Friday, July 25, 2014

Fool's Views (6/30 – 7/6)

The days of summer are here.

Back again!

Having spent the last couple installments building up to it, the Views this week culminated in the viewing of Jake West’s exhaustive, 7+ hour examination of the Video Nasty era, watching trailers and commentary from fellow fiends about the films on the chopping block. It’s probably my favorite home video release of the year, an essential purchase for genre aficionados.

Rewarding myself for having gone the distance, I sallied out to Jon Kitley’s and kicked back a quartet of quirks from around the globe (Spain, Canada, England, Russia), then returned home to kick off summer with a revisit to a certain croc-infested Maine lake to see if the water had gotten any better on second go-round. With killer rats, sexy witches, and trash-talking Betty White on the menu, it’s hard to go too far wrong.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


WAX (2014) movie review

Wax (2014) d. Victor Matellano (Spain)

On the one hand, this love letter to horror cinema delivers several cult figure cameos (Tombs of the Blind Dead’s Lone Fleming, Paul Naschy’s voice), some gooey eviscerations, and a welcome scenery-and-flesh-chewing showcase for Spanish horror icon Jack Taylor (gussied up as Vincent Price in House of Wax). The rest of the time, however, we’re trapped with smart aleck Jimmy Shaw (working his Brad Dourif features overtime) wandering around a supposedly haunted wax museum – where he has been challenged to remain until dawn – with an array of videocameras recording every snoozy, snarky move he makes.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

BURN WITCH BURN (1962) movie review

Burn, Witch, Burn (aka Night of the Eagle) (1962) d. Sidney Hayers (UK)

Terrific screen version of Fritz Lieber’s novel Conjure Wife (first seen as the 1944 Lon Chaney vehicle Weird Woman and then remade in 1980 as the little-seen Witches’ Brew), adapted with verve by the dream team of Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont. Peter Wyngarde stars as a professor who seems to lead a charmed life, only to find out that he does . . . literally. Seems his beautiful bride (Janet Blair) does a little dabbling in the magical arts, and when practical hubby finds out and demands she dispense with her tools of hoodoo, his luck changes and not for the good.

VIY (1967) movie review

Viy (aka Vij) (1967) d. Konstantin Ershov / Georgi Kropachyov (Russia)

This breathtaking flight of dark fantasy, derived from the same Nikolai Gogol story that inspired Mario Bava’s gothic masterpiece Black Sunday, albeit wildly different in tone and content, combines the double charms of rural folktales and overt theatricality. You’re forgiven if you haven’t already seen or heard of it, but after viewing, you’ll likely be wondering, as I did, how it took this long and why someone didn’t clue you in sooner.

Monday, July 21, 2014

GINGER SNAPS (2000) Blu-ray Review

Ginger Snaps (2000) d. John Fawcett (Canada)

This sharp, blackly comic tale turns the old shapeshifting legend on its head, creating a metaphor for a young woman’s “change” at puberty, with the moon’s cinematic lycanthrope effects mirroring that of the menstrual cycle. Screenwriter Karen Walton’s crackling, acid-tongued, often hilarious dialogue perfectly captures the cynical tone of two outcast teenage sisters with a morbid fascination with death. When the eldest, Ginger (Katharine Isabelle), is attacked by a werewolf (a harrowing, superbly shot sequence), the film proceeds to reflect her changing from girl to woman with her transformation from human to animal.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

THE NIGHT DIGGER (1971) movie review

Night Digger, The (1971) d. Alastair Reid (UK)

Curious, moody, secluded-English-country-manor chiller about a spinster (Patricia Neal) and her overbearing blind mother (Pamela Brown) whose humdrum lives are disrupted by a motorcycle-riding drifter seeking work as a groundskeeper (Nicholas Clay, who achieved cult status a decade later as Lancelot in Excalibur and Oliver Mellors in Lady Chatterly’s Lover). Despite her adopted daughter’s protests, the elder woman invites the mysterious youth to stay on – after all, it would be nice to have a man around the place, especially with this spate of ghastly murders going on in the area....

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fool's Views (6/23-6/29)

No...more...Nazisploitation. Got it?

Back again, my friends!

After the previous week’s gluttony, I found myself not only cleaning up the damage such a spree can cause (i.e. writing reviews), but wriggling out from under the weight of screener copies that had recently landed in my lap. To further complicate matters, I made a trip to the good ol’ Chicago Public Library to secure a few civilian flicks that had captured my fancy while on our recent road trip to the Colorado Plateau.

Finally, I felt compelled to round out the earlier Nazisploitation viewings by visiting (and revisiting) the pioneers of the subgenre, so those got chucked in the pile along with a Godzilla fan film for dessert. All in all, another diverse trip down the twisty, thorny path of terror. Never a dull moment.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

ILSA: SHE WOLF OF THE SS (1975) movie review

Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (1975) d. Don Edmonds (Canada)

Inspired by the notorious real-life tales of Ilse Koch, a wife of a Nazi commandant who reportedly kept lampshades made from the skin of concentration camp victims, this Canadian exploitation sensation was much more interested in showing female flesh than shedding it. Former nude pin-up model Dyanne Thorne and her bustastic assets are put on full display as the titular tyraness of terror, turning women into experiments of extended torture while making men slaves in her bedroom.

THE BABY (1973) Blu-ray Review

The Baby (1973) d. Ted Post (USA)

After taking on the curious case of “Baby” Wadsworth (David Manzy), a grown man developmentally arrested at nine months, recently widowed social worker Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) suspects criminal negligence. As her interest grows increasingly personal, a war of wills develops between Ann and the zealously protective Wadsworth women, who will stop at nothing to keep their family together.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

BLOODY MOON (1981) Blu-ray Review

Bloody Moon (1981) d. Jess Franco (Germany)

Gorgeous Angela (Olivia Pascal) joins her comely group of lasses at a remote spa/language school (nice combo, that) in Spain, unaware that the exotic locale was the site of a brutal murder five years prior. Wouldn’t you know it, the offending party, Miguel (Alexander Waechter), has just been released from a mental institution into the care of his sister Manuela (Nadja Gerganoff), the smokin’ hot chiquita with whom he previously shared an incestuous relationship. But wait, there's more! Further complicating matters is the fact that Manuela runs the school with the handsome Alvaro (Christopher Brugger), but is openly hated by her crippled countess aunt (Maria Rubio) who holds the purse strings. Needless to say, when pretty girls start turning up dead, there are suspects aplenty, including students, teachers, studly tennis instructors (Peter Execoustos), and drooling mongoloid red herrings.