Archive for peter jackson

Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1996

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2013 by goregirl

There was the regular volume of 90s mud to wade through and a few of the worst of the worst were mainstream efforts which included The Island of Dr. Moreau, Mary Reilly and Diabolique but I still managed to pull together what I think is a solid top ten. There have not been a whole lot of repeat directors showing up on these 90s list but 1996 is an exception with Dario Argento, Peter Jackson, Shozin Fukui and Wes Craven all having their second entries! Film number one earned a 5/5 rating, films two through nine are films I rated 4/5 and film ten I rated 3.5/5. I gave one other film from 1996 a 3.5/5 which was Ebola Syndrome.

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#10 KILLER CONDOM
Directed By: Martin Walz

Killer Condom is based on the comic book of the same name by Ralf König. Apparently H. R. Giger was a creative consultant on the project. Killer Condom is a German film spoken in German that is set in New York?! Men in New York are losing their penises to the titular Killer Condom’s and Luigi Mackaroni is on the case. Luigi Mackaroni is a man who knows the streets of New York; a well-seasoned, chain smoking openly gay detective who is well known at the particular hotel where it all started. While Killer Condom definitely has a sleazy vibe and an outrageous premise neither the violence nor nudity is graphic; it is more campy than exploitative. It features a super Luigi sized killer condom, a mad scientist, a self-righteous pious villain and a lot of adorable little rubbers that make giggly cartoony noises. If that isn’t enough it has a love story and a heart warming happy ending! Killer Condom kept my attention and made me laugh often. To read the full review click here.

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#9 GAMERA 2: ATTACK OF THE LEGION
Directed By: Shûsuke Kaneko

Gamera! I mean really?! Who amoung us does not love a giant flying turtle?! Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion is one of the many entertaining post 80s Kaiju flicks I am discovering is well worth visiting. In Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion; the Legion refers to a species of alien insects that landed via meteor and have created a home in the city’s subway. The Legion is causing the oxygen levels to rise which explode their flower thingies with an end game of colonization. Gamera to the rescue! Tons of destruction, huge spectacular Kaiju battles, cool monster effects (some of the best I have seen in a Kaiju film!) and action galore make Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion an absolute must see bit of entertainment!

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#8 SPLATTER: NAKED BLOOD
Directed By: Hisayasu Sato

Splatter: Naked Blood is about a trio of women who volunteer to test a chemical contraceptive. The doctor’s son however is looking to conduct his own experiment and injects his own potion into his mother’s with horrific results. Splatter: Naked Blood has some nasty gore, weirdness, nudity, sex, laughs, nifty sound effects and a neato soundtrack. Be warned, the gore is nasty, but if that is your thing, have at it! To read my full review click here. I couldn’t find a trailer for the film, but I think this clip says it all.

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#7 THE STENDHAL SYNDROME
Directed By: Dario Argento

The Stendhal Syndrome is based on psychologist’s Graziella Magherini book about the affliction. Argento himself apparently once suffered from Stendhal Syndrome when he was a child. Detective Anna Manni is struck by the titular torment while at a museum. The detective is on the trail of a serial killer who uses the infirmity against her. Asia Argento plays Detective Manni and goes through the full gamut of emotions and is at times vulnerable, sad, and fierce; I think it is one of her best performances and despite looking terribly young and fresh faced she is quite effective in the role. The Stendhal Syndrome did not come up on the IMDB horror movie list much to my surprise! After this re-watch I understand why; The Stendhal Syndrome really is a dramatic thriller not a horror film. The Stendhal Syndrome is not without some plot issues, but is well paced, beautifully filmed with gorgeous sets and is a fascinating, unsettling and at times brutal bit of goodness.

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#6 THE FRIGHTENERS
Directed By: Peter Jackson

The Frighteners is a wacky horror-comedy about an architect named Frank Bannister who after surviving a car wreck that kills his wife has the ability to communicate with ghosts. The architect becomes a ghostbusting con man who uses the spirits to haunt residents that he than exorcises for cash. It is all fun and games until a malevolent spirit shows up. Frank tries to help the victims as he is able to see a number on their foreheads prior to their deaths and becomes suspect himself. Eccentric and obsessive FBI agent Milton Dammers is brought in to work on the case. The Frighteners is well-written, humorous, creepy, and has outrageous characters and great effects. Nicely cast too especially Jeffrey Combs who is absolutely brilliant as the insane FBI agent Dammers. Boo-haha!

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#5 RUBBER’S LOVER
Directed By: Shozin Fukui

Shozin Fukui’s 964 Pinocchio earned the number four slot for my favourites of 1991. Fukui’s Rubber’s Lover is a prequel of sorts to 964 Pinocchio and is an equally hallucinatory trip! Like its predecessor; Rubber’s Lover is a highly visual, incredibly weird, graphic and violent cyberpunk entry. Rubber’s Lover focuses on a group of psychotic scientists conducting twisted experiments using sensory depravation and mind-altering drugs to torture their unfortunate and involuntary patients. Their experiments are dangerous and brutal and inevitably result in calamity. Filmed in black and white with a heavy emphasis on metal, gears and fetishism. Do not stand; Keep your arms inside the vehicle at all times and your seatbelt securely fastened.

