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Main Entry: exclusion
Definition: expulsion; forbiddance
Synonyms: ban, bar, blackball, blockade, boycott, cut, debarment, debarring, discharge, dismissal, ejection, elimination, embargo, eviction, exception, excommunication, interdict, interdicting, interdiction, keeping out, lockout, nonadmission, occlusion, omission, ostracism, ousting, preclusion, prevention, prohibition, proscription, refusal, rejection, relegation, removal, repudiation, segregation, separation, suspension, veto
Antonyms: acceptance, addition, admittance, allowance, inclusion, incorporation, welcome
send to Coventry, to refuse to associate with; openly and pointedly ignore: His friends sent him to Coventry after he was court-martialed.
People from the music industry that I respect, idolize or just simply appreciate: Ennio Morricone, Amy McDonald, Daan, David Bowie, Therion, Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen, Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Joy Division, Bobby Darin, the Everly Brothers, Bobby Vinton, Gene Pitney, Herman's Hermits, The Hollies, The Animals, The Byrds, Donovan, Vargoth, Drudkh, Behemoth, Triggerfinger, Falkenbach, Finntroll, Einherjer, The Smiths, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, BB King, Ministry, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rufus Wainwright, The Allman Brothers Band, Johnny Cash, Paul Simon, Raymond Lefèvre, Children of Bodom, Volbeat, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Anathema, Velvet Underground, Norah Jones, Fatboy Slim, Moloko, Angelo Badalmenti, Sarah Brightman, Lady Antebellum, Enigma, Muse, Army of Lovers, Chris Isaak, Lesley Gore, Kasabian, Pearl Jam, dEUS, Mumford & Sons, The Subs, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Cuff the Duke, Pulp, Oscar and the Wolf,
People from the movie industry that I respect, idolize or just simply appreciate: John Saxon, Mario Bava, Joe D'Amato, George Eastman, Darren Lynn Bousman, Boris Karloff, Enzo G. Castellari, Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, Antonio Margheriti, Klaus Kinski, Lloyd Kaufman, James Gunn, Rob Zombie, Sid Haig, Matthew McGrory, Karen Black, Dennis Fimple, Irwin Keyes, Tom Towles, Bill Moseley, Wolfgang Petersen, Nicol Williamson, Fairuza Balk, Piper Laurie, Philippe Mora, Tom Holland, Ronny Cox, Lucio Fulci, Christopher George, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Catriona MacColl, Fabio Frizzi, Nicolas Cage, Todd Farmer, Tom Atkins, Paul Verhoeven, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer, Ray Wise, Stuart Gordon, H.P. Lovecraft, Jeffrey Combs, David Gale, Barbara Crampton, Fernando Di Leo, Joe Dallesandro, Terence Fisher, Anton Diffring, Hazel Court, Christopher Lee, Robert Stevenson, William Girdler, Rebecca De Mornay, Mako, Ti West, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel, David Carradine, Roger Corman, Adrian Hoven, Monte Hellman, Warren Oates, Harry Dean Stanton, Steve Railsback, Ed Begley Jr., Peter Fonda, Nathan Juran, Lionel Jeffries, James Glickenhaus, Ken Wahl, Joaquim de Almeida, Sam Peckinpah, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Ben Johnson, Edmond O'Brien, Kurt Raab, Helene Cattet & Bruno Forzani, Karl Freund, Peter Lorre, Colin Clive, William Lustig, Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, Tom Savini, Charles B. Pierce, Robert Wise, Fred Dekker, Fritz Lang, David Hemmings, Michael Ironside, Jan-Michael Vincent, Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Victor Buono, George Kennedy, Charles Bronson, Richard Fleischer, Elmore Leonard, Paul Koslo, Michael Winner, Brian Garfield, Lee Marvin, J. Lee Thompson, Riz Ortolani, Yul Brunner, Eli Wallach, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Steve McQueen, Michael Crichton, James Brolin, Mel Brooks, arry Cohen, Michael Moriarty, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Robin Hardy, Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough, Herbert Lom, Udo Kier, Michael Reeves, Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Dick Maas, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Paul Naschy, Paul Morrissey, Truman