Saturday, May 06, 2006

Just Before Dawn

Jeff Leiberman's 1982 backwoods slasher Just Before Dawn is one of those needles in the haystack - you know it's there, but you truly don't appreciate it until after you've stuck yourself with it. What sets this film apart from the majority of 80's backwoods slasher attempts is the seriousness in which it represents within itself.

Spoilers Below

Staying in the same ball park as its older cousin, The Final Terror, we have a film filled with beautiful, albeit creepy imagery. It's doused with certain charms that one can't explain, giving it that extra oomph that a film like this needs. Leiberman went out on a limb with Just Before Dawn and succeeded greatly. Sadly, this film had gotten nowhere near the recognition it deserved over the years (as with The Final Terror), but not too long ago, Media Blasters released a special edition 2 disc set, packed with extra features. To be honest, I was hoping for better picture quality.
Anyway, we have a very errie opening scene that involves two hunters in an abandoned church. They just happen to be smack dab in the middle of nowhere, trees and landscape as far as one can see. They're standing in the church, (which happens to have a strategically placed hole in the roof) when the older hunter sees this huge bohemeth staring down at him. He gets freaked out, goes outside to check things out, but leaves his nephew Vachel inside. After a minute or two, as Vachel turns to follow his Uncle outside, the same face we saw staring down at them leaps out from behind a door and violently stabs him through the genital area and out the other side, sawing the rigid blade back and forth, grinding into Vachels tailbone. This scene made me jump. BUT, how could the same guy that was on the roof be inside? He's not Jason Vorhees, he can't be in two places at once, right?
We soon learn as one of the campers is walking across a rope bridge that there's actually two of these giants. Yep, their twins. Crazy, inbred, machete carrying twins.
Anyway, what we get is the normal slasher faccade - campers partying. Campers talking. Campers getting spooked a few times, especially in one scene that involves a couple swimming. The guy gets out, unbeknownst to the lady, all the while, seeing one of these psycho twins walking through a waterfall toward the chic. He submerges himself underwater and cops a feel of the naked chics T&A, just as she sees her boyfriend exiting the water, climbing onto the bank far in the distance. Needless to say, this is quiet a good scene.
To cut it short, if you're a slasher film fan of the 80's, Just Before Dawn has enough of every element to make it work. Good, good movie.

Silent Night, Bloody Night

One of the best pre-era slasher films ever made. To be honest, Bob Clark (Black Christmas) should give Silent Night Bloody Night a few props.

Telling it like it is, upon watching this from the early days of childhood, I had to actually watch it a few more times to fully conceive the plot. I didn't know if things were so compilcated that I just didn't get it, or if things were so simple that they just slipped past me. I finally gathered the fact that it was indeed the latter.
A dark, grainy, gloomy, little early seventies slasher, that delivers on conspiracies and unanswered questions. I mentioned this in the bodycount-continues forums, but I'll still stand by it. I don't think a totally remastered release is the right choice for SNBN. I actually believe that the darkness and grain adds to the almost depressing atmosphere. It's almost like having the same feeling one got as a child on Dec 26th - After the fun - After all the family get togethers - The little hint of depression that lingers a bit until the new year is finally accepted. Theodore Gershuny (director) really knew how to use the camera to tell a story. The scenery is almost gothic in its delivery, making it almost feel like an 'over seas' production.
Not that my reviews are fruitful or just plain 'good' in the first place, but I have never been able to write a good review for it. SO, with this being said, I'll leave a link to Justin Kerswell's extremely grande slasher sight, Hysteria-Lives!.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The House on the Edge of the Park

