fulci in general, (thus giving birth to a lifelong love and appreciation for the "Godfather of Gore").

This is definitely one of the Fulci films that is loaded with the carnage and gore he is known for, and I love it! I mean, what's not to love about someone nearly being buried alive and then nearly taking a pick axe to the face while being rescued? And then we have people puking up their intestines and another being viciously murdered by way of a drill to the head, brain squeezing and eye bleeding?! SOLD. Give me ALL the gore.

For me, personally, no one else can capture that feeling of dread and panic, or open the very gates of hell quite the way Fulci could, and you get some of Fulci's most entertaining work in this film. The gore alone can't be beat.

Then you add the lovely Catriona MacColl (The Beyond) and frequent collaborator Fabio Frizzi's contribution with the ultra moody soundtrack, which is as always, brilliant and throw in some really inventive lighting and creative set design. It all adheres nicely and really comes together in setting the tone of this unsettling, apocalyptic nightmare. Fulci's knack for seeing the big picture and bringing it all together is truly insane.

If you are looking for something seriously creepy, atmospheric and gory, look no further. I know that most of our readers have already seen this film, as well as most of Fulci's other work, but all you newcomers out there need to seek this one out for some holiday viewing. And if you've already seen it, perhaps it's time to re-visit this old favorite. It's a perfect Halloween watch that gets watched in my house religiously every season.

Rating 8/10 suicidal priests

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: We Are Still Here (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: We Are Still Here (2015)

By Nick Durham

WE ARE STILL HERE barbara

It's really not every day that you hear about a movie coming out that claims itself to be a tribute to the films of Lucio Fulci, but that is something We Are Still Here claims itself to be, and it's easy to see why. Written and directed by Ted Geoghegan, this is a surprisingly pretty damn good little horror dirge that not only pays a nice tribute to the films of Fulci, but manages to stand on its own as a very worthwhile haunted house trip.

The film takes place in 1979 as an older couple (Re-Animator and From Beyond babe Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) moves to their newly purchased New England home following the death of their son. The grieving mother believes their new home to be inhabited by the spirit of their deceased son, but it doesn't take too long to realize that isn't the case, and it isn't just the haunted house that winds up causing the most trouble for our couple either. While all of that may sound a tad predictable, what unfolds ends up being kind of surprising, in a good way that is.

As I said before, We Are Still Here fashions itself on being a Fulci tribute, and in that regard it works pretty good. There is heavy atmosphere and inventive camerawork and scene boxing, along with a surprising amount of blood-letting as we hit the film's climax when shit starts hitting the proverbial fan. All of this happens in a brisk 83-minute run time, which I have to admit ends up being a perfect run time. If We Are Still Here was any longer, it would end up losing its luster and appeal; something which some Fulci films ended up doing in spite of themselves (I'm looking at you A Lizard in a Woman's Skin). The acting is pretty great (our good friend Larry Fessenden is here as the hippie husband to Lisa Marie's psychic friend of the couple) and the effects work is fucking wonderful as well.

All in all, We Are Still Here offers enough in terms of spookiness, atmosphere, and bloodshed to rightfully claim its place as being a Lucio Fulci tribute. It isn't anything too special, but it manages to be massively enjoyable for what it is, and you shouldn't have any problems eating this up. Check it out if you're looking for a well-crafted and brisk thrill.

Rating: 4/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
TRIBUTE: Lucio Fulci: The Godfather of Gore

TRIBUTE: Lucio Fulci: The Godfather of Gore

By Amy Lynes

Master of the Macabre
There aren't many people that I idolize but Lucio Fulci is definitely one of them, and he's number one on my list.

I was seventeen and home alone when I watched my first Lucio Fulci film. It was The House By The Cemetery, and watching it alone was a big mistake. HUGE! I sat there for the next hour and a half mesmerized by what was unfolding on the screen in front of me, even though my heart was racing, I was scared out of my mind, and all alone in an old, creepy ass (haunted) house.

Never before had I seen so much blood and gore! I was excited, terrified and repulsed all at the same time. As soon as it ended, I instantly rewound it (yes, it was on VHS) and watched it again. I would watch this wonderfully intense and graphic film three more time before eventually returning it to the video store.

I wanted to see more of this man's work and soon began renting all the films I could get my eager hands on. Zombie (aka Zombi 2) came next and, once again, I was blown away. There were scenes where I actually found myself holding my breath, squirming in my seat and clenching my hands so tightly that my muscles hurt. The famous eyeball puncturing scene was incredibly hard to watch but at the same time I couldn't make myself look away (and found that I didn't really want to anyway). I absolutely loved the way the zombies looked, how it seemed as though they were crumbling right before my eyes, squirming with maggots and missing eyes and appendages. It was fantastic! Still to this day, I prefer the slow gait, movement and organic look of Fulci's zombies, as opposed to the fast movers of today's modern zombie films. There was (and still is) something inherently creepy about the way they shamble so goddamn slowly and cannot be deterred nor distracted. They just keep on coming for you. And the infamous 'Shark vs. Zombie' scene? Once again, I was blown away. I sat there, completely mystified by the skill and imagination that must have gone into the making of that awe inspiring scene. Hell, even all these years later, I still am.

House by the cemetery

I was now completely hooked on this man's amazing talent and there was no going back for me; I just couldn't get enough and I simply HAD to see more. I had to find out everything I could about this director who could bring such vision to the screen while simultaneously scaring the living shit out of me so effectively and see as many of his films as possible.

