Friday, December 7, 2012

Possession (1981)

If you ever read lists of the strangest, or most disturbing films ever made, Andrzej Zulawski's Possession will usually be on them.

Possession is bizzare. film, that stars Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani as a divorcing couple. That plot sounds pretty inoccuous, doesn't it! Well this movie turns that plot on its head, gouges its eyes out, then feeds it to an octopus!

The film opens with Mark (Sam Neill) meeting with wife Anna (Isabelle Adjani) at a train station after a long business trip. He goes home with her, to their son Bob.

Later, the couple talk in bed-Anna wants a divorce from Mark (not that their dialogue ever clearly states that). The next day, Mark is at a business meeting, and is offered the chance to be re-hired, but he refuses, wanting to devote more time to his family. The board accepts, then one guy says, "Does our subject still wear pink socks?" Huh?!

Mark returns home, but Anna is gone. After waiting for several hours, he gets a call from Anna, who tells him that she's in town for a while, and just wants time to think. After Mark calls Margi (Margit Carstensen) friend and asks about Anna, Anna calls him and talks about her lover. Mark arranges a meeting at a restaurant, and when the couple are there, they start fighting and Mark goes mental, trashing the restaurant as he runs after her.

The film cuts to Mark in a hotel room, completely going to pieces. Soon, three weeks have passed. Mark cleans up, then goes back home, where he finds Bob home alone, since Anna is with her friend Margie, who broke her leg. He talks with Bob, and then the camera tries to give the audience whiplash by abruptly cutting to Sam Neill looking weird on a rocking chair, rocking back and forth like he's drunk to much coffee! And he keeps doing it while talking to Anna!

Due to her leaving Bob on his own, Mark wants main custody of him unless Anna ends her relationship with her lover. She chooses neither (er...I guess, anyway), then later at night, Mark wakes up to find Anna gone. The phone rings, and a guy tells Mark that "Anna is with me, and she'll stay with me".

Mark goes to see Heinrich, Anna's lover (how Mark found out about him I've either forgotten, or it was never explained), and the very fey Heinrich tries to justify himself to Mark. Mark goes off and tries to attack him, but Heinrich just demolishes Mark!

Mark returns home and finds Anna. The two fight, and after Mark beats her, Anna storms out into the street and nearly attempts suicide, causing a truck to lose control.

A little later, Mark hires a private investigator to track down Anna, and see what she's up to.

Sometime later, Anna comes back, and while Mark tries questioning her about why she's so afraid to talk with him about her affair, she tries slicing her neck open with an electric knife. Mark stops her, and bandages up her wound.

A little while later, Anna says has to leave again, and we later see her at a train station, being followed by someone. The man, one of the PI's from the company Mark went to, trails Anna to her apartment and questions her about whether some papers are in order. Anna is worried at first, but soon starts acting tipsy, and she offers the man a drink. He declines, then goes into a dark, slimy back room containing aWHAT THE HELL IS THAT AND WHY IS ANNA KEEPING IT ON HER BED?! Anna shatters a bottle of wine, runs into the backroom, then...

...And then the film gets weird!...

Possession starts off seemingly as a family drama, and it stays that way for well over thirty minutes. Then the film starts to really stew in its oddness. The film doesn't really have over the top strangeness, bar the 'thing', and most of the film's strangeness comes from its off feel.

Possession is definitely well-made, and I did like it a lot. While watching it, I felt that it was overlong and moving too slow, but come the end of the film, and a while to think about it, I wouldn't want a single second cut from this tentacle mindfuck of a movie!

Like I said above, the film is well made. It's filmed very fluidly, and there are lots of abrupt quick cuts to different scenes. I'm not sure if it's clunky editing, or if it's deliberately edited that way to enhance the mood of the film. I'd take a guess that it's the latter.

The film is intense with its subject matter, which is easy to see, since Zulawski was going through an apparently bad divorce while writing the script.

