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Showing posts from June, 2009

Giallo - Exclusive Review

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2009
Dir. Dario Argento

Beautiful model Celine (Elsa Pataky) is abducted in Turin by a deformed and deranged serial killer nicknamed Yellow, due to his lurid skin colour – the result of a rare liver disease. Celine’s sister, flight attendant Linda (Emmanuelle Seigner), reports her disappearance to the police and joins the somewhat odd and secretive detective Enzo (Adrien Brody) in his investigation to try and find Celine before she becomes Yellow’s latest victim. Enzo explains that Yellow is obsessed with the destruction of beauty and that a number of attractive female victims have been found, their faces and throats horribly slashed and mutilated. The race is on to save Celine’s life and put a stop to Yellow’s reign of terror and bloodshed once and for all…

Dario Argento’s latest film Giallo premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this week. Unfortunately Argento was conspicuous by his absence at the premiere and it is rumoured that he is unhappy with the final cut of…

The Witch’s Mirror

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1962
Dir. Chano Urueta

Housemaid Sarah, who is also a practising witch, discovers that her goddaughter Elena’s life is in danger and attempts to help her. The spirits and deities she converses with through her mystical mirror show Sarah the face of Elena’s killer, but command her not to interfere. Elena is soon poisoned by her husband, renowned surgeon Eduardo, who sets about moving his new wife Deborah (Rosita Arenas - The Curse of the Crying Woman) into their castle. Sarah vows to avenge the death of her goddaughter and sets about communing with dark spirits to summon the ghost of Elena, who soon begins to stalk the halls of the castle and torment her husband and his new bride. With horrific consequences…

This is a film in three distinct parts; each more elaborate and fiendishly enjoyable than the next. The first part, which involves the murder of a woman by her husband, and his subsequent remarriage to another woman, is a highly gothic and overwrought melodramatic romance with dist…

Drag Me To Hell

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2009
Dir. Sam Raimi

When loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is ordered by her boss to toughen up if she ever wants to get a promotion, she begrudgingly decides to get assertive: with the wrong person. Mrs Ganush, an elderly gypsy woman, applies for a third extension on her mortgage; Christine turns her down and inadvertently humiliates her. Mrs Ganush places a nasty curse on Christine that will culminate in her being dragged off to hell in three days. Over the next few days Christine’s life is turned inside out and shat all over by demonic forces intent on torturing her before pulling her down to burn in hell for all eternity… Nice. Can she find a way to stop them before its too late?

When Ain’t It Cool News described Drag Me To Hell as a ‘juggernaut’, they really weren’t lying. While not particularly scary, this film is the cinematic equivalent of a dodgem car ride. The jumps and shocks come so thick and fast that quite often you don’t have time to fully recover before the…

Night of the Seagulls

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1975
Dir. Amando de Ossorio

AKA
Don't Go Out at Night
Night of the Blood Cult
Night of the Death Cult
Terror Beach
The Blind Dead 4

Doctor Henry Stein and his devoted wife Joan move to a small seaside village in the middle of nowhere in order to set up a medical practice. Shunned by the inhospitable, mouth-breathing ingrates who call themselves locals, and warned to leave as soon as they can by the nervous former doctor, they soon discover that the village harbours a dark and blood-splattered secret. For seven consecutive nights every seven years, the townsfolk congregate on the beach to sacrifice one of their young women in order to appease the savage appetites of the Templar knights who rise from their tombs in a nearby castle to claim the unfortunate victims…

Following on from Tombs of the Blind Dead, Return of the Evil Dead and The Ghost Galleon, Night of the Seagulls is Ossorio’s forth and final instalment in his Blind Dead series. Once again the diabolical living-dead Templar K…

The Ghost Galleon

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1974
Dir. Amando de Ossorio

AKA
Ghost Ship of the Blind Dead
Horror of the Zombies
Ship of Zombies
The Blind Dead 3

The Blind Dead return to hunt tender flesh on the high sea!

Two models are out at sea in a new speedboat as part of a publicity stunt. Don’t ask, just go with it. Their boat is surrounded by a thick fog and a seemingly abandoned ship drifts out of nowhere. Radioing for help the models then naturally enough decide to explore the vessel and even more naturally enough, mysteriously disappear. Their belatedly concerned colleagues set out to find them; but not before consulting with a professor who believes that the ghostly ship contains the living-dead bodies of the Templar Knights! When our intrepid and fashionably dressed rescuers board the ominous ship, they too soon fall prey to the reanimated and blood-thirsty corpses of the Templars… Who are apparently just chilling out on a cruise.

