2009
11.29

Review: The Gate

JasonReviewsThe Gate – 1987 – Canada/USA – Lionsgate

The twelve year old boy in me loves this film. He also loved the lingerie section in the old Sears catalog, so what the fuck does he know, but at least this film still manages to get me excited 20-something years later. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, the Sears catalog was a little boy’s dream before the days of airbrushing… er, wait a second here. Ahem! I mean, The Gate was a real gem of a horror film that was geared towards the 13 and under audience but managed to present enough scares and inspired effects to delight movie nuts of any age. Written by Michael Nankin and originally planned as an over-the-top adult horror romp, the film rights were bought by the Canadian production company Alliance, who toned down the carnage and limited the scope of the picture to appeal to a younger audience. The finished film played out like a John Hughes directed early-teens film, with horror in place of humor, but with the same theme of children struggling towards adulthood and responsibility. Without the killer soundtrack, I might add, although I did search for that fictional Sacrifyx album for years!

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2009
11.25

Review: Death Proof

JasonReviewsDeath Proof – 2007 – USA – Genius Products Inc.

Bored to tears.

That was to be my completed review of this insulting piece of offal, but I figured I might like to take some potshots at one of my most despised Hollywood “personalities,” just for shits and giggles. And that would be my favorite mongoloid, Quentin Tarantino, who looks like he just walked off of the set of “The Hills Have Eyes” as an extra. The man is an icon amongst the vapid Gen-X/Y hipster crowd, and let those over-groomed beacons of superficiality have him. Tarantino represents everything I despise about people today in general, and Hollywood filmmaking in specific, so it makes perfect sense that the uninitiated “herd” embraces the pirating bastard, oohing and ahhing over his every move. Let them eat cake… with broken glass icing on top.

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2009
11.25

Review: Nang Nak

JasonReviewsNang Nak – 1999 – Thailand – Ocean Shores Video Limited

The legend of Nang Nak (literal translation – Mrs. Nak) is one known by every living soul in Thailand. This 19th century fable tells of a young devoted wife, Mae Naak, who lives on the shores of the Phra Khanong in an area of modern-day Bangkok (bang what?) with her cherished husband Nai Maak. They are humble villagers who are smitten over one another and happily expecting their first child when Maak is suddenly conscripted, leaving Naak and their unborn child to fend for themselves until his uncertain return.

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2009
11.20

Review: Entrails of a Virgin

JasonReviewsEntrails of a Virgin (Shojo no harawata) – 1986 – Japan – Synapse Films

What the fuck is wrong with the Japanese? I can only surmise that their long-standing cultural traditions of sexual repression and misogyny inexorably led to the sado-voyeuristic eruption in their filmmaking in the mid ’80s, a depressingly familiar scenario in the English speaking world, but no people have managed to transgress so far beyond the boundaries of “good taste” and to do it so efficaciously as those dirty Japs. Film movements such as the Guinea Pig series and the Virgin series (which was ushered in by tonight’s film) penetrate so deeply into the “forbidden zone” with loathsomely repellent imagery and imbecilic storylines which provocatively exploit cultural taboos and manage to be both lamentably and unforgettably entertaining. I guess it speaks volumes about the crass and jaded audiences the world over that eat this stuff up (myself included) as much as it says about the unabashed Japanese hegemony in the field of exploitative horror. After all, in the end it’s all about making a buck, isn’t it? But I digress…

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2009
11.19

Review: Lady Frankenstein

JasonReviewsLady Frankenstein (La figlia di Frankenstein) – 1971 – Italy – Tales of Terror Box Set from Brentwood Entertainment

It is about damn time Joseph Cotten got his just desserts. Snubbed repeatedly by the Academy for his body of work in his lifetime, he had to go to the Venice Film Festival to receive a best actor award for his role as forlorn artist Eben Adams in the haunting romance, “Portrait of Jennie” in 1948. The gifted actor bounced around the country working a myriad of professions until he landed in Miami and became a drama critic for the Miami Herald which, in time, led to a job as assistant stage manager at a theater in New York City. Along the way he “strode the boards” of the proscenium arch appearing in more than 40 different plays and making his Broadway debut in 1930. During this time, Mr. Cotten was able to make the most of his velveteen voice and to supplement his meager stage earnings with frequent radio work. In 1937 he joined the Mercury Theater Players, led by Orson Welles, and after the War of the Worlds debacle netted Welles a film contract at RKO Pictures, Cotten was summoned to join him in Hollywood and to appear in his first film of note, “Citizen Kane” in 1941. That film was not a commercial success, but Cotten’s acting intelligence and resonant voice kept him busy in the following years and gained the attention of Alfred Hitchcock, who cast him as the smooth murderer Uncle Charlie in his 1943 film “Shadow of a Doubt.”

