Category Archives: Occult

Dark Summer (2015)

02Dark Summer  (Horror, Thriller,  2015) () D: Paul Solet W: Mike Le P:  C: Keir Gilchrist, Stella Maeve, Maestro Harrell, Peter Stormare. 1h 21m. USA, UK.

Synopsis : A 17-year-old is on house arrest for the summer while his mother is away on business. A horrifying incident occurs leaving an ominous presence in the house.

TAGLINE : Some crushes last forever

This American supernatural thriller starts slow and unassuming, the camera work is lazy and the pictures hazy but it details the plights of a teenage boy who is under house arrest after stalking his high school crush, after she commits suicide he becomes convinced that her ghost is haunting him. Continue reading Dark Summer (2015)

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Rosemarys Baby (1968)

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Day 16 of 31

Director : Roman Polanski
Writer :  Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
Starring : Mia Farrow John Cassavetes Ruth Gordon Sidney Blackmer Maurice Evans Ralph Bellamy Angela Dorian. USA. 2h 36m

A deep tale of Satanism and pregnancy which is actually from frightening than the components, filled with cautionary tales delivered by powerful performances from Mia Farrow and Ruth Gordon.

In Roman Polanski’s first american film adapted from Ira Levin’s  best seller see’s a young vulnerable woman sold down the river by her lover and the Satanic community in her new apartment block. The dank old building is famed for having an equally aged community which the young couple struggle to blend in. Immediately after moving in two noesy neighbors Roman and Minnie Castevet (Sidney Blackmer and Ruth Gordon) invite themselves in and after protesting eventually Guy seems to warm to them after their intervention revitalizes his failing acting career, but at what cost? Rosemary potters around trying to make sense of her new surroundings, she befriends a fellow young girl who soon commits suicide and begins losing touch with her husband who is now best friends with the Castevet’s and whose temper gets shorter and shorter with his wife, until one fateful night when everything changes, Rosemary is unknowingly offered as a sacrifice of some sorts. Continue reading Rosemarys Baby (1968)

Haxan (1922)

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Day 8 of 31

Director: Benjamin Christensen
Starring: Astrid Holm Anna Jean-Luc Ponty (William S. Burroughs 1966 version) Benjamin Christensen as Satan/The Doctor Elisabeth Christensen Karen Winther. Sweden. 1h 31m

haxan

After reading a copy of the Malleus Maleficarum Christensen spent two years researching the history of Witchcraft and the hellish witch trials and after securing the funding he produced the most expensive silent movie of all time. Haxan is split into 4 plays, the first play details the primitive concept of the cosmos and using ancient artifacts it depicts the solar system and hell. Continue reading Haxan (1922)

Puppetmaster (1989)

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Day 1 of 31

Director: David Schmoeller.
Starring:Paul Le Mat, William Hickey, Irene Miracle, Jimmie F Skaggs, Robin Frates, Mews Small +. USA. 1h 30m.puppetmaster-film

Despite being one of the more memorable cult horror from the late 80’s I don’t feel the the Puppetmaster gets the recognition that it deserves, this is probably the fault of the 9 sequels that slowly parodies and destroys the original magic of the deadly dolls.

Continue reading Puppetmaster (1989)

Stigmata (1999)

stigmata

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Director : Rupert Wainwright
Starring: Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne. USA. 1h 43m

Patricia Arquette plays, Frankie a young hip hairdresser who works and salon  that also offers tattoos waaaaaay you before that was ever popular, she goes out clubbing with her friends and is generally having quite an amazing time before she starts getting gross bleeding wounds in her wrists and feet which then turn to my fan to a constant downer.

While her life of turned upside down she is soon made a pet  project by the experience tennis to father Andrew Keirnan (Gabriel Byrne) who also managed to play incarnation of Satan in the same year In the more efficient at end of days also starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.  the astute father, is deeply concerned about her situation  as he is the chief Vatican phenomenal investigator he is constantly dressed in severe back and designer spectacles,  he manages the coach her  through an unusual situation.

Hey do you know what’s scarier than not believing in god?

The film seems to take several different directions the narrative is never clear, at first it seems that this is a phenomenon that could just happen to anybody but it seems a mistake to have happened to Frankie as she is an atheist. There is no attempt to make this a spiritual journey Frankie goes through possession style torture and is under the watchful eye of the church you’re more likely to find more meaning of suffering by watching MTV.

