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While writing my list of what to cover this Halloween, I noticed that I have started many lists about George A Romeo but couldn’t really narrow it down or beef it up to a decent number, so here’s my last ditch attempt to give some credit to one of the more charismatic American Horror Directors RIP.
05. Monkey Shines (An Experiment in Fear) (1988)
While this isn’t necessarily a horror and doesn’t contain any Zombies, I do find this to be one of Romero’s more powerful thrillers. An athlete; Allan, becomes quadriplegic after a tragic accident, but in his time of need, a good friend who is conducting experiments with monkeys offers Allan a well trained Capuchin named Ella, with a few modifications to his home Ells is able to aid Allen and keeps his company. Ella and Allans’ bond, initially healthy, is soon thrown into overdrive when Allan falls in love. Allan’s underlying rage and Ella’s frustrations soon turns into a rageful psycho trip for the unlikely pair.
Under the surface, Romeo plays with ideas about the connection with humans and animals in nature, gender roles and the inner rage of sudden disability. It’s all very powerful stuff and all bound up in a tiny doll like critter. If this is to your taste then there was a similar Humanize TV movie from Britain released in the same year called First Born, starring Charles Dance. Continue reading Spotlight – George A Romero
Director: James M Munro
Starring: Mike Lackey, Bill Chepil, Vic Noto, Mark Sfreeazza, Nicole potter, Jane Arakawa, Pat Ryan, Bernard Perlman, RL Ryan, USA. 1h 31m
Cinema can be used for many things, most films are there to purely allow it’s viewers to switch off and eat some popcorn, highlight a great night out, others are more contemporary and are tool used to expand esoteric ideas and philosophy, then there’s street trash an almost plot less movie with lots of slimy stuff oozing out of low lives in New York while they do stuff but it’s delivered in such a unique way that it’s gained a solid cult following and is a guilty pleasure for many.
James M Munro initially crafted a short movie with the same title back in 1984 and expanded the abstract story into a full feature length however there’s hardly any addition to the plot. The gooey film is still just about a group of winos drinking contaminated booze and slightly borders on the sub comic in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing called Nukeface Papers where the destitutes begin to drink toxic waste and get up to crazy shenanigans.
Continue reading Street Trash (1987)
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Sam Neill, Julie Carmen, Jürgen Prochnow, Charlton Heston .USA/Canada. 1h 35m
This epic slice of classic horror and the final piece of his Apocalypse Trilogy seems to be John Carpenter’s homage to a lot of the great names in literary horror, from HP Lovecraft to Stephen King he carves out a creepy tale which every horror writer has probably dreamt of, and that’s the ability to make their horror very real and literally jump of the page and effect their readers, getting all up in their grills. Anything to stop those whiney kids to stop complaining that nothing scares them huh?
Continue reading In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
In the summer of 1979 Lucio Fulci released Zombi 2 also known as Island of the Living Dead, also known as Nightmare Island and sometimes known as Zombie Flesh Eaters, and possibly many other titles. This bold and sensual movie was intended as an unofficial sequel to George A Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978), it was quite a popular theme for Italian directors to make unofficial sequels to American releases, for me the most iconic would be Alien 2 : On Earth (1980) which was Ciro Ippolito and Biagio Proietti’s attempt to make an earth bound sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 cult classic Alien. It’s as different as day and night to Alien and the intended sequel Aliens, but it’s a really wacky but thrilling lower budget movie. It’s brilliant that the ambition to make a daring sequel spurred on a wonderful director to try and achieve something new, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Continue reading Zombie Vs Shark
Director: Bryan Singer Writer Christopher McQuarrie.
Starring. Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, Pete Postlethwaite, Sizy Amis, Benicio Del Toro. USA. 1h 44m.
First time I saw the Usual Suspects I was lucky enough to see it alongside a piece by Mark Kermode and the film finished with a short from writer Christopher McQuarrie about how he brainstormed the story, not that I needed any more convincing that the film is totally awesome the extra depth really cemented the film as being one of my all-time greatest and one I find myself returning to from time and time again.