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#4 DON’T LOOK UP
Directed By: Hideo Nakata

It is like Don’t Look Up never existed. I could not find a trailer or a single clip for this film on YouTube; only its god-awful disaster of a remake from 2007 showed up in searches. This original directed by Hideo Nakata is virtually impossible to find and doesn’t seem to have ever had a release on DVD. What a shame because I think it is one of Nakata’s best. A crew filming in an old studio reviews the rushes from a day of shooting and it appears some old film stock has become intermingled with their new shots. The director recognizes the old footage from something he had watched on television as a child. He becomes obsessed with the images and learns the film was never finished. I seeked out this well-made, thoughtful and eerie supernatural tale on the strong recommendation of Wednesday’s Child over at 90s Horror (and Deep Red Rum) and it was no easy task to find! I am certainly not in the habit of doing such things, but this was such a great little film I have decided to post the link to where I was able to watch it online (click here). For fans of Japanese ghost stories I think it is well worth a watch.

don't look up

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#3 TESIS
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

Tesis did not come up on the IMDB horror film search and definitely leans towards a mystery-thriller but I think the film’s theme qualifies it enough to be here. Angela is a film student working on a thesis of violence in media at the University Complutense (the same University its director Alejandro Amenábar attended in real life). Through her research she discovers a video where a former student of the university is brutally killed. Her investigation of the material draws her into a heinous snuff ring. The film’s tagline is “My name is Angela. They’re going to kill me.” Which should give you some idea of where the story inevitable goes. The excellent performances from Ana Torrent, Fele Martínez and the handsome Eduardo Noriega (who would go on to star in Amenábar’s excellent Open Your Eyes) are all top notch. Tesis is smart, thrilling, suspenseful and an exceptionally well acted film from Spain that is well worth checking out.

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#2 SCREAM
Directed By: Wes Craven

Scream satirizes the horror genre and its many clichés. Based ever so loosely on The Gainesville Ripper and taking place in the fictional town of Woodsboro; it focuses on central character Sidney Prescott whose mother was killed one year previously. When teenagers from the town begin turning up dead Sidney begins to think that the crimes may be related to her mother’s death. An estranged father, her mother’s ex-lover and even her friends are all suspects. Scream was a huge commercial success and brought renewed interest to the genre; sadly it also seems to have birthed a series of irritating, stupid nonsense like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Valentine and Urban Legend but nonetheless Scream is a funny, clever and nasty film that is damn entertaining.

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#1 FROM DUSK TIL DAWN
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

Bad-ass Brothers Richie and Seth Gecko are wanted men looking for a way to cross the border. As luck would have it a pastor questioning his faith and his two children show up in a motorhome. The Gecko’s take the family hostage and successfully cross the border to meet up with their contact at a remote strip club called the Titty Twister. Unfortunately for the group the Titty Twister happens to be a nest for a whole lotta vicious and nasty vampires. I love how From Dusk til Dawn starts out as a crime thriller and evolves into a full frontal horror flick. From Dusk til Dawn is action-packed, violent, nasty, well-paced, full of dark humour, has great effects and is perfectly cast. Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, George Clooney, Ernest Liu, Quentin Tarantino and cameos from the likes of Cheech Marin, Michael Parks, Salma Hayek, John Saxon, Danny Trejo, Fred Williamson and Tom Savini. And it has pussy; hot pussy, cold pussy, wet pussy, smelly pussy, snapping pussy…come on in pussy lovers…From Dusk til Dawn is a shitload of bloody fun!

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Goregirl’s Favourite Composers of the 1990s: HOWARD SHORE

Posted in movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2013 by goregirl

Fellow Canadian Howard Shore is best known in my world as being a frequent collaborator with another Canadian; director extraordinaire David Cronenberg. Shore scored Cronenberg’s 1979 film The Brood and has scored almost every one of Cronenberg’s films since. These days Shore is best known for composing the award winning score for Peter Jackson’s immensely popular The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the recent The Hobbit; but his work with Mr. Cronenberg will always remain my personal favourites. Shore was a member of the Canadian band Lighthouse (1969 – 1972) and created his musical magic for Lorne Michaels and Hart Pomerants’s The Hart & Lorne Show. He followed his short lived stint on The Hart & Lorne Show with another Lorne Michael project and became music director for the long running show Saturday Night Live from 1975 – 1980. Shore composed a ton of scores through the 80s but since this is a feature focusing on the 90s I included only his resume from that decade. By no means do I love every film on this list but Shore sure did score a lot of popular films from the decade.