There is some strong dialogue and good acting all round and it’s quite interesting but the film forms the basis for which the viewer has to fill in the blanks therefore you can make it is a spiritual all as supernatural if you wish. The storyline does make it watchable but it’s just not a great movie,  but possibly one of the better modern introduction to the phenomenon that we don’t actually see a lot of in these modern day features,  even with the rise of exorcism and possession films especially from the found footage genre, stigmata if often glazed over. It would be interesting to see someone address this is more gritty way.

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Rating 3/10

R –  The Exorcist (1973), End of  Days (1999),  Matthew 18 (2014)
L – Selected Religious Films
5B – Gabriel Byrne, Patricia Arquette
Vs -Gabriel Priest vs Gabriel Satan
Post Discussion

The Exorcism of Molly Hartley (2015)

 

Molly hartley

Director : Steven R Monroe
Writer: Matt Venne
Starring: Sarah Lind, Devon Sawa, Gina Holden, Peter MacNeill. USA. 2h 2m

Don’t get any hopes up for this movie it’s not out to break new grounds but it will entertain if you have a Exorcism Movie Cliche checklist and maybe sink a shot for every cliché ticked off the list, you’ll be very pleased by the end of the night. I’m being uber ciritical, it does actually have one unique “device” which adds an element of ancient ritual but it doesn’t save the film. For some reason after the first flop The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008), some asshole decided to take the story one step beyond in the direction of boredom. Continue reading The Exorcism of Molly Hartley (2015)

Vatican Tapes (2015)

Vatican Tapes (3)

Director:Mark Neveldine
Starring: Dougray Scott,Olivia Taylor Dudley, Michael Peña, Djimon Hounsou USA. 2015. 1h 31m

I’m not sure why I had such high hopes for this film, the posters were quite dramatic and I guess it was a vain hope that this would be a dark insight into the secret world of the vatican’s archives and their documentation of some batshitcrazy exorcisms but then I remembered that this is Hollywood and therefore I was more likely to see all of the Exorcism Movie Sins instead. Continue reading Vatican Tapes (2015)

Regression (2015)

Regression

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A dark and dramatic build up to a not so impressive ending for this sprightly occult laced mystery. I could see a lot of outstanding horror connections and there is even a (slight) cameo from satanic black metal band Behemoth but ultimately in the end I just didn’t see the point but in it’s defense the film did give me ultimate motherfucker of all jump scares that I will never forget.

The movie starts with an energetic and passionate cop Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) on the hunt for justice after a young girl, Angela Gray (Emma Watson) has been sexually abused and is hiding from her family at a local church. After failing at all paths of investigation he attempts a new form of questioning involving Professor Kenneth Raines’s ( David Thewlis) regression method and through a form of hypnosis a satanic cult that has engulfed the town is slowly revealed. Based on real events this film does offer a lot of thrilling suspense and intrigue a few jumps and some psychological terror but wains when it comes to gore and horror.

The dark Se7en-esque atmosphere is enhanced by multiple rainy Minnesota night scenes and darkened barns (that happen to harbor a fucking hell beast), and a well crafted sinister soundtrack.

Everything about Alejandro Amenábar’s film casts doubt, it cultivates a culture of looking at small details and taking a side. What starts out as a run of the mill child abuse story suddenly becomes a dark bloody story about sacrificing babies and cult persecution. Kenner’s mental stability comes into question as he encounters many late night terrors as the satanic group single him out. He’s plagued by silent phone calls, intruders, strange dreams and becomes hyper paranoid as strangers stare at him everywhere he goes, is this an invitation or is he on a occult hit list?

Fast paced thrilling mystery film that uncovers a potential child killing satanic cult acting in a small Minnesota town..

The film is very much in two halves, the first is a gritty detective mystery, one lose cop is out to get his man, Kenner is determined, quick witted and in control, but nothing is adding up, eventually after some more interactions with Angela (Watson) and after the regression sessions with the sound minded Professor things start to skew and the lines get incredibly blurry, the occult gets heavily involved and Kenner is a fish out of water.

regressionHawke had to carry this movie, there are a few good actors backing him up like Dale Dickey who plays a strong religious grandmother Rose, and her son (father to Angela and first accused of her abuse) is played by the multi skilled Swedish/Danish actor Karl David Sebastian Dencik. There is a particularly dramatic scene where Rose is being accused of cult punishments and she starts protesting her innocence “I know who i am.. I know who I am” which was equal to the ending scenes of Angel Heart (1987) other similarities are various scenes from the Omen Series where creepy people are starring characters down in the street and weird red eyed animals turn up as in The Rite (2011) but this one feline in the barn scene scared the literal piss out of me.. so watch out for that.

