Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Blood Splattered Blu: Burnt Offerings

Just in time for Halloween comes "Burnt Offerings" a delightful twist on the haunted house horror troupe. If you haven't seen it this post is Spoiler Free however I urge you to get a copy! Its only 12.50 on Amazon (guessing a limited Halloween sale price!) and as you will hear from my review well worth it. Also dont be put off by the PG rating, its incredibly effective in being smart and creepy.

Title: Burnt Offerings

Company: Kino Lorber

Release: 10/6/15

Picture: 1:85:1 Kinos blu is a nice upgrade to the previous MGM DVD. Thankfully the brightness is not over blown and colors are facial are natural looking. Blacks are deep with very little distortion. Kino always does a wonderful job at restoring films and this is no exception. The new print really enhances the dream like feeling that coats the film.

Sound: Mono 2.0: Audio is crisp and actors come across clear. It also really makes the films score really pop.

Special Features: Kino proves that they can hang with the other big Blu companies like "Scream Factory (Shout Factory) Synapse etc, with these frightfully fun extras. Returning from the previous MGM DVD release is the wonderful audio commentary with Dan Curtis and Karen Black. Its almost bitter sweet as now both are sadly no longer with us. Its a great joy to hear Curtis and Black gab about the film and the memories of making it. I`m thrilled they carried it over to the blu.A brand new commentary by Film Historian Richard Harland Smith (Video Watchdog) also accompanies it. Smith obviously knows his stuff and the commentary is jammed packed with juicy trivia and background information. Hes great however my one complaint is he comes off a tad bit dry and it could use some fun personality (David Del Valle me thinks) Sadly most of the stunning cast is departed but the few remaining ones are interviewed. Highlights is Lee Montgomery who plays the Ben. His stories are so entertaining and make for a fun watch. Also interviewed is character actor Anthony James. It was nice they got him however he only touched upon the film briefly. The best interview is famed author (Logans Run) and co-writer William F. Nolan who shares his memories of this film. Rounding out features is a trailer, a trailer from Trailers from Hell and an animated montage of film stills.

Overall: Lovers of this film will be very pleased with this release which looks great and is loaded with interviews commentaries etc. As Halloween releases go this is a must own. I know i`m happy to have this in my blu collection. And as stated above Amazon has it for a price that wont scare you.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Top Ten: Special Edition:Best Halloween movies...that dont take place on Halloween.

First off a note to my few but loyal readers: I know I havent updated as much as i`d like but i`m working on a important project that will hopefully pan out. But dont lose the faith and keep following me on FB and Twitter @GorehndMikeBlog 
And to my readers thanks for sticking with this blog and look for more regular posts in the future. Please show your support by simply sharing the blog on your wall and Twitter accounts, every little bit helps a independent writer.

Best Halloween Movies...that dont take place on Halloween:

Like most horror fans Oct. is my favorite month. The cool weather, the pretty fall leaves and of course lots of horror movies and specials on tv. While I have my old standbys like Halloween (1978) and so bad there good films like "Hack O Lantern" there are some great movies that capture the "spirit" of of the holiday without actually taking place/or about the holiday all the ghouls love the most. Here are 10 films that I make it a point to re-visit throughout the month, unlike the other top ten's this is in no particular order as they are all equally brilliant. 

10: Carnival of Souls (1962)

Filled to the brim with creepy and thick dread. It also inspired the landmark film "Night of the Living Dead" Along with that film and Psycho its the most important horror film of the nineteen sixties. A perfect classic moody horror film to rise your spirits. 

9: House on Haunted Hill (1959) Not to be confused with the terrible remake. The original is an enjoyable spook ride starring the master of horror himself Mr.Vincent Price. Not gory like the new one, but what it lacks in blood it makes up for in sheer fun and intentional tongue in cheek humor. It also features some great supporting actors like Carol Ohmart (Spider Baby) and cult star Elisha Cook Jr (The Big sleep, The Killing, Rosemarys Baby) Fans of classic Price horror will find this a must while carving pumpkins.

8: The Innocents (1963) Loosely based on the play "Turn of the Screws" this film like Carnival of Souls is a wonderfully shot creepy film that builds and builds into a shocking and delightfully bleak ending. The film hits every note just perfectly from the brilliant direction to its screenplay some of which was written by the legendary Truman Capote. As far as moody, well written Gothic films go this is the best-period.. The infamous kiss scene still remains as shocking and chilling as ever.

