Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Double: Nightmare Logic

While looking for a movie to rent I came across "The Double" the plot sounded interesting and the label Magnolia normally has some pretty weird indie films so it seemed like good or bad it would sure to entertain. I kept my expectation low but seeing how it was directed by the brilliant comic actor/director Richard Ayoade I knew I was in for something different. Oh boy was it ever.

I recommend this film- with reservations. Like early Argento this film is based on something called "nightmare logic" in summary don't look for anything steeped in reality because like a nightmare it plays by its own set of rules. Some viewers like myself will love this and let themselves be swept away by its walking nightmare of set pieces. While others could become frustrated by it if they are not familiar with this form of cinema. A lot of David Lynch`s films are based in this nightmare world. So decide which camp you fall into before seeing this film.

Simon is a feeble young man, just another faceless cog at his job. While he is a hard worker he seems to just fade into the background.  He lives in a world of isolation, no real friends, a mother that loathes him and the girl he loves doesn't seem to know he exists. Basically nobody seems to know he exists. But his world is turned upside down when a new employee joins the work force that looks exactly like him in every way. Soon he worms his way into Simon's life and takes over, replacing him.

What makes The Double so powerful is how its relate able the Simon is. Ayoade captures the character so well, his loneliness and trying so hard to improve his station in life both at work and his personal life. We really want this guy to come out alright because we can see aspects of ourselves in him. It also taps into some primal fears like death and ultimately being replaced and forgotten about never making our mark in life. Simon whose played by Jesse Eisenberg does a nice job of both playing the tortured character as well as his evil James. People that bitch about his acting needs to realize how hard it is to not only play a character like Simon but also play his alter ego James and juggle between the two.  Hannah the object of his love is played by Mia Wasikowska and though she plays things very wooden it actually works for her character. She isn't written very likable which is my one complaint about the film but more about that later. Wallace Shawn whom is best known for his role in Princess Bride is perfect as Simon's boss. Chris O Dowd has a funny cameo as a nurse. Film fans will also notice a lot of interesting actors like Noah Taylor, Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull,etc)

The world of Double is equally interesting. Though it never says (wisely) the audience is to assume by certain clues that the story takes place in a future or possible alternative past/future. Its dated technology and unknown currency helps lend to the strange feel. Like Blade Runner its the future but a broken down one.

Is this a perfect film no. While I enjoyed the writing I thought Hannah`s character was not very appealing which makes you wonder why Simon would pine for her in the first place.

Visually this film is stunning and without the style that the filmmakers took great care to craft this would have been a total wreck. David Crank is the production designer and his past film credits are small but very impressive (Lincoln, Hannibal, There Will Be Blood etc)  I love the color scheme an example is inside the agency Simon works at. The cubical area has this weird yellow hue that makes it feel like a very oppressive place to work. Another scene that just floored me in terms of pure nightmare was the midnight funeral which is something you`ll likely to forget, as it stuck with me days after.  

While this isn't a film for everyone I think its worth a look at. I really hope this film finds its audience and takes it place as a future cult classic.  Currently streaming on Netflix.













Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Scares that Care: Alfred Guy speaks about this awesome charity.

I`d like to take a break from the normal reviews and interviews to talk about a charity that is really near and dear to me. Scares That Care is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to help kids in need. Some of the ways the help include providing needed money, toys and other items. They have  been doing some exciting things to raise money like auctions with some really great signed items and even a convention. They accept donations and I for one was happy to give. Here to talk about it is Alfred Guy the Volunteer Director and member and Board of Directors. 


GM: So for those you don't know what Scares That Care is please tell us about it

AF: Scares That Care! is an official 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization. Our charity was created by our founder, Joe Ripple, to help children and families cope with the financial burdens of during life changing events, such as illness, burns and breast cancer.I should point out the reason why it seems that we are involved with horror related themes. It is because Joe Ripple has been involved with horror conventions and the wonderful fans and guests that frequent them. He wanted those who have a love for all things spooky, to have a charity that they could call their own

GM: You guys do a lot of cool things to raise money, tell us about some of them.

