Archive for stuart gordon

Help Stuart Gordon’s NEVERMORE on Kickstarter

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

I just backed Nevermore on Kickstarter; the new project from Stuart Gordon & Jeffrey Combs. The same Stuart Gordon who gave to me two of my favourite horror films from the 1980s; Re-Animator and From Beyond. A crapload of other entertaining entries too like Dolls, The Pit and the Pendulum, Castle Freak, Space Truckers and Dagon. I NEED to see Gordon’s Nevermore so PLEDGE NOW! I just had a look at the Kickstarter page and Nevermore has raised $77,315 of its $375,000 goal with 7 days to go. The thing with Kickstarter is it is all or nothing; if the goal isn’t reached they get no money. You can donate as much or as little as you like and they have all sorts of nifty incentives too. Watch the video and/or read about Nevermore below and than head on over to their Kickstarter page and make a pledge.

Taken from the Kickstarter page:

Master Horror director Stuart Gordon, brilliant actor Jeffrey Combs and inspired screenwriter Dennis Paoli – the team that brought you From Beyond and Re-Animator – team up again to bring you a brand new feature film – NEVERMORE.

The incredible Jeffrey Combs stars as Edgar Allan Poe, haunted by spirits of the dead and the imp of the perverse as he attempts one last recitation of The Raven to save himself from a life of crushing poverty and soul destroying alcoholism. The screenplay is adapted from the script for the stage play Nevermore – which ran in Los Angeles and toured the country to sold out houses and great acclaim. A selection of reviews and articles: Los Angeles Times, Shock Till You Drop, The Batimore Sun and Fear Net.

NEVERMORE is set in 1848, a year after the death of Poe’s beloved wife Virginia (and a year before his own.) He had become internationally famous as the author of ‘The Raven’ and his ‘Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque.’ But his fame did not provide fortune and so he was constantly seeking financial security and respect from the literary establishment.

This is Poe in his own words. Our text is taken from his letters and essays and we have based our evening on reviews and reports of his actual appearances. Our goal is to present a sense of the fascinating man behind the poetry and brilliant tales, a man who could be his own worst enemy, and whose life was even more bizarre and tragic than his strangest story.

The film will expand on the stage play by dramatizing some of Poe’s most famous works, including The Raven, The Tell Tale Heart and Annabel Lee.

Nevermore will be presented with period sets and costumes true to the era including gas lamp lighting.

Nevermore Poster

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Alan Hynes’ Posters

Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1991

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2013 by goregirl

There was a tremendous amount of truly awful films from 1991. I seen sixty-eight films from the year and gave twenty-five of them a failing mark. That left me only 43 films to choose from, and twenty of those received just a pass (2.5/5). I have compiled these top ten lists for every year of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and have never failed that many films in a single year. Sitting through some of these films was like stabbing myself repeatedly with a blunt object. In any case, this is what I came up with; I rated the film in the number one spot 5/5, the film in the two spot was rated 4.5/5, films three, four and five were rated 4/5 and films six through ten were rated 3.5/5. I rated just one other film 3.5/5 and that was Bloodsucking Pharaohs of Pittsburgh.

*Have you entered my Grunge Cinema Criterion Contest to win a $50 Criterion gift certificate? You still can here.

*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 THE BONEYARD
Directed By: James Cummins

The Boneyard is a little oddity that I missed out on in the 90s and only discovered a few years back. Two cops attempt to enlist the aid of a psychic who has helped them solve cases in the past. This exchange is quite bizarre and strangely serious considering what occurs later in the film. The case they need her assistance with involves a man who has been arrested for keeping children locked in his basement. The accused claims he had no choice due to a family curse that must be fulfilled. The two cops and the psychic end up at the morgue which is where the majority of the film’s action takes place. This film is far more fun than it is frightening. It obviously doesn’t want to be taken too seriously. The effects are cheesy and over the top and quite wonderful! The little zombie children had delightfully nasty looking makeup and the creatures were ridiculous but definitely a blast. There is a 50 foot tall zombie poodle for god’s sake! Most of the comedy comes from the visuals and not the dialogue. This is a wee bit of a shame since they cast Phyllis Diller as a cranky night clerk named Miss Poopinplatz and Norman Fell as coroner Shepard. More effective verbal humour would have gotten this one even higher marks. However, the visual humour is impressive and really is a hoot! Have I mentioned there is a 50 foot tall zombie poodle?!! If you are a fan of the horror-comedy genre and you like it cheesy I think The Boneyard is a must see!

