Archive for curt lowens

NECRONOMICON (1993) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2012 by goregirl

Hey! Hey! It’s another 90s film! You can expect a couple more before the month ends! How wrong could you go with an anthology based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft (loosely based as it might be) with Brian Yuzna directing a segment and the wraparound story and the great Jeffrey Combs playing Mr. Lovecraft? There was definitely potential for awesomeness! Well, awesome it is not, but it does have some admirable qualities. Necronomicon is three stories with three different directors. The story that connects the trilogy sees H.P. Lovecraft finding the Necronomicon and reading three of its gnarly tales. Warning SPOILERS ahead.

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The Drowned

The Drowned is directed by Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf, Silent Hill) and is quite impressive visually. A dilapidated old mansion is the setting for this story. Edward de Lapoer has inherited the old mansion and finds the diary of his relative that tells of how he resurrected his dead wife and son. This great opening flashback scene was promising but the rest of the film that focuses on Edward was rather tiresome. The Drowned really does lose its mojo something awful once its story returns to the present which makes up half of its runtime. Edward immediately seeks out the Necronomicon which is hiding behind a portrait and bad things happen. What saved The Drowned from being a complete wash were some pretty damn nifty creature effects. It has an awesome Cthulhu-esque sea creature thing that makes an appearance in the finale. The Drowned was definitely my least favourite of the trio but it was not without a few highlights.

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The Cold

The Cold is directed by Shûsuke Kaneko (Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Crossfire, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack) and has the most cohesive story of the three. I enjoyed this tale despite its rather obvious final twist. A reporter is sent to the home of a woman they believe is connected to several murders. The woman tells the reporter how she came to be in the former home of Dr. Madden. The story she relays is that of her mother Emily and how she came to meet and fall in love with the doctor who learned the secret of eternal life. I wasn’t super crazy about the Emily Character played by Bess Meyer but Dr. Madden played by the talented David Warner was a real highlight. I didn’t think Warner and Meyer had any chemistry and I found it hard to buy that Madden would fall for this woman. There isn’t much in the way of special effects in this segment; what little is included didn’t look too bad though. The Cold is flawed, but I enjoyed the story and Warner enough to say I found it fairly entertaining.

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Whispers

Whispers is directed by Brian Yuzna (Society, Bride of Re-Animator, The Dentist, Progeny, Return of the Living Dead III) and was my favourite of the three. It is definitely light on story but the visuals are something else! A pregnant cop named Sarah and her partner/lover Paul are in a car accident and Paul is pulled out of the vehicle and dragged away. Sarah frees herself and pursues the man they call The Butcher. This is definitely the nastiest and goriest of the segments. There are some really neato effects and creatures in this one. The building and its many room, halls and hidden passages are properly spooky and creepy. Nothing beats the cave scene with Sarah’s discovery of Paul and the ugly flying beasts! Oh and what a properly wonderful grim ending! Despite a flimsy story Whispers is a helluva lot of fun to watch!

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Necronomicon ends with the H.P. Lovecraft connecting story. The finale did feel a bit rushed and I think they re-used the monster from the first segment, but it is energetic and Yuzna throws in some funky looking effects and a pretty cool creature! Jeffrey Combs is always some fun ain’t he?

Necronomicon

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Necronomicon is flawed all over the place but definitely has its share of memorable moments. Most anthologies have a weak link and that is certainly the case with Necronomicon’s first story The Drowned. Each of the films, even The Drowned has at least a little something to offer although I can not say any of these stories blew me away. As is the case with most Lovecraft adaptations I’ve seen they take plenty of liberties with the material and a limited budget prevents it from meeting the sheer spectacularness of Lovecraft’s written word. That said there are certainly a few Lovecraft adaptations that kick some rather serious ass; I would not call Necronomicon one of them. My feelings about Necronomicon overall are a bit lukewarm, but it is not a bad way to spend 90ish minutes. Lightly recommended.

Dungeon Rating: 3/5

Directed By: Christophe Gans, Shûsuke Kaneko, Brian Yuzna

Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Tony Azito, Juan Fernández, Brian Yuzna, Bruce Payne, Belinda Bauer, Richard Lynch, Maria Ford, Peter Jasienski, Denice D. Lewis, William Jess Russell, Vladimir Kulich, David Warner, Bess Meyer, Millie Perkins, Dennis Christopher, Gary Graham, Curt Lowens, James Paradise, Sebastian White, Signy Coleman, Obba Babatundé, Don Calfa, Judith Drake

Goregirl’s Werewolf Project: WEREWOLF IN A GIRL’S DORMITORY (1961)

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2012 by goregirl

I don’t know how many Italian werewolf films exist but I was able to find just two feature length titles. Werewolf Woman (1976) and Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory (1961). Please leave a comment if you are aware of any other Italian werewolf films other than the two mentioned. I will build a shrine in your honour! Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory was not top ten material but it does have red herrings, a black-gloved killer, and attractive women; all those things you watch Italian horror for! Plus, it has the added bonus of a werewolf!

Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory opens with the arrival of Dr. Julian Olcott; a new professor with a dark past. A student named Mary pretends to faint and is taken to the infirmary. Later that evening Mary sneaks out to meet with a former lover. It turns out her former lover; Sir Alfred Whiteman is a teacher at the school. Mary is blackmailing the teacher, threatening to expose him with the love letters he wrote her. As Mary is walking through the woods to meet Alfred she is stopped by groundskeeper Walter who we learn is taking bribes to “turn his head”. Sir Alfred’s wife is well aware of her husband’s indiscretions; as is the school’s entire faculty. When Mary is found dead the next morning with claw marks on her face and her throat torn open everyone is a suspect.

Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory is a black and white film from 1961 so don’t expect nudity or gore. There is a grand total of five deaths and only one is courtesy of the titular werewolf. In a school full of juvenile delinquent girls, they could have knocked off at least a couple more! I didn’t find the sub-plot uninteresting but it focused too much on the non-werewolf aspects. It is called Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory after all!  While the werewolf kills just one person we do get two nice prolonged scenes of wolfy towards the end of the film. The werewolf visuals unfortunately were mediocre. The werewolf just is not furry enough. Wolves are furry. They do an okay job with the transformation, but like I said, more fur please. The version I watched was dubbed and did have a few instances of unintentionally funny dialog. Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory looked pretty good for a low budget effort. The night scenes were nice and clear and the school and the surrounding forest were great backdrops. Each death scene is unique and they are evenly spaced throughout the film; eliminating possible suspects along the way. You will probably figure out who the werewolf is before the reveal, but I still dug it. Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory is sort of a mashup of monster movie and giallo that I thought was pretty entertaining! Recommended with warning.

I almost forgot! Wait until you get a load of Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory’s theme song!