Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October Horror Movie Challenge 10/3


Borderland (2007) (1st viewing) d. Berman, Zev (Mexico) 105min
After kicking off with a gruesome torture sequence, flick settles into its central narrative of three fun-seeking males down in Mexico looking for some way-down-Southern hospitality. Which they do, if hanging with human-sacrificing Nganga cults is what you call a good time. Sean Astin as a freaky, woman-hating cult member is an interesting change of pace for all the Frodo/Sam lovers out there. The Achilles tendon continues to be the frontrunning onscreen point of pain, with Cabin Fever’s Rider Strong on the receiving end this time around. Satisfyingly brutal and splattery KNB finale.

Vampiro, El (1957) (1st viewing) d. Mendez, Fernando (Mexico) 95min
A year before Hammer revived Dracula in Technicolor, Mexico offered up a new hombre guapo to fill the cape, Count Lavud (German Robles), one of the first vampires to sport actual onscreen fangs. As a story, it’s nothing we hadn’t seen before, with an attractive young couple showing up to visit a sick relative, with well-dressed bloodsuckers soon gliding out of the woodwork. No real scares, teleporting vampires, and a whole lot of rubber bats flying about on strings, but as a Spanish-language version of the classic vampire tale, it’s a well-mounted production with an appealing cast.

Vampire’s Coffin, The (1958) (1st viewing) d. Mendez, Fernando (Mexico) 80min
This hard-upon sequel to El Vampiro replaces its predecessor’s smoky atmosphere with comedy and modern-day locations to the mix, making it a little campier but no less entertaining. When the Count’s body is removed from the crypt, then unstaked, the undead nobleman recruits a thuggish assistant to assist him in his nightly haunts. Our heroine (Arianda Welter) is revealed to be a stage performer, allowing for a couple production numbers to enliven the proceedings, and a pint-sized wax museum is introduced, complete with iron maiden, gallows and guillotine (all of which get worked into the action).

Santa Sangre (1989) (2nd viewing) d. Jodorowsky, Alejandro (Mexico) 123min
One of the finest combinations of horror movie and art-house film, with every inch of screen filled with stunning, original imagery. Though it consciously borrows from the Psycho playbook, it does so with such vibrant uniqueness of vision that we never condemn the appropriation, but celebrate it. Wonderful, theatrical characters populate an operatic world, with circus performers sharing time with residents from high and low society. Unlike anything else you’ve experienced, possessing heart, mind, blood and soul. A must-see.

First Time Views: 7
Repeats: 6
Total Films: 13

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