Capote, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, David Niven, Elsa Lanchester, Peter Sellers, Gene Wilder, Patrick McGoohan, Herb Freed, Richard Kiel, John Landis, Tim Curry, Simon Pegg, Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz, Dario Argento, Quentin Tarantino, Everett De Roche, Stacy Keach, Russell Mulcahy, Brian Trenchard-Smith, Donald Pleasence, George Peppard, Simon Wincer, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, Gary Sherman, Faith Domergue, Alexandre Aja, Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd, Eli Roth, Ishirô Honda, Greydon Clark, Cybill Shepherd, Neville Brand, Vincent Schiavelli, Martin Landau, Jack Palance, Alan Rudolph, Jonathan Demme, Pam Grier, Mark L. Lester, Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Kilpatrick, Don Dohler, Everett McGill, Corey Haim, Gary Busey, Jake Busey, Charlton Heston, Lorne Greene, Walter Matthau, Peter Bogdanovich, Woody Allen, John Milius, Franco Nero, Crispin Glover, Dennis Hopper, Dick Miller, Barbara Steele, Armando Crispino, Sergio Grieco, Helmut Berger, Lee Van Cleef, Robert Forster, John Huston, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., George Miller, Mel Gibson, Robert Rodriguez, George Hilton, Kane Hodder, Michael Madsen, Tony Todd, Nicolas Winding Refn, William Grefe, Cirio H. Santiago , Joe Dante, Don Coscarelli, Angus Schrimm, Tobe Hooper, Tiffany Shepis, Brad Dourif, George P. Cosmatos, John Boorman, Stephen Boyd, Tommy Lee Jones, Rod Steiger, Brian DePalma, Gunnar Hansen, George A. Romero, Simon Boyes, Adam Mason, Jack Arnold, M. Emmet Walsh, James Stewart, Darren McGavin, Kathleen Quinlan, Jack Lemmon, Robert Foxworth, Olivia De Havilland, Michael Pataki, Jerry Stiller, John Carradine, Julian Sands, Freddie Francis, Don Sharp, William Castle, Bill Rebane, John De Bello, Terry O'Quinn, Peter Sykes, Wes Craven, Michael Sarrazin, Lewis Teague, Yaphet Kotto, Sergio Stivaletti, John Phillip Law, Michele Soavi, Umberto Lenzi, Anna Falchi, Lon Chaney, Sergio Martino, Edwige Fenech, Ursula Andress, Michael Sopkiw, Edmund Purdom, Hal Yamanouchi, Barbara Bach, Cameron, Mitchell, Alberto De Martino, Ernesto Gastaldi, Maurizio Merli, John Steiner, Mel Ferrer, Barbara Bouchet, Marty Feldman, Tomas Milian, Bruno Mattei, Lamberto Bava, Luc Merenda, Anita Strindberg, Luigi Pistilli, Ivan Rassimov, Sergio Corbucci, Tito Carpi, David Warbeck, Luciano Pigozzi, Gianfranco Giagni, Florinda Balkan, Rosalba Neri, Mel Welles, Dagmar Lassander, Neil Jordan, Walter Huston, Ray Bradbury, Gregory Peck, Orson Welles, Bert I. Gordon, H.G. Wells, Ida Lupino, Kirk Douglas, David Lynch, Eddie Romero, Bela Lugosi, Al Adamson, Tor Johnson, Edward D. Wood Jr, David Cronenberg, Christopher Walken, Tom Skeritt, Martin Sheen, Dino De Laurentiis, James Wan,
Bag of Bones (2011)
Nearly three dull hours of skeletons in the closet
I should probably begin my review by stating that in my personal humble opinion - Stephen King is the most overrated & over-hyped individual on this planet. More than 30 years ago, the genre's best directors (De Palma, Kubrick, Carpenter, Hooper ) perhaps still managed to turn his best stories into good horror movies, but since then it only became unmistakably clear that his novels are lackluster and derivative of obscure and undiscovered gems. Then there's Mick Garris, who's simply the most pathetic and clueless fan-boy of the most overrated and over-hyped individual on this planet The only half- decent thing Garris ever did was gather together a bunch of horror director far more talented than himself and persuaded them to collaborate in the "Masters of Horror" project, but his own movies and then particularly his King adaptations are poor, redundant and dumb. "Bag of Bones" is probably a new low in both their careers. It's not so much that this film/mini-series is unwatchable or even terrible; it's just unbelievable mundane and unoriginal! "Bag of Bones" is just an incredibly irritating, nearly three hours (!) lasting spitfire of dreadful clichés, predictable twists and unsurprising revelations that wouldn't even impress viewers who've never seen a horror movies before in their lives! I'm 300% convinced that the novel never would have been published (and the TV-adaptation never produced) if it didn't have King's name and undeserved reputation linked to it. Any other writer undoubtedly would have been impolitely rejected if he/she presented a tale about traumatized writers, small towns with dark secrets and ongoing family curses. But hey, Stephen King wrote it so people will love it; right? Disgusting
