Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

Scorching the Retinas – The Night of the Virgin

The Night of the Virgin – La noche del virgen (original title)
(2016) Spain
Director: Roberto San Sebastián
Writer: Guillermo Guerrero
Runtime – 116 minutes
Platanoboligrafo
Matchbox Films

The night of the virgin film

“Please I’m begging you, fuck my girlfriend”.

Some might think they’ve found themselves in a strange situation. I would imagine especially on a special occasion, where excessive drinking might be involved. None however, I would bet, come even slightly close to what this film showcases.

Imagine, if you will, it’s New Years. An awkward youngster, played by Javier Bodalo, is on the prowl. There’s plenty of liquor to be had (the location, a nightclub, has an open bar) but he’s striking out. Apart from being vomited upon he’s had no luck. That is until a mature lady approaches him. One thing leads to another and they’re back at her place. But, there’s something amiss. Something other than the fact that there’s no running water, menstrual blood is stored in a chalice in the shower, it appears the apartment hasn’t felt the touch of anything slightly resembling a cleaning product in years and that there’s cockroaches everywhere. However, our hero is about to get laid so obviously some of these things can be forgiven.

nico night of the virgin

Hey, Beavis. I’m gonna get laid!

Alas his partner falls asleep on him and he’s trapped. Still horny he manages to escape her snoring ‘grasp’ and decides to explore his surroundings. A strange statute and a collection of photographs alights his senses and he’s off again. This time he’s flying solo.  But, wouldn’t you know it in the midst of ‘cleaning up’ he’s disturbed. Interrogated, he arrives close to confession, admits he think it best he should leave only to find he cannot. Jealousy is at the door in the guise of an enraged ex-boyfriend. He’s cornered.  This film appears pretty much run of the mill at this point. Abruptly, it switches gears. Dives face first into razor wire, bizzaro-ville and starts to live up too many of the blurbs on the DVD box art. At this juncture I’ll spoil it and mention that a front row seat at a GWAR show would pale in comparison to the many highlights this film offers.

(Trailer courtesy of Cleopatra Entertainment)

Rather than offer more spoilers than I already have I’ll mention that “Night of the Virgin” is a movie which revolves around calamitous scenarios, lust, rituals, dedication, determination and childbirth. But it’s a whole lot more than merely that. With nods toward a slew of cult cinema including Jackson’s “Brain Dead” (Dead Alive), “Baby Blood” and” Inside” there’s plenty to get excited about. Admittedly the film has a certain air of discomfort about it, to put it mildly, and plentiful scenes to make one run towards the nearest bucket in a state of rapidly transforming color.

night of the virgin menstraul blood

Tell me I didn’t just pull this from my ear

A standout sequence might make one wish they would be better off wearing a poncho (there’s my tip of the hat to the films flavor and origin). Others still are reminiscent of a myriad of other no holds barred European affairs; “Taxidermia” comes to mind. There’s little doubt that “Night of the Virgin” takes a while to get going, the initial quirkiness is hard to ignore, once it builds to full steam the doubt has dissipated replaced by shock, bewilderment and an aura of What the unholy Fuck which only a handful of films have recently managed to provide. Naturally, as with any film one becomes invested within one will want to scream, throw things at the screen and shake their heads at the decisions the main character makes as he stumbles onward, blindly, towards his personal goal (which changes several times throughout the films length) and the films climax.

night-of-the-virgin-film madea

“Follow the sound of my voice, but don’t step on the cockroaches, it’s bad luck”

Strong performances from the films main characters make it stand out. The back and forth mental attitudes and general palpable awkwardness of, Nico, “the virgin” is captured and performed acquisitively. The seductress, Medea, is played chillingly and convincingly by Miriam Martín with just enough tease added to get any teenagers hormones raging. The dialogue is one of the films main attractions also. Insults hurled from behind doors and the way in which the same conversation deviates into a pleading tone is hilarious adding a humorous pitch to a situation which is otherwise viciously dramatic. This approach, also delivered excellently, puts me in mind of another Spanish director, Álex de la Iglesia, whose works include “Day of the Beast”, “The Oxford Murders”, “Witching and Bitching” and “The Last Circus” who demands discovery for those whose penchants run to subtitled cult affairs.

The-Night-of-the-Virgin nico dressed to impress

Hey, I’m Rico. Want me to do your dishes?

