Archive for John Carpenter

Goregirl’s Dungeon on YouTube: Claudio Simonetti – 1997 Fuga Da New York

Posted in movies with tags , , , on August 20, 2013 by goregirl

Claudio Simonetti’s take on the theme for John Carpenter’s Escape From New York with images from the film.

Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1998

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2013 by goregirl

Just one more list after this one and this 90s horror feature is done like dinner!! I’ll be announcing the winner of the Criterion contest this Friday, March 1! Nothing new with 1998, lots of crap and a handful of gems. The top two films earned a 5/5, films three, four and five I rated 4/5, films six, seven, eight and nine are films I rated 3.5/5 and film number ten I rated 3/5. I also rated the following films 3/5; The Untold Story 2, Progeny, Night Time and The Wolves of Kromer.

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#10 SOMBRE
Directed By: Philippe Grandrieux

Sombre is definitely a somber affair. This slow-moving artful film has lovely looking and gritty visuals and at times is thoughtful and provocative. Marc Barbé and Elina Löwensohn both give great performances but I did long for more character introspection. On reading my May 2010 review I suspect I allowed myself to be affected by another’s influences. It seems like something I would normally be all over. Even what I can recall, it was still the strongest of the films I rated 3/5 from 1998. I need to revisit this one again soon. To read my 2010 review click here.

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#9 THE FACULTY
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

Films with covers like The Faculty scare the hell out of me. So many films I hate from the 90s and early 2000s featured covers with the faces of their 20-something cast strategically lined up. Quite a few of these god-awful abominations were on this 1998 list; Disturbing Behavior, Urban Legends, Phantoms, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. I hate those films so very very much! I was literally afraid to rent The Faculty when it showed up on the new release wall at my video store! The Faculty was an exception to the rule. While the film is not without its flaws it is actually a pretty fun movie. The students suspect their teachers might be aliens, and inevitably are correct. The teachers are as integral to the plot as the students and the cast largely speaking is pretty good. Action, laughs, a few surprises and it’s a high school flick where the adults get to have all the fun!

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#8 RAZOR BLADE SMILE
Directed By: Jake West

This trailer is a little on the “self-aware” side! Nonetheless this low budget effort is a lot of fun. Lilith Silver is a sexy black-clad assassin who also happens to be a vampire. She draws a lot of unwanted attention when she starts knocking off rich powerful business men. They do all sorts of neat original things in this vampire flick. Eating a woman out when she has her period?! Is that a little too graphic for ya’ll? Well, you have to admit that is something you don’t see too often; and frankly it makes sense that a vampire should enjoy that! In Razor Blade Smile gunfights, swordplay, sex and the obligatory stakes are all part of the fun in this violent, gory and humorous low budget effort from the UK.

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#7 GOODBYE 20th CENTURY
Directed By: Darko Mitrevski & Aleksandar Popovski

No trailer for this one I am afraid, and in fact this little bit of bizarreness does not appear to be available on DVD. Goodbye 20th Century is a Macedonian film. I don’t think I have ever seen a film from Macedonia other than this one. I watched this at a friend’s place who warned me it was not a horror film. Well, it came up on the IMDB list so here it is. My friend was right, it isn’t exactly a horror film, but it does have a ton of violence and even some gore! It is sort of a Christmas film too! Yeah, Santa is a character in Goodbye 20th Century! And he may or may not be god?! There is also an immortal dude who gets shot a whole bunch of times that is the catalyst for the whole tale. There is all manner of religious mumbo-jumbo in this crazy trippy apocalyptic film which is a real mixed bag of craziness! If Goodbye 20th Century was a stew some of its ingredients might be The Holy Mountain, Road Warrior and Bladerunner with a pinch of Batman. I don’t think I understood it all, but it sure was a visual extravaganza!

goodbye 20th century

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#6 BIO ZOMBIE
Directed By: Wilson Yip

There is a goodly amount of horror-comedy on this list, but I am surprised by how few zombie films were around in the 90s. A soft drink called Lucozade has been spiked with a bio weapon that turns its consumer into a zombie. Enter Woody and Bee, a pair of lazy, irritating losers that work in the mall selling bootleg films. These two got on my nerves early in the film, but by mid-film I found myself rooting for them and their group of pals. There is a significant body count but not much in the way of gore. It is more of a comedic character-driven affair, but there is plenty of action in its second half and a freaking great finale! Bio Zombie is undead fun from Hong Kong! To read the full review click here.