Okay, so let's look at the fascinating plot
A novelist loses his beloved wife in a car accident and seeks for confinement in their cabin next to a lake in a remote little town. Oh please! He finds out that his wife was pregnant when she died even though he thought they couldn't have children. Yawn! His dead wife seeks supernatural contact with him via letter magnets on the fridge. Are you kidding me? He meets a beautiful woman that is much too young for his and stumbles upon an unsolved local mystery about black blues singer who vanished. Oh, how exciting! He confronts a few evil people and discovers that half of the townsfolk drowned their own kids in the lake because of a curse dating back to the 1930s. Double yawn
If you think the plot is counterfeit, wait until you see Garris' miserable attempts to frighten you! Literally dozens of fake and wannabe "jump" moments, like ghostly appearances in the bathtub, moving furniture and even an electrifying tree. As much as I like Pierce Brosnan, he's ridiculously miscast as protagonist Tom Noonan. He was nearly sixty when the film was shot, so why must he depict a role that was clearly written for a thirty-something actor? Melissa George looks yummy, but she's literally not much more than a piece of scenery. The villainous characters seemingly come straight out of "Scooby Doo" cartoon: an evil old man dressed in black and driving around in an automated wheelchair, a crazy lady that looks like a retired version of Anjelica Houston's Grand High Witch and a legal guardian who actually looks more like a child molester. What an unbelievably retarded movie
L'assassino... è al telefono (1972)
The Italian/Belgian Connection
There were five main reasons why "The Killer is on the Phone" stood on top of my watch list, and they all add up to each other! Number one: it's an Italian giallo! This perverted and violent type of whodunit-thriller is my favorite sub genre of horror and it's my personal mission to track down every single and most obscure installment ever made! Number two: it's an Italian giallo from the magical year 1972! They heyday of my favorite sub genre was relatively short, give or take from the mid-sixties to the mid- seventies, but the early seventies were the best years and 1972 in particular with too many brilliant gialli to list ("What have you done to Solange?", "Don't Torture a Duckling", "Who Saw Her Die?", "The Red Queen Kills Seven Times" and about fifteen more). Number three: it's an Italian giallo from the magical year 1972 and directed by Alberto De Martino! Mr. De Martino perhaps wasn't the greatest cult director from Italy, but he did courageously attempt to cash in on every trend and his movies are always massively entertaining ("The Antichrist", "Blazing Magnum", "Holocaust 2000", "The Puma Man" ). Number four: it's an Italian giallo from the magical year 1972, directed by Alberto De Martino and starring Telly Savalas! That's right, the one and only Kojak and former Ernst Stavro Blofeld makes a rare giallo appearance here! Savalas was and forever remains a monument of 70s cult cinema and here in this movie he gets to do what he does best: stand around silently and look ultimately menacing! Number five: it's an Italian giallo from the magical year 1972, directed by Alberto De Martino and starring Telly Savalas, AND entirely shot on location in my native country Belgium! Admittedly that last little detail meant the cherry on the cake for me. For some unknown reason, they shot the film in Belgium instead of Italy and it's fantastic to see familiar places pop up in a giallo, like the Ostend ferry port or this beautiful park in Bruges. Hence there also was the opportunity for Willeke Van Ammelrooy, an actress only famous in Belgium and The Netherlands thus far, to receive a bit more international recognition.