BONEYARD

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#9 HIRUKO THE GOBLIN
Directed By: Shin’ya Tsukamoto

I am definitely a fan of Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s films and particularly his outrageously creative visuals. The man knows how to make the most of camera angles, lights and color and while Hiruko the Goblin is definitely a more light-hearted affair than some of his other entries like Tetsuo, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer and Tokyo Fist it certainly screams of his visuals. Professor Yabe and a young female student discover a creature in a cave nearby the school and are quickly attacked after which all hell breaks loose. Soon a nasty little goblin named Hiruko who was buried under the local high school that is closed for summer holidays is suddenly lively and stealing heads. Hiruko the Goblin has a spirited enough pace and a decent body count and features a possessed Janitor, human heads on mechanical spider bodies, gore, strange crustacean/insect creatures, and a character with a penchant for creating bizarre Macgyver-esque gadgets from kitchen implements. Hiruko the Goblin is a horror comedy with outrageously fun albeit cheesy effects. The effects are really as amusing as they are creepy. While I would not say Hiruko the Goblin is a film for children it does have a child-like joy about it full of silliness and crazy creature effects. Hiruko the Goblin’s story is a bit needlessly complicated and characters could have been better developed but it was pretty damn fun despite that and well worth a look.

HIRUKO THE GOBLIN

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#8 POISON
Directed By: Todd Haynes

Poison is a weird but interesting collection of three intertwined stories, each shot in a unique way. One story is about a boy named Richie who allegedly shot his father to death who than, according to his mother flew out the window. The segment is done in a documentary style and is a collection of interviews with various people who knew Richie including classmates, teachers, his family doctor and his mother. Another story is filmed in black and white seemingly intended to mimic the sci-fi horror from the fifties. A scientist succeeds in isolating the elixir of human sexuality. When visited by a fellow female scientist and a great admirer of his work he becomes distracted and accidently drinks the elixir. The elixir transforms the scientist into a murderous leper. The third story is about a gay inmate named John Broom. Broom becomes attracted to a fellow prisoner who he recalls in flashbacks was taunted and tortured as a youth when they were both in an institution for juvenile delinquents. In the early part of Poison I thought perhaps the stories were connected in some way, but really the only thing that connects them is a theme of sexuality. The sexuality in the science fiction and prison stories is obvious from my summary. The story of the boy Richie also has its sexuality as the young boy witnesses his mother having sex with another man. In two of the interviews a doctor comments on Richie’s genitals and a student claims Richie exposed himself. To say the film is ambiguous is an understatement. I enjoy an ambiguous story but Poison leaves behind a little more mystery than I cared for. I can’t say I found it unappealing though. The visuals throughout were intriguing, alluring, disturbing and at times mesmerizing. I especially enjoyed the black and white sci-fi segment. Although Poison does contain some horror elements I would not classify it as a horror film. It is more art house fare than anything.