Starting with a dark film noir style introduction which is slightly confusing, two silhouetted men talk, light a cigarette, one is injured and the other walks away as an explosion engulfs a ship and the wounded man.. the dark undertones shift to something more gangster as the film opens and builds in two timelines, Verbal (Spacey) has been pulled into a police office to be questioned by the sly agent Kujan (Palminteri), the shifty club footed criminal is forced to give up valuable information before he’s set free, reluctantly he begins to talk but once he gets started he lives up to his name sake and the verbal diarrhea starts to flow. After some threats from Kujan, the past is unlocked up in audacious little chapters, almost like a 50’s crime comic, it’s slick and witty, and at times it’s on a higher level of brainy than the average movie. Continue reading The Usual Suspects (1995)
Starring: Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, Rudolf Klein Rogge, Fritz Rasp, THeodor Loos, Brigitte Helm. Germany. 2h 28m
Despite the age and the various cuts of this groundbreaking movie it’s still a powerful and disturbing film, it’s one of those titles that a lot of people are aware of but haven’t really watched and I have to admit that I’ve only seen it 3 times and each time it’s been a different cut but the darkness of the story remains constant, Regardless of HG Wells comments about the plot being “silly” it’s hard not to see how it’s a forerunner for those stark dystopian projects such as 1984 (1949), High Rise (1975-2015) and dare I even say Terminator (1984).
Opening with lavish scenes of an efficient and idealist future cityscape, the Metropolis is busy and filled with beautiful people, one of these stunning hipsters is Freder (Frohlich) his father Joh Fredersen, is a rich and powerful man who basically owns the city and runs the world above and below from his penthouse office. While Freder is playing with his friends in a pleasure garden, their playtime is interrupted when Maria (Helm) intrudes with a group of children who exist in the underground, who have come to see how the other half live, Freder is bewitched by Maria’s beauty and follows her into the depths of the city, and into a world which he’d been kept apart from all of his privileged life by this rich father who just happened to own the city.. Continue reading Metropolis (1927)
Director: David Lynch
Starring: John Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Judith Anna Roberts. USA . 1h 49m
A cult classic surreal black and white masterpiece… to some.. But not for me! I’m not going to bullshit, I’ve never been really into Eraserhead, I adore black and white movies and I really love surreal art (something I paint myself) and films. I’ve never been heavily into Lynch and for me this film is creepy, unusual but nothing all that special. I feel that there are two types of surreal movies, the first is a movie which is all out surreal, no easy to follow story line and completely wacky, for argument sake Dali’s Un Chien Andalou (1929), and there are other films which have a pretty liner storyline but just go about it in random ways.. Much like this one. Continue reading Eraserhead (1977)
Director: Anthony Hickox
Starring: Zach Galligan, Deborah Foreman, David Warner, Michelle Johnson, Patrick Macnee, Dana Ashbrook, John Rhys-Davies . USA . 1h 35m
The 80’s was a decade of goofy horror, obviously there were some real shockers out there which really upped the ante and changed the game forever but I feel that the number of cheesy comedy horrors was possibly at an all time high, but some were presented in a way which really captured the hearts of horror fans and like this, made themselves into the cult classic year book. Waxworks have always thrilled and entertained but in this epic terror things get more creepy than usual when a mysterious exhibit appears from nowhere with a staff of misfits at its helm. Continue reading Waxworks (1988)
Director: Anthony Hickox
Starring: Julian Sands, Paula Marshall, Chris Young, R G Armstrong . USA . 1h 38m
Warlock (1988) was an amazing film, with a host of rich histories and wonderful effects which became the dawn of a gripping new evil villain with charm and tons of sex appeal; while this film really broke the horror fantasy world apart, it’s sequel, while being a bit more soppy and sentimental, did deliver some gruesome body horror for it’s delightful bad guy, acted by the amazing Julian Sands but without a fiesty hero originally played by Richard E Grant, the film lost some of it’s edge for a more whimsical teen duo who think they can outsmart the Warlock.
The original Warlock film started in the dark ages in Britain, but the keyword for Warlock 2 is Druids and magical stones, an aspect which would make most horrors laughable but Hickox managed to rein back the wands and fairy dust for a touch of the macabre. Continue reading Warlock 2 – the Armageddon (1993)