Of course, considering all the above points, you'd think that I'm extremely biased and couldn't possibly write a properly objective review about "The Killer is on the Phone". Not true, in fact, because even though I'm incredibly happy that I was finally able to watch this movie, I do reckon that it's merely just a mediocre effort that probably won't even make my giallo top 50. The main shortcomings here are definitely the slow pacing, the unnecessarily complex and illogical plot and most of all the lack of violence and perversity. Theater actress Eleanor Lorraine spots a bald and uncanny man at a drinking fountain and faints. This was the same man who murdered her beloved husband five years ago, but because of the shock she suffers from amnesia and doesn't remember anything that happened in the past five years, including the killer's identity. The killer Ranko Drasovic doesn't know Eleanor's memory is gone, so he starts stalking her and plans to get rid of the witness. Meanwhile, Eleanor's surrounding also face many issues. She doesn't recognize both her new husband and her lover, and she has forgotten all her lines of the stage play that premieres the next Saturday. The script surely has a lot of potential and features a handful of great ideas, but the elaboration is poor and implausible. Eleanor suffers from a severe case of amnesia, yet everybody allows her to wander around town on her own and hold private investigations without offering her help or support. The killer has numerous of opportunities to eliminate her quickly but prefers to observe her endlessly, instead
probably just to stretch the running time. Oh, and by the way, so much for the film's title, as the killer only calls her house once and that sequence is rather irrelevant because there isn't an actual telephone conversation going on
The last 10- 15 minutes feature a few suspenseful moments and typically absurd giallo-twists, including the chase behind the theater scenes and the truth regarding her husband's death, but it's not enough to save the film. Stelvio Cipriani provides a marvelous musical score, as usual, and furthermore this film only proves that Bruges is a beautiful city; 36 years before the blockbuster hit "In Bruges" did the same.
5 donne per l'assassino (1974)
Birth control; sleazy Italian giallo style!
Personally I don't really like it, nor do I think it's a very bright idea, when the body count of the horror movie you're about to watch already gets spoiled in the title
Seriously, five women for the killer? Well, okay, that pretty much suggests there will be five female casualties, but don't get your hopes up too much for witnessing much more carnage that this. It's a shame, really, because one of the many reasons why I seek out Italian gialli movies is the often unpredictable and unrestricted amount of gruesome murdering going on! I still definitely wanted to watch "Five Women for the Killer", of course, and mainly because it was writer/director Stelvio Massi's only genuine excursion into the giallo-domain. The underrated Massi made nearly two dozens of awesome Poliziotteschi thrillers, and most of them like "Emergency Squad" or "Convoy Busters" to name just two were so damn brutish and sadist that I really wondered what a giallo of his would look like. This one-man jury's verdict states that "Five Women for the Killer" is an adequate and more than watchable giallo, but it certainly isn't one of the genre's prime examples or highlights. The plot is reasonably tense and compelling, albeit also sluggish from time to time. The murders and particularly the killer's motives and choice of victims are vile and just a tad bit disturbing. Like in most Italian gialli, the psychopath targets pretty young women, but here the victims all recently found out that they were pregnant and our crazed killer viciously cuts open their stomach and intimate parts. The murders begin shortly after journalist Giorgio Pisani loses his wife whilst giving birth to their premature son. No wait, the murders only begin when Giorgio learns from his doctor and friend that he is in fact infertile and couldn't have been the child's father. Can't Giorgio accept that his wife was unfaithful and does he extract his vengeance on the pregnant women in his surrounding? Or is this just what the real killer wants everybody and the police in particular - to think? "Five Women for the Killer" doesn't feature any great names in the cast, but the performances are solid and convincing. All the girls in the cast are ravishing and provide glorious full-frontal nudity (unshaved was still the standard), but of course they get savagely slaughtered shortly after so it's not a very sexy climax. Recommended for giallo-fanatics and fellow sick puppies all over the world!
