Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Few More Hours to Go...


Here's to bid farewell to 2014 and welcome 2015. I have to apologize my lowered number of posts and uneven schedule but, work really got hectic and the canteen PCs were taken out. Damn cheap-ass big wigs cutting corners...

But, least this year was an interesting one. Not much slashers but a lot of impressive horror flicks in general, and I even got to message some nice indie directors out there. And on a non-horror related note, i discover that  i got a talent in drawing furries. Just drawing furries. Not fursuiting, that'll be expensive and creepy. I might make one when I completely lost my mind to anything but murder but since I'm still partially sane, no...

So here's again to 2015! The year of the Wooden Ram and the year when Jurassic World is coming out! HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!

Oh My God! Kenny Killed Them!: Terror Train (1980)

Terror Train (Canada, 1980)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Ben Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Hart Bochner 

It was one New Years Eve in the 80s when Kenny, the shy guy on campus, got coaxed by his fellow freshmen to score one with Alana, Jamie Lee Curtis' good girl character in this plot. Convinced that he is finally gonna get lucky with the girl of his dreams, Kenny followed his friends' instruction to meet her in a chiffon covered room, unaware of their real intention; on the bed was an obscured cadaver taken out from a nearby mortuary, and Alana -hiding behind a four poster bed- unknowingly agreed to tease Kenny by inviting him to strip and make out with "her".

When Kenny finds out exactly what he was snuggling with, it's no surprise he completely lost it, leading to one hell of a guilt trip on Alana's behalf that lasts three long years until the night of their graduation.

On that snowy present evening, the graduating class celebrates their last band together aboard a chartered train, donning costumes and hiring a REAL magician (the one and only David Copperfield, who apparently hates this film for some odd reason...) for entertainment. Those who were responsible of the prank try to move on from the fact that their little stunt caused a mental breakdown, but it appears the past found a way to pay them back; unknowingly to all of them, Kenny is in the train and has a bone to pick with the pricks (and Alana) as, one by one, he murders them and dons their costume to get around unnoticed. 

When it soon narrows down to just him and Alana, deadly chases and twisted twists are not far from the expected, seeing this is released during the bygone years of the 80s slasher boom. And yet, you can tell Terror Train is in a league of its own.

While it is a slasher, bloody kills isn't the winning factor for Terror Train but rather its creepiness, sadistic streak, and a bit of ingenuity; it is brutal without being overly bloody, raising up a few creative carnage as the killer walks among potential victims unnoticed and play with the idea that everyone is donning costumes, meaning he can murder anyone without alarming the entire party. (That is until said victim's friend takes notice, then it's pandemonium!) It seems pretty obvious that the killer wanted all those responsible for the prank that ruined his life to emotionally and psychologically suffer first before grabbing them by the throat, even more when he chases Jamie Lee's character through an abandoned corridor during the film's climax, at one point mocking her by smearing blood all over her face and then teasing her with an axe as he corners her in a cage.

What's more impressive is how well the claustrophobic feel work in this film, seemingly thanks to an atmospheric cinematography and some darn-good performances from its casts despite the trace of cheese. As of any 80s slasher, it still does the classic cliches, minus T&A, (unless you count the corpse...you freak of nature) but the only real let down was, after a few unnoticed killings, the movie slows down in the middle and went to stab at teen politics and a bit of the blame game; not overly bad, just simply dragging since the film did have a good start and all the killer do at this point of this movie was skulk and glare. Again, this is a minor gripe, and things did got going once more after the thespians discover the murders.

Terror Train makes its way to an end with a lot of cheesiness, whether this is funny, creative or plain crazy is up to you. Personally, if it wasn't for the slow middle bit, this fine Canadian slasher may have been finer but it could have done worse (so much worse) and I am just thankful that the overall result was as fun and exciting as it was grueling and mean. If you have enough patience to go through teens being teens and some vintage magic show just for some worthy cat-and-mouse killer antics, then seek out this masterpiece!

1 male found ran through with a sword, crushed underneath a train
1 male brained against a mirror
1 female found with throat cut
1 male found stabbed
2 males mentioned missing
1 male decapitated
1 male found impaled with swords
1 male falls to his death unto a frozen lake
Total: 10

Socialite Mess: Taboo (2002)

Taboo (2002)
Rating; 1/2
Starring:  Nick Stahl, Eddie Kaye Thomas, January Jones

You know what not to do with your friends at New Year's Eve?

Run around in your tights with a rocket strapped to your butthole hoping you'll take off like a jackass. You know what else you shouldn't do? Watch a 2002 movie titled Taboo, an experience that I'll guarantee is ten times worse than having your ass blown apart by an explosive.

Sometimes it is best that one should just keep their mouth shut, but six high-class buddies (?) decided to play an innocent game of Taboo one New Year's Eve, where one will pick a taboo card and write the answers "yes" or "no"  in response to said card its written question. The cards are then shuffled and randomly picked by the players to guess whom the taboo card belonged to.

Seeing the name of the game is Taboo, it's not hard to understand that the questions were juicy. So juicy that an entire year after that night, these friends are back together to celebrate New Year's Eve only to discover that one of them has a sinister agenda. One by one, they all fall victim to a friend-turned-enemy, who was apparently blackmailed thanks to the personal details they revealed that one night they played Taboo.

The premise actually got me looking into this movie as it resembles a bit of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians; unfortunately, the film failed to be as exciting as my favorite thriller novel since none of these characters even tried to be likable or root-worthy. They're socialites, snobs who think about no one but themselves, and they're quick to prove this point as they seem hardly caring when one of them dies off or had gone missing.

Then again, they may have a reason for not acting too surprised that their buddies were mentioned gutted; half-way into the film (which honestly felt like an eternity), it was revealed that the missing/dead friends are actually alive and was torturing their blackmailer. They seemingly forgive her and was about to live through the night, that is until one of them loses his mind for God knows what reason and began shooting everyone with a hunting rifle. Trust me again, this is not as exciting as it sounds and I regret