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#5 VAMPIRES
Directed By: John Carpenter

Another vampire film?! Bloody hell! Why Vampires isn’t listed as a horror-comedy on IMDB is a mystery to me. The film has more one-liners than you can shake a stick at! Vampires is an entirely campy affair that is action packed with loads o’violence! James Woods is super terrific as cheeky slayer Jack Crow and has a hell of a lot of fun with the role. Thomas Ian Griffith is also a hoot as bad-ass vampire Valek. The effects are quite decent, the kills are energetic and there are plenty of laughs. Expect more fun than frights.

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#4 RINGU
Directed By: Hideo Nakata

It is so easy to forget how good Ringu was after countless bland and outright terrible long black-haired Japanese girl ghost flicks that followed it. North America isn’t the only movie making continent that can bastardize a cool concept! A video tape that kills its viewer seven days after watching it is the premise behind this scary, well-filmed and intense little Japanese horror flick. The real fun however comes in the discovery of the story behind the tape. The first time I seen this was a midnight showing with a friend who wasn’t much of a horror fan, and it scared them so bad they insisted on spending the night at my house!

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#3 BLADE
Directed By: Stephen Norrington

This splashy big budget affair is one of a handful of mainstream flicks I love from the 90s. It is insanely action packed and I rather like the idea of a vampire slayer that is a vampire himself. Wesley Snipes is also smoking hot, even with that stupid ass looking hairdo! Martial arts, swordplay, great special effects and a nifty cast without a second of downtime. Kris Kristofferson as Blade’s mortal assistant Whistler is top notch and Udo Kier as Dragonetti is a no-brainer. Goddamn I have included a lot of vampire titles on these 90s top ten lists! Apparently I like vampire films!

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#2 BRIDE OF CHUCKY
Directed By: Ronny Yu

Yeah, that’s right Bride-of-motherfucking-Chucky! Oh how I do love this ridiculously silly film!! The Child’s Play franchise was meant to be horror-comedy in my opinion! I love that smart-ass doll and his voluptuous bride! Curvy Jennifer Tilly was the perfect choice for Tiffany and what can I say about Brad Dourif? I love that guy! I’ve probably seen this movie at least a dozen times and it makes me laugh without fail. Bride of Chucky is violent, hilarious and incredibly daft fun I personally can’t get enough of. “Chucky gets lucky” – that shit practically writes itself!!

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#1 THE QUIET FAMILY
Directed By: Jee-woon Kim

Director Jee-woon Kim is without a doubt one of my favourite directors and is one of South Korea’s most talented. His spectacular A Bittersweet Life, the gritty I Saw the Devil, the beautiful and haunting A Tale of Two Sisters, the quirky The Good, The Bad and The Weird and The Foul King; the man can do no wrong in my book. As much as I love all of these films one of my favourites is still his first feature film; The Quiet Family. Dark, hilarious and superbly cast The Quiet Family is one of the smartest and most original horror comedies ever. Damn shame I could not find an English subtitled trailer for The Quiet Family as the laughs just don’t translate here. I really can’t recommend this film more highly and I could go on and on but I will instead direct you to my friend Jason’s review over at Genkinahito’s Blog (click here).

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Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1994

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2013 by goregirl

I have seen fewer films from 1994 than any year yet. I just did not have much luck finding a lot of the year’s titles. There were three big budget horror flicks from the year; Interview with the Vampire, Frankenstein and Wolf. Wolf had its moments, but overall it had too many issues to give it more than a 3/5. Whether justified or not, I do not like Tom Cruise. The very sight of the man rubs me the wrong way. He was a terrible choice for the lead role in Interview with the Vampire, but frankly I am not a fan of Anne Rice’s story anyway. If you read my review for Frankenstein than you already know my numerous issues with that one. No matter, 1994 did have some strong entries. I rated the top three films 5/5, I rated films four, five and six 4/5 and films seven through ten were rated 3.5/5. Every other title from the year were films I rated 3/5 or lower.

*Only feature-length films will be included on the top ten lists for the decade; I do not include shorts, documentaries or made for television movies.

