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Old 12th December 2019, 03:14 PM
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Frankie Teardrop Frankie Teardrop is offline
Cultist on the Rampage
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Leeds, UK

KILLER CROCODILE – Another late-in-the-day Italian exploitation entry, this ventures into swampy ‘Jaws’ rip off territory with Fabrizio D’Angelis at the helm and Gianetto De Rossi in the make-up chair. It’s all as mechanistic as might be expected, but also lots of fun if, like me, you find incompetent acting and an overall sense of plastic unreality intoxicating. As always with this kind of thing, it’s the little eccentricities that add sparkle, like the the slo-mo flying ranger’s hat moment near the end… I guess you had to be there. If that doesn’t float your boat, there’s a bit of gore and some nice monster fx.

THE CHILL FACTOR – This seems to have met with a decidedly underwhelmed response from those who’ve picked it up via Arrow’s recent attempt at canonisation. I jest re the latter of course, it’s nice that they’re still dishing out the obscurities. This one certainly is (obscure). It’s an early nineties horror flick about some snowmobilers who end up stranded in a shack or a church with some kind of dark ritualistic past. Many have dissed it for being boring, and it is a bit; there’s a by-the-numbers aspect, as well as a healthy dose of non-event in places. But give it a chance – if you’re into a murky, at times surreal atmosphere you’ll find that here, as well as occasional flashes of inspired imagery and a general sense of “Uh… that’s odd” – the enigmatic voiceover, for a start. I actually really quite liked this strange, awkward film.

UPGRADE – One that many seem to have raved about, ‘Upgrade’ appears to promise a return to the kind of low budget sci-fi-action-horror template beloved of fans of, well, the obvious examples, ‘Terminator’ etc. It has a lot in its favour – a nice look, lush visuals, a general feel that transcends its means. It also seems unafraid of pushing stilted performances along with the old ultraviolence and the cyborgy thematics. I thought it was good, but not great. The idea of being gradually colonised by a prosthetic self was probably the stronger but relatively unexplored aspect of a film that was more content to pander with lavish gore moments (not all that many, even) and a retro vibe.

SEE NO EVIL – From Richard Fleischer, around the time of his seventies directorial heyday (’10 Rillington Place’ et al). It has Mia Farrow as a blind woman being terrorised by an unseen creepo on a large country estate. If you were in that situation, would you want Boon to come to your rescue? It doesn’t quite pan out like that, but almost. A good film from when British horror was shaking off its gothic mantle, although I guess it’s more like a thriller really, if genre matters. Whatever, there’s a nice spooky atmosphere at work – it’s those boots, the way they move. What does it take to make boots look evil? That’s the mark of a cinematic genius. I also like how they make a small-town British high street temporarily look a bit like Times Square at night during the opening credits.

THE VINEYARD – Yeah, I’ve seen this a few times over the years, weirdly. I tend not to watch many movies more than once or twice, particularly stuff like ‘The Vineyard’, which seems tailor-made to blink once in the flotsam of the mind, then disappear for ever. And yet here we are, for the third or fourth time. I’m quite glad though, cos I don’t think the true lunacy of ‘The Vineyard’ was ever as clear to me before I slipped in the new VS incarnation, which showcases so many eighties moments of rancid cheese to HD perfection. This particular brand of cheese seems to have developed a mould-based delirium-inducing toxin that, once consumed, will expand neither the mind nor the soul, but will during rare moments of lucidity make you question why there’s this sorcerer dude with a vineyard, a cellar full of chained-up underwear models, and a garden full of zombies who kind of flounce around looking not very arsed. That’s pretty much ‘The Vineyard’, sequence after sequence of what I’ve just described in every conceivable permutation. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe that’s a bad thing. How can we ever really know for sure?
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