October Horrorshow: Belzebuth

Belzebuth, the 2017 horror flick from Mexico, stakes its claims early on. In the first scene, we see police officer Emmanuel Ritter (Joaquín Cosio) and his wife, Marina (Aurora Gil), at the hospital following the birth of their child. The two are consumed by happiness, as are all the other new parents in the maternity ward. But, not long after, a neonatal nurse starts her shift by stabbing all of the babies in the newborn nursery with a scalpel. Viewers are treated to the nurse’s increasingly bloody arm going up and down, clutching the scalpel like, well, a knife. Ritter’s baby is one of the victims. It’s a hard bit of film to watch, even though the death is one-hundred percent implied. Director Emilio Portes decided to open his film with a shock, but he was still wise enough not to show we viewers any actual dead babies. Thank goodness, really. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Belzebuth”

It Came from the ’50s: The Manster

With a name like The Manster, it has to be shit, right?

From 1959 (but kept on a shelf until 1962), The Manster is a shitty American monster flick that looks like a joint American/Japanese production. But, it’s not. The Manster is a 100% American production that just happened to be shot in Japan, with many Japanese actors and crew. I made a point while watching this flick to go into the tubes and find out if there was a Japanese-language version of this flick shot side-by-side with the American release, à la Dracula, but there was not. That feels like something of a missed opportunity, as Japanese shitty movie fans would enjoy this piece of trash, I’m sure. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: The Manster”

October Horrorshow: Vampire Circus

Vampire Circus didn’t make the cut two years ago for the October Hammershow, but now I wish it had. I watched some real stinkers that month, and Vampire Circus would have been a worthy replacement.

Hammer released Vampire Circus in 1972, placing it at the tail end of Hammer’s run. The cracks in Hammer were apparent by then. The formula they had been using for over a decade was showing less and less return at the box office, so Hammer turned to gratuitous nudity and more gore to try and boost sales. It didn’t work. But, even though it seems Hammer was turning somewhat desperate, they were still capable of releasing good horror flicks. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Vampire Circus”

It Came from the ’50s: The Tingler

Gimmicks present unique problems when it comes to film, or art, or anything. Gimmicks may be useful for an initial draw, but people tire of them. Gimmicks are also used to disguise, or make up for, a lack of funds or competence. That is why William Castle, despite throwing some interesting gimmicks into his films, is remembered for being a shitty movie director as much as an innovator.

The Tingler, from 1959, was Castle’s most ambitious foray into gimmickry. Besides producing, Castle directed, from a screenplay by Robb White. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: The Tingler”

October Horrorshow: Eli

Back in 2012, Ciarán Foy made a disturbing indie horror flick called Citadel. With that film, he showed that he could make horror with a polished sense of dread and an uneasy aesthetic. It wasn’t a great horror film, but it’s getting him some regular work in the genre.

His latest is Eli, which was released this month on Netflix. From a screenplay by David Chirchirillo, Ian Goldberg, and Richard Naing, Eli tells the story of the unfortunate title character, played by Charlie Shotwell. Eli is unfortunate because he’s basically allergic to everything. He lives in a sterile environment, but should he leave his bubble in anything less than a hermetically sealed hazmat suit, he goes into anaphylactic shock. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Eli”

It Came from the ’50s: Monster from Green Hell, or, Deus Ex Mons Igneus

Beware a promising title, especially when it comes to shitty movies. There’s a good chance that a shitty movie won’t live up to its title, and could even be a bait-and-switch. Monster from Green Hell, from 1957, isn’t that most egregious of shitty filmmaking sins, but it is not nearly as good as the title.

The Green Hell of the title is a stretch of African jungle surrounding a volcano. The Monster which emerges from the Green Hell is a gigantic wasp, mutated by space radiation. It all began back in the states, in an isolated rocket science lab in the west. Dr. Quent Brady (Jim Davis, of Dallas fame), and Dan Morgan (Robert Griffin) are conducting experiments to determine the effects that exposure to space will have on future human space travelers. They do this by sending just about every animal they can find into space aboard rockets, then studying the animals after the rocket returns to Earth. There is a concern that all that radiation shooting around up in space will mutate those who are exposed to it. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: Monster from Green Hell, or, Deus Ex Mons Igneus”

October Horrorshow: Slugs

What a putrid mess of a movie. Slugs is one of those shitty movies New World Pictures banged out that had little to no regard for the intelligence or attention spans of its audience. It looks rushed, feels rushed, and even sounds rushed. But, it’s got a lot of blood, so it has that going for it.

From 1988, Slugs is an American/Spanish collaboration. At the time, shitty Spanish cinema was mimicking shitty Italian cinema, making this production feel like an amalgamation of bad American and Italian horror. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Slugs”

It Came from the ’50s: The Fly (1958)

Most of the films featured in the October Horrorshow: It Came from the ’50s reviews haven’t been all that good. Some have been downright cheap and awful. Such is the life of the shitty movie fan. But then there is something like today’s film, The Fly. I wouldn’t characterize it as a classic, other than in the sense that it’s old. Rather, it’s just a decent film from the time.

Released in the summer of 1958, The Fly was produced and directed by Kurt Neumann from a screenplay by James Clavell, who would go on to write some of the lengthiest novels known to man. There’s a plodding nature to this film that I think can be blamed partly on Clavell. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: The Fly (1958)”

October Horrorshow: Crawl, or Go Gators!

Before today, I never once considered what it would be like to be trapped in a basement crawlspace with ravenous alligators during a category 5 hurricane. Now, I know. It’s pretty scary.

That’s the setting for Crawl, the creature feature from earlier this year from screenwriters Michael and Shawn Rasmussen, and director Alexandre Aja.

The film follows Kaya Scoladerio as Haley, a swimmer at the University of Florida. A hurricane is bearing down on the area, but neither she, nor her sister up in Boston, have been able to get ahold of their father, Dave (Barry Pepper). There’s some family drama and token sappiness involving Haley and her father, but regardless, Haley decides to head down to the family homestead to check on the old man and make sure he’s still alive. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Crawl, or Go Gators!”

It Came from the ’50s: Fiend Without a Face

Once upon a time, I would have been impressed by seeing the Janus Films and Criterion Collection logos before the start of a film. But that has been dashed by the reaction I had to The Blob. Could Fiend Without a Face be another classic film with an inflated reputation? In short, yes. But, this film doesn’t have near the same disparity between reputation and actual quality as does The Blob. It’s just a b-movie, through and through. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: Fiend Without a Face”