Wednesday, October 31, 2012

HALLOWEEN COMPETITION!


So are you ready to dig into your mind and recognize that certain image from that specific film?

I have an extra set of the Limited Edition Vinyl releases of Halloween II and Halloween III from the magnificent DeathWaltz Recording Company.  Both LP’s come with exclusive new artwork from Brandon Shaefer and Jay Shaw, along with linear notes by the legendary composer Alan Howarth.


Instead of hording them for myself, what better than to share them with fellow friends of horror… for a moment’s brief challenge that is.

So we are going to play a little game, and I call it “Oh what a Bloody Poser!” 


All you have to do is email me the correct film – full title, and Director – with the correct numbered image. Get them all right, and the tiebreaking qualifier and you will make you one of the lucky contestants that I’ll draw a winner from!

The qualifying question is: What movie is watched on TV in several of the Halloween films?







Re-watch them, ask your friends, Google them, guess, or what ever you want, just make sure that I have your answers to the images and the qualifying question answer by Friday the 9th of November! 

Email me on:  killfinger (at) hotmail (dot) com

Good luck, and Happy Halloween.

J.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's that time of the year again...

...and you really need to get your strut on!




Here's what may be the best damned Halloween mixtape ever made!

Molest a pumpkin, down a brew, light up a joint, or whatever turns you on, and enjoy 94 shit kicking minutes of Devils, Ghosts, Ghouls, Witches, Bitches and Frankenstein Rock!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Mummies of Guanajuato


The Mummies of Guanajuato
Original title: Las Momias de Guanajuato
Directed by: Federico Curiel
Mexico, 1970
Lucha Libre/Horror