As for the title, it took me WAAAY too long before I realized that the title didn't (necessarily) refer to spiritual/demonic possession. Or I don't think it does, at least. I see the title as referring to 'possession', the emotion. Mark is possessive of Anna to the point where he falls apart when she leaves him, he beats her up at one point when he's angry with her, and he goes out of his way to find out about Anna's lover(s). Heinrich is also incredibly possessive with Anna, and I suppose Heinrich and his mother share a dual-possessive relationship too (the two live together, talk about everything together, and can't live without each-other) Some reviews however mention Anna as sometimes acting as if she's possessed, and with scenes like the train station 'fluids' scene, that makes sense too.

The acting is great all round. There are many moments of overacting, exaggerated acting, and just plain loopiness! Sam Neill is deliriously crazy as Mark, the husband who takes his break-up VERY badly, it's not hard to see how Isabelle Adjani won awards because of her intense and creepy performance, and Heinz Bennet as Heinrich overacts and gesticulates like crazy and twirls around like he's Kodos running for office!

Oh hey, I only just realized what implications making a Kang/Kodos reference in this review has! haha! Yeah, if you want to blame Japan for tentacle porn, know that Japan didn't start it, no, it started here!

There's one weird scene midway through the movie-not weird because of the film's general craziness, but because: Helen (Isabelle Adjani), a teacher at the school (and Anna's doppelganger), comes to Mark's house to see Bob, and at that moment, Bob is in the bath. When Mark directs Helen in, he just casually shows her into the bathroom, and he even asks if she can finish bathing Bob, which she accepts in stride! Huh?! HUH?!

One odd thing I didn't understand was-Who was that girl given a gun by [SPOILERS] at the end? Wikipedia says she resembles Margie, but I didn't think so.

At one moment near the end, after a 'certain body' has been found in a lift, Mark and Anna have sex, and afterwards, Mark says a hilariously pretentious-sounding sorta-speech!

Where Possession's plot REALLY gets goofy is near the end, when Mark's former job catches up with him. Wikipedia says that Mark is a secret agent, and with only ten minutes of the film left, I thought that sounded like bullshit, but no, in the last ten minutes, there's some spy stuff going down, from tense meetings, car attacks, a violent shootout, a brutal spy with fleuro-pink socks, and four cars that explode, all in a row, for no reason!

The film's last ten minutes really are a hot potato of various sudden and out-of-nowhere things, from a spy storyline to other stuff I won't spoil.

Possession is a polarizing film. Many completely detest it. I can see where people who dislike this movie are coming from, but I did sort-of like the movie a lot, kind of.

Michael Hogben as Bob doesn't get much screentime, but that works for the film, as it helps convey how little attention Mark and Anna pay attention to him most of the time during their fights. The only character in the film who shows consistent attention to Bob is Helen (whoever the hell she is), who is with Bob, doting on him, even helping bathe him at one point instead of Mark...Holy crap! This film is the first time that I've really got a lot of stuff to think about after watching an art film! Most of the time I just don't understand anything!

Some more symbolism I may have noticed-Anna almost always wears this one blue dress, and to me, the button-up back looks like a spine. I'm not sure if that was deliberate symbolism, or if I'm just looking into things a bit too much.

Possession's locale is also worth talking about. Filmed in Berlin in the midst of the cold war, and next to the Berlin Wall, the setting is dreary, grey, graffitied and decayed.

Finally, the effects by Carlo Rimbaldi are very good! As for what these effects are? Well, some have to be seen to be believed! "Almost!...Almost!...Almost!...".

Possession is a tough film to sit through, especially since it clocks in at just over two hours, but I definitely recommend it!

So, the moral of this story seems to be thus: If your marriage is failing, and your wife is having an affair, but won't tell you with who, then chances are, she's fucking a tentacle monster...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Night Stalker (2009)

Edit: I was in the midst of writing this review when my house's intenet (and phone) connection died for about a week. When I finally got back around to writing it, the movie in question, which was entirely on Youtube, had been removed. This sucked because there are a few unfinished paragraphs in the later parts of this review, and I can't quite remember the placement of things (like annoying shrieking music), or how certain scenes go down. Some fragment sentences are still just that, as I've largely forgotten what bad dubbing this movie had, but I do remember the basics of how good and bad it was. Luckily though, the paragraphs are at least understandable. Also, the first paragraph will be hilarious to everyone, considering how my Halloween reviews plan turned out! So, here's the partially forever incomplete (unless I'm feeling masochistic enough to actually buy the damn movie and rewatch it! *shudders*) review for Ulli Lommel's Night Stalker!