AF:We have several $5 Donation Days each year. We especially like to have them coincide with Halloween, a Friday the 13th or other "spooky" time of the year. We have representatives around the country who get involved by doing everything form bake sales and car washes, to having "Zombie Walks" during events in their cities. We also do silent auctions throughout the year to raise funds for the people we help. Our biggest event is our horror convention, Scares That Care! Weekend.

GM: And there is a convention coming up, the ticket price goes to charity?

AF:Yes. Our total revenue from ticket sales and the auctions and raffles held during the convention will go to Scares That Care! After the convention, the monies will go out to the people we have picked as recipients, and that announcement will go out on our site and (Facebook) pages. We have one recipient for each arm of our charity. Their information can be found on our (Facebook) page.

GM: Who is scheduled to be there?

AF:We have several genre favorites, such as, Kane Hodder, Piper Laurie, Larry Drake, Dee Wallace, Sid Haig and Tiffany Shepis. We will also have a Make Up Wars event with guests form Face Off and an authentic burlesque show for the adults. There will also be several genre authors present, such as Brian Keene and F. Paul Wilson.

GM: In summary what would you like to tell our readers about this great cause?
Yes. First, I hope that everyone who reads this will consider attending our convention this summer. And last, sometimes people want to lend a hand to those who need support - and they don't know how to get started. If anyone out there feels this way, please contact us and we will be glad to help you, help others! Thanks!

And thank you for taking them time to talk about such a great cause! 


http://www.scaresthatcare.org/ Please visit the website and check out how you can help.
http://scaresthatcareweekend.com/ Check out the convention website! Its going to be a awesome time no horror fan should miss. 
Scares that Care logo used with permission

Friday, April 10, 2015

Vincents Vile Video Vault: Starry Eyes

STARRY EYES (2014)
Directed/Written by: Kevin K├Âlsch and Dennis Widmyer


STARRY EYES is truly brutal, as I was hoping, for several reasons. The first being the poster/box art for the film. It’s a picture of a beautiful female face, with skin of deathly alabaster white-blue, staring upwards at the sky. There is an innocence in her swirling and odd, off-color turquoise eyes; a purity. While each eye has an inverted star carved around it, she still looks up, her expression not one of terror or agony, but one of an almost ecstasy of sorts, replete with a soothed Mona Lisa smile to finalize this portrait of paradox, for that is exactly what this film is. It is a near brilliant, all too realistic (in certain ways) portrait of a paradox.


The other reason? Well, it really has nothing to do with the movie, per se. There’s an old, beautiful Roky Erickson love song called “Starry Eyes,” that I absolutely adore. I do wonder on some level if the title may be an homage of sorts to the amazing Mr. Erickson. Anyone who knows anything of Roky’s long, weird life will understand exactly why that would be.


Ok, enough yapping. Onto the film itself. It is about a girl in her mid-20’s named Sarah (Alex Essoe), who is living in Los Angeles, in a house with several other “fame hungry” friends, every one of them in L.A. to become actors, directors, screenwriters - - - they all have their individual goals, but are also all fairly lazy and unmotivated, completely self-absorbed, and center their lives on a party-all-the-time lifestyle. All but for the naturally awkward Sarah, a very attractive, if somewhat plainish girl, who goes to tryout after tryout, not a one of which comes through. She either freezes before the casting agents, loses all affect while trying to remember lines, or shifts into a high-end melodramatic style that is just a bit too much.


As the stress builds, after each audition she fumbles, she goes into a private area (usually a women's bathroom) and proceeds to release it, exploding into a state of primal rage upon herself, ripping out handfuls of her own hair, shrieking at the top of her lungs, and thrashing her body about everywhere. Then she pulls herself together and goes home to her sickeningly non-empathetic friends (who continually laugh and mock not only her audition choices, but her failures as well). Then she goes to her hated job at “Tater’s” (an decent play on those wretched “Hooters” restaurants), where she works for a sexist, manipulative douche of a boss (played by Pat Healy, one of my current favorite indie-weird actors), who basically tears her down into telling her she’s “always Tater’s Girl first.”