Although there’s humor to be found the film seethes with an aura (aided by its shadowy surroundings and style) of raunchiness and a vibe which will leave one feeling queasy and uneasy much like the same endured by the films main character Nico. Rather than follow the same tracks laid out by many before it, the film veers from the path which many might believe it will follow to instead incorporate ancient folklore, prophecies (another nod to “Brain Dead” but in this case minus a Sumerian Rat Monkey) and fertility rites. And there’s a spin on all this towards the films climax which is sure to stick with the viewer for some time following the viewing.

night of the virgin...birth

Where’s the OFF button?

Overall, “Night of the Virgin” is many things. A ‘slow build’ is chief among the words one could use in its description. However, as I’ve stated before, once it gets its legs it transforms into an unrelenting beast. A blistering chunk of grisly, disgusting, immoral, improper, celluloid one will want to talk about to whomever will listen. A harrowing experience, a viewing which might make one ponder upon their drunken past escapades as the main situation is somewhat, in small part, relateable. And more importantly a film which warrants eyes upon it. It isn’t by any means perfect, but I’ll argue that its imperfections add to its overall charm. Do what you can to get ahold of this, it’s a must see in my opinion especially if like me your tastes run into the jaded, more depraved arena, a territory than Hollywood would never dare offer, or even come close to.

8

Cult

Scorching the Retinas – Tackling the Wrong Turn Franchise

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)
wrong turn 2 cover art
Writers – Turi Meyer, Alfredo Septien, Alan B McElroy
Director – Joe Lynch
Runtime – 97 minutes
20th Century Fox, Summit Entertainment, Constantin Film Production

Sure, why not start in the middle rather than at the beginning? Well, I did and here I am. Cult is away again, probably sleeping already. He’s on vacation and he’s stuck with his young un’ at home, and let me tell you, she’s a spirited one. If she ain’t singing “Let it Go” or “Into the Unknown” she’s storming around like a Princess, with an attitude to fit. But getting back on track; I’ve got the reins now with snippets of that Slayer Comp still ragin’ through my ears.
So what say we get started.

(trailer courtesy of Movie Clips Classic Trailers)

“Wrong Turn 2” was made back in 2007 and it doesn’t take long to realize this. Cell phones are flip things, and earpieces are akin to those unsightly slabs of metal worn on “Star Trek” (the early series with good old Shat not the newer ones).

wrong turn 2 opening kill

Breast or Thigh? …It doesn’t matter!

Anyhows,  this chick, in the opening scene, is belligerent, screaming at her agent about one thing or another then she plows this poor chap down.  and wouldn’t you know it the poor bugga’ scratched up her Stang. Now rather than being somewhat pissed, who wouldn’t he scratched up the Stang’, she’s unsure, hysterical. However, this doesn’t last long. Some logger type looking chap makes his way outta the woods and cuts her in Twain. Downwards (“Terrifier” style), not across and this movie is off to a great start with perhaps one of the finest kill scenes to open up a movie ever. And my popcorn has suddenly found itself with extra butter (or a liquid which looks strangely close).

Wrong turn 2 Henry Rollins

End scene. Enter Mr. Black Flag, Henry (motherfkn’) Rollins, and an introduction to a reality game show of sorts with six contestants (five now, or seven. All depending on how one looks at it) and a theme centered around the Apocalypse (at this point we should all be taking notes and making time to rewatch the “Mad Max” franchise). Naturally, all of the contestants are young, nubile, hot to trot and bursting with enthusiasm.
A quick look behind the scenes shows the competition heating up and a producer wearing a “Battle Royal” shirt which is rather fitting (if you haven’t seen it, drop whatcha’ doing and prepare to forget Hollywood’s take on it; which is often referred to as “The Hunger Games” franchise).

wrong turn 2 i wanna play

Peek a boo!

The games begin, the rules are explained and it’s clear from the get-go who’s present for the money and who for the prestige of competing. Mr. Rollins does a great job of emulating the drill Sergeant from “The Frighteners” and “Full Metal Jacket” (R. Lee Ermey) and there’s another stand out scene in the books. But it ain’t all fun and games. There’s something uninvited in the woods which wants to join in but with rules of it’s own choosing.

“Holy shit, the whole family’s deformed” about describes the way the remainder of the movie goes. Powered by “The Hills Have Eyes” and general Slasher movie mayhem on bathsalts the kills come fast and furious, unflinching, just like Daddy likes them and uncompromising to boot. Seriously folks, this has more guts in its first half than most reputable Cult Cannibal flicks and a shotgun which would put many cannons to shame.

wrong turn 2 Boom

BOOM!

