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Curtis Harrington took an assignment nobody else would and fashioned a gem of low-budget Sci-Fi. A Russian space epic provides expensive-looking special effects scenes for a new horror show about a deadly alien rescued from a crash landing on Mars. The extras include excellent interviews with Roger Corman and effects specialist / historian Robert Skotak.
Queen of Blood Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1966 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 80 min. / Street Date December 1, 2015 / 29.95 Starring John Saxon, Basil Rathbone, Florence Marly, Judi Meredith, Dennis Hopper, Robert Boon, Don Eitner, Forrest J Ackerman. Cinematography Vilis Lapenieks Film Editor Leo Shreve Original Music Ronald Stein Written by Curtis Harrington from the Soviet film Mechte navstrechu Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff, George Edwards Directed by Curtis Harrington
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
A.I.P. released some tacky movies in its day but none were less respected than those cobbled together from foreign imports spiked with new filmed-in-Hollywood storylines. »
- Glenn Erickson
Stars: Jill Haworth, Bryant Haliday, Dennis Price, George Coulouris, Anna Palk, William Lucas, Anthony Valentine, Jack Watson, Derek Fowlds, Derek Fowlds, Gary Hamilton, Candace Glendenning, Dennis Price, Robin Askwith, Seretta Wilson | Written by Jim O’Connolly, George Baxt | Directed by Jim O’Connolly
Set in deserted lighthouse on fog-shrouded Snape Island, the terror of the Tower of Evil begins when a nude, crazed woman slaughters a sailor who visits the island. When she is taken back to civilization, she is found to possess an ancient relic; and so the authorities mount an expedition to solve a mysterious series of psycho-sexual murders…
I distinctly remember the very first time I saw Tower of Evil, it was on British TV – around the same time as the classic BBC 2 Horror double bills, so around 1993-95 – and, as someone who equated British horror with the likes of Amicus and Hammer, seeing the gloriously »
- Phil Wheat
Article by Jim Batts, Dana Jung, and Tom Stockman
No other actor in the long history of horror has been so closely identified with the genre as Boris Karloff, yet he was as famous for his gentle heart and kindness as he was for his screen persona. William Henry Pratt was born on November 23, 1887, in Camberwell, London, England. He studied at London University in anticipation of a diplomatic career; however, he moved to Canada in 1909 and joined a theater company where he was bit by the acting bug. It was there that he adopted the stage name of “Boris Karloff.” He toured back and forth across the USA for over ten years in a variety of low-budget Theater shows and eventually ended up in Hollywood. Needing cash to support himself, Karloff landed roles in silent films making his on-screen debut in Chapter 2 of the 1919 serial The Masked Rider. His big »
- Movie Geeks
Stars: Michael Sopkiw, Valentina Forte, George Eastman, Stefano Mingardo, Ottaviano Dell’Acqua, Massimo Vanni, Elizabeth Forbes, Carl Savage, Michele Soavi, George Williams | Written by Luca De Rita, Massimo De Rita, Morando Morandini Jr., Dardano Sacchetti | Directed by Lamberto Bava
Number four in 88 Films Italian Collection, Blastfighter is one of those movies that, at least amongst cult movie fans, has gained legendary status, even for those that have never so much as seen the film! This is the type of action flick that fans of the genre hail as the pinnacle of insane, over the top, no-holds-barred Rambo/Deliverance knock-offs – for that is obviously where this film takes its inspiration. But this is backwoods-style vigilante justice with an Italian twist of course! Which is undoubtedly why the film has gained such a cult status.
