October 10 – Halloween Countdown

How much do you like and appreciate Giallo?

The Italian 60s/70s slasher/thriller films? (let’s avoid the literature discussion for now, regardless of the word giallo directly referencing the quality of paper the books were printed on)

Did you recognize that about a quarter of Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz was actually a Giallo film, not just a cop/buddy spoof?

If so, then The Editor might be for you.

The music, the barrage of images (sex, violence, black gloves!), the mustaches- this teaser trailer for a modern film looks to capture a lot of what Giallo once was. Whether The Editor is anything more than a period spoof, or a loving homage- or even a mean-spirited “Ironic” one, I have no idea.

But the trailer hits a sweet spot.

Halloween Countdown – October 28

We’re in the final stretch…

Mario Bava and his muse/star Barbara Steele arguably did more to advance horror in the 1960s than Roger Corman- they set the stage, he aped the design. As he should- AIP distributed the film.

Universal had done their elegant, gentle-person vampire movies. Hammer had added some blood, but kept a certain drawing room gentility. From the shot of that crypt being blown apart by pure malignant will- Bava’s Black Sunday was opening a new chapter for undead horror. This 1960 film (banned in the UK for it’s violence) was to gothic horror what Night of the Living Dead was for siege movies.

Black Sunday. Mostly unknown by today’s horror fans- except as a source for Barbara Steele gifs. But what a trailer! From the atmospheric shots of the Inquisition-like torment, to the fantastic crypt sequence, kinetic action, terrible imagery- and looming over it all, the horrible concept of faces half-melted and pulled by fiendish iron masks, and Barbara Steele’s luminous anime eyes…

Robust Agriculture of Eventide Village

There is a small canyon at the edge of Stinkwood.
It lies between two of the low grey hills west of Eventide Village.
It is several miles west of the stone path that winds through the wood.
It is further west than Roy Pepper’s spread, Letitia Thatch’s cabin, or the hunting lodge sometimes used by the Barlowe family.
The canyon is lined by a thicket of hardwood trees, hemlock, and lies along the Mori Brothers apple orchards.
Ken and Umeko Mori left California in January of 1942, ahead of Executive Order 9066 by a month.
Somehow, and quite by accident, they ended up in Eventide Village
Martin Williams owned the orchards at the time and was in waning health, he hired the young Mori couple to help run the place.
Their grandsons, Jirou and Goro, own the orchards and cider mill.
They specialize in cider apples, primarily Harrison apples and a variation on the Foxwhelp that Goro calls the Foxyelp.
Unlike the Foxwhelp, which ripens early in September, the Foxyelp is ready to harvest in mid-October.
Ken Mori (strong forest) Hard Cider is a prime seller along the local shore, and can be found in specialty shops as far away as California.
The Mori brothers also have been successful in cultivating a Fuji orchard as well as two Honeycrisp orchards to cash in on weekend tourism “self-pick” business.
There were five Mori children of their generation, two left Eventide as adults.
Jirou runs the business side of thing, Goro is the master of the apples.
Goro has seen a skulk of foxes gathered at the hemlock canyon several times in his life.
Their cry led him to the naming of his prize-winning cider apples.
Jirou has also seen the skulk gathered amidst the hemlock.
He remembers when their eldest brother, Ichiro did not come back from the forest.

Halloween Countdown – October 14

A Greek film called Norway

“Since when do the damned wear shiny shoes?”

It almost looks like a Ben Stiller Show character turned into a feature- and I mean that in a good way. And then it doesn’t.

“Are you a fucking vampire, or are you a poet?”

SO a Greek horror/comedy/heist movie with stylized sets, and a vampire protag who cannot stop dancing?

WHO IS WITH ME!?!

Halloween Countdown – October 13

Lucky Thirteen!

Tonight we’ll kick off with a teaser trailer:

Oooh. Some didn’t want us to see this! Spooky! Why would some want to keep us from seeing Rob Zombie’s ?

Universal Studios wouldn’t release it- supposedly they feared it would get the dreaded NC-17.
The movie disappeared into the vaults for nearly three years…

Until Zombie somehow got the rights back (lord knows he had made Universal enough $ with his revitalization of the Halloween Horror Nights, which are still going strong today) and Lion’s Gate was happy to pick up this retro-sploitation flick…

This teaser is ok, but the movie looks cheap, the threats of fear seem hyperbolic.

Now I have a soft spot for House of 1,000 Corpses. The cast is phenomenal, and well used. Some of the imagery is just wonderful awful… even if the Firefly clan aesthetic and demeanor seems lifted- not from Tobe Hooper’s seminal The Texas Chainsaw Massacre– but from the darkly comedic satire The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

I like this trailer. I like it more than the trailer- that might be because of familiarity with the actual movie.