As she begins to feel evermore trapped, and act as though she is slowly shutting down inside, she gets an odd email audition invite for a film called “The Silver Scream,” from an apparently ancient and ailing indie-company named Astreus Pictures. She blows off work to go to the audition, and tries out. The casting agents are cold, weird, impatient, creepy, and serious, all quite intimidating to Sarah, though she still does her audition, to which they are not thrilled. Sarah goes into the women’s room and has her worst fit yet, which happens to be silently witnessed by the female c.a. The agent is so impressed with Sarah’s explosion that she asks her to come back immediately and do it again. Which she does, this time going full-on primal, writhing around like a rabid beast as she shrieks and tears at her skin and rips even more hair out. NOW they are impressed. They want her to audition again, and give her a day.


Sarah excitedly rushes home to tell her housemates (I say housemates because quite frankly, as friends, they suck), who feign excitement for her, until they find out it is for Astreus, after which they go right back to the mockery.  


At the second audition, she cautiously enters a pitch black room, when a spotlight suddenly shines on her, and only her. She is asked by the casting agents, whose voices command from the blinding blackness into which she cannot yet see, to “get bare.” They tell her to strip, which she quite begrudgingly does, and they speak to her in hypnotic tones as the spotlight begins to flash. This is, visually, one of the strongest moments in the film, as with every strobe-like flash of the light we see something is changing within Sarah. The opticals here are amazing, as we begin to see flashes of something sharp-toothed and long-clawed within each successive blast of light. And the c.a.’s speak to her in an affectless, Neurolinguistic Programming-like manner, about the primal being within and its importance, and that “Gateways will be opened.”


She immediately gets a third callback. She goes and meets the head of Astreus Pics. He speaks of her will, power, drive, determination, and “explains” the business to her, what a vile system it indeed is, but how necessary as well. Then he basically asks for a lil “couch-test casting,” to which she momentarily considers, then runs from. But not before he has a chance to feel her up and rub his withered hand merely once under her skirt and over her vag. While doing this, he whispers into her ear “The Gateway Is Open.” After this incident, everything about Sarah begins to change.


She wakes up off, sick, out of sorts. She looks like she’s got the bird flu. She tells her friends she may have the role, and about the attempted “couch-test,” which apparently depends on whether or not she gets said role. Once again all her shitty friends manage to do is be their usual unsupportive selves. So she goes angrily to her job at Tater’s and is essentially forced to beg for it back. Then immediately gets a text, saying shes got the part, and quits on the spot, even smacking her manager in the face incredibly hard (for Pat Healy’s sake I hope it was in one take) before storming out and going to Astreus Pictures.


From here on, every aspect of her being changes. Her frail naivete becomes vicious, paranoid madness. She begins to show signs of post-sexual abuse/rape trauma, her slight flu progressing quite rapidly, her paranoia increasing exponentially. She keeps calling Astreus Pictures, obsessively so, only to receive no answer. She finds herself bed bound by her sickness, and runs into the bathroom just in time to projectile vomit profusely. What is it she vomits up? About 5 gallons worth of black, writhing maggots. But it doesn’t stop there. Her face is changing, her hair falling out on its own. In fact, she’s losing everything made of carotene, in one excruciating scene of slow fingernail violence. Her inner body develops a sickening odor (which is crudely noted by a housemate), and a dreadful slime begins to sluice from her nether regions.


Sarah begins to get horrible, strange, and taunting calls from the Astreus CEO. He cackles at her through her cellphone “You thought this would be painless, easy? Laid out for you? You can die, or you can be reborn,” as she wanders the dark L.A. night streets, confused and sick.


It’s just after a viciously primal, bloody, unexpected attack on the “friend” who made the unnecessarily cruel “vaginal stink” comment that the now rotting, demonic looking Sarah feels the power and rush of what she’s been “working to achieve.” This sends her on a lightning quick, Richard Speck-like rampage of incredibly violent and gory murder of everyone in the house. She also learns along the way just how difficult it is to snuff out a human being, but catches on pretty quick.


