Archive for the 'Suspense' Category

Mar

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The Flesh and Blood Show
1972 – R – Redemption Films
96 Minutes – Starring Ray Brooks, Luan Peters – Directed by Pete Walker

Who doesn’t love a good a good murder mystery? In fact, one of the most popular television shows is about an elderly woman who is a writer/detective and the old people love it! When that show comes on, it’s like ecstasy being broadcast over an unseen signal, like in They Live only in a retirement home. Old people aside, I’ve always loved the idea of a ‘who-done-it,’ playing along with the movie as I mentally collect clues and try to solve the puzzle of the murders that will lead to the identity of the killer. Mario Bava’s A Bay of Blood is a perfect example (especially with that set up), but others can fall kind of flat, like Pete Walker’s The Flesh and Blood Show.

Of course you don’t realize this until it’s over, but it’s not a completely bad experience, nor will it leave a sour aftertaste in your mouth. For the most part, it seems to keep everything at a good pace, although feeling like it’s dragging out from time to time until you reach the film’s climax when it feels like it should have been over for some time. Perhaps one of the biggest flaws it has is its plot that has not aged well. Sure, in the early 70’s it probably wasn’t all that common, but now audiences may find that it’s been done to death, especially when parts of it resemble April Fool’s Day. It’s comprised of part mystery, part proto-slasher and part sleazy go-go. Sounds good on paper, but the execution…

fbs_2Like most slashers, there is an obnoxious character, John, and for whatever bizarre reason, decides to go to his friend Carol’s flat with a knife in his belly, but it’s nothing more than a prank. Maybe John and Shelly from Friday the 13th Part 3 are pen pals. Anyway, he stopped by… at 2 o’clock in the morning… waking Carol, who is completely nude and shares a bed with her flatmate Jane (do they have your attention now?) to tell them he has just been offered to have a role in the improv theater show The Flesh and Blood Show at Dome Theater, which has been closed for a very long time after a horrible event took place. Coincidentally, Carol and Jane also have been invited to participate in the show, so off they go to the creepy old abandoned theater where horrible things await them.

They meet up with the rest of the crew comprised of bad 70’s haircuts; Tony the Aussie, Simon, who you will swear is a miniature Mick Jagger stunt double, sexy blonde Angela and Mike, the show’s producer. By a first glance at this place, you should know better not to go in, as it is plagued with all the run down theme park cliches and probably has the actual plague floating around. But that doesn’t stop them from going about their rehearsal or sleeping there. Too cheap to cough up the quid for a hotel, the cast and crew decide to sleep there and it doesn’t take long for things to get sleazy. One of the girls instantly jumps in the sack with Tony for knowing him all of about several minutes and another girl decides to rub Carol down topless as John watches from afar. As if this theater wasn’t caked in enough filth and grime, here’s some more.

I won’t lie. It’s an awesome scene.

fbs_3Immediately following that scene, a scream is heard and the lesbian girl (sorry, I forgot her name and I’m forced to identify her by her character trait) has gone missing. After searching the theater, Mike finds her head on top of a shelf and her body next to a guillotine, but keeps it from the others. I’m actually kinda stunned that a theater has a properly working guillotine. He does, however, get the fuzz involved, but upon inspecting the “crime scene,” all evidence of any murder has been hidden, which is impressive to not leave any trace of a recent decapitation. Everyone chalks it up to John and one of his practical jokes, but soon they find a note that stating why she left… but the note was actually left behind by the killer! Oh well, time to find her replacement. This is showbiz, after all. Enter up and coming film actress Julie!

The town may be as dead as our recently departed blonde, but a local nearby restaurant is still open and probably the only clean thing in town. This is where we meet an elderly man, Major Bell, who you can guess is the killer if you have any deductive powers. The cast crew occasionally pays visit to him and his wife (played by Sheila Keith from Frightmare) in between their rehearsals. Nothing much really happens, until Carol decides she wants to go for a stroll alone one night along the dock. John follows her out, unbeknownst to her, when she is attacked and nearly raped by what appears to be a hobo, until her screams are heard and the gang, minus John, find her. They all come to realize he wasn’t around and becomes the prime suspect… until his body is found a few days later by the police and in a twist, has been dead since that night he followed Carol outside? So if not him, then who?

