FIENDISH PICKINGS WEEKLY #2 4/9/17

articles

Blood and Beauties – An Interview with Death-Scort Service Part 2: The Naked Dead Director Sean Donohue

The beginner’s guide to Italian exploitation cinema by Den Of Geek (contributed by Mando Ayala)

The films of Radley Metzger

6 Reasons Why “Kagemusha” Is Akira Kurosawa’s Late Masterpiece by Panos Kotzathanasis

CGs Film Reviews

From a House on Willow Street (2016) yeah this was not a good film. There are some great practical effects and creature design but its mixed with laughable CGI effects and characters that are so paper thin and just plain stupid.

The films starts out introducing our characters and their backstories just so they can then be used against them later on. The first half of the film is mainly characters walking around in the dark followed by jump scares. We then get an exposition dump that slows the film to a crawl followed by a third act that ramps up the action and gore.

The last act is where the film is at its best but the characters are so underdeveloped and uninteresting that it just didn’t grab me. I could see some people really enjoying this but not me. 2.5/5 stars.

Galaxy of Horrors 1h 45min | Horror, Sci-Fi | 2017 (Amazon VOD)

A horror/scifi anthology that reminded me of the film released last year called Patient Seven which was created by grabbing international shorts and creating a wrap around story to loosely tie them all together. As with any anthology you will always have a mixed bag with some shorts being strong, some being okay and some being terrible. Here’s the breakdown:

Eden – 2.5/5, IRIS – 4/5, Pathos – 3/5, Flesh Computer – 2/5, Eveless – 1/5, They Will All Die in Space – 4/5, Entity – 3.5/5, Kings – 3/5, Wrap Around Story – 1/5

There are some really strong highs and some really low lows. So overall I had a fun time but each story is very different from each other. 3.5/5 stars.

Quarries 1h 23min | Drama, Horror, Thriller | 2017 (Amazon VOD)

This has to be one of the most generic backwoods horror films I’ve ever seen. Our group of women are all one note cliches and our villains are the most boring cookie cutter redneck family.

Everything just happens in the most boring way possible as there is no build of suspense and our so called threat is dispatched with relative ease. It doesn’t get more middle of the road than this. 2/5 stars.
Alleluia (film) 1h 33min | Crime, Horror, Romance | 12 November 2014 (Belgium)
A very disturbed woman goes on a date with a man who she discovers is a scam artist and has issues of his own. She quickly becomes obsessed and it all spirals out of control from there. Based on a true story this is a very dark and gritty film that has a very 1970s feel. 3.5/5 stars.

A Room to Die For 18A | 1h 24min | Horror, Thriller | 2017 (Amazon VOD)

This is a pretty terrible film. We then are given flashes of whats to come within the first 5 mins so this undercuts any suspense of what may happen. The performances are not good all around.

The young couple are pretty unlikable right from the start especially the boyfriend and the older couple are so uninteresting so we can’t engage with them either. What happens in the film is supposed to generate some kind of emotion but all I felt was sorry for the actors involved in this film.
Avoid! 1/5 stars.

videos

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) – Arrow Video Limited Edition Blu-Ray Set Unboxing! by deadbydawn93

DEATH-SCORT SERVICE PART 2: THE NAKED DEAD (2017) teaser trailer

Amy Heckerling’s Criterion Closet Picks

So’s Film Diaries #1 | TAKE ME INTO THE MATRIX | FILM VLOG by So’s Reel Thoughts

AllScreamingEye: The Greasy Strangler review by Gore Hounds

podcasts

Zach’s Ceremony, Ghost in the Shell and A Man Called Ove on Plato’s Cave – 03 April 2017

Dark Discussions Podcast Episode 278 – The Belko Experiment

THE LAST KNOCK presents: THE EYES OF MY MOTHER (2017)

POST MORTEM WITH MICK GARRIS with Walter Hill 3/29/17

sponsors

Gore Noir Magazine

Grindhouse Video Tampa

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ASIAN FILM MONTH April 1st-30th 2017