As this is happening, Astreus is performing some sort of odd ritual. Sarah is left alone, with the one person that really did like her, and in fact even had unspoken affections toward her, and she pounces and finally kills him. The ritual is then complete for Astreus, the film ending in a truly inspired piece of filmmaking reminiscent (to myself, anyway) of the Germanic-silent style from cinemas early days of yore. Sarah is indeed literally reborn, growing from the mud (created from clay), bald, naked, beautiful, taking in an old world with very new eyes. This reborn Sarah is in her bed, under the covers, when the last housemate comes home, her one supposed actual “friend” finding her. The girl is hypnotized by Sarah’s new appearance, especially her magnificent eyes, as Sarah draws her into the bed and sucks the essence right out of her. SPOILER ALERT: Sarah has been reborn as Lilith, and is in fact the possible anti-christ. The final frames of the film are dark, quiet, and chilling, to say the least. It’ll have you thinking for days after.



Be warned, however. This is an intelligent, dark, deep cautionary tale. This is not some slasher junk, nor is it a standard splatter-flick (although when called for, it delivers in spades). For as much as I’ve described above, I’ve left quite a bit out. There are odd elements of other films within this. I could see hints of Martyrs, Rosemary’s Baby, Contagion, Altered States, House Of The Devil, and several other possible influences here and there, yet this is wholly original. It also touches ever so perfectly on the difficulties and disillusionments of living a motivated “starving artist” lifestyle, of what it can do, and does, to so very many who let it. Of constantly trying only to receive disappointment in return, of working around the work you have to do in order to survive just enough to try to do what it is you want to do in the first place, regardless of the medium. Truth be told, you could have made the characters painters, writers, musicians, sculptors, performance artists, and still told the exact same story. The fake fairweather friends who’ll use your shoulder like a ladder in a heartbeat. It’s fukking cut-throat. Sarah’s anguish, frustration, confusion, naivete, awkwardness, and desperation can be felt as well as witnessed, due to Alex Essoe’s standout performance, as the film essentially rests on her shoulders, and she carries it both effectively and intelligently. SEE THIS FILM. I give it the highest of recommendations. 

Bio: Vincent Daemon currently works for THE INTESTINAL FORTITUDE https://theintestinalfortitude.wordpress.com/ ezine, his column titled ROSETTA BONES. He is still putting out increasingly strange short fiction, and frequently appears on the ANDROID VIRUS & SEAN SHOW, as well as has many other projects going. He can be contacted at vdaemon13@gmail.com and on fb at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Friday the 13th Edition of Gorehound Mike! INTERVIEW with Tommy McLoughlin Part One!

Howdy campers! Oh look its a young attractive couple.I see you`ve just finished making love under the full moon, uh wait do you guys know what day it is? Oh well I guess we wont be seeing them anytime soon. For over three decades the lumbering killing machine known as Jason has stalked the woods of Camp Crystal Lake and haunted the imagination of horror fans around the globe. We are so happy to have the ever talented director to take time out of his schedule to talk with us.



Part 1 - Exclusive Interview by Tommy McLoughlin director of Jason Lives:Friday the 13th Part IV


GM: I read that your first ambition was not to be a filmmaker but a mime, is that correct?

TM: Thats an interesting question because I started out wanting to be a filmmaker going back to the age of six or seven mainly due to my father and his passion for movies. Part of the reason he came to California was to go to film school. I grew up in Culver city part of L.A, so I was surrounded by the old MGM studios etc so I was really in the hub of it, combined with my dads passion and the equipment he still had I started making little films and literally had the back lot of MGM studios to go and make them on the weekends. So that was really were my passion began. Also I had taken an interest in magic. My dad had also been a stage magician (prior to going into film school) So I liked both those things magic/film making. Then I discovered the wonderful world of rock and roll when the Beatles hit and shifting gears from magic/film to rock and roll and shift yet again in the late sixties I decided I wanted to be a more visually interesting lead singer, I wanted to understand how to tell stories and project things without just dancing and that lead me into mime. Then I went to Paris and worked with Marcel Marceau when I was nineteen. Then became the "oh I wanna do stage preforming as a mime" but at the same time the film thing was coming back. So I tried to combined the two, studying Buster Keaton etc. Jumping ahead my first movie "One Dark Night" most of when I shot it was silent sequences.