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#10 DEATH MACHINE
Directed By: Stephen Norrington

The Chaank Corporation is conducting a top secret project for the military using cyborg technology. The cat is out of the bag after a malfunctioning cyborg soldier massacres a roadside diner full of customers. Public outcry and protests cause the company’s chief executive Hayden Cale to insist on full disclosure. She also wants the project’s creator Dante’s head on a platter. Dante however is working on a new top secret project that he refuses to submit reports for. Dante threatens Cale warning her that the last person who investigated him wound up dead. Meanwhile a trio of vigilantes intend on taking the Chaank Corporation down by eliminating the companies digital assets. An inevitable showdown arises and the lot are introduced to Dante’s deadly new experiment. I didn’t realize until I started this 90s project how many films from the decade had a cyborg plotline. Death Machine has all sorts of nods to other horror and sci-fi flicks and even has characters called Scott Ridley, Sam Raimi and John Carpenter. There is definitely a campy feel to the action and some laughs. Dante the child-like prodigy is the inventor of Chaank’s technology and is an eccentric sociopath played perfectly by Brad Dourif. Dourif steals every scene he is in. The visuals are okay, and there is a little bit of blood and gore although some of the film techniques used were a little corny. Death Machine is two hours long and I must admit it moved along fine. It takes a while before you see much action but the build up is not unappealing and there are some fun action sequences in the second half. Death Machine is not without its flaws but I found it an entertaining watch.

death machine

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#9 BRAINSCAN
Directed By: John Flynn

Michael is a teenager who lost his mother in a car accident as a child that left him with a nasty scar and a limp. Michael is also a huge fan of horror films and games which inspires him to order Brainscan. Brainscan is a virtual reality first person serial killer game that puts you in control. You guide the killer through an environment; you choose the weapon, the style of kill and what you should take from the scene as a souvenir. It’s all fun and games until Michael catches a news story the next day about a man who has been murdered. Michael not only recognizes the house but they state that a foot had been removed; the souvenir he chose to take in the game. Needless to say Michael is disturbed by the course of events and tries to call the toll-free Brainscan number to no avail. A few moments later he gets a call from a Brainscan representative. Not just a call, but a personal visit! A man materializes in his room calling himself The Trickster. The Trickster convinces Michael that he left behind a piece of evidence and he can only retrieve it by playing the second disc. Michael’s bad situation gets progressively worst with each disc. Brainscan is a fun little early 90s time capsule. It has a computer game premise. It has Edward Furlong. It has shameless advertising for Aerosmith’s 1993 album Get a Grip. It has a soundtrack featuring the likes of White Zombie, Butthole Surfers, Mudhoney and Primus. It makes me think about my record store days. The effects overall were passable but not great and sadly there is little blood and/or gore. The makeup however was pretty decent. The Trickster is definitely a creative looking character. He sports a red psuedo-mohawk, a nose ring, knife-like fingernails, waxy skin, deep sunken beady eyes and he seemed to have an abundance of teeth. He is a delightfully creepily comical character. T. Ryder Smith who plays The Trickster really throws himself into the role and is animated and full of energy. He is an outrageous, eccentric menace. Brainscan’s story isn’t going to blow your mind, but it is decent enough. I would not say it is scary at any point although there are a few tense moments and some good action. There are also some laughs which are mainly courtesy of The Trickster. Brainscan isn’t a great movie, but I thought it was a pretty fun one. To read the full review click here.

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#8 SCHRAMM: INTO THE MIND OF A SERIAL KILLER
Directed By: Jörg Buttgereit

The film’s title really says it all; this is the story of a serial killer named Lothar Schramm. The story is told using flashbacks from a fallen Schramm. This is such an ugly and vile film I am almost embarrassed that I like it. Schramm: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer is directed by Jörg Buttgereit the German filmmaker best known for the nasty Nekromantik. Buttgereit’s films have generally been a hard watch for me, and yet I can’t say I have actually disliked any of them. Schramm: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer made me want to take a scalding hot shower afterwards which I highly suspect was Buttgereit’s intention. Lothar Schramm never exactly elicited any sympathy from me, but he is clearly a troubled and lonely man. He also has some very specific issues with women that seemed to inspire equal parts anger, violence and fear. The film is overflowing with violent and disturbing images that are hard to watch. The film has a raw gritty style that adds to the bleak and unrelenting brutal visuals. Schramm: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer really is a bleak and disturbing film and one of the more compelling serial killer flicks I’ve seen. I would not put this on par with Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer but it is in a similar class. I can not stress more strongly that Schramm: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer is not for the faint hearted.