- Phil Wheat
The “golden age” of Italian horror films passed decades ago, but that doesn’t mean the “master of the macabre” Mario Bava is long forgotten. Bava’s films, like “Black Sunday” and “Kill, Baby, Kill,” have inspired generations of horror buffs (and musicians, notably Ozzy Osbourne) to immerse themselves in gore and fanaticism. Not unlike Guillermo Del Toro, Bava was notably meticulous with respect to every aspect of filmmaking. Read More: The 25 Best Horror Films of the Century So Far Frame by Frame has concocted a new short video essay on the parallels between Del Toro and Bava; the video explores the paradigms Bava executed on each of his productions and how Del Toro makes homages as such, specifically in his newest film “Crimson Peak.” Bava’s use of contrast in color, building his own sets, and scrupulously faithful period pieces are three undeniable hallmarks of his filmmaking, all of »
- Samantha Vacca
While many general moviegoers are skeptical of the horror genre’s past/future, I see no need for panic. Mainstream horror seems to be shambling along aimlessly, as studios churn out an endless heap of assembly-line-produced procedurals based on some type of existing property (sequels, reboots, game-based movies), but the horror genre is alive and thriving if you know where to look.
Y’all can argue about the meaning of Deathwave until you turn blue in the face, whether you hate the term or dig it, because despite classification qualms, there’s no denying an influx of horror movies with substance, vitality, and an all-encompassing cinematic meatiness. Alas, these titles are certainly much harder to find than big-budget remakes, and while a few stumble onto Netflix’s streaming catalog out of blind luck, general horror audiences rarely discover a movie like Stitches until years later.
That’s where a new »
- Matt Donato
Arrow Video has unveiled their amazing February 2016 slate, and TwitchFilm HQ is salivating over the amazing collection of releases coming to both sides of the Atlantic.Since Arrow Video opened up shop in the U.S., they've increased the number of monthly releases as well as presenting some amazing exclusive treats for both the British and American customers. Next February sees British home video fans getting a brand new edition of Miike Takashi's breakout hit Audition on Blu-ray, as well as Plasmatics' Wendy O. Williams vehicle Reform School Girls (DVD only), Mario Bava's Five Dolls for an August Moon (already on Us Blu-ray from Kino Lorber), and a plain Jane reissue of the gorgeously terrifying original Hellraiser trilogy. On Us shores, we'll see an exclusive Blu-ray release...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Here are a bunch of little bites to satisfy your hunger for movie culture: Movie Analysis of the Day: The Onion's review of Spectre argues that it's a movie about an alcoholic named James Bond (Daniel Craig) and his sponsor, played by Christoph Waltz: Movie Parody of the Day: Speaking of James Bond, the character's inability to not wreck beautiful cars he's driving is satirized in the following sketch from Daniel Craig's recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (via /Film): Movie Influencer of the Day: Mario Bava gets the spotlight in this video essay from The Film Theorists on how he influenced Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak: Vintage Image of the Day: Screenwriter Melissa Mathison...
- Christopher Campbell
Special Mention: The Most Dangerous Game
Written by James Creelman
Genre: Survival Horror
The first of many official and unofficial screen versions of Richard Connell’s short story of the same name, The Most Dangerous Game was made in 1932, in the era known as “Pre-Code Hollywood,” a time when filmmakers were able to get away with sexual innuendo, illegal drug use, adultery, abortion, intense violence, homosexuality, and much more. It was during this time that a film like The Most Dangerous Game was allowed to be made and shown to the general public without fear of censorship. The film was put together by producer Willis O’Brien while in pre-production on King Kong, and features several of the same cast and crew members, as well as props and sets from Kong. Despite these obvious cost-cutting measures, Dangerous Game never feels like a second-rate production, »
- Ricky Fernandes
Special Mention: The Last Wave
Directed by Peter Weir
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Peter Weir follows up on his critically acclaimed masterpiece Picnic at Hanging Rock with this visually striking and totally engrossing surrealist psychological thriller. Much like Picnic, The Last Wave is built around a mystery that may have a supernatural explanation. And like many Peter Weir movies, The Last Wave explores the conflict between two radically different cultures- in this case, that of Aboriginal Australians and the white Europeans.