GM: And it was at Paramount that you met your wife?

TM: Yes the mime training had opened up the door to getting hired in the movies to play character's that required some sort of physical training. The first job that lead me into becoming a member of the SAG was Woody Allen had hired me in the movie "Sleeper" and to be inside of the robot costume. From there it took off from there I was in Disneys "Black Hole" as Cpt. Star and Jabberwocky in Alice In Wonderland (1985) Then I was hired by John Frankenhemier to be in this giant mutant bear costume for "Prophecy" That went Nancy had visited the set at Paramount, I was coming out of the bear costume and basically it was love at first sight.

GM: How did you land the job for Jason Lives?

TM: Well after I did "One Dark Night" that became my calling card in Hollywood and I figured OK I made my first movie it`ll be simple to get the next one so I took my film to various studios looking for jobs and it actually took four more years or so before I got the next movie. I had written the movie script for "Date with An Angel" because I was at that time more interested in doing romantic fantasy then staying in the horror field and the first horror film I made I wanted the horror to come from the corpses and maggots and pus then the blood and guts part of the genre that was being done very effectively with all the slasher movies.
When I got an offer from Frank M Jr. to direct a Friday the 13th my first reaction was I don't want to do one of those slashers. But he said you can write it and make it your own,

GM: What stands out to many fans of the series is that Jason Lives has a much different tone, was that always what you had envisioned?

TM: My objective was to make it clear on what the rules were of Jason because it got kind of muddled over the years. Then have a self a reverent tone to it, for example when my wife Nancy s character first confronts Jason she says "Any weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly" and the caretaker saying "Why do they have to dig up Jason, some people have a strange idea of entertainment." so there was a real sense of OK we`ve done six of these now lets have a little fun with this and at the same time have the kills to be super human. Mine has been considering a turning point, where now hes thought to be a zombie then just a guy walking around in a mask. But as far as i`m considered if you come up out of a lake (after drowning) its already supernatural but it was never really played that why. When I introduced the Frankenstein type lighting bolt to bring him back to life for me it was just now he has the ability to be unstoppable. That story wise gave me licences to say cut off three heads simultaneity or twist a head all the way around and yank it off, pretty much every kill in that movie is done in a way that couldn't be done by a normal human.

GM:  So prior to Jason Lives you weren't a big fan of the "slasher" genre?

TM: To be honest no. I was a fan of the first Friday the 13th. I liked the idea that the mother was behind it, I was a huge fan of the original Halloween because we never seen anything before that. Serial killers and that whole thing was always interesting to me.

GM: Was there certain amount of pressure coming fresh into a already own established series, especially one that had (and still does) and ravenous fan base?

TM: Oh yeah! What happened with the series (as you know) is after the Final Chapter it was pretty much a done series but with video happening they decided to go one more and see what happens with the next film part five. And it wasnt even Jason! Though the movie did well box office wise the fans were ultimately disappointed so when I was approached to do it I said "Look we gotta bring back Jason and make it different then what it has been. So I set down watched all of them back to back to find what could I do that was different. I came with the neotion of making it with a sense of humor and making the characters likable and also add a Gothic horror aspect to it and I was given the creative freedom to do that.

GM: Your wife Nancy gets killed off in the beginning of the film. How does one ask his wife to die in his movie?

