Archive for the UK Category

Goregirl’s Dungeon on YouTube: John Cameron Psychomania Title Sequence

Posted in Goregirl's Dungeon on YouTube, UK with tags , , , , on March 10, 2014 by goregirl

Music and images from PSYCHOMANIA aka The Death Wheelers (1973) directed by Don Sharp with music by John Cameron. Loving this soundtrack plus this movie is bloody fabulous fun!

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LISZTOMANIA (1973) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in movies, UK with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2013 by goregirl

lisztomaniaDirector Ken Russell throws everything but the kitchen sink into Lisztomania! It is a biography, comedy, musical, drama, war, horror, fantasy thing. Franz Liszt is a flamboyant womanizing rockstar-esque classical composer and his peer Richard Wagner is a Nazi vampire who uses his compositions for evil. Needless to say Russell takes liberties with the composers’ lives! By the way, the Pope is Ringo Starr. Strangely, Lisztomania is not nearly as well-known as Ken Russell’s Tommy which was made the same year and also stars Roger Daltrey. What a shame because Lisztomania is definitely the superior film. Was it because of the Nazis? Did the living relatives of Richard Wagner protest? In my opinion, Lisztomania is one of the 1970s greatest underappreciated gems!

lisztomania2Lisztomania opens with Franz Liszt caught in bed with the wife of a Count. The Count challenges Liszt to a duel but settles with sealing Liszt and his cheating wife inside a piano and places them on a railroad track before a train  approaches. The flash of a camera brings Liszt back to the present where he is about to perform a piece of music written by Richard Wagner. Liszt’s theatrics provoke his bonnet-wearing female audience to scream at him like a rockstar, and Liszt throws some chopsticks into the composition much to Wagner’s horror. During his performance he motions towards women in the audience to whom he would like to become acquainted. One of these women is Princess Carolyn. There will be more on her later.

lisztomania1There is a heavy emphasis on Franz Liszt’s relationship with Richard Wagner in Lisztomania. Liszt’s and Wagner’s first interaction in the film speaks volumes about the nature of their relationship. While Wagner has been participating in an uprising Liszt has been locked away composing music. When Wagner reappears he is a wanted criminal asking Liszt for money. At this point we learn Wagner is a vampire. You read that right. Richard Wagner is a vampire. Richard Wagner is one character that will stay with me forever and ever! This is one of the most outrageous and hilarious fictional interpretations of a real person’s life I have ever seen! Wagner is not only a vampire composer of classical music but an embracer of Nazi propaganda, which he incorporates into his compositions. Wagner’s Nazi leanings have compelled him to use his music for evil. Wagner is also a mad scientist and is working on a creature that will rid the world of Jews! Paul Nicholas is the cat’s ass as Wagner! As much as I loved Wagner it is Liszt who gets most of the focus. It is hard not to admire Roger Daltrey’s enthusiastic performance as Franz Liszt; he is just perfect as the arrogant and showy composer. Recruiting a rockstar to play a classical “rockstar-like” composer was sort of a no-brainer really, but Daltrey is nonetheless an excellent choice.

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lisztomaniaLook at those mad set pieces in Liszt’s boudoir!! Garish and showy like the man himself. Have I mentioned that Liszt is married with three children?! Liszt…you are such a dog! All is not well with this marriage. Franz and Marie’s ensembles are as gaudy as their interior design. Franz’s robe coordinates with the room! Marie’s voluminous frilly bright pink dressing gown is like a moving gaping wound. The sets and costumes are superb throughout Lisztomania; colorful, creative, quirky, and often comical!

lisztomania3Princess Carolyn wastes no time seducing Liszt with a proposition! For control of Liszt’s life, Princess Carolyn will grant him the ability to compose brilliant music. Princess Carolyn is a cigar-smoking, humorless and intimidating woman with a magnificent wardrobe. In Liszt’s hallucination, the Princess appears to him as the Devil and oh what a truly magnificent outfit she wears for the occasion! Princess Carolyn completely dominates Liszt’s life but like everything else, it too shall pass.

