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Cinematic Shocks 12th October 2017 03:03 PM

DAY 12:

Return of the Living Dead III (1993)

***1/2 out of *****

Demdike@Cult Labs 12th October 2017 05:26 PM

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October 11th

Happy Hell Night (1992)

A fairly dismal slasher with a bloke with a Nosferatu fetish who wisecracks ala Krueger, and skulks about in the darkness. Maybe i was just tired but i found this yet again uninvolving and lacking tension.

Night of the Demon (1957)

Uninvolving is not a word i can use to describe the superb supernatural horror thriller Night of the Demon. Jacques Tourneur's film is full of suspense and is a fine re-imagining of MR James Casting the Runes. Strong performances, especially from Niall MacGinnis and Dana Andrews and a terrific demon (Even if it was unwanted by Tourneur), ensure this will always be an Occult classic.

trebor8273 12th October 2017 08:15 PM


The original and still the best along with New Nightmare for me, still chilling and Freddy is menacing and far from the pantomime villian he becomes in the later films. 9/10


A true classic the expertly builds up the tension to a terrifying battle between good and evil. It's a film I will never grow bored of and always seem to find something new each time in watch it, the first time I saw the demon face it really unnerved me. 10/10

BAKA 13th October 2017 01:36 PM

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[05] Scream
Undoubtedly the few who track down this obscurity will have been motivated to by the striking cover art, it feels iconic, a reminder of the glory days of the VHS store. Spurred into picking a film up purely by the arresting cover art, and finding the quality of the film rarely correlates, nowhere near as elaborate or stunning. Those who picked up Scream will certainly know this experience very well. Annoyingly all the pieces are there, the setting is stark and desolate, a disused, run-down husk of a town ripped straight out of an old western, shadowy, foreboding wooden structures. Bizarrely the murders largely take place off screen, making the film feel neutered from its potential. There’s a meandering pace, with no effort made to characterise or build the viewer’s relationship with any of the characters. The opening and closing with the papier-mâché figures is inexplicably eerie, but the back-story relating to the ship doesn’t entirely mesh with the setting, feeling retrofitted. Most will have given up paying attention by the time we’re finally given some form of contextual narrative.

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[06] Lost After Dark
Lost After Dark is an ‘80s set slasher with a faux Grindhouse aesthetic, replete with missing reel, a nuisance to viewers since inception. A Fulci-like eyeball sequence in the following scene redeems for the lack of a pay off and hoodwinking of the viewer. Mostly the aesthetic is played for laughs, an overly tight fitting Afro wig in particular, and the film throws out the occasional witty one-liner (‘Too much teeth?’). There’s a parade of clichéd characters from different social circles all banded together, without any believable narrative to bring them together, all fodder for a cannibal killer that resembles a vagrant Rob Zombie. The lengths one character goes to, to remain hidden from the killer is surprisingly dark, a moral decline that isn’t entirely fitting with the tone of the rest of the film, but a welcome one which breaks the safe succession of tropes leading into the final act. The kills are sporadically effective, and I found Lost After Dark hard not to enjoy, despite the many flaws.

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[07] Discopath
Duane Lewis, due to a childhood trauma that is hilariously relayed in flashback, finds himself propelled to slaughter at the sounds of disco. Providing the psychopath with a unique psychosis, the concept is oft-kilter, a novel spin on the typical mundane formula, one that also provides an excuse for a killer disco soundtrack. The murderous set-pieces are striking, one involving a victim underneath a clear Perspex dance floor whilst everyone above is dancing in particular is an arresting visual, another has the killer impaling shards of vinyl records into their victim in a grisly scene reminiscent of ‘70s exploitation fare, but there simply aren’t enough of them. The film has a laborious pace at times, languishing in its own aesthetic, placing an emphasis on style rather than creating a pacey experience for the viewer. The film is hugely funny, the shot of the killer looking back at the police in a nun’s habit in particular is comical, but in execution Discopath is never as awesome as its core concept.