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#7 THAT LITTLE MONSTER
Directed By: Paul Bunnell

Jamie takes a babysitting gig for the seriously weird Willock’s and discovers that their little monster is in fact, a little monster. That Little Monster is an odd little duck of a film that isn’t even quite one hour long. That Little Monster is filmed in black and white and as other reviewers have commented, the film does have an Eraserhead vibe. The whole black and white monster baby scenario hasn’t exactly been played out dozens of times so it is certainly understandable that Eraserhead should come to mind. That Little Monster boasts some pretty impressive visuals for its low budget which is definitely the films strongest asset. There are some really wild props in this little oddity including a baby mobile made from itty bitty plastic dolls that was so awesomely creepy! That Little Monster’s monster is a freaking ugly little bastard. There is a great dark humour to the story and a delightfully strange tone throughout. There are only a handful of characters in the film but they sure are a wacky bunch. The only name I recognized in the credits was Reggie Bannister who played Reggie in the Phantasm series. Everyone involved did wacky quite well as far as I was concerned. Unfortunately That Little Monster does have a couple scenes that linger too long. Considering its short run time it does hurt the film a bit. That Little Monster is a surreal, humorous, creepy little bit of bizarreness that despite a couple of overindulgent scenes was a lot of fun.

that little monster

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#6 GIORGINO
Directed By: Laurent Boutonnat

Giorgino is a soldier returning to civilian life after the war. Before he was sent to war he had intended to go into pediatrics and had become close with some special needs children. Giorgino buys a huge bag of candy and seeks out the hospital where he once worked. When he arrives the hospital is abandoned and he is directed by a woman to the home of Dr. Sébastien Degrâce. When he arrives at the home he is greeted by the housekeeper Marie who hurries him upstairs after he introduces himself as a doctor. Madame Degrâce lay dead on her bed and Giorgino makes a few attempts to start her heart to no avail. He announces the Madame’s death to Marie who is now accompanied by a young woman who he learns is the Madame’s daughter Catherine. Distraught Catherine runs to her mother’s room. Dr. Degrâce is apparently away on a trip so Giorgino goes into town to find a room for the night. He asks some local women about the children and is told they are all dead. The last person to see the children was Dr. Degrâce’s daughter Catherine. The beautiful fiery-haired Catherine is a troubled woman who has the mind of a child but may be the key to learning the circumstances surrounding the children’s untimely death. This was my first viewing of Giorgino, a mystery-drama which may or may not have a supernatural twist. It is left ambiguous as far as I am concerned. Giorgino is a slower-paced but intriguingly moody film. The village is entirely populated by women; with the exception of a priest and one man who seemed unwell. All the village’s men are away at war. The women keep candles lit in the church superstitiously believing that it will keep their men alive. To blow out the candles is to curse the men. It is a pretty bleak place full of grey and dour people. The Degrâce family is an unusual lot. The death of the children seems to have left a darkness on the entire household. Dr. Degrâce as Giorgino learns was institutionalized, the Madame hung herself which he learned upon examining her corpse when he first meets the family, and there is an unexplained sexual bond between Marie and Catherine. There is a scene early where Marie answers the door with her blouse buttons undone and she is bleeding from her nipple. And of course there is the little issue of the death of several young children under the Degrâce’s care. Wolves play a part in the story. Do the wolves exist or are they concocted by the imagination of a child? Perhaps the wolves only visit those who are about to die? Like I said, Giorgino is full of mystery. Giorgino has some fascinating characters and excellent performances. Giorgino also has some well executed intensity. There is one scene in particular where the town’s women are getting stinkingly drunk in celebration of the men coming home that had me seriously anxious! I shall not divulge, but you will recognize the scene when you see the film. Jeff Dahlgren is solid as Giorgino; a calm and determined man who seems to have a great deal of empathy. Mylène Farmer is superb as the mentally unstable child-like Catherine. The performances are great by all; Louise Fletcher as a bitter Innkeeper, Frances Barber as Marie and Joss Ackland as Father Glaise are particular standouts. Giorgino is a bleak, sad, tense, mysterious film that left me sweetly sated.

giorgino

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#5 MUTE WITNESS
Directed By: Anthony Waller