POISON

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#7 SUBSPECIES
Directed By: Ted Nicolaou

The good people at Fullmoon contributed a few gems to the 90s and Subspecies is the first of two to make the list for 1991 (the second is in the three hole). The film opens with the return of Radu an evil vampire and the estranged son of King Vladislav. Radu has come to claim the bloodstone an ancient vessel that contains the blood of saints. Radu craves power and believes it is his birthright as the eldest son. The king isn’t having any of it and attempts to cage Radu, but Radu easily escapes and kills his father. We are than transported to a train station where we meet three young college students. The lovely ladies are the only guests staying in a historic stone building with the exception of a handsome zoologist who only studies at night. The women intend on studying the customs of the small superstitious village. The handsome zoologist Stefan as it turns out is the half brother of Radu and the two vampire brothers engage in a battle of good versus evil. Subspecies is filmed in Romania and the location and its amazing old architecture is absolutely beautiful. The effects are slim and not particularly well executed but I got a kick out of them nonetheless. As sketchy as they were I enjoyed Radu’s little demon helpers! And Radu himself is an absolute delight. He is one ugly freaking vampire. Radu is in desperate need of a manicure, drools like a leaky faucet and has a voice as smooth as sandpaper. Radu is evil to the core and is a crapload of fun! The acting in the film was tolerable enough but some of the minor characters were horribly flat. Angus Scrimm’s name is featured prominently but has only the brief appearance in the films opening scene as King Vladislav. Seems a shame they didn’t use him more, at least in some flashback scenes or something. More concentration on the vampire family and less on the women would have been most welcomed. There is a little bit of gore and nudity but overall it just barely warrants its R Rating. Subspecies is all about Radu who is one of the most entertaining vampires to grace the subgenre.

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#6 LA SETTA
Directed By: Michele Soavi

La Setta or The Sect if the name didn’t tip you off is a satanic worship/cult sort of thing. It is a rather convoluted one at that, although not unenjoyable. La Setta begins with a flashback to 70s California but the balance of the film takes place in present day (present day 1991 that is) Frankfurt Germany. We begin with a man who kills and takes the heart of a woman who “disobeyed” and later shoots himself in the head when he is caught by police. We than meet a well meaning school teacher named Miriam Kreisl who nearly hits a man with her car and offers to take him to the hospital. The man, Moebius Kelly ends up resting on Miriam’s couch where he uses the opportunity to slip some sort of insect into her nasal passage while she is sleeping. Miriam unwillingly becomes involved with the cult who has chosen her as the mother of their unholy leader’s baby. That is probably a bit of a spoiler but I think it is blazingly clear quite early that this is the direction it is going. Soavi’s visuals are fantastic. One particular dream sequence is very trippy-terrific and the downright bizarre ritual towards the films finale that incorporates a birdman and a birthing well is still firmly imprinted on my brain. Kelly Curtis is a likable protagonist and the great Herbert Lom is solid as Moebius Kelly. La Setta has a good atmosphere and an appropriate pace that builds some decent tension. My biggest bones to pick were Pino Donaggio’s disappointing score that at times was just plain awful. I actually thought the ending was great prior to the twoish minutes they tacked on prior to the credits but this final revelation left a bit of bad taste in my mouth. I do enjoy me some devilish hi-jinx and despite its flaws I found La Setta entertaining.

la setta

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#5 THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS
Directed By: Wes Craven

I hadn’t seen The People Under the Stairs in several years before this recent viewing and remembered very little about it. I was slightly scared off by the fact a child was at the centre of the action as this can often result is a ball-less affair but The People Under the Stairs has a little something for everyone. Fool and his family have been evicted from their home by their landlords the Robesons. It is decided that they should rob the Robeson’s home. What they don’t know however is that the Robesons and their huge labyrinth-like residence are full of nasty surprises. The psychotic and incestuous brother and sister are ruthless killers that have a basement full of cannibals who were once children of the Robesons who disobeyed them. Fans of Twin Peaks will remember the delightfully coo-coo eye patch wearing Nadine Hurley and her brow-beaten hubby Ed who are both just spectacularly nuts as the Robesons in The People Under the Stairs. The performances are pretty strong across the board. The film has a spirited pace and tons of action. While gore is somewhat limited there are some nasty tidbits here and there and the effects included are very good. The house is simply magnificent with its endless labyrinth of passageways and its aging and crumbling bricks and plaster. You can practically smell the dust and decay in your living room. For me the Robeson’s and their sick twisted history was a major highlight. They throw in a kidnapped girl, a vicious dog and a little S&M for good measure. The People Under the Stairs is a fun-filled, nasty, thrilling, action-packed adventure.

