Director: Robert Hartford-Davis
Main Stars: Peter Cushing, Sue Lloyd, Noel Trevarthen, Kate O’Mara,
Storyline: A doctor’s model lover gets her face burnt and he does whatever at what cost to help restore her beauty.
Review (Spoils): Surgeon Sir John Rowan (Peter Cushing) is dating a high profile model (Sue Lloyd) who likes to hang around some hipsters. During one of the parties while she is posing for some pictures an argument breaks out between Rowan and the photographer and a light drops on her head. She gets badly burnt and her career hits rocks bottom. She pressures Rowan to start to use a gland from the brain to regrew her flesh on her face. This works but only temporary which leads them both on a non stop hunt for more glands.
This film is not a Hammer Film but the storyline is great. Sure there is some funky hipster music and sometimes the film feels like an acid trip but once the evil pours it pours like a fine wine. Peter Cushing plays the serious doctor but at the same time he just does not fit in the crowd of the film nor does he seem like a likely match for his model girlfriend. We have red blood once the film kicks into high gear, knives, slaughtering of young women, a nasty scar on the face, a bitchy model and the long hunt for woman to kill so his love can be beautiful.
Rating: I personally really liked this film and never heard of it before it I noticed it playing. It had Peter Cushing so I was like what the Hell. This film does not disappoint the acting is well done and the chase scene at the end was great. The photographer can seem a bit annoying but you can get around that as it is a couple short scenes. Thank you Grindhouse yet again for a nice horror classic.
A Quiet Place in the Country (1968)
Director: Elio Petri
Main Stars: Franco Nero, Vanessa Redgrave, Georges Geret
Storyline: A painter haunted by nightmares moves to the country with his lover to help get away
Review (Spoils): Lenardo Ferri (Franco Nero) is a popular painter and has a unique mind and vision. In the last few months he has not done anything new or completed anything. He seems to be struggling with strange nightmares and mental issues. One of the nightmares that haunt him is the sexual perversion and ending in death dreams with his lover and I believe real-estate agent Flavia (Vanessa Redgrave). Concerned for him she moves him to the country to get away from the trauma dreams and inspire his work but leads to even more mental trips and the dreams increase.
My wife introduced me to this film early this week as she knew my love for this era and Italian film. This film did not disappoint, it is much like an erotic acid trip of images, bright red blood and confusion. So the movie was right up my alley. Sure the film did not do much on the shock and gore much like a Dario or Lucio film but the film had some feelings that it may have influenced such films like The Shinning. The acting was done very well, the dialogue kept me locked on the film and of course the erotic beauty of Vanessa Redgrave and the visual images is what really drove the film home for me.
Rating: This film is not going to be for everyone or the standard horror fan who like teen scares or spookiness. This film is more like a piece of moving art that has a nice touch oddness going for it.
The Black Scorpion (1957)
Director: Edward Ludwig
Main Stars: Richard Denning, Mara Corday, Carlos Rivas
Storyline: Giant scorpions attack Mexico City
Review (Spoils): Volcanic activity erupts and the people of Mexico City are in chaos and to add to matters worse this brought upon giant vermin on to the land. During the first signs of trouble we have Hank Scott (Richard Denning) and Artur Ramos (Carlos Rivas) running around in a jeep rescuing babies (great scene… love the throw the kid in the front seat) and saving damsels ranch owners that can’t ride a horse Teresa (Mara Corday).
We have mean drooling, front facing, running giant scorpions and just when you thought it was over we have the bigger black scorpion. That is not all when it comes to the vermin we are giant earthworms and a weird looking spider also. The romance bit of the film and the young kid running around can be a bit annoying.
Rating: I’m being honest I have seen way better monster films of the drive-in era. The story is trying too hard to be Them!! And the acting is not that great. The best part of the film is the actual special effects of the scorpions but nothing really shocking or different in this film outside the beasts. I sooner drink beer to One-Eyed Doll’s Death Scorpion for an hour and a half.
Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)
Director: Don Sharp
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Richard Pasco, Suzan Farmer
Storyline: The story of the power of the madman monk Rasputin
Review (Spoils): Grigori Rasputin (Christopher Lee) has the mental power to bend people to his will. When he uses his power to heal a woman and starts to gain the reputation from the villagers as a good guy eh starts to show his true colours. Rasputin uses his mind to brain wash women to become his slaves and bid his evil doing. To the point of their breaking point and their weakness.
Much like other Hammer Films this one is made up with beautiful gothic scenery and clothing. We have Christopher Lee at one of his best make-up setup as the mad monk. His acting stands out in this film and Rasputin should be a legendary character of his much like Dracula. The film tells the story of the drunken mad monk and how he uses his mind to control people to do his bidding so that he can live happily in wealth. The two damsels in this Hammer film are legendary scream queens Suzan Farmer and Barbara Shelley, we do not have the bosoms out like most Hammer films but at the same time we do have great acting as Shelley places the poor soul that the monk torments.
Rating: I will be honest I did not find it the strongest Hammer Film as it is lacking frights but the story and the acting alone is worth watching. Some of the story is lacking on how he gets the powers and the ending just kind of just ended but that is not much different other Hammer Films. I think we needed more cleavage and less mullets.
Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971)
Director: Dario Argento
Main Stars: Mimsy Farmer, Michael Brandon, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Bud Spencer
Storyline: A musician is being blackmailed and stalked
Review (Spoils): A drummer (Michael Brandon) keeps getting threaten calls from a stalker. He finally faces his fears up front and in a struggle he accidently stabs and kills the man. Which becomes more stressful is the next day someone new starts to blackmail him about the secret and we start a whole new stalker game.
This is a Dario film so we have lots of red blood, knives, killings and of course a murder mystery of who did or doing it. Like other Dario films it is thick with who is the killer and was there the night of the opera house to witness the first struggle. While the film is setup with threatening blackmail the musician’s friends and love ones start to be killed off and him being setup as the murder.
Rating: You can tell from the start that this was one of the earlier films of Dario Argento as the plot itself has some serious holes and it does not gel like the later films of his. The main character does not seem very full of life and the film just moves slowly with its paces. Another of the opposite is that the female lead Mimsy Farmer does the reverse and she is too over the top with her acting. So the connection of the relationship and the story line seem to be silly at times.
Fear of the Living Dead (2009)
Director: Randy Smith
Main Stars: April Campbell, Mike Tarp, Beth Baker
Storyline: Basic zombie short of a man and woman trying to survive a zombie outbreak
Review (Spoils): I came across this film and received a copy as I was at one time going to be a walking zombie in the film as I worked with someone who knew the crew. Time and the planning of kids did not pane out but my friend did make it so I did get a screening of the film. This is Canadian short film on a couple who are trying to survive a zombie outbreak. The film is on limited budget so the acting is limited and so is the plot. The make-up of the zombies themselves are not bad to be honest for a short film and we have decent gore in this short.
We have headshots, slow movie zombies, swarms of zombies, groans and some nasty biting (my favorite is the finger scene as that zombie is my buddy).
Rating: Why place this film on the site? Well for one it’s a horror short and shot locally in Ottawa and two we need to support small time films as someone needs to start somewhere. Hell even Evil Dead was a short at one point. (which I do have a copy of Evil Dead 0).
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Main Stars: Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damien Lewis, Donnie Wahlberg
Storyline: A group of young men when camping discover that they are being plagued by a parasitic alien.
Review (Spoils): Ever year since they were kids a group of young men travel to Maine Woods. This year it just happens to be in the winter during a massive blizzard. They discover a man on his lonesome travelling and when they take him in for shelter they learn it is more than they bargained for. One by one they start to witness a parasite that is overtaking them.
Take the film Stand by Me and place a bit of The Thing in it and you have the formula for Dreamcatcher. You really cannot go wrong with that and with the list of actors in this film it is a good ride. We have a nice winter horror film with a nice touch of sci-fi and lots of blood and gore to cover the white. The monster itself is interesting you really do not have a full image of what it is (much like The Thing) which leaves lots for the imagination.
Rating: This is a great winter feel horror film outside the Christmas themes. The acting is well done and the scenery and music add to the film. We have enough red in the film and flash back character build that the film keeps you entertained. Its not everyday that you get a guys guy horror film without the fleeing scream queens.