Like I said earlier, it’s pretty obvious.

fbs_4After some more rehearsals of random things, spiced up with plenty of nudity, they eventually notice someone is running the spotlight (face palm) and another of the crew is killed. As the lights go dim, the Major shows up spewing lines from a play as he confesses to the murders and that it was him who committed the horrible acts long ago and tells us the tale in flashback form. Even after, he still prances about, regurgitating lines from the previous play, to which the remaining members of the crew use to their advantage and cleverly, and oddly somehow, reenact the events of his crime. Since he’s bonkers and his lid has clearly flipped, that same evening from long ago is playing out in his mind. The 5-0 shows up in time, arrest the Major and the crew comes to the realization that in order to kill some of their actors, he must’ve had help… from his daughter… who may be with them at this moment!

As you can gather, The Flesh and Blood Show resembles the Scooby Doo cartoon, only with boobs and wieners (yeah, you get full frontal… ladies). Overall, it feels very stiff and as if you’ve seen it a hundred of times before (which you have, but for the time this wasn’t that common of a plot), it teeters slightly over the edge of sleaze, just enough to keep you watching. It’s self aware of how voluptuous the females are in this movie and will often parade them around fully nude. As you realized, the slasher and mystery bits, in retrospect, seem very cut and paste and tired by today’s standards. The film itself now is considered to be very tame, but at its time, it’s one that could spark a bit of controversy. Maybe it’s the title, but I can’t help but feel this should have been a Herschell Gordon Lewis film, who could have truly brought the sleaziness and violence that the title provokes.

One pretty interesting thing The Flesh and Blood Show does is present the flashback sequence in 3-D in black and white (Pete Walker sure loved his black and white flashbacks, huh?) The scene during the film is standard, but you do have the option in the bonus features of watching the ten minute sequence in anaglyphic red-blue process (for those of you who don’t know, anaglyphic works better in black and white) or if you have a 3D TV, you can check it out in stereoscopic as well. I was able to watch the scene in anaglyphic (make sure you have the classic red and blue glasses, they aren’t included) and it worked pretty well, except for when things are supposed to really pop out at you, like when a character points something directly at the lens, the image seems to split apart. Other special features on the disc are a theatrical trailer and another interview with Pete Walker.

The Flesh and Blood Show
In the end, it’s a little underwhelming and hard to believe that it also received an X rating. Lacking in genuine scares and gore (again like Frightmare, most kills take place off camera), The Flesh and Blood Show has little to offer, but it does have some of that old fashioned grindhouse, go-go sleaziness to it. So if you ever wanted to see what an episode of Scooby Doo would look like with sex and murder, then you should give it a watch.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • John’s jokes are a real punch in the gut.
  • Go-Go full frontal nudity.
  • She lost her head over this play.
  • “Old man Withers!”
  • 3D Flashback Revenge.
  • Daughter secrets.
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

Most of the death occurs off screen making it a mystery… as to why the hell they didn’t show it!

9

blood

BREASTS

These voluptuous, curvy ladies show you why the theater is awesome. Minus a point for 70’s bush and dong.

3

beast

BEASTS

You have to be more useless than lint in a couch cushion to be killed by this old man.

5.3 OVERALL
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Mar

Comments Off on Frightmare

Frightmare
1974 – R – Redemption Films
86 Minutes – Starring Rupert Davies, Sheila Keith – Directed by Pete Walker

Let’s be all serious for a moment and think; does censorship really protect us? Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, the UK was severely bringing the hammer down on horror films, believing they made sadists, psychopaths and bullies out of the everyday normal Joe. The solution? To excise all sex and violence out of the film, often leaving the final cut incomprehensible. I recently talked about My Bloody Valentine and how the R rated cut of the film’s finale left you puzzled as you saw Axel running away holding his arm. But what you didn’t see was him sawing his own arm off, thus explaining why he was holding his arm. So maybe it wasn’t always incomprehensible, but you certainly were left with a product that was lackluster and taking away elements as to why you are watching the film. In horror’s case; the aforementioned sex and violence.

The BBFC (now apparently at it again) became so notorious for this, that horror films unjustifiably became targeted and heavily censored or downright banned just because of the fact that it was a horror film! Whether it was advertising (via posters or reviews) or because a filmmaker became notorious for having made controversial horror films, it would seem that the BBFC would demand severe cuts or ban the film without actually having taking a look at the film. Now, we know this doesn’t keep the material out of the wrong hands, like children, but that’s a different topic for a different day.

fm_2After years pass, possibly many years, this controversy can actually work in favor of the film. Take Frightmare, for example. Although never a Video Nasty, I always heard so much controversy about this film and all the graphic content that got it banned, so in my head I built this movie up to be an exploitation film filled with blood, guts, nudity and every other fun filled nightmare that I could think of. However, if you’ve seen the film… Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that content makes a film good, but you can see how controversy can create a different movie in your head.

