Every once in a while a new "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" movie hits theatres.
Here's the latest, NETFLIX's 2022 take on the subject matter, directed by David Blue Garcia, starring Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, and Mark Burnham.
Well, judging from the trailer, it certainly has style. Comic elements - as opposed to the subtle grotesqueness of the original movie - have crept into "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" since part two of the franchise, and this one is no exception. But overall it seems to get the tone and mood quite right, staying comparably close to the original in that regard.
But then this is of course just a trailer - the full movie might turn out to be quite a different experience.
Watch "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" 2022 trailer:
What do you think? Is it any good? Leave a comment below!
Another Mexican film about catholic repression and sexual awakening, and this one is even more blasphemously offensive than "Alucarda". The title and poster pretty much say it all - "La Sexorcista", yeah. Need we know more?
So the subject and message are quite obvious here. No, we don't need to know more, we know everything we came here for. "Satanico Pandemonium" is a cheap, wild little ride through the fantasies and fears of girls in puberty and their mothers, where curiosity and lust clash with protection and belief in the most blunt ways possible. There's an undeniable stylistic quality to the movie, with it's beautiful main actress, the convent setting and nun dresses, and plenty of iconic, allegorical scenes, all of which makes "Satanico Pandemonium" a very well watchable low-budget shocker.
If you're into horror cinema history you certainly know this one, but if you're the casual online-streaming horror fan you probably don't. While Karloff's "Frankenstein" and Lugosi's "Dracula" have survived in various cinematic reincarnations, "Freaks" has completely dropped out of the public eye. It never became a franchise, or a household name, it didn't win any awards, in fact it caused serious outrage and was downright rejected upon first release, it cost director Tod Browning his job, it got banned for decades, and it never got remade or re-imagined or re-whatever since.
It even doesn't fully qualify as a horror film, but don't worry, this
one is gonna crawl under your skin like very few others do. Have you
ever seen a limbless man light a match? "Freaks" is deeply humane, but
also highly challenging. Watch it, and you will find out how challenging
- and horrifying - a black-and-white film from 1932 can be. "Freaks" is the "Cannibal Holocaust" of it's time. It's exploitative, gut-wrenching, disturbing and beautiful all at the same time. The message is simple, and when it arrives, it does so in big, bold letters.
If you've been searching for the one George-Romero-style zombie film you haven't seen yet, here it is. This little gem made by an Italian/Spanish team won a couple of prizes at the Sitges Film Festival 1974, is a nice variation of the Romero-esque ideas, is politically correct, and has a couple of innovative ideas in cinematography and direction. And, yeah, the entire zombie thing just works here, for the same reasons it works in Romero's movies: it's actually a decent, well thought-out, and very creepy movie!
Of course you know German expressionism masterpiece "Nosferatu" from
1922, directed by F. W. Murnau, featuring the incredible Max Schreck as
the vampire - still one of the creepiest movies
ever made. But did you know there's a remake that's pretty much on par
with the original? Yes, it's "Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht"
by Werner Herzog, featuring legendary actor Klaus Kinski as the
vampire. Herzog plus Kinski alone would make this movie a must-see classic, but there's more: Isabelle Adjani plays Lucy Harker, and Bruno Ganz
plays Jonathan Harker. Now that's a lot of high-quality personnel here,
and it shows in the movie. Of course it's very different to the 1922
version, but then it's also very similar in terms of atmosphere and
Argento's first horror film, the awesome "4 Mosche di Velluto Grigio" from 1971, was a big success when it was first released, but today is completely overshadowed by his later efforts like "Profondo Rosso" (1975), "Suspiria" (1977), and "Tenebrae" (1982). "4 Mosche..." is a classic giallo, certainly one of the best ever made, packed with mystery, horror, and nail-biting suspense. The story takes place in artist circles, which gives the movie quite a unique feel - if you're a jazz musician, you'll find some of the scenes especially appealing. Set design, lighting, cinematography and music create an incredible atmosphere, and then there's this genius script that almost physically pulls you into the story, and gives you sweaty palms... "4 Mosche..." is the kind of movie that gives you serious goosebumps long after it's over. And, by the way, Bud Spencer is in it.
