Showing posts from June, 2010

Interview With 'Isle Of The Damned' Director Mark Colegrove

The impact and influence of the grimy old sub-genre of the cannibal movie was immense. Made mainly by Italian filmmakers throughout the Seventies and Eighties, these overtly graphic and highly controversial movies featured all manner of wet, red and extreme imagery – rape, torture, mutilation, savagery, castration and cruelty to animals; to say they caused a shit-storm on release is putting it mildly. Many titles were added to the video-nasty list and banned throughout the world. As we know, this was one of the main appeals of titles such as Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, Mountain of the Cannibal God, Anthropophagus and Deep River Savages. The fact that audiences were prohibited from watching them, made them clamber all the more to sneak a peak at forbidden images…

This extreme and unsettling sub-genre continues to chew (sorry!) through the ages, making its feverish mark and inspiring a slew of new filmmakers to create their own deranged excursions into the green inferno of cann…

The Death Rattle's Guide to Essential Slasher Movies

Aaron over at The Death Rattle has just completed a mammoth trip through the darkest recesses of slasher movie history this month, notching up an impressive collection of reviews and articles on everyone's favourite stalk'n'slash sub-genre. As well as all the usual suspects (Freddy, Jason, Michael), Aaron also explores lesser seen, obscure classics - as well as explores the Italian precursor to the slasher - the giallo - and offers up recommendations for horror fans who long for a little slasher nostalgia.

Aaron invited a few fellow horror bloggers (including yours truly) to chuck in their two-cents worth, and wax lyrical about their fave stalk'n'slash flicks.

So head over yonder and prepare to lose your heart and strip nude for your killer as The Death Rattle takes you on a doom-laden, blood-spattered trek through slasher movie history...

'Hello? Hello, who's there? Aaron is that you? This isn't funny anymore! Stop screwin' around you guys...…

Sergio Martino - Italy's Unsung Exploitation King

The prolific and versatile career of Sergio Martino spans many movie genres; sci-fi, horror, action, documentary, sex-comedy, war and westerns. With titles such as The Mountain of the Cannibal God, The River of the Great Alligator, The Bodies Bear Traces of Carnal Violence, Naked and Violent, A Man Called Blade and Vendetta from the Future, it’s obvious Martino had a penchant for exploitative fare laden with copious amounts of sex and violence. It therefore comes as no surprise, given that Martino was most prolific in the Seventies and Eighties and not afraid to experiment or dabble with different genres, that the director is perhaps most famed, and rightly so, for his work in the horror/thriller arena; specifically his violent and stylish gialli. Produced throughout the Seventies – arguably the Golden Era of the exclusively Italian sub-genre, several of these films featured memorable collaborations with the director’s muse at the time, the alluring and equally prolific actress, Edwi…

The Addiction

Dir. Abel Ferrara

When New York philosophy student Kathleen Conklin (Lili Taylor) is dragged off the street down a dark alley and bitten by a strange woman, she begins to turn into a vampire. Being somewhat predisposed to philosophical contemplation, Kathleen considers her rapidly changing perspectives on the nature of evil, addiction and humanity. Soon, her need for blood begins to consume her life and she realises that her very existence may have to be dedicated to finding her next fix...

“The entire world's a graveyard, and we, the birds of prey picking at the bones. That's all we are. We're the ones who let the dying know the hour has come.”

In Ferrara’s earlier, no less gruelling film Bad Lieutenant, the character of Zoe (Zoë Lund, who also co-wrote the screenplay) declares "Vampires are lucky, they can feed on others. We gotta eat away at ourselves." In this line of dialogue the nature of addiction is addressed with a dark poetry that rings true, and …


Dir. George Romero

Insecure teenager Martin believes he is actually an 84-year-old vampire and that he must drink the blood of humans to remain alive. His belief is reinforced by his elderly cousin, Cuda, with whom he is sent to live. Cuda is convinced vampirism is part of a family curse. Driven by his insatiable blood lust, the frustrated and confused teen is forced to kill and feed, drugging his victims to reduce their suffering before opening their veins with a razor blade. However, his inhuman desires are almost overcome when he begins an affair and he starts to question the validity of his self-belief…

Criminally undervalued by audiences and critics at the time of its release, Martin is now generally accepted to be amongst Romero's finest work to date; it’s certainly the director’s personal favourite of his own movies. With Martin, Romero slyly subverted the haggard conventions of the vampire myth and added a truly fresh angle to the vampire movie genre; in its wake came…

The Last Man on Earth

Dirs. Ubaldo Ragona & Sidney Salkow

Due to a mysterious immunity he acquired when bitten by a rabid bat (!), Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the sole survivor of a devastating global pandemic. By day he spends his time collecting supplies, strengthening his fortifications and destroying the bodies of the living-dead plague victims. By night he boards himself into his house, as hordes of the vampiric post-human creatures leave their hiding places and congregate outside his house, baying for his blood… How much isolation can one person take?