The pace here is remarkable, fluid and feverish throughout, enough to spike anyone’s adrenaline and the characters varied enough to bring forth opinions ranging from instant I don’t care if you perish hatred to I wish you’re the one who survives to repopulate the world adoration. The acting isn’t horrid enough to deter from the story, which is somewhat minimal, but it matters not when the screen is drenched in this much grue.
The finale looms, there’s enough blood and body parts scattered to give Dahmer a boner and the cast is significantly smaller in size, but more widespread,(that’s a pun), than when the movie commenced. But the action remains slick and sticky (nope, this isn’t another filling every available orifice extravaganza flick) two teams face off and…
Well that’s where I’m going to leave my blow-by-blow (enough of the double entendres already) commentary.

wrong turn 2 lunch

This is strange. I can see my spleen.

To cut this short, for it’s about my bedtime, Joe Lynch has far surpassed himself here. A homage to a wide swath of slasher flicks doused with a generous dollop of dark humor and enough glorious FX to sate the most depraved of penchants I’m pleased to state that this brings to the table more crimson goodies than any “Friday the 13th” flick and an overall viewing experience I would somewhat liken to (one of Cults favorites) “Dead Alive”.

chillerama

“Wrong Turn 2” is frenetic, unflinching, graphic, splattered with antagonists which appear immortal (though most certainly don’t live like it) and dotted with characters one wants to root for. The effects are abundant, grisly and executed with attention to detail (that explosion. Wow!) The directing is top notch, again huge props to the mind behind one of the sickest segments within “Chillerama”, and there’s seriously not a complaint here. Boobs, blood, guts, an inbred fellow who looks like he was plucked from a John Hughes film, tons of pitch humor and a final scene which puts Tobe Hoopers “The Mangler” to shame. This is my kind of film. Did I mention Henry Rollins is in this? I did, well shit I’ll say it again, cus’ he deserves another mention. Go get em’ Rambo (whoops!)
Do whatever you have to be able to set the eyes upon this. I much prefer this over any of the “Friday the 13th” films. Don’t @ me, I don’t care. I don’t have any allegiances, I like whatever puts a stoopid grin on my face. And now I’ve said my part. I’m out!
Shit. I Nearly forgot, Cult likes ‘ratings’ now. If it needs one, fuk, I guess a 9.5 will suffice.

The wrong turn collection

Here’s hoping I get the chance to lay words on the others in the franchise. If they’re anything like this I’m happy to oblige. Naturally I’ve plucked the wrong image from the internet to show the others in the series. This one shows the regular (British) versions, I’ll be diving into the uncut versions whenever I can find them, and the time, and access to Cult’s keyboard in order that I can diarrhea my thoughts all lover his site. Until then.

Scorching the Retinas – The Hunt (Quick Review)

The Hunt (“A rapid get this done before it’s time to pay” review)

The hunt-poster

The Hunt (USA) 2020
Director – Craig Zobel
Writers- Nick Cuse, Damon Lindelof
Runtime – 89 minutes
Blumhouse productions, White Rabbit

I’ll make this quick. I don’t have much time, I’m squeezing in a few minutes of scribbling following the screening while the wife gets a Pedi/Mani (nope, I’m out! No one touches my feet!)

Commencing with a grandiose soundtrack reminiscent of epic features of yore The Hunt starts off on a great footing, I’m excited already. Cut to the first scene – a luxurious aircraft in which a collective of well-too-doers (whatever that means; in short people with money and positions of esteem) are busy “subduing” someone who has apparently “woken up too early”. The mind spins, the word “Hostel” comes to mind, an ‘unfortunate’ is dragged back into the cargo hold and the movie continues.

Trailer courtesy of amazingMOVIEtime

Cut to a wooded area and a small, varied, assortment of confused individuals awakening with bits (I believe that’s the term) attached to their mouths. Yes, this seems uncomfortable enough, but it gets worse.

The Hunt the crate

But I can’t find one that’s vegan!

The appearance of a crate boasting varied weapons raises a few eyebrows whilst the sudden whizzing of bullets shreds said eyebrows and sinuous attachments into naught but crimson clouds. The frantic group soon find their bearings, a small fence and come to the realization that most have already been picked off.

Unlike most, The Hunt starts at an adrenaline spiked pace and rarely let’s up. Several characters have been introduced (but don’t get attached. Whoops!) as well their flaws. But those running still only have only the slightest inkling as to why they are in the situation. To make matters worse they have no clue as to where they might be.

The Hunt

But…I’m American!