the people under the stairs

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#4 964 PINOCCHIO
Directed By: Shozin Fukui

964 Pinocchio is a lobotomized cyborg sex slave who is sold to a couple of rich eccentric women. When their sex slave is unable to maintain an erection they throw him out on the street. A young woman named Himiko befriends Pinocchio after he flops down and puts his head in her lap. Himiko tries to help Pinocchio adapt and teaches him how to speak. Eventually Pinocchio begins to question who he is and both himself and Himiko take one bizarre, insane, dizzying journey through hell. I think most of us are familiar with the story of Pinocchio; the little wooden doll who wants to become a real boy. To say 964 Pinocchio is a unique interpretation of the story is probably a grand understatement! There are several, long dizzying POV shots, insane angles, quick cuts, stop motion animation not to mention one of the longest vomiting scenes of all time. A scene where Pinocchio’s skin melts off looked like they used paint for the effects judging by the thickness and bold coloring of the ooze. Pinocchio running at breakneck speed down a busy pedestrian littered street with huge clamps around his neck chained to a concrete block he is pulling behind him is really something else! The film’s effects are definitely creative! 964 Pinocchio is not always an easy film to follow with its lack of dialog, tweaked-out visuals, abrasive sound effects and the screaming. Flashback scenes are shot at you like a machine gun and you would miss something if you blinked. Obviously the film relies heavily on its visuals. The ending mystified me, but it was nonetheless a trip. 964 Pinocchio was a fascinating, bizarre and creative bit of insanity! To read the full review click here.

964 pinocchio

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#3 THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM
Directed By: Stuart Gordon

The Pit and the Pendulum is not a remake of Roger Corman’s 1961 film and it also has very little to do with Edgar Allan Poe’s story with the exception of its titular device. Set in 1400s Spain the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada reigns with bloody supremacy enacting torture on the populace in the name of religion. A woman named Maria airs her grievances during a public torture and is herself accused of being a witch. The evil Torquemada is perplexed and disoriented by his desire for the beautiful Maria and throws her in the prison where she befriends Esmerelda a confessed witch. Meanwhile Maria’s husband Antonio makes a failed attempt to free his innocent wife and is sent to the torture chambers. Lance Henrikson is absolutely top notch evil as Torquemada. He enacts his torture in the name of god with such utterly nasty conviction! He tortures and kills a shitload of people without blinking an eye. Rona De Ricci is a lovely and likable choice as the innocent Maria who challenges Torquemada’s vows. Jeffrey Combs is fun as Francisco and is really the only character that doesn’t seem to get a thrill from the unsavory duties he enacts. He is pretty kooky looking with that hair and those giant horn-rimmed glasses though. And Oliver Reed has a brief but memorable cameo as the Cardinal. There is a little humour throughout the film which seemed a bit unnecessary but is occasionally effective. There is not a moment of downtime from The Pit and the Pendulum’s brutal opening to its action packed and crazy finale! It is bad fecking news to be accused of witchcraft; confess or don’t confess either way you are tortured. There is more violence than you can shake a stick at! The visuals are solid and the sets and costumes are fantastic. Stuart Gordon’s The Pit and the Pendulum is a thrilling and unsavory bit of nasty wonderfulness not to be missed!

the pit and the pendulum

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#2 THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