regression cat

Overall I would have preferred a movie that had a lot more blood and guts, but that’s just how I roll. Yes there is a strong argument that it’s based on real events and doesn’t need the gore to make the film more horrific, and I appreciate what it is, I just found it more of a mystery than a horror. I found there were two main scares and one of them really was enough for an ailurophobe like myself.. thanks guys, but it doesn’t have the power it needed to really drive the “twist” at the end. Sadly it was let down by Emma Watson I found her character as as useful as Zhizhi Zhang in Horseman (2009) but she has no excuse because she can speak the language. It was great seeing Behemoth on a poster starring down Hawke in one of the later scenes, but I dunno if they were on tour in that area in the 90’s or not.. still it’s a nice touch.

 

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Rating 4/10

RThe Omen (1976), Angel Heart (1987), The Rite (2011),Horseman (2009)
L – Satanic films, Real Murder Mysteries
A – Why do satanist always wear robes in films AKA how satanism portrayed on film.
5B – Ethan Hawke, David Thewlis, Karl Dencik

Baba Yaga / Kiss me Kill me (1973)

Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga / Kiss me Kill me  (Horror, Thriller,  1973) (18) D: Corrado Farina W: Guido Crepax (cartoon) C: Carroll Baker, George Eastman, Isabelle De Funès. 1h 21m. Italy, France.

Synopsis : A photographer finds herself falling under the spell of a witch.

Corrado Farina’s dark and seductive film inspired by the Slavic folklore witch named Baba Yaga who has discarded her pestle and mortar for a plush luxury car has decided to holiday in the sunny back streets of Italy rather than her usual home deep in the Russian forests. Baba Yaga or Kiss Me Kill Me boasts daring 70’s freedom of sexuality and intrigue while following the mysterious sites newest interest  Isabelle De Funès who is a hip young risqué photographer, while the movie focuses in on the seduction and haunting of the youthful artisan it neglects to heavily zone in on the gore or esoteric side of the story.

Even though this is inspired on the Nordic Crone by name there is nothing really present about her historic character in the movie, instead it skips the history lesson and dwells with free love of the swinging 70’s and in a similar vein to other Italian thrillers of the time it wallows in a Technicolor psychedelic mysterious ooze. Isabelle is an independent modern woman,  who snares the attention of the crazy cat  lady styled Baba Yaga.  She encapsulates the startled doll like beauty and free loving ethics of any hipster and this life comes crashing into the stuffed dated style of Baba antique lifestyle after accidentally meeting Yaga in a near collision her camera is bewitched and a strange bondage doll is gifted to her, Isabelle notices strange unexplained occurrences but how do you combat a witch or confront a friendly stranger.

BABA YAGA

The plot eases into different chapters rather than flowing freely, it’s as if Farina wrote the scenes independently exploring each subject to it’s fullest, there is a the saga of the haunted camera then Annette the sexy bondage doll who takes the film into the final chapter of Baba’s dark dungeon and further kinkiness. There are some interesting dreamy sequences and suggestions of witchcraft but the subject is vague and quickly discarded as quickly as it’s presented.

The acting isn’t brilliant but the story is chiefly embedded in the mystery of the peculiar events while everything seems to be animated like a dream throughout, especially when Baba is on the screen or when Isabelle is in her house that seems to be in an almost parallel universe, the setting being a heavily decorated Victorian mansion on the outskirts of town where the witch cuddles her pussy in rooms filled with doilies and you can almost smell the mothballs and violets in the gloom.

The film is lacking in gorey blood splattered murder scenes that would be expected in a Italian thriller of the time such as a flick from Fulci or Argento, but it’s not a huge downside, in fact this Romanticised thriller premise that you can have a tense film without the carnage.

baba yaga

Spiraling into a sado sexual finale there is a want for a witchy showdown, of course there is a battle once Isabelle works out who is causing her bad mojo, but there is nothing on a huge scale or with frightening effects, sadly there is no counter with or any help from an occult expert either which could have been an interesting edge. Instead it’s all down to the initiative Isabella and her fella to find solutions but ultimately how can you fight an immortal character like Baba Yaga!?

Farina touches on a lot of sexy subjects and transcends a few taboo’s while introducing a unique possessed doll who is sexy and threatening at the same time. Overall it’s tame in the terms of gore but remains an exciting thrill.