Ingenious twists and turns (otherwise known as Red Herrings) aid the narrative in its flow and in little time the viewer has a better understanding as to what is in fact transpiring.

Who to trust, who can you trust and why should one? Many questions exist with one thing being plainly obvious; someone is having fun at the expense of another. The reasons as to why this is the case is carefully intertwined in a myriad of factors including conspiracy theories, the court of public opinion, stereotypes and numerous ideologies. One might immediately think ‘Class Warfare’; rumors exist that the films original title was “Red State versus Blue State” which have since been dispelled, whether they held merit, or not. Delicious dialogue interactions throughout might make the viewer ponder upon all manner of opinions and reasoning.

The Hunt reserved for the boudoiur

mmm…hhrrrr…mmmhhhh (and assorted other garbled mumbling)

Without ruining that which might already have been depicted in the trailer I’ll state that the characterizations here are humorous, varied, familiar and often surprising given that which many characters boast.

The Hunt is rooted upon the foundations laid down by such ‘classics’ as “Manhunt” (which I’ve just covered here), “Turkey Shoot”, “Hostel” and numerous others whose titles escape me at present while also boasting dialogue interactions which put one in mind of Tarantino- esque affairs.

Turkey Shoot movie

The action is top-notch (including more than merely the atypical cat n’ mouse scenario one might expect) the tension well-crafted aided by an excellent score/soundtrack and the scenarios which unfold vaster in scope than that depicted in many a similarly themed feature before.

For those who might be on the fence (check first. It might be electrified) this contains enough grisly explosions, gouging, shootings and unflinching brutality and even numerous surprisingly well-choreographed fight scenes to sate. Though, thankfully, it doesn’t sink into OOT realms which would glorify or put one in mind of a Cult Italian or Troma production. Occasionally, the unflinching factor is turned down.

The hunt fkn ouch

Fkn’ ouch!

The result of some actions are left to the viewers imagination, seriously when it’s that obvious one doesn’t need to see it in glorious technicolor, this is a nice touch (as too, for me, the exquisitely delivered grisly bits). The result is a feature which could well be placed in either the thriller, action or horror genres comfortably.

The enigmatic/mysterious factor is played well to the point that one of the main characters isn’t unveiled until well into the second act. The main character isn’t unveiled until deep into the first, keeping the viewer on their seat wondering if they are in fact going to perish as quickly as the others (whoops. Spoiler alert!) In regards to the main character; She (probably not as huge a spoiler as the others before it?) is portrayed brilliantly, kudos to Betty Gilpin for such a strong Femme Fatal portrayal which is sure to be remarked upon for years to come, retains a mysterious aura (what’s up with all this ‘mystery’ amidst such unrelenting bloodshed and carnage?) and truly doesn’t show her cards until the film’s final act/stanza (call it what you will).

the hunt femme fatale

In short, I need to get this wrapped up, (it’s time to pay) without dropping any more spoilers. I’ll gladly state this was fun from start to finish though admittedly a little predictable in places. However, the pace so fluid, the characters so enjoyable, and the dialogue refreshing (even that concerning “Grilled Cheese sandwiches”) though often doused in dark humor, as to make one not linger upon such things.

The Hunt how to make a good grilled cheese

Lets not concern ourselves with cheese

In conclusion, and because it’s time to break out the wallet for yet another Anniversary gift, give this a chance before you write it off as just yet enough survival feature. The Hunt is vastly entertaining, smirk inducing, often thought provoking and most importantly fun! And has earned my stamp of approval.

Fun fact;

The most dangerous game book

Because no movie review is complete…without the picture of the book it’s based upon.

Heavily influenced by Richard Connell’s short story “The Most Dangerous Game”, “The Hunt” now nestles amidst a myriad of others (including “The Pest”, “Hard Target”, “Surviving the Game” and “The Eliminator”) with much the same premise (imagine that!) for those whose penchants run to binge watching similar features, film comparisons (be it scene by scene or otherwise) and/or discovery of  directors whose works remain relatively unknown.

 

Cult

Scorching the Retinas – Vomit, Puss and Body fluids everywhere!

Condemned (Canada) 2015

condemned film boxart

Writer/Director – Eli Morgan Gesner
Calibre Media
RLJ Distribution
Runtime – 83 minutes

I’ll keep this short and to the point. Not to be confused with the movie which showcases Steve Austin and a collective of hardened types on a remote island this is a 2015 film sans a star-studded cast of wrestling superstars.