I've had a really good October so far! Four days and four good movies! ...Yeah, it's time for that streak to stop dead in its tracks! I'm reviewing an Ulli Lommel film!...

For those who don't know who Ulli Lommel is, he's a German filmmaker, who was good (I wholeheartedly recommend Revenge of the Stolen Stars!), but now is an awful, awful one! His movies from the last decade or so are all indescribably awful! You'll see why soon, since this movie is basically what most of his other movies are-plotless movies abut real-life serial killers.

Night Stalker starts with a bad voice-actor monologuing about how people are 'hypocrital maggots', intercut with black-and-white shots of people getting gunned down, and the narrator dying. His narration ends with him saying that he'll be avenged, then for the next four minutes, as the opening credits go on, we get even more black-and-white shots of people getting shot.

When that's over, the narrator, Richard Ramirez (Adolph Cortez), starts a mysoginistic tirade against women. His uncle Mike was a women-hater as well, and as Rich is dragged from the street by two hookers (I think)-who I guess show people a good time, whether the clients want it or not!-he decides to follow his uncle's advice-kill women. Then Richard, who's too busy with his lollipop to want to do anything with the women, narrates what is possibly the worst line in a movie ever!-"I'm the candyman! I hate the power of pussy!". Oh, and by the way, the whole movie thus far has only had voiceover narration, over characters actually talking. It doesn't get any better!

Next, the movie finally lets its characters speak. After having a bizarro superimposed flashback, Richard storms off, and the two women talk about how strange he is-Um, ladies, YOU PICKED UP A RANDOM GUY FROM THE STREET AGAINST HIS WILL! YOU'RE STRANGE!

Richard has a proper flashback to his uncle. Uncle Mike tells young Richard about his Vietnam days, and how he collected ears (insert Universal Soldier joke here). This angers his wife, and Mike loses it and shoots her and Richard's mother to death (and the actor playing kid Richard tries to act scared, but he looks like he's trying not to laugh!).

Some time later, late at night, Richard sneaks into a woman's house and shoots her. And you can tell by this actress' expression just how 'terrified' she is!

That's her expression to seeing a nutjob in her shower pointing a gun at her! And her expression only gets duller just as she's dispatched by a few gunshots.

Richard goes back to his home and dreams about murders he's committed, while narrating some more. A while later, he leaves and walks down a street, and sees a 'woman from his nightmares'-'blond and green-eyed, he calls her, even though she's a brunette! After several minutes of him following her (for the viewer, that is! This scene goes on forever!)   they walk away together   she a satanist  she and a friend talk to Richard about satanism and how awesome the they think it is, in a scene that is painfully repetitious! The film then loses its mind for a little while, with the, doing domething, with Richard murdering some woman superimposed over the shot, while the trio's distorted voices yell 'hail satan'.

After that, Richard goes hunting again. After nearly four minutes of a couple bitching inanely, Rich finally breaks into their house and shoots them, while talking in a booming demon voice.

Sometime later, Richard sees another 'princess of darkness', and he follows her for days on end, eventually approaching her. She turns out to be a christian, and they go somewhere else and get talking. She talks about Jesus, and church, and before you can say "Caroline Munro in Maniac", Richard shoots her. Well so much for the film actually having a plot...

Rich starts drinking the woman's blood (apparently that gunshot to the cheek killed her), and there's suddenly a mindfuck of superimposed shots, blaring noise, a woman orgasming, and Richard murdering someone.

That above image might look like I took it while the scene was changing, but no, that's what the whole scene is like!

Next, Richard starts narrating again, and his narration turns from English to demon or something. Then we see another annoying bickering couple

Then Richard does something horrible...He smears a rasberry jam pentagram on the woman's chest!...Yeah, as you can imagine this film's effects aren't eactly great, but I'll give the movie a pass-more on that later.

After another scene with the two satanists, the film cuts to another annoying bickering couple!