TM: (laugh) Well I wrote that part just for her. The bonus was hiring Tony Goldwyn. Its like I told her, its a complete set piece. It sets the tone for the whole movie. You meet them (the characters) and its slightly irreverent and shocking and it ends the kill on a funny and ironic beat with Nancy and the American Express card. At first she was like, You introduce me and kill me in one scene, but I explained to her this is the scene people will remember and she was game for the death. The interesting thing is when she gets stabbed and goes under water we didnt have any stunt people, so its actually her doing that herself. We had to give her a regulator and a breathing tube,her head was placed in a vice thing to keep it down there and hopefully she could breath with this regulator that was down there but it turned out that the regulator wasnt a proper fit for her mouth so she was sucking in Georgia mud and tried to breath but like a trooper stayed down there as long as she could to get the shot. One top of that it was freezing cold, you could actually see steam coming off the water.

GM: Do you recall the first time you saw fans react to it and how do you feel about its legacy with fans?

TM:  When we first previewed it at Paramount we had no idea how the crowd would react to it but we knew they really wanted to see it. It was like a rock concert I mean we couldn't hear the dialog people were just going nuts through the entire movie. The powers at be said we need three more kills so we shot scene where Jason kills the caretaker (in my version he didn't die) and then when the movie opened it was the usual craziness where it was really well received but ultimately what I was told was that the fifth one was so disappointing that people didnt come see the sixth one. But in terms of how well it survived all these years,I mean i`m shocked. It seems like every day I get a new friend request on Facebook over having made this film. I feel like a new generation discovers Jason. It was like when I was a kid watching TV where i got to see all the Universal Monsters. It seems like Jason is apart of the monster icon. With its sense of humor I feel it sets it apart from just a series of people getting killed and I think thats why its survived as long as it has.

Please stay tuned for second and final part of the interview!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Tom Towles: We say Goodbye to a legendary actor






R.I.P Tom Towles
1950-2015

Gorehound Mikes pays tribute to a legend in the business.





I like so many fans were shocked to hear of the passing of veteran actor Tom Towles at the age of 65.   Our paths never crossed but I had always heard of how great he was to fans, signing autographs and having a blast talking to them about his various roles. I was currently in the middle of another blog but I thought it was important to take a moment and celebrate the legacy of fine acting that Mr.Towles left behind. He will be remembered not only for the great cinematic work as an actor but as the kind person that he was. This is part one of a two part blog playing tribute to a man that always brought class to whatever project he was in.

Part 1: The Top Five Best Roles of Tom Towles

5. The Devils Rejects- Character: George Wydell. Nobody expected Towles character of George Wydell the gritty law man to strap on boots and a badge (after his fate in House of 1000 Corpses) for a second time but with some clever writing hes back for a haunting role as the delusion of his brother Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe) George tells his brother to dish out punishment to the fiends that did this to him and other innocent victims. This is enough to push the already unstable cop into raining unholy terror unto the trio of murderers. The scene between both actors is nothing short of electric, and there is something both heart breaking and unnerving about his cameo resulting in one of the best scenes in this already awesome film.  While his role is very brief its unforgettable and its why it makes the list.

4. Night of the Living Dead- Character: Harry Copper
1990`s remake of the classic zombie film Night of the Living Dead had huge shoes to fill but having a guy directing who knows alittle something about the undead (Tom Savini) it was no surprise that the film became a fan favorite and does what few remakes can do, be as good as the original. In NOTLD Tom plays Harry Copper a rather nasty man that butts heads with everyone in the house. Its really hard to see anyone else embodying the role more and capturing the original character so well yet making it his own with his subtle performance.

3. ER (TV Episode) "No Brain,No Gain Character: Teenage boys father
Season 3 of the hit medical show E.R sees Tom as the father of a teenage boy and the emotional range he brought to the episode. Proving that not all of his best work was in horror and had a vast number of roles on the small screen.


2 House of 1000 Corpses Character: George Wydell
In Towles first of four films with Rob Zombie (including his role in Zombies fake trailer for Grindhouse) he plays tougher than nails Officer Wydell. Towles seems to be poured into the uniform and he sells it so well that you have no problem with buying it. You really get to like his character and it makes what happens to him all the more shocking. This really shows the wide range he was capable of. He can at ease go from a serial killer to a cop in equal amounts of realism.




