6 items from 2015
Written and directed by Ishirô Honda
Ishiro Honda’s grim, black-and-white post-Hiroshima nightmare stands the test of time. This allegory for the devastation wrought on Japan by the atomic bomb is quite simply a powerful statement about mankind’s insistence to continue to destroy everyone and everything the surrounds us. With just one shot (a single pan across the ruins of Tokyo), Honda manages to express the devastation that Godzilla represents. Since its debut, Godzilla has become a worldwide cultural icon, but very little is said about actor Takashi Shimura, who adds great depth as Dr. Yamane; his performance is stunning. Special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya originally wanted to use classic stop-motion animation to portray Godzilla, but time and budget limitations forced him to dress actors up in monster suits. Despite this minor setback, Tsuburaya’s scale sets of Tokyo are crafted with such great attention to detail, »
- Ricky Fernandes
As a kid growing up in the 80s there were only a handful of women who, at least for this young horror fan, could sell a film on their name alone. For T&A terror it was the likes of Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer and Linnea Quigley; but for the real stuff, the truly horrorfying movies it was Barbara Crampton. To this day I will watch any film to which her name is attached, he presence in a movie, especially a horror movie, always elevates the production. Which is why We Are Still Here was pretty much a given at this years Frightfest!
But it’s not just the presence of Crampton that attracted me to this particular slice of New England horror.
- Phil Wheat
From its chilly opening sequences and impressive title unveil, Ted Geoghegan’s slim yet sturdy debut We Are Still Here belongs to a contemporary tradition of filmmakers directly referencing vintage masters from the annals of horror cinema. Unlike the hybridization occurring in the works of recent indie filmmakers like Ti West or Adam Wingard, Geoghegan denies his film the same sense of increasing self-awareness, though a sense of the ludicrous certainly remains intact. Fashioning the film after giallo master Lucio Fulci’s 1981 classic The House by the Cemetery, Geoghegan assembles an impressive cast of notables. But those unfamiliar with either the source inspiration or the reputation of the principal players may find the narrative too routine, dressed up as it is with a title befitting of a Joyce Carol Oates saga.
- Nicholas Bell
Some of the best and surprising films, not just in horror but all genres, are the ones that sneak up on you and catch you off guard. To be more specific, small films that seemingly come out of nowhere, without warning, and despite their having an otherwise mild-mannered appearance, turn out to have quite a surprising impact.
Written and directed by Ted Geoghagan, We Are Still Here is one of these little modestly made films that speak quietly but carry a big stick. Wash, as I will refer to it from here on out, is a superbly made film that does not strike you as such upon the first viewing. Instead, its a film that nags at you and eats away at your mind after the viewing has ended. For myself, I came away from my initial viewing thinking only mediocre thoughts of its content, but as I soon realized, »
- Travis Keune
Directed by Lucio Fulci
While he may not have the name recognition of George Romero or Wes Craven, Lucio Fulci has had a singular impact on the horror genre. And though his work doesn’t lend itself to the sort of pop culture familiarity that unites these and other more mainstream horror directors, what he did best within the genre, he did as well as any other filmmaker. His was a down and dirty horror: grisly, textured, elaborate, graphic. And arguably his finest achievement, certainly one that perfectly showcases his style and skill, is The Beyond (1981), out now on an extensive 3-disc collectors edition Blu-ray.
The Beyond begins in 1927 Louisiana, where the basic premise of portentous evil lurking near seven doors to hell is established. Upon one of those gateways sits an old gothic hotel, which in the present day, »
- Jeremy Carr
For the second to last week of March, genre fans have a lot to look forward to as there are a ton of titles making their home entertainment debut this Tuesday. Image Entertainment is releasing Digging Up the Marrow, the latest from filmmaker Adam Green, on both Blu-ray and DVD and Grindhouse Releasing is doing the dark lord’s work with their stunning 3-Disc Collector’s Edition of Lucio Fulci’s cult classic, The Beyond. Wild Eye Releasing also has several films being released on March 24th and Shout Factory has another great Mystery Science Theater 3000 box set coming out as well.
The Beyond: 3-Disc Collector’s Edition (Grindhouse Releasing, Blu-ray)
The seven dreaded gateways to hell are concealed in seven cursed places... And on the day the gates of hell are opened, the dead will walk the earth! From legendary Italian horror master Lucio Fulci comes the ultimate classic of supernatural terror. »
- Heather Wixson
6 items from 2015
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