Frightmare opens in a black and white sequence during 1957 as a straggler happens upon a farmhouse. He’s welcomed inside, all shot in POV and within moments, a good chunk of his face has been removed and the assailant, now revealed to be Dorothy Yates, is institutionalized in the following scene for having butchered and eaten several people along with her husband Edmund, who had been faking his insanity so that he may be locked up with his wife that he loved so much. Ladies, how many of your guys would take that vow?

Cut to present day 1974 where the daughter of Edmund from a previous marriage, Jackie, is having dinner with some friends all while her stepsister Debbie is out causing a ruckus at a bar. She’s what you would call a “wild card” or “hangs out with a rough crowd.” Don’t believe me? She and her rowdy friends, a biker gang with The Monkee’s style haircuts, beat a bartender within inches of his life just for not serving her a drink for being underage. That’ll teach you to obey the law!

fm_3Dorothy and Edmund have also been declared sane and released, living back in their remote farmhouse. Now, I’m no expert, but wouldn’t they be under probation of some kind or under supervision temporarily? Or maybe I’m wrong and convicted cannibals are free to roam willy nilly once they get that stamp of approval. Jackie puts her love life on hold and keeping her family’s secret to the persistent Graham, who looks like a British Peter Parker, to keep an eye on her father and stepmother. Edmund tells Jackie that he fears Dorothy is already lapsing and up to her old deeds and he has every right to be, because she is. It doesn’t take Dorothy long before she is luring in loners without families or loved ones with tea and tarot card readings that result in their (most of the time) off screen deaths. I have no idea how she fooled such clever doctors.

After several visits from the fuzz, Jackie has had it with Debbie and demands she leave, but newly psychiatrist Graham tells Jackie she needs to be more caring to her sister, because if there is one thing that girl needs it’s negative reinforcement for her bad behavior. But Debbie is beyond a simple scolding, as she claims to have “found” the barkeep from the fight dead and has stored him in her trunk. It’s actually pretty sneaky, since you aren’t sure whether or not Debbie is directly involved in his death, but soon all suspicions are laid to rest, as she has a secret of her own…

Coming home from work one day, Edmund discovers Dorothy in the midst of one of her murders and although he’s shocked and terrified, vows to help her cover it up. Because of his loyalty, Dorothy lets him in on her little secret, that she has been having a little help with her murders from her daughter! Hey, you may as well keep it in the family. Edmund comes to the conclusion that Dorothy will never stop, but Jackie will be a thorn in their side. Hmm, what are crazed murderous cannibals to do?

fm_4After learning of Dorothy’s illness, Graham sets out really figure out what is going on, so I’m sure he will be alright. Jackie heads out to the old farmhouse to bring things to a close, but she may already be too late and discovers the shocking and grisly truth that Dorothy is still murdering… with a little help. Now lacking protection from her father, Jackie is walking into a trap and she may not make it out alive!

After viewing the film, you may have noticed that there is quite a lack of gore. Most of the bloody effects are an aftermath, someone’s face sliced halfway off, but there are a few scenes of Dorothy stabbing someone to death. This is what I meant earlier about a film’s censorship unrealistically boosting your expectations, as I went in expecting murder and mayhem, but what I got was actually a mild, violent filled, shocking and suspenseful tale of a cannibalistic woman that is very well paced. In a way, it reminds me of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It doesn’t need to show you graphic details, but lets your mind make it up for you. Even though most of the butchering is never seen and we never actually see her eat anyone (the implication is more scary, but clearly not as grotesque), Dorothy is a well developed and truly frightening antagonist. Every moment on screen, you are never sure which way her personality is going to take her, so much so, that I was expecting her to kill Edmund at any moment.