While it is certainly questionable this movie is indeed his "masterpiece", it's just as certainly a welcome and very enlightening addition to George A. Romero's catalogue. It gives another interesting insight into the mind of the filmmaker, and is a rare snapshot of the time and place it was made.
Masterpiece or not, it has received rave reviews from several critics, and is a must-see for fans of Romero anyway.
Watch the trailer for George A. Romero's "The Amusement Park" (1973):
Some movies make it big, some don't - and some just get lost along the way, but deserve to be much bigger than they are.
Horror movies are a special kind of movies. They're more or less obscure by definition, as they deal with the uncomfortable side of our psyche. But this inherent obscurity opens the doors to the bizarre, the extreme, and the experimental, creating movies that do not attract the masses, but in some cases are brilliant, sometimes unique, little or not-so-little pieces of work with qualities unseen in any other genres. Some of these films never reach a wider audience due to their unusual content or style - others just get forgotten, overshadowed by bigger productions, or washed away by the flood of output from the film industry.
Whatever the reason, some unknown horror movies have spectacular camera work, plot twists you cannot forget, outstanding acting, or just insane amounts of gore, pure outrageousness, breaking your last taboos, and need to be seen for exactly these qualities.
In no particular order, here are five (=part one, link to part 2 at end of article) out of ten lesser known horror movies you should not miss:
I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale / Torso (1973)
Aah, good old 1970s gialli. You've probably seen the brilliant Dario Argento ones, but you might not have heard of this one. As with every giallo, it's a twisted story involving murder, and beautiful girls. This time, a scarf and a mirror are the keys to stop the killer. But beware, there's a lot more going on in between, and some of the visuals will probably stay with you for a long time. Awesome camera work and settings, a script that would make Alfred Hitchcock proud, Suze Kendall, and when a saw is involved things get really ugly... - "I corpi presentano..." has everything, from sleazy nude scenes, to hair-raising suspense and violence. This is serious sex & crime cinema from Italy at it's very best.
"Tesis" is a clever film, but it doesn't come across as overly intellectual. It's subjects - questions about media and responsibility, cinema's relation to it's audience, and the voyeuristic motivation inside of us - are nicely interwoven with a sensitive, totally non-soap love story, and an intense, suspenseful, scarily realistic thriller. On top of that it has a couple of nicely surprising ideas in direction, making it one of those rare little low-budget gems that are highly capitvating in both form and function. "Tesis" is not a pure horror film, but it easily fits the horror department. There is not much gore here, but with it's serious approach, and ugly subject (you can make a guess from the poster), it's certainly still not for the squeamish. High tension!
So you thought the Italians had nailed the catholicism thing the darkest possible ways in cinema. Well, you're wrong, the Mexicans did. One of them is director J. L. Moctezuma, his "Alucarda" just oozes guilt, sexual repression, and blasphemy. The imagery ranges from dreamy to nightmarish, it'll almost make you forget the story is more or less set in the present day.
Actress Tina Romero plays the title character with passion and conviction, the setting couldn't be more medieval, the age of enlightenment seems to have never happened in "Alucarda". Just like the movie poster, the entire film is a bold, relentless vision of the dark ages, with an ultimately simplistic story, but one that many will be able to relate to. It doesn't go into the psychological details of each of it's characters, but the result speaks for itself: pain, blood, fire, sex, and the Devil. "Alucarda" is a dangerous, evil, and sad, fairy-tale for grown ups, that might shake your beliefs. Or just give you excellent nightmares with it's surreal images.