I never realized some of the bad cinematic choices made by my parents while I was growing up until recently. I say this not because HOTEOTP is a bad movie, it's the fact that the decision to allow a seven/eight year old kid to watch this Italian sleazefest - That's the bad part. God love them, tho.
David Hess pretty much carved his career in stone as forever being a brutal sadistic rapist, with no rguard for women or life in general with this Rugerro Deodato brute-fest.. Last House on the Left left him wounded, walking in a dead mans waddle, but House on the Edge of the Park was the fatal shot.
Alex (Hess) and Ricky (Italian sleazemeister Giovanni Lombardo Radice) are quiet the abnormal pair. From the get go, we're introduced to an 'ambush' rape - Alex seeing a short haired blonde in the car next to him, forcing her off the road, then raping her. For a few minutes, one may get the incling that Krug had somehow survived and made his way to Italy. We shouldn't be so lucky...
Alex and Ricki are two lone mechanics - Alex being the semi-boss, or the brains of the bunch, using the somewhat 'slow-minded' Ricky as a superiority crutch - someone to boss around and ultimately shove around. Ricky is somewhat likeable, as we see his childish innocence right away. From the start, we realize that Alex and Ricky don't make a good pair, especially the way Alex seems to be the one in control.
It's evening and Alex is getting all dolled up in his black and yellow club suit, looking mighty fine. Ricky is decked out in his leather jacket and jeans, discussing certain plans for the evening. Before long, a crew on their way to a party need a quick fix for their car and offer Alex fourty bucks to fix it. Incidently, after looking the car over, the crew invite the two dressed up mechanics out for a night of 'boogying'.
They soon arrive at a very large mansion, where a few more party goers await - one of the most memorable being a bald black woman. Yeah, a bald black woman.
Things go pretty good at first, until one of the guys at the party suggest playing a game of poker. Ricky has to pretty much ask Alex if he can play, but Alex being the good slavedriver he is, allows Ricky to play. Soon, Alex realizes that they're taking him for a ride and scheming together to beat his every hand. Ricky has no idea that he's being taken advantage of, not even after the little fiasco earlier, involving a half naked Ricky and the cold clubby hands of the female party goers.
To put it bluntly, Alex doesn't take well to the fact that they're tring to pull one over on them. He pretty much goes ballistic, beating the total shit out of a couple of the guys and cutting up and raping every woman in his path. He takes the house under seige, locking everyone in, telling them their every move. Ricky, being somewhat 'easier minded' than his bugged out friend Alex, just wants to call it a night, but Alex isn't done yet - He wants to have some fun.
To make a long story short, what we get is a brutal, sleazy, sadistic, mysgyonic piece of cinema, that serves no other purpose than to shock and repulse you. I'm not sure which is worse in terms of brutality, Last House on the Left or House On the Edge of the Park. I have actually interviewed both David Hess and Giovanni Lombardo Radice, and both guys have fun memories of each other, and most of all, fund memories of making House on the Edge of the Park. (I'll post the interviews soon). Like most rape/revenge flicks, Alex gets what's coming to him, but not after lashing out and accidently mortally wonding little ole Ricky. Hess puts on a pretty good performance and is always strangely likeable, even when he's a sadistic psycho. I could never understand this. Anyway, this ain't for the squeamish. I really feel sorry for people who actually 'enjoy' or as Lomberto-Radice likes to say 'get off on'' these types of films'. Films like these are pretty much a one time thing with me, as the subject matter is just a little to tight - The same can be said for I Spit on Your Grave. I still find myself watching this little Italian dung-fest from time to time, but I really have to put on my blinders and remind myself that I'm not depraved, I just need a wake-up call.

Land of the Dead (Game)

I just played and beat the quiet simple Land of the Dead pc game. I've read alot of bad reviews for the game, and to tell you the truth, I expected a bit more excitement, but its ambiant approach was enough to keep me playing. The playability was quiet easy, but the zombie action was something to be desired. Like the movie, it was a hit/miss situation. Still, it's worth the play.

Graphics: Okay
Sound: Less than average
Playability: Good

7 out of 10 stars

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Drive In Massacre

With all this talk of nuclear weaponry and chaos and detruction, it's hard to store any hope for the coming futrure. That's why we should spend the rest of our time getting high and watching horror films. Iv'e watched quiet a few horror flicks lately, most of them being schlocky horror from the seventies and early 80's. If you're going to do it, do it right, eh?