As usual, Redemption did a stellar job restoring the film from its original 35mm prints. Although slight discoloration and grain is present, the overall image quality is clean and sharp, revealing beautiful detail to the visceral imagery. As for the audio, there isn’t a whole lot you can do with something that’s 2.0, but it’s never muffled and the dialogue is clear and understandable and really, you can’t ask for more. It’s almost impossible to restore a forty year old film without some remaining damage, but Redemption manages to make it the best it will ever be. On a special features note, there is an interview with director Pete Walker as he recalls the film and talks about how the censorship was a help to the publicity, a look at the work of Sheila Keith, the actress who played Dorothy, a trailer and a commentary track.

Frightmare
If the sight of pulling out intestines, eating splines and feasting upon the organs of people, as blood spews like a faucet isn’t your thing… then you’ll probably enjoy Frightmare, as I’ve said, it doesn’t show much gore, but rather pulls the punches in the suspense. Although not quite living up to its famous controversy, Frightmare is still a bloody good time that’s good for a scare with plenty of secrets.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • My Step Mother is a Cannibal next on Maury.
  • Not the WB Sister/Sister that you remember.
  • Some death with your tea?
  • For England, they have some nice teeth.
  • Husband of the year.
  • Driller killer.
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

Some squirts, some sprays and some eyeball removal.

5

blood

BREASTS

Jackie sports some cleavage making you want to see more.

8

beast

BEASTS

Debbie will break your heart and Dorothy will eat it!

6 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for “Frightmare!”

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Feb

Comments Off on You’re Next

You're Next
2013 – R – Lionsgate

Home is where the heart is. Home is where you feel the most comfortable, safe and vulnerable. It’s even where you hang your hat, or at least according to that sign I saw one time, so the idea of an unwelcome intruder making himself at home while trying to viciously murder you is the perfect recipe for a horror film. Films like Alone in the Dark or The Strangers have clearly illustrated to us that home is not always the safest place and now, You’re Next fits right in at home (pun clearly intended) in this category. Even hiding under the sheets won’t save you.

As a disturbing couple unfortunately learns (and by that, I mean an old male teacher and his young female student) the hard way. After earning what I’m assuming is her “passing grade,” he hops in the shower and the young lady listens to music in shame. Unfortunately, her time listening to “Looking for the Magic” by the Dwight Twilley Band is “cut” short! Hey, it’s not that bad of a song! Upon exiting the shower, he sees “You’re Next” written large and bold in her blood (as well as cleverly serving as the movie’s title card) on the sliding glass doors and then meets his doom by a man in a lamb mask. Ba-ba black sheep, ba-ba bye!

yn_2The family next door gathers for their wealthy parents anniversary, unaware of the grisly murder that took place next door, bringing brothers Crispian (AJ Bowen), his noogie giving older brother Drake (V/H/S‘ Joe Swanberg), their seemingly wormy younger brother Felix and their naive younger sister Aimee. She also happens to be the only one in the family without some poetic hip hop artist’s name. By the way, Dad just so happened to have recently retired from a major defense contract company and has accumulated quite the wealth. Accompanying the siblings are their significant others, making for plenty of victims at this buffet! Speaking of a buffet, after some scenes of sibling rivalry between various… um, siblings, they all put their differences aside for the moment and gather around the table for dinner. But little do they know, they are about to have some unexpected guests…

During some bickering between Drake and Crispian, Aimee’s boyfriend, Tariq (played by House of the Devil and The Innkeepers director, Ti West, as what seems like a character of the “indie” filmmaker), glances out the window and gives a look like he saw something outside. As he gets up and moves to the window to peer outside, the bickering between the two brothers heats up when suddenly an arrow crashes through the window and pierces Tariq’s head. This slowly grabs everyone attentions as it takes Tariq a few moments to die just as a hailstorm of arrows come flying into the house through the window, one hitting Drake in the back. Crispian’s girlfriend, Erin, instantly goes into survival mode, shouting for everyone to get down and take cover using chairs to block them as they run past the windows. How did she know how to do that… or to think so quickly on her feet? In an escape attempt, Aimee wants to prove her worth to the family (because, you know this is clearly the best time for that) and tells them that she can run to get help. Her brothers don’t argue it, but are polite enough to let her dash out the front door in slow motion, which actually builds up the tension quite nicely as to what will happen next… it’ll definitely knock the wind out of you. Wink.

yn_3Mom (played by the ever youthful looking Re- Animator actress Barbara Crampton… surprised it took me this long in the review to mention she’s in this movie) isn’t feeling so well, you know, giving that she just witnessed some sporadic murders. The boys take her upstairs to her bedroom where it is safe, since the intruder is outdoors. But this is where we learn that intruder is intruders (however, you should have known this from all of the promotional materials and TV spots) as one of them in a fox mask creeps out from under the bed wielding a machete like he’s Jason Voorhees.