The entire "Messiah of Evil" is almost literally a nightmare, in the best possible sense. This movie is a weird beast, somewhere between modern art, and a zombie movie, but without zombies. There's an artistic beauty between the lines, it's clearly a labour of love, but it's also feels disjointed and plain hellish, and is probably intended to be like that. At no point in the movie you'll feel safe, it eliminates the classic roles a viewer will identify with, and the classic way of telling a story that evolves towards some conclusion. Rather is sucks you in, deeper and deeper, not knowing where this will lead to, a nightmare that's not supposed to end quickly... "Messiah of Evil" is a true one-of-a-kind low budget masterpiece that defies classification, has tons of atmosphere, and some really disturbing scenes. The Messiah comes to town. Be strong, bear up. You have been warned.
"Le notti del terrore" is a bit like "Hell of the Living Dead" on LSD - a must-see for low budget zombie movie geeks, it's certainly the most outrageous of the Romero-style ripoffs. It also draws some elements from Lucio Fulci's work, and even the gothic horror line of ideas, but ultimately it sits somewhere in-between, with added hints of the base motives sometimes seen in cannibal or nazisploitation movies. Cheap thrills, cheap sets, (very) uncomfortable love scenes, lots of gore and guts, slow zombies, even slower victims, all put into slightly surreal images and delivered in diffuse rhythm - "Le notti..." is a weird experience. It's a bad movie, but it has some stylistic qualities, intended or not, and gets some of the creepy atmosphere just right. But most of all it's just bizarre, sometimes disturbing. It's one of those movies that just aren't for everyone. But for those who are into the lows of humanity, it's a feast.
What do you do when you're done with your home office work the
best you can, have cleaned the entire house for the third time today,
have checked the latest numbers on COVID-19 spread, and properly washed
your hands (again!)? Watch a proper movie!
COVID-19 currently has pretty much the whole world in it's grip. Many countries have restricted public life, to varying degrees, but one thing is very common these days: a huge number of people need to stay at home. A lot. This of course sets some limitations on how people can spend their day - and as we all know, movies are a great way to kill large amounts of time, and keep your head occupied when there's really not much else to do.
Here are some recommendations for chilling, sometimes outrageous or shocking, and entertaining movies that will certainly NOT get your mind off the current situation:
The Crazies (1973)
Director: George A. Romero
George A. Romero was a brilliant observer of human psychology and social dynamics, no surprise you'll find a couple of his films on this list. A virus outbreak pushes a community to it's limits - it theatens the very nature of living together. Romero's "The Crazies" is a bold attempt to picture the catastrophe on many levels. It's a low budget movie, and it has it's flaws, but nontheless it's a fascinating and chilling look at how society disintegrates when individual survival collides with social requirements.
An outbreak movie with Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, and Morgan Freeman, directed by the guy who made "Das Boot" and "In the Line of Fire"? You certainly can't go wrong with this one. "Outbreak" is a big budget, full scale Hollywood production, it's to outbreak movies what "Saving Private Ryan" is to WWII movies. It might not be as realistic as "Saving Private Ryan" in every aspect, but if it happens that way, that's how it's gonna look and feel. The race to find the host of the virus, and save a town and it's
people from destruction will make you hold your breath until the end.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Director: George A. Romero
The king and queen of all outbreak movies is Romero's "Dawn of the Dead". Never before, and never again, has the social apocalypse been dissected that precisely and spectacularly. This is the virus taken to the extreme, humankind on the brink of extinction, death is everywhere, and it's spreading, fast. What will you do? Will you run? Will you shoot? Will you dig in? Why will you do so, and why will you succeed, or fail? A pop-art masterpiece, "Dawn of the Dead" is the best outbreak movie and best zombie movie ever - in bright colors, with iconic characters, and some of the most memorable images ever put on film, it explores the roots and branches of social interaction under exceptional circumstances. And it's a hugely exciting movie to watch, it's fast, atmospheric, touching, gory, funny, sad, visionary, and what not else. You must not miss this one.