Punk rock, drugs, drinking and an abandoned building. What could go wrong? Seriously? A varied cast of intriguing miscreants is introduced within no time within the buildings innards and the scene is set.

Cue a drug dealer pouring his glow in the dark (that can’t be good) waste materials down the bathtub and the fun begins. It’s at this juncture that I’m reminded of the classic Return of Living Dead and the toxic waste drum which caused all the mischief. I’m eager to see how this plays out.

condemned punk as fuck

Punk as Fck!

As the film progresses several unpaid extras crop up, everywhere. As too an undeniable stench and elevated ominous sinister presence. Inventive camera work lets the viewer in on the fact that the plumbing plays an important role in the transformation of the building’s residents. And it is the same transformations which act like an ignited incendiary component to the films story.

Things start to get really messy, slippery, sticky and foul abruptly as this transforms from a look how fucked up people can become when they lose hope to a dripping all over the place Body Horror scenario.  Sores ooze, vomit drips and puddles of grue appear in the most problematic of locations. In essence this appears much like any celebrated GWAR live spectacle minus the slave pit, social commentary and catchy tunes.

gwar show

RIP Dave Brockie

The humor is here. Albeit pitch in tone it adds a certain something to what soon transpires into a tableau of unrelenting, unflinching, carnage accompanying an already punk rock frenetic pace. The on-screen action here would usually sate my ravenous appetite. However, numerous other eye-opening elements propel this into I-just-can’t-wait-to-tell-someone-about-this realms. A classic Nazi versus Jew standoff (which again brings to mind o.t.t GWAR antics) is just one I’ll mention without spoiling anyone’s enjoyment. The effects for a feature of this caliber (it seethes with a raw aura and certainly isn’t a huge budget opus in the slightest) are top notch (leaning slightly towards the Troma side of things though still bearing a believable tone) and plentiful enough to make even the most discerning of Gorehound sprout a smirk.

condemned bigfoot

Bring it on Mr. I have a Boyslave, Nazi!

Top it off with a palpable atmosphere, a soundtrack that adds to the tension, competent directing and acting which is commendable and you have a feature which I’ll gladly give the Cult stamp of approval to.

Give this a peek. It’s not altogether serious in its approach but manages to check off all the requisite boxes a fan of darkly humorous blood-soaked horror could hope for

Recommended for fans of Cabin in the Woods and The Belko Experiment.

Here’s the trailer to get those senses tingling

I’ll leave this quote here “Fuck Tinder man, we gotta surf the sewer more often” courtesy of a pair of stoner cops who play only a small but pivotal role in the film.

Cult

Scorching the Retinas – Thankskilling Edition

Thankskilling 3 (2012)

The year has flown by and arrives perilously close to its conclusion but not before a grand feast takes place in which many gorge themselves into a food coma upon gravy, mashed potatoes, a yam and marshmallow concoction and flightless bird flesh. Celebrated mostly Stateside and known as “Thanksgiving” this feast commemorates the fact that the Turkey is one of the easiest birds to catch and more often than not is the leading cause for the fiery obliteration of roadside trailer parks due to individuals attempting new, exciting and what they hope are time saving ways to cook theirs in often life threatening situations. I’ll spare you the boring history of the event, which has probably changed to better suit the rhetoric of the times anyhow, and move onto the meat of this article. May I present…

thankskilling 3 art

Writers – Jordan Downey, Mike Will Downey, Kevin Stewart
Director – Jordan Downey
Runtime – 100 minutes
Warne Pictures
Detention Films
Gravitas Ventures

 

“Nice tits bitch. In space!”

And thus, it begins, much like the first, a foray into turkey driven depravity.

“Legend has it “Thankskilling 2” was the worst movie ever made and Turkie would stop at nothing to have it!”

(trailer courtesy of Movieclips Indie)

In a remote desert location, a pair of mysterious hazmat donned individuals torch a truckload of DVD’s. It appears the world is rid of the “Thankskilling 2” menace. But is it?

thankskilling 3 natural enviroment

Turkie in his “natural habitat”

Meanwhile, Turkie is relaxing at home with his dysfunctional family. His wife and child, Nibla. And much like any family environment the air is filled with inane chatter and the stench of vomit (!?) Turkie wishes he were elsewhere that is until he happens upon “Pluck Master 3000” which can kill, pluck, stuff and cook a turkey in thirty seconds. But it gets worse. It’s his birthday and he’s just been told that “Thankskilling 2” (a kid friendly sequel, and a movie shot entirely in space) has been shelved, in fact it was worse “than that toilet paper commercial where it shows people actually wiping their asses”. Turkie now has a purpose (cue Gothic music, lightning and a look of diabolical meanness).

thankskilling 3 pluck master 3000

Whats a nice puppet like you doing in a hole like this?

