Posts Tagged ‘Gore & Shock’

Absurd-1981-movie-3

AKA: Anthropohagus 2; Monster Hunter; Horrible; The Grim Reaper 2

Directed By: Joe D’Amato

Starring: George Eastman, Annie Belle, Katya Berger, Kasimir Berger, Hanja Kochansky, Charles Borromel, Ian Danby, Ted Russoff

Synopsis: A psychopath with a healing factor escapes and goes on a killing spree.

Thoughts:   Absurd is short on plot, but goes the extra mile with the gore. Although it is often referred to as a sequel to Anthropophagus, there is very little tying the movies together. Both feature George Eastman as a homicidal maniac, both were written by Eastman and both were directed by Joe D’Amato. I’ve read that critics accused Absurd of being nothing more than a Halloween rip-off upon its release. The basic premise is the same, with a silent killer stalking his prey, being near impossible to kill, and both films feature a babysitter. As I was watching Absurd, I didn’t feel like it was a Halloween rip-off, or at least any more so than other slasher films from the 80s.

It’s easy to see why Absurd landed on the BBFC’s radar. It had the pedigree of Anthropophagus and Joe D’Amato and is filled to the brim with gory deaths. Other than that, I find Absurd to be unremarkable. There isn’t an overly notorious scene like one from Anthropophagus, the story is straight forward and the acting isn’t memorable. 88 Films released a good-looking version of the film in their Italian Collection if you want to check it out, and if you are a completest like me, you’ll pick it up because they numbered their releases.

Fans of the Video Nasty list will surely check this one out, as will people exploring the filmography of Joe D’Amato, but frankly, there are better examples of Italian horror and splatter films.

How Nasty is it? The gore starts from the very beginning here as George Eastman eviscerates himself climbing over a fence and his intestines are hanging out and doesn’t relent until the end.

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Island of Death

Directed By: Nico Mastorakis

Starring: Robert Behling, Jane Lyle, Jessica Dublin, Gerard Gonalons, Jannice McConnell, Nikos Tsachiridis

Synopsis: A British couple terrorize a small Greek island, killing anyone they deem as sinful.

Thoughts: Yet another Video Nasty to mark off my list! This time around it is the Greek exploitation flick Island of Death, also titled A Craving for Lust or Devils in Mykonos. I’d heard quite a bit about this movie prior to seeing it, so I thought I knew what I was settling in for. I was wrong.

Island of Death isn’t afraid to go the extra mile to shock you. I don’t mean excessive gore. I mean it has your standard genre fare of violence and mayhem, but it also goes the extra mile with bestiality, incest and golden showers. There is also a rather bizarre scene where the couple is having sex in a phone booth and the guy decides to call his Mom and tell her what he is doing. It’s all to show just how insane the couple is, but Mastorakis really pushes the envelope. It’s not hard to see why this landed on the Video nasty list.

As you would expect, the acting is quite bad, but I can’t imagine that is why you would watch this movie. There aren’t really any redeeming characters, or actors to be found here. Mastorakis attempts to cover just how awful the acting is with the beauty of lead actress Jane Lyle, and finding every excuse to have her naked on the screen.

As awful as the acting is, this was a fairly enjoyable experience. I found myself laughing more than anything, which I don’t think was the initial intention, but it works. The Director admitted in an interview that his sole reason for making the movie was to make money. He was inspired by the financial success of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Although this isn’t a movie I will be watching on a regular basis, it is something that I think fans of exploitation need to see. It is so over the top that you won’t believe what you’re seeing on screen. It’s also worth noting that the scenery is great. The island that this takes place on is really a place of beauty. It serves as a great contrast for the carnage happening around it.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Slew Poster - V115 - Stockholm(1)A local rite goes frightfully wrong when a group of teenage boys encounters a sinister hunting party, a bloodthirsty tribe and a mythical beast in the backwoods of New Hampshire.

Midnight Releasing has announced that American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire – starring Dayo Okeniyi (The Hunger Games, Terminator: Genisys) – will be released via Video-On-Demand, streaming content providers and select Redbox kiosks throughout North America beginning in JUNE.  A brand-new full-length trailer and poster designs are now available for public consumption, while additional artwork AND exclusive clips will be released in the coming days and weeks leading up to the street date.