It is about a white lawyer, David Burton (Richard Chamberlain), whose seemingly normal life is rattled after he takes on a pro bono legal aid case to defend a group of Aborigines from a murder charge in Sydney. The mystery within the mystery surrounding »
- Ricky Fernandes
David Cronenberg swaps his venereal ick-monsters for Samantha Eggar's mater furiosa, an annihilating female who commits her killings as would the villain of a Greek tragedy -- through her offspring. Oliver Reed is the new-age guru of 'Psychoplasmics,' who teaches Eggar to direct her rage in an utterly unique way. The disturbing concept sounds less preposterous when one finds out it was written in response to a brutal divorce experience. Hell hath no fury. The Brood Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 777 1979 / Color / 1:78 widescreen / 92 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date October 13, 2015 / 39.95 Starring Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle, Henry Beckman, Nuala Fitzgerald, Cindy Hinds, Susan Hogan, Gary McKeehan, Michael Magee, Robert Silverman, Felix Silla. Cinematography Mark Irwin Film Editor Alan Collins Original Music Howard Shore Special Makeup Jack Young, Dennis Pike Art Direction Carol Spier Produced by Claude Héroux Written and Directed by David Cronenberg
Reviewed by »
- Glenn Erickson
Special Mention: Dressed To Kill
Directed by Brian De Palma
Written by Brian De Palma
Brian De Palma’s films, like Tarantino’s, are a cinematic mash-up of influences from the past, and in De Palma case he borrows heavily from Alfred Hitchcock. Obsession is De Palma’s Vertigo, Blow Out his Rear Window, and with Dressed to Kill the director set its sights on Psycho. Dressed To Kill is more thriller than horror but what a stylish and twisted thriller it is! The highlight here is an amazing ten-minute chase sequence set in an art gallery and conducted entirely without dialogue. There are a number of other well-sustained set pieces including a race in the subway system and even, yes, a gratuitous shower murder sequence. Dressed To Kill features an excellent cast (Michael Caine, Nancy Allen, Angie Dickinson), a superb score (courtesy of Pino Donaggio) and »
- Ricky Fernandes
What is it about foreign horror films that makes them more interesting than so many English language horror films? You would have to think that the language barrier makes it more terrifying; people screaming is already difficult, but speaking a language you don’t understand can only make it worse. So, why are the remakes typically so bad? On this portion of the list, we are treated to a few of the more upsetting films in the canon – one movie I wouldn’t wish for anyone to see, a few that blazed the trail for many more, and one that I would elevate above the horror genre into its own little super-genre.
30. Janghwa, Hongryeon (2003)
English Title: A Tale of Two Sisters
Directed by: Kim Ji-woon
Another excellent Korean horror film America had to remake to lesser results. 2003’s A Tale of Two Sisters is just one of many film adaptations of the folktale, »
- Joshua Gaul
English language film has long been a place for some of the greatest horror film directors of all time. All the way back to Alfred Hitchcock, we have seen the genre grow and develop sub-genres, thanks to the public’s ongoing thirst for fear and the possibility of danger around every turn. But, for every Saw or Hostel or terrible remake of classic English-language horror films, there are inventive, terrifying films made somewhere else that inspire and even outdo many of our best Western world horror films. This list will count down the fifty definitive horror films with a main language that isn’t English; some may have some English-language parts in them, but they are, for the most part, foreign. Enlighten yourself. Broaden your horizons. People can get murdered and tortured in every language.
