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.
Anthologies are tricky things. Studios don’t like them anymore and people have no modern experience with them so can they still work? In 10 Cloverfield Lane, producer J.J. Abrams and director Dan Trachtenberg take the DNA of the earlier smash hit and populate it into a nightmarish thriller where there is no escape, no help and no one to save the cast from itself. Trailer and review after the break
I’m reminded, watching the film we’re going to look at now, of that line from Predator by Arnold Schwarzenegger: “So you cooked up a story and dropped the six of us in a meatgrinder?” Because that’s largely what happens in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, the film we didn’t know we needed until now. How will the world of Jane Austen and Zombies be after it was all over? Trailer and answers after the jump.
Heard of Creepshow? No? Night of the Living Dead creator George A. Romero turns his attention from zombies to anthology horror in this 80’s gem, delighting horror and thriller fans with his own take of the blood-curdling tales synonymous with EC Comics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Beneath is never going to win any awards for best story. It’s a haunted house spook-fest mixed with a slasher picture. It has an implausible setup. It has Jeff Fahey in it. It’s never going to be treated like Shakespeare. It doesn’t matter because it was quite the ride.
Macabre terror has been a staple of cinema since at least the Fifties. Hammer Films practically invented it after the initial horror successes at Universal Pictures in the 1930’s and 40’s. Macabre comedy, however, is still something of a rare breed. While people mistake it for black comedy, macabre comedy involves the process in which a horror story unfolds with moments of levity and sick humour. American International Pictures decided to follow up their horror title Tales of Terror with a comedy film titled Comedy of Terrors in 1963. A dark piece of comedy, it managed to attract a decent director, a then up and coming writer who was redefining TV with the Twilight Zone and a cast of classic horror actors to make, if not an out and out farce then at least, a quirky comedy that has more in common with Carry On Screaming! and Young Frankenstein than its more contemporary fellow examples in the genre.