Billy Hughes is a mute special effects makeup artist on a shoot in Moscow for a low-budget horror film. One evening she is locked in the studio where unseen, she watches a porn film being made. Her mild amusement becomes horror when a woman is killed for the camera. After being discovered and chased through the studio she manages to escape and tells her story to her sister. The two go to the police but the porn filmmakers’ manage to convince the police that what Billy seen was merely part of the film. The plot thickens with the addition of a shadowy criminal who wants Billy dead. I kept a rated list of every film I seen through the 90s and had given Mute Witness a high score but didn’t remember many details. Mute Witness is yet another film I have been remiss in not re-watching. Mute Witness is a great, well-executed, intense and humorous horror film that has a spicy pace and some solid performances. Marina Zudina really is excellent as Billy. She is likable and although empathetic she doesn’t come off as a weak or helpless victim. Fay Ripley who plays Billy’s sister Karen is also an amiable sort although she does become a bit bumbling towards the end of the film. The same can be said for Evan Richards who plays Karen’s boyfriend Andy who is director of the low-budget horror film. Alec Guinness has a memorable cameo as The Reaper; he is the only star name to appear in the cast. The finale does go on a little longer than necessary but it was not unappealing. The film is light on the graphic violence but more than makes up for it with some excellent intensity, action, strong performances and great twists. Mute Witness is a nifty little lesser known horror film worth seeking out.

mute witness

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#4 NADJA
Directed By: Michael Almereyda

Nadja is a vampire who fully embraces her status but her brother Edgar fights against it. Hiding away in the day in their dark tombs and coming out at night to mingle among the revelers of New York’s underground scene. Bold Nadja seduces the niece and nephew of vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing who easily falls under her spell. Van Helsing makes it his goal to eliminate the beautiful Nadja. Filmed in black and white with a rawness and graininess that is mucho appealing. It employs a peculiar almost clumsy effect when a character has fallen under the influence of a vampire, which somehow works quite well. It is dotted with flashbacks and jump cuts that all add to the quirky and surreal look. Nadja is dreamy, disorienting, moody, funny and even touching at times. The dialog is often delivered in a dry unemotional, matter of fact sort of way that gave the interaction a strange vibe. As vampire films tend to be, there is a fatalistic nature to the plot also. The performances are solid, although it is Elina Löwensohn who is really the highlight as the titular Nadja. She is gorgeous, sexy and utterly perfect as the exotic blood-sucker. The solid supporting cast includes Peter Fonda as Van Helsing, Karl Geary as Renfeld, Suzy Amis as Cassandra and Jared Harris as Nadja’s tormented brother Edgar. David Lynch has a small role as a morgue employee and was an executive producer on the project. While there are certainly elements of the classic vampire mystique included, Director Michael Almereyda adds plenty of artful florishes that make the film a unique entry in the vampire genre. The soundtrack featuring modern tracks that included Portishead, Space Hog and The Verve suits it quite well. I can only guess that perhaps Nadja is too artful for some horror fans as it seems to be woefully underappreciated. Personally I think Nadja is one of the more intriguing entries in the vampire genre and one I grow fonder of with every viewing.

nadja

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#3 IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS
Directed By: John Carpenter

When we first meet insurance investigator John Trent he is telling his story to Dr. Wrenn as a patient in a psychiatric hospital. Trent had been hired by a book publisher to investigate the disappearance of their most profitable horror author Sutter Cane and retrieve the manuscript for the final novel in his popular series. The publishing company tasks Cane’s editor Linda Styles to assist Trent. After reading a few of Cane’s novels Trent becomes plagued with nightmares, a common effect of the author’s work. Trent discovers that the fictional location of Hobb’s End featured in Cane’s stories may actually exist somewhere in New Hampshire. Trent and Styles set out to locate Hobb’s End and unfortunately find the horror-filled fictional town. In the Mouth of Madness is screamingly Lovecraftian with its nightmarish Cthulhu-esque monsters. The film has a delightfully bleak, horrifying and apocalyptic vibe that is beautifully executed. In the Mouth of Madness is actually the title of Sutter Cane’s final novel. Cane is nothing more than a messenger for his monstrous overlords. The visuals are superb and the effects are amazing. The monsters are truly a grotesque delight. The casting is perfect with my man Sam Neill as John Trent; his descent into hell and utter madness is a joy to watch. Julie Carmen, Jürgen Prochnow, David Warner, Bernie Casey, Peter Jason, Charleton Heston and Frances Bay all give solid support. In the Mouth of Madness is the final chapter in John Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy which includes The Thing and Prince of Darkness. That is one hell of a trilogy ain’t it? In the Mouth of Madness is pure horror gold.