Next up was The Beyond (aka Seven Doors of Death) which was strong in vivid imagery and unbelievably creepy. I couldn't get it out of my head for days and to this very day, it is still one of my all time favorite horror films. My copy gets watched often, several times a year, and I still get creeped out. Every time.

Then there was The Gates of Hell (aka City of the Living Dead) with the famous drill through the head scene, and the vomiting up of one's intestines and I delighted in the grossness of it, even though it made me retch.

Next up was Demonia, in which a man was quartered. I was horrified but I was also really beginning to like all the gore. It was all so shocking to me, but I seriously just could not get enough. I was addicted to how these movies made me feel, and what they sparked in me.

City drill scene

I soon fell in love with Fulci's ability to use gore to the fullest extent, without it being the primary focus of his films. He had the ability to scare the hell out of me without overwhelming me with the gore, and I was all about it. The excitement became a sort of drug for me, and I became addicted to the adrenaline rush I invariably got from his films.

My parents, however, were less than thrilled with my choice in movies and the only one I could ever get Dad to watch with me was The Psychic. He just couldn't handle the gore Fulci was famous for. I, however, was growing to love it more and more with each film. Years later, I would pass that love on to my brother Clayton, and he eventually ended up just as addicted as I was.

Because I could find so few of his movies and having become utterly obsessed with his work, I tried doing some investigative work to find out all I could about this genius director that I was quickly coming to love. Sadly, this was before the Internet and the libraries had very little to offer, so there wasn't much I could find. It wasn't until many years later that I discovered Netflix and began using the Internet that I was able to get my hands on a number of films that I had only heard about – and even some that I had no clue existed. My first few months on Netflix were exciting ones; I had found hidden horror treasure. The Mother Lode.

Because I was so enamored with Fulci's films, I also then began seeking out films by people who had either inspired Fulci, or had been inspired by him - Mario and Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento. This would also eventually lead to some other obsessions of mine, Argento films and Italian horror in general. But Fulci would always be my favorite.

Fulci has done everything from horror to musicals and even some Spaghetti Westerns and comedies. He was responsible for sixty films and one hundred and twenty scripts. In addition to film making, Fulci also wrote two books Fulci Breaks The Looking Glass and My Lovely Monsters which, sadly, will probably never be translated into English.

Fulci's career hit a high point in 1971-72 with his two Giallos, A Lizard in a Woman's Skin and Don't Torture a Duckling which were both extremely controversial. However, he was briefly blacklisted after Don't Torture a Duckling because it painted an extremely vivid picture of perversity in Catholicism. He was also hauled into court and charged with cruelty to animals due to the very graphic depiction of dogs being mutilated in A Lizard in a Woman's Skin and actually had to show the judge the puppets they used and how they worked before being cleared of the charge.

Fulci Gore

It has been said that the films he made from 1979-83 were some of the most violent ever made. It is really no coincidence that the eighties were his most popular time in America. Sadly, in spite of that, he was never fully given the recognition he deserved. The horror world truly suffered a major loss with his untimely death in 1996.

It saddens me that there will never be another new Fulci film, but for this girl, this master of the macabre will always live on, both in his work, and in the work of many others.

For a complete list of Lucio Fulci's work, check out his IMDB page.

Posted by Alan Smithee in EDITORIALS, HORROR HEROES, 0 comments

In Praise of Grindhouse Releasing

By Nick Durham

grindhouse releasing

One thing that horror fans have over fans of nearly any other film genre is the quality of the physical media release, in this case Blu-ray and DVD. You know The Criterion Collection? That line of films that feature a bevy of special features and picture restoration and are kind of pricey? Criterion features plenty of films that are worth your time (and somehow Michael Bay's Armageddon...I'm dead fucking serious) and even has a few surprising horror entries in their lineup as well (Videodrome, Naked Lunch, Don't Look Now). That being said, aside from maybe Arrow Films and Scream Factory to a lesser extent, no one delivers in terms of deluxe horror and genre releases like Grindhouse Releasing.

Co-founded by film editor Bob Murawski and the late Sage (son of Sylvester) Stallone, Grindhouse Releasing has picked up and distributed some super rare or in some cases never before seen films for small theatrical releases and Blu-ray/DVD releases as well. These range from grindhouse cinema classics like Cannibal Holocaust and The Beyond to shit you've never heard of like The Swimmer and Gone with the Pope. There're other films in their lineup (not all horror either), some which may sound familiar to you, including Cannibal Ferox, Massacre Mafia Style, Corruption, An American Hippie in Israel, The Big Gundown, Pieces, Cat in the Brain, and I Drink Your Blood. Hell of a lineup right?

I had mentioned Arrow Films and Scream Factory earlier. While both those labels are favorites of mine and offer some quality releases, a majority of the films featured on either label have something in common: we've heard of most of them at the very least. That's not the case with a majority of Grindhouse's lineup. While yes, we've all heard of Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, and The Beyond; is there anyone that remembered Corruption? Hell, I love Peter Cushing and I never even heard of it let alone knew of its existence. Imagine the shock on my face when I realized one of the classiest men in horror starred in a film where he was killing young women to supply his wife what she needed to maintain her appearance, and that there were tits aplenty. It's things like that that really separate Grindhouse Releasing from the rest of the pack.

I could go on and on about Grindhouse Releasing, but I won't. Not because I don't want to, but only because they offer films that deserve your attention. The fact that they painstakingly restore and re-release these little known films for wide audiences today is a beautiful thing indeed. We should all take the time to love and appreciate what they've done not only for horror fans, but for the genre as a whole.

Posted by Alan Smithee in EDITORIALS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments