Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Last Caress/Blackaria

Last Caress / Blackaria
Directed by: François Gaillard and Christophe Robin
France, 2010
Distributed by: NjutaFilms

Leather and razors and blood, oh my!

Remember AMER? Remember the fucking awesome Justice tracks Phantom (1+2) built around that Goblin Tenebre sample? Remember all those splendid Gialli you spent hours watching until they all melted into one? Well here’s a twosome of movies that combine everything that you liked about all the above and deliver two fabulous concoctions that really should be in the collection of anyone who claims to like European cult cinema.
First out, is Last Caress, which sees an eclectic bunch of kids, arrive at a mansion to spend the weekend with Catherine’s [Julie Baron] cousin, but she’s nowhere to be found – we the audience already know her fate, as that’s what the initial attack and ordinary world all establish. We know it’s Giallo territory, we know it’s going to be violent murder, and the bomb under the table has been set. So the eclectic gang, consisting of Catherine, her painfully skinny artist friend, a guy dressed as a reservoir dog, and guy who looks like one of Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd’s "two wild and crazy guys", Oh and then there’s Sélène [Joanna Imbert] the sexy mute!
With nothing better to do on a dark night in a large mansion they’ve never been in before, they have a little séance, which drifts deliriously through some very Lucio Fulci imagery into some prime nunsploitation… You see, this is a smorgasbord of delirious tributes to the world of low budget exploitation films.
The set up at the start of the film makes for the main narrative. The killer is in the mansion, hiding in the shadows, searching for the “lost painting” that we’ve already seen him murder for, will he find it, what’s so important about it and how will Catherine and her mates survive the weekend are the subplots that push the film forth.

François Gaillard and Christophe Robin bring out all the tools from the shed out for this one, Black leather, spiked gloves that tear through skin, wires garrotting throats, young flesh hanging on meat hooks, cat and mouse games…carnage and torment in the most stylish way.
It’s Lucio Fulci meets Juan López Moctezuma, Dario Argento meets John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper meets Luciano Ercoli, Norifumi Suzuki meet’s Bruno Mattei… and then there’s the Demon that turns up at the end…oh my… I need to sit down; my head is about to explode.

Then on to Blackaria, which literally flies of the screen, screaming David Cronenberg, David DePalma and Emilio Miraglia hurling us into nightmares, wet lesbian dreams and razorblade wielding psychos.
The narrative of Blackaria is basically Angela [Clara Vallet] who suffers from erotic nightmares where she encounters a strange woman and her quest through the movie is to solve the puzzle of her identity, come to an insight what she saw when she found the neighbour murdered, and squeeze in as many Dressed to Kill homages as possible.  It’s dreamy, its erotic, its violent… and drenched in blood soaked special effects that will make you squirm.
Of the two, I’d easy say that Blackaria is the better because of it’s Gialli / DePalma visuals, yes Last Caress uses Giallo traits and symbols to, but it’s in Blackaria it comes to a fantastic multiorgasm, where narrative stricture is disrupted time and time again as Angela moves in and out of her dream state – not to unlike A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin

You get the picture; François Gaillard and Christophe Robin have assembled a rosary of murder set pieces, cinematic homages and iconic moments in their very own magic brew. And why not, it’s like listening to a hip-hop album for the first time and going “ah, there’s that”, “Oh cool, they took that too” “Hey, I love that beat” and so on, but with visuals. Damn, if I still drank, these movies would be my new drinking game… each time you can identify a referent, take a swig. 
Someone said online that I’d lap this up like a crack addicted prostitute and it’s true, I did lap it up like a crack addicted prostitute all three hours of it, Last Caress, Blackaria the two shorts Die, Die my Darling (See Semi-naked Nazi chick in knife fight!) and Under the Blade (a Giallo concentrate) and as I wrote this text and made screengrabs I listened to the Double Dragon soundtrack which is on the second disc… it’s definitely the Ultimate Edition. I really loved the hell out of this; this is exactly what an homage-movie should be like. It works on it’s own two legs, but at the same time is an ultimate remix for the initiated.
A superb release, some great movies and a well spent three hours, if nothing else a visual party-tape for horror fans, and make sure to stay through the end credits of Blackaria  (and Last Caress) for the “Thank You” list, it will all make perfect sense then. All the directors works referred are listed and Anita Strindberg; The Uncrowned Swedish Queen of Italian Cinema.

These trailers may be censored, but the NjutaFillms discs are uncut!

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