The Driver (1978)
Much Faster and far more Furious!
On par with, for example, Sam Peckinpah or Michael Winner, I'd say that Walter Hill was also one of the best deliverers of testosterone- packed and ultimately cool action/thriller movies during the seventies and early eighties! Everything that he did during these two decades perhaps with the exception of "Brewster's Millions" still stands solid by today's standards as guaranteed awesome entertainment! The most popular and acclaimed movies from his earlier period are undoubtedly "The Warriors" and "Southern Comfort", but around that same time he unleashed another genuine masterpiece that for some inexplicable reason still remains vastly underrated. "The Driver" is a downright fantastic gem; so simplistic and straightforward and yet at the same time so damn exhilarating and absorbing that it becomes a must-see experience for every self- respecting fan of existential cinema! Ryan O'Neal, in one of the most stoic and silent performances ever depicted, is the nameless and independent getaway driver whom thugs can hire for their well- planned armed robberies. He's incredibly introvert and meticulous, but also 100% reliable and the biggest expert in what he does. Bruce Dern is the detective; a truly hateful megalomaniac so obsessed with nailing the driver that his methods quickly become unorthodox and even even illegal. The detective hires a trio of hapless criminals and blackmails them into hiring the driver for a heist, but this is a vicious and relentless city where everybody constantly double- crosses everybody and nothing is what it seems. And then there's also "the player"; a beautiful but mysterious woman who could have testified against the driver but instead protected him without properly knowing why
Just in case you're not entirely convinced just yet: "The Driver" is a grim and atmospheric action movie with a lot of thriller and film-noir characteristics. The numerous car chase sequences are taut, stupendous and indescribably spectacular. The extended sequence with the Mercedes Benz in the parking garage, for instance, is a highlight that I rewind several times. O'Neal and Adjani give away great performances, but Bruce Dern steals the show as the loathsome and self-indulgent detective. Especially with his nerdy looks and curly hair he comes across as some sort of evil version of Art Garfunkel! "The Driver" immediately skyrocketed itself towards the top of my all-time favorite car movies, alongside "Vanishing Point", "Bullit", "Two-Lane Blacktop", "Death Race 2000", "Duel" and "Cannonball!". Also, in case you're a fan of the recent cult gem "Drive", like so many people, you simply cannot afford to miss out on this classic which formed the inspiration.
Blood Bath (1966)
Don't get carried away too much by the cool sounding title, the awesome looking film poster or the names of the some of the people involved in this production, as "Blood Bath" is not one of those vastly entertaining Roger Corman B-movie cheapies, but a weird and experimental hybrid of 2-3 movies at once. As far as I can tell, Corman initially hired Jack Hill ("Spider Baby", "Pit Stop") as director but he then got replaced by Stephanie Rothman ("The Velvet Vampire") who was ordered to insert bits and pieces of a Yugoslavian movie where the producer wasted his money on
or something like that! The result is an oddity that very occasionally is tense & atmospheric, but most of the time just dull, incoherent and meaningless. Daisy Allen is a young model desperately looking for an artist to make her famous, but all she ever encounters are idiots in rancid bars that shoot with paintball guns at paintings. She then runs into the promising artist Antonio Sordi, who also happens to be romantically involved with her sister Donna, but he quickly proves to be a lunatic who talks to the illustration of a woman on canvas and believes he's the reincarnation of a cruel vampire. So instead of making artful portraits of his models, he slaughters them and boils their bodies in a hot wax bath! Yes, I do realize it sounds like terrific horror entertainment, but I assure you it's not. During perhaps 2 or 3 scenes, the atmosphere of "Blood Bath" reminiscent to genre classics that were released earlier in the decade, notably "Dementia 13" and "Bucket of Blood" both of which also came from Roger Corman's stable. Unfortunately these are only a few isolated moments of greatness, while the vast majority of the film is utter baloney. The undeniable highlight is a bizarre and nightmarish chase sequence ending on a merry-go-round! What a giant contrast with the absolute low point, which is a stupid split-screen ballerina dancing scene on the beach that that lasts for
Well, I don't know exactly how long it lasted because I pressed the fast- forward button. Far too long, that's for sure!