Wrestler monsters from beyond the grave! In the world of cinema anything is possible. Since placing the Luchadors in cinematic narratives to get around the Mexican governments banning of televised Lucha Libre matches in the mid 50’s, the masked wrestlers have taken on an endless surge of enemies and foes. The Mummies of Guanajuato see’s Blue Demon, Mil Máscaras, Santo and a haunting army of mummies under the command of the undead wrestler called Satan. This my friends, is the good stuff!
Instead of the customary opening wrestling match, The Mummies of Guanajuato goes right in to exposition. A bunch of tourists take a tour of Guanajuato’s cemetery, were they see corpses in various state of mummification due to chemicals and minerals in the ground. Guanajuato is infamous for it’s mummies, and is one of the most popular tourist locations in Mexico. Amongst some “fresher ones”, only a hundred years old, stands Wrestler mummy Satan [Manuel Leal], and some semi composed henchmen. The guide, dwarf Penguin [Jorge Pingunio] starts telling the curious crypt dwellers the tale of how Satan and his followers swore to one day to come back and take their revenge after Santo beat him in a celebratory match one hundred years ago… By coincidence the date is todays date, and hey presto, the mummies start to climb down off their exhibit stands.
Curiel has taken his time to establish the plot before bringing in the big guns, as Mil Máscara and Blue Demon step into the ring for the obligatory wrestling match. Unlike say Miguel M. Delgado’s, Alfredo Salazar scripted flicks, there’s no time wasted on showing our heroes win one, loose one, then defeat their foes in the final round as to show some kind of vulnerability within the protagonists. This one goes right for the kill as Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras take their opponents out in two fast matches.
The vulnerability comes in a haunting scene after the bout where Satan, with ease sucker punches Blue Demon, leaving him stone cold in the hallway of the arena. Nobody likes seeing heir favourite hero be slapped around, especially when smacked around by a fiend possessing the power of Lucifer. There’s also a pretty sweet subplot concerning Julio, an orphan kid who Blue Demon has adopted. Mil Mascaras – who as per usual, changes masks for each new scene he’s part of, has his loved one Lina [Elsa Cárdenas]… you only need to have ever seen one Lucha libre movie previously to know that these are the week spots that will be used against the two masked keepers of justice.
The mummy thugs, lead on by Satan, terrorize the people of Guanajuato, as the police laugh off the inhabitants terrified pleads to help them. The cops stand around their office talking about the case, and chit chat about the mysterious deaths taking place all over the village. They are not having any of the stories of mummies, but  they are pretty convinced that the murderer is connected to the wrestling arena as all victims have broken necks.
There’s a favoured moment when Penguin meets his fate, but first he has the time to call up Blue Demon and plead with him “Blue, it’s Penguin, the mummy is here, it’s going to kill me. Help Me!” Hilarious! It shows that the Mummies have an agenda, kill people, try to pin the blame on Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras, hence forcing them to call up their buddy Santo… remember the sworn vengeance from the initial set-up?  Well just wait until you see their sinister plan unfold when they lay their hands on Blue Demon’s mask and wrestling pants!
Naturally Santo does turn up, but not due to the crimes committed or the sinister plot to lure him there, but when he unannounced pays a surprise visit to his old pals as he drives by Guanajuato in his car. In reality, writers Rafael Garcia Travesi and Rogelio Agrasánchez, intended the movie to be a Blue Demon/Mil Máscaras flick only, but in the last possible moment, Agrasánchez  - who also produced the film - wrote Santo into the script, as he feared audiences wouldn’t come for Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras alone. Climax fight approaching, panic reigns as the mummies walk the streets and the fuzz act like cretins and shoot at the terrified villagers. The final cemetery and make shift flamethrower battle is stuff of legends. Despite it being Blue Demon and Mil Máscaras ‘s film, nobody ever saves the day better than the silver angel, the undisputed king of Luchadore movies, Santo, and nobody says it better than Lina when she tells the two guys that they could have saved everybody a whole lot of trouble if they’d only had called Santo right away.
Gustavo César Carrión’s score is unusually funky compared to the stuff he’d be composing and perform to the Luchadore films just a few years later. This was cinematographer Enrique Wallace, who also shot Rene Cardona’s Las Luchadoras contra el medico asesino (Doctor of Doom) 1963, final film and one can only guess to whether he thrived or despaired with the many tall shadow street location shots that make this movie look so damned great.
I love this movie so much that it’s stupid. This is one of my top five Blue Demon movies and it was also the first time that three of the Lucha Libre scenes biggest stars where banded together in one movie. And for this same reason, The Mummies of Guanajuato became a pretty big box office success in Mexico. The starting point of a mesh trend that would culminate with the Destroy All Monsters of Lucha Libre flicks: El triunfo de los campeones justicieros (The Champions of Justice) 1974, which features a whopping total of six luchadoras.
There was animosity between the wrestlers, and a growing disappointment for Blue Demon as he was losing his place as the leading star he desired to be – at the start of his career he stood on his own merits, before being teamed up with Santo, whom he never really was a close friend with. But Blue Demon delivers, and has something of the lead part in this one, even if Santo does arrive as a miracle cure in the last act. The major part of his 25 movie career, saw Blue Demon frequently standing in the shadow of his silver masked friend, which obviously was a deep concern for him. Ironically it’s those nine tag team films that are amongst the most famous ones. Never the less, when Santo was off shooting his own movies, Blue Demon stepped up and became the team leader in three of the Champions of Justice films before the two re-united in the string of successful Miguel M. Delgado films of the mid-late seventies. Blue Demon ended his career with Gilberto Martínez Solares  Misterio en las Bermudas (Mystery in the Bermuda Triangle) 1979, which saw him reunite with Mil Máscaras  and one final time play second fiddle to Santo.
                               