Jump to a side plot in which Yomi (is she a puppet or a cat?) has lost her mind and finds herself in a dumpster hallucinating upon inappropriate kids programming and talking to garbage (I’m left wondering if the filmmakers have also watched “Elmo in Grouchland”). Following her vision, she somehow finds herself in the company of Uncle Donny, played by Danny Usaj, (the “Pluck Master 3000” commercial whiz, inventor and spokesman).

Meanwhile, Turkie and offspring (will he earn his “wings” and one day be as mean as Daddy? It remains to be seen) are flying…Commercial seagull that is. Giblet shares some bad news. Turkey isn’t pleased. He shows his appreciation with a prod then proceeds to ignore his sons splattered-upon-the-pavement curiosity; “Are there playgrounds in Heaven?”

tigtone season 2

NIche my ass!

Turkie now has a quest (and much like Tigtone, there’s a niche reference) he will stop at nothing to complete it).

Include a rapping, promiscuous, power- chair bound granny (“it’s not Louis, it’s Flowis, goddammit!”), a butter knife on a stick, a civil war colonial re-creationist, a Hansel and Gretel influenced roach, “Thanksgiving land” (“at Thanksgiving Land there will be no handicap accessibility”) theme park plans, more powdered wigs than you can shake a stick at (whatever that means) and a slew of hilarious dialogue which would put even the most family oriented sit-com to shame and the festivities are under way.

But it doesn’t end there, and why would it?

muff and rhonda.jpg

Muff and Rhonda

The filmmakers have decided to insert yet another subplot and a few more intriguing characters to spice things up. A mistakenly downloaded Mandy Moore album, rather than the newest navigational ap (which isn’t called Google Maps) download, drives MUFF, a cyborg, and Rhonda his ‘worm’ companion (from the second film. Which in and of itself is a mystery) ‘around the bend’ (but what lies “around the bend”?) as they embark on a search for the same thing Turkie also searches for.

thankskilling 3 you shalt not peck

“Dark Crystal” homage anyone?

But the film isn’t without an explanatory backstory (for those who might have missed the first entry in the franchise) which explains who the main character is, what drives him and also varied ‘Feathering’ mythology peppered with fantastical elements, curses and various beheadings to get those into that type of thing into the mood.

“Thankskilling 3” moves with a rollicking pace though splattered with awkward moments it still provides that which many are lacking in boasting a myriad of converging storylines and creative direction. It laughs at itself, the fact that the movie is based upon locating part two, known as the “worst movie ever made”, is a first to my knowledge (for I don’t believe there is a third part to the “Troll” franchise, or is there?) and even a slew of others which boast the same deplorably low budget genre. It provides overflowing one-liners (not all necessarily festively themed) and plentiful nods/references to pop culture and various cult horror/sci-fi celluloid affairs which most will be able to appreciate. Unless one has a stick up their ass, then there’s little hope. The most obvious and humorous of which is when Turkie brandishes a chainsaw and says “Gravy” instead of “Groovy”; an obvious Ash/Evil Dead reference.

thankskilling gif evil dead chainsaw

However, various nods and homage aren’t all that TK3 gloriously provides, there’s even various animation sequences (ranging from a television commercial to a failed kid’s show with zero family values) and a scene which delightfully transforms into a beat-em’-up arcade, game circa 1993. What makes ‘Thankskilling 3” even more enjoyable is the fact that the filmmakers have injected enough family fun loving depravity into the film as to render it just perfect for those annoying family gatherings in which you’d wish most to merely leave (without pie). Sexual innuendos, double entendre’s and more than enough references to where Turkie has recently placed his pecker (not his beak) are more frequent than Granma’s famous chocolate chip cookies (which are admittedly mostly chocolate chips and barely cookies in the traditional sense at all).

crotchduster album

The humor is primarily silliness and gutter based with definite appeal to fans of Beavis and Butthead, Crotchduster (an extreme metal act who blow the term diverse to shreds. Check them out if you haven’t already) and Mr. Pickles. TK 3 also gives a fantastical spin on the Thanksgiving mythos whilst also injecting an insight into the lives of the flightless bird which might surprise many. But let’s not forget the revenge element. Turkie is the embodiment of pissed personified; he’s a family guy, but enough is enough he just can’t seem to catch a break.

