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Axel Nort (1966)
Enjoyable for young and elder
This was initially broadcasted as a series for the youth however I think many adults must have enjoyed this one too back in the day. Of course to today's standards it is pretty tame but the show still has plenty of stuff to offer to be entertaining. It is really interesting to see the stuff they had which nowadays to be forgotten. The cars, the electronics, the fashion. The titular character looks like a Sherlock Holmes detective who does have a passion for music, electronics and mechanics. He must have been the perfect hero in the day: never panicking always remaining calm and knowing what to do. He always seems to have a solution to get out of dangerous situations. He rarely makes mistakes and when it does go wrong it's usually due to his youthful pupil Dirk who is however learning fast. The bad guys might not always be the smartest their boss is not one to mess with. And yes this isn't all about guys, actually there is a few ladies who do have crucial roles in the whole plot. All in all I found it thrilling and mysterious. And it's only in the last episode that the viewer gets to know what it is all about. I don't think this one was ever broadcasted outside Belgium.
Cannibal ferox (1981)
Too much of a copycat
The problem I have with this movie is not that it is that bad as my rating suggests but I'm unable not to compare them to other cannibal movies coming before this one namely Jungle Holocaust and Cannibal Holocaust. These cannibal movies have in my opinion a much more interesting story and characters. This movie however takes a bit of the things from the previous movies plus it never really seems to get going. The starting point of the girl wanting to disprove cannibalism is an interesting one. But do we really get to see that much of what the cannibals do like in the other movies I mentioned, no not at all. It is all quite boring to watch with very little character development. The only ones to care about are Gloria and her brother Rudy oh yes and the guy whose leg was injured. The ending was quite satisfying I must say but at that point I stopped caring how it would pan out. No this was overall a big disappointment to me.
The Bad Seed (1956)
Too bad about the ending
Well it's not the director I have to blame for that illogical ending but it's the Hayes Code that spoiled the party. But if I do away that ending and replace it with the novel's ending from William March I really cannot fault this movie. Even though differing from the book as in leaving some characters out (only 1 Fern sister instead of 3 and Leroy's wife is not in the movie), adding Christine's father Richard Bravo as "living" character and scrapping the scenes where Leroy interacts with his wife; the movie captures the spirit of the book perfectly. Well the movie feels stagy which is normal because it was a play before it became a movie. Also most of the stage players would eventually reprise their role in the movie which probably shows why the characters work so well together. Really everyone plays their role sublime no one was miscast. Kudos mostly to Nancy Kelly as mother Christine and the young Patty McCormack as little Rhoda. She would eventually feature as titular character in the Mommy movies in the 1990s where she shows similar personality treats as in The Bad Seed but there as an adult. It doesn't matter how many times I watch this movie and that it is old and tame to today's standards. It's message remains powerful and disturbing. The icing on the cake are for me the interactions between Rhoda and Leroy. Both of them are interesting character studies, a mean bully versus a manipulative child that sure gives fireworks, literally! But also the case of mother Christine is seriously an interesting one and that of serial killer Bessie Denker who was based on a real killer and the inspiration of March's novel.
Ultimo mondo cannibale (1977)
On the level of Cannibal Holocaust
This one came out before the legendary Cannibal Holocaust. I must say I liked this one slightly better story and character wise. Of course the gory scenes where animals (and humans) do get cut open and skinned are not always easy to stomach. I'm glad they didn't shy away from the cruelties otherwise the powerful message would be lost. Whether it is based on true events or not doesn't matter to me. The movie did a good job in following the experiences of Robert Harper and made me want to root for him unlike the white reporters in Cannibal Holocaust. The cannibals here are anything but nice however it is understandable they wanted to defend their land against the gold diggers. But not only the cannibals are a threat the jungle is full of other dangers in wild animals and poisonous plants.
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Slow burner but time passes by quickly
I must have been a teenager when I saw this one for the first time. I remember it made quite an impression on me. Now 20 years later it still manages to do so. The movie takes a long time to build-up. It isn't gruesome in your face horror, much more psychological. The devil scene (obviously the most horror of the whole movie) I think is very well done, unsettling just like Rosemary (wonderfully portrayed by Mia Farrow) being put on drugs and slowly feeling how she is alone in her fight against those witches or satanists whatever you want to call them. Despite its slow pace the movie never bores me as I think every scene has its importance. There really isn't a scene thrown in to entertain or to regain the focus of people who might been dozing of. What I also like about these older movies is looking at it in its time period. What did they have back than what they don't have now any more and vice versa. It's a nice trip back into the time, a piece of history. Granted the ending was a bit silly with the photographing Asian guy (a bit stereotypical) but that the mystery remains of what the baby looks like is certainly a good thing.
I tre volti della paura (1963)
3 stories not all of them are winners
Since this is a horror anthology consisting of 3 short stories I see it as my duty to rate them all separately.