Based on Richard Matheson’s chilling novel, I Am Legend, The Last Man on Earth is a creepy, deeply upsetting and thought-provoking exploration of one man’s increasingly fragile mental state as he struggles to accept his isolated existence in a dark new world. This particular adaptation is the most successful in evoking the desperation, mounting hopelessness and quiet dread of its central protagonist: the other two adaptations, The Ωme…

Bikini Girls On Ice

Dir: Geoff Klein

These girls are just so damn hot; a maniac killer must put them on ice!

Stranded on their way to a bikini car-wash fundraiser, a group of young women find refuge in an abandoned gas station on the outskirts of town. Soon their broken down bus is the least of their worries as a maniacal axe-wielding mechanic starts picking them off one by one.

If the idea of watching a busload of young women in bikinis being menaced by a maniacal mechanic in the middle of nowhere after they’ve been washing cars and frolicking in soap-suds (in slow motion nonetheless!) is your thing – you’re in for a treat. Bikini Girls on Ice is a throwback to old school slasher-movie titillation and exploitation. Combining elements of House of Wax, Psycho, The Toolbox Murders and countless other 80s backwoods slasher flicks, it really doesn’t waste any time and cuts straight to the chase with a particularly atmospheric and taut opening scene in which a lone (bikini-clad, naturally) woman (Suzi Lor…

The Dark Art Of Seduction: Femme Fatales From Noir To Horror, And Back

'Your hand, your tongue, Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under 't.' - Lady Macbeth

'Appearances are deceptive.' - Aesop

The history of cinema is positively strewn with ‘femme fatales’ – alluring, seductive and dangerous women whose advances usually belie wounded psyches, the need for justice or vengence, or sometimes just bitter cruelty, who ensnare their lovers through sexual conquest, often leading them into compromising and deadly situations. ‘Femme fatale’ is French for ‘deadly woman’. Quite often these women were portrayed as somehow wronged and whose vengeance decimates all those who have wronged them. An archetypal character of literature, cinema and even art, the femme fatale is most frequently associated with Film Noir. Film Noir is a cinematic term used to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas – extremely popular throughout the 1940s and 50s – especially those that emphasized a particularly pessimistic outlook on the world, boasted char…

Interview with Nathan Shumate - Author of 'The Golden Age of Crap'

If the motorcycle-straddling residents of Zombie Town are your thing, and the prospect of revisiting Camp Crystal Lake or watching those killer klowns from outer space do their thing for the umpteenth time fills you with unarticulated glee, then chances are, you’re probably something of a connoisseur of bad movies. If you prefer Alan Smithee to Avant-garde, I think you’ll know where I’m coming from. And its fine! You’re in good company. Let’s face it, sometimes having a good ole’ rummage through the bargain bin in your local discount shop and withdrawing your hand to find it clammily clutching some truly abhorrent title involving ‘atomic zombie moms’ is, lets be honest, truly sublime. But what is it that draws us time and time again to these cheap, tacky and downright bad movies? What’s more – what makes us kinda sigh dreamily as we watch them, or compel us to preserve a special place in our heart for them?

These are but a few of the burning questions author Nathan Shumate addresses…

Farewell Tolkien, Hello Lovecraft?

Guillermo del Toro has just announced that he is bowing out of his directing gig on The Hobbit. According to the filmmaker, the persistent postponement of the start date has compelled him to pursue other projects. "In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming The Hobbit, I am faced with the hardest decision of my life," del Toro said in a statement on "After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien's Middle-earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures."

Del Toro maintains that he will continue to co-write the screenplays with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, but will not be directing. He added:
"I wish the production nothing but the very best of luck and I will be first in line to see the finished product. I remain an ally to it and its makers, present and future, and fully support a smooth transition to a new director."

So …