Overall, as insufferable at times as TK3 (an obvious abr.) might be to most, it’s a ton of fun to my senses and a great deal more inventive and ambitious a film than I had ever imagined would play out before my senses. Plump full of stuffing (had to place that pun someplace, my bad!) and impromptu moments of ‘What the fuckery’ amidst a story which floweth over with inventiveness and creativity which runs in all directions but that which is labelled with the flashing neon legend “predictable”.

Dub step is utilized a great deal during the film and frequently during sequences in which Yomi appears “out of her head” and an often-quirky score reminiscent of Danny Elfman work (famous for The Simpsons theme score among a slew of others) rocket this OTT comedic slab of depravity into stratospheric heights.

thankskilling 3 soundtrack

Zain Effendi composed for the majority of the film’s original tracks (including the ThanksKilling Dub-Step Theme) Additional tracks on the soundtrack are provided by Amid Vocirus and Rainbowdragoneyes (who created the 8-bit ThanksKilling remix).

Between them Kevin Stewart and Jordan Downey (the films creators) provide the voices of all puppets involved, with Puppet World stepping in to help with the creation of Yomi. Other performances make this a film more enjoyable than most. Joe Hartzler, who has a very familiar face which I can’t place, portrays Jefferson, a budding Colonialist with a penchant for wanting to be head of security at “Thanksgiving Land” (it appears it’s his life’s goal) and later, following a scuffle with Turkie, a warm greeter at the Pearly Gates themselves. Uncle Donny, Danny Usaj, seems to take everything in his stride although the situation is wildly more bizarre than even the premise of a machine which can pluck, stuff and cook a turkey in under thirty seconds. But it’s the inclusion of Yomi, Rhonda (the bi-sexual worm) and foul-mouthed Turkie themselves which elevate this feature towards B movie stratospheric realms.

meet the feebles

Obviously, I’m rather partial to puppet driven insanity and have proclaimed my adoration of Peter Jackson’s Meet the Feebles more than is prudent. Naturally, based on my juvenile tastes, the humor slathered throughout TK 3 helps out a great deal to heighten my appreciation. Certainly not for everyone, the wife hated this with a passion, TK 3 leaves an impression and makes for a fantastic slab of festively themed celluloid to lay the peepers upon especially if you’re wanting to squirrel yourself away, out of sight, from visiting in-laws. Apparently, a great many people agree as TK3 had a blistering successful Kickstarter campaign and breezed past its goal to become the most successful horror movie on the platform in 2012.

Filmmakers cite South Park, Labyrinth (the Henson film with David Bowie), TV Funhouse, Meet the Feebles, Wonder Showzen (whatever that may be, I believe a spot of research is in order), the music video for “Land of Confusion’ by Genesis and Spitting Image a political satire show from the UK which utilized only puppets in its sketches. Although one can tell influence derives from a great many sources far beyond that with quotes coming from afar a field as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and imagery highly reminiscent of other cult puppet features namely The Dark Crystal and even Fraggle Rock. Granma Flowis is apparently based upon a former White House Press Corps member, Helen Thomas and inspired by the Spitting Image puppets.

thankskilling 3 granma flowis attack mode

Granma Flowis taking it to the finale

 

Not much left to say apart from lighten your family’s gathering and toss this upon the cathode ray tube, you will either thank me or despise me for the recommendation there really is little place in between.

Cult

Scorching the Retinas – Blood Bags

eyeballs header

Blood Bags (2018)
(Italy)

blood bags film

Writer – Emiliano Ranzani, David Mela, Scarlett Amaris
Director – Emiliano Ranzani
Runtime -84 minutes
Grey Ladder Productions
LMC Vision
Devilworks
High Octane Pictures

 

 

After an explanation of Gunther disease and various other ailments (in relation to an allergy to the sun) the movie opens on a trio of thieves breaking in to an abandoned mansion. Amidst synth laden atmospherics, slithering maggots and alarm bells (!?) they soon realize that they aren’t alone.

The scene ends, and the credits roll in a similar fashion to that shown in Re-animator (an exploration of intricately illustrated medieval medical images) accompanied by the same quirky score albeit with heightened synth elements.

(trailer courtesy of Rapid Trailer)

As soon as the claret from the previous scene and the somewhat familiar credits come to a close a budding camera enthusiast is introduced, as well her roommate. Within no time the pair shun their stereotypical Italian testosterone overflowing companions to travel across the Italian countryside in search of a location to showcase as part of a final work for the school semester.

blood bags breaking the law

What’s a little bit of BnE if not for an “A” in film school?

