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Full of stereotypes, but decent...
Attention, this time the threat is genetically modified and made aggressive and ravenous bats! But what a praiseworthy waste of originality! "Bats" places itself in the interminable wake of countless movies based on the fear that comes from the animal world, and in particular in that subgenre (so filled with terribly awful movies!) with genetically modified creatures as protagonists. Nevertheless it maintains itself at least on a level of minimal decency, after all it is not that good but there is plenty of worse movies! If not some thrill, at least there's some atmosphere, and for the rest we are in the usual standard of catastrophic flicks, with all their already-seen stereotypes, but the special effects are acceptable.
Definitely not a masterpiece, but still interesting
Interesting, although not completely well-made, example of the Italian supernatural thriller, "L'assassino ha riservato nove poltrone" is a movie that suffers from a lot of shortcomings, but still it moves and after all convinces the spectator. It has to its credit the well-built atmosphere of discomfort and psychological perversion, the good art direction and the costumes. The script suffers from a lot of holes and clear improbabilities, but still it can hold the spectator's breath with a plot that is quite original, although the spooky theater under a curse is a fairly recurrent element in the tradition of Italian horror (I remember Renato Polselli's "Il mostro dell'Opera", Michele Soavi's "Deliria", as well as the well known "Opera" and "Il fantasma dell'Opera", directed by Dario Argento). Apart from this, there's a good dose of pleasant and sexy female nudes and the usual lesbian background to whom no Italian thriller can renounce. Taking everything into consideration, I can say this is a quite good movie, charmingly rough in the development of the plot, in the direction and in the acting (all the actors are habitué of the popular genres of Italian cinema), but it's also an interesting and amusing movie you can enjoy.
Good old French tele-romance
Showed on TV for the first time in 1965, the mystery "Belphégor, ou La fantôme du Louvre" was immediately a great success, becoming a very important landmark in the history of television. This success still lives on, in spite of the forty years of age and the numerous replies, and in spite of the trash TV that lately reigns, undisputed (lately we have witnessed to a revival of the tele-romance, with a lot of remakes and adaptations of famous novels, but from the artistic point of view the results are very poor). This is one of those tele-romances that nostalgically are defined as "oldies"; it's a real pillar of the television language, a movie that made millions of members of the audience hold their breaths. The plot is widely known and takes us to an elegant and mysterious Paris, where, among murders, apparitions and alchemy, we feel the sensation of an obscure supernatural menace, that will dissolve realistically in the end. The interpretation of the exquisitely beautiful Juliette Greco and the kitsch, refined, elegant and nervous atmosphere of Paris, in particular of the magic interiors full of history and mysteries of the Louvre (effective co-protagonist), remain unforgettable. In 2001 a remake has been made, but it is a horror movie, not a mystery. It's a good flick, although naturally worse than the original.
Interesting "psycho" version of "Jaws"
Again, terror comes from the water, but don't let you be fooled, there's nothing that can be taken for granted in this eccentric Dutch horror flick. This is the third movie directed by Dick Maas, one of the most successful directors of the little known Dutch cinema, after the lucky "De Lift" (1983), awarded at the Avoriaz festival. "Amsterdamned" is a thrilling slasher that's almost a "psycho" version of the famous "Jaws", from which ironically borrows the famous scenes with subjective camera technique, underwater and on the surface. With his effective visual talent, Dick Maas (who wrote the script and composed the soundtrack, too), films a fascinating and putrescent Amsterdam, with its muddy canals and its magnificent settings. Apart from the inventions of Dick Maas' direction, the script, never banal and full of turning points, that always avoids to sink in "already seen" things, the credible acting by all the members of the cast, the excellent make-up of the disfigured maniac, shrewdly showed only in the end, are praiseworthy. This is entertainment cinema at his best. You must see it!
Bowery at Midnight (1942)
Pointless... poor Bela Lugosi!
Between 1941 and 1944 Bela Lugosi, exhausted star already in decline, acted in nine Monogram movies: insignificant products, which find in the presence of the ex-celebrity their only reason of existence. Wallace Fox directs him in two movies, both of them made in 1942: Bowery at Midnight and The Corpse Vanishes. Bowery at Midnight is an absolutely pointless mystery, a mess without rhyme or reason. The plot is a commonplace, so full of stereotypes and already heard sentences that it seems to be in front of an unintentional parody. Actors are absolutely inconsistent, the direction is totally wrong, without any novelty. I feel sorry for Bela Lugosi, forced to act in a movie like this! However, Bowery at Midnight remains a rarity, a small curiosity, a document of the decline of a star. But I must recommend it only to die-hard vintage horror fans!
Dead Again (1991)
After his brilliant début as a director with Henry V, director and actor Kenneth Branagh measures himself with mystery, in a good movie in which the mystery plot is combined with supernatural elements. Everything is particularly well-made: the scenographic expedients, the photography (color in the part set in 1988, denatured color in the part set in 1948, in which the amnesiac woman remembers the events of the crime), the unusually sober interpretation of Kenneth Branagh and those intense and plain of Emma Thompson, who was his wife at the time. Also the characterizations of the secondary characters are particularly well-made. This is a movie that's extremely turgid and abounding, not only visually, but also because of the numerous themes it deal with and the intricate plot. In conclusion, it works very well.
The Addiction (1995)
Flawless... one of the best horror movies of all times!
The Addiction is an absolutely perfect movie, the opus #10 of the great Abel Ferrara. Starting with a narrative material that's decidedly pulp, but ennobled by numerous philosophical quotations that are an expert miscellanea of the negative thought of the Eighteenth and Twentieth centuries, the director and his writer Nicholas St. John have built an anguished and tormented interrogation about the presence of the Evil in the world, a movie that instills a real sensation of anxiety and painful participation. Here the myth of vampirism is distorted and re-elaborated in a modern way as a metaphor of the addiction, and in particular of the only addiction that's common to every human being: the addiction to evil. The main character comes to the conclusion that humanity is only attracted by sin and cruelty, but the end opens to a way of redemption that comes from the understanding and acceptance of her own condition. Everything is magnificently supported by an exceptional visual apparatus, by a black and white photography inspired by the atmosphere of the expressionism and of the American noirs of the Forties, and by an extremely convincing cast. In conclusion, this is a strange, deeply disturbing movie, that maybe can be judged as dirty, realistic and iper-realistic at the same time in its personal and expressionist poetic of horror, it's a movie about pain, loneliness, addiction, contagion, incommunicability and death, and it's surely one of the most mature examples of horror cinema.
Anémic cinéma (1926)
Short Dada experiment
This is the only film directed by French artist Marcel Duchamp, whose name is associated with the Dada and Surrealism movements (who doesn't remember the urinal exhibited with the title "Fountain"?). As other similar avantgarde works made by Man Ray, Hans Richter or Fernand Léger, there's not a plot, only moving shapes and objects, in an attempt to deny the vision of art as contemplation and ecstasy. All we see here is only wheeling spirals and disks in which we can read sentences that apparently have nothing to do with the film. So it's impossible to comment this short the way you can comment any other non-avantgarde movies. It's Dada. It's strange. It's incomprehensible and also a bit monotonous, but we can forgive the genius Man Ray for this.