TRAILER:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YE9pRK6WBk

American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire – which was awarded “Goriest Scene of the Year” by Rue Morgue Magazine and nominated for Best Feature, Best Actor and Best Editing at the 8th Annual Shockfest Film Festival – will also be available on DVD on June 9th.  Bonus Features include 5.1 Surround Sound, Gag Reel and Audio Commentary by writer/director Flood Reed and seven cast members.  Pre-orders are currently available through Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/American-Backwoods-Hampshire-Dayo-Okeniyi/dp/B00RW5AFV0

In addition to rising talent Okeniyi, the ensemble cast also boasts the likes of underground horror maverick Michael Todd Schneider (August Underground’s Mordum), Jeremy Isabella (Ghoul), French television actress Gaya Verneuil and a whole slew of majestically bearded actors.

American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire has not been rated, but is intended for mature audiences due to graphic violence, profanity, nudity and sexual content.

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/slewhampshire
Twitter:  @SlewHampshire

Cannibal Ferox

Directed By: Umberto Lenzi

Starring: John Morgan, Lorraine De Selle, Danilo Mattei, Robert Kerman, Walter Lucchini, Zora Kerova

Subgenre: Cannibals, Exploitation

Synopsis:  While attempting to discount the existence of cannibalism, a research party encounters drug dealers and a native tribe in the jungle.

Thoughts: The cannibal genre was in its heyday in the late 70s and early 80s.  Italian film makers were turning stomachs left and right with journeys into the depths of the jungle.  I’m no expert on the genre, but I’ve seen a handful of the movies.  Some are better than others, but for the most part, they follow the same path.  Arrogant Americans travel into the jungle for various reasons and are responsible for atrocities against the native tribes, which also happen to be cannibals.  A vicious form of vengeance involving severed body parts ensues.  It’s a great recipe to showcase some pretty nasty effects, and Cannibal Ferox does just that.  One thing that I have never fully understood about cannibal movies, is the need to feature the butchering of animals.  I’ve been around animals my whole life, so butchering one isn’t something that bothers me, I just don’t see what it has to do with the storyline.  It’s almost as if it is there up the gore factor and further turn stomachs.  It takes away from the storyline for me, but it is a trademark of the genre.

Most Cannibal movies feature a cast that the crowd is supposed to despise.  More often than not, they are not innocent victims.  Cannibal Ferox is no different.  What is a little different, however, is that they entire group isn’t totally reprehensible.  There are a few recognizable exploitation faces in Cannibal Ferox, including Lorraine De Selle (House at the Edge of the Park) and Zora Kerova (Anthropophagus and New York Ripper.) Playing a familiar role as the lead scumbag is Giovanni Lombardo Radice, who has been in a handful of Italian exploitation flicks such as City of the Living Dead, Cannibal Apocalypse and House on the Edge of the Park.  Overall, the cast comes together really well.

Umberto Lenzi fits the description of cult director to a tee and wears that description like a badge of honor.  His movies have run the gamut of b movies, including cannibals, zombies, gialli, westerns, sword and sandal epics, action movies, and everything in between.  While his movies may not always be impressive, his zeal to make movies is.  While I haven’t seen anywhere close to Lenzi’s filmography, he seems to make technically sound movies.  The FX in Cannibal Ferox are better than you would expect in a B movie, and are really a differentiator when comparing this to other splatter flicks.

Like many of its brethren, the gore and the on screen animal deaths landed Cannibal Ferox on the infamous Video Nasty list that so many of us use as a checklist for 70s and 80s exploitation movies.  It wasn’t until the 90s that it was available uncut here in the US, but it is pretty easy to find now days.  If this genre is your thing, this is worth checking out.  It stands a little behind Cannibal Holocaust, which is widely considered the benchmark for the genre, but it is a close second from what I have seen.

Piranha 3D (2010)

Directed By: Alexandre Aja

Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Jerry O’Connell, Ving Rhames, Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Lloyd, Steven McQueen, Kelly Brook

Subgenre: Creature Feature

Synopsis: A school of prehistoric piranha infests a lake during spring break.

Thoughts: I’ve said it before, but you can’t disqualify a movie just because it is a remake before seeing it.  A movie like Piranha was a good target for a remake, but here’s the thing, other than the title, there is little in common between the 1978 version and this one.  I can easily enjoy both the original and Aja’s vision.

