Original (and funny) VHS ad.
Yeah, well, once again the hostess with the mostest Eva Halloween makes me reveal my inner nerd as a recent post on The Year of Halloween offered a horrific animated .gif that I immediately recognized was taken from Lamberto Bava‘s 1985 Italian gorefest Demons. In fact it’s one of the highlights towards the end. But I’ll admit it was a bit unsettling realizing my said nerd-dom was at such a level one photo would be enough for me to recognize it’s origin.
Anyway, being directed by genius Mario Bava‘s son you’d probably expect this celluloid effort to be a beautifully shot and staged piece of subliminal Euro gothic and well, you’re wrong as it’s quite the contrary. Junior’s effort is not bad, it’s just loud, packed with gruesome special effects – how about maniacally laughing demons groping out the eyes of their victims? – and to top it off has a heavy metal soundtrack that I gotta admit fits nicely as “loud” is the word that pretty much sums it up. And as we’re talking a movie that was made during the height of 80s fashion there’s some pretty loud colors and outfits that smack you right in the eyes too.
Kinda re-imagining George Romero‘s zombie concept it’s basically about a collection of strangers in Berlin receiving invitations to a free screening of a horror movie at a recently renovated cinema. One of the patrons scratches herself on a mysterious silver mask outside in the lobby, and as the movie progresses she gets sick and turns into a demon. Once transformed she attacks the moviegoers and all her victims turn into demons too and soon all hell breaks loose. As someone has bricked up the cinema during the movie (!!!) a small bunch of uninfected barricade themselves in order to survive.
Quite gory and violent despite being 25+ years old it still has some strong material that certainly aren’t for everyone – I gotta admit the “teeth sequence” still makes me cringe and if you’ve seen it you’ll know exactly what I mean. Produced by Dario Argento himself it received enough success to warrant a sequel and a third (unofficial) that I frankly haven’t seen. Check out the trailer:
UPDATE: Well, as I stumbled across this on YouTube I thought I might as well share it. Ghoulfriends and boyfiends, I give you Demons in all its uncut glory! And as I already wrote this is a pretty gory piece of entertainment, so you’ll decide if it’s something you wanna watch.
Well, in keeping up with the subject of my last post – and oddly enough the X-Mas spirit as well! – make sure you check out Return of the Evil Dead! In between George Romero‘s classic Night of the Living Dead and the gorier Italian-produced onslaught of the late 70s/early 80s, Spanish director Amando de Ossorio produced a truly unique vision between 1971 – 1975 with his Blind Dead quadrilogy.
Debuting with Tombs of the Blind Dead he gave the horror world a different kind of zombie: A legion of the Knights Templar, executed for heresy and practicing satanic witchcraft that rises from their graves to wreak havoc on the living. Nothing more than mummified skeletal remains after rotting away for half a millenia, they’re blind and hunt the living not to feed, but to seek revenge. The second installment in this series is my personal favorite and takes place in a small Portugese village celebrating the 500th anniversary of executing the knights, who rises during the festivities to seek revenge. A perfect sequel it’s high-paced with trimmed dialogue, more action and an overall refined concept.
Heavy on the gothic influences (and the fourth, Night of the Seagulls, actually has hints of H.P. Lovecraft) it’s oddly enough one of those flicks I always pop into the DVD-player during the X-Mas Holidays. The third, The Ghost Galleon, deserves mention as it has more creepy sequences, but thanks to a stingy producer the “galleon” looks like a damn bath tub toy duck, ruining the overall feel. I don’t know if it’s still available, but Anchor Bay released the great The Blind Dead Collection 5xDVD box set back in 2005, and if you’re a fan of the zombie genre make sure to check it out.
Man, this week has been utterly insane. I thought I’d been intense before when it comes to output, but this has definitely been something else. And I’ve got the bloodshot, baggy eyes to prove it! But I am done. Finished. Allowed to just sit on my behind and spend the rest of the weekend getting into the second season of The Walking Dead. It’s a bit slower-paced than the first, and they sure do get a lil’ bit preachy in this one but it’s still – easily – one of the best tv-series I’ve seen in years.