I don’t really consider The Silence of the Lambs a horror film. It also did not come up on the IMDB horror search for 1991. I felt somewhat obligated to include it since I included Misery which also did not come up on the IMDB horror search. It does in fact feature not one, but two serial killers even if it is more interested in the hunt to track down a serial killer than the serial killer’s dirty deeds. Frankly, it was a weak year and The Silence of the Lambs is a solid film, so here it is nonetheless. FBI agent in-training Clarice Starling is tasked with enlisting the aid of imprisoned psycho psychiatrist Hannibal “the cannibal” Lecter. The FBI believe Lecter may have information that could lead them to a serial killer coined Buffalo Bill who has abducted a prominent Senator’s daughter. Starling wins Lecter’s confidence but the cannibal psychiatrist makes the fledgling FBI agent work for her answers while the life of the Senator’s daughter hangs in the balance. The Silence of the Lambs heavily focuses on the relationship between Starling and Lecter which is good because it is the film’s best asset. Outside of Starling and Lecter’s back and forth and the outstanding performances from Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins The Silence of the Lambs is a fairly standard thriller. It is definitely the performances that elevate this film to a higher tier. Lecter is one of celluloid’s most intriguing killers; intelligent, charismatic and well-spoken as well as a master manipulator and mind fucker who hungers for human flesh. Hopkins is truly chilling and fascinating as the brilliant albeit psychotic cannibal psychiatrist. Starling when forced into a quid pro quo lays her soul bare and it is not impossible to understand how Lecter might find her honesty and frankness alluring. I would certainly question the wisdom of sending a student FBI agent to deal with such a foe but Foster is a great actress who brings strength to the Starling character that makes it work beautifully. The Silence of the Lambs is an outstanding character-driven crime thriller to be enjoyed with some liver, fava beans and a nice Chianti.

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#1 NAKED LUNCH
Directed By: David Cronenberg

Like The Silence of the Lambs, I have never really considered Naked Lunch a horror film, but it actually did show up on the IMBD horror search, so it instantly qualifies. Also, I fucking love this film! Naked Lunch is only loosely based on William S. Burroughs’ novel Naked Lunch. Cronenberg turns the story into more of a semi-autobiographical account of Burroughs life. Characters are based on real life acquaintances Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Joan Vollmer and Paul and Jane Bowles. Bill Lee is an exterminator whose wife Joan is addicted to the insecticide he uses to kill bugs. Bill too is affected by the substance which causes him to have severe hallucinations. So severe are his hallucinations that he believes he is a secret agent for an organization called Interzone and is assigned tasks by a giant insect! Naked Lunch is an epic film that can not and should not be summed up in a short paragraph. I intend on doing a detailed review later in the month so I shall not dwell on its wonderfully bizarre story. I can’t think of a single director who could capture Burroughs vibe better than David Cronenberg! This film is such a trip! The visuals are mind-bendingly phenomenal and the perfect casting of Peter Weller as Bill Lee and Judy Davis in her dual roles as Joan Lee and her doppelganger Joan Frost are spot on. Weller and Davis get perfect support from the likes of Roy Scheider, Ian Holm, Julian Sands and Canadian mainstay Nicholas Campbell (who also made appearances in Cronenberg’s Fast Company, The Brood and The Dead Zone). Naked Lunch is a film that has withstood countless viewings and always leaves me awestruck; it is a brilliant mind twist with unforgettable images and fantastic performances that is truly a one of a kind experience.

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CASTLE FREAK (1995) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2012 by goregirl

Stuart Gordon is awesome. Gordon’s Re-Animator and From Beyond are two of my favourite horror films of all time! His 1987 film Dolls is a lot of fun too. Gordon continued to deliver the horror goods through the 90s with The Pit and the Pendulum and Castle Freak. The Pit and the Pendulum (review pending) is my favourite of the two but Castle Freak does have its share of neato. Evidently Gordon has continued to make films through the 2000s; I am particularly fond of his 2001 film Dagon. Now that I have established I am a fan of Stuart Gordon’s I will talk a little about Castle Freak.