A note on the many different cuts of the film: get the "US theatrical" or "Euro-Cut/Argento" version, or just watch both. Avoid the "extra long"/"Langfassung"/Oliver Krekel "Ultimate-Final-Cut"/FSK16 cuts.
"The Crazies", again? Yes, it's a remake - and, yes, it's a good one! George A. Romero's cult classic got a new treatment in 2010, and they nailed it. It's different from the original, very different, but the mood is completely there - and then some. Everything is bigger, more polished, more stylized - but it still feels right. So what happens when the TRIXIE virus spreads, and people meet the "crazies"? Well, things don't look too good, in fact they look dead serious and horrific.
Based on Michael Crichton's book of the same name, "The Andromeda Strain" borders on a horror movie, with it's sometimes surreal, always stylized images. At each instant you expect a giant bug to leap into frame and eat someone. Yes, it's a creepy movie, but there are no giant bugs. Rather it's a fascinating, detailed look at the methodology and mindset of a set of scientists. The horror crawls up from inside of you, realizing the lengths and dangers involved in the process of examining the alien substance, and trying to uncover the mystery of "The Andromeda Strain".
a.k.a. "They came from within", "The Parasite Murders" - Director: David Cronenberg
"Shivers" is a weirdly dark, claustophobic, creepy movie, and a clever one, too. David Cronenberg has never failed to create an oddly believable and intellectually stimulating setting for his ideas, and "Shivers" is no exception. Sexually charged infected roam the streets. Think about it, the concept might sound absurd on first thought, but then - heck, it's an intriguing idea, assuming THAT's where the infection strikes, people driven mad by the need to reproduce. Anyway, watch it. It's a kind of low-fi movie, the sober tone only David Cronenberg is capable of creating, as he would later do in "Rabid" and "The Brood" and pretty much all of his movies.
Ebola Syndrome (1996)
Director: Herman Yau
Now this one is really hard to stomach. The trailer doesn't do it justice at all. Trust me, tastelessness has never been written in such bold letters. If "Ebola Syndrome" won't make you choke with hysterical laughter and repulsion at the same time, I don't know what will. Among all the mayhem, there's a simplistic, but decent story that has the potential to make you think, but ultimately it just adds to the insane cynicism. This movie will scare the Devil out of you, by the Beelzebub. COVID-19 is a walk in the park compared to "Ebola Syndrome". Happy Quarantine. You're gonna need it.
Diary of the Dead (2007)
Director: George A. Romero
It's 2020, people are restricted to their homes due to COVID-19 outbreak. The internet has become the prime source of information. Bloggers and Vloggers start to question and rival offical channels and education. - George A. Romero at it again, he saw it coming, long before it happened. "Diary of the Dead" re-visits the days (or nights) of "Night of the Living Dead", the early days of the outbreak, only in a slighly updated setting: We're not experiencing the apocalypse first hand, but second hand, through the eyes of digital social media. "Diary..." is overshadowed by its predecessors, but it will be recognized as a prophetic vision, and a milestone, just like "Night..." would be, many years after being released.
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Thanks for reading!
What do you think? Which are your favourite outbreak movies?
It's finished! George A. Romero's unseen film "The Amusement Park" from 1973 has been restored in 4k, and the restoration premiered at the New York Museum of Modern Art!
This is great news for fans of Romero, and fans of modern US cinema in general. In a review for Consequence of Sound, Matt Prigge wrote that "The Amusement Park" in a certain sense is "...the scariest film Romero ever made". From "Night of the Living Dead" we know where Romero gets his most effective scares from: the individual psyche in a social environment, and the very personal horror of failing to create healthy communication between the two. With "The Amusement Park" set to portray the problems of the elderly in society, and the film being so shocking to initial viewers it was put away, we probably can make a rough guess where this is going...
Internet Movie Database has updated the film's page with a movie poster:
Currently, there seem to be no plans for distribution, "The Amusement Park" will probably only shown on particular occasions, like the aforementioned premiere at the MoMA during the annual "To Save and Project" festival, or similar events.