A Taste of Blood (1967)
118 minutes? Seriously Mr. Godfather of Gore?!?
I have this little tradition that when an iconic horror veteran dies, and if I both respect and admire his work enormously, I try to watch one of his/her movies in the next few days following the sad news. Herschell Gordon Lewis passed away, and even though 90 years is a fine age I'd sign for immediately, it's still a great loss for the horror movie industry. Lewis was, and forever will remain, the man who brought gore and splatter to the movie and TV screens. And how! Titles such as "Blood Feast" (1963) and "Two-Thousand Maniacs" (1964) weren't just the first gore flicks; they still stand proud and strong even by today's gore standards. That being said, another trademark was that his movies were extremely low-budgeted and often so damn amateurish that they balanced on the verge of tolerability. His gory movies are great fun, but Lewis also made a number of drama/action movies without bloodshed or absurdity ("Just for the Hell of it", "Something Weird", "She- Devils on Wheels" ) and those are quite difficult to sit through. Mr. Lewis' departure also meant for me personally that I no longer had an excuse for postponing my viewing of "A Taste of Blood". I have this DVD lying in my closet for at least 12 years already, but I could never bring myself to actually watch it for one sole and admittedly shallow reason, namely its length! "A Taste of Blood" has a running time of 118 minutes! Seriously, one hundred and eighteen minutes! In my humble opinion horror movies that last for almost two hours shouldn't exist. I can motivate myself to watch good movies that run more than 110 minutes, let alone to watch a lesser acclaimed H.G.L with a low gore factor!
Having completed my little tradition, I can gladly state that "A Taste of Blood" was better than I expected and a fairly entertaining horror movie; - but still too damn long of course! Easily 30-40 minutes of poor, irrelevant and repetitive footage should have been cut, and then probably this would have been one of the director's better non- gory flicks. The story is pretty interesting and engaging, being a modern-day of vampirism and blood retaliation. Without knowing it himself, American businessman John Stone is the last living descendant of the legendary Count Dracula. He receives a package, from London solicitors, containing a few bottles of brandy, but doesn't know that the liquor is mixed with the authentic blood from the family line. Shortly after tasting the brandy, John loses complete interest in his beautiful wife who worships him and his job he was previously so obsessed about. All he can think of right now is exterminating the descendants of the bastards that killed Dracula, and he travels to England to extract his bloodline's vengeance. The last heir of Dr. Abraham Van Helsing seeks the help of Stone's wife and best friend in order to stop him. "A Taste of Blood" definitely features a handful of bright ideas and memorable moments, but overall the pacing is too slow while the quality of sound and picture is too poor
Oh yeah, and it's far too long! Especially the dreadful love/friendship relationship between Stone's wife and best friend is incredibly tedious and redundant and even half of all the dialogs in general are unnecessary. The film is low on gore, but still HGL manages to insert a couple of gruesome moments of gratuitous bloodshed. For example, when THIS vampire feeds on the blood of a random go-go dancer, he doesn't leave two pathetic little holes in her neck but rips her entire throat wide open! He's to my knowledge also the only vampire ever who rams woods stakes through the chests of his enemies instead of vice versa!
The Return of Count Yorga (1971)
Eerie winds, nasty sandpits and sinister vampires!