This trailer embraces what I consider to be the four chapters of House of 1,000 Corpses; the gonzo/semi-comedic prologue (which sets the tone- anything can happen and will be self-aware), the “Dumb kids in peril” segment (i.e. plastic vampire fangs and candy-snatching), the “family dinner” sequence (i.e. razor blades in apples and kidnappings most foul) and finally the “Halloween nightmare”- when every legend and superstition you’ve ever heard is true, and worse- unexplainable evil is out there in the dark…

Happy October 13th. We’re almost halfway there…

Halloween Countdown – October 12

A good trailer isn’t just visual. The right musical choice can really let a movie stick out.

This is a clever trailer- musically.

It certainly looks harrowing- even if the “masked thrill-killer stalks white people” premise feels well-worn.

Adam Wingard’s You’re Next did well- making more than 25 million, and it had a budget of 1 million, so…

Interestingly, most reviews of the movie mention how smart and sickly funny the movie is- something the trailer certainly doesn’t give away.

Maybe I’m getting old? When I was a younger horror fan (early teens to late twenties) I could get past the discomfort of torture and evil murder if there was creativity in the staging of the death, or in the manner of the death delivered. Think of the goofily creative kills of some of the Friday the 13th films- or the ridiculously hilarious set-pieces when Freddy Krueger would torment his victims prior to dispatching them…

But unless there is a really appealing hook (the ludicrously over-the-top The Collection), the sly meta commentary of Cabin in the Woods, a lot of contemporary horror leaves me going: Eh, I guess.

Just based on the trailer, You’re Next has me going “Eh, I guess”- but the reviews that praise the movie for it’s creativity and intelligence, that is what will make me seek it out one night when Annika is at Derby Dolls.

Halloween Countdown – October 9

“I told you not to come here…”

Please note- despite the first few seconds, this is not a trailer for a soft-core porn film shot in a former Soviet country on the Baltic sea.

I have a slightly awful confession to make- I kind of have a weak spot for killer mermaid movies.

She-Creature, with Carla Gugino? Night Tide with Dennis Hopper? The live action Peter Pan with Jason Isaacs as Hook? I love spooky mermaids- because those who live in the water are a little spooky, right? I mean, the OCEANS are spooky, so people who live in it- spookier.

I dunno, it might be my own fetish.

But Nymph – this trailer, it starts off like a low-budget EU version of an Eli Roth movie, and suddenly- WHAM- Franco fuckin Nero is hunting/fighting a killer mermaid?

SOLD.

What about you?

A destination for special occasions!

There is going to be a wedding in Eventide Village.
The principals involved, are not locals.
The bride has more money than taste, the groom more imagination than sense.
Their car got lost along the state road searching for some picturesque fishing village to be the perfect location.
They turned east through the low grey hills quite by accident, and he said to her something about having heard of Eventide once before, long, long ago.
Next thing you know, they are driving past the Esso station and there ahead of them is the village green, the gazebo, the clock tower, the bed & breakfast.
He thought it was perfect; perfectly magical.
She thought it was well off the beaten track, and likely to be less expensive than some of the locations they had scouted.
They sought out Judge Lyndon who explained the necessary permits, and Alderpersons Roth and Chaudhri signed off on an event license for six months later.
The plan is for an October wedding, and the bride & groom, with planner and supporters in tow, kept driving to Eventide on weekends.
They will bring in their own officiate, a close friend to the bride’s family.
The Reverend Young offered them the use of That place on the hill.
The groom considered it quite seriously- the wedding planner was in favor: it looks so magnificent, atop the hill, overlooking the village.
The bride was more hesitant, as she wasn’t convinced that it could be cleaned up and repaired in six months.
The Reverend Young offered to step up his efforts, but his gimlet stare, shaking hands and sweaty brow did not inspire confidence.
The elderly villagers standing in the background shaking their heads didn’t help.
The big day approaches.

Halloween Countdown – October 6

“I think there is someone else in the house.”

WORDS WE DO NOT WANT TO HEAR.

If lead Anna Walton looks familiar, picture her as the sad elf in love with Abe Sapien in Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.

If writer/director Axelle Carolyn’s name seems familiar, she was the second terrifying pict warrior in Neil Marshall’s awesome Centurion. Marshall also acts as Executive Producer on this (he and Carolyn have been married since 2007).

But what about the trailer, eh?

Axelle Caroyln’s directorial debut, Soulmate starts off innocuously enough. Tragic death, love sundered, period of mourning…

And then maybe that ghost that the lady rebounds with gets a little possessive? I’m certainly getting a creepy/abusive relationship vibe. Hopefully Anna Walton does too- before it is too late

Hey! There is Nick Brimble! (he was The Monster in Roger Corman’s audacious Frankenstein Unbound with Raul Julia, Bridget Fonda and John Hurt).

I like ghost stories- and I like that this looks like the unhealthy relationship version of Truly, Madly, Deeply with a bit more Hammer Horror thrown in.

“I am NOTHING without you!” That might be an even creepier line than the one that started off this entry, eh?