A blog exploring the sexy, shocking, surreal, and silly side of horror films.

December 22, 2010

Screamwave #27: THE WALKING DEAD (ep. 4-6)


"I aint so worried about some dumb dead bastard."

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For the last Screamwave of 2010, Aaron and Kris review the final three episodes of The Walking Dead, one of 2010’s most exciting new horror programs.

Then, in Earth and Beyond, your hosts talk about the case of Mary Clamser, a woman struck by lighting and cured of her multiple sclerosis. Freak coincidence or miracle?

Also this episode, you’ll hear two festive holiday parodies by Monstermatt Patterson, author of Monstermatt’s Bad Monster Jokes Vol.1

Sit back, enjoy, and we’ll see you in 2011 with more horror and more screams.

Happy Holidays!

[Original music by Nathan Fleet]

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Show Notes

December 6, 2010

Night of the Demons (1988)

Night of the Demons (1988) 

Director: Kevin Tenney

Night of the Demons did for demon-possession movies what Return of the Living Dead did for zombie movies. Both took a well-worn horror genre in the late '80s and injected it with a youthful punk vigor and rock-n-roll party attitude. And both starred Linnea Quigley getting all kinds of naked!

SYNOPSIS


It's Halloween night, and goody two-shoes Judy (Cathy Podewell) is convinced by her boyfriend Jay (Lance Fenton) to ditch their plans to attend a high school party and instead celebrate Halloween with brewskies and tunes at Hull House, an abandoned -- and allegedly possessed-- mortuary. They are joined by a motley crew of obnoxious yet charming punkers, jocks, and pretty girls including horny Suzanne (Linnea Quigley), meat-head Stooge (Hal Havins), and witchey Angela (Amelia Kinkade). While turning a seance ritual into a party game, Angela accidentally stirs up evil demons that posses some of the teens and proceed to terrorize and mutilate the others. Trapped in Hull House, Judy and her friends attempt to survive until morning, but every one of them that dies returns as a possessed corpse out for their blood. Night of the Demons doesn't break much new ground in the genre, but it's an endearing and energetic dark fantasy with plenty of gore, gratuitous nudity, and excellent makeup effects courtesy of Steve Johnson. From its animated opening sequence to its slate of quotable one-liners ("Eat a bowl of fuck!"), Night of the Demons carries itself with a restrained sense of camp and doesn't take itself too seriously, yet it delivers some serious Halloween horror fun and outlandish visual effects.

Rating: 4 / 5 Stooges




IS IT SHOCKING?

Before we talk about the blood and guts, I was honestly shocked by how much I enjoyed all the teen characters in this film. Sure, Cathy Podewell has the line delivery of a 10th grade drama student. Sure, they're broadly drawn 80's stereotypes, but every young actor breathes some unique life into their characters. They're obnoxious, as teens can be, but they're endearing, especially Stooge. He's part Animal House, part Bill and Ted, and park Bulk from Power Rangers fame. Night of the Demons wouldn't be half as fun without this group of young actors, memorable characters, and nubile young starlets. 

Bleeding gums. A clear sign of gingivitis.
But yes, Night of the Demons brings the gore. Carnage doesn't kick off until almost half-way into the film, but the buildup satisfyingly sets the stage. Once the demons start going for blood, they don't stop. Flesh ripping, eye gouging, impaling, and a disappearing lipstick nipple trick that needs to be seen to be believed. Night of the Demons isn't a meat grinder film, but there's plenty of painful deaths and fantastic demon makeup. In fact, several gory scenes were cut from the film but can be seen reintegrated on the Anchor Bay DVD release.

A demon's face on Christmas morning

IS IT SEXY?

More than blood, when you think Night of the Demons you should think boobies. In the spirit of its juvenile energy, there's plenty of bare boobs, bums, and a bouncy bounty of the female form. Linnea Quigley, in particular, spends large sections of the film with her fanny in the camera, even going bottomless. It's lowbrow nudity for nudity's sake, but it's all done in good fun.

If you wake up nude in a coffin, bed head is the least of your problems.
 -------------------------------------------

On Tuesday, December 7th, Horror in the Hammer is screening the 2009 remake of Night of the Demons at Fright Night Theatre. Although I've come to the 1988 film later in life, the original Night of the Demons now occupies a proud place on my DVD shelf and I see why it's maintained a cult following. It's definitely entered my staple of Halloween-time films. I'm now curious to see how Night of the Demons has been updated.

Will the remake stand up? If you're in the Hamilton area Tuesday night, come check it out for yourself.

Horror in the Hammer's Fright Night Theatre: 

Night of the Demons

 $5.00 Admission 

Tuesday, December 7 · 8:00pm - 11:00pm


Staircase Theatre (www.staircase.org)
27 Dundurn St N
Hamilton, ON

Creep Reel: HELL GATE (1989)

Screamwave #26: ALIEN APOCALYPSE


"Your stupidity is terminal. And now you're cured."

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On this week’s episode of Screamwave, we go back to the Schei├če House to review ALIEN APOCALYPSE, a 2005 stinker starring Bruce Campbell.  

In Earth and Beyond, hosts Aaron and Kris start off discussing whether ghostly phenomena can be linked to earthquakes but end up discussing some other philosophical points about paranormal discussion.

Finally, we delve into a whack of feedback that has been piling up over the last two weeks. Enjoy! 

Don’t forget to enter our DURHAM COUNTY contest. Email screamwavepodcast@gmail.com with your name and address for your chance to win Durham County season one, courtesy of Anchor Bay Canada. Open to residents of North America only.   