Well, it is going to be a theme month once again in The Magnificent World of Dave K. As I attempt to watch 365 films this year (most of which that I have never seen before), in the month of April 2017, I will be viewing only Asian films of various genres, concentrating on more sleaze and exploitation this time out. Daily, I should be doing a round up of other links and reviews that catch my eye plus the films that some of my film buddies see. It’s pretty loose this time out, just let me know if you do a review, a video or just mention a film you have seen. Now a small round of film posters I gathered…

Follow me on Twitter: @AFiendOnFilm

COEURS NOIRS Day 30: Gut (2012)

Gut (2012) film/Bluray thoughts… This choice for my COEURS NOIRS closer might be confusing to some, as it it always promoted as a horror film. The truth is Gut, directed by Elias is a psychological horror/neo-noir. One of my favorite indie films in years, Gut recently had it’s Bluray debut and I wanted to give it a once over again.

Tom is married with a young daughter but is “looking” for some else to make his life more fulfilling. The grass somehow is greener on the other side of the fence. His childhood friend, Dan, who he works with and is quite clingy, is upset they don’t spend time together anymore. Tom says he pretty much has moved on from “hanging out”, but Dan will not let it go. He tells Tom about a “film” he got off the internet and he has to view it, he has never seen anything like it. Since they used to like horror films together, Tom pretty much gives in. The “film” is a semi clothed woman strapped to a table who proceeds to have a scalpel cut methodically into her stomach area and is seemly killed. Tom can’t believe what he has just seen and tells Dan he is nuts. But sadly, Dan is a tad unstable and will not let his relationship with his old friend go.

Gut is dark and moody. While it’s a lower budgeted affair, all players and the director pull out all the stops to make this film extremely good. Jason Vail plays Tom as basically having a partial mid life crisis in his late 20s, becoming obsessed and trapped into the world of what is on the discs. Nicholas Wilder’s Dan reminds me of someone in my past, so I was able to relate to this character. I do also have to note the experimental music of Chvad SB, especially the end title theme, it sets the tone for this film completely. It’s bleak. Do order the Bluray of it if you can, the DVD is still available and of course GUT is on most VOD services.

 

 

 

COEURS NOIRS Day 23: The Ninth Gate (1999) Review by Kim McDonald!

I don’t usually watch film noir, but I was intrigued to see THE NINTH GATE included on a genre list. I love this film so I gave it another watch, and yes, it definitely qualifies. Then again, if film noir is about pessimism and fatalism, one could argue most of Polanski’s work qualifies. And what could be more fatalistic than trying to conjure the Devil?

The film is based on the book “El Club Dumas,” written by Arturo Perez-Reverte. It follows Dean Corso, played by Johnny Depp, a rare book dealer who is commissioned by collector Boris Balkan, (Frank Langella,) to authenticate his copy of an obscure occult book, “The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows”. He managed to get it from another collector, Telfer, before his suicide. Now Balkan wants Corso to compare his copy with the only other two copies that exist. This book is supposed to conjure the Devil, but as Corso jests, He didn’t show up.

Corso immediately realizes this is no normal job and this is no normal book. As he travels to Portugal and France to hunt down the other two copies, he finds himself being pursued by Telfer’s “dishy”, but viscous, widow (Lena Olin,) who has a secret interest in retrieving her husband’s book. He also has The Girl, (Emmanuelle Seigner.) She is his tag along/protector, who seems to have a secret interest in helping him succeed. As he is able to compare all three copies, he stumbles upon a hidden code unknown to any of their owners and finds himself drawn into a mystery that leaves dead bodies everywhere he goes.

Telfer’s widow calls Corso a “book detective,” and the film does remind me of the old Bogart movies. In one scene, we see Corso’s apartment with a desk against a window and the neon light from a street sign is shining through the blinds. The color scheme is subdued with earthy browns, blacks and greens. It’s like a mystery set in a labyrinthine library; one with Satanists waiting for you behind the stacks.

Polanski co-wrote the screenplay with John Brownjohn and Enrique Urbizu. The dialogue is
clipped and full of caustic wit, punctuated by a lot of smoking and drinking. It is especially fun watching Depp and Langella bouncing off of each other. The sets are wonderful; tucked away, unassuming places in the middle of beautiful locations. They add to the feeling of a very old menace that has been lurking in the dust, biding its time.

