Director: Lamberto Bava
Starring. Michele Soavi, Andrew Occhipinti, Fabola Toledo, Anny Papa. Italy. 1h 50m.
The literal translation of the title is The House with the Dark Staircase which is a little bit more appropriate; at least for the opening scene. Initially cast as a mini-series the film was scraped by Italian TV moguls for being too violent, so re edited as a much shorter film.
Starting with a peculiar scene a groups of boys dare each other to go down some dark stairs (hence the name) eventually one of the boys is forced down into the darkness where he meets his grisly fate, from there Bava leisurely sets the pace of a whodunit with some impressive jump scares. Continue reading La Casa Con La Scala Nel Buio / A Blade in the Dark (1983)
Director: Alfonso Brescia.
Starring. Robert Hoffman, Irina Demick, Pilar Velazquez, Adolfo Celi. Italy. 1h 32m.
I’m not sure what the fascination is with the Giallo scene and parks, houses being on the edge, and girls getting killing in them. But this was a bit of a jumbled mess for me, I got the story but some of the characters were a little too bat-shit-crazy to make the film all that plausible. Continue reading Ragazza Tutta Nuda Assassinata Nel Parco / A girl killed in the park (1972)
Director:Zak Hilditch .
Starring. Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Neal McDonough. USA. 1h 48m.
This hot and melting messy murder film is quite an interesting brooding moralistic thriller. At first the rocky love affair between Wilfred Jane) and his feisty wife Arlette (Parker) is something on parallel to a Tennessee Williams play, but it’s no secret that he’s planning to kill his wife for her land and cash, but it doesn’t seem plausible until he slowly bullies his son, Henry into helping him hold her down and slit her throat in a torrid gurgling bloody mess. He disposes of her corpse down the well soon after then the rats appear, crawling in and out of her corpse, the scene shocks him but he has some cleaning up to do and a lot of police dodging, until the Henry discovers that his teenage true love is pregnant and he has to escape the town and the two go on the run leaving Wilfred alone on the farm with the ever present rats for company.
Continue reading 1922 (2017)
Day 8 – Carnival of Souls
Director: Herk Harvey.
Starring. Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison, USA. 1h 24m.
A cult classic that still influences a host of modern directors, this independent horror film manages to create a bizarre ghostly atmosphere that has been difficult to re-create since.
A few girls are out for a lark, when then encounter some greasers who challenge them to a drag race over a bridge, the girls car crashes in the river and they get pulled along by the rapids, the rescue mission fails to find anything but a shabby and bemused young blonde bombshell emerges from the water the only survivor from this tragic misadventure. Mary’s life is never quite the same after the accident. The church organist relocates to Utah, where she finds herself set apart from the locals and stalked by a strange pasty faced ghoulish man (Harvey) as she’s drawn towards a mysterious carnival on the outskirts of town near the river, where she’s inclined to dance. Continue reading Carnival of Souls (1962)
Day 3 – The Void
Director: Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie .
Starring. Aaron Poole, USA. 1h 30m.
It’s not often a film grips my attention quite like this one. The first trailer I chanced upon was quiet mysterious and the poster had tentacles, that’s pretty much me sold on any movie. So the Void didn’t promise much, it kept 90% of the fun a secret and that added to the fun and intensity of the gory film. Starting with a curious scene a man escapes from some crazy occultist and flees into the woods, bleeding and disorientated. A lone cop sees him the road and takes him to the nearest hospital to get him patched up. The hospital is in the process of being relocated, so there is minimal staff and they are caring for one pregnant girl and packing, quite reminiscent of Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) and before you know it, they are soon surrounded by shrouded occultist and have to barricade themselves but unlike the 70’s siege film they are fighting unknown metaphysical forces that are beyond comprehension, yet very familiar to those lured tales from HP Lovecraft. Continue reading The Void (2016)
Director: Renny Harlin
Starring. Holly Goss, Matt Stokoe, Luke Albright, Ryan Hawley, Gemma Atkinson. UK/Russia. 1h 40m.
Based loosely on real events this poorly conceived horror manages to derail all the original horrific accounts from the plot to invent a new less frightening one. The original story revolves around a small group of young experienced hikers who went missing, the mystery was sparked when their charred, radioactive and broken remains were found in the deep snow miles from their camp site. The theories of what happened ranger from a Yeti attack, government black ops, and the more common UFO scandals but really no one really knows the truth. But now we have another theory that seems a little different from the rest, but neglects to really pin point the events and instead conjures up some new ideas with another set of hikers making what seems to be all the same mistakes. Continue reading The Dyatlov Pass Incident /Devil’s Pass (2013)
Directors: Pamela Romanowsky, James Franco
Starring: James Franco, Allie Gallerani,Tim Blake Nelson,Joe Pease, Lori Singer, Eric Roberts. USA. 1h 30m.
A grief stricken Isabelle (Gallerani) checks herself into the Rosewood asylum to find a cure for her melancholy, her dedicated brother Robert (Pease) is deeply concerned about how the death of their parents have affected her and checks in on her and the history of the asylum despite being urged by the trusted Dr Torrington (Roberts) that it’s the best hospital in the country. Isobelle becomes a patient under the highly talented and slightly eccentric Dr. Carin (Franco) and his creepy surgeon sidekick Dr. Lemelle (Nelson). As Isobelle starts to become aware that there are other women at the asylum who seem second class, injured and shabby the crawl the halls, but she’s promised that she won’t have to be around them and her care is seperate but she strikes up a friendship with them. Continue reading The Institute (2017)
Director: Abel Ferrara.
Starring: Harvey Keitel, Brian McElroy, Frankie Acciarito, Peggy Gormley, Victor Argo, . USA. 1h 36m.
The 90’s were the golden revival era of disturbing films, and while this isn’t your average cop film, it is a brilliant cop drama but the main character is so massively flawed that you often forget that he’s supposed to be the good guy.
Harvey Keitel plays the ultimate asshole of a cop LT, who shambles about the city, taking drugs, pulling over and intimidating young girls, he’s a mess, stealing drugs from crime scenes and on the odd occasion babysitting his kids and racking up huge gambling debts. Continue reading Bad Lieutenant (1992)
Director: Romolo Guerrieri.
Starring: Carroll Barker, Jean Sorel, Luigi Pistilli. Italy/France. 1h 35m.
A couple return to Geneva from their honeymoon flaunting around various parts of Europe, the rich Deborah (Barker), and beautiful lover Marcel (Sorel) are only in town for one night before things start to become strange. Marcel notices an old friend, Philip, who totally blanks him in a nightclub, after catching up with him again during the evening, Philip announces that Marcels former fiance Susan is dead and it’s all his fault, despite her death being a suicide Philip still strongly blames Marcel for her death. Continue reading The Sweet Body of Deborah/The Body/Married to Kill (1968)
Director: Roger Corman
Starring: Boris Karloff, Jack Nicholson, Sandra Knight, Dick Miller, Dorothy Neumann. USA. 1h 20m
There’s not a lot to this old meets new Roger Corman film, a gothic ghostly romance that features Boris Karloff near the end of his career and Jack Nicholson near the beginning of his illustrious career and he’s still quite wet behind the ears, especially in stark contrast of the seasoned Karloff, but even with his mastery it’s easy to see that the film would have benefitted from being much shorter. Continue reading The Terror (1963)