7: The Haunting (1963) Released in the same year as the Innocents and in my opinion the only film that could hold a candle to it in terms of stark beauty and less is more film making. Based on the novel "The haunting of hill house" this film does so much with simply camera tricks, lighting and sound does that is praised by many horror industry people including effects wizard Tom Savini.  

It is also a early movie to explore lesbianism (though its left ambiguous) Great film and is hailed as a classic and perfect for your Halloween movie thon.

6: The Cabin in the Woods (2012) I love horror and splatter like the next fan, but i like brainnnns behind it and Cabin in the Woods delivers a smart self aware look at the genre that pokes fun of the troupes without getting into full blown parody like "Scary Movie" Choked full of gore gags, and great insider references, its endlessly watchable and a lot of fun around Halloween.

5: Les yeux sans visage aka Eyes Without a Face (1960) The French have always made really interesting films especially in the horror and fantasy genre. Eyes without a Face is a wonderfully dark, strange film that is oddly comical in tone. Like Haunting and Innocents it has a stunning visual style and is way ahead of its time in terms of disturbing themes. If you want to really mix it up and add some international flavor to your viewing this is certainly a master work. 

4: House of the Devil (2009) Ti West seems to really divide some fans. And while I think his work is sometimes hit or miss I do love his break out film House of the Devil. West is obviously a fan of 80s horror and this is his stylish homage to them. Visually its great and has a John Carpenter feel to it. Not very blood but there is a splatter effect that will please any hardcore fan. It also has a wonderful cast of new comers as well as genre favorites. All treats and no tricks with this one. 

3: Tourist Trap (1979) Do dolls, vent figures and mannequins creep you out? Than this film will certain play upon those fears. It even has been praised by Stephen King for its eerie and spookshow quality. It remains a classic in terms of strange set pieces and wonderfully macabre deaths. Look for Tanya Roberts (Charlies Angels, That 70s Show) in a early film role. Simply put its a great shocking thrill ride. 

2: The Conjuring (2013) This film is without a doubt the best horror film I`ve seen in a long time and perfect for any Halloween party or movie thon. Its non stop scares that has all the makings of a future classic. Seen it in the theaters and still watch it every Oct. And...yah i`d skip Annabell the horrible quick cash in.

1: Bride of Frankenstein (1935) How could you dont watch this classic horror film on or around Halloween? Its really hard to add anything to a film that has been written back, reviewed an studied for decades. 

Honorable Mentions: White Zombie, Insidious, Freaks, Munsters Go Home, Alien,The Inn Keepers, Sleep Tight,  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

