From Lucio Fulci’s latter days as a filmmaker comes Aenigma, an Argento-like revenge flick set at a women’s college in Boston, although principal photography took place in Sarajevo.
Written with Giorgio Mariuzzo, Aenigma takes the basic plot elements of a ‘prank gone wrong’ horror flick, combines it with a bare bones setting and bare bones surrealism, and spits out a movie with a superfluous main character, and a purposeful avoidance of exploitation.
At St. Mary’s College in Boston, Kathy (Milijana Zirojevic), daughter of the school’s cleaning lady, Mary (Dusica Zegarac), is being prepped for a big date by her roommate, Kim (Sophie d’Aulan), and her boyfriend, Tom (Dragan Bjelogrlic). They go through the usual 1980’s teen outfit montage trope, before Kathy is finally dolled up and ready to meet her date, the college’s athletics instructor, Fred (Riccardo Acerbi). But, all is not well. The girls at the school despise Kathy’s humble origins, and the date is a cruel prank, set up just so all the girls can gather and laugh at Kathy’s presumption that a hunk like Fred would actually like her. Kathy flees from her tormentors into the path of a truck, and is left in a coma at the hospital. Continue reading “Lo spettacolo dell'orrore italiano: Aenigma”
Receiving much praise from both professional and amateur critics, and moviegoers alike, I Saw the Devil, the 2010 movie from Jee-woon Kim, performs very well on aggregator sites like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb. The general consensus is that Kim is a very talented filmmaker, skilled in storytelling and photography. With I Saw the Devil, he crafted a disturbing look into a nightmare world of revenge and horror, powerfully emotional, and unrelenting in its depiction of violence. In general, when both critics and audiences are in alignment like this, there’s nothing more to say. I’m going to zag a bit, though.
It’s going to be hard for regular readers of the Horrorshow to believe this, but I think the violence in I Saw the Devil overwhelms the movie. I’ve written often that a certain horror movie could use more gore. That’s because I enjoy the fiction of fun house violence. Truly agonizing depictions of violence work well in something like Hereditary or Irréversible, where the suddenness of it complements the themes of the film, and it’s used in limited capacity, increasing its effect. But if a movie is going to be wall to wall blood and grievous bodily injury, I prefer it to be tempered by being outrageous and/or silly. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: I Saw the Devil, aka Ang-ma-reul bo-at-da”
Saint Nic returns to Shitty Movie Sundays! It’s been just over a year since a film featuring Missile Test’s favorite actor graced these pages. Today’s film is Drive Angry, which is the only over-the-top Nic Cage film I can think of in which Nic Cage is not the most absurd thing on screen.
From way back in 2011, Drive Angry comes to us via director Patrick Lussier, from a screenplay by Lussier and Todd Farmer. At first glance, Drive Angry looks like it’s going to be a car flick. The trailer gives audiences the full muscle car treatment. A Buick Riviera, a Dodge Charger, a Chevy Chevelle, and more, including a female lead in Daisy Dukes. It’s a car flick, right? Nope. There are not nearly enough decent car chases for this to be a car flick. This is a revenge flick. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Drive Angry”
The Wraith, the 1986 flick from writer/director Mike Marvin, is in stiff competition with Road House for the most relentlessly ’80s movie in the Watchability Index. The music, the fashion, the bright colors, the bitchin’ cars, the way the film is shot, and the raspy-voiced presence of Charlie Sheen will all transport the viewer back to the heady days of mid-1980s Tucson, Arizona.
This film is also a throwback to the teen dramas of the 1950s. The local youths are consumed by their dramas, and, like all good teen flicks, the only adult with significant presence in the film is the local sheriff. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Wraith”
Pop quiz, hotshot. You have access to an animatronic dinosaur for three weeks, and a million bucks burning a hole in your pocket. What do you do?!