It's been like a decade or so since I watched the original "Count Yorga, Vampire", and in all honesty I don't remember too much about the plot. What I do recall, however, and quite vividly even, is that the film benefited from a particularly sinister and hypnotizing atmosphere that made it creepy even though not a whole lot was happening. The titular character is quite unique and intriguing as well. Even though he's a vampire count dressed in a typical black and red cloak and surrounded by a coven of white-faced vampire brides, Yorga isn't anything like the legendary Count Vlad Dracula. "The Return of Count Yorga" is a very entertaining and reasonably well-made horror sequel with a very straightforward but solid plot, engaging performances from the ensemble cast and most of all many moments of truly tense and unsettling horror! Seriously, I was pleasantly surprised to see that a handful of sequences were genuinely macabre and dark! Early in the beginning, for instance, a little boy drives his bike through the woods and suddenly the brides start emerging from the dirt, guided by the sound of eerie winds. This is quite a scary sight even for experienced genre fanatics. There are many more frightening parts, including the disposal of corpses in sandpits and the crude and relentless butchering of an entire happy family. Count Yorga takes an interest in a beautiful blond teacher who works as a volunteer in a remote orphanage. He does what every avid romanticist would do, namely murder her entire family and take her back to his castle. Yorga tells her that her loved ones died in a horrible car accident and assumes that she will gradually fall for his charms, but he didn't take into account that she also had a boyfriend and he's not planning to let her go that easily. There are few fascinating supportive characters, notably the residents of the orphanage like the deaf-mute girl and the strange boy who appears to be under Yorga's spell, and there's even room for comic relief as well. The count watches Hammer vampire movies on TV and reacts slightly offended when not he but another guy dressed as a vampire wins the price for most original costume at a dress-up party. In case you're a fan of cinematic bloodsuckers, but need a change from the average Dracula adaptation or the Twilight fairies (God forbid
), then I wholeheartedly recommend getting acquainted with Robert Quarry and his vile alter ego Count Yorga!
Bond Rockefeller Bond
"Thunderball" was the fourth installment in the James Bond franchise, and as the hype and popularity rose, the available budgets exponentially increased as well, as a matter of course. The budget for this movie was more than the three previous ones accumulated (and then still it's very modest in comparison with nowadays action flicks), which explains the fact that "Thunderball" also marks more or less the point where the franchise became more focused on the hi-tech gadgetry and extravagant set-pieces. Heck, even 007 himself begins to behave shamelessly like a millionaire, as he takes vacations in luxurious spa resorts and tropical islands, and has fancy flying devices stored in the truck of his beautiful Aston Martin! But the work of a secret agent is never finished, and still whilst luring the voluptuous nurse into bed, Bond already spots a few sinister men who are clearly up to no good. They turn out to be henchmen of SPECTRE's number two Emilio Largo who's punctually preparing the heist of two nuclear warheads. Once in his possession and carefully hidden underneath the bottom of the ocean, Largo threatens to blow up both Miami and London in case the world doesn't pay up 100 million dollars' worth of uncut diamonds. The government hastily summons all double-0 agents to locate the warheads in less than 14 days, but naturally James Bond is the only one making any progress in his very own typically daring and flamboyant style. After having missed out on "Goldfinger", Terence Young reclaims his place in the director's chair and once more serves a delicious Bond-cocktail with all the ingredients that make the series recognizable: breathtaking women (Claudine Auger, Martine Beswick and especially the lethally ravishing Luciana Paluzzi), charismatic villains (Adolfo Celi doesn't even need his eye patch in order to look menacing), dreamy filming locations (Paris, Bahama's
), eccentric scenery and gimmicks (luxury yachts named "Flying Saucer", shark-infested swimming pools) and as top of the bill masterfully choreographed albeit slightly overlong underwater battle sequences. My sole complaint in general with regards to "Thunderball", in fact, is about the length. I realize all Bond movies last around 110-140 minutes, but in this case there should have been cuts within the first half hour. The preparations for the heist of the warheads is illustrated extendedly and in every tiniest detail, including the training and plastic surgery of the pilot assigned to hijack the Avro Vulcan Bomber, and it takes an incredibly long time before the audience properly registers what one-eyed Largo's evil plans actually are. Almost every plot description of "Thunderball" states something like: "SPECTRE stole two atomic bombs and holds the world at ransom", but it effectively takes more than half an hour before we reach this point.