THANATOMORPHOSE Review by Vincent Daemon

Year: 2012
Director/Writer: Eric Falardeau
Review by: Vincent Daemon

A tricky film to review, as not much actually happens on a visual level *(well, it does, but not in any standard sense). THANATOMORPHOSE is an Hellenic word meaning the visible signs of a once healthy and living things decay, the cause of which is death. And the film delivers death in spades. In fact, nothing but. However, this is not for your casual viewer. Essentially an arthouse menagerie of visual grotesquerie, this is also an horrific, near-brilliant trip down existential nightmare lane. Though we also get to see her uterus sluice out, too. It begins with an hallucinogenic mashup of sight and sound *(used to great effect throughout the course of the film) of a man and woman having sex. After that, the film becomes grey and dark in tone, as the female lead cleans the blood from her wretched, abusive boyfriends foot after he steps on a loose nail. He storms out and she is left alone, awake, and terribly unfulfilled. Being an artist, she seems to have run into a block with her latest sculpture, as well. *(I found sculpture a nice choice of artistic form as it is all about the malleability of the clay-made-flesh, and speaks volumes metaphorically). Then, she notices the odd scab on her shoulder. Her apartment is insanely claustrophobically small, and the entirety of the film in fact takes place in that sole location, to what I feel is a fairly decent effect. She has a party, which ends in a display of public verbal and physical humiliation by her boyfriend, and an abrupt end to said party. But not until after her best friend questions as to why she stays with him. Her answer is stumbly and full of holes *(as most are from people caught in those situations), but she swears she loves him, etc. She confronts him after the party clears out, only to more abuse, then cold, mechanical sex. The next day her skin pallor has changed significantly, and her basic cognitive skills are on the fritz. Essentially, the rest of the film plays out much this way, with her sitting completely alone, in dead silence, slowly necrotizing into nothingness from the inside out. The process is slow, and agonizing to watch. This bizarre STD condition also has her incredibly, violently horny most all the time as well, and brings strange, surreal nightmares of sex, monstrosity, and violence, when she can actually sleep. Eventually she kills her boyfriend, leaving his corpse to rot. The next day she awakes, and flies can be heard buzzing amongst the rotting detritus, and her, as she stumbles completely alone, rapidly decaying, and quite confused, around her apartment - - - when not staring blankly at a wall and trying to stitch herself back together. Her best friend stops by, sees her condition, and tries to get her to a hospital, which she refuses, giving him a blowjob instead, which he accepts with a series of mixed feelings and a bit of concern, but accepts nonetheless. He then leaves. Alone again, her condition worsens by the second, the final act of the film being truly grotesque and for the hardest of hardcore alone. Several days later, as most of her extremities have quite graphically fallen off *(and she starts keeping them in jars, Brundle-fly style). Several days later, her friend comes back again, finds her a fully rotten, maggot filled sack of living death, and tries to get her to a hospital, as she begs to be fukked. She then flips, saying he won’t fukk her because she is too gross, but good enough
for a blowjob. She then kills him *(heh, women). Finally, she just lays in her deathbed, compulsively masturbating *(which she’s been doing the entire film anyway, vile fluids eventually drizzling from her vag), as all parts of her begin to decay, mucous over, and when she finally leaves the bed in the final scene, sluice right off, as her flesh has now become that of liquified slippage. As this happens and her maggot filled death-sex corpse of poisoned madness reaches its full and final
stages of decay, her mouth opens wide as she lets out a primordial scream of unbearable agony, ripping at the last of the gristle clinging to her maggot-filled skeleton - - - until her jawbone falls off, and her fleshless corpse falls into the fetid puddle of its own oneness as tragic and alone as it was during the disorienting and cold display of sex in the opening shots. This is not for everyone. The vileness of what we witness can only be seen to be properly explained and appreciated, and the fx work put into her external decay top notch, and sickeningly effective. But the film is cold-molasses slow, I believe deliberately, mimicking the loneliness and impending doom of her
terminal condition. It’s like being on death row, in a sense. But it actually works within the limited confines and dialogue of this particular film. However, for the patient and more read between the line types, this is a sick trip worth taking. It’s existentially frightening, her external conditions really being nothing more than a physical affectation of her spiritual/mental/emotional ones. At its larvae-slithering heart, THANATOMORPHOSE is about the truly unbearable darkness of being, of the psychological effects of lack/loss of sense of self, of the inability to
find real love in a world growing evermore cold and claustrophobic, and it's biblically catastrophic effects on the psyche. It’s a metaphor for the lonely-lost, the incessant pain and life altering damage that can result from lack of love, of touch, and about the desperation it causes as well as isolation that births it. There’s a depth here not found in many films that goes deep, and the ever-increasing visual grotesqueries only serve to actually tell the tale through the decay. It’s unique, and it takes patience, but comes with my highest recommendations. And there’s a definite NEKROMANTIC vibe here, only in the reverse. And it is disgusting. This is the new body horror, along with other films that do what classic body horror should: induce thought - - - and I like it.

Consequently, there was another film that was made just after this, CONTRACTED, that treads similar territory in its own unique fashion, though is not as nearly existential in its terror. I believe there’s even a CONTRACTED 2 now, which I’m curious to see. *(In fact I believe I may have reviewed the original in the Vault somewhere). But THANATOMORPHOSE is definitely worth the time of the patient, deep-thought leaning horror fan.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Top Ten: Worst Horror sequels to good films.

Since Top Ten is fairly new i`ve solely focused on top ten best...But whats the fun in that...Lets talk about the worst for this weeks Top Ten..Only films that were great when they started but got bad with each sequel.

Because these are the worst the reviews aren't overly long because honestly these films are not worth very long reviews.

Top Ten: Worst Horror Sequels to Good films.