I got around to watching a movie I haven't seen before. I have always heard of it, but was afraid to try it. I ordered the Driller Killer/Drive-In Massacre dvd off eBay a while back for a buck and incidently had to watch it. By the time it was all over, I ended up having to pay over eight bucks for the thing because the shipping was so high. So, in other words, I got a dollar dvd (something you can get at the Dollar Store for a buck) for eight bucks. Now, how pathetic can you get?
Anyway, I'm not really sure whether I like this movie or not. The tagline reads: "Your nightmares are about to come true" - giving us the feeling that this is going to be so gruesome, that our nightmares were literally going to come true while watching the film. Let me just say that watching some scenes from this flick is a nightmare, so, they got that part right.
Incidently, people start getting beheaded and cut to shreds at a drive-in. It looks to me like the owners would close it, but the owner states to the cops that he's made more money since the murders than before. You know, just business, right?
Anyway, it's business as usual. The drive-in remains open, the cops stake out the place, allowing a few people to get murdered during their stakeout. Dressed like women, the two dildo-headed police officers actually don't see two people being murderd by a large sword. Anyway, this scene is a page straight from the script of 'The Town That Dreaded Sundown'.
I'll give the director/producers credit, tho. They used a popular theme at the time and turned it into a 'massacre'. One point for them, but a thousand taken away for not closing the drive-in. The detectives should have won an award for the dumbest cops in a b-horror film. These two are even dumber than the two from Craven's 'Last House on the Left'.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

I remember the very evening I watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. It was a very hot August evening back in 1986. I was around the age of seven, back when I went to the theater and saw ALL horror movies. Throughout the years, this has still remained high on my horror priority list. I absolutely love the comic book characters the writer construed through the pen and his imagination. He turned the cannibalistic Sawyer family into something of an enterprise. This is definitly a cinematic statement and is more on cue in a commentated sense with TCM 4: NG , than either TCM installment.
To put it plainly, Stretch, a radio disc jockey, captures the murder of two yuppies on their way to TEXAS OU Weekend in Dallas. It just so happens that the buzzed up kids called in to harrass Stretch on the air on their car phone ( must have been extremely rich to have a car phone back in 1986). Just as they begin their phone taunts, a truck they had purposely ran off the road in a drunken game of chicken a hundred miles earlier stop them dead in their tracks by beaming their headlights. The yuppies try to speed up, but it's to no avail. The truck speeds up (backwards) , weaving back and forth, but managing to keep up with the speeding car. All the while, the driver has Stretch on the other line. From out of no where, a large cloaked figure jumps up from the back of the truck with a very large chainsaw. It's obvious that this person has the dead body of someone else somehow tied around him, making it look like a macabre puppet, flailing its arms as it attempts to start the chainsaw. The chainsaw buzzes loudly, blue smoke filtrating the night air as both the yuppies and the psychos in the truck speed down the long lonely bridge. The chainsaw digs into the side of the yuppies car, sparks flying wildly as they speed along.
To sum it up, it's Leatherface, this being revealed when the passenger in the car shoots his decaying marrionette in the head, moving the corpses writhered skull, allowing us to get a glimpse of an even more sinnister face...LEatherface.
The next day, Leautenant Lefty Enright, (a relative of Franklin and Sally Hardesty from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre) makes his way to the car accident scene. It seems as if he knows that the killers are close by, as he figures this accident was constructed by the hands of Leatherface and his "bunch of goons". He's not very welcomed by the local police cheif, who sees Lefty as an eccentric Bible beating redneck who's obsessed with the deaths of his brother kids. This isn't far from the truth, as later down the road, Venita "Stretch Brock (the dj) and Lt Lefty Enright team up, sort of. It just so happens that Stretch caught the killings on tape. Lefty has a devious plan to use Stretch to play the tape on the radio, no matter how many listeners she pisses off, or no matter how many regulations she has to break to do it. Stretch, someone who is tired of "playing head banging music" and "wants to do something real", is eager to become Lefty's right hand gumshoe, so, she plays the tape....a bunch of times. She was supposed to hear from Lefty after playing the tapes, but he never showed.
Wouldn't you know it? Leatherface and his brother like to listen to the same station and even consider Stretch one of their favorite dj's. They just so happen to hear this on the radio, call Dreyton Sawyer (chili king -cook from the original TCM) on his car phone and tell him the bad news. And all this- after Drayton wins a chili-cook-off with his wonderful chili and secret human additives.
It's closing time and LG, (a big teddy bear of a man) tries to put his moves on Stretch, being jealous of 'this guy, Lefty'. He propositions her with a coffe and a 'big steak', but she declines, wanting to wait on Lefty to show up.
To make a long story short, Leatherface and is fucked up brother, "Chop Top' make their way to the radio station to do away with Stretch and steal the only copy of the tape. LG shows back up, gets his head bashed in numerous, I mean NUMEROUS times, all the while, still being able to hock up noogies and propell them into the air.
Stretch uses her woman capacities and coaxes Leatherface into not killing her. Leatherface lies to his steel plate wearing brother and nods his head as if he's done away with her. The brother steals a few records, honks a bicycle horn a few times and they make a break for it.
I don't know if it was Stretch's gumshoe tendacies, or the plain fact that she's an idiot, but she jumps into her Jeep and follows this band of macabre puppies. They lead her to an abandoned underground theme park, where The 'Sawyers' do their ghastly deeds - and maintain their monetary income. Somehow, while snooping around, Lefty shows up in his car, scaring Stretch. She tries to run away from the lights, through some makeshift or unfinished steel-ribbed tunnel, but soon finds outs it's Lefty. He evidently knew that if they didn't kill her, she would eventually follow them. So, he used her as bait to find their supposed hideout. Lefty's quiet the little sumbitch ain't he?
Anyway, Stretch falls through one of the clans trap doors and falls directly into the corridors of their hideout. She can't seem to remain quiet, knocks over some meat tools while Latherface cuts LG into bits with an electric fillet knife and again, she's accosted by our chainsaw welding maniac. By this time, we're not scared of LEatherface. He's more of a cuddly muddly litle teddy bear, only he wears someone elses face and carries the chainsw. The only true mistake made with this film is that Hooper gives LEatherface TOO much of a persona. He's not sinnister anymore. Man, if they had sustained Leatherface's character level from the bridge scene, he would have been one bad mother fucker...again.
Anyway, what ensues is some of the quirkiest and zaniest black comedy you'll ever see. Chop Top, played marveously by Bill Mosely (Devils Rejects, House 1Kc), delivers some of the funniest shit I've ever seen with his overly loud obnoxious self. Dreyton Sawyer (the cook from part 1) is really a comical guy, adding a comic book feel to it, alongide his costar Bill Mosely. Leatherface is a pussy in this one. Lefty is a strange individual. He ultimately fights the clan as a would be gunslinger, a chainsaw in each holster and one huge barred saw in hand - representing the cowboy way. A funny, sometimes scary, slap-dash horror film that delivers on the gore and cheese all together. This is quiet a different viewing eperience and should be viewed at least once by all fans of the genre.

