Monday, 31 October 2016

Don’t Look in the Basement (1973)

Rough and raw but somehow, in the same way that watching the swirly centre of an old Vertigo Black Sabbath record is oddly compulsive, you can't stop watching!

In some way, the film is sort of accurate in the way it weirdly tracks the shift from invasive surgery to the more modern style of "talking" therapies - no matter now ineffective (or in this case insane) they may be. In fact, just like in The Ninth Configuration, the lines are blurred between the inmates and the doctors.

Watch as a double-bill with The Cramps at Napa State Mental Hospital or the aforementioned Ninth Configuration.

Nope-Tober: Random Shit for an Ill-disciplined Mind

Letterboxd Review

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Sennentuntschi (2010)

A Swiss, neo-giallo fairytale? Sennentuntschi reminded me a great deal of Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling with its themes of religion, superstition and mob-rule but adds misogyny to the mix.

The flashback within a flashback structure is handled extremely well and keeps you guessing whether the Sennentuntschi is supernatural or mundane right up until the end.

Pretty chilling stuff if a little overlong.

Letterbox Review

As Above, So Below (2014)

AKA How to bring down a wall that has stood for hundreds of years with a toffee hammer and a toothpick.

Come spend an hour and a half in the Parisien catacombs with some extremely noisy and unlikeable twats in this sub-Dan Brown (yes some things are even worse than Dan Brown) shit-fest. So crappy that I was easily distracted by Ed Balls on 'Strictly Come Dancing' and the 'Antiques Roadshow' (and I really hate 'The Antiques Roadshow') on the main TV.

The film picks up a little during the last 30 minutes once it gets past most of the alchemical and Dantean flim-flam and descends into some cheap jump-scares and a foghorn soundtrack. So, a lot of pain for very little payoff.

One thing that amazed me is how easily Aramaic can be translated, on-the-fly, into English rhyming couplets.

Not good.

Letterboxd Review

Bad Dreams (1988)

A Nancy Reagan "Just Say No" Electric Kool-Aid Acid Death Trip.

A bunch of hippies kill themselves and Richard (has he ever played a goody?) Lynch haunts the dreams of the Gelfling survivor who, post-13-year-coma, is rather inexplicably locked up in a mental ward with various corpses-to-be. The lunatics have indeed taken over the asylum!

Pretty average but +1 for having The Electric Prunes on the soundtrack and one of the most incompetent policemen ever to appear outside of Italian cinema.

"If you want to fit into the 80s, you're two divorces, a condo and a yeast infection behind the times."

Nope-Tober: Random Shit for an Ill-disciplined Mind

Letterboxd Review

Friday, 28 October 2016

Pieces of Talent (2012)

An extremely well-made, low-budget, indie, horror film that brings new meaning to the phrase "dying for your art". A horrific and literal deconstruction of the mainstream film industry. Beautifully, fucking brutal!

"Shoot some artsy shit!"

Nope-Tober: Random Shit for an Ill-disciplined Mind

Letterboxd Review

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Enfield Haunting (2015)

Mark C was right. This is so much better than The Conjuring 2. Better detail, better accents, better cinematography, better performances, better characterisation, better dialogue, better scares, better tension. Just so much better!

One thing though, Trim phones don't make that noise.

Nope-Tober: Random Shit for an Ill-disciplined Mind

Letterboxd Review

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Viva (2007)

Belle de Jour crossed with Confessions of a Window Cleaner. Amazing set dressing and fake product placement.

Letterboxd Review

Friday, 21 October 2016

7th Day (2013)

The diary of a serial killer in his quest to find somebody to love.

In tone, 7th Day sits between Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and American Psycho with touches of the blackest humour to balance its mundane brutality.

Mark S. Sanders is terrific as the killer; a man out of step with the world slowly being destroyed by psychosis, rooted in childhood trauma with skill and empathy. The killer's imaginary, mute witness/reporter is a nice touch and he looks creepy as fuck.

The gore by Aftermath FX is up there with August Underground and is practical, bloody and intense.

A low-budget indie flick that's well shot with a great central performance and a killer soundtrack. It may be a bit much for your average Dexter fan though.

Nope-Tober: Random Shit for an Ill-disciplined Mind

Letterboxd Review

Friday, 14 October 2016

Satan’s Little Helper (2004)

A budding, Satan-obsessed psychopath gets some work experience as the apprentice for a panty-sniffing, wine connoisseur of a serial killer who uses the cover of Halloween to hide his nefarious doings.

There are so many highlights:
  • Amanda Plummer and her weird, brittle voice. She pulls off the not inconsiderable task of being kooky without being irritating.
  • Satan using a cat as a marker pen.
  • Katheryn Winnick playing the hero in a skimpy "renaissance" dress.
  • The silent Satan's hand-signs.
  • Katheryn Winnick's terrible but adorable fake English accent.
  • Satan's shoplifting spree.
  • The disemboweling of Daddy.
  • A sellotaped Carmen Miranda.
  • Jesus!
All this plus a subtle subtext of theological versus mundane evil and Hume's logical argument for the non-existence of god:

"Is he [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?" -- David Hume (quoting Epicurus), Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Part X, 63

Horror-Comedy is a notoriously tough genre to pull off but Satan's Little Helper does it beautifully. I can see this becoming a staple of Halloween viewing in years to come. Goofy, blood-splattered fun for all the family!

Nope-Tober: Random Shit for an Ill-disciplined Mind

Letterboxd Review

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1982)

A decent horror-thriller about small-town secrets and obsession.

Susan Tyrrell steals the show as smothering serial-nutter Aunt Cheryl and manages to out-crazy Sleepaway Camp's Aunt Martha. Bo Svenson and Bill Paxton are also worth a mention, playing a couple of really nasty fuckers. Watch out for the post through a car windscreen at the beginning, it's a beauty!

Nope-Tober: Random Shit for an Ill-disciplined Mind

Letterboxd Review

Friday, 7 October 2016

Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971)

While not as deliriously twisted as your usual giallo, Black Belly of the Tarantula has a convoluted plot filled with blackmail, adultery, drugs and a killer ending.

Giancarlo Giannini is excellent as disillusioned police inspector Tellini and the film features enough police procedure to allow it to be classed as a poliziotteschi/giallo hybrid.

Nope-Tober: Random Shit for an Ill-disciplined Mind

Letterboxd Review

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Daughters of Darkness (1971)

Delphine Seyrig vamps it up as a black and scarlet Marlene in this updating of the Bathory/Carmilla tale with some class, gender and sexual politics thrown into the mix.

This film could so easily have been set in 1920's Weimar Germany and been called a Cabaret of Vampires. The colours! The score! Beautiful, sexy, decadent and nasty. Control and submission.

Nope-Tober: Random Shit for an Ill-disciplined Mind

Letterboxd Review