After another time jump, we cut to another random victim.    Unlike all the others in the movie, this actress actually acts distressed at seeing a guy with a gun about to shoot her  ear-piercing soundtrack

The movie again continues showing Rich walking around aimlessly, while the soundtrack whispers demonically. After several minutes of that, we cut to another bickering couple!

really bad  fighting bit!  Ulli Lommel's idea of pointing at the fighting couple isn't filming them at another angle, but flipping parts of the footage around, so every few seconds, the couple switch sides, yet it's very obvious that the camera hasn't moved, because of the painting on the wall!...

some  what looks like bad dubbing   line flubs

The main actor in this film, Adolph (wow, life must suck with that name!) Cortez is pretty bad.   always swishing his head around. I tried doing that, and I got a little dizzy-if I did it as often as this actor, I'd probably get a headache!

The rest of the acting is pretty bad.

Lommel, gunshots to the cheek don't kill people!

Everyone who gets shot in this movie only show signs of annoyance or dullness when shot!

The film's main tune is pretty ok (think the 'I am lightning' scene from Metal Gear Solid 4), but the film just keeps playing it, over, and over, and over, and then I started having flashbacks to Night of freakin' Horror and its perpetual Freebird soundalike of a theme!

Night Stalker's gore effects range from ok to pretty bad, but this is a very low budgeted movie (presumably  a grand and a half, like most of, if not all of Lommel's films like these), so I'll mostly give them a pass.

Plot problems   where did evil chick go?   Why doesn't Richard change clothes, cut his hair, or stop eating lollipops?! The cops know what he look like! And so do the public!

Speaking of the plot, there isn't one! The film is just Richie monologuing, walking around, and killing people. There's no plot, character development, plot, any character to anyone in ths film, no plot, the film has about a dozen scenes of annoying couples bickering for several minutes, prior to getting killed by Richie, and did I mention that this film has no plot?

So, in closing, Ulli Lommel's Night Stalker is awful, but it's not the worst of Ulli's, this movie here, it's one of the better awful ones of his filmography! Yeah! That's right! Be scared, folks!

The film does at least get some credit from me though, since in one scene, there's a poster of Emanuelle Around the World on the wall!...You have to have some awesomely screwed up taste in movies to know what the hell I'm talking about!...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


It's finally Halloween! As I explained here, I failed to get most of my Halloween reviews done. I can stilll talk about Halloween though.

It isn't really celebrated in Australia much, much to my chagrin (it's mainly horror/supernatural stuff on TV, and dumb kids going around the street trick or treating, not knowing that no-one (and I mean no-one) over here has any candy for them! Bwahahaha!). This Halloween though, there's been barely anything Halloween related on TV! Grrrr!

Other than watching certain movies, a Halloween tradition of mine has been to watch entire supernatural/horror shows on the one day! In 2010, I watched Dead Gorg...Err, I watched NOTHING! I'll never tell! I never watched that show!-In 2011, I watched most of Season One and Two of the awesome comedy show Big Wolf on Campus (a reliable source tells me that Season Three sucks big time!)-And this year, I watched all thirteen episodes of Powers!

Now to talk about some of the horror/paranormal TV shows that I used to watch, so many years ago, when I was a kid!...


Powers was a British show about the Powers institute, a bureau that specializes in the paranormal. Working there are Professor Powers, Dr. Mary Holland, Mark (telepathic and telekinetic), and Song Li (telepathic, telekinetic, and an empath [the ability to sense things like feelings or events, from touching either people or objects]). It was about the team solving various paranormal cases, getting caught up with aliens, robots, ghostly knights, dreamscapes, alternate dimensions, time loops, etc. It was a fun show (with a cool theme!) but despite being popular with audiences and critics,  it only lasted one season, and it has never been released on VHS or DVD.

11 Somerset

Now this is a show that I've never actually seen (just perused its webite (which included episode trailers) constantly and played the kinda ok-kinda crappy tie-in onlinbe game series based on it, years ago), because it's never been released on VHS or DVD. In fact, I'm not sure if this one has even broadcast outside of Canada! Despite never having seen it, it seemed very interesting to younger me, and to now me, especially with its awesome (in my opinion) theme!