1990 Made in Milan (documentary short)
1990 Scales of Justice
1990 The Local Stigmatic
1991 A Kiss Before Dying
1991 Naked Lunch
1991 The Silence of the Lambs
1992 Prelude to a Kiss
1992 Single White Female
1993 Guilty as Sin
1993 M. Butterfly
1993 Mrs. Doubtfire
1993 Philadelphia
1993 Sliver
1994 Ed Wood
1994 Nobody’s Fool
1994 The Client
1995 Moonlight and Valentino
1995 Se7en
1995 White Man’s Burden
1996 Before and After
1996 Crash
1996 Looking for Richard (documentary)
1996 Striptease
1996 That Thing You Do!
1996 The Truth About Cats & Dogs
1997 Cop Land
1997 The Game
1999 Analyze This
1999 Dogma
1999 eXistenZ
1999 Gloria

I was surprised how much Howard Shore I had in my collection and yet I had not a single piece from the composer posted on my YouTube channel! Clearly that needed to be rectified! Music and images from James Mangold’s 1997 film Cop Land. Mashed Potatoes Don’t Mean Gravy composed by Howard Shore.

There will be more Howard Shore tracks to come but here is one more newly posted piece; one of his excellent collaborations with Mr. Cronenberg. Music and images from David Cronenberg’s 1996 film Crash. Music composed by Howard Shore.

Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1992

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2013 by goregirl

As has been the case with every year of the 1990s thus far, there was an incredible amount of mucky-muck to wade through for 1992. There were however some truly brilliant entries from the year including my favourite horror comedy of all time! The top nine films were solid entries but coming up with a tenth pick made my head spin. I gave the top three films a 5/5, film number four I rated 4.5/5, Films five through nine I rated 4/5 and the film in the number ten spot was rated 3/5. I rated five other films from 1992 3/5 and those were Split Second, Body Puzzle, The Vagrant, Doctor Mordrid, and Curse, Death and Spirit.

*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 DRACULA
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula made my list by the hair on its chinny chin chin. Save superb cinematography and the inspired casting of Gary Oldman as Dracula I think this is one of the worst cast horror films of all time. I don’t have strong feelings about Winona Ryder one way or the other but she was an absolutely dreadful choice as Mina/Elisabeta and equally horrific is Kneau Reeves as Jonathan Harker. Aren’t Harker and Mina supposed to be deeply in love? There is zero chemistry between the two. It is probably somewhat unfair to say Sadie Frost was not well cast as Lucy as I thought the bigger issue was really the trashy characterization. Even Anthony Hopkins who seemed like a reasonable choice as Van Helsing gave an uninspired performance. The only two characters outside of Dracula I found at all compelling was Dr. Seward played by Richard E. Grant and Renfeld played by Tom Waits. It seems to me that the cast were not chosen because they were the best choice for the role but because they were popular names at the time. I am quite aware Bram Stoker’s novel contains romance but I am still not a huge fan of this aspect and the heavy focus on that and a PG rated eroticism just made me hunger for more horror. Dracula’s brilliant lead performance from Gary Oldman, a lovely score and spiffy visuals rescue it from complete mediocrity.

dracula

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#9 THE JOHNSONS
Directed By: Rudolf van den Berg

A doctor delivering septuplets, a bulgy eyed fetus god, a thirteen year old girl’s horrific dreams of rape and little boys drawing on walls in blood and a professor tasked with advising a top secret organization as to the next course of action to take with seven twenty-one year old psychotics are The Johnsons main plot points. Clearly there is a connection between these plot points but I will leave that for you to discover on your own. The Johnsons is a wonderfully odd little supernatural tale. There are themes of rape, incest, puberty and adulthood weaved into the story but the film does not focus on any particular one of these ideas. The film has an intriguing build up that made me hunger for answers. It starts out as a real pot boiler but all hell breaks loose in the final quarter when the psychotic septuplets escape their prison cells. That might be a bit of a spoiler, but it seemed inevitable in my opinion. The Johnsons is a unique entry from The Netherlands, the ending is a bit disappointing but otherwise it has a great atmosphere, intensity, some light humour and some solid moments of horror. To read the full review click here.

the johnsons

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#8 DUST DEVIL
Directed By: Richard Stanley