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Wither


Wither
Original title: Vittra
Directed by: Sonny Laguna & Tommy Wiklund
Sweden, 2012
Horror, 96min
Distributed by: Studio S. Entertainment 

Screw the Evil Dead remake, (which probably will be awesome); this is the one you need to pay money to see in a theatre. Why You ask, well simply because we need to make sure that more independent horror films get made, distributed and screened in this country. (As in Sweden, where I’m located). Fellow fans of genre cinema who reside overseas, (or neighbouring countries) may want to keep an eager eye open as this movie may very well be the start of Sweden’s own franchise much like the success of Norway’s Fritt Vilt (Cold Prey) movies.
A lone man, Gunnar, [Johannes Brost] walks through a dark, rainy Swedish forest. One can sense the cold dampness that encloses him. He’s almost in a panic as he calls out his daughter Lisa’s name. He continues to walk and is close to breaking down, when he spots someone crouched over what might be Lisa! They could be making out, if not for the blood! The person turns around, looks at him with pale, dead eyes, as gore pours over its teeth and out of its mouth. Gunnar raises his rifle and shoots the being in the head, but seconds later, and despite a gaping hole in the back of it’s head, it sits back up and snarls…
This is the initial attack which opens Wither, a Swedish horror film in the vein of Rec, Demons, Evil Dead and every damned generic cabin in the woods horror setup that you have seen so far. It was bound to happen sooner or later – Hugo Lilja won acclaim for his Dramatic Institute graduation short Återfödelsen (The Unliving), writer, director of the magnificent Psalm 21, Fredrik Hiller, has been trying to get his post apocalyptic zombie flick Zon261 off the ground for the last few years, (fingers crossed it will happen soon), and there’s even been a slapstick comedic, reality show meets Zombies, aired on Swedish TV in the past year; Den Sista Dokusåpan (The Last Reality Show). So the fact that Sweden finally has their first demon/zombie flick and that it’s going to play theatrically, is a welcome one.
That’s why getting the monster in the initial attack does a lot to set the tone:  dark, violent, gory and perhaps most importantly the antagonist. Horror lives off its monsters, and presenting a strong, almost unbeatable demonic zombie at the very start of the movie is a rare thing in Swedish genre. More than often, budget restricts filmmakers to keep effects at a minimum, and keep them until the last possible moment. So this is an awesome initial attack that will set a great tone from square one, giving the audience precisely what they are there for, shocks, gore, and horror!
Following an illustrated credit sequence telling the genesis of the “entity”, we are introduced to the lead characters, Albin [Patrik Almkvist] and Ida [Lisa Henni], as they sit at his parents dinner table talk about an abandoned house in the woods that the two kids are planning on taking a trip to with their mates. The eight friends – hot chicks, cool dudes - are rounded up en route to their destination, and it all plays by the book as we learn who’s who, who fancies who and where they stand in the group of friends. Keeping the Swedish tone to it, they obviously talk about the amount of booze they are going to consume during the weekend, if it would have been American, they’d have started rolling spiffs, and passing them around. They reach the house, settle in, have a quick snog and start downing the drinks. The table is set, time to shift gears… Moments later one of the chicks pees blood, starts bleeding from her mouth, goes apeshit and savagely tears the lip of one of the other girls. We’ve been around the block before, and we know that the spreading of the disease has only just begun, and the shit is about to hit the fan.
Where the movie up till now has played along the lines of convention, Scandinavian folklore comes in handy when putting a special spin on things. It’s a well used device that Scandinavian filmmakers are turning to more and more, Trollhunter, Marianne, Thale to name a few. Well Wither perhaps doesn’t tap into actual folklore, but it uses folklore to create an own mythology of their monster.  Evil forces that live under the ground, when you disturb them they take your soul and bad stuff happen. Oh, did I tell you about the trap door that leads down into the soil-floored cellar and the thing hiding in the shadows?
Without trying to be smart-asses, directors Sonny Laguna, Tommy Wiklund and co-writer David Liljeblad’s passion for the genre, and knowledge, shines through on several occasions, and it also brings an ardent enthusiasm with it that is rare these days. A lot of films run on autopilot and by the book. Wither may be somewhat generic, but it still blows the competition on the home arena way off the map. It’s a testament to the fervour of independent underdogs who make exactly the movie they want without any meddling from external parts. 
As said the setup and main narrative of Wither may not be altogether unique – then again what is these days, and I doubt that’s what the guys behind it where after originality either – but when the possession starts, and the second act picks up the pace, it really pounds it in from there on out. The last forty minutes are generic horror at its best, ferocious, intense, and could easily compete with a lot of stuff that comes in from overseas. Wither get’s in there, does its job and winds up tension as the fantastic special effects kick some serious ass. The SFX crew need to stand up and take a bow, as Swedish horror fans hail their work! Goes to show that Yngvie Malmsteen was right when he said “How can less be more? More is more!” At the end of the day it doesn’t’ matter what flaws you may spot, because it’s a fast ride, a delightfully creepy one, and certainly the most violent and gory horror flick ever made in Sweden. I welcome it with at least one open arm, as the other one has to shield my eyes from the bloodshed on screen.
My favourite pet peeve with this movie is that it uses cell phones in the middle of the woods, and against all odds – they fucking work! They also get used in a brilliant way when they have to locate possessed friends, and I love these guys for that decision. It’s great to see Johannes Brost making a return to the genre scene as he was in the legendary Besökarna – one of the Swedish horrors that really does rely on the Less is more theory, just like the smash hit Låt den rätte komma in (Let The Right One In) a few years back. Brost holds a classic helper role in the film, but even helpers have some bad days too.  
But compared to earlier attempts at making entertaining horror in Sweden, Wither is an impressive feat. It boasts what definitely are among the best special effects ever put on screen in Sweden. Prepare to be nauseated; Wither is one graphic and gory little bastard indeed. If you came for a blood drenched graphically violent horror film, then you are in the right place.