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2009
11.18

Review: Prom Night (2008)

I finally figured something out that I’d otherwise intuitively knew. For awhile now, I suspected that my championing of 1980s teen slasher films over their modern equivalents was largely if not entirely a product of adolescent idealizing. After all, so much of the media we consume as teens, were we to experience it 10-20 years after the fact, probably wouldn’t hold weight to what may or may not be maturing tastes. And while some of those Reagan-era horror movies have their share of camp and incompetence, I’m willing to now stand firm on a newer and more accurate observation. Want to know what it is?

Of course you do. In fact, I’m going to tell you in this very paragraph. You see, the teen slashers of two decades back are, at their core, horror movies… that happen to have teens in them. This generation’s largely bankrupt attempts at the teen slasher premise are actually teen movies… that happen to have a gruesome death every 15-30 minutes.

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2009
11.17

Musings From Jason’s Fevered Mind: Essential Vampire Films

Recently (yesterday!), a friend who goes gaga for vampire flicks asked me to compile a list of recommendations for her to add to her blossoming collection. This sparked the OCD maniac in me (see 101 Classic Horrors), so I dove into my own collection and tried to find the essentials of the genre that I think any vampire nut should see at least once. What I came up with is an admittedly longer list than I had intended (145 films), but it covers just about every vampire flick ever made and should appeal to the fan who thought they had seen every deserving slice of bloodsucking horror ever filmed. There are some inclusions that will roll the eyes of jaded horror fans (Fright Night 2 or Blade: Trinity come to mind), but the list has been painstakingly compiled for those that want to run the full gamut of vampiric thrills. Every film included has some kernel of delight waiting to be experienced (Parker Posey as a vampire! Awesome!). Some are pretentious (The Addiction), some are redundant (Jess Franco’s Count Dracula), and many are better forgotten after a single viewing (Interview With the Vampire), but all are worthy. Dig in, enjoy, and let me know what you think.

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2009
11.16

Review: Visitor Q

Director Takashi Miike is, often enough, a bit of a hit or miss with his films. But, I’m going to go out on a limb with this one and say that it hits far more than it misses. That is to say that it is a gradual but definitely full-blown smack to your decency and moral sensibilities. Have neither of those? Great, then let’s begin…

Visitor Q centers around what could easily be called a dysfunctional family, and then some. The young daughter, a teen prostitute, is having (paid) sex with her father. The mother is also hooking but has the additional burden of a heroin habit and being the random punching bag for her young son who, himself, is being regularly beaten by bullies. The father of this model family is a failed television producer who gets the idea of videotaping his screwed up brood for a reality TV show pitch. However, this subplot is a mere backdrop to the main story, especially when Visitor Q arrives in their lives, large rock in hand, and turns these four individuals utterly upside-down.

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2009
11.15

Review: Let The Right One In

Oskar isn’t exactly what you call a popular 12-year-old boy. Pale and outcast, he spends his days stewing over the regular bullying he endures at school, stabbing a tree with a knife, imagining his tormentors at the other end of his blade. His sadness and vulnerability are utterly palpable. He’s alone in a way only a truly outsider child knows. Until he meets Eli.

Eli is an outsider as well. In fact, she’s a vampire. She’s recently moved into Oskar’s Swedish suburban neighborhood with someone who appears to be her father — and later proven to be her sort of Renfield, given the task of acquiring blood for her. Problem is, he’s not very competent, which nudges Eli further into having to feed herself. During this stressful time, Eli and Oskar develop a close friendship, culminating in romance. Eli teaches Oskar to stand up for himself. And Oskar? Well, Eli’s just plain glad he’s there for her.

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2009
11.15

EP8: The Wolf Man

wolfmanbanner

Here are two men with impure hearts, who never say their prayers at night,
But become wolves when the podcast starts, and the beer is chilled just right.

Yes, this is our completely hokey segue to the description of our commentary on the 1941 masterpiece of lycanthropic study known as The Wolf Man. Take a journey to the shadowy borderlands of man’s animal nature, or simply enjoy two drinking guys chatting up their love for classic horror. You have a choice, unlike that poor Larry Talbot. After the feature, we’ll have our post-movie talk and maybe say some other clever things. AHHH-OOH!

As expected, we’d done some truly horrific things in front of a camera, evidence of which can be found at our Flickr page.

Cry Wolf | King Lycaeon | The Book of Werewolves | Lon Chaney Sr./Jr. | Innocent Blood | Harry Potter’s Forehead Scar | Bowler Hat | Ectopic Pregnancy | Coffins at Walmart | Circus Circus Reno | Lucky Charms | Gypsy | Time-Lapse Photography | The Starchild and Bat-Demon Show | Gloria Stuart | It’s Not Unusual To Love Tom Jones | Lucifer Muse

Episode Currently Unavailable