Thursday, October 29, 2015


Challenge Totals to Date:

Movies Watched: 4
Total Movies Watched: 89
Total First Time Views: 34
Scare-A-Thon Donations: $2518.70

Remember, if you would like to make a pledge toward Scare-A-Thon 2015 (benefiting PLANNED PARENTHOOD and GREENHOUSE SHELTER) at any time, drop me an email at to say how much you would like to pledge. Your donation is tax deductible and, seriously, even a penny per film helps.

Who Can Kill a Child? (aka Island of the Damned) (1976) d. Serrador, Narciso Ibáñez (Spain) (2nd viewing) 112 min

When a couple of English tourists (Lewis Fiander, Prunella Ransome) arrive on an isolated Spanish island, they begin to discover the mutilated corpses of adults and soon realize the shocking truth: the innocent-looking youngsters have massacred their elders, exploiting the grownups’ reluctance to defend themselves against the children. Serrador, like his dark and chilling La Residencia (aka The House that Screamed), mines a rich vein of taboo subject matter by making his antagonists the “untouchable” fresh-faced youth, while the film (based on Juan Jose Plans’ novel, El Juego) also pays homage to such obvious influences as Village of the Damned and strangely enough, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, with the island village’s tykes standing in for the aviary assailants. With sparse dialogue, oft-blinding outdoor daylight settings, dread-filled atmosphere and downbeat ending, Child is an unusual, provocative and extremely well made picture that provides a welcome change of pace from well-worn genre conventions.

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) d. Weir, Peter (Australia) (2nd viewing) 115 min

I need fancier words to describe this uniquely disturbing art-house mystery from Down Under about four missing schoolgirls than I’m capable of conjuring at the moment, so consider this a placeholder review. Bottom line, I loved it just as much as I did before and not sure why it took me 10 years to get back to it.

Wolf Creek (2005) d. McLean, Greg (Australia) (3rd viewing) 104 min

The appearance of a young, studly John Jarratt in Picnic at Hanging Rock sparked my interest in revisiting this nasty and supremely well executed slice of suspense and pain, based on the notorious “backpacker murders” a few decades ago. Suffice to say, JJ is not looking as young and studly 30 years on, but he is no less compelling a screen presence. Again, this flick deserves better than I’m able to deliver at this moment, so this is another placeholder review as I head down the final stretch.

The Beyond (1981) d. Fulci, Lucio (Italy) (3rd viewing) 88 min

Considered by many to be the Italian splatter master's masterpiece, this is an eye-popping good time for those who like their gore dripping and their storylines incoherent. As near as can be determined, the film revolves around an old hotel in New Orleans that has in its basement one of “the seven doors of evil,” which gets subsequently opened by a troubleshooting plumber. (Wouldn’t you think it would be harder than that? Guess not.) That’s all the excuse that Fulci needs to open his arsenal and soon, corpses are rising from the dead, eyeballs are pushed, prodded, and poked out of their sockets, faces are melted with acid, and other gross-out showcases for effects man extraordinaire Giannetto De Rossi. In one of the most audacious set pieces, a nest of tarantulas make a slow and deliberate feast of an unconscious victim (complete with grimace-inducing munching and crunching noises on the soundtrack). While the narrative is nearly incomprehensible, there is plenty of imaginative camerawork and art direction amid the mayhem, creating an unsettling mood (as if those spiders weren’t unsettling enough). Filled with numerous memorable scenes, including a knockout, dread-inducing closing moment.

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