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[08] Train To Busan
Modern Korean cinema is adept at blending genres, blurring the lines to create something that feels fresh but also satisfyingly familiar. We’re beyond the point of over-saturation when it comes to zombies, infections and outbreaks, that the why and how have become meaningless stumbling blocks to the action, but the action has become as stale as the lumbering carcasses of the dead. Yeon Sang-Ho’s Train to Busan feels a little old fashioned, once again imbuing the social and political awareness that charged Romero’s original trilogy of Dead films. Placing an emphasis on a flawed and eclectic cast of characters, all ably developed, providing the film with heart, and allowing it to resonate with the audience. The zombies feel a periphery to the action, set at a breakneck speed. Yeon Sang-Ho’s direction capably moves from tense, to poignant, establishing tone, often contrasting, the clinical cleanness of the train and station with the dark sinewy contamination, layering the experience.

Slightly behind in posting these, and I need to catch up on what you've all been watching. Hopefully over the weekend.

Justin101 13th October 2017 04:21 PM

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Happy Friday 13th. I’ll be joining Jason for a dip later!

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Demdike@Cult Labs 13th October 2017 05:01 PM

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October 12th

Isle of the Dead (1945)

Karloff plays a general during the Balkan war in the year 1912, trapped on a small island with a disparate group of visitors as plague breaks out. However it's not long before the superstitious locals deem it the work of the Vorvolaka - an undead vampiric creature from Greek mythology.

Whilst not the most exciting of Val Lewton's productions, it is quite a slow film and in truth aside from people succumbing to the plague, not a lot actually happens, but it's still interesting and magnificently atmospheric and of course Boris Karloff is wonderful.

Bedlam (1946)

Karloff returns with producer Lewton and director Mark Robson in this film telling of the downfall of the sadistic governor of St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum, a fictionalized version of Bethlehem Royal Hospital, also known as Bedlam.

Based on Hogath's painting A Rake's Progress which depicted goings on in Bedlam, this is one of Lewton's very best productions. Karloff's governor is similar in ways to his portrayal of the ruthless Grey in 45's The Body Snatcher - seemingly kind to those not in the know, but terrifying to those who cross him - as happens to lovely Anna Lee as she tries to put a stop to Karloff's macabre practices with the inmates of Bedlam and unwittingly is incarcerated herself.

Bedlam is a grim film even now. Some scenes are still truly disturbing, but thankfully Lee, whose not in the least bit insane, begins to pull the strings with the other inmates. The final scenes of the film are powerfully done and have echoes of Poe at times. Unlike most of Lewton's productions there are no unseen forces at work, the monsters are there for all to see in the case of Karloff, whilst much of the horror comes from his actions and the depiction of life inside London's most notorious of asylums rather than the power of suggestion.

Bedlam, over the years, has become one of my top three Val Lewton productions.

Highly recommended.

Deadite 13th October 2017 05:49 PM


Originally Posted by Demdike@Cult Labs (Post 554121)
Night of the Demon (1957)

Uninvolving is not a word i can use to describe the superb supernatural horror thriller Night of the Demon. Jacques Tourneur's film is full of suspense and is a fine re-imagining of MR James Casting the Runes. Strong performances, especially from Niall MacGinnis and Dana Andrews and a terrific demon (Even if it was unwanted by Tourneur), ensure this will always be an Occult classic.

One of the true greats. One of my all-time, i reckon.

Also gave us Mr. Barraclough being sampled into Kate Bush's Hounds of Love. "It's in the trees. It's coming!"

trebor8273 13th October 2017 05:53 PM

Two tonight I've not seen before

Oily manaic
My bloody valentine.

Inspector Abberline 13th October 2017 06:53 PM

The Mummy's Hand,(1940)
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The Mummy's Hand,(1940)....:mummy:

Abbott and Costello,er I mean Steve Banning (Dick Foran) and Babe Jenson (Wallace Ford) are a couple of guys,obviously,but Steve is an archaeologist who manages to get Cecil Kellaway as The Great Solvani to sponsor there next dig to find Princess Ananka's tomb..Keeping a beady evil eye on all the proceedings is the shifty George Zucco as Professor Andoheb. Not as good as Karlof's The Mummy,there is still quite a bit of fun to be had,and i have to say Tom Tyler as Kharis looks pretty impressive in all his Mummy glory,and makes a great panto villain in this first of the Kharis movies,only to be replaced by Chaney Jnr in the sequels..(shame)..For all its short comings I thoroughly enjoyed this mummy flick and its looks crisp and clear on the blu ray.