Realizing they aren’t safe inside or outside of the house, panic ensues! Erin tries to keep everyone calm just as one of the assailants in a tiger mask crashes the party, literally, through the window in slow motion (club music cue?). See? This is why you don’t feed stray animals! They’ll come into the house! Attacking Erin, she falls to the floor. He raises his ax, but she kicks him in the jewels, rendering him vulnerable as she smashes in his head in with a meat tenderizer! Erin clearly has some survival skills and starts barking orders, booby trapping the house like she’s John Rambo. Trust me, I mean that as a compliment. Erin could easily be one of horror film’s smartest and deadliest “final girl.” You do not want to experience her mood swings.

As they are securing the home and trying to stay alive, we discover someone among them has ulterior motives and not is all what it seems. I know “twist” can be a taboo word nowadays, given the stank that M. Night Shyamalan has seemingly permanently attached to it, but it’s pulled off rather intelligently here. Who can you trust? Who do you believe? Erin can only count on herself as she tries to fight the animal masked thugs one by one and discovers an awful truth behind the invasion.

yn_4I really don’t want to give anymore of the plot away and I fear I may have said too much already. It’s something you simply must experience. You’re Next is kinda like Home Alone for grown ups, only these booby traps are practical and given Erin’s back story, it makes it more plausible. The kills are downright brutal and practical, making them painfully cringe worthy. Blood pores from every wound with it’s creative and devastating kills that will be sure to get a positive and varied reaction out of you.

You’re Next is a beast, personified by the animal masks that the films stalkers wear. It’s self aware, but rather than make a mockery of itself, it plays on your expectations, misleading you along the way and then gives you something you weren’t expecting. For what it is, it’s an ambitious little film that succeeds in conveying survival horror. The killers themselves are given motive for the crimes, as one dimensional as it may seem, but trust me, it isn’t. It gives them a reason to be there and to be doing what they are doing, rather than leaving them to be faceless killers. Also, these are, hands down, some of the coolest masks that you’ll see killers wear in a movie. These are so cool, that the price of cheap novelty animal masks have sky rocketed (believe me, I checked).

Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett took a risk and tried to give something old a new spin. Normally, this could have come off as goofy and tired, but it’s the characters that make it work. The brothers act like real brothers, arguing over nonsense and holding ridiculous grudges and the parents are seemingly actual loving parents who want nothing more than the best and safety for their children. The actors, some of which are filmmakers themselves or Adam Wingard regulars, do a phenomenal job at bringing these characters to life that you actually feel for them and the terrible event they are going though. It’s a prime example of everything that comes together and works. The twist can throw you off at first, but the film carries it so well that the home invasion/slasher turned survival horror blends seamlessly that you wouldn’t want it any other way.

You're Next
I can’t say enough positive things about this movie. Simply put, I love You’re Next. It sat on the shelf for two years (yup, it was made before V/H/S) and it was well worth the wait. So, cuddle up with a loved one, lock the windows, bolt the doors and watch You’re Next. But, be sure to check under the bed before you go to sleep.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • If you play a song on repeat, you’ll get a machete to your face.
  • Sibling Rivalry.
  • Bullseye!
  • The animals have come out to play.
  • Good night, mommy.
  • Garrote 30 Meter Dash.
  • Pounding some meat!
  • Kevin McCallister 101.
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

As the victims are slain by the animal masked killers, tables turn as they fall victims to Erin’s booby traps.

6

blood

BREASTS

A little coed naughtiness at the beginning, but is instantly stifled by Felix’s girlfriend’s odd request… unless you’re into that kind of thing.

10

beast

BEASTS

Behind those stylish animal masks lie some killers with a motive… and Erin is no pushover herself.

8 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for “You’re Next!”

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Dec

posted by admin | December 21, 2013 | 60's movies, foreign, Horror movies, Reviews by the Goon, screeners, Suspense

Comments Off on The Whip and the Body

The Whip and the Body
1963 – Unrated – Kino Lorber

Mario Bava has a unique way of building suspense, creating an eerie mood and combining it all into a bone chilling tale. His films mix that moody atmosphere filled with sounds of the night, illuminating objects with odd florescent lights and drawing tension out so thin, you could cut it with a whisper. If Dario Argento is considered as “The Italian Hitchcock,” then what does that make Bava? To be honest, Bava’s style is so unique, that there is no comparing him to anyone else. He’s just as important to cinema as filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick or Michael Bay… No wait, not that last one.