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Lisztomania14lLiszt has a hallucination that he is being attacked by five of the Princess’ female attendants. But Liszt is able to tame the wild women with his music. They react so passionately to his music that it gives him an erection large enough for five women to ride like a carousel horse. They watch it grow and grow and grow and grow! I am not really a fan of musicals but I sure did enjoy this rousing crowd-pleasing number! It begins with a giant cock and ends with a guillotine. I am sure I would watch a lot more musicals if they incorporated giant cocks.

Lisztomania5Richard Wagner mad with power! Artist! Vampire! Villain! Nazi!

Lisztomania10Liszt decides to live his life as an abbot?! He is visited by the Pope who catches him in bed with a woman. The pope lays down the law; Liszt is to exorcise Wagner or he will be excommunicated and his music banned forever!!

lisztomania7Liszt arrives at Wagner’s castle where he lurks in the shadows observing a ritual where a man portraying a Jewish brute is seen raping and tossing women like rubbish.

Lisztomania8Wagner unveils his creation to Liszt. The Frankenstein-inspired Thor creature was concocted by Wagner to kill Jews. Unfortunately the creature does not react in a manner that suits Wagner so it is back to the table for Franken-Thor. The creature is played by Rick Wakeman of Yes, who also scored the film.

Lisztomania12Liszt’s eldest daughter Cosima is seduced by and marries Wagner. She fully embraces Wagner’s principles and together they lead an army of spirited children to world domination. “We will be the master race!” The children march in Superman like costumes that boast “W” in Wagner’s honor. “The flowering youth of Germany was raped by the beast!” Cosima’s Nazi leanings and her hatred for her father makes her Wagner’s perfect ally.

Lisztomania4Nazi Franken-Wagner rises to kill the Jews!

lisztomania14Cosima leads Nazi Franken-Wagner through Berlin with an electric guitar machine gun!

Lisztomania11No detail is spared…look at the work on that electric guitar machine gun!

lisztomania2I don’t want to spoil the whole damn movie for you but the finale is as wonderfully cuckoo as the rest of the film! “Peace at last!”

Lisztomania is truly one of a kind! It is cheeky, clever and funny as hell! I laughed heartily and often throughout. The film is perfectly cast and the performances are top-notch by all. The music is an interesting mix of rock and classical with a score from Rick Wakeman of Yes and lyrics written by Ken Russell and Roger Daltrey. The sets and costumes are astounding. The story while clearly a loose biography does actually draw from some non-fictional sources including Marie d’Agoult’s book Nélida. And Lisztomania is a term accredited to Heinrich Heine who used it to describe the response to Liszt’s actual performances. Lisztomania has been one of my favourite film experiences of the year and makes me excited to check out more of Ken Russell’s work! My highest of recommendations with whip cream and a cherry on top…a perfect score!

***Thanks for another fan-fucking-tastic recommendation Mr. Arrate!***

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Ken Russell

Starring: Roger Daltrey, Sara Kestelman, Paul Nicholas, Ringo Starr, Rick Wakeman, John Justin, Fiona Lewis, Veronica Quilligan, Nell Campbell, Andrew Reilly, David English, Imogen Claire

EVENT HORIZON (1997) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, UK, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2013 by goregirl