Nosferatu@Cult Labs 13th October 2017 07:19 PM


Originally Posted by Demdike@Cult Labs (Post 554310)
October 12th

Isle of the Dead (1945)

Bedlam (1946)


All top notch films, which I think I watched earlier this year and very much enjoyed.

These are the films I've seen over the past week:

STITCH FACE (2014) – Two grieving parents are struggling to cope with life without their young daughter, so go into the desert with friends and try something ritualistic to help her rest, and ease their depression. Unfortunately, this seems to conjure up demonic forces and the adults develop horrendous wounds which are even worse when they are inexplicably and painfully repaired with gruesome stitches.

THE WATERMEN (2011) – A trio of girls head into the middle of the Atlantic with a wealthy playboy Amanda and end up fighting for their lives with sadistic fishermen (the titular watermen). Some of this is ridiculously stupid, befitting a film with Jason Mewes in a major role, and some of it is actually quite tense. It's nothing special, but I can see myself watching it again next October.

KNOCK KNOCK (2008) – Members of a high school football team are brutally killed by someone in a mask leaving the message 'knock knock'; the police are useless, but some old man who enjoys whiskey and his own company is clearly the key to solving the puzzle. This is just about watchable with a fascinating appearance by Lou Ferrigno. It's nasty, but not as nasty as it should be, nor as sleazy or original.

RESURRECTION COUNTY (2008) – A group of twentysomethings travel through the titular locale into Enoch, a remote town. There, shit gets nasty and it is surprisingly downbeat. I guess this was riding the very end of the 'torture porn' wave because there is a lot of attention paid to brutalising and killing people who are lucky if they are two-dimensional, but by the ending I was surprised at how much I was rooting for them!

LOVE OBJECT (2003) – Kenneth, a socially inept office worker, finds out about somewhere that will make a lifelike love doll, so he contacts them and has one made and delivered to his apartment. Unfortunately, Udo Kier is the building manager, and anyone who knows anything goes nothing goes well when Udo Kier is around. In this case, the doll (which he names Nikki) seemingly becomes sentient, sending him to work with bondage straps on his wrists and the two have blazing arguments. After that, things get even worse when he begins a relationship with a co-worker, Lisa, who Kenneth encourages to dress and style her hair to resemble Nikki, finds out about her latex lookalike.

SATAN'S LITTLE HELPER (2004) – A nine-year-old boy, Dougie, who is addicted to the titular video game, strikes up an unlikely friendship with someone he finds dragging a body around in town, thinking it is the incarnation of the main character in his favourite video game. There is a weird dynamic at play because Dougie is naïvely complicit in gruesome murders, which he thinks are fictional, so this seems to be trying to comment on the age of criminal responsibility, but I didn't watch it for social commentary. This could be why I enjoyed it because of the twisted relationship between a young boy and a shape shifting Demon.

MONSTER MAN (2004) – This felt like something which was an inspiration on the (superior) Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010) with its mix of buddy comedy and extreme violence. The main male characters are an unlikely pairing of Adam, a shy virgin who wants to crash his ex-girlfriend's wedding so we can tell where he still loves her, and the extremely antisocial and insensitive Harley, who just likes annoying people. This kind of works and I liked Adam a lot more than I thought I would at the beginning, and Harley became less annoying as it went on. That was one bonus and the other was the Duel-inspired killer monster truck.

THE SLEEPER (2012) – I'm not sure whether this is supposed to be a homage/pastiche, the fact it's set in a sorority in 1981 with a killer targeting the sorority girls, means it has more than passing similarities to Black Christmas, A Stranger Calls, Halloween, and Scream. As such, most of it is devoid of tension because it is simply recycling plot devices from other, better, films.

THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (1983) – The only film mentioned here which was not bought for £1 from Music Magpie and one which, despite having owned it for about a decade, I haven't seen in a very long time. This is a shame, because it is a very neatly constructed and influential piece of cinema, drawing on films like Les Diaboliques, Black Christmas and even The Exorcist (watch how the scene with Katherine exploring by candlelight echoes Chris McNeil in the attic). It's something which I watched with fairly low expectations, which it easily surpassed and has been given an excellent release from 88 Films, looking and sounding better than I expected and with an informative commentary by The Hysteria Continues, which I'm enjoying right now.

I should really make this a case of 'little and often' and not let them build up to when I have I'm taking a break from the new work. That will be a lesson for the weekend and beyond.

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