Saturday, October 22, 2011

October Horror Movie Challenge 10/21


Deaths of Ian Stone, The (2007)
(1st viewing) d. Piana, Dario (UK) 87min
The third of After Dark Films’ Horrorfest 2007 that I’ve seen this month, and probably the most successful of the bunch. (Jim Mickle’s Mulberry St. still takes the title as pick of the litter, however.) Confused young stud Mike Vogel continues meeting mortal ends, then awakening in a brand new life as though nothing had happened. As time passes, we learn that he is pursued by dark spirits known as “harvesters” who have a vested interest in Vogel and his relationship with comely blonde Christina Cole. Well paced and shot by Piana, with a legitimately interesting and original script by Brendan Hood (whose previous writing credits include the execrable Wes Craven’s They). Produced by Stan Winston, and created under his SW Studios’ roof.

Death Warmed Up (1984)
(1st viewing) d. Blyth, David (New Zealand) 85min
I swear to god, I have no idea what the hell was going on most of the time in this zany Kiwi flick. Released three years before Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste, there’s a similar sense of loony abandon in terms of monster mayhem and gory goofiness, although it definitely lacks the style and polish of his successor. There was something about gene testing a la Dr. Moreau, lots of running around, limbs being chopped off, mutated beasts attacking young nubiles, but I’ll be damned if it made a lick of sense and I kinda wish it had been more fun than it was. Not bad, but lacking direction, vision, a strong narrative…you get the idea.

Death in the Shadows (1985) (1st viewing) d. Pieters, Vivian (Netherlands) 97min
When lovely Dutch lass Maayke Bouten’s mother is run down in the street, evidence begins to arise that neither was the woman her birth mother, nor was the death accidental. (Being run over twice is kind of a tipoff in these cases.) As the newly orphaned orphan looks for answers to her lineage, Bouten seems to be the next target on the killer’s list. Unfortunately, endless scenes of rummaging through old photo albums and documents don’t make for the most stimulating of screen action, especially when backed by a Casio keyboard score. Our heroine seemingly has no compunction about taking her top off, so there’s that, but one wishes that the sporadic attempts against her life were a bit more dynamic and/or successful. Pretty uninspiring overall.

First Time Views: 44
Repeats: 44
Total Films: 88

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