1 Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer-Character: Otis
Like so many fans I first discovered Tom Towles work in the film Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer playing the infamous real life killer Otis Toole in the 1986 shocker. Otis might be the creepiest serial killer put on film due to his multi layered performance.With elements of a child like mind and a sociopathic lack of feeling its a chilling study in a human monster. The rawness he brings fits perfectly with the documentary style film making and makes the film as a land mark in horror cinema.

I know this barely scratches the surface of such a great actor and I would love to hear from you guys on your favorite films of his. Please LIKE my FB Page and post. I wanna hear from you and make this blog more interactive.

https://www.facebook.com/gorehoundmikes




Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Fan- Dark teenage obsession.


The Fan: Dark Teenage Obsession
by Michael Vaughn

I`ve been a long time fan of Mondo Macabro and its because of them my whole cinematic world has opened up. As a fan you`ve haven't lived til you seen titles like
Mystics in Bali, Lady Terminator and Jess Franco classics. They give you a peek into the weird wild world of international horror,cult, action etc. Recently they have dipped their toes into the world of HD Blu and I couldn't be happier. So when "The Fan" limited edition came out I snagged a copy right away in a total blind buy. I knew nothing about the film before hand and I normally try to go in fresh when I review a film. What I got was a very disturbing look into one girls dark obsession with a pop star.

The Plot: Simone is in love with her favorite pop idol "R" and he loves her to, only he doesn't know it yet. What starts as harmless letter writing and hero worship quickly spirals out of control when she becomes more and more detached with the world around her. She stops going to classes and when she doesn't get a reply from R she starts dreaming up paranoid fantasies that the postal service is stealing her letters. Frustrated that he`s not reached out to her she embarks on a journey to see him in person. Its only when she meets her love things get really out of control. Are the two meant to be or is it a case of fatal attraction?

Eckhart Schmidt really taps into the world of hero worship and how it can go from innocent enjoyment (which is how most of us handle it) to something dark and deadly. In the post-internet celebrity obsessed culture we live in its very easy to see something like this happening,which adds an even more disturbing and timeless feeling to "The Fan". Schmidt is clever in showing us the progression of Simone`s already fragile frame of mind instead of someone who was already foaming from the mouth crazy.

What struck me right away was the cold clinical way the filmmaker views his characters and the story which really amps up the feeling of creepiness. It really adds to the detached feeling that the main character feels. Speaking of characters none of them are very likable and everyone seems to be out for something (even when hitchhiking Simone is sexually attacked) This statement shouldn't suggest that I dislike the film, quiet the opposite, even though the characters are scummy the plot is compelling enough to make it entertaining.  While were on the subject of cold scenes, the sex in the film has got to be one of the strangest due to the lack of sexiness or an ounce of warmth or feeling. I felt like taking a long hot shower afterwards.Visually this film is amazing, you will notice that when the film starts the colors are bright and very natural but as the film gets darker story wise so does the color scheme. A brilliant touch by the director.

In terms of tone its hard to compare it to anything else but if I had to "Ms 45" comes to mind. But after re-watching this I`d say "The Fan" has the edge over "Ms. 45" in sheer brutal,dark and disturbing subject matter and for a film where only one person dies that's saying a lot. It just goes to prove that you don't need a huge blood bath body count to make a unsettling creeper of a film.

Since this is a movie about a pop idol, the music is worth mentioning. The music is done by a group called Rheingold who at the time were a big deal in their own right. The music fits the film like a glove and its hard to think of anyone else doing it. I`d actually like to check out some of the other work they produced. Much like the films color scheme changes towards the end of the film so does the switching from the pop music of "R" to a more haunting score.

In an age where pre-teen girls still whip themselves up into a frenzy over someone like Justin Beiber its not hard to imagine this really happening which makes the movie all the more frightening. The Fan gives the audience an uncomfortable and engrossing look into the mental state of one teenage girl that climaxed in an ending you are unlikely to forget.