Let’s take a look at his Gothic suspense thriller The Whip and the Body for example. It’s not exactly your traditional murder mystery. You mix in a castle and a ghost… now it’s starting to sound like Scooby and the gang should be in this.

wab_2As the sun rises… or sets, either way the sky is fading from a dark blue to a purple as waves crash against a beach and then suddenly a castle appears atop of a cliff in the background! At first I thought it was a ghost castle or would play a part later on in the movie (hint: it doesn’t). So, hmm… chalk that up to continuity? We see a man named Kurt, played devilishly by Christopher Lee, who has returned home to wish his brother well on his new marriage to his own old flame, the smoking hot Nevenka. Something about that seems sour. Of course if you cast Christopher Lee, you may as well have a large neon sign that says, “I AM THE VILLAIN!” following him around. However Kurt doesn’t get the warm welcome he… or you… you know what, no one was expecting, especially the maid, Georgia. Georgia’s daughter fell in love with Kurt after he seduced her, so when he left, she had stabbed herself in the neck. His father, The Count, has also turned Kurt’s estate over to his brother Christian. He’s a vile, sinister and untrustworthy man, but regardless, Christian allows him to stay. Welcome home, Kurt!

So you say goth, sleaze and murder isn’t enough for you? Kurt reveals he knows that his cousin Katia is secretly in love with Christian, throwing the taboo of incest into the mix. He feels her pain, as he is still infatuated with Nevenka and plans to take her back. After all, women are property. But that’s not his only diabolical plan. After entering his father’s room via hidden rotating wall behind a fireplace (which is a total villain move, how can you not know this guy is evil?), he tell his dying father that he plans to take back his estate as well, who in turn tells Kurt that will never happen. Kurt then storms off in a very sophisticated and formal temper tantrum.

wab_3He huffs and puffs his daddy issues away to the beach where he finds Nevenka and brings up the good ol’ times, which seems to spark up some fiery passion, since he takes her whip and lashes it across her back (oh, so that’s where the title comes from!). Since he’s a sadist and she’s a masochist (this is starting to sound like a sitcom), they embrace and make love or “boink” on the beach. He leaves her there, unconscious and delusional for Christian and groundskeeper Losat (who reminds me of Smolkin from The Undead) to find. Kurt’s a “hump and dump” kind of guy. Yeah, things seem to be going according to Kurt’s plan, until somebody puts the kibosh on it by stabbing him in the neck with the same knife that Georgia’s daughter committed suicide with.

After putting Kurt to rest, the family decides they should probably find out who done it, with The Count being the prime suspect and he doesn’t take kindly to this accusation. To make things worse, Christian’s marriage with Nevenka seems to be falling apart as they have a lover’s spat. That night, Nevenka has a haunting vision of Kurt, brought attractively to life with the Giallo style lighting and eerie cinematography, as he lashes into her with the whip. Meanwhile, The Count is found murdered in the same fashion, stabbed through the neck. All signs for the murders point to Georgia, but her love for The Count would prevent her from doing such things. So who else could it be? Katia? The creepy Losat? Or as Christian is becoming to believe, the ghost of Kurt? Wait, what?! As Nevenka is becoming more seemingly delusional, seeing footprints and more visions of Kurt, she convinces Christian that it may not be a completely crazy idea. The ghost of his dead brother, coming back to haunt those that have taken from him, betrayed him and murdered him. Crazier things have happened (take the plot of Baby Geniuses for example).

wab_4As Kurt’s laugh echoes through the castle, Nevenka further spirals into insanity and Christian must find out what exactly is going on, as they chase a cloaked figure through the cold stone walls of their home. And seeing as how he can’t call the Ghostbusters, he’ll have to uncover the identity of the murderer and lay the specter to rest with the help of Losat to stop the madness!