Immigrant March

Today (Monday), hundreds of thousands of immigrants marched throughout the United States in protests against talks of immigration reforms on both sides of congress. I'm very surprised how the media has sort of down-played things. I thought this would be one of the biggest mediated events of the decade, but the media has turned it from such, into basically just a nusance.
Maybe this was the snakes way of letting the pray survive a little longer, who knows. I was secretly praying for something to be done in reguards to immigrants and illegal aliens entering the United States. It's time that the world faces the facts and acknowledge that there's simply no more room for immigrants. As much as I am all for legal immigrants coming to the United States, it's simply time to close the gates. It's been a good run. Don't pack your bags in anticipation to reach 'paradise on Earth'. Stay home. There's no more vacancies.
In case efveryone hasn't noticed already, America is overflowing with people as it is. It's not America anymore. It's a haven for all people, not the 'home' of Americans, for the American. The good old U S of A: The Great Immigrant Nation. It's time we stop trying to exbrace ALL cultures and get back down to the cultural beginnings that made America great in the first place. America simply cannot be great as long as we take the ten commandments out of schools and courthouse. America cannot be great when we have to be sensitive to our 'Muslim' or 'Peurto Ricans' brothers. Who cares if some immigrant is offended by prayer to God Almighty in our childrens school. Who cares if some Muslim or Jewish born citizen is angered by the the word 'God' or Jesus'. This country was based on Biblical morals and the Constitution states evidence to back that up. It's time people stop wiping their ass on the constitution. If you do not agree with the Constitution of the Uunited States, or are offended by America's Christian and political views, stay where you are. America shouldn't have to change or 'adapt' to suit any foreigners needs.
America is where it is now because of immigrants. The United States cannot be a haven any longer for any Tom, Dick and Harry who wants to hop on an inflatable guitar and float over here.
Stay home, immigrants! Contribute to your society. Find ways to make your own society better. The only reasons you're here in the first place is because the conservatives need your votes and the democrats are afraid to send you home, afraid they'll lose a vote once Bush is out of office.