Dust Devil opens with some brief ominous words of narration that take us to a handsome man in a duster and cowboy hat hitching a ride. The cowboy is picked up by a woman who takes him back to her home in the desert. He snaps her neck during sex and we get a shot of the room where he has covered the walls in drawings and symbols in what appears to be the dead woman’s blood. He than sets the house on fire and drives off in the woman’s vehicle. Ben, a long time resident and detective is working on the case. In another part of Africa a woman named Linda has just left her husband and plans on driving through the desert until she reaches the sea. The three characters paths inevitably cross. Most of Dust Devil takes place in the Namibian desert in an African town called Bethany. Once a town full of life that is now practically deserted. Even the town’s sheriff has been offered two years salary to leave. Dust Devil is a supernatural tale with its name not only referring to the sand tornados but to the story’s cowboy who is in fact a demon. He is a demon that prays only on those who have lost hope. The film is partially narrated by a Shaman who was formerly a projectionist at the local drive-in (the drive-in’s last feature was to be The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires). He gives us much insight to the nature of the beast. Dust Devil is a slow grind but a haunting and mesmerizing one. The endless desert landscapes and moving skies provide the perfect accompaniment to the films theme of hopelessness. There are some beautifully executed and haunting dream sequences scattered through the story and some well used set pieces. One particular scene near the end of the film featuring a deserted sand-filled theatre where a projector comes on as Ben stands in front of the movie screen is fantastic. The score is also wonderful and lends much to the film’s vibe. Dust Devil relies on atmosphere and a slow and steady suspense; there is not much for action sequences nor is there much of a body count. Be warned, there are two versions of Dust Devil out there. The version I watched was called The Final Cut, but there is also a heavily edited version you can buy for five dollars. Apparently the cut version has no narration, less music and a couple scenes have been cut out all together. I was able to rent the final cut version but if you are one for buying titles unfortunately the final cut version is pretty pricy. Dust Devil is beautiful, bleak and completely enthralling.

dust devil

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#7 ARMY OF DARKNESS
Directed By: Sam Raimi

Army of Darkness is definitely my least favourite of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy but I still think it is an energetic crapload of fun. The series moves from horror (Evil Dead), to horror comedy (Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn) to a fantasy action-adventure in Army of Darkness. After going through a time portal Ash ends up in 1300 A.D. Ash is captured and thrown in a pit with a deadite who he defeats and is hailed as a hero. He falls for a woman named Sheila and is sent on a mission to locate and bring back the Necronomicon. Needless to say Ash’s journey does not go well. Along the way he is terrorized by tiny little versions of himself as well as a life-sized evil Ash. When he finds the book there are actually three books and in classic Ash style he forgets the special words he is to use before removing the book which causes all hell to break loose…literally. There are some pretty impressive and outrageously fun effects in Army of Darkness. I loved the Ray Harryhausen-esque army of skeleton soldiers and Evil Ash is a riot. Once again Ash takes quite a bit of bodily punishment. He is terrorized by mini versions of himself and drinks a pot of boiling water to torture one that jumps down his throat. The mini Ash forms the life-size evil Ash clone who deals him a few hearty blows in a three stooges like fight. Ash is as handsome and cheeky as ever spouting out hokey one-liners served up with a healthy dose of clumsy antics that make his character such a lovable smarty pants. I get a real kick out of Army of Darkness!

army of darkness

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#6 INNOCENT BLOOD
Directed By: John Landis

Now Innocent Blood is a vampire flick I can really sink my teeth into. I hadn’t seen this flick in years and now I am wondering why in the hell not?! Innocent Blood is a crazy combination of comedy, horror and crime and is an absolute hoot! Marie is a vampire with a conscience whose personal code dictates she only kills criminals. Unfortunately she is interrupted after biting crime boss Sal and doesn’t get to finish the job. Sal wakes up in the morgue and realizing his new found status converts his crime family into an undead army. Marie sets out to make things right with the help of a cop named Joe. Innocent Blood is a fun movie played for laughs not scares from John Landis who brought us the outstanding American Werewolf in London. It is stylishly filmed and has plenty of action, solid special effects, blood and gore, sex and nudity and an array of recognizable cameos from the horror industry including Dario Argento, Linnea Quigley, Sam Raimi and Tom Savini. Anne Parillaud is sexy as hell as Marie and Anthony LaPaglia is solid as Joe the cop. Robert Loggia is a blast as crime boss Sal “the shark” Macelli. I completely forgot how balls to the wall Innocent Blood was! Landis is definitely not trying to please the masses here with the copious nudity, ridiculous amount of swearing and insane and gory sight gags. This is not a family film; this is a film for comedy horror fans who like it over the top. I enjoyed Innocent Blood so much I intend on adding it to my collection! Seriously entertaining fun!

innocent blood

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#5 TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME
Directed By: David Lynch