in the mouth of madness

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#2 NATURAL BORN KILLERS
Directed By: Oliver Stone

Mickey saves Mallory from her abusive father and together they travel across America killing randomly for kicks. The media turns the serial killer couple into superstars. A two sentence summary is all Natural Born Killers needs as an introduction. In keeping with my trend of including films not listed as horror on IMDB here is Natural Born Killers. It is about a pair of serial killers after all, and they do kill a hell of a lot of people. I love the films biting commentary and its parade of sleazy characters, but it is the criminally likable duo that makes it all work. In its way, Natural Born Killers is also a love story. The killer couple falls in love on sight. Mallory accompanies Mickey without hesitation. Before embarking on their journey they do kill Mallory’s sexually abusive father and complacent mother. Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis are perfectly cast here as Mickey and Mallory Knox. They do bad things and kill plenty of innocent people but are wholly fascinating. Their chemistry is undeniable. The sleazy characters they are forced to interact with are equally interesting. Robert Downey, Jr. plays tabloid television journalist Wayne Gale who has profiled Mickey and Mallory on his show American Maniacs and will do anything to get an interview with the couple. Tom Sizemore plays Detective Jack Scagnetti who as a child witnessed his own mother killed by a mass murderer. His intentions seem noble but he too is a violent sociopath. Tommy Lee Jones plays Warden Dwight McClusky who oversees the prison where Mickey and Mallory are being detained. He is a crooked, slimy weasel who is working in cahoots with Detective Scagnetti. Comedian Rodney Dangerfield plays Mallory’s abusive father. Thanks a lot Stone, I will never be able to completely erase the image of Dangerfield in that dirty, sweat-stained tank top, spitting as he yells and putting his hands all over his teenage daughter. Natural Born Killers is one of my favourite films from the decade and is well-acted, creatively-filmed, smart, violent, chaotic and surreal. “In the media circus of life, they were the main attraction.”

natural born killers

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#1 CEMETERY MAN
Directed By: Michele Soavi

Francesco Dellamorte oversees the Buffalora Cemetery where people don’t stay buried. The returners, as Dellamorte calls them are generally pretty easy targets; although a few do give Dellamorte some trouble. In the course of the story Dellamorte meets a beautiful widow whom he falls in love with on sight, he also meets and falls in love with a few of her doppelgangers, he buries and re-kills several returners and has a conversation with death himself. The makeup and effects are top notch! Each returner is unique in appearance which is determined by how they died. I particularly enjoyed the teeth clacking boy scouts! A returner’s bite hurts but it does not turn you into one of the undead. Everyone who dies does so twice; and a lot of people die in Cemetery Man. There is blood and gore but most of it isn’t particularly graphic. More die quickly with a shot to the head than by any other means. I love Cemetery Man’s look and feel. It is dark and gothic yet whimsical. It has an entertaining story and great humour that gets decidedly darker as the film rolls on. The film’s central character Francesco Dellamorte is equal parts charming, arrogant and awkward. I also found him kind of sexy! Among Dellamorte’s hobbies are reading outdated telephone books, clipping obituaries out of the newspaper and having sex with beautiful women in graveyards. Rupert Everett was a brilliant choice for Dellamorte; I can’t imagine anyone else in the role. Gnaghi, Dellamorte’s faithful, slow-witted assistant who speaks only in grunty sounds is a likable and empathetic bloke and is played perfectly by François Hadji-Lazaro. “She” is both the love of his life and the primary source of his pain and anxiety. The gorgeous Anna Falchi is as comely as they come. Cemetery Man is playful, funny, dark and strange. To read the full review click here.

cemetery man1

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PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1987) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2012 by goregirl

I am a huge fan of John Carpenter’s films. The Thing, Halloween, Assault of Precinct 13, Escape from New York, They Live, In the Mouth of Madness, and The Fog all films I have seen multiple times and love! It is a pretty bloody impressive resume ain’t it? The man has provided such exquisite gems I almost feel guilty about how much I hate Ghosts of Mars and Village of the Damned. Prince of Darkness is the Carpenter film I have seen the least. In fact, outside of my original viewing in a theatre back in the 80s I caught Prince of Darkness just once on TV several years ago; it was high time for a revisit!