The Whip and the Body is a dark and moody film, and I don’t mean primarily the tone. Kino Lorber’s new transfer from the original 35mm showcases this magnificent CMYK color palette, as they corrected the color and contrast, but seem to have left the rest of the print as is. Some of the darker scenes can seem out of focus and grainy, but for a print being as old as it is, it still looks pretty sharp. The overall look is something out of a lucid nightmare. The colors are lambent, vibrant hues of a Giallo film, all seemingly fitting the mood of the scene. Blues and magenta’s highlight the darkness and danger that lurk around the corner. The sound blasts through in true traditional 2.0 mono with either English, French or Italian dialogue (subtitles are provided). However, as beautiful as it is, you probably will grow tired of the string and piano theme that seems to constantly play. Also, another actor dubbed the voice of Christopher Lee in the English track, who as you all know has a very distinct voice, so it will throw you off at first. Unfortunately, no extras are to be found here, but just enjoy the damn movie, you brat!

The Whip and the Body
You don’t have to be a fan of Bava to enjoy The Whip and the Body. It’s a daunting tale of sadism and treachery, spun with murder and madness. This film is one of the prime examples to enjoy or be introduced to Mario Bava (possibly even giving some of you your first ” Bava Boner”). If that’s your bag, then pick up a copy of the Blu-ray or Christopher Lee will break in to your house in the middle of the night and whip you with your car antenna. Dude’s got issues.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • The Amazing Appearing out of Thin Air Castle!
  • Christopher Lee glare of death.
  • You don’t have to go to the South for some good ol’ cousin loving.
  • Pain in the neck.
  • Corpse burning.
  • Crazy castle.
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Little bit of running blood and a burning corpse, but it’s more about the suspense.

4

blood

BREASTS

Daliah Lavi keeps her wonderful pair covered for the most part… mostly.

9

beast

BEASTS

When Christopher isn’t walking around like the menacing presence he is, Daliah Lavi is running around mad.

6.3 OVERALL
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posted by admin | December 4, 2013 | Drama, Horror movies, New Releases, Reviews by the Goon, screeners, Suspense

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7th Day
2012 – Not Rated – Dire Wit Films

I will always believe that the most frightening films are the ones that could actually happen. Movies that know how to prey on you when you are most vulnerable. Films like The Strangers, Rear Window or anything with Taylor Lautner (or just the mere fact that he is getting work is truly terrifying). Among these things, real monsters, are serial killers. They are very real and they could be anywhere. It’s a dark, horrific truth we have to live with daily, but we brush it aside, like most FOX sitcoms and ignore it. But every now and then a film that depicts these real life monsters comes along and reminds us that we are not always safe when we think we are. Such a film is 7th Day, as it takes us into a week, day by day, of the life of a sociopathic killer.

And right away the film gets its hands dirty. A young woman oddly dressed like Mork from Ork gets stabbed in the neck by a bearded man in a baseball cap, without even so much as a final “Nanoo Nanoo.” This is when our humble serial killer, Allen, introduces himself and narrates who he is, what he does and why he does it throughout the film. Sure Allen is just a regular guy, with a regular job. He believes like everyone else that he is well liked and unappreciated… but he has a very strange hobby, to say the least. This narration is a clever little insight as to what goes through Allen’s mind (and possibly other serial killers), but we’ll get into that a little later on in the review.

7d_2The life of a serial killer sure can be lonely, as Allen describes, but the solitude is necessary. It all ties in with his theories about survival of the fittest, as you now see he has been describing all his thoughts and processes to a tall man, who looks like melted wax, dressed in a suit and long coat with a microphone fused into his hand with wires jutting out, reminding me of Max Renn’s gunhand from Videodrome. Most of the time when we see Allen narrating to this man (or creature), his mouth isn’t moving and it’s not some sort of dubbing flaw. It’s obvious and intentional. Perhaps a look into his broken psyche?

Speaking of a broken psyche, Allen truly believes that a waitress where he works, Denise, understands him and thinks just like him. He’ll go into detail about how he wish he could have a normal life with her, but it just isn’t what he was meant for. When Allen isn’t at work arguing with his co-worker Dave and being smitten over Denise, he spends his free time stalking his prey, or hunting as he calls it. On occasion, even loneliness gets to Allen, as he demonstrates by having sex with a recently murdered victim, although it doesn’t romanticize the idea of necrophilia. He’ll remind you that it’s not something he typically does (so you know, don’t worry about it) and if it were an issue, he’d get a girlfriend. Simple as that.