Corso is a typical hard boiled detective type who doesn’t buy into the Satanist agenda. Books are a commodity to be bought and sold; as he tells Balkan, “I believe in my percentage.” As the film progresses, he realizes he can’t walk away, even though The Girl encourages him to many times. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you believe in the Devil if She falls in love with you.

 

Do follow Kim on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dixiefairy

Quick Film Reviews 9/5/16 by A Fiend On Film

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Such a disaster of watching a couple of Jean Rollin films for the first time (The Living Dead Girl & The Grapes of Death) and recent The Other Side of the Door (2016)…almost made me forget I actually have seen some pretty good films as of late…

1) Intent To Kill (1992) Picked up on a whim, the cover of the DVD just has Traci Lords holding a revolver. Usually that wouldn’t make me get excited about a film but saw that Yaphet Kotto was in it…sold. I must have missed this one in the olde VHS days because I don’t remember it. Traci Lords is a detective on the beat in early 90’s LA, living with her cheating boyfriend of 7 years (also a detective). One night trying to lure a drug dealer in via prostitution, it goes south leaving many cops dead. They recover 50 million dollars worth of cocaine but she gets pulled off the case. There is lots of double crossings with both the drug dealers, the mobs and the police and she doesn’t know who to trust.

The film, is surprisingly solid, with a decent script and some classic low budget gun violence. Lords still has that soft and sweet look and holds her own through the picture. The stereotypes are hilarious though. The DVD is full frame, I think at the time it was filmed that way for home video but I could be wrong. If you like Cannon produced action/cop films from the late 1980’s (which this definitely has that feel), then Intent To Kill is for you. I liked it.

2) Dark (2016) I have been wanting to see this Elias (of Gut and soon to be released Ayla fame) written film and directed by Nick Basile. The plot is during the big NYC blackout of 2003 (which was all over the Northeast really), a lady is alone in her apartment with feelings of paranoia which leads to really bad results. Whitney Able, who plays the lead, is actually a fine actress who portrays “losing one’s mind” very well. The trouble is…I really didn’t care. I really disliked her character throughout the story. I didn’t even think having it set during the blackout helped, it could have been set “at night” with the same results in my opinion, especially since, due to budget limitations, you do not get the feeling anything is really amiss. Kudos for the film makers trying to be accurate with the times, the phones and laptops used were vintage 2003 but this film kinda just falls flat for me.

The big gripe I have though is with the marketing. It is really important to put on the cover “From executive producer Joe Dante, the twisted mind that brought you Gremlins and The Howling”? How the hell is that relevant? Both of those films came out over 30 years ago. The front cover of the DVD should have “A Film by Nick Basile” whose name is on the back in such small letters I had to look up the film on IMDB just to make sure I had the spelling right for this review…

3) Eating Raoul (1982) Somehow in all my years on this earth, I still have never seen this long considered classic of indie film making. Mary Voronov and Paul Bartel play a very strange married couple who want to open a restaurant but…they have no money. With bill collectors moving in on them, a accidental murder brings them to the realization they can “take out” people they find to be deviants & rob them at the same time. They will have the money in no time right? Enter Raoul, a small time thief who makes a deal with them to score big as long as he gets his cut. Guess who gets it in the end?

I picked up the Criterion DVD during the past sale because I was tired of waiting to see this one. I loved it and I am not a comedy guy, but this has that droll polish and situations that I tend to find funny. It was weird, the whole time I was watching the film, I kept thinking “Raoul looks familiar”. I really couldn’t place it but when the credits hit, I was like, “Oh that is Chakotay from Voyager!” Wow…I’m really dumb. Eating Raoul was great across the board, very weird but a must see.

4) Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2000) While it’s definitely not a first viewing, I only recently picked up the DVD at Grindhouse Video in Tampa, FL after never seeing it in the wild. Since I only had this one on VHS many moons ago, this would be my first time seeing the film letterboxed. There is kind of a plot running through the film, which is about a few dancers at strip club in the film’s title. There is drama and some humor here, all the actresses (Daryl Hannah, Charlotte Ayanna, Sandra OH, Sheila Kelley and Jennifer Tilly) all get equal time here and show it off nicely. Clearly defined characters, great cinematography and scripting…This one will be seen many times by me for sure. I love it.