A priest requests the aid of Professor Howard Birack who brings with him a group of students to investigate a cylinder of fluorescent swirling green liquid in the basement of an abandoned church. The city’s homeless have been gathering outside the church all day. They stand and stare possessed by some unseen force from within. The text accompanying the green liquid suggests the cylinder contains the body of the Anti-Christ. Steam emitted from the green goo possesses one of the female students. Others soon join her and become the Anti-Christ’s puppets, setting in to motion his resurrection.

That is one humdinger of a plot! This cylinder looks pretty high-tech for something that is suppose to be ancient. It’s kind of creepy though all glowing and swirling like it is alive. Of course it is alive and the conniving cylinder’s first act is to possess an army of homeless people. It is such a simple thing to just have the homeless do nothing but stand staring and it is so effectively chilling! We get several scenes of the gang throughout the film. They are soldiers for Satan and they insure no one escapes from the church. One of the best deaths, I like to call “bikes kill” is enacted by the possessed populace; more specifically Alice-welcome-to-his-nightmare-Cooper. A superb bit of horror these sections! Several of the students inside the church also become possessed. Prince of Darkness offers up a bevy of beauty horror-action scenes! I think my favourite of all of them is when a trio of possessed women, one of which appears to have become spontaneously pregnant traps a character in a closet. You do not want nothing but a flimsy closet door between you and these ladies! It also has some great trippy dream sequences among a crapload of other goodies. It’s not particularly gory, but there are many perfectly executed scenes that are mucho effective just the same.

The harried priest is played by Donald Pleasance, who I always enjoy. He is all gloom and doom with his whole Satan is being resurrected and the apocalypse is coming talk! I also enjoyed Victor Wong as the level-headed, voice of reason, Professor Howard Birack. Pretty much all the performances across the board are decent enough. Which brings me to Jameson Parker. It’s not that his very existence offends me. I am not even sure I have ever seen Parker in anything but Prince of Darkness. I know he was one of the Simons in Simon and Simon, but I never actually watched the show. I just think he is so wishy-washy in this film. Maybe the character is partly to blame but he just irks me a bit, and he is focused on way too much.

Prince of Darkness has one crazy story! It’s bordering on hokey really, but hell, some religious people really believe that the apocalypse is coming! I wonder if they are aware that the discombobulated body of the Anti-Christ is swimming around in some fluorescent green goo in the basement of a church somewhere? Besides my issues with Mr. Parker I think Prince of Darkness is a fantastically fun movie with some beautifully executed moments of horror. Recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: John Carpenter

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong, Lisa Blount, Dennis Dun, Susan Blanchard, Anne Marie Howard, Ann Yen, Ken Wright, Dirk Blocker, Jessie Lawrence Ferguson, Peter Jason, Robert Grasmere, Thom Bray, Joanna Merlin, Alice Cooper, Betty Ramey, Jessie Ferguson

DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #40 – #36

Posted in movies with tags , , , , on July 10, 2012 by goregirl

Two From Japan, One From France, One from the U.S.A. and One from Canada!! The Dungeon Director Project continues…

My 50 Favourite Directors #40 – #36

*NOTE: I did not include any made for TV movies in the numbers I used for each director’s full-length feature films.*

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#40. Guy Maddin

What I’ve Seen: Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1989), Archangel (1991), Careful (1992), Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (2002), Cowards Bend the Knee or The Blue Hands (2003), The Saddest Music in the World (2003), Brand Upon the Brain! (2006), My Winnipeg (2007),

Canadian director Guy Maddin has made 10 full length feature films and a ton of short films! I’ve seen 8 of 10 of his features and every last one has been a unique treat. I enthusiastically await seeing Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1997) and Keyhole (2011)! Maddin is definitely a strange cat. His black and white masterpieces of weirdness are quite unlike anything you are likely to see. Tales from Gimli Hospital, Cowards Bend the Knee and Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary are pure gold! The early film making techniques borrowed from silent cinema and early talkies make an oddly effective partner for his bizarre stories. Like arsenic and old lace! Often set in his home province of Winnipeg, Manitoba (which we Canadians affectionately call Winter Pig) his films are funny, surreal, disturbing and psychosexual. Maddin is one of our finest exports!