[Original music by Nathan Fleet]

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Show Notes

December 5, 2010

The New York Ripper (Review)

The New York Ripper (1982) 
(Lo squartatore di New York)

Director: Lucio Fulci

After taking in a viewing of The New York Ripper, one of Fulci's most controversial trashterpieces, I came to an important realization.

I have no real interest in seeing modern New York. I want only to visit the New York of my cinematic childhood. That sleazy, slimy, wet city that was equal parts grime and equal parts glamour that I experienced first in children's fare like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and then, later in life, epitomized in gritty crime dramas and exploitation films like The New York Ripper. New York, in my mind, is comprised only of alleys, sewers, subway tunnels, and peep show booths.

It's for this reason that The New York Ripper appeals to me. Unfortunately, it's not enough to keep me interested. Fulci's shocking and degrading giallo of the 1980s about a misogynistic killer who speaks with the voice of a cartoon duck is predictably silly and simply sleazy for sleaze's sake.

SYNOPSIS


Lassie is ready to give you a hand
After a man walking his dog discovers the rotting hand of a woman, the NYPD soon realizes they have a serial killer on the loose. Somewhat like the infamous Jack the Ripper, this Big Apple psycho targets young women and, with a gloved hand, uses bladed weapons to murder and disembowel his victims. Lt. Fred Williams (Jack Hedley) and "genius" psychoanalyst Dr. Paul Davis (Paolo Malco) attempt to profile and track down the killer. The New York Ripper takes you into the sex shows, seedy alleys, and backrooms of New York City in a giallo full of red herrings and misdirection. Even up until the final act, the killer's identity isn't resolved until we see him or her speak in the killer's tell-tale voice: the voice of a ridiculous cartoon duck.

Rating: 2.5 / 5 Quacks

IS IT SHOCKING?

The New York Ripper was banned in many countries and only shown in "adult" cinemas in others for clear reasons. It features some  harrowing and unflinching depictions of physical violence against women. The killer is fond of using edged blades to savagely cut at women's abdomens and chests, especially in a key scene that will make any boob-lover cringe: the slicing of a nipple and breast with a razor blade. Fulci doesn't pull away from the violence; he lets it fill up the entirety of the screen. By today's standards, some of the prosthetic torsos used to create the kills look quite phony, but the breast mutilation and eye trauma remain as convincing today as in 1982. These scenes are ugly in their cinematic sadism but not their technical execution. 

Do you see something out of the corner of your eye?
While the term gorefest certainly suits New York Ripper, the visual direction is a tedious bore. From kill to kill, the movie moves at a trudging pace, and few kills are preceded by any real dread or suspense. In fact, the film loses much of its momentum by attempting to paint almost every character as a potential suspect. The narrative takes very unnecessary and dawdling side trips to plant red herrings in every corner of the story.. 

The film's also a nastier piece of work than most. While the killer is clearly misogynistic, the film as a whole manipulates its female characters into roles where they are degraded and abused. Not just the killer but the overall thrust of the movie is one of hate towards women. I'm not saying Lucio Fulci hates women -- that's too broad a suggestion. It is clear, however, that he chose to make a movie with a misogynistic outlook. Was this to give the killer's own misogyny a cultural origin to make a point about how society breeds killers who take out their fury on women? I think that interpretation is a stretch and gives the script far too much credit. More likely, it was a conscious decision to shock and disgust audiences in the spirit of exploitation. 


I think you get my point, pal.
IS IT SEXY?

In the sleaziest way possible. I promised myself when I started Monster Chiller Horror Theatre that I would credit any film as "sexy" if it at least embraced the lowest bar of eroticism: gratuitous nudity. As such, New York Ripper meets its quota of bare breasts. Unfortunately, the women to which they belong are being butchered. While New York Ripper explores sexualized violence through its killer, it also explores New York's salacious side through the character of Jane Lodge (Alexandra Delli Colli). Lodge gets off on visiting live sex shows, letting strangers rape her with their bare feet under the table, and being tied up in sleazy hotels. It's for this latter fetish that she crosses fatal paths with the New York Ripper. So, if you like your movies sexy in a shameless, dirty, bordering-on-pornographic level, New York Ripper's for you.


I'd wipe off her seat before you sit in it.
IS IT SILLY?

For some reason, the creative minds behind New York Ripper decided it was a good idea to set their killer apart with a distinctive voice: the voice of an obscene cartoon duck. Yes, picture Donald Duck taunting the police on the phone and hurling misogynistic obscenities as he repeatedly stabs a woman to death. That's the New York Ripper.
Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your sister, I talked... just... like... THIS!
Why? Beats me. In retrospect, the Disneyfication of Times Square in New York takes on a morbid dimension when compared to the depiction of the sleazy Big Apple and its cartoon-voiced murderer. Watching the film, however, the ducky voice completely destroys the killer's credibility while prolonging the cult life of a tedious movie by turning it into an oddball curiosity. I like to think that Fulci was ahead of the his time and was attempting to beat Who Framed Roger Rabbit? to the punch by revealing his giallo killer to be an actual, pen-and-ink toon. How great would that be if, in the climax of the film, a cartoon duck were actually the killer? Alas, the killer turns out to be a mere human with a paper-thin motivation tagged on at the last minute. I guess, if the killer were really a toon, the New York Ripper would be too easy to identify. After all, no toon can resist the old Shave-and-a-Haircut trick.
-----------------------------

What to make of The New York Ripper? It's a lesser artistic work for Fulci but an exceedingly gory, socially degrading, and oddball curiosity. I found it silly and meandering, but I have to give it its due for being a straight-up gore and sex flick, duck-voiced killer aside.

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