50. Kuroneko (1968)
English Title: Black Cat
Directed by: Kaneto Shindo
- Joshua Gaul
HitFix's Ultimate Horror Movie Poll, which highlights the 100 greatest horror films of all time as voted on by over 100 genre filmmakers and experts, not only showcased the enduring power of No. 1 finisher "The Exorcist," it also cemented the status of the '70s and '80s as a Golden Age of horror (films released during those decades took up nearly half of available slots). The '70s and '80s, incidentally, saw the artistic rise and mainstream breakthroughs of both Wes Craven and David Cronenberg, horror icons who placed more films in the Top 100 than any other director (four titles each). Meanwhile, the list revealed one undeniably bleak statistic: only one movie in the Top 100 was directed by a woman. For me, the most gratifying moment of our Ultimate Horror Poll came when compiling the data was finally over, and I could take a step back and fully appreciate, as a reader, »
- Chris Eggertsen
Special Mention: Clean, Shaven
Directed by Lodge H. Kerrigan
Screenplay by Lodge H. Kerrigan
Genre: Crime / Psychological Thriller
Lodge H. Kerrigan’s Clean, Shaven is not an easy film to watch. Kerrigan, who wrote, produced and directed this unsettling psychological thriller, traps us inside the mind of a madman for the entire viewing experience. Peter Winter (Peter Greene) appears to be a killer–even worse, a child killer–but not much about him is objectively clear, and we are never sure if what we are seeing is real or a product of his tormented imagination. The film heightens the tension by restricting its focus to Peter’s unsettling, confused, and angry view of the world. The most gruesome violence inflicted on Peter comes by his own hand. In the most unforgettable scene, Peter slowly mutilates his body in order to remove what he believes are a receiver in his »
- Ricky Fernandes
With the impossibly fun Tales of Halloween now in wide release, it seems like as good a time as any to dig deep into one of my favorite subgenres of horror: the anthology film. From Tales from the Crypt to Tales from the Darkside to Tales from the Hood, the horror anthology offers something for everyone. And apparently that something is “tales.”
In speaking with most of the directors from Tales of Halloween, there was consensus in their feelings about what makes for a great anthology film: singularity of vision and consistency of quality. Both can be difficult to achieve, as the format practically dictates that some segments be stronger than others or express a different voice. But when an anthology can achieve even one of those things, there’s the potential for real horror movie magic.
- Patrick Bromley
What makes a Ghost Story scary? This classic was almost too artistic for the Japanese. Masaki Kobayashi's four stories of terror work their spells through intensely beautiful images -- weirdly painted skies, strange mists -- and a Toru Takemitsu audio track that incorporates strange sounds as spooky musical punctuation. Viewers never forget the Woman of the Snow, or the faithful Hoichi the Earless. Finally restored to its full three-hour length. Kwaidan Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 90 1964 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 183 161, 125 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date October 20, 2015 / 39.95 Starring Michiyo Aratama, Rentaro Mikuni; Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiko Kishi; Katsuo Nakamura, Tetsurao Tanba, Takashi Shimura; Osamu Takizawa. Cinematography Yoshio Miyajima Film Editor Hisashi Sagara Art Direction Shigemasa Toda Set Decoration Dai Arakawa Costumes Masahiro Kato Original Music Toru Takemitsu Written by Yoko Mizuki from stories collected by Kiozumi Yakumo (Lafcadio Hearn) Produced by Shigeru Wakatsuki Directed by Masaki Kobayashi
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson »
- Glenn Erickson
Special Mention: Misery
Directed by Rob Reiner
Screenplay by William Goldman
Elevated by standout performances from James Caan and Kathy Bates, Misery remains one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date. Director Rob Reiner is clearly more interested in the dark humour and humanity than the gory detail in King’s novel, but make no mistake about it, Misery is a tough watch soaked in sharp dialogue, a brooding atmosphere, and disturbing bodily harm inflicted on James Caan by sweet old Kathy Bates. I can still feel his pain.
129. Black Sabbath (Three Faces of Fear)
Italy 1960 / Italy 1963
Genre: Horror Anthology
- Ricky Fernandes
We open today's roundup with reports on current projects by directors who've taken opposite approaches, Steven Soderbergh and Ilya Khrzhanovsky. Plus Hou Hsiao-hsien on The Assassin, Jennifer Lawrence on fairness, a new book on Marlene Dietrich and Leni Riefenstahl, another on Paul Wegener, reviews of Vincente Minnelli's Some Came Running, David Cronenberg's The Brood, Mario Bava's Black Sabbath and Bay of Blood, Karel Reisz’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Karina Longworth on William Haines, further thoughts on the late Chantal Akerman—and more. » - David Hudson »
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