Event Horizon is directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, not to be confused with the immensely talented Paul Thomas Anderson. You know the expression less is more? Mr. W.S. Anderson believes more is more and that is clear from his output. His titles are an exercise in overindulgence; Mortal Kombat, AVP: Alien vs. Predator, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Resident Evil: Retribution and The Three Musketeers are really all just mucky-muck if you ask me. More is often too much in my opinion. Long and short, I am not much of a fan of Paul W.S. Anderson’s work. I guess that is part of the reason I haven’t bothered to revisit Event Horizon. Event Horizon is a film I have not watched since it came out in theatres. It had two things working in its favor for a re-watch; Sam Neill going mad and it came highly recommended from a trustworthy source. Neill going mad is a fecking treat! Neill in Possession, Neill In the Mouth of Madness and Neill in Event Horizon is the perfect trilogy of insanity. I am happy to say that Event Horizon ended up being a nice surprise and well worth the re-visit! My awesome video store had the special collector’s edition which had an entire disc of special features. The special features are quite extensive! It includes a full on documentary on the making of Event Horizon, storyboards for a scene that was never filmed, and lots of stuff about the special effects (which I always enjoy!). There was a bunch of other stuff I didn’t write down too! It is a must have if you are a fan of the film. Event Horizon is an intense sci-fi horror gem that is a hell of a lot of fun!

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Event Horizon opens with the following text:

2015
First permanent colony established on moon.

2032
Commerical mining begins on Mars.

2040
Deep space research vessel ‘Event Horizon’ launched to explore boundaries of solar system. She disappeared without trace beyond the eighth planet Neptune. It is worst space disaster on record.

2047
Now…

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The camera gives us some impressive shots of a spaceship and we travel inside to see various personal effects floating through a tunnel. We see a man looking badly mutilated screaming in terror and/or pain. We meet Dr. William Weir as he is waking up from a nightmare. In this short scene we learn Dr. Weir is apart from a wife he misses. And more text…

Daylight station low earth orbit.

U.S.A.C. Vessel: Lewis & Clark
Category: Search and rescue
Mission: Top Secret

U.S.A.C. Lewis & Clark: 56 Days out

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Was Dr. Weir affected by the Event Horizon before he boarded it with the crew of the Lewis & Clark? If anyone would be, I suppose it would be him being he was the person who built the ship. Dr. Weir debriefs the crew of the Lewis & Clark on the original mission of the Event Horizon. The mission of the experiment was to beat the speed of light, or at least cheat it a little. Dr. Weir makes folding space in half sound completely plausible. You are messing with some crazy shit Dr. Weir! One of the details that makes Event Horizon stand out is it is a horror film that takes place is space and there is not an alien in sight! It is a pretty wacky premise though. The ship travelled to hell and came back possessed. There have been possessed houses, possessed cars, possessed boats, possessed hotels and plenty of possessed people. Why not a possessed space vessel? It knows what you fear and uses it. It knows your secrets and materializes them. It is in your head and all around you and you can not escape. You are in freaking space!

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In the more is more category Anderson includes too many scenes of people making it through doors in the nick of time. Three come to mind instantly but there were at least one or two more. One is fun, two is acceptable, three or anything more is hokey and redundant! Worry not, there is a ton of action in Event Horizon and this was a minor blip in the overall scheme of things. The effects are great and the sets are massive and very impressive. Even though the vessel itself is a massive structure there is a claustrophobic feel to the action. There is a great intensity that builds steadily throughout the film. The ending wasn’t exactly a shocker but it was not unsatisfying. There were some very impressive sets created for Event Horizon. Amazing models and effects too. There is some computer graphics but most of the effects are of the practical variety. If you watch the features you will get an idea of just how labor intensive some of the effects actually were.

A lot of people die and pretty gruesomely too. The goriest bits are the flashes of hell and the log from the former crew of the Event Horizon. The flashes of hell are shot in rapid fire providing a rather jarring effect. Some of the shots from hell feature models that are inspired by H.R. Giger. I think they have captured that Giger vibe pretty damn well! The playback on the Event Horizon log is also seen only in flashes but the crew are literally tearing each other apart. Imagine being one of the crew of the Lewis & Clark watching this recording?! These are great well executed scenes. The getup sported by Dr. Weir towards the film’s finale is particularly nifty. According to the DVDs special features it took a few hours to apply. Event Horizon is heavy on the visuals and very slick looking but it is not the only thing Event Horizon has going for it.

