Posted by: Noah Lee
From Brian Salisbury–“Knowing Noah’s proclivities as well as his blind spots, I continued with the theme of Italian horror. Noah seems to know Fulci pretty well, but that’s about it. I don’t blame him, Fulci is my favorite as well and Argento can get a little flowery with his more supernatural stuff. But his giallo films are fantastic and I wanted to expose Noah to that side of him as a filmmaker.”
If you’re a horror fan you’re almost instantly required to be a fan of Dario Argento. Well, that seems to be the general consensus in conversations I’ve had. Unfortunately for my status, I’ve never really found his movies to be all that compelling. I believe the man produces some beautiful looking films and his influence on how horror films are shot is undeniable. I’m also a fan of the music he chooses for his movies, whether it’s working with Goblin or Ennio Morricone, the soundtracks are nearly always a treat. And to be fair the man helped to write The Church, which I already stated is a favorite of mine. However, when Argento delves into the realm of gialli he loses my attention completely. To be fair, I’ve really not seen a compelling giallo as of yet. I’ll keep looking.
Posted by: Brian Salisbury
Written and Directed by Dario Argento, 1971
Welcome back to AYIF. I have often lauded the questionable merits of Italian cinema as it pertains to my penchant for shitty post-apocalyptic knock-off films, but the truth is that there are some really fantastic Italian films. Sure, for the film snobbish among us, we could quickly cite the likes of Fellini and Antonioni, but for me the horror genre is really where it’s at for great Italian films. Sure, like my beloved knockoff post-apocalyptic films, there are better examples than others and there are the stinkers that are watchable in spite of themselves. But there are also some truly exemplary titles that horror aficionados talk about ad nauseum; for good reason. There are directors whose names get bandied about with word like legend and genius. One of those names is Dario Argento, and today I will be watching his FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET.
FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET is about a young drummer named Roberto who begins to notice a strange man following him everywhere. The stranger, an old man with the fashion sense of a Blues Brother, appears at his band rehearsals, outside clubs, and putting along behind him in what will go down in history as one of the slowest car chases ever filmed. Finally, Roberto reaches the breaking point and confronts Mario Creepypants in a deserted opera house. A couple of painfully awkward dance steps later, Creepypants ends up stabbed and also dead while Roberto is left trying to figure out the logistics of the apparent murder. All of this is being captured on film by a freaky-faced cherub in the balcony. What follows is a terrifying tale of blackmail, fear, and blood.
Posted by: Peter Hall
Not sure if anyone cares but me, but I’ll be covering more Blu-ray titles from here on out. Also, dipping out of the spectrum of this site real quick, but 2008’s best documentary, DEAR ZACHARY: A LETTER TO A SON ABOUT HIS FATHER, comes out. I highly, highly, highly recommend seeing it. Netflix. Amazon.
In advanced honor cashing-in-on of the Platinum Dunes FRIDAY THE 13TH reboot, new additions of Parts 1-3 have hit on DVD. Sadly the first part is the only one available on Blu-ray in the states, whereas all three are on BRD in the UK. Shrug. Part 3 is also in full 3-D for the first time on disc.
Continuing with the hockey mask is the documentary HIS NAME WAS JASON which chronicles the culture of Voorhees. It’s not quite as good as HALLOWEEN 25 YEARS OF TERROR, but it’s worth a Netflix for completist fans.
Then of course there are the Straight-to-DVDs fo the week, BLACK SWARM and KILLER MOVIE. I don’t know anything about either, though a lot can be inferred from their covers.
Stepping just outside the genre, but still in the realm of science fiction, we have BLINDNESS. The rather tepid response it got from critics had me in no rush to see BLINDNESS at a theater, but CONSTANT GARDNER and CITY OF GOD director Fernando Meirelles has me interested in the story of a world struck with an outbreak of, well, look at the title.
MY NAME IS BRUCE also got a general consensus of ‘meh’ so I’ve yet to see. Game on now, though. Also available on Blu-ray.
Steven Segal + vampires = AGAINST THE DARK.
Kicking off the trifecta of red themed titles of the month is RED MIST, once known as FREAKDOG, from Paddy Breathnach. I’m not a fan at all of the wasted potential that was Breathnach’s SHROOMS, but I’ll give RED MIST a shot.
Second up is RED VICTORIA which judging from its cover looks in the vamp fantasy vein, but IMDb lists a plot about a person, “forced to write a horror movie by an undead muse who motivates him by killing his friends and family.” Could be passable.
FRIDAY THE 13TH THE SERIES VOLUME 2 is exactly what that mouthful explains. THE LODGER is a remake of Hitchcock’s THE LODGER, though the filmmakers would rather you think of it as a retelling of the novel THE LODGER. Either way it calls upon Alfred Molina, which gives it slightly more credibility.
Also, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE hits Blu-ray. Not a horror title by any stretch, but it is David Cronenberg, this site’s favorite director. Already have my pre-order in.
Edit: And to add TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE because apparently I’m the biggest asshole ever for forgetting it.
Ugh. FEAST III: THE HAPPY FINISH. FEAST II (review) was an awful, awful, awful movie and I have no reason whatsoever to think that things are going to turn around. They couldn’t even get their lame sex-subtitle right. Is it not a HAPPY ENDING, not a HAPPY FINISH? Never going to see this.
Ah, THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN (review). If you haven’t caught this OnDemand yet, today it finally hits DVD and BRD. I’m rather indifferent to the film. By no stretch is it a bad movie, but I wasn’t all that blown away, either. I’ll be giving it a second shot at some point.
QUARANTINE (review) doesn’t need much explanation. If you’ve not seen [REC] and don’t feel like buying a Canadian copy, which is surprisingly not a euphemism for bootleg, I suppose QUARANTINE will do. It’s whatevs.
Remember SCREAMERS? Kind of? Get ready for SCREAMERS: THE RISING.
Last up of the STD titles is ALIEN RAIDERS, which I’ve heard very good things about. Expect a review later in the month.
In advanced honor cashing-in-on the remake of THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is a new “unrated” copy of Wes Craven’s first film. I’m no lover of the seasoned shocker so I won’t be replacing my older, never watched copy of the film.
If the DVD cover doesn’t give it away, CYCLOPS was a Sci-Fi channel premiere. I caught bits and pieces of it and well, that cover delivers and then some. Unlike most films on The Most Dangerous Night of Television, the eponymous beast actually doesn’t look a Sega Saturn rendering, more like a Playstation 2, and is actually shown quite a lot.
Expect a review of RED SANDS at some point, the newest flick from the guys behind DEAD BIRDS (review). I’m really digging the cover which looks straight out of 1997. I’m game.
I dodged THE HAUNTING OF MOLLY HARTLEY at theaters and will continue to do so on DVD.
EPITAPH is a Korean horror flick set in a hospital in the ’40s. Like most films following the bust of Korea’s new wave of cinema, EPITAPH isn’t bad, but it’s nothing spectacular.
I’m hugely behind on Dario Argento. Behind as in I’ve only seen two or three of the Italian maestro’s films. Shrug. February gives us FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET on DVD and THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE on Blu-Ray.
Also, AKIRA on Blu-ray. Not horror, but the audience overlap makes it worth mentioning.
Netflix’ing the Month:
- THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN
- ALIEN RAIDERS
- MY NAME IS BRUCE
- AGAINST THE DARK
- RED SANDS
- RED MIST