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#39. Shion Sono

What I’ve Seen: Suicide Club (2001), Noriko’s Dinner Table (2005), Strange Circus (2005), Hazard (2005), Love Exposure (2008), Cold Fish (2010), Guilty of Romance (2011)

Yesterday I posted a link to the Shion Sono Appreciation Society Podcast, where I chat with fellow film fanatic Jason about the director’s work. Sono is one of the most interesting and talented of the new wave of Japanese filmmakers in this gals humble opinion. Just a few days ago I re-watched Cold Fish which I had not seen since the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2010. What a fantastic film! I found even more to love about Cold Fish the second time and I think I would have to give the film a perfect score. Suicide Club also garnered a perfect score from me. I also had a chance to see Guilty of Romance recently and despite mixed reviews I thought it was fantastic! Shion Sono has yet to make a film I didn’t like! Sono has made 23 full length feature films and I have seen seven. I am psyched to see his newest entry The Land of Hope, which with any luck will turn up at VIFF this October. Sono forces ordinary people into extraordinary situations tackling subjects from incest, abuse and rape to suicide, peer pressure and abandonment. Sono’s genre-defying films prove there are still original ideas out there and filmmakers with the balls and talent to make them!

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#38. Kaneto Shindo

What I’ve Seen: Children of Hiroshima (1952), The Naked Island (1960), Onibaba (1964), Kuroneko (1968),

Japanese director Kaneto Shindo made 45 full length feature films (2 are documentaries) and I have seen only 4! I have had no luck finding any other Shindo films on DVD. I gave Onibaba, The Naked Island and Kuroneko 5/5 and Onibaba and Kuroneko are on my top 100 favourite horror films of all time list. Be warned, The Naked Island, is incredible but unlike the two aforementioned it is not a horror film. Wonderful, moody, atmospheric tales that are perfect in every way. Visuals, sounds, intriguing stories and fantastic characters; it’s all here! I could not give this small list of films higher kudos! I will continue my quest for Shindo’s films. Evidently the director died this year, May 29 at the age of 100! Freaking 100 ya’ll!!

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#37. Jean-Luc Godard

What I’ve Seen: Breathless (1960), A Woman Is a Woman (1961), My Life to Live (1962), Contempt (1963), Band of Outsiders (1964), Alphaville (1965), Pierrot le fou (1965), Masculin Féminin (1966),

French director Jean-Luc Godard is part of the 60s new wave of directors which ignited my imagination when I was younger. After discovering foreign films in college I couldn’t get enough, and Jean-Luc Godard was one of my earliest discoveries. I love the 60s style and no two women wore it better than Godard muses Jean Seberg and Anna Karina. Seberg and Karina were the epitome of cool and damn talented actresses too! Godard raged against the mainstream with his inventive camerawork, a hearty helping of his brand of politics and philosophy and a goodly amount of nods to other filmmakers. I have seen 8 of his 34 full length feature films and would be hard pressed to pick just one favourite. It would be a toss up between Breathless, Contempt, Band of Outsiders, Alphaville or Masculin Féminin. Godard has inspired countless directors, many of which will appear on this list or have already! I have so much more to explore in Godard’s world! Vive La France!

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#36. John Carpenter

What I’ve Seen: Dark Star (1974), Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), Escape from New York (1981), The Thing (1982), Christine (1983), Starman (1984), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Prince of Darkness (1987), They Live (1988), Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), In the Mouth of Madness (1994), Village of the Damned (1995), Escape from L.A. (1996), Vampires (1998), Ghosts of Mars (2001), The Ward (2010)

I have seen all 18 of American director John Carpenter’s full length feature films. Carpenter was a God of the 80s! Sadly, with the exception of In the Mouth of Madness and to a lesser extent Vampires; Carpenter’s post 80s films have been a bummer. That said, the man has made some epic contributions! The Thing and Halloween are two of the best horror films ever made! They Live, Assault on Precinct 13 and Escape from New York are also brilliant! Dark Star, The Fog, Christine, Prince of Darkness and Big Trouble in Little China aren’t chopped liver either. Carpenter’s films have entertained me immensely over the years! Carpenter’s great characters have freaked me out and made me laugh; the man can do action, comedy, Sci-fi and horror and he did em all so very well. Halloween was one of North America’s first successful slashers and would inspire a flurry of copy cats. It also set a bar in the sub-genre, one few other directors would achieve. The Thing was also a real game changer. The Thing has intensity to spare, a perfect chemistry among its cast and some of the best gore effects ever caught on celluloid. Mind-blowing effects from back in the day that few have topped. John fucking Carpenter…I salute you!

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