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me did not come up on the IMDB horror search but I adore David Lynch and this qualifies enough in my mind. The film is somewhat of a prequel to the television show and could also I suppose be considered postscript to some extent. The film focuses on the last week of the life of Laura Palmer. The film opens with the investigation of the murder of Teresa Banks in Deer Meadow by the FBI. Among the agents is Dale Cooper but the investigation leads to a dead end. One year later we meet several students at a high school in the town of Twin Peaks; among them Laura Palmer. If you have never done so and are interested in checking out the television show you definitely do not want to watch Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. The movie divulges the shows greatest mystery of who killed Laura Palmer, not to mention Laura’s dark extracurricular activities that were contributing factors that led to her death. Since the film specifically focuses on Laura Palmer not every character from the show is part of the plot but the characters that are brought back are all played by the same actors and actresses with the exception of Lara Flynn Boyle who played Laura’s best friend Donna. There are additional characters introduced also including Chris Isaak, Kiefer Sutherland and David Bowie who all play FBI agents. Are real FBI agents that quirky and entertaining? Probably not. I honestly don’t know what more I can say about the film except to offer it does answer some questions left hanging from the show and it is full of weird, beautiful, imaginative imagery that is fascinating, trippy and at times terrifying. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is special for me because I had mad love for the show which featured some of the most interesting and unusual characters to ever appear on cable. I think Fire Walk with Me is a delicious companion piece to the show but I am not sure it would hold much interest for anyone else. Although in my opinion all, and any David Lynch is worth visiting.

Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me

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#4 TETSUO II: BODY HAMMER
Directed By: Shin’ya Tsukamoto

I am probably one of the rare few who enjoyed Tetsuo II: Body Hammer as much as the original. Like its predecessor it is completely bizarre and visually mind blowing. Like the original film the metal fetish theme is the focus and the hyperkinetic visuals, stop motion animation and violence is even grander in this sequel. The film is in color this time around instead of black and white which obviously makes the gory bits stand out. I found the story in Tetsuo II: Body Hammer more coherent and it even answered some questions I had left after watching the original. The films protagonist, a salary man leading a regular sort of life with his wife and son has no memory of his life before he was eight years old. He becomes the target of a group of skinheads and an evil scientist’s experiment and finds his body transforming into a lethal weapon. Trying to explain the premise of Tetsuo II: Body Hammer is impossible in a short paragraph and this is all you need to know really. I highly recommend checking out the original first, although it isn’t really necessary as the two films are not exactly sequels. I loved Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s terrifying glassy vision of Tokyo with its dilapidated factories. The visuals really are something quite extraordinary and really should be seen to be believed. The family drama adds an interesting dynamic of tragedy and the film’s insane finale will not soon be forgotten. Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer are two of the most wild and unique films I have ever seen! Tetuso II: Body Hammer is an action packed, gory, bizarre, jarring and dizzying experience like no other.

tetsuo 2

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#3 MAN BITES DOG
Directed By: Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde

Man Bites Dog is yet another film to make the top ten lists that was not listed as a horror film on IMDB. I don’t believe the filmmakers had any intention of making a horror film, but considering its violence, its serial killer central character and the fact that I think this is an outstanding and unique film I am putting it on the list nonetheless. Man Bites Dog is a black and white mockumentary about a serial killer named Ben. This black as coal comedy hailing from Belgium features a charismatic (albeit racist and misogynistic) killer named Ben who agrees to let a film crew capture his horrific deeds. The film crew besides being complicit in the crimes just by the act of filming them gradually takes an active part in helping to commit the acts. This is a graphic and brutal film despite its comedic leanings. It features not just beatings, shootings and strangulations but a gang rape. The films intentions seem to be to make the viewer uncomfortable and further more gives you cause to feel guilty about watching. The character goes on tangents about immigrants, art and music among other topics and even introduces the crew to his family! You can’t help but laugh at the character and be amused by his audacious nature and than they pull the rug from under you and make you feel guilty for laughing. Ben seems completely indifferent to his crimes, at least until the tables are turned on him. Man Bites Dog is a grim declaration that uses violence to make a statement about society’s obsession with same. I certainly make no apologies for being a lifelong horror fan. I am a sane, reasonable adult who enjoys films that evoke strong emotion, and that would include those outside of the genre also. I will not deny however that I have seen some horror films over the years that made me feel sick and sad and guilty for sitting through them. To be perfectly honest though, I feel more guilt about being a human being when I read the news. Perhaps I am reading more into Man Bites Dog than what is actually there. Man Bites Dog is a well made, fascinating, darkly funny, disturbing and dare I say, sobering film.

man bites dog

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#2 CANDYMAN
Directed By: Bernard Rose