If you’re Etka Sarlui, you call up b-movie auteur Stewart Raffill and ask him if he would like to make a movie. And if you are Stewart Raffill, you then say ‘yes,’ because one should never turn down work. A week later, Raffill, along with Gary Brockette, have a screenplay, and two weeks after that, Tammy and the T-Rex is in the can, the dinosaur is off to a theme park in Texas, amazingly undamaged, and the world has its next insane shitty movie. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Tammy and the T-Rex”
What could 135,000 bucks buy one in 1947? It could buy 79 Ford Super Deluxe automobiles at base sticker price; 11 houses at the median home value; yearly tuition for 257 students at Harvard University; or one shitty movie, filmed in glorious Cinecolor.
Scared to Death, from screenwriter Walter Abbott and director Christy Cabanne, is a poverty row flick that got picked up by Screen Guild Productions for distribution. If that name is unfamiliar to you, dear shitty movie fan and loyal reader, just know that a year after this film was released, Screen Guild changed its name to Lippert Pictures, after its founder, Robert L. Lippert. And, if that name is unfamiliar to you, then you need to watch more shitty movies.
Scared to Death is more notable as being the only starring role from Bela Lugosi filmed in color. If one could call it color.
Technicolor’s much cheaper (and also more practical) competitor, Cinecolor is like looking at the world through a pair of barely effective sunglasses. In a film as old and poorly cared for as Scared to Death, it looks as if the world is in the middle of a solar eclipse. But, bad prints of old films can add much charm to a dog of a movie. And this flick is a mangy mutt. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Scared to Death (1947)”
Mandy, the 2018 magnum opus from director Panos Cosmatos, written with Aaron Stewart-Ahn, is a film that will be polarizing to an audience. Its execution is very stylized, and that, combined with its oppressive mood, will be a huge turnoff for many, while many others will find themselves carried away by it all. It’s not completely a love it or hate it kind of film, but the world is rarely so black and white. What most viewers should be able to agree on is that Cosmatos’s film is ambitious, especially in the way it is photographed. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Mandy”
Sylvester Stallone has been dipping into the China market, of late. This isn’t anything new, really. For years now, Hollywood has been tweaking their films to satisfy the demands of the Chinese government and gain access to their huge market, with mixed results. There’s no tweaking in the latest Escape Plan flick, however. This film looks made for the Chinese market, and if anything comes of it in other markets, that’s just gravy for this film’s 48 credited producers. Seriously, 48! I counted nine production company logos at the start, eating up 1:45 of this flick’s 96-minute running time. Major League Baseball has shorter commercial breaks between innings. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Escape Plan: The Extractors”
I love it when a film’s main character is an eccentric nutjob. I don’t mean a character remembered for an over the top performance by an actor, like a Captain Jack Sparrow or even the Joker. I’m referring to characters who have quirks so wild they defy typical Hollywood tropes. Take the main character in 1972’s Stanley, Tim Ochopee (veteran soap opera actor Chris Robinson).
Tim is a Seminole who was drafted to go off and fight in Vietnam. He harbors massive amounts of resentment, all justified, towards the government of the white man. His response to this, and PTSD, has been to pull back from society, moving to a lonely cabin in the Everglades. But, isolation was not enough for Tim. He has a fascination with snakes. He loves them and considers himself their protector. His two favorites are the titular Stanley and Hazel, a pair of rattlesnakes that he is breeding. He croons to them. He pets them lovingly. He takes Stanley with him everywhere, and gives Stanley orders like he’s a dog and not a reptile. He thinks of Stanley and Hazel as husband and wife. All meaning Tim gets from his life, he derives from his snakes. And, he will kill for them. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Stanley”
What a gloriously stupid movie. I’ll be honest. Many of the 1950s flicks in this month’s Horrorshow have been a real slog to get through. That’s really something, considering how many of them are only around an hour or so in length. Today’s ’50s flick is a short one, too, clocking in at only 71 minutes. It didn’t have much of a budget, either, so a decent amount of that short running time is spent expositing. But, without any reservations at all, From Hell It Came is an incredible shitty movie. It’s essential viewing for the shitty movie fan. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: From Hell It Came”