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The Initiation (1984)

“It’s like lookin’ into a mirror!” | The Initiation (1984)

Dreams and nightmares are the fuel of most good horrors and thrillers. From antiquity to the modern novel and all the way through to cinema and videogames, it is a fertile ground to launch any kind of journey of uncertainty. In The Initiation, a dream is all main character Kelly Fairchild has to go on. Too bad someone is stalking her at the same time. Trailer (NSFW) and review after the jump.

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Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988)

“Save the film, strike the broad and kill the babies.”| Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988)

If nothing else, Return of the Killer Tomatoes is proof that you don’t need to see an obscure film in order to get sucked into its sequel. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes was a weird, funny film but when its first sequel came out in 1988, few people would have remembered instantly the first movie. And why would you when you have George Clooney as a sidekick, the gorgeous Karen Mistal as Tara and John Astin hamming it up as the evil and insane Prof. Gangreen? Trailer and review after the break.

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“Evelyn! No, please!” – Killer Dames Double Bill Arrow boxset (1971/1972)

Emilio Miraglia is an Italian director who was most active in the 1970’s. He directed around six features (though he could have worked uncredited in more) and then vanished from the scene (literally). While he directed different genres, he’s most famous for two features: The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba) and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (La dama rossa uccide sette volte). Trailers (NSFW!) and more after the break.

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Sheba, Baby (1975)

“Tell me, before you lose your head!” – Sheba, Baby (1975)

I suppose I should start by saying that I love Pam Grier in every film she’s in. There’s something about the way she looks, smiles and threatens and then carries out threats to shoot people. You can see her working everything out beforehand. But the films she does are not always as good. Case in point, Sheba, Baby.

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“A few more seconds and you’d have been a roast duck.” – Deep Red (1975)

I love watching Italian Giallo films and after a few false starts, I got stuck into a proper Giallo film by a man who pretty much invented or helped to invent the genre as we know it today. Deep Red is a classic murder mystery with lashings of blood, violence and non-sequitur characters that lead you down one path and back up others told by a filmmaker who, at least in this project, knows exactly what he’s doing.

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“The dead like to be left alone.” – Fulci’s The Black Cat (1981)

Lucio Fulci has many films to his credit that exemplify his talents as one of Italy’s foremost horror directors. Zombie Flesh Eaters, City of the Living Dead and The Beyond to name a few and those were his most celebrated but he had a career spanning three decades. A lot of his projects were deliberate choices, creative endeavours so The Black Cat might seem an odd choice for Fulci but between his directing style and the way the film turned out, I think it’s one of Fulci’s better films.

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It all happened on a night like this one – Madman (1983)

One of the early 80’s slashers, Madman is soaked in the myth of the evil that lurks just beyond the treeline. A group of camp counselors are packing up the kids in their charge for the end of the summer and responsible adult Max tells one more ghost story at the campfire. But in true form, the tale they tell is real. Madman Marz killed his family, was lynched by the townspeople and then escaped into the woods around his house. He’s not been seen since but if you say his name above a whisper, he’ll get you. They do. He does.

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‘See you in Pittsburgh.’ – Videodrome (1983)

I’ve never been a big David Cronenberg fan. I’ve seen some of his output but not all of it. That’s not to say I don’t like his films, I just wouldn’t call myself an expert. That said, Videodrome is the one that everyone talks about. More polished than Scanners, less commercial (ironic given its plot) than The Fly, the film represents, at least for me, the best of the Canadian filmmaker’s work.

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Mona Lisa (1986)

“You ever need someone?” “All the time.” – Mona Lisa (1986)

A stylish car sits in the driveway of a posh, upstate English house. A man sits in the driver’s seat of the car, half asleep. George (Bob Hoskins) not sure what he’s doing here and he’s trying his best to find out. He’s waiting to drive a beautiful girl Simone (Cathy Tyson) away to another meeting in a similar situation. But as he and we the audience begin to understand, the film’s not about what George knows and that he’s trying to find out more, it’s about what he doesn’t know and what little he’ll learn by trying to change that. Almost the same as trying to figure out the painting of the same name, Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa is enigmatic and mysterious as we learn less and less about the actual plot.

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Contamination (1980) - Capricorn Theater Reviews

“Hamilton’s eyes were….were…HAMILTON!!!!” – Contamination (1980)

My first experience with Italian horror and science fiction has two rocky but excellent starts. The horror came in the form of Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond and House By The Cemetery (Thanks so much Mick, for recommending and loaning them to me). Watching them on the brand new DVD format (Wave of the future!), I loved Beyond and couldn’t finish House as I was too scared of it (Thanks so much Mick, for recommending and loaning them to me!). Watching them, I could understand their appeal: they were quickly edited, well paced and had decent actors in them who just tackled the work and nothing more.
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