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Rating –  8/10

V: I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, it’s style and mysterious feel was a pleasant surprise it doesn’t throw itself excessively into one category, instead it straddles a mystery, thriller, horror, occult film evenly. As a fan of many Italian thrill kill movies especially from the infamous Argento and Fulchi this film equals their style and vigor. Without being uber “loud” both with colour and sound Baba Yaga is more subtle with it’s approach, delivering a more in depth story rather than regular kills. I adore how the old Slavic witch is brought into the modern age, sadly the film couldn’t be as off the wall as the original comics but I’m still giving the film a huge 8/10.

R: The Frightened woman (1969), the black cat (1981) , Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971), The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972),  Susperia (1977).  

T: Most of the original cast left this project and it had to be re started with the Baker and De Funès instead.
5B: Carroll Baker , Isabelle De Funès
L: Selected Italian cinema, Witch movies,  Folklore flicks
PD : Post Discussion

Kill List (2011)

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Kill List (Crime, Horror, Thriller, Supernatural 2011) (18) D: Ben Wheatley: P: W: Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley: C:Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Michael Smiliey, Struan Rodger 1h 35m. UK.

Synopsis: Nearly a year after a botched job, a hit man takes a new assignment with the promise of a big payoff for three killings, What starts off as an easy task soon unravels, sending the killer into the heart of darkness.

Nearly a year after a disastrous job; a hitman Jay (Maskel) and his trusty sidekick Gal (Smilie) take on a new assignment with the promise of a big payoff for a mere three killings. What begins as an effortless task soon unravels; sending the killers on a wild psychological roller coaster.

Kill List opens as a fairly mundane drama set around a dysfunctional and violent couple and a quiet often ignored son. Gradually the plot descends into bloody gore, shrewd psychological disturbances, occult and a healthy lashing of “thrill  kill”.

It encapsulates the downward spiral of a semi retired hitman, We being to feel sympathy for Jay, his mission in Kiev and now potters around his house imagining himself as having a bad back, pissing off his spouse Shel (Burning) and the two constantly switch between love and hateful outbursts over Jay’s inactivity and the families poor financial situation. The pace starts to sharpen once Jay finds a new contract and a mysterious character known simply as The Client (Rogers) offers the duo a 3 person kill list during an unsettling meeting in a hotel.

At this point the pair start to drift apart as Jay starts to rage more and loses control and his grip on reality and the walls close in.

The screenplay is very characteristic of Wheatly/Jump’s style of film like Sightseers (2012) and Down Terrace (2009). Filmed in a similar manner of a fly on the wall documentary, the cinematography follows suit with shaky cam and close ups, zooming in on the graphic violent scenes, all of this is backed up with raw and unprepared script sporadic soundtrack, sometimes holding up and allowing space for deep personal scenes.

The acting is brilliant, it looks very realistic which is the entire angle of this movie, its main point of driving home the message that this could happen to anyone is to see it happening to people you can easily identify with. It feels as if Wheatley is bringing this story to the viewer. trying to force them to digest everything for themselves. This identification with the main cast helps pull you into the movie. Suddenly Jay isn’t James Bond, he’s doing what you would in that situation, but when he starts going off the rails does this mean you could also. For an example when Jay and Gal find some disturbing videos, Gal is very passive and Jay goes off all half cocked, which is what most people would do in his place but would they really press it as hard as him?

Wheatly and Jump work together so well, constantly they are producing characters that could live on your street but who have this dark and sinister backgrounds. The quiet family down the street are revealed as trained killers and yet blend seamlessly, everyone has a hidden face, everyone is hiding a secret.

With its raw and uncompromising dialogue, Kill List hits hard, it’s raw with a gloomy undercurrent, you have no where to hide. Combining the difficult family drama such as Once Were Warriors (1994) with a brutal hitman action movie and topping it off with constantly surreal occult references the melting pot is set to dish up a curious and unique movie.


09

Rating : 9/10
AOFAPD

R: Sightseers (2012), A Field in England (2015) Devil Rides Out (1968) Borderlands (2013), Rosemarys Baby (1968)
Q: Gal “I fucking hate dirty soap”
BS: Some of the most realistic blood is scene in the hotel scene when Jay gets his hand cut. The brutal killing of he Librarian is very gruesome ans violent!
OST: Nb. Sharksong used in tunnel chase.
L: Selected Occult Movies, Hitmen Movies, Modern British Thrillers
5B: Ben Wheatley, Michael Smiliey, Neil Maskell
DGI: Chug a bear for each of the killings..

Kisha