Candyman. Candyman. Candyman. Candyman. Candyman. I do enjoy a good urban legend! A well known artist and son of a slave falls in love with a white woman who he impregnates. A lynch mob descends upon the artist and cut off the hand he paints with and replaces it with a hook. The mob smears the artist with honey, chanting Candyman as he is stung to death by bees. Helen, a graduate student researching urban legends for a thesis learns of the legend of Candyman. The legend claims that repeating Candyman’s name five times while looking into a mirror will materialize the man who will than kill you with his hook. Helen and her friend Bernadette try it out but nothing happens. The two women decide to investigate a housing project called Cabrini-Green, the site of an unsolved murder allegedly linked to Candyman. While there they are told by a boy named Jake that a child was castrated by Candyman in a public restroom nearby. When Helen checks out the restroom she is attacked by a Candyman copycat who is later arrested. It turns out however that Helen’s summoning of the legend worked as Candyman appears to her. Candyman is based on a short story by Clive Barker. Bernard Rose moves the story from England to Chicago. Candyman is a gem of a horror film with an atmosphere so thick with intensity it could be cut with a knife. A genuinely creepy atmosphere that is beautifully complimented by Philip Glass’ haunting score. Smart, disturbing, spooky and wonderfully cast and acted. Helen is a strong and intelligent character that is played exquisitely by Virginia Madsen. Tony Todd is perfectly cast as the handsome and powerful urban legend and that fantastic voice of his is used to brilliant effect. Great use of the Chicago setting and little details like the artwork on the walls of Cabrini-Green are magic. Reality and surrealism collide in Rose’s expert visuals and he does not hold back with the gore. Candyman is horror done right, every detail is picture perfect including its outstanding story and balls out finale. Damn shame the sequels didn’t live up to the original; the third segment is almost unwatchable. Candyman is without a doubt one of the best horror films of the decade that should not be missed.

candyman

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#1 DEAD ALIVE
Directed By: Peter Jackson

Dead Alive is my favourite horror comedy of all time and its position in the number one spot was an easy choice. Seriously, it is not “one” of my favourite horror-comedies it is my favourite; I put no other horror-comedy above it. Dead Alive is a fecking visual extravaganza and is not only the funniest horror-comedy but the goriest. Overbearing mother from hell Vera Cosgrove is bitten by a Sumatran Rat-Monkey while spying on her son Lionel and his date Paquita at the zoo. Vera becomes a zombie. Instead of killing his hideous mother Lionel attempts to keep her confined by tranquilizing her. Of course mum starts chomping down on visitors and soon Lionel has a gaggle of zombies locked in the basement. Unfortunately mum escapes but is hit by a tram. Because of this very public accident Lionel is forced to pretend his mother is dead. In order to keep her quiet during the funeral he gives her an extra heavy dose of the tranquilizer. Complicating his life further is the appearance of his greedy and sleazy Uncle Les who is looking to get a piece of the inheritance. Poor Lionel! All this and trying to juggle a new relationship! Timothy Balme and Diana Peñalver are both charming and delightful as Lionel and Paquita and Elizabeth Moody kicks some serious ass as the hideous Vera/mum! How delightful is it that it is a bite from a Sumatran Rat-Monkey that causes the zombie outbreak? What exactly is a Sumatran Rat-Monkey you ask? They are a rare species native to Skull Island (note the King Kong reference) and are tree monkeys that have been raped by plague ridden rats! And how many zombie films do you know of that feature zombies having sex that produce a zombie baby?! I don’t want to spoil all the surprises for you if for some bizarre reason you haven’t seen this film. Why have you not seen this film? Dead Alive is a gore laden zombie fest packed with piles and piles of blood and guts! Zombies are dismembered in all manner of ways including one of horror’s most epic scenes featuring a lawnmower! Even dismembering doesn’t always take them down and the non-infected are also forced to deal with animated intestines and severed heads among other goodies. And then there is the reappearance of Vera in the finale. Oh boy! If Lionel thought mom was demanding before he ain’t seen nothing yet!! Dead Alive is a gorehounds dream and it is outrageously fun, deliriously vile and insanely entertaining!

dead alive

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DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #30 – #26

Posted in movies with tags , , , , , on July 18, 2012 by goregirl

My 50 Favourite Directors #30 – #26

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

This list takes me to the mid-point of my project! A few well known directors here; A South Korean, A New Zealander and 3 Americans…

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#30. Chan-Wook Park

What I’ve Seen: Joint Security Area (2000), Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Oldboy (2003), Lady Vengeance (2005), I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK (2006), Thirst (2009)

South Korean director Chan-Wook Park has contributed some extremely impressive entries for just 9 full length feature films. Oldboy is one of the best films of the past decade or EVER for that matter! Also top notch films I gave high marks to; the unflinching Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, the serenely violent Lady Vengeance, the quirky love story I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Ok, the war thriller Joint Security Area and the delicious vampire tale Thirst. In other words, I thoroughly enjoyed all six of Park’s 9 entries I’ve seen. I look forward to seeing anything by Park but I am a little perplexed by his upcoming film. Park just completed the film Stoker which was not written by him (all 6 of Park’s films I’ve seen were written by him) and appears to have been filmed in Tennessee and has no South Korean actors/actresses in it. I will certainly be seeing it nonetheless. Park’s intelligent, violent, well-acted and beautifully filmed stories are worth their weight in gold.