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The crew of the Lewis & Clark had great chemistry. Captain Miller played by Laurence Fishburn is the stalwartly captain; respected and liked by his crew. I am in the camp that finds Fishburn a welcome edition to any film; the man has presence. While Dr. Weir is the exception to the chemistry rule (his role is the maligned outsider), Sam Neill is a great actor who always brings his A-game and has a wide range. Neill is particularly great when he is playing characters that are going mad. Joely Richardson who plays Lieutenant Starck doesn’t get much focus in the first half of the film, but she is likable enough; and she sure does get tossed around like a football in the finale! Handsome Sean Pertwee plays the ship’s pilot Smith; an outspoken, sarcastic but not unlikable bloke. Engineer Justin is the young one of the group who is nicknamed baby bear. Jack Noseworthy does a great “I just seen Hell” face! Justin is a great character you have empathy for. Another high in the empathy category is med tech Peters played by Kathleen Quinlan. The ship uses her young son to manipulate her and bring about her demise. Doctor D.J. played by Jason Isaacs is the serious one of the group. He is quiet and intense; I figured him for being an easy target for manipulation. Finally we have Rescue Tech Cooper played by Richard T. Jones. He was one smart, spunky and durable bastard! He is in a particularly outrageous scenario that I must admit was pretty damn funny. I don’t know that they needed to add comedy to this film, but I have to admit, I thought it worked. A great cast of interesting characters.

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Event Horizon is a visually appealing, well-acted, action-packed, creepy and intense sci-fi horror. Event Horizon comes highly recommended.

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson

Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee, Peter Marinker, Holley Chant, Barclay Wright, Noah Huntley

THE REFLECTING SKIN (1990) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in Canada, horror, movies, UK with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2012 by goregirl

I am officially neck-deep in the 90s! If I am going to be ready for my 90s feature in January it must be done! Surprisingly I haven’t run into one film I have hated yet; admittedly I am starting with films that actually appeal to me first. I will start wading through the dregs on the weekend. The Reflecting Skin is just teetering on the edge of horror. It certainly explores some horrifying ideas but it leans heavier towards the drama. The nightmare childhood of a boy living in a rural landscape during the 1950s is dark, depressing, strange and rather unique. Some minor spoilers ahead.

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Seth Dove is a nine year old boy living in a small rural community in the 1950s. His browbeaten father Luke runs a small gas station on their property and barely speaks. His angry, depressed and abusive mother Ruth despises the smell of gasoline and spends considerable time berating her husband about it. His brother Cameron has been away at war on “the pretty islands” as Seth’s mother likes to call them, and will soon be coming home. Seth spends his days hanging out with his two friends lingering about the endless fields. The trio pull a cruel prank on Seth’s widow neighbour Dolphin Blue; when his mother catches wind of it, she forces Seth to go apologize to the woman. His father’s affection for pulp fiction puts the idea in Seth’s head that Dolphin is a vampire. This is followed by the disappearance of one of Seth’s chums and a dark family secret is revealed which results in tragedy. His brother arrives soon after and meets and falls in love with Dolphin to Seth’s dismay. Meanwhile a black Cadillac full of murdering perverts are driving around the small town.

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The Reflecting Skin’s endless fields and massive sky add nicely to the film’s feeling of desolation. The Reflecting Skin is a UK film about American’s that was filmed in Alberta Canada. If they really wanted desolation they should have filmed in Saskatchewan. Having driven across Canada twice now I don’t think there is a duller stretch of driving than the great flat plains of Saskatchewan. In any case, the film really is beautiful and well made and its excellent score hits all the right notes.