Meanwhile, a mysterious gent travels with a hold-all and visits a seedy undisclosed location whereupon he proceeds to collect a fair amount of blood in exchange for money. The transaction however does not go according to plan and under duress he is forced to extreme measures to keep his movements and activities under wraps.

From the very first the score (a heady mix of classical and synth) plays a lead role emphasizing certain scenes with a thick cloak of dread and menace.

Various close ups of eyes and victims in extreme duress, as well deliberate, unhurried, movements, lingering shots of the antagonist’s dark overcoat and gloves and avoidance of ‘his’ (the antagonists) face, an element which scream Giallo worship.

blood bags tracy

I like cameras and spooky looking old buildings

Naturally, the budding camera lady, Tracy played by Makenna Guyler, drags her friend, Petra, along for a traipse into her fear (what if she doesn’t make it as a camera professional?) She’s awfully chatty at times and into what I one will only assume is the mansion from the opening scene.

Petra wanders off, why wouldn’t she. She’s clearly isn’t as interested in old stuff as her overly excited friend and there are no boys around to flirt with (this is a horror film and people do dumb shit; it’s in the script) and has an untimely interaction with the business end of a wicked looking, dirty (if this doesn’t kill you, tetanus will) knife leaving her friend to fend for herself against a cloaked ‘assailant’.

Goblin soundtrack

Goblin; composers par excellence

The film continues, sans supplying a slew of spoilers, more than the movies box art description already has, I’ll refrain from giving a blow by blow narrative. Blood Bags is unashamedly up front with what it offers, obviously the main location of the film (other than the beatific Italian surroundings) contains someone/something who has an aversion to the sun and lives in a secluded habitat (I like that word!) The film’s title ‘slips into place’ following the enigmatic gent’s procurement of crimson and one would only imagine there’s not really that much more on offer. And there wouldn’t be, on a typical basis. However, Blood Bags manages to keep the interest. The score is impressive, palpable, an expert and well-crafted nod to cannibalistic, zombie and Giallo cinema by such under-appreciated greats of the genre such as Fulci, D’Amato, Argento, Deodata, Lenzi and others and results in heightened tension in just the right instances.

Dialogue interactions vary from predictable (“That’s my phone. It’s ringing!”) to darkly humorous and ingenious. The fact that Italian, Russian and English are used (rather than dubbing) shows professionalism, obviously not everybody speaks English. An early standout showcases varying differences in European and American attitudes, hampered by a language barrier, towards longevity and smoking. No doubt a spot of levity before the carnage commences, yet again. The acting is surprisingly palatable and takes this into relatable/believable realms.

 

Not surprising is that the authorities manage to get involved, as they often do in cases of this ilk. Thankfully, their presence is kept at a minimum making for little distraction from the ‘main course’.

body-bags-monster.jpg

You might say I can only see a boring rainbow, to which I’d agree

Monochromatic camera effects are a great added touch and depict the antagonists POV as he negotiates both his affliction and residence in search of those who have trespassed. Another scene worthy of note is a dream sequence in which Tracy travels lazily through candle lit atmosphere laden subterranean hallways only to see herself on a pedestal as a bloodied up ballerina,

The directing is also worthy of note. Blood Bags appreciatively doesn’t descend to an arena which many might predict. Although it sports a fair amount of crimson it strays from splatter territory preferring instead to rely on exquisitely crafted tension evoked by the aforementioned well-placed soundtrack and score.

The House by the Cemetery

Now that’s retro

Obvious similarities to Anthropophagus the Beast and The House by the Cemetery can’t be ignored, the pace is rather relaxed for one and although the film’s story, in many ways, has been tackled before (an enigmatic individual somehow conquering a devastating blood disease, or something along those lines, I’ll not ruin it) and is for the most part wholly predictable (you won’t need to re-watch or rewind this for any intricate plot lines, or something you might have missed as it’s rather straight forward) this remains a solid effort. A slice of undeniable homage and unmistakable worship of that which riveted wide-eyed audiences four decades previous. Will this spawn a revival of sorts, of the very same scene? It remains to be seen. One thing, however, is undeniable; this has all the ingredients, the panache and the class, to rekindle that adoration. And for that I applaud it.

Go into this with an open mind, few assumptions and you’ll have a blast, but be warned this will likely leave you with a hankering for it will spark an exploratory nature to rediscover old school cult cinema.

Cult