What 11 Somerset is about goes thusly-Teens Oliver Marsan (son of a famous writer of supernatural books) and Laurie Lamera get involved with supernatural stuff. Yeah, that's about it.

Phantom Investigators

Now this was a very interesting show! It was a mix of stop motion effects, puppetry, and real life actors! It was awesome! As for whether the show was any good or not, well, it's been a decade since I've seen it, so my memory just *might* be *slightly* hazy, but I remember it being good! Unfortunately it was never brought back for a second season and beyond, nor has it ever been released on VHS or DVD.

It was about a group of kids who solve paranormal crimes. Yeah, that's it, basically.

Seriously Weird

Seriously Weird was about Harris (played by Ryan Cartwright, who was in stuff like Hardware (a British comedy show), and various random episodes of Bones), a regular guy, who solves a mystical stone tablet thingie puzzle, gets sucked into and alternate dimension, and meets a god named Steve. Steve is cordial at first, but is insulted when the skeptic Harris keeps saying that he isn't real, and curses him. Harris is flung back to the real world, and every episode, he encounters some kind of weird thing, from mermaids, to yoghurt monsters, dog spirits, psychotic dream gameshow hosts, and evil angels who want to get their devil horns (a reverse Clarence!).

Powers and Phantom Investigators both share a quality that Seriously Weird doesn't have for the most part-Those two shows are good!

The first ep of SW was great! The second was cool, and kinda-creepy (going by my memory from ten years ago), but it just went downhill from there! The show was constantly embarrassing to watch, and good eps were few and far between. And the show lacked Steve the God! He was barely in it after the first ep, which sucks, because he was cool!

You'll have noticed a trend with all of these! None of them (I'm not sure with Seriously Weird, but I'm pretty sure) are available on VHS or DVD! They're lost to the world uness someone uploads them onto Youtube! (As someone has thankfully done with Powers). And I am not kidding when I say lost to the world! I have tried to find 11 Somerset-on eBay, on youtube, online, anywhere, but it's nowhere!

Well that's enough out of me. Happy Halloween, and may Conal Cochran kill all kids with the powers of Sauwon (Samhain) and Stonehenge!

"Do I need a reason? Mr Cupfer was right you know, I do love a good joke, and this is the best ever-a joke on the children! But there's a better reason. You really don't know much about Halloween. You thought no further than the strange custom of having your children wear masks and go out begging for candy! It was the start of the year in our old candy clans, and we'd be waiting-in our houses of wattle and clay. The barriers would be down, you see, between the real and the unreal. The dead might be looking in, to sit by our fires of turf. Halloween-the festival of Sauwon! The last great one took place three-thousand years ago, when the hills ran red, with the blood of animals and children. Part of our world. Our craft. To us it was a way of controlling our environment. It's not so different now. It's time again. In the end, we don't decide these things, you know, the planets do. They're in alignment, and it's time again. The world's going to change tonight, Doctor, I'm glad you will be able to watch it.-...And...happy Halloween!..."
Conal Cochran-Halloween III: Season of the Witch

October Absence


I was planning on getting 31 reviews up this month-one for each day of halloween, but my internet (and phone line) died for about a week, so that put a dent into that plan, and reviewer burnout did the rest. So, yeah, sorry to all who were expecting talk on Australian grindhouse flicks, Lovecraftian horrors with crap endings, or Jason taking Canadian New York, but rest assured, those reviews will all come in November, as will my 7 movie Bandit-thon, which my participating in the Camp and Cult Blogathon, and my Halloween reviews postponed.

So, until then...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 Days of Halloween Day 4: Bordello of Blood (1996)

There are many horror films out there that are severely underrated-Take for example, Messiah of Evil (yes, I'll be getting to that later this month...). For some reason, I assumed Tales from the Crypt( an anthology horror series that was like a mix of The Twilight Zone and Creepshow)'s Bordello of Blood was such a movie. And was my assumption right? Hell yeah it was! This movie is great fun!