Once again Mondo has not disappointed in terms of presenting a strange film from another country.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Vincents Vile Video Vault: So what really is behind the door of ROOM 237 By Vincent Daemon


So great to have the talented Vincent Daemon reviewing again! Enjoy. 
So what really is behind the door of ROOM 237 Review by Vincent Daemon

Directed by: Rodney Ascher

Starring (in voice form):
Bill Blakemore
Geoffrey Cocks
Juli Kearns
John Fell Ryan
Jay Weidner

Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of THE SHINING. Not the book really, the “revised” tv mini-series was “entertaining,” if nothing else, but Kubrick’s version I’ve always found virtually unwatchable. In fact, outright unwatchable. I know that’s anathema within the current horror community, but most things I do in general it seems are anyway.  But the the idea behind this particular doc seemed very interesting, and incredibly well put together, deeply intriguing me for whatever reason. Not only am I a horror junkie, I’m also a documentary junkie.

When putting it on, I did so with an open mind, ignoring everything I’ve ever disliked about the Kubrick classic. What I got was, to my astonishment, an ever-fascinating series of perceptions and opinions and observations that, quite honestly, would have never occurred to me, all coming from intelligent people and VERY thought out.

Another interesting thing is that many of the people interviewed couldn’t stand the film either upon initial viewing, and even repeated viewings. However they, much like myself, kept coming back to it over the years.

The film is presented in “9 Parts,” each one delving into a different point of view or observation about the film, that at first all seem completely batshit crazy. Until you listen and watch, very carefully, and begin to notice the various aspects of what exactly they are talking about. As the 9 segments flawlessly flow together, a much larger, much darker story is being told, one infinitely creepier in all reality than what King had penned.

That is also one of the more interesting “Parts,” is they do go into King’s ultimate fury at what he felt Kubrick had “done” to his book, which was essentially completely, and quite deliberately, and literally, wrecked as Kubrick very passive-aggressively went and essentially and made his own creation instead.

There is a definitive and dark bleakness to the entire affair that I really appreciated. The doc is actually suspenseful in its own right, and sheds lights on the film that actually coalesce and make sense, ALMOST, by its conclusion.

Oddly enough, scenes of various other films are used to accompany the exposition, including “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Barry Lyndon,” “The Shining,” strangely (but in a way making a certain sense) Lamberto Bava’s “Demons” & “Demons 2,” “Eyes wide shut,” and very odd footage of the classic moon landing, which I found to be the most interesting “Part.” Supposedly there is a theory that Stanley Kubrick was “hired out” anonymously, by Disney, (ie: forced, I believe  - - - Disney is infamous for sick behind the scenes tactics - - - look up Disney and the Lemmings) to “stage” the moon landing. The film takes a definitive turn toward the completely bizarre at this point, as apparently Kubrick HATED doing that, it tore him up inside, this bizarre lie and contractual obligation to which he HAD to follow, almost turning him into Jack Torrance, and makes several allusions to that within “The Shining” itself. Hell, just look at the director’s visual disintegration during the course of making the film.

Of course all of these are strange, almost OCD-like personal observations, which is what us true film buffs do.

What I like the best: by the films conclusion there is no real, concrete, quantifiable conclusion to any of this. Like a substantial portion of Kubrick’s work.

My opinion? Kubrick was burnt the fukk out, especially from the dreadfully dull “Barry Lyndon,”  probably on a lot of coke, and crammed several different ideas, hints, and secrets within the film, as he’s notorious for doing, while simultaneously telling King to stuff it, for whatever reason, as even that is still essentially a mystery.

The director/documentarian did his job and he did it well. He let’s you draw your own conclusions. ROOM 237 is the room of secrets and mysteries, the one room Danny was NEVER to go in. Dark things hide behind that door, just as they do within this film. I would think it a fascinating watch for ANY horror fan/film buff. It was for me.

I may just give Kubrick's “The Shining” another shot.

Bio: Vincent Daemon currently works for THE INTESTINAL FORTITUDE https://theintestinalfortitude.wordpress.com/ ezine, his column titled ROSETTA BONES. He is still putting out increasingly strange short fiction, and frequently appears on the ANDROID VIRUS & SEAN SHOW, as well as has many other projects going. He can be contacted at vdaemon13@gmail.com and on fb at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1