5) Hit Me (1996) This is a film which I just never heard of before and is a blind buy. The back has a blurb referring to a modern film noir and it stars Elias Koteas…sold. Koteas stars as Sonny, a pretty much down on his luck hotel worker (run down hotel which has seen much better days), who is a very minor criminal on the side. He lives with his mental challenged brother, which there “living” situation is a sight to behold. One day, he has to give room service to a beautiful but very odd woman. Sonny is obviously attracted to her but can’t see how to make the move. A day or so later, he doesn’t have to worry about that as she puts the moves on him. This all leads to an awkward sexual tryst which after which she starts for some insane reason…screaming. Everything after this moment is a downward spiral for our “hero”…

Saying this is a “modern” film noir is an understatement. It’s not even Neo-Noir, it’s like they took a 1940’s plot and slammed it into the 1990’s. Elias Koteas was an indie actor that came of age in the 1990’s and I have to say this is the best film/work I have seen him do. You know for the opening frames, that his character is doomed to the bottom but you will love the ride taking the trip down with him. Forget the cover with William H. Macy being 3rd billed, he is only in one scene. Trying to sell the film on that does the film a disservice. Overall Hit Me is a 9 out of 10 for me. I just don’t know how I never heard of it previously.

6) Der Samurai (2014) Picked this up after hearing a bit about it and it’s on Art Exploitation Films, a label which consistently puts out quality titles. The film’s plot follows a very young policeman in a very small town. He is trying to capture a wolf, which has been causing trouble, tearing up garbage cans, etc. On a lead one evening, he stumbles upon a strange man, dressed in a white dress, after receiving calls at the police station and having a package sent there. The package absurdly enough is addressed to the man in white, who opens it and reveals the contents…a samurai sword. Is this the “wolf” he is looking for? Is it all in his mind? Once the carnage starts, our policeman is faced with many dilemmas that he has to solve quickly or lose his mind…

Probably one of the strangest films I have seen as of late outside of some of the Asian films I watched last month. The plot is relatively simple for an “art house” type horror film but has moments that I know “mean” something, I am just not smart enough to know. Loads of gore, as the villain’s method of killing in decapitation, though some of it is done it an “artsy” manner. I am still trying to figure out the ending, which focuses on our policeman’s journey in life. It would be a recommend for horror film fans who are looking for something outside the norm and look to Europe for their horror fix.

7) Cell Count (2016) Todd E. Freeman is a film director I met online through others. I was following this film he was working on for a bit but then after it was completed, I didn’t hear much about it. Was it available? After communicating with him after seeing ABC’s Of Death 2.5 (2016), I found out that yes, you could buy it on DVD. So I hit the “buy” button and in a few days, it was in my DVD player. In an undisclosed time but surely the future, a strange disease is going around. One man’s wife has it and after he is told there is no hope, a strange doctor pulls him aside and tells him there might just be a chance. It’s seems he is working with the government on an experimental cure. They would have to go with him to a secret facility to have it applied and chances are, she would live. The facility they are taken to is a place of complete lock down. They and the other residents/patients they meet can move freely about the facility but cannot leave once inside. “It’s just too dangerous…” They are introduced to the cure…but there is some nasty side effects. Did I mention that there is also some “prisoners” here?

I have to say I have somewhat mixed feelings about the film and it’s execution. Todd E. Freeman is obviously a talented director and gives Cell Count a nice high tech shine. The acting is good, the effects are great (some decent CGI and practical ones) but the main problem is he didn’t seem to have an ending. And that “ending” has a more famous actor in it as a cameo and it’s pretty cheap. There are some cool ideas throughout and it looks great though when we got to the credits, I was kinda dumbstruck. (and what the heck was it with the WW2 era weapons???) Well, it’s still a recommend. I would like people to see it for themselves and make up their own minds, it wouldn’t be fair to say otherwise in this case.