Bordello of Blood opens with a man, Vincent (Phil Fondacaro) and a group of Mexicans trekking through a South American forest, looking for something that, according to Vincent, is the greatest treasure in the world. The group eventually come across a cave, where they find a casket. Vincent opens the casket, which contains a decomposed body.

Vincent explains to the others that the body is Lilith, 'the meanest bitch in the world'. He takes out a box which contains the four segmented parts of Lilth's heart. He makes the pieces reconnect and he puts the heart into Lilth's body.

While nothing happens at first, Lilith (Angie Everhart) soon comes back to life and kills most of the group via heart chomping. Vincent shows Lilith a magical key/talisman (that apparently featured in the previous Tales from the Crypt movie, Demon Knight, which I haven't seen) and lets her kill the last other guy is she 'behaves.' So what happens to the last guy, you ask? It involves Lilth's super tongue, and the guy's crotch! Ouch!

After that, the film cuts to the Cryptkeeper (the TftC's host) [John Kassir], who's stuck in a boring conversation with the mummy (William Sadler). The two start up a rock/paper/scissors game which involves the loser getting their limbs hacked off. After the Cryptkeeper loses a hand (much to his delight), he starts off the rest of the movie...

The movie starts again proper at the house of Katherine (Erka Eleniak), a televangelist worker whose brother Caleb (Corey Feldman) is an off-the-rails punk type. After a fight, Caleb leaves.

Later that night, Caleb and his friends are at their local hangout-a bar, and they're playing a type of dart game that all men no doubt despise (ouch!!). A crazy bug-eyed biker guy approaches them telling the gang as 'subtly' as possible about a nearby bordello, called the 'Cunningham Wake' and where it is. While a couple of the gang don't want to go (thanks to the weird guy's insane behaviour), Caleb and one of the friends do.

The two go to the address and arrive at a funeral home, where a creepy old guy, McCutcheon (Aubrey Morris) leads them in after they mention  the Cunningham Wake. He directs Caleb and the other into another room, where he forces the two to get into a coffin at gunpoint. He sends the coffin down through a crematorium, where it slides through, coming out into the bordello.

In the bordello is lots of gals, plenty of boobs, and the two think they're in heaven. The friend goes off with one of the women and is taken to a private room. After some foreplay with the hooker, Lilith comes in and rips the guy's heart out with her tongue (Horror Film Survival Lesson No. 666: Don't ever pash an ancient immortal demon vampire!)

Several days later, Katherine is at at a police station wanting help to find Caleb. She doesn't get any though, because the cops are too busy with several other recent several missing persons cases. Someone in the station (Dennis Miller) overhears her troubles and introduces himself as Rafe Guttman. After insulting the police (dude, they're not ignoring Kat, they're busy with other cases, you prick!), Rafe convinces Katherine to hire him to find Caleb.

Rafe goes to the bar Caleb and co. were at before, and he talks with Zeke, one of Caleb's friends. He mananages to get the address for the funeral home/bordello, and afterwards, he checks it out, and attends a funeral. The funeral seems normal, albeit the crazy bug-eyed biker dude, who's also attending.

Next, Rafe goes to watch  Jimmy 'JC' Current (Chris Sarandon), the televangelist who Katherine works for.

Later that night, Rafe goes back to the bar, where Crazy Guy recommends (played by the actor (I don't know his name) with all the eye-popping subtlety of Graham Crowden) the 'Cunningham Wake'.

Rafe goes to the funeral home to investigate, and after being shooed away by McChutcheon, who says that the wake is closed, Rafe sneaks in, and after some investigating, finds a piercing that belonged to Caleb.

After showing the piercing to Katherine, who recognizes it, Rafe goes back to the funeral home the following night. This time, he is let in, and he is sent down into the bordello. He hooks up with one of the women, Tamara (Kiara Hunter). Tamara takes Rafe down to a dungeon room, with a She seductively pricks Rafe, while he talks, and he tricks her into getting strapped onto the...thing. Rafe gets out, but unknowingly drops his wallet.

Rafe gets out of the bordello's crematorium entrance (By splashing wine over the fire and extinguishing it-How the hell did that work?!) and escapes the building.

