söndag 24 februari 2013

Trackman (2007)

Trackman starts with a bankrobbery gone to hell - two policemen are killed and the robbers take hostages as they flee down into the underground into a an abandoned metrosystem. One of the robbers is planning to kill the others to get all the money but all of that is thrown aside as a killer with a fetish for plucking out eyes starts to hunt them throughout the dark tunnels, killing robbers and hostages one by one.

What we have here is basically a slasher, people are killed by a generic masked killer. There isn't really anything new or fresh about the story itself, the characters have all been seen before in similar movies and we never really learn anything about the killer other than he is tall and masked, likes to remove eyes and kills with a large pickaxe. The fun part about Trackman, the thing that makes it rise a bit above the usual slashermovie, is the setting: the dark, wet tunnels of an abandoned Russian metrosystem. Here is where the movie shines, the filmmakers uses the location exceptionally well with good cinematography and a strong pace that never bogs down into bickering or anything else that scriptwriters use for padding their movies into full length.

It is always fun to watch a Russian take on a very western genre and at first I though I rated this movie higher just because it is Russian but in reality there isn't really anything particularily Russian about Trackman. It is "just" a very competent slasher that uses its resources very well and as such is a a lot better than a lot of similar movies. There are no bubbly teens, no jiggling silicone boobs - just people trying to outwit a killer in a very atmospheric location and that is all I need. I suppose there could have been a bit more gore but we do get a couple of glimpses of pickaxerelated violence and a semi-gory eyeextraction or two. Good clean fun, worth picking up if you are into well made slashers.

måndag 18 februari 2013

Werewolves on wheels (1971)

Short version:


Satanic rituals with dancing nude chicks.


See the movie.

Slightly longer version:

Basically, Werewolves on wheels kicks ass. Seventies horrormovies has a certain atmosphere when done right and this one nails it, even though the story might feel a bit goofy. But WOW manages to pull off that very particular feeling of people outside the grid travelling through the backside of America as a group of bikers are cursed by a coven of satanists, turning some of them into werewolves. The bikers are gruff, the scenery is awesome and there is enough exploitation to satisfy me even though the film was toned down after a battle with the MPAA. The werewolves even look old school and cool, like straight out of a 40s flick. In all, one of my favorite seventies horrors ever. This makes a perfect doublebill with Race with the devil, or maybe Devil's rain.

torsdag 14 februari 2013

Geekend report

I just came back from the latest edition of one of the hottest new horror festivals out there, Geekend in the woods - winter 2013 edition. GITW 2013 featured tons of prominent guests from all over the globe and some of the best new horrormovies out there. Ok, I might be stretching the truth a little bit. Geekend in the woods is actually "just" me, Fred of Ninja Dixon and Jason of Cinezilla going out to a cabin and watching movies for two days. Two days of great fun.

The best kind of forestroad for going somehere to watch horrormovies, wouldn't you say?

So, after driving through the snow for a couple of hours (stopping only for some meat and a lot of snacks) we finally arrived at the cabin, the weather being quite nice for the occasion.

Yes, we were slightly overambitious with the amount of dvds we brought with us. And thus the moviewatching began (after a light snack consisting of pasta and meat).

We needed to start out strong with some major cheese and there is no better movie for that than Bruno Mattei's wonderful Rats - Night of terror. I remember it as being pretty dumb, but it goes way beyond that. Rats is one of the stupidest movies I have ever seen with dialogue and plot development from the nether pits of some hellish mire of unfathomable dumbness that makes Troll 2 look intelligent and enlightening. But still, Bruno Mattei treated the whole thing like the professional he was and it is a good looking movie (shot on the sets of Once upon a time in America), no matter how daft the proceedings are. Hilarious good fun that makes me miss Mattei even more.

After all this fun we had to go a bit more serious and what better way than with Beverly and Ferd Sebastians Cajun revenge story, Gator bait. This is a strange mixture of good-natured goofy redneck fun and a pretty nasty (though not very graphic) rape/revenge story as the extremely adorable/sexy Claudia Jennings roams around in the Louisiana swamp in a very skimpy outfit killing the people that raped and murdered her sister. Miss Jennings is so cute that I go all butterflyish in my stomach just watching her.

Movie number 3 was Ryan Shifrings Abominable, most likely the best Bigfootmovie ever made. Basically Rear window with Bigfoot, this has everything a horrorfan needs: Boobs, blood and bigfoot.

After that we decided to go back into Mattei county again with one of his last movie, the supremely sleazy The Jail - The Womens hell. This is a cheapo throwback to the 70s genre of Women in prison movies that has so more nudity and sleaze than your average pornflick. When there is 30 minutes left of the movie we are suddenly treated to Matteis version of The Most dangerous game and we get quite a bit of cheap gore as the halfnaked women are hunted and killed in the jungle. Only Mattei could make them like this, it looks as cheap as it probably was but Mattei never held back, exploitation is served in large amounts.

Did you know Shakira was in a Bruno Mattei movie? Here is proof!

Then we moved on to Satanico Pandemonium, a quite odd Mexican movie where a nun tries to hold back temptation from Satan. It looks like a fifties flick but with a bit more nudity (a lot) and that feeling is strengthened even more when the lead actress reminds you quite a lot of Audrey Hepburn. Lots of nudity and sin, good clean fun.