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#29. Peter Jackson

What I’ve Seen: Bad Taste (1987), Meet the Feebles (1989), Braindead (1992), Heavenly Creatures (1994), The Frighteners (1996), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), King Kong (2005), The Lovely Bones (2009)

I have seen all 10 of New Zealand director Peter Jackson’s 10 full length feature films. Jackson currently has two Hobbit films in pre-production and Tintin was just announced. I wish I could get more excited about Jackson’s newer films. It is all about his first five films for me. His films Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles and Dead Alive (aka Braindead) are what landed him on this list. Low budget but big hearted extravaganzas of gore, goo, brain eating, foul-mouthed puppets, bad mothers, nasty aliens and lawnmower massacres. So much seriously fantastic fun! Than came the excellent Heavenly Creatures based on a real murder case starring a young Kate Winslet which he followed up with the wonderfully energetic The Frighteners. His attention turned towards fantasy with the epic 3 part trilogy based on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Apparently he is a massive fan of Tolkien’s book and this was a dream project. I just am not really in to the fantasy thing. I can certainly appreciate the achievement particularly where the visuals are concerned, and the Wargs are pretty cool, as are most of the other creatures. I really enjoyed the walking trees! With two Hobbit films in the making I guess he is going to be sticking to this fantasy shtick for a while. I was impressed with the visuals in King Kong and thought Naomi Watts was a great choice in the lead role but was disappointed by the film overall. I felt much the same about The Lovely Bones. I wonder if Jackson would ever go back to basics after these epic projects. Well, it seems unlikely but we will always have Dead Alive. Always.

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#28. Francis Ford Coppola

What I’ve Seen: The Terror (1963), Dementia 13 (1963), Finian’s Rainbow (1968), The Rain People (1969), The Godfather (1972), The Conversation (1974), The Godfather: Part II (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979), One from the Heart (1982), Rumble Fish (1983), The Outsiders (1983), The Cotton Club (1984), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), Gardens of Stone (1987), Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), The Godfather: Part III (1990), Dracula (1992), Supernova (2000), Youth Without Youth (2007), Tetro (2009)

Francis Ford Coppola is the first director so far to have one of my favourite of all time and one of my most loathed of all films on his list. The Godfather and its brilliant sequel are so mighty they easily excuse Supernova as merely a pimple. The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, Rumble Fish and The Outsiders are all Coppola films I love and adore. That is an impressive sextet of entries! A good chunk of this list is adapted from books which is always an iffy business. Seems like when you adapt from a beloved book you open yourself to additional criticism. I don’t think any book was more beloved by my classmates and me as a child than S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. I loved this movie and seen it at the theatre 4 times! And of course the epic The Godfather 1 & 2 based on Mario Puzo’s book whom also co-wrote the screenplay. Probably a big part of the reason it is one of the best book to screen adaptations of all time. I have seen 19 of Coppola’s 28 full length feature films. I will admit there are films on this list (other than Supernova) that I am not crazy about, but the awesomeness of the entries I do dig (Hello! The mother-fucking Godfather!) gives Coppola solid footing.

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#27. Quentin Tarantino

What I’ve Seen: Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), Sin City (2005), Grindhouse/Death Proof (2007), Inglourious Basterds (2009)

I have seen all 10 full length feature films directed by Quentin Tarantino. One of these 10 credits however notes him as a “guest director” (Sin City). What the hell does that mean? Did he direct half of the film? Did he just give his opinion? What the hell? In any case, I really dig Tarantino’s flicks. Reservoir Dogs was my first and is still my favourite, but Kill Bill, its sequel and Pulp Fiction also received perfect marks from me. Tarantino helped to breathe new life into American made films with plenty of retro ideals. Tarantino made old, new again and he even gave one of my favourite actresses of the 70s a lead role in Jackie Brown. It certainly was awesome to see the fabulous Ms. Pam Grier rocking a pantsuit again! Not to mention a great charismatic performance from the lovely actress! SPOILER** I really enjoyed the scene in Jackie Brown where Louis (Robert DeNiro) shoots Melanie (Bridget Fonda)! One of the funniest scenes EVER! I have yet to see a Tarantino film I did not like, although I did have some issues with Death Proof. I found the mess of “super cool” female characters (particular in the first half) rather unlikable. I should have felt bad about what happened to the gals, and just did not. I sure did enjoy Kurt Russell, his bad ass car and the delightful Zoe Bell though! While Quentin Tarantino does “borrow” from days gone by he always makes it his own; intriguing characters grace Tarantino’s quirky, violent, crime capers and revenge flicks and each one is a real treat. I will definitely be seeing Tarantino’s upcoming film Django Unchained in the theatre and Kill Bill Vol. 3 is also listed as “announced” on IMDB! Keep on keeping on my man!