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Castle Freak opens with a scene where an elderly lady throws some bread and meat in a metal bowl and walks down to a dungeon. We don’t get a full glimpse of what is in the cell but we do see the old woman whip someone or something with a cat o’ nine tails. We get just a glimpse of the poor Castle Freak’s back. He is clearly man not creature and he has some pretty freaking nasty scars! He is one gnarly messed up looking dude! You can’t really blame him for having issues, but I won’t give away his story. Our unfortunate Castle Freak sports some pretty sweet and impressive effects makeup. It really is quite grotesque. Castle Freak also provides the film’s gore. There isn’t much of a body count in the film but they certainly make the gore that is included memorable. If you remember nothing else about this film you will remember the nipple/cunnilingus scene. Not much bothers me when it comes to horror and gore but animal violence does get under my skin; even when it clearly looks like a stuffed animal. I could have lived without the cat scene, but it is quick. Be warned you do have to wait a while to see our Castle-Freaking bad boy in action.

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Enter John Reilly and his family who have inherited the castle. The family have their own drama to deal with and will only be staying in the castle long enough to take inventory of the contents. John was in an accident while driving drunk that killed his son and left his daughter blind. His wife Susan has struggled to come to terms with the event but cannot bring herself to forgive John. Susan is overprotective of their daughter Rebecca who has been living with her blindness for several years. Rebecca wants to deal with her affliction in her own way. I wouldn’t call Castle Freak a heavy-handed drama, but I was a little surprised by the serious tone considering it is called Castle Freak. Come on! Castle Freak?! That name screams camp! That said Castle Freak is a pretty twisted tale. Castle Freak is a 90s style Quasimodo or Frankenstein type story smushed together with a family drama. I would have gone lighter on the family stuff but the two storylines intertwine pretty well. Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton both play it straight here and do a decent job of it. Jessica Dollarhide is also pretty good as Rebecca.

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Castle Freak is lightly based on H.P. Lovecraft’s story The Outsider. Gordon does love his Lovecraft! A couple early scenes lagged just a little but otherwise Castle Freak has a fairly steady pace that ramps up nicely towards the finale. I thought the effects were great particularly the makeup for the Castle Freak and although not plentiful the gore leaves an impression. Castle Freak has a decent story but the visuals definitely help sell it. The castle itself was very cool and the film has a perfect gothic atmosphere. Castle Freak is not a perfect film but just the same it is a solid and entertaining watch. Recommended.

Dungeon Rating: 3.5/5

Directed By: Stuart Gordon

Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Jonathan Fuller, Jessica Dollarhide, Massimo Sarchielli, Elisabeth Kaza, Luca Zingaretti, Helen Stirling, Alessandro Sebastian Satta, Raffaella Offidani, Marco Stefanelli, Tunny Piras, Rolando Cortegiani

THE MASTERS OF HORROR Series – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, USA with tags , , , , on June 30, 2009 by goregirl

Masters of Horror is Thirteen, one hour long tales of the macabre, filmed by some of Horror’s greatest directors. How could I not be excited about this?!! The Showtime series lasted two seasons and 26 episodes. I haven’t had cable for years so I eagerly anticipated the series arrival on DVD. The first disc I rented had two episodes, Dreams in the Witch-House and Cigarette Burns. Even after having seen all 26, these are still two of my favorites. So I was hooked right off the bat. I
ended up renting the entire season and watched them all in a matter of days. Now I was going to have to wait forever before Season two came out! Unfortunately, after much anticipation, I found the second season overall, pretty mediocre. Yes, there are a few duds here, but there are also some outstanding examples of horror done right. When you have thirteen directors with different visions and styles you are going to get a pretty mixed bag of goodies. Everyone is going to have their personal favorites. Below is a list of every episode and who it was directed by as well as the Dungeon’s TOP 4 episodes. Honorable
mentions should go out to Larry Cohen’s ‘PICK ME UP’ and Takashi Miike’s ‘IMPRINT’, which features one of the most vile and ugly scenes of torture and humiliation I have laid eyes upon.