Wither will hit Swedish cinemas early 2013, and should probably reach DVD a few months after that.


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)


The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)
Directed by: Tom Six
USA, 2011
Horror, 88min

All right! I change my initial verdict. The one I had before watching the movie was wrong. The Human Centipede II falls right into the same mould as I found Eli Roth’s Hostel versus Hostel 2 to fall into. The initial movies didn’t do much for me, I found them lacking, insulting and not worth the extensive hype that they came with… They where pretty poor genre pieces in my eyes, and complete disappointments…  But then Roth seemed to have taken everything I didn’t like with the initial movie and dumped it when he made the second, which came off a much better film. This is exactly the same way I feel about The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence). Everything I didn’t like with the initial instalment is gone, and instead Tom Six came out with a movie that definitely is a much more provocative film, a much more character invested film, and undoubtedly a much more disturbing film. The Human Centipede II is a much better film than it's predecessor!
Martin Lomax [Laurence R. Harvey] is a sad sod indeed. He’s a mentally challenged, short grown man who spends his nights as a night watchman in a parking lot. He’s completely obsessed with Tom Six The Human Centipede and has decided that he’s gong to out centipede Six, with a human centipede of his own consisting of a dozen people.
Ok, so how do you create a monster? Well, you can go stereotype as Six did in his first part, but that would leave you with a pretty shallow beast – The Evil Ex Nazi doctor. But when it comes to Martin, there’s no holds barred. Martin is as mentioned mentally challenged, asthmatic, obese, and suffering from an obvious gland problem as he’s always sweating profusely. He’s the victim of child abuse, and still victimized by his Mother [Vivien Bridson] and her friend Doctor Sebring [Bill Hutchens]. His mother is manically depressed as she holds Martin responsible for her beloved husbands incarceration in prison. She keeps Martin in an evil and abusive grip as she constantly threatens to take his and her lives, and tries to make this happen on several occasions… There’s no doubt about it, Martin is a scarred man, and his only two pleasures in life are his pet centipede and that damned movie he’s totally obsessed with. With Martin, Tom Six has created a fascinating genre character. When Martin get’s overexcited - whilst watching the movie for the umpteenth time - I feel pity for him as he solis his pants in excitement, and when he shoots the lurid Doctor in the genitals, I cheer him on. That’s the power of creating a fiend with dimension.
After his Mother destroys his totem-like scrapbook of The Human Centipede, it’s crowbar to the head all around. Mom, the abusive neighbour [, and the creepy Doctor, are all taken care of, and with this detachment from his “ordinary world” it’s time to set the plan in motion – A twelve piece human centipede.
The Meta aspect of The Human Centipede II works really well. Martin being obsessed, no I’d rather say, possessed with Six film.  Repeatedly watching it. Using it as an assembly manual, and also his budding nervosity with meeting Ahslynn Yennie – who he via her agent tricks into believing she’s going to an audition for a Tarantino flick, only to put her as the head of his creation. I really like what the soundtrack does for the film. It’s an industrial groaning throughout the movie – much like David Lynch’s Eraserhead – and without a rhythm to the noise, it becomes part of the world Martin lives in. It’s quite possible it’s the sound Martin hears in his head… something that may be closer to the truth than you imagined.