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#26. Stanley Kubrick

What I’ve Seen: Killer’s Kiss (1955), The Killing (1956), Paths of Glory (1957), Spartacus (1960), Lolita (1962), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975), The Shining (1980), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

I’ve seen 12 of Stanley Kubrick’s 13 full length feature films. 13?! The man’s career began in the 50s and continued until his death March 7, 1999 at the age of 70. I assume based on the quantity and quality of successful features Kubrick directed he probably could have pumped out a film every year and someone would have financed it. Clearly the man was serious about his work and the end product reflects that. Strange, disturbing, violent, biographical, hilarious thoughtful and always original; each one of Kubrick’s films have left their mark on me (well, okay, not Eyes Wide Shut…but every OTHER one). The list at its weakest point is good and at its strongest point, monumental and epic! The Shining is one of the best horror films ever made, and Dr Strangelove is one of the best comedies and Full Metal Jacket one of the best of the war flicks. A Clockwork Orange, Lolita and The Killing are also films I rank highly! He took filmmaking to all new groundbreaking levels and it is no wonder he is admired by so many. I suspect Mr. Kubrick is on many film fans favourite lists, as he should be. Kubrick is brilliant. That is all.

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DON’T DELIVER US FROM EVIL (1971) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in France, horror, movies with tags , , , , , , on May 11, 2010 by goregirl

Don’t Deliver Us From Evil has been on my to see list for a number of years but I had not been able to find it until recently. If you’ve seen Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures you will have some idea what this one is about. Both films are based on the shocking 1954 New Zealand murder of Honora Rieper who was bludgeoned to death by her teenage daughter Pauline Parker, and her best friend Juliet Hulme. Heavenly Creatures is a more accurate version of the story while Don’t Deliver Us From Evil is only loosely based on the Parker-Hulme case. French director Joël Séria adds several elements from his own Catholic upbringing to the story adding a deliciously blasphemous touch that got his film banned in France.

The film begins with Anne watching as a nun gets undressed behind a sheer curtain. She then hides under her sheet with a flashlight and writes in her diary. Her friend Lore sneaks in with her to show her a book of erotic writing she found in the convents attic. The two girls are close friends and in this opening scene it is made clear that it is their desire to do as many naughty things as possible. The girls attend school at a Catholic convent where they live through the week. On weekends they go home to their families and the girls generally see each only briefly on Sundays when they attend church with their parents. Stifled by their religion and the anal retentive system they are forced to be a part of they want nothing more than to rebel against it. Their first order of business is to renounce Jesus and offer themselves to Satan so he may “help them be ever more wicked and help them do evil”. As summer vacation approaches they make plans for a ceremony and steal various religious artifacts from the convent. While attending church we see the girls accept the body of Christ wafers in their mouths, which they later remove, and hide away. Summer vacation finally arrives and Anne’s parents are leaving her alone for two months. Soon the girls are seeing each other every day. They spend time reading controversial books and riding their bicycles but are soon teasing older men and letting cows out of their penned in areas. It isn’t long before their actions become more sinister. Eventually the girls are faced with a situation where they are forced to defend themselves and the result ends in death. The film climaxes with a great surprise ending that left me completely silent.

Anne and Lore look like typical teenagers, they appear to come from relatively stable homes and seem to have little to complain about. There is some strain between each girl and her parents, but who wants to spend a lot of time hanging out with their parents when they are teenagers? Speaking for myself, I thought my parents were a stone cold drag when I was in my teen years. The girls are generally buoyant and spend a lot of time giggling. These are not morose teens that never smile and wear black clothing. These girls look very young and really do seem to carry a certain amount of innocence. There is no denying the strong sexual undercurrent in the film. Although Lore and Anne are clearly interested in sexuality they have no use for sex. Although Anne is the more dominant of the two it is Lore who relentlessly teases a man much older than her. Lore has no intention of following through, and this in fact is what ends up being the girls undoing. Both girls are well cast and have excellent chemistry together. Jeanne Goupil is amazing as Anne. It is hard to believe this was her first acting role. The black haired beauty plays it light and carefree and is very natural. Doe-eyed blonde Catherine Wagener plays Lore with the perfect balance of submissiveness and mischievousness. The film is a bit slow paced early but there is some necessary background learned which does enhance the action later on. Once summer vacation begins things get quite lively. There are some disturbing moments in the film although certainly by modern standards it is quite tame. There is no blood or gore in Don’t Deliver Us From Evil. The disturbing moments come from the girl’s blatant cruelty, particularly where it pertains to the feeble-minded gardener. The film has a ton of style and great locations and at times it has an almost dream-like quality. There are some interesting extras on the DVD, which include interviews with Director Joël Séria, actress Jeanne Goupil and writer Paul Buck.

The film was more subtle and artful then I was expecting. Not that this is a bad thing, I was just expecting something more hysterical and over the top along the lines of Alucarda. This aside, Don’t Deliver Us From Evil is a fascinating film and is quite mesmerizing. The outstanding performances, mood and style alone are reason to seek this one out, but the absolutely unforgettable ending cinches the deal! This is a found gem that comes highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Joël Séria

Starring: Jeanne Goupil, Catherine Wagener, Gérard Darrieu, Marc Dudicourt, Michel Robin, Véronique Silver, Jean-Pierre Helbert, Nicole Mérouze, Henri Poirier, Serge Frédéric, René Berthier, Frédéric Nort