SEASON ONE

Incident on and Off a Mountain Road – Directed By: Don Coscarelli
Dreams in the Witch-House – Directed By: Stuart Gordon
Dance of the Dead – Directed By: Tobe Hooper
Jenifer – Directed By: Dario Argento
Chocolate – Directed By: Mick Garris
Homecoming – Directed By: Joe Dante
Deer Woman – Directed By: John Landis
Cigarette Burns – Directed By: John Carpenter
The Fair Haired Child -Directed By: William Malone
Sick Girl – Directed By: Lucky McKee
Pick Me Up – Directed By: Larry Cohen
Haeckel’s Tale – Directed By: John McNaughton
Imprint – Directed By: Takashi Miike

SEASON TWO

The Damned Thing – Directed By: Tobe Hooper
Family – Directed By: John Landis
The V Word – Directed By: Ernest R. Dickerson
Sounds Like – Directed By: Brad Anderson
Pro-Life – Directed By: John Carpenter
Pelts – Directed By: Dario Argento
The Screwfly Solution – Directed By: Joe Dante
Valerie on the Stairs – Directed By: Mick Garris
Right to Die – Directed By: Rob Schmidt
We All Scream for Ice Cream – Directed By: Tom Holland
The Black Cat – Directed By: Stuart Gordon and Stuart Ortiz
The Washingtonians – Directed By: Peter Medak
Dream Cruise – Directed By: Norio Tsuruta

CIGARETTE BURNS (Season One, Episode Eight)

cigarette burnsDirected By: John Carpenter
Starring: Norman Reedus, Udo Kier, Gary Hetherington, Christopher Britton and Zara Taylor

A theater owner, who specializes in rare films is haunted by memories of his wife’s recent death. He is approached by an eccentric collector who wants him to track down the only existing copy of an obscure French film. The film was only shown once, and the audience become violent and it was never shown again. Low on funds, he decides to take the job and becomes entrenched in a horrifying mystery he had not bargained for.

Mr. Carpenter is indeed a “horror master” but his films from the last several years have really lacked. This is the best work I’ve seen from him in a long time. This brilliant little hour long film is reminiscent of the directors earlier work. It is well filmed, well directed, and has an intriguing story that keeps you in suspense. It also horrifies with some
beautifully executed scenes of blood and gore. Norman Reedus who plays the main character was perfect in this role. The film builds up a great momentum and doesn’t let up. The freaky finale left me thoroughly fullfilled. This one is the creme de la creme of THE MASTERS OF HORROR SERIES.

HOMECOMING (Season One, Episode Six)

homecomingDirected By: Joe Dante
Starring: Jon Tenney, Thea Gill, Wanda Cannon, Terry David Mulligan and Robert Picardo

It is election time in the US. Political consultant David Murch comments during a television interview that he wishes that deceased soldiers were able to come back from the grave and vote. In a bizarre turn of events, his wish comes true and soldiers do indeed come back from the dead. They don’t want brains though, just the right to vote.

It’s been a long time since Dante has done a horror film. I wouldn’t exactly say that ‘HOMECOMING’ is a return to the genre. This is smart, funny, political satire…with zombies. If you are expecting a straight up horror film, you are not going to get it here. These aren’t your run of the mill entrail eating zombies. This really is an imaginitive and crafty screenplay. It is often humorous, a bit campy and extremely clever. Those who lean left as well as zombie fans should be able to appreciate this one. Extremely entertaining and completely original.

DREAMS IN THE WITCH-HOUSE (Season One, Episode Two)

dreams in the witch-houseDirected By: Stuart Gordon
Starring: Ezra Godden, Jay Brazeau, Campbell Lane and Chelah Horsdal

A socially inept college student rents a cheap room in an old house. Strange neighbours who pray at the top of their lungs, strange sounds in the wall and a single mother with a baby who is being terrorized by a persistent rat are just some of the fun and frivolity. Then there is the bizarre nightmare about a witch and a rat with a human face. His cheap room turns out to be no bargain at all.

