John Carl Buechler – Troll (1986)

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An evil troll, Torok, the transformed state of the ex-husband of an old friendly witch named Eunice St. Clair, has chosen her apartment building to be the heart of the restoration of the world he once knew. To do this he uses an Emerald ring, and takes possession of a little girl named Wendy, whose brother Harry immediately suspects something wrong. Torok, often in the form of the little girl, goes into each occupant’s apartment, hideously transforming people into plant pods. Continue reading

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Jennifer Kent – The Babadook (2014)

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THE BABADOOK was the breakout horror hit of Sundance 2014, and has been terrorising audiences around the world ever since. This creepy, expertly crafted feature has been a critical and audience scary favourite, winning a slew of awards for best film, best actress, best director etc. Which suits Mister Babadook just fine because he is a conceited asshole and loves people heaping praise on his film. Continue reading

Tobe Hooper – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

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The year is 1974. A group of five close friends are heading through the back roads of Texas en route to their grandfather’s potentially vandalized grave. Among them are Sally Hardesty, and her invalid brother Franklin. They encounter an unpleasant hitchhiker (Neal) who slashes both himself & Franklin with a wicked-looking knife. The others manage to eject the hitchhiker from the vehicle, but shortly after wards, they are forced to stop & wander over to a small, sinister clapboard house nearby in hopes for gas. What none of them realize is that this house is the home of the ghoulish Leatherface (Hansen) and his evil, demented family of cannibalistic psychopaths. One at a time, the teens are murdered by the evil Leatherface in horrifying ways. Sally soon finds herself an involuntary guest at Leatherface’s home, and flees into the night to escape the demented cannibal and his loudly-buzzing chainsaw. Can she escape the grim fate that befell her friends & brother? Based on the terrifying true story of Ed Gein Continue reading

Francesco Barilli – Il profumo della signora in nero AKA The Perfume of the Lady in Black [+Extra] (1974)

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SYNOPSIS
Silvia Hacherman (Mimsy Farmer) is an industrial scientist who is completely devoted to her job. She has been going out with the handsome Roberto (Maurizio Bonuglia) for a little over four months, but he is understandably perturbed by the fact that she seems to value her work more than him. One night, while attending, with Roberto, a party at the home of a renowned African professor (Jho Jenkins), his discussion of voodoo rituals and human sacrifices seems to unroot a memory deeply buried within her psyche. She begins to hallucinate, seeing disturbingly vivid images of her mother, who died under uncertain circumstances. As the hallicunations become more frequent and more lifelike, Silvia begins to lose her grip on reality as her sanity slips away… Throw into the mix phantom girls, grisly murders, mysterious gift shops and a possible conspirary involving her boyfriend, and you have the makings of an incredibly baffling psycho-shocker that, while following some of the giallo genre’s conventions, is too anarchic a piece to fit comfortably into that particular category.
Michael Mackenzie on The Digital Fix Continue reading

Joe D’Amato – Le Notti Erotiche dei Morti Viventi AKA Sexy Nights of the Living Dead (1980)

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Plot Summary:
A sailor takes an American businessman and his girlfriend to an island where the businessman wants to build a resort. Soon a weird voodoo couple show up and warn them of bad things that are going to happen. It doesn’t take long for the zombies to show up and start chowing down on human flesh. The main characters do manage to fit in quite a bit of sex though.

Review:
One of the most interesting consequences of the brief period of “porno chic” in the early 70s was the resulting effect on the Italian exploitation industry. Never quick to miss an American cinematic “craze”, a lot of film-makers found themselves curiously crossing genres and stuffing hardcore porn into other genres, as well as vice versa. The absolute master of this was the ubiquitous Joe D’Amato, and here he fuses porno with the zombie movie (which at the time was in the midst of enormous popularity in Italy). Continue reading

Jack Clayton – The Innocents (1961)

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Jack Clayton’s celebrated screen adaptation of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw (1898) is a brilliant exercise in psychological horror. Impressionable and repressed governess Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) agrees to tutor two orphaned children, Miles and Flora. On arrival at Bly House, she becomes convinced that the children are possessed by the perverse spirits of former governess Miss Jessel and her Heathcliffe-like lover Quint (Peter Wyngarde), who both met with mysterious deaths.

The film’s sinister atmosphere is carefully created – not through shock tactics, but through its cinematography, soundtrack, and decor: Freddie Francis’ beautiful CinemaScope photography, with its eerily indistinct long shots and mysterious manifestations at the edges of the frame; an evocative and spooky soundtrack; and the grand yet decaying Bly House.

Deborah Kerr gives the performance of her career and makes The Innocents an intensely unsettling experience. Are the ghosts the products of Miss Giddens’s fevered imagination and emotional immaturity, or a displacement of her shock at the sexually precocious behaviour of ten-year-old Miles? Is she the protector or the corrupter? Continue reading

Timur Bekmambetov – Nochnoy Dozor AKA Night Watch (2004)

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Information

Little Shop of Horrors, Russian Style

By Oleg Liakhovich The Moscow News

On the heels of the XXVI Moscow International Film Festival came an event even more pompous and widely publicized – the premiere of a movie meant to spark a revival of Russia’s popular cinema while giving Hollywood a battle royale on its own terms

Night Watch (Nochnoy Dozor in original Russian) depicts the on-going struggle between the magical forces of good and evil in present-day Moscow. The movie was eagerly awaited by fans and became an object of an intense advertising campaign in all media. Its US $3mln budget – an incredible sum for a local movie – and plentiful special effects, also a novelty for Russian cinema with its established traditions of inexpensive quality dramas and solid adaptations of literary classics, were to make Night Watch Russia’s equivalent of an American summer blockbuster. The producers actually went as far as officially calling it “the first Russian blockbuster” long before it had the chance to appear on screen. Even Russia’s own Oscar winner and self-styled national sage director Nikita Mikhalkov, while admitting that the film “wasn’t his thing”, said that it was “cool” and called it Russia’s “answer to Quentin Tarantino”. Serious praise indeed – after all, only a dirty mind would suspect Mikhalkov of still being sore at old Quentin for “stealing” his Palme d’Or in Cannes back in 1994.
Lightsaber, Anyone? Continue reading