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There are some very strange trippy snippets that give The Reflecting Skin a dream like feel. There are weirdly random moments like Seth walking past two women chirping carrying a dead bird. Seth seems to immerse himself more deeply in fantasy as the film wears on. I won’t explain the hows and whys but a dead fetus becomes Seth’s confidant. There isn’t much in the way of graphic violence but what they include is very effective and at times disturbing. I really do not care for animal violence and The Reflecting Skin opens with a pretty nasty frog death. I don’t want to give away all the secrets but there is a suicide in the film that is just brutal! It is still hovering in my mind days after watching it. The Reflecting Skin has a very relaxed pace and leisurely unleashes a series of vignettes; one more bleak than the other. I found The Reflecting Skin’s mix of strange, melancholy and ugliness compelling.

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The Reflecting Skin is very dark and is one of the dreariest films I have seen in a while. It is so terribly hopeless and full of characters you would hardly call likable. Seth is an abused child and I had empathy for him, but it wasn’t always easy. Seth is cruel, destructive and frustrating at various points in the story. Seth is only nine years old and by the end of the film he sees more trauma than most people see in a lifetime. Cameron Dove has just returned from his station in Japan and carries with him a picture of a Japanese baby. Due to fallout from the bombings the baby’s skin took on a reflective quality hence the film’s title. It is clear that the experience has affected Cameron both mentally and psychically. Seth’s mother Ruth is an intimidating, frightening and intense woman. The dark family secret she carries with her is no doubt a significant contributor to her bitterness. Seth’s father Luke is a sad man who tries desperately to lose himself in pulp fiction; much like Seth, fantasy is more comforting to him than reality. It can be said that he is also an abused member of this household. There is an eccentric sheriff called Ticker with a Prosthetic hand, a chewed up ear and one eye. Sheriff Ticker’s injuries are on account of animal attacks; the drawback of being the Sheriff of a tiny town where not much happens. Sheriff Ticker finally gets himself a body count and he is going to solve these crimes gosh darn it!

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I found The Reflecting Skin a hypnotic watch and its slow grind added to that vibe. The Reflecting Skin was a fascination and its perfect slap you in the face finale could not have been better. Be warned that The Reflecting Skin is not exactly a horror film, or at least it is very thin on horror elements and high on drama. I have no idea how this film escaped my radar for so many years! The Reflecting Skin is a beautifully filmed, unique, powerful, strange, sad, hopeless, merciless, ugly slow grind and comes highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Philip Ridley

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Lindsay Duncan, Jeremy Cooper, Sheila Moore, Duncan Fraser, David Longworth, Robert Koons, David Bloom, Evan Hall, Codie Lucas Wilbee, Sherry Bie, Jason Wolff

Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee?

Posted in horror, movies, UK with tags , on November 14, 2012 by goregirl

Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee have appeared in twenty-three full-length feature films together; Hamlet (1948), Moulin Rouge (1952), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula (1958), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), The Mummy (1959), The Devil’s Agent (1962), The Gorgon (1964), The Skull (1965), Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), She (1965), Night of the Big Heat (1967), Scream and Scream Again (1970), One More Time (1970), The House That Dripped Blood (1971), I, Monster (1971),The Trans-Siberian Train (1972), Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973),  The Creeping Flesh (1973),  Nothing But the Night (1973), Arabian Adventure (1979), House of the Long Shadows (1983).

Christopher Lee said of his friend Peter Cushing who died in 1994 at the age of 81; “I don’t want to sound gloomy, but, at some point of your lives, every one of you will notice that you have in your life one person, one friend whom you love and care for very much. That person is so close to you that you are able to share some things only with him. For example, you can call that friend, and from the very first maniacal laugh or some other joke you will know who is at the other end of that line. We used to do that with him so often. And then when that person is gone, there will be nothing like that in your life ever again”. (Quote borrowed from the Peter Cushing Wikipedia page).

Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are without a doubt one of horror’s greatest classic pairings! Is it fair to ask which of these two wonderful talented actors are your favourite? Probably not, but here it is anyway…Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee?

***Tomorrow I will be posting my TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films from 1964!***