I love Stuart Gordon. His films are Funny, creepy and outrageous. The man certainly does love his H.P. Lovecraft and this is one of many adaptations he has brought to the screen. It is more the mythos he brings from Lovecraft than true adaptation. He definitely bends it to his will, but does so with respect. He is obviously a fan and has a genuine respect for the man’s work. It doesn’t take long for the story to get rolling and keeps up an energetic pace throughout to its wonderfully bloody ending. For a man always working on a snug budget he always offers some great visuals. The witch is great but I really loved that crazy rat!

SICK GIRL (Season One, Episode Ten)

sick girlDirected By: Lucky McKee
Starring: Angela Bettis, Misty Mundae, Jesse Hlubik, Marcia Bennett and Mike McKee

Ida Teeter is a shy scientist who is obsesssed with insects. She receives an anonymous package on her doorstep containing an insect from brazil. A blossoming new relationship with a young woman named Misty is dampened considerably when she is bit by Ida’s new insect friend.

If you loved May, you absolutely should see this. Not only does Lucky McKee team up again with Angela Bettis but the story is equally as twisted, tragic, fun and original. Bettis is such a facsinating woman to watch and is excellent as the scientist. A large killer insect is the catalyst for the action but the story is really about the relationship between Misty and Ida. A solidly entertaining episode with a great story and great performances.

DAGON – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, Spain, USA with tags , , on June 24, 2009 by goregirl

dagon 2There are many horror films based on, and inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft. I don’t think it is unfair to say MOST of these borrowed ideas translate to a whole lot of crap. Right off the bat, I always have an issue with “based on” and “inspired” by. What this usually means is they take huge liberties with the material. I have only one Lovecraft book, which is a collection of short stories. It includes the two stories used here; “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and “Dagon”. Unfortunately, it has been quite a while since I’ve read any Lovecraft. If my memory serves me correctly I would say that this film is a relatively faithful adaptation of the short stories. Even on its own it is an extremely entertaining little yarn.

Paul and his girlfriend Barbara have had a recent winfall and find themselves with more money than they could have ever imagined. Everything is perfect with the exception of a reoccuring nightmare that has Paul quite addled. In it, he swims through a tunnel on the sea floor when he comes upon a beautiful mermaid with a whole lot of teeth. While boating with another couple off of the coast of Spain, a freak storm throws their vessel into a heap of rocks. The female half of their travelling companions is badly injured and Paul and Barbara are forced to go to shore to get help. It is obvious immediately that something is not quite right about the small coastal village. When the couple are forced to separate, things go from bad to decidedly worse. As Imboca’s secrets are revealed so too is Paul’s connection to it all.

Lovecraft stories are packed full of fantastic creatures and not-of-this-world imagery and it would take truck loads of money to really do them proper justice. Gordon makes the best of a limited budget and pulls off a really great looking film with some extraordinarily creative creatures. Since the creatures are part of the secret I don’t want to give away their appearance. But I really dug how they were all in different stages of metamorphosis. It was a very nice way to mix things up. The town is spectacular. I truly can’t imagine a more perfect town for this story. The pre-action dialogue is short and sweet and it takes no time at all for things to get rolling. The atmosphere he manages to build is quite impressive. I was captivated from the on set and the film kept me solidly entertained right through to the finale. There is a body count, but it doesn’t rely on violence and gore. This is NOT a film you watch for the gore. Although, there is one wonderfully nasty scene that is sure to leave an impression! A wonderfully eerie atmosphere, some thrills, chills and a little dark humour make this well worth the price of admission. This fractured fairytale-fantasy-horror hybrid is absolutely, positively worth seeking out. I highly recommend Dagon!

Tomorrow’s review will be Takashi Miike’s ‘GOZU’.

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Stuart Gordon

Starring: Ezra Godden, Francisco Rabal, Raquel Meroño, Macarena Gómez, Brendan Price, Birgit Bofarull, Uxía Blanco, Ferran Lahoz, Joan Minguell and Alfredo Villa
dagon