As a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war-torn Tehran of the 1980s, a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home.
Shideh (Narges Rashidi) and her family live amid the chaos of the Iran-Iraq war, a period known as The War of the Cities. Accused of subversion by the post-Revolution government and blacklisted from medical college, she falls into a state of malaise. With Tehran under the constant threat of aerial bombardment, her husband (Bobby Naderi) is drafted and sent to the frontlines by the army, leaving Shideh all alone to protect their young daughter, Dorsa (Avin Manshadi). Soon after he leaves, a missile hits their apartment building and while failing to explode, a neighbor dies under mysterious circumstances and Dorsa’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic. Shideh finds herself slowly drawn into the ensuing turmoil, struggling to cling onto what is real and what is not. Searching for answers, she learns from a superstitious neighbor that the cursed missile might have brought with it Djinn – malevolent Middle-Eastern spirits that travel on the wind.
Convinced that a supernatural force within the building is attempting to possess Dorsa, Shideh has no choice but to confront these forces if she is to save her. Continue reading
Faithful to the sexy, twisted 1974 cult classic by Joseph Larraz, Vampyres is an English-language remake pulsating with raw eroticism, wicked sado-masochism and bloody, creative gore. Victor Matellano (Wax (2014, Zarpazos! A Journey through Spanish Horror, 2013) directs this tale set in a stately English manor inhabited by two older female vampires and with their only cohabitant being a man imprisoned in the basement. Their lives and lifestyle are upended when a trio of campers come upon their lair and seek to uncover their dark secrets, a decision that has sexual and blood-curdling consequences. Continue reading
A remake of West of Zanibar, this strange, gut-wrenching melodrama set in the African jungles, offers a disturbing portrait of a bitter, crippled and insane megalomaniac who vents his rage via mental torture against all those who get too near. Walter Huston plays the madman who lost the use of his legs during a battle with his nemesis Gordon. The accident happened many years ago and since then Huston has dragged himself about in his jungle home making the lives of those around him waking nightmares. He has terrified the local tribesmen into total submission with his knowledge deadly voodoo (he tells them guns are magical instruments). He is even crueler to his fellow Anglos. A young white woman comes to visit one day. Believing her to be the daughter of his arch rival Gordon, he gleefully embarks upon a heavy reign of psychological abuse until the poor girl is nearly destroyed. For more fun, he gets a new doctor addicted to drugs and of course he can also torment the woman who loves him, Velez. The horror continues until Gordon suddenly shows up. Vengeful Huston quickly picks a fight and during the ensuing struggle Gordon tells Huston a bitter truth, one that leads Huston to a horrible realization. Continue reading
SHOCK Revisits David Cronenberg’s Insane Episode Of FRIDAY THE 13th: THE SERIES.
FRIDAY THE 13th: THE SERIES was always an odd duck of a show. The spin-off series (which was also known as FRIDAY’S CURSE in some regions) had no relation to its big screen counterpart aside from the title, and it instead featured the weekly adventures of a group of characters running an antique store called Curious Goods, which was filled with cursed items.
The show had some dud episodes along the way, but it could be a surprisingly creepy affair at times and the premise of collecting haunted items was kind of inspired. It was filmed in Canada throughout its three season run and was shot on a strict ten-day schedule to help keep costs in check. Various guest directors of note passed through its hallways, including Atom Egoyan, Tom McLoughlin (who also directed Jason Lives) and Jennifer Lynch. Continue reading
Serbia, in the year 1910: Milena Strasek has lived with her 12-year-old son Stefan in a small village since the father abandoned the family shortly after Stefan was born. Many years of uncertainty concerning the man’s whereabouts have taken their toll: Milena Strasek falls seriously ill and dies, leaving her son alone in the empty house. The father appears the following night. He has come to take his son, but Stefan refuses to go with him. It is a fateful encounter, changing Stefan for the rest of his life. Continue reading
By Yûji ‘Shogun’s Sadism’ Makiguchi. Another medieval tale of barbarism amidst civilized Japan. A girl urinates right in front of two horny travelling strangers in the forest and is surprised and shocked when they suddenly attack and rape her. She runs and finds herself in one of the millions of convents populated by heroin-smoking, man-hating, cannibalistic, cult, lesbian nuns that we know so well. Any man who falls in their clutches gets the brutal treatment, and is then eaten by a mad cannibal. This super-intelligent girl is then not so sure she likes this new arrangement any better. Continue reading
Madness and demonism, present in many of Bergman’s films, are made the explicit themes of Hour of the Wolf. Here they are associated with artistic creativity. Alma (Liv Ullmann) tells of her life with her artist husband, who disappeared, leaving only his diary. “The first of three films featuring Max von Sydow as Bergman’s alter ego, the artist in retreat to an island (Fårö, the director’s own home) where all his demons and imagined monsters can come out to play, threatening to possess their creator and ‘disappear’ him into the darkness behind the brain. A strikingly Gothic tale of horror, Hour of the Wolf owes much to Bram Stoker’s Dracula in its evocation of the artist’s admirers and tormentors as vampires, flocks of flesh-eating birds and insects.” –Kathleen Murphy, Film Society of Lincoln Center Continue reading