Alexandre Aja is a name most horror fans know, as he brought us the brutal Haute Tension and the equally brutal The Hills Have Eyes remake.  I think he stumbled a bit with Mirrors, but that was still pretty decent.  Piranha is definitely campier than his other work, but his penchant for gore shines through.

There is a surprisingly strong cast here as well, with such names as Elisabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Jerry O’Connell and a great cameo by Richard Dreyfuss.  The story is nothing to exciting, but is still done well, even if it serves as a vehicle for the gore and gratuitous nudity.

Piranha 3D is a fun movie, which seems odd with all the gore in it, but it really is.  If you go into it looking to have fun, I think you will enjoy it, I know I did.

Doghouse (2009)

Directed By: Jake West 

Starring: Stephen Graham, Danny Dyer, Noel Clarke, Lee Ingleby, Keith-Lee Castle, Emil Marwa, Neil Maskell, Terry Stone, Christina Cole, Mary Tamm

Subgenre: Horror-Comedy

Synopsis: A group of friends decide to head to a remote town to get away from their “women-troubles” and drink the weekend away.  Once they get to this remote village, they realize that their troubles are just beginning.  It appears if all the men in the village are dead and the women are all infected with some sort of virus that turns them into bloodthirsty killers.

Thoughts: I am the first to admit that British humor isn’t always for everyone, but for the most part, I “get it.”  Doghouse lays on the jokes pretty thick, taking its lead from Shaun of the Dead, but it works for the most part.  It was a nice little departure from the daily grind, not mentally taxing or depressing.

What stood out to me here are not really the guys on the trip, but the individual women that they encounter.  In these sorts of movies, the enemy, whether they are cannibals, zombies or some infected pseudo-zombies, seem to be rather generic.  Occasionally there are exceptions (Bud for one), but they are usually random nasty creatures.  Here each woman is very different, even stereotyped, but it just worked for me.  The hair stylist goes after the guys with scissors, there is a dentist using her tools for a more nefarious purpose and so on.  Each possessed woman is very different.  Their movements and facial appearance owe a lot to Sam Raimi and The Evil Dead movies as well.

Where I thought the movie lost a little steam was when the group made it into the church and discovered the military operation.  The possessed women subsequently advance to level 2 (is this a video game?) and are stronger, faster and tougher to defeat.  I started to lose some interest at this point, wondering when the movie would end.

Thankfully, there were some pretty funny moments soon after that pulled my back in.  The guys oblivious friend finally shows up and provides some comedic relief.  Doghouse is very much in the same vein as Evil Dead or Dead Alive, but not in the same league.  I would think if you liked something like Dead and Breakfast, you would like this.

 

Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl (2009)

Directed By: Yoshihiro Nishimura

Starring: Yukie Kawamura, Eri Otoguro, Takumi Saito, Eihi Shiina, Takashi Shimizu, Sayaka Kametani

Subgenre: Gore & Shock

Synopsis: When Monami, a vampire, starts attending High School, it starts off a feud between her and Keiko.  Keiko’s father is a science teacher who moonlights as a mad scientist, experimenting on students in the hopes of learning the secrets of reanimation.  When he gets his hands on a drop of Monami’s blood, his experiments reach a new level.  Gallons of blood and severed body parts aplenty fill the screen for the rest of the movie.

Thoughts: Wow, just wow.  Those familiar with Nishimura’s work on Tokyo Gore Police should have an idea of what they are getting themselves into here, but it is still one wild ride.  The gore is so over the top and the sheer amount of blood on screen removes any tension, and makes this laughable at times, much live Dead Alive.

There are some crazy aspects to the movie, but one of the oddest parts for me was the wrist cutting.  This was also a theme present in TGP, so it obviously interests Nishimura, but it is just a foreign concept to me.  This is far from the only crazy shit you will see in this movie though, just something I picked out.

I really appreciated the cinematography though and think Nishimura has one hell of an eye behind the camera.  I am not sure how long he can stretch his career with these explosive gore movies, but I would love to see him film something toned down a bit.  Not too much though, just maybe a notch or two.

I thought the finale dragged on a bit, and the final showdown was a bit of a letdown, perhaps I had been desensitized by the time the ending rolled around.  Overall this is a crazy flick but can be hard to follow at times.  Personally, I like Tokyo Gore Police more.