A while ago I previewed Familiar, Written/Directed by Richard Powell and Produced by Zach Green. Well after seeing the finished product, I needed a very long and hot shower. Just to wash away the ugliness. It is a powerful film that creates more dread and discomfort than most full length films playing today.
When I was young there seemed to be a strip club or porn theater on every other block in Los Angeles. It was easy to get lost in the urban jungle so different than it is now. A time when no one was trying to be better, just find momentary happiness. It sounds bleak, but this is how I remember certain aspects of the 1970’s and early 1980’s. It was very much the world I saw when I watched 1983’s American Nightmare.
This gritty slasher starts off with a prostitute (Alexandra Paul) lying in bed naked, smoking some reefer and waiting for her john, who is in the JOHN. He comes out wearing rubber gloves and packing a straight razor. Kinky or psychotic? The girl goes with kinky and ends up dead wrong.
Early last year my girlfriend (now wife) was surfing the web and came across a trailer that she screamed had my name written all over it! After hearing the title, I ran over and took a seat and prepared to be enthralled, I was.
First of all, let me start by saying that I do not have a cheerleader fetish proper, but a Satanic Cheerleader seems to do it for me, don’t know why. Hell, I even own 1977’s Satan’s Cheerleaders. OK, so what’s the deal with this film? I’ll explain.
Every now and again you come across an independent horror movie that really does sustain tension and most importantly, doesn’t end up going for laughs. If that is what you’re looking for then you are in for a treat and its name is “Rage”.
Rage is a tip off to Duel, Steven Spielberg’s 1971 debut film where Dennis Weaver plays a commuter terrorized by an unseen driver in a semi-truck. Rage director Christopher Witherspoon swaps out the truck for a motorcycle to great effect, upping the challenge and changing expectations.
Giallos are a great diversion. During their heyday, I believe there was nothing better, a crime or mystery thriller with sex and horror thrown into the mix. My favorite Giallo is Murder Mansion (1971), but Eyeball has a charm all its own! What a great title and poster. A red cloaked killer stealing the eyeballs of their victims on a euro tour. Yep, that’s fun.
We join a group of Americans on a euro tour in Spain. We get the usual group of deviants which include a sleazy husband Mark (John Richardson) hooking up with his secretary, Paulette (Martine Brochard), a priest (Georges Rigaud of Horror Express), and the requisite lesbian couple (Mirta Miller and Ines Pellegrini) among others.
“Get out of the grave, Alan. Get out of the grave and let an artist show you how to call a curse down on Satan!”
You know those films that you have heard about forever but never had the chance to see? Those films that you built up in your mind as being the end all be all of that type of film solely because a magazine article said some nice things about it. Well for me, that film was “CSPWDT”. I had seen so many lurid pics and its reputation was so good, that when I walked into the Tower Records on Ventura Blvd., I about had an orgasm finding a newly released VHS on the shelf. I forget what I was doing that day, but I blew it off to go home and watch this film.
Children begins with an unknown figure exhuming a corpse on a foggy night. I am aware that this usually only happens in horror films but it does set the mood. Before he can finish, the caretaker approaches him, since, well, he’s digging up a body! Damn it! That doesn’t fair too well for our careless Caretaker who is jumped by a second top hatted figure in a vampire cape and fangs. Once he is out of commission, the two body snatchers remove the corpse and one takes its place in the grave. The other fills the whole, effectively burying his partner alive. Yeah, it starts off weird.
I remember when the Lost Boys came out in 1986; there were all these video store vampire reissues. Everyone was trying to cash in on vampire mania, just like today. One box that caught my attention was Vampyres with the small tag line in familiar font that read: They’re “lost Girls”. OK, I thought, what the hell, let’s check it out. I took the video home and settled in for some horror antics, not a film to watch with the family.
Ti West is one of best horror directors working today, from the interesting and innovative “The Roost”, the criminally underrated and mishandled “Cabin Fever 2”, to the blast from the past film “House of theDevil”, he has shown that not only is his heart in the right place, so is his talent. Well, I have been not so patiently waiting for the Innkeepers and have been rewarded for my loyalty.
In Ti West’s new film, The Innkeepers, we meet Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), who are running the soon to be closed “Yankee Pedlar”. Luke has a paranormal website that he believes will take him into the big-time…eventually, and Sara is more than happy to help.