Anyway, finishing up the final details for The Norliss Tapes It’s Halloween EP yesterday I decided to make a video for it on the spot. The song was great (Staffan had the verse finished, I wrote lyrics to the melody and he finished up with the chorus) and hearing the finished audio track I knew I just had to get going. And I totally lucked out choosing Herk Harvey‘s 1962 chiller classic Carnival of Souls as it has great tone, some beautiful photography and a truly great performance by lead-actress Candace Hilligoss. And lots of the edits in the video just came together so beautifully I can assure you it was such a fluid process it really didn’t feel like “work” at all. Easily one of my all-time favorite horror movies it was made for a ridiculously low amount of money and is considered by some to be an independent cinematic masterpiece. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it! Considered to be in the public domain you can find it online at Archive.org.
I gotta say that with this EP the whole project sure took some strides forward. Me and Staffan were truly riffing off of each other and like I already stated what began as an idea of doing one seasonal song and give away for free we ended up with a five-track mammoth offering tons of variety. We’ve got some Carpenter, some Kraftwerk, some Beastie Boys influenced weirdness and cool samples from horror classics like Dracula starring Bela Lugosi and George Romero‘s Night of the Living Dead. Check it out on Bandcamp here and how about a tiny taste? Maybe you wanna sing along?
Bonfires light up the night, offering protection
As we slowly retreat to the warmth inside
Under the full moon’s light, somewhere in the cold
There’s a sudden howl, come closer child
Soon skeletons walk, they’re the dancing dead
Demons gather in shadows, they’re allowed to feed
And as lovers caress, clutch themselves for safety
They pass through the trees, shrieking with delight
Yes, boyfiends and ghoulfriends, it’s Halloween! My fave holiday of the year! Nothing wrong with spending X-Mas with your family or getting hammered on Midsummer, but All Hallows Eve is dedicated to horror fer chrissakes – how can you not love that? An age-old tradition it dates back to the 9th century, and unlike what some party poopers claim it is far from satanic and actually a mix of the Old religion and early Christian faith marking the Fall equinox. The Celts called it Samhain and the night was spent lighting huge bonfires to chase evil away while beggars went door-to-door offering prayers for dead relatives souls in return for “soul cakes.” This of course mutated into the “trick or treat” tradition.
Being on a worknight I’m making bigger plans for the weekend but tonight I am definitely getting cozy on the couch with some old faves like George Romero‘s brilliant Night of the Living Dead, the super-chiller Carnival of Souls or Vincent Price‘s Last Man on Earth. And John Carpenter‘s Halloween is mandatory viewing of course (it’s pretty much a no-brainer), but I think I’m saving that for the weekend.
So how about lighting some Jack o’ Lanterns (actually an Irish tradition) to keep the darkness away and pop in a couple of old faves in the DVD player? I’ve got some soothing music to get you in the mood baby!
A friend of mine recently sent me these videos showcasing the original concept art and mechanical effects that was produced for The Thing 2011 – making it even harder for me to fathom why on Earth the producers decided to go all CGI on us. These are some amazing, physical pieces of art showcasing just the sheer amount of talent and craftmanship the FX studios can offer these days. It’s mindblowing and gives you an idea of just how good this movie could’ve been.
Now, I’ve actually googled it and the only reason or explanation that I could find why the producers made their decision is that they thought the animatronic effects moved too slowly. Or the test audience (and don’t get me started on that subject!). I can see that, but that’s where CGI actually can prove to be a great, useful tool: cleaning up imagery or enhance speed etc. of certain scenes. Instead they turned it into just another awful-looking Playstation game. The problem: CGI is not and never will be a 3D object. And the technology hasn’t come anywhere near a stage where they can honestly say it fools the human eye. I’ve seen my fair share and still go “video game” as soon as it rears its ugly head. Background FX? No problem! I’ve seen some great usage of it in say George Romero‘s Land of the Dead. Or made to enhance physical effects in Sean of the Dead.
But let’s compare! Here’s the FX as they are shown in the movie. You decide what looks best.
Filed under Film, Video, Web
This guy Jeremy at Silver Ferox Design has the kinda job I really envy; he’s based in Italy and designs posters as well as DVD-sleeves for the film industry, mainly focusing on cool exploitation! We’re talking Lucio Fulci, Romero and Bava among others – now how sweet is that?
He’s got some pretty cool ideas and it’s nice seeing some of his innovations on these classic works of art, considering some of them has been around for at least 40+ years so you can imagine all the different versions that has been made up until now!
Check out his blog here.