This chilling tale recounts the late 70's in New York City, when a serial killer on the loose dubbed "Son of Sam" creates havoc. When arrested, "Son of Sam" tells police he was influenced ... See full summary »
A group of students, with a "female tough guy" named Karcharias (Shark) as its leader, has fun every day playing tricks and going about putting on shows of affection. All these pranks, of ... See full summary »
Destn (Tom Sullivan) is the leader of a rock band on the brink of super-stardom. Until now they have juggled their music career with cocaine smuggling. The musicians, and their manager Raf ... See full summary »
Breaks through to uncharted horror movie territory
Robert Pickton, the infamous Canadian pig farmer who killed Vancouver prostitutes and ground them into hamburger, gets an interesting and very different - but very well-done - low-budget horror movie treatment from iconic thriller director Ulli Lommel. The bloody details of Pickton's treatment of his female victims is eschewed in favor of a carefully designed character study of the serial killer. The sadistic suspense and horror scenes are there, and the actors perform well, but the movie's design is new and different, signaling, at times, a fresh update of the "cult of personality" horror tale. This type of story was best represented by Robert Aldrich, Curtis Harrington, and Alfred Hitchcock in numerous classic thrillers, especially in the Aldrich films, "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" and "Hugh Hush Sweet Charlotte"
two films that capitalized on characters caught in a way of life and
attitude that brings on horror and tragedy - and Hitchcock's "Psycho." The cult of personality movie places character and motivation at the center of the horror, and does not allow more clichéd shocker elements (unwarranted or intrusive gore and sex, for example) to set the tone. Under these conditions, the Pickton movie relies heavily upon characterization to make its points. Curtis Graan as the Pickton character underplays the man's insanity and contrasts his violent tendencies with what comes off as a "pleasant" serial killer personality. It is a characterization that mixes two notions of the classic movie psychopath -- the renegade, out-of-control maniac and the soft-spoken Norman Bates type. The combination is frightening and creepy but, also, makes something interesting out of Pickton's motivations. This point is made in the final sequences of the movie, in which the Pickton character suddenly recognizes his lost humanity. As a true-crime vehicle, this movie is not a clinical recap of Pickton's murder spree. Instead, it dwells on the *why* of a man who would put himself through the ordeal of murdering dozens of women. The movie's theme centers on a horrible killer who, in the end, just cannot successfully embrace or love anything or anyone (in an early scene, his attempts to hug one of his victims is reduced to a pathetic mauling). Throughout this film, Lommel rewrites the rules of the cult-of-personality horror movie; replacing, for example, expository dialogs with strictly visual interpretations of how this killer's mind works. It is a remarkable effort, brought down slightly by a sparse budget and the occasional poor reading. Lommel, a long-time director of thrillers who has recently "returned to life" in a series of interesting horror movies, has with co-writer Jeff Frentzen decorated a somewhat slight true-crime-type thriller with an uncommon depth. Overall, the film seems willing to point a way out for horror movies, which are currently stuck in a terrible trend of rehashing 1970s motifs and remaking old-fashioned plots. It defies the trends. There are no black-eyed ghosts, no elaborately staged human dissections, no noisy cannibals on a rampage, just the inscrutable face of Graan as an ultimately sad character, unconnected to his own humanity, locked in a Hell of his own design.
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