Giorgio Ferronis Night of the devils is one of my favorite 70s horrors, a slow burner with more atmosphere than a hundred PG13 horrors. It takes its sweet time building up to a great climax but it sure as hell is worth it, this is a movie everyone should own and it's out of dvd and blu from Raro Video. Get it. NOW.

I remember Ruggero Deodatos Camping del terrore aka Body Count as being a good movie but then again, I had only seen a blurry vhscopy. Now that it's been released on a decent dvd in Italy it was time to watch it again, with some anticipation. I cannot say I was dissapointed but I wouldn't go so far as to say that it is a good movie. Camping del terrore is an Italian slasher, complete with unexisting characterization and weird plot. Generic but well made and has a couple of nice kills and some nudity. It does have a feature that you rarely see in slashers, in that the "final girl" takes off all her clothes.

Taxidermia, Hungarys submission to the oscars in 2008, is one hell of a mindfuck of a movie. To describe the plot is useless, I will just say that it involves penises shooting fire, obese people getting more obese and live taxidermia. And not in a avant garde "just got out of film school" way, but a genuinely strange and engaging story.

Gyo: Tokyo fish attack is a 70 minute long anime adaption of Junji Ito supreme manga; Gyo, about a sudden epidemic of dead fish with metallic legs attacking everything living. If you compare it to the manga you might be a bit dissapointed characters have been changed and new ones added but you are never bored and that is more important.

Next up, Jack Curtis wonderful The Flesh eaters. Made over the course of a year in 1964, this doesnt offer much in production values but excels with the help of some minor early gore, a fun plot and decent acting. Fans of b&w scifi/horror will love it.

Survive! is Rene Cardonas exploitationversion of the 1972 Andes flight disaster where survivors of a planecrash survived by eating the flesh of the dead. Not as exploitative as one would assume but still an entertaining oddity with the survivors eating what looks a hell of a lot like beef jerky.

Joe D'Amatos Anthropophagus was next on the menu and really feel that the movie gets more negativity towards it than it deserves. It's great fun watching George Eastman munch his way through the dubbed cast and while D'Amato uses the zoom a bit too much at times, it is still a good looking and atmospheric little goremovie.

The Geekend ended with 1987 monstermovie The Kindred, a flick that really needs a proper dvd (we watched a fullscreen german dvd, most likely sourced from a vhstape). Another one that takes its time getting to the goods but for those with a little patience we get a lot of nice tentacly fun.

13 movies in two days, I know we could have done better. But then again, we had a really good time and that is what matters. Until next time.

måndag 4 februari 2013

Deadline (1984)

One of my favorite exploitation movies of all time is James C Wassons lovely Bigfootflick Night of the demon. While not exactly a good movie per se, it is shamelessly entertaining and has a story structure that in itself is absolutely brilliant - the movie stops on several occasions while a character relates a story about a previous victim of the nasty bigfoot. A prefect recipe for creating nonstop entertainment; as soon as the movie starts getting boring you add a scene of a biker getting his dick ripped off or a scene where a couple of girl scouts are gorily dispatched. Nothing but awesome.

Deadline uses a similar gimmick. While not actually a horror movie it still manages to find a clever way of inserting gory horror scenery, telling the story of a writer who perhaps delves a bit too deep into his own imagery. We follow the life of Steven Lessey, a successful horror novelist and screenplay writer who is under quite a lot of pressure. Not only is he getting bashed by members of the public who feels his writing is pure exploitation with the only intent of shocking and making money, the producer of a movie he is writing is pressuring him to add more and more nasty violence into the script. Adding to this mess, his wife is having an affair and a drug addiction, something she blames on him. And of course, their children are being neglected by both parents; something that will have some pretty horrible consequences in the end.

Deadline is basically a drama about a man who is losing control of his life, still wanting to believe that his work is of some literary value but slowly succumbing into writing exceedingly violent horror. I suppose there might actually be a point behind all of this, some sort of statement about cinematic violence but since the movie is more interested in showing us all of these gory scenes from the movie he is writing that point soon becomes lost. As for the human drama, it really isn't very interesting. All the characters are self-centered assholes who only think of themselves and their needs, be it artistic integrity or being high on coke. They are all very unappealing and very hard to root for so when tragedy strikes you really don't feel anything else than that they had it coming. It probably would have helped if there were any good actors but other than Stephen Young in the lead who is ok, the rest of the ensemble are all hovering slightly below mediocre.

Fortunately there are other redeeming qualities for the gorehounds out there. There are quite a few random scenes of violence in Deadline and all of them nicely bloody and gory with good special effects. They don't don't add anything to the movie other than confusion about the scripts purpose and more importantly - entertainment.

Nuns eating pounds of flesh from a priest? Check.

Young children setting fire to their grandmother? Check.

A new wave band using some sort of nazicontrolled soundwave to make bums melt? Check. (What the hell? Who came up with that?)

Yes, Deadline is not a very good movie. It tries but the message is muddled and unappealing so its only enjoyment comes from watching the nasty gore scenes, although I will admit that the final 10 minutes of debauchery are both pretty fun to watch and actually quite horrifying. Too bad you don’t care at all about the lead character by then.