Driller Killer

Like most classic horror films of the seventies and the early 80's, I saw most of them when I was a kid. Driller Killer just so happened to be a rental one Saturday night by the folks. I remember the copy of the vhs we rented stated at the beginning that 'This film is meant to be played loud'. I never really fully got what this artsy film was trying to say, but after many years and alot more experience in my my cinematic indulgences, I understand what director Abel Ferarra was trying to pull of.
We have a strange painter (Reno) , living with his two female roomates in what could be considered a 'shanty' place. They're barely making ends meat. Reno's paintings haven't been selling and the neighbors that moves in next door to him do nothing to elevate his artistic visions. 'The Roosters', a VERY LOUD Punk band play their music day and night right next door to Reno, driving him insane. Needless to say, like most painters whom I've came into contact with, they get the hots for portable drills. Reno seems to get a little too excited when he sees commercials on television for a portable drill for only twenty bucks. He also has these wierd scenerios in his head - all blood crimson, his face and hair covered in blood at the sound of this very aggruvating squelching.
This is where the statement I mentioned earlier comes into play. If you turn the film up louder than normal, you get the sense of what Reno must have endured (even to a greater degree) on a daily and nightly basis. Ala 'I Drink Your Blood', where a group of satanic hippies infected with rabies freak out at loud high pitched noises, Driller Killer delivers on lousy sounding nuances to literally pound the viewers senses. There's this horrible urge to turn the television down, but there's also this feeling that we're missing out on the whole point if we do. Irritating, vibrating, high pitced noises - All the way through the film. Together with Reno's dead painting career, lack of money for the bills, and his failed love attempt, it's no wonder he goes mad and murders homeless people. I think this is also a statement. Reno was only one step away from being homeless himself. Reno despised the homeless 'bums', but was overly afraid of becoming one himself, thus, taking his murderous agression out on them. That's not the only 'class' of people Reno kills, however.
If you're in for something a little different, but still not the greatest thing in the world, check out Driller Killer. Not an early bad effort from Ferarra, who later delivered a few more cult favorites.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Hunters Blood

I won the 1987 backwoods slasher flick 'Hunters Blood' off eBay sometime back. I've read alot of good things about it. Alot of my online aquaintances have praised this film, putting it in the same boat with Rituals and the great backwoods epic, Deliverence. I can't wait to check it out. I'm a huge fan of backwoods slashers. Alot of people dislike the film due to the lack of kills, but I think the 1981 Deliverence themed slasher 'The Final Terror' really has alot going for it. There's great acting, great locations, great night shots. The few kill scenes that do occur are very creative. I'll do a review on this before too long. Another backwoods favorite of mine is 'Just Before Dawn'. 1981 was a pretty good year for slashers, and Just Before Dawn was no exception. Here's another slasher gem that doesn't contain much slashing, but relies on premise and location to hearkn the slasher elements we all crave. If you like well filmed slashers, with a believable story, shot in their own unique style, check out Just Before Dawn and The Final Terror.

'Hunters Blood' came a little late in the game, (from what Justin Kerswell from Hysteria-Lives! calls the 'overkill' period) in 1987, but it sounds as if it's right on the money. Maybe it's one of those attempts that recognizes the genre is dying, going all balls and delivering something off the wall. Let's hope so. BTW, when I receive 'Hunters Blood', I'll spring up a review for it.