The Telephone: OK no masterpiece by any means and it looked a bit silly at times. But it was nice and surprising that the mysterious caller was actually not who Rosy and probably the viewer too expected to be. In the end one can wonder what exactly was the deal between the two ladies. Was there maybe some love triangle at play or even lesbian subtext? Very enjoyable. 7/10 The Wurdalak: Well I do think the whole legend of this vampire like creature feasting on the blood of his beloved ones was more interesting than the story itself. As this was the longest story it was the main attraction of the movie but unfortunately it was pretty predictable, the characters rather flat and some events didn't really make sense to me. Nice location and creepy but it pales compared to the other 2 stories. 5/10 The drop of water: Well they say keep the best as last and that's exactly what they did here in my opinion. Despite not having character development and the story being very simple it's incredibly effective in creating a great eerie atmosphere. The fact it might not have been a ghost but a ring that causes paranormal things driving the wearer insane was pretty brilliant idea. I don't think it would have worked as full movie but for a short it was really awesome and I did love that it makes you pondering a bit what actually caused the evil. 9/10
Eye of the Devil (1966)
Atmospheric but rather weak story
My rating might be quite harsh but except for a few scenes I didn't find this movie an enjoyable experience. Even though Deborah Kerr does her best to carry the movie like she did marvelously in The Innocents here she is is not really given much of a story to work with nor are the other characters very interesting. Except for Sharon Tate as Odile who made a great (and seductive) witch. The scene where she hypnotized Kerr's character Catherine is one of the best scenes, the other being Catherine getting chased by those devil worshippers in the woods and getting stuck. Unfortunately Tate has very limited screen time. David Niven as Catherine's husband Philippe seems to accept his fate passively and right from the start and also looks rather uninterested the whole movie. Donald Pleasence looks creepy as the priest Pere Dominique but this doesn't really add to the story nor does David Hemmings as some kind of evil Willem Tell. A forgotten movie which best remains forgotten in my opinion.
Children of the Damned (1964)
Not as good as its predecessor but still very much worth it
Well this is the sequel to "Village of the Damned (1960)". However none of the characters from the original reprise their role in this movie. It is a complete different story with different characters. The only similarity is the cuckoo children who are once again the main attraction of the movie. The children are this time only 6 (4 boys, 2 girls). It is no more only blonde kids like in the original. Here the kids have different nationalities, are from different races and skin color. But language isn't a barrier for them as they communicate mostly through their minds. They seem more powerful than before being able to see, read and hear what the others of their kind do. But their main weapon remains their hypnotic powers using their glowing eyes. Bundling their forces even enabled them to revive one of the kids who was supposed to be dead. The problem is that the movie hardly brings anything new. The characters are also less developed as in the original. Good role however from Barbara Ferris as Susan Eliot. Nice and believable is the conflict between psychologist, scientist and the army. It's kind of a deja-vu also from The Thing from Another World.
Village of the Damned (1960)
Imagine that this could happen for real!
I think this is one of the most effective sci-fi horrors I have seen and multiple times already. Monsters and the likes might be visually terrifying while these kids seem harmless. But the abilities they have are what is really scary. And I don't mean just their glowing hypnotizing eyes. They can read minds, have some kind of multiple brain, learn and develop much faster than all other kids. Where they come from is never revealed nor how all the women capable of childbirth in Midwich were impregnated. And how only every living being in Midwich and not beyond the borders passed out remains a mystery too. The scene where we see all people and animals of Midwich pass out and life literally stops for a few hours is really nice piece of cinematography. Also the research that people (army mostly) from outside try to do is one of my favorite parts. It might be that the novel reveals more but I haven't had the courage to go through that yet. I guess the movie captures the book's title "Midwich Cuckoos" quite nicely. These birds lay their eggs in the nest of others. So the cuckoo's children are raised by other birds who are not their parents. Exact the same happens here. The fear the Midwich people develop is very real and understandable they would like to wipe them all out. The Cuckoo children don't hesitate to punish anyone who seems wanting to do them harm or disadvantage them. They are not troubled by feelings and emotions like humans are. That's why they will always be a step ahead unless someone studying them finds a solution. We have some great leads in George Sanders and Barbara Shelley as Mr and Mrs Zellaby. But the real star is Martin Stephens who plays David Zellaby, leader of the cuckoo children gang. One year later he would again do a masterful job portraying Miles in The Innocents.
Der müde Tod (1921)
Impressive for its time
OK Metropolis was very impressive visually for its time. However considering story and message this movie really isn't inferior. And when we are talking about visuals and special effects this film still stands strong in my opinion. I think it's more impressive in any aspect than Nosferatu. It was nice to see the sweetheart from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Lil Dagover here as the protagonist. A lady trying to save her husband from death it's definitely something different and more original than what we are used to (usually it's the man trying to save the woman). She plays her role excellent just like Bernhard Goetzke as The Death who appears mysterious and cold-hearted. However both characters become more and more sympathetic and not as selfish any more as the story advances. Midway the movie drags a bit when the girl gets 3 chances from the Death and we have 3 different stories with the protagonists from the story in different roles. Except for the second story they are enjoyable. Especially the third story is nice with the special effects. However how we get to see the interaction between the living and dead (ghosts) is really well done. I really loved the decision the girl eventually makes, deciding not to destroy someone else's life to be reunited with her beloved. Touching story with a lovely message.