Whose life is it anyway?
"A World of Difference" is another typical TZ-episode that initially seems almost too simplistic and silly and it is but upon further analysis it actually turns out to be truly profound, original and even somewhat unsettling. Rod Serling's brilliant series really had a patent on this kind of stories and many of them were also quite progressive and lightyears ahead of their time! The basic premise of this episode, for instance, is extremely similar to "The Truman Show" with which Andrew Niccol and Peter Weir scored one of the most popular and biggest commercial hits of the 1990s! This episode, from the pen of the unmatchable Richard Matheson, is surprising and absorbing from the very first second. Businessman Arthur Curtis arrives at his office one morning, planning to finalize a few deals and then leave for a well-deserved holiday weekend with his wife Marion. He's literally dumbfounded when somebody suddenly yells "cut!" and his whole office appears to be a film set full of crew members. Everybody calls him Gerry Reagan and treats him like he's a veteran actor. He even gets sort of kidnapped by his estranged wife Nora who demands money and mocks him with his deteriorating career. What's so great about the episode is that Arthur/Gerry never at once point doubts his own persona, in spite of all the growing evidence that Arthur Curtis actually doesn't exist, and he's so convincing that you as the viewer tend to believe him! And then, just when you think it's abundantly clear that Gerry suffers from a tremendous depression or identity crisis, follow the trademark Twilight Zone twist
The first five minutes are the best, because just like Arthur you are overwhelmed by what's suddenly happening, but the rest of the episode remains almost as intriguing, also thanks to the intense and powerful performance by Howard Duff. This also marks one of the first notable directing assignments of Ted Post; the terrific underrated director of later film classics such as "Hang 'em High", "Magnum Force" and guilty horror pleasures like "The Baby" and "Nightkill".
This Is the End (2013)
It's the End of the World as we know it and Hollywood doesn't feel fine!
Should I or should I not review this movie? That's the question I asked myself for nearly a week, because and I do fully realize that nobody cares, really I decided long time ago that I would restrict myself to exclusively reviewing horror, cult or exploitation movies and then preferably only the most obscure and peculiar ones. I want to stay clear of mainstream Hollywood productions with famous names in the cast or gigantic budgets. But on the other hand I truly fancy apocalyptic tales and flamboyant gory stuff, so in spite of its A-listed cast, "This is the End" actually qualifies to receive a review after all. Okay, the whole project is basically a joke and probably only the cast and crew found it truly entertaining, but it does inarguably feature gore, mayhem and a truckload of references/homages to classic as well as lesser known genre titles.
The idea is undeniably original and innovative. A group of actors, supposedly not playing but "being" themselves, are gathered together for a housewarming party when all of a sudden the biblical apocalypse descends upon them; - and the rest of Hollywood and the world I reckon. Most of the party guests are annihilated straight away, like for example Rihanna who gets sucked into a super-massive black hole in the ground or Michael Cera who gets impaled on a lantern pole, but six of them entrench themselves in the ultramodern home of their host. They are James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson and the uninvited Danny McBride. Whilst fire and brimstone reproduce hellish monsters outside, the survivors are practically murdering each other on the inside. "This is the End" is not much more than a spitfire of absurd situations and inside jokes about the cast members' previous collaborations (particularly "Pineapple Express" seems popular). If you don't particularly like these guys or the films they made, you will most certainly dislike "This is the End" and consider it to be a pretentious and nonsensical piece of rubbish. As a film fan, you can't really ignore the influence guys like Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill had on comedy cinema in the last 10-15 years. They appeared in too many movies to list, often together, and the vast majority of them were box office hits ("Superbad", "Knocked-Up", "The Interview", "Bad Neighbors"
). Their humor is often crude, monotonous and orientated at soft-drug use and bedevilment between friends, but their films do feature imaginative premise and many downright ingenious ideas. "This is the End" also relies on a handful of really strong sequences and comic highlights (for example the exorcism of Jonah Hill) but otherwise it's not much more than an okay time-waster.