The stuff we didn’t see in part one is all shown here. As soon as Martin cuts the clothes off his first female victim and leaves her writhing naked on the cold wet floor of the abandoned warehouse, it’s apparent Six isn’t going to hide anything from us this time around. Teeth are hammered out, knives slice through flesh, tongues are ripped out with pliers, genitalia is mutilated for pleasure – and this time there’s no, sterile home hospital with anesthesia, anywhere to be seen.
Where the first movie really didn’t generate much engagement – The Human Centipede II works in a baleful kind of way that reminds me of Laugier’s diabolical Martyrs, where I find myself wanting the cult to succeed in killing Anna [Morjana Alajoui] so that I can find out what actually happens when she reaches the state of martyrdom. The same kind of manipulative narrative grabs me here, and I really become engaged in Martin’s macabre and perverse project. I want to see him succeed… even if Martins motivation to create the medical monstrosity is merely to satisfy his faecal fetish. 
As Martin reaches his goal he looses all of the emotional recognition that has been built up for the character, and Six can push the movie right into a baleful nightmare. It reaches a climactic orgasm of depravity and atrocity, which Six delivers in the most shocking ways. All the pity we’ve felt for and Martin makes the last act a devastating one, and the impact is immense something I found the first instalment never even being close to. The old rules of tell then show, can be applied if you look at the two films together. Where he first told, he really shows it all in the sequel.
Laurence R. Harvey gives one hell of a show, and it really is a stand out performance. If I hadn’t seen the Making of material and seen him conversing with Six and other cast members, I would have taken him for a real mentally challenged person. That’s how convincing his performance is. I also like when movies have the balls to dig right in there and just let story develop on it’s own. The movie has no opening titles, no initial attack, no wasting time. When Coppola opted against opening credits on Apocalypse Now, he was looking for a more documentary tone to his film. I’d say the same goes for The Human Centipede II which with it’s black and white cinematography (only faeces is shown in colour), hand held camera and quick start into the mind of Martin works in the same way.
You could call the “fictional movie” to be the initial attack if you want one, and you could also call it the inciting incident – it’s what makes Martin take up his quest.  The point of no return is when he frees himself of the chains that keep him from putting his plan in motion. There’s character development, the movie relies heavily on a degradation plot, and the last act will scar you – and make your ass itch.
The last scene is a somewhat ambiguous one that leaves the audience with confusion as to what they just witnessed. It works in a cunning and subtle way, and leaves questions with the audience that they have to answer themselves. Answers that will reflect how you have invested in the narrative and how you value the acts you just witnessed. It could be interpreted as a quickfix to wrap up the movie, and I’m sure someone’s yapped about that in their reviews. But I really like movies that challenge their audience – i.e. making me want bad things to happen – and with the closing images, I find that Tom Six justifies Martin and brings everything back down to earth. Knowing that Martin’s character will return in the proposed The Human Centipede III, I find myself looking forward to where Six will take Martin, and the evolution of the Centipede.
I stand corrected! Despite not finding much shocking about the original movie, this sequel shines a completely new light on Tom Six as far as I’m concerned. This movie is a well-conducted exercise that proves he does know how to creep the fuck out of an audience, and The Human Centipede II is unquestionably an unsanitary melting pot of insanity and provocative genre.