After tasting Rafe's blood off of Tamara's fingers, Lilth goes to Rafe's home, while Rafe tries to convince Katherine that something supernatural is afoot. Soon enough, JC's involvement with the vampires is uncovered...

Bordello of Blood is definitely a load of fun! It's a shame that not many people saw it in theatres, and got it a bad reputation thanks to critics.

To start with, I found lead actor Dennis Miller to be really annoying, but he became fun after a while, and he gets some fun lines too!
Zeke: "Step outside!"-Rafe: "Not right now, I'm just not in the mood for a blowjob."

"Listen, uh, Lilith, I'm reasonably sure you're the type of woman who's never heard the expression half-cocked, but that is exactly what this gun is."

The film does have its share of bad dialogue too though...
Lilith: "I just love a man who gives you head, then lets you keep it!"

Rafe: "I feel like I'm in a bad Tales of the Crypt episode."-Not funny, movie, not funny!

The film is at its most insane fun near the end at the bordello!-It inlvolves super-soakers and The Sweet's Ballroom Blitz!...

The acting is all good, from Dennis Miller's wisecracking private eye, to the bitchy Katherine (she has a problem with strip clubs and porn, guys, she is not a good film heroine!), to Chris Sarandon's overacting, Phil Fondacaro, and Angie Everhart as the main villain. Corey Feldman is fun too, but doesn't get much screentime.

The special effects range from decent to bad (the only real bad ones that I remember were fire effects near the end). The gore effects are very good, with hearts being ripped out and eaten, Lilith's original form, Lilith bein destroyed, etc.

Probably Bordello of Blood's biggest problem is the ending! It's really stupid and makes zero sense! If X was a Y, then why did she 10110011001?

Also, I find the Cryptkeeper to be really annoying!

Definitely an oddity is a cameo by Whoopi Goldberg of all people!..

So, in closing, while by all acounts Demon Knight is much better, I still recommend Bordello of Blood to horror fans everywhere! It's a heap of fun!...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

31 Days of Halloween Day 3: April Fool's Day (1986)

Man, it's been a while since I've reviewed a good ol' slasher film! The last one I did was for Friday the 13th Parts II, III and IV, back in April! Now I have Fred Walton's 1986 kinda-slasher April Fool's Day!...

April Fool's day is about Muffy St. John (Deborah Foreman), a rich college student, who invites all of her friends to her father's private island for a weekend april fool's day party. While starting off fun, the weekend soon starts to take a sinister turn...

The movie opens with a bunch of college students talking to a video camera (Nikki: "I wanna work with handicapped children, my parents are my best friends. Oh, and I start convent school next semester...And I fuck on the first date!-April fool's!"). Everyone is waiting at the docks, waiting for the ferry to come and take them to Muffy's island.

The remaining people arrive and everyone gets on the ferry as it leaves. There's couple Kit (Amy Steel from Friday the 13th Part II) and Rob (Ken Olandt), Arch (Thomas F. Wilson-Biff! "Hey McFly! Are you in there, McFly?!"), Chaz, (Clayton Rohner), funny man (and proud owner of a hairstyle that people the 80's didn't think looked awful!), prim girl Nan (Leah Pinsent), kinda-slutty Nikki (Deborah Goodrich), Skip (Griffin O'Neal), Muffy's cousin, and Harvey/Hal (Jay Baker), a Southern rich-kid classmate of Muffy's.

During the boat ride to the island, the gang talk-Chaz: "Hi, what are you reading?"-Nan: "Milton's Paradise Lost...What about you?"-Chaz: "Treasure Island: The History of Pornography in America!"-and play pranks on each-other. A prank with a fake knife ends with four of the guys in the water, and they all get out, save for Buck, the boathand, who's still trying to get back onto the ferry when it hits the island's dock...

When the boat docks, Buck's face is half torn off by the propeller. He's taken back to the shore by a policeman who was on the scene, and the group make their way to the island's big house.

Acting all chipper, as if they didn't just see a guy get his face ripped off, the group walk around th ehouse, crack jokes, and one mentions Agatha Christie! Yeah, these guys know who Agatha Christie is! These are my kind of people! (If you ask any of my generation who she is, you'll just get blank stares-and for those who thinks that Agatha Christie is unimportant, well let me tell you that my generation also mostly has blank stares for things like Alice Cooper, John Carpenter, and other inexcusable-to-forget things! My generation mostly sucks!).