10. Psycho 3 (1986)
Following up the far better Psycho 1 and 2 the third and worst entry in the series. Despite some interesting camera work and a few decent actors this film is a total mess. The Catholic melodrama is totally out of place really and really tries the audiences patients. If your expecting maybe a fun 80s slasher it fails there as well. It also "borrows" heavily from the original classic in not so subtle ways, quoting classic lines and stealing shots. Perkins directed this and he seems to have no restraint over himself. His acting is hammy in the Shatner level.Its really sad when compared to the amazing 1960 film and the enjoyable sequel. A cold shower on a once hot franchise.

9.Hellraiser III; Hell on Earth (1992)
What happens when a major studio buys a original and fresh franchise, Hell on Earth happens. Not the worst in the series however it makes the list because it marks the end of any good Hellraiser film. Not an original idea in sight just a rehashes of ideas done much better in the first two films. You also wont find any poetic horror here, just big loud dumb action, bad acting and Pinhead spouting lines that are again recycled from the first two films only not nearly as good.

8.Fright Night 2
While this one has its moments and some decent special effects it lacked the spirit of the first film. Its hard to live up to how awesome the original one was. But I think we can all agree its not as bad as the reboot or the direct to dvd sequel that followed.

7: The Birds II: Lands End (1994)
Do you hear that? Its Hitchcock rolling around in his grave after this crap fest. You know when your in trouble the director omits his name on the film, using the Alan Smithee. This made for cable mess has 0 of the master craftsmanship of the original Hitchcock film. Its painfully slow and worst yet the flock of birds is far less impressive this time around. Its also raft with horrible cliche's such as the Major wanting to ignore the problem worrying about pocket lining than the public's safety. There is a reason why there has never been even a DVD release. Nobody would want it.

6:Halloween 5 (1989)
This is my pick for worst entry in the Halloween series..Even though 4 wasn't the greatest it did have an interesting story and a great twist ending. Halloween 5 is riddled with plot holes and annoying characters, not to mention killing off Rachel from part 4. Painfully predictable with any a few decent kills. It also nearly derailed the series, it would be six years before another film would be released. No treats only tricks here.

5. Jason Goes to Hell (1993)
Even hardcore Friday the 13th fans would agree the series is hit or miss. But the worst of the series would have to be Jason Goes to Hell. The fact that Jason is only on screen for a about ten minutes is not the worst thing about this steaming pile. Bad acting horribly laughable goofs and maybe one of the creepiest character in Friday the 13th history, that being the bounty hunter.

4. The Exorcist II:The Heretic (1977)
How do you follow up a cinematic masterpiece like The Exorcist? Well certainly not with this mess of a movie. Considered not only a bad movie but maybe the worst sequel of all time, it does have some good concepts but gets lost in goofiness. Also how did they get Oscar winning actress Louis Fletcher and James Earl Jones to be in this?

3.Creepshow 3 (2006)
After decades of waiting for the next Creepshow fans were in for a horrible surprise with this limp entry which nobody wanted.  There is no hint of the clever writing and top notch acting that the first film and to a degree the second film had. Also to makes matters worse the creative forces that made one and two so great is no where in sight. What hurts this film the most is they ditched the element of old school horror comics which is central to the fun spirit of the film, which leaves me to wonder if the point was only to cash in on the name, rather than give fans something worth waiting for.

2.Silent Night Deadly Night 2 (1987)
Yes the infamous and and unwatchable Silent Night Dead 2. This makes the number two spot for the sheer lack of creativity as 60% of the film is footage from the first film....umm yeah. The new footage is features some of the worst acting, lame kills with cheesy one liners. It also makes me mad that the producers had to balls to use the bulk of Selliers film and marketed it to fans hoping for an actual sequel. Some say this is so bad its good, well its not...Its just bad. Its like expecting a Ipad and getting socks...

1.An American Werewolf in Paris (1997)
Its hard to think anyone could follow up John Landis's watershed horror film "An American Werewolf in London" and Anthony Wallers sequel proved that you cant teach an old wolf new tricks with this stink burger of a film. None of the humor, charm and slick satire of the previous film and maybe worst of all - CGI werewolves..Yep, foregone is the amazing practical effects of award winning artist Rick Baker for very badly done computer graphics. Its more laughable than hair rising.