And this is where we see Allen going against his own words, but not in a hypocritical sense. It’s as if Allen views himself differently and he’s outside looking in. While stalking some more prey in the park, a pretty lady jogger stops to talk to Allen and it seems like maybe she is hitting on him. Hey, Allen is a single guy and he has something to offer. You kind of want him to win this and go on a date with the girl, but he’s too damn awkward and reacts the way most shy males do… he pees in his pants like a five year old. And do you think this attractive young lady is understanding about this? No. She flat out makes fun of him and ridicules him like a jock in high school. Just because a dude wets the bed in his 30’s or 40’s doesn’t mean that he’s a loser! It’s a medical condition! Oh, excuse me… a little bit of nerd rage was released.

7d_3All of the things Allen claims not to take part in or need in his life are the very things you see him falling victim to constantly throughout the film, like drug use and having sex with corpses. As Allen explains it, you do believe him, but ultimately it’s Allen trying to convince himself and not us. But why do we believe him? Why do we watch this monster act out these atrocities? Because Alan is a believable person just as much as he is a believable monster. He’s not some unstoppable killing machine like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers or some sophisticated homicidal maniac like Patrick Bateman. Allen is that unassuming guy that would sit at the bar with his head down, hat covering his eyes that you pay no attention to. He blends in to the point where he is practically invisible and that’s what makes him more dangerous.

As the days go on, Allen narrates more to this creature, detailing his childhood and how his brother would have sexual relations with his mother, dress Allen up like a woman and beat him… and then have sex with him. If you’re anything like me, you had simultaneous feelings of disgust and sympathy. That’s a good thing. That means you’re still human, so hold on to that feeling. Fortunately, his brother choked to death in the kitchen, which happens to be the same room where his father killed himself. Allen’s mother hated the kitchen and given that and the history of deaths in this room, makes it Allen’s favorite. His other favorite room would be the basement, which he gleefully gives us the tour of with a female victim tied up on the floor. Displaying the gruesomely, jaw dropping practical effects in this movie, he uses a box cutter (a tool that always makes me wince in pain) and cuts a hole in her back, but he’s not done there. Poking his finger in it and rooting around like he’s trying to remove something stuck in a drain, he pulls out bloody strings of sinew and muscle. To be honest, this scene was making my muscles tense!

7d_4The week goes on and Allen goes more against his beliefs that he was verbalizing, focusing heavily on his drug use (to which he claimed he didn’t do), often smoking either heroin or crack (crystal meth maybe? I don’t know drugs). Usually, he partakes in this with his neighbor Bill, who clearly is an upstanding individual and in no way a creepy pervert. I’m sure you detected a high amount of sarcasm there and you would be right. It’s insinuated or hinted (or Bill flat out says it, but tries to play it off as a joke) that he is a pedophile. So if you think having one character that was despicable, here’s another. But that’s sort of the appealing part of 7th Day. Virtually every character in the film is in their own way very grotesque and we end up siding with one of them, particularly Allen. Of course we aren’t supposed to, but that what happens when you give a character some depth and go on a journey with them. Although I would recommend a shower and some church immediately afterwards.

Unlike Rob Zombie’s Halloween, writer Mark Leake and director Jason Koch show you in a visceral and darkly disturbing way, what goes into to making a serial killer with no remorse. It’s a path you don’t want to go down, but they make it interesting and entertaining in a very curious way, allowing us to live vicariously through Allen. The crew brings this morbid visual to life in a way that will make even the strongest of stomachs turn. Even though Jason Kock himself has done special effects on films like Troma’s Return to Nuke’m High and Science Team (which oddly enough, he made a mold of my friend’s head), the credit on this one goes to Kaleigh Brown, who does a marvelous job.

7th Day
Given the trend with filmmakers confusing blood and violence for actual horror and the director’s association with Troma, the film could have easily been a gross out movie, but instead it took a far more sophisticated route and illustrated for us the mind of a truly tormented and lost mind. Let Allen be your Willy Wonka of murder and check this movie out.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Robin Williams’ suspenders cameo.
  • Mustache rides… of death!
  • Serial killer spooning.
  • Can’t drop the mic, ’cause it’s melted into my hand.
  • MC Pee Pants.
  • Not what I had in mind when he was fingering…
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

The effects are pretty nasty that will spoil your appetite and that weird reporter thing is cool!

6

blood

BREASTS

Blood covered boobs is like chocolate covered strawberries.

8

beast

BEASTS

Mark S. Sander brings the sociopathic Allen to life and it is frigthening!

7.6 OVERALL
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