Monday, October 10, 2011

October Horror Movie Challenge 10/9


Hole, The (2001)
(1st viewing) d. Hamm, Nick (UK) 102min
Set in an exclusive UK boarding school, where Thora Birch pines for the attentions of an American exchange student (Wrong Turn’s Desmond Harrington). Four classmates (including a young Keira Knightley) go for an outing in a small bunker where they are abandoned and locked in by a classmate. What follows is a series of Rashomon-like versions of what transpires over the next week as hunger, dehydration and desperation set in. Reasonably suspenseful and well-acted, despite a twist ending that becomes fairly evident early on.

Pit, The (1981) (1st viewing) d. Lehman, Lew (Canada) 97min
Young blonde bowl-haircut misfit Sammy Snyders has troubles mixing with his peers and sports a serious yen for the opposite sex, especially his sensitive babysitter Jeannie Elias. The titular hole in the ground, located in the woods out back, plays host to a group of hairy orange-eyed troglodytes (“trollalogs”). This is the kind of twisted character piece and subject matter that could only have been made in the 70s (despite its early 80s time-stamp). Wildly stilted performances require a degree of getting used to, as do the after-school special production values and soundtrack, but for fans of low-budget fare, there are awesome rewards aplenty to be found below the surface. Favorite line: “Do you know why my mother washes me so much?”

Bloody Pit of Horror (1965) (1st viewing) d. Pupillo, Massimo (Italy) 74min
Released the same year as the Barbara Steele Gothic feature Terror Creatures from the Grave, but filmed in “PsychoVision,” which equates to bright, garish colors…especially of the reddish hue. Photographer, crew and lovely female models are out shooting cover art for a series of horror novels, when they come upon a castle owned by Mr. Jayne Mansfield himself, muscleman Mickey Hargitay. Unfortunately, said castle is the former residence of a notorious 17th century inquisitor, The Crimson Executioner, and Hargitay has convinced himself that he is the reincarnation of the red hooded one. With tons of torture devices in the basement up for grabs, soon there are lovely lasses stretched, slashed and strewn about. With a great score and plenty of cheesy blood n’ babes action, there’s plenty of fun to be had here.


Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)
(2nd viewing) d. Gans, Christophe (France) 152min
Unbelievably stylish with superb production values, Gans serves up an incredible visual feast with his epic about an 18th century French province, Gevaudan, being terrorized by an enormous bloodthirsty beast. Equal parts adventure tale, costume drama, social message, action flick (sporting some wicked Matrix-like martial arts sequences) and monster movie, there is something here for everyone, handsomely mounted and exquisitely acted by a cast that includes the likes of Samuel Le Bihan, Vincent Cassell, Monica Bellucci, Emilie Dequenne, Phillipe Nahon, Mark Decascos and a cameo from Francois Hadji-Lazaro, famous to Italian horror fans as “Gnaghi” from Dellamorte Dellamore (aka Cemetery Man). The carnivorous CGI creature isn’t quite as impressive these days, but it still does the trick and earns major points for its original design.

Brotherhood of Satan, The (1971) (2nd viewing) d. McEevety, Bernard (USA) 92min
Trippy, heady, semi-successful devil-worshiping effort featuring Strother Martin as the head of a geriatric cult bent on reincarnating themselves into the bodies of their small town’s youngsters. There are a number of effective sequences, but overall things feel awfully padded out and the WTF conventions of having miniature toys possessing the killing power of their full-size counterparts (case in point, a plastic army tank proceeds to crush a full sized sedan) left a furrow in my skull from all the head-scratching.


First Time Views: 20
Repeats: 21
Total Films: 41

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