After some more funny scenes, the film cuts to later that night. Everyone's having dinner, falling for chair pranks, and howling at the moon (yeah...), and they all make a toast.

Later, everyone goes to their rooms, and they find various strange things-Harv's has news articles about tragedies, i.e. a boat crash, a fire, etc., Arch's room has a drug syringe and other related stuff, Nikki's has an S&M dog collar and chain, Nan's has a recording of a crying baby, etc.

Meanwhile, Skip is outside, doing random stuff, when he's attacked and apparently killed by an unseen figure. The next morning, Kit and Rob go to a lakeside cabin to have sex, and they see Skip's body through the floorboards, floating on a boat. They run back to the house to tell everyone what they saw, and Rob, Arch and Chaz go on a search for Skip.

Arch is caught up in a trap and apparently killed (the words 'apparently killed' will be typed a lot during this review!), and Muffy begins acting strange. The house's tap stop working, and Harv and Nikki head off for a nearby well to get some water.

Their bucket and torch both end up falling into the well, and Nikki climbs down to get them. Down in the well, she sees the dead bodies of Skip, Arch, and Nan...

April Fool's Day is a very polarizing slasher fim (like Lucio Fulci's Murder Rock), some, like me, love it/like it, while others find it boring. I can see where they're coming from, as the film is very slow-moving, and mostly made up of talking. I don't mind, however, because I find the characters so much fun! I could watch a whole movie of just them talking...Well, I did watch nearly a whole movie of them talking!

One character, despite being likable, is kind of a bitch though-Muffy St. John! How she still has friends I don't know! She puts drug material in the room of Arch, who might have been a former drug user or not (the movie never says), and she puts the crying baby recording in the room of Nan, who recently had an abortion. YOU'RE A BIIIITCH, MUFFY! Come the ending, I'm surprised Kit didn't stab Muffy in the face and tear her to shreds!

The film's main problem is the film's tone. After Buck gets his face 'ripped off', the atmosphere is dark...for a few moments, then for the most part, everyone acts like it never happened, and they have fun with their pranks and other stuff.

Another example is late in the movie, when Chaz is trying to stop Nikki from leaving the house to go the docks on her own. He's serious for most of the scene, then he starts acting goofy, making Nikki laugh, and making me go 'guys, three of your friends are dead!'.

A little problem I have with the film's ending is with the very end. SPOILERS!

Muffy goes away from the party to her room, where she sees a jack-in-the-box. She rolls it up, and as it pops out, Nan jumps out from behind and slits Muffy's throat!...With a fake knife!-"April fool's!". Now my problem isn't with the ending itself, but with how Nan is done up. She's wearing something totally different from before, and her hair is tied and straightened back-I could barely recognize that it was Nan!
Speaking of the twist ending, I don't have a problem with it. Sure, it's kinda a cheap shot of an ending, but I like it. I guess that's mainly due to how much I liked the characters-I had no problems with the fact that none of them actually died. What I enjoy especially is after Muffy's explanation (she's going to set the island/house up as an inn with a horror story theme, and she was testing out its effectiveness), everyone parties to Three Dog Night's Mama Told Me (Not to Come)!

April Fool's Day's soundtrack is great!, from the kinda-creepy melodic opening theme, to the tense music, to the finale with Mama Told Me (Not to Come), and the funny end credits song!

The movie has some fun dialogue too!-"Guy, your fly is open and your hostess twinkie is hangin' out!"-"Arch is sweet, but he only has two expressions-collar up and collar down."...

Another great, GREAT thing about April Fool's Day is the scenery! It's awesome!

The acting in AFD is all good, with Amy Steel being cool as the  kinda-final girl, and everyone else being good in their roles.

The 'violence' is all decent, but there isn't much. Pretty much the only graphic part is when Buck gets his 'face ripped off'.

So yes, I definitely recommend April Fool's Day! It's one of my favourite slasher films out there!...