Following on from the Tombs of the Blind Dead and Return of the Evil Dead, Amando de Oss…

Return of the Evil Dead

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1973
Dir. Amando de Ossorio

AKA
Return of the Blind Dead
Attack of the Blind Dead
Mark of the Devil 5: - Return of the Blind Dead
Mark of the Devil Part V: Night of the Blind - Terror
Mark of the Devil V

Jack Marlowe’s return to his home village of Berzano to patch things up with his ex, coincides with the village’s 500th anniversary celebrations of the slaying of the Templar knights who plagued Berzano’s inhabitants centuries ago. The village idiot, disgruntled because of the way he has been outcast, sacrifices a virgin to reanimate the bodies of the Templars and extract retribution. Sure enough, her blood resurrects them and they ride on living-dead horses into the village to slaughter anyone they can find. A small band of survivors seek refuge in the town church and try to stay alive until morning whilst the gruesome Templars stand guard outside…

Amando de Ossorio really made an impact on horror cinema with his series of Blind Dead films, the second of which, following on from Tombs o…

Tombs of the Blind Dead

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1971
Dir. Amando de Ossorio

AKA
Crypt of the Blind Dead
Mark of the Devil Part 4: - Tombs of the Blind Dead
Night of the Blind Dead
Revenge from Planet Ape
The Blind Dead
The Night of the Blind - Terror
Tombs of the Blind Dead

Whilst on holiday, glamorous couple Roger and Virginia bump into Betty – an old friend of Virginia’s. Roger invites Betty to join the couple on a train ride the next day but Virginia, confused and embarrassed by her boyfriend’s obvious interest in Betty – and by the lesbian fling she and Betty had whilst in college together – jumps from the train to seek solace. Finding refuge after nightfall in the ruins of an ancient monastery, Virginia is horribly murdered and her blood greedily guzzled by the resurrected corpses of the Templar knights buried in the ruins. When she doesn’t return to the hotel, Roger and Betty set out to find her. They don’t however bargain on running into centuries old living-dead knights, hungry for young, nubile flesh…

After directing several …

Don’t Ring the Doorbell

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1978
Dir. Karen Arthur

AKA The Mafu Cage
Deviation,
My Sister, My Love
The Cage

Two sisters, level-headed yet repressed astronomer Ellen (Lee Grant) and mentally unstable and highly volatile Cissy (Carol Kane) share a crumbling mansion together.
Since the death of their father the siblings have lived in a darkly co-dependent and quite isolated relationship that can only lead to tragedy. Ellen’s only interaction with the outside world is through her work as a researcher at an astronomy lab. Even this seems to be a lonely life outside of her home. Cissy meanwhile spends her days sketching various primates she has been keeping in a cage. She refers to them all as Mafu. When she grows tired of them, she kills them. It becomes apparent that Ellen keeps replacing them for her, despite the fact that she knows it is Cissy who kills them. The only other person in the lives of the two sisters is their godfather Zom, who stops in from time to time to humour Cissy and console Ellen.

Adapted from …

Paracinema - Issue 6

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Issue 6 of Paracinema is available to order now.

The latest installment includes insightful and original features such as 'Videodrome: The New Flesh Comes Home To Roost' by Mel Cartagena, 'The Origins Of Last House On The Left' by Chelsea Suarez and 'The Anti-Industrial Revolution And The Anti-Aesthetic Approach Of Paul Morrissey' by Matthew Whoolery.

Sound good? Click here for more details about the new issue and click here to buy it...

Martyrs

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2009
Dir. Pascal Laugier

Anna (Morjana Alaoui) and Lucie (Mylène Jampanoï), two girls with revenge on their minds, track down a family who held one of them captive as a youngster. Their quest for vengeance and knowledge leads them on a gut-wrenching and depraved journey into the dark recesses of pain and suffering, anguish and torture.

Brutal. Shocking. Intense. Provocative. Raw. Unflinching. Disturbing. Numbing. Powerful. Unforgettable.

These are just a few of the words that have been used to describe the jaw dropping spectacle that is Martyrs. The thing is though, they are all actually true. However, no words can really be utilised to fully prepare you for the visceral onslaught you will experience (undergo) while watching this breathtakingly extreme film. Daily Mail readers in particular, beware.

Much of the astounding and sadistic imagery, while firmly rooted in the current climate of horror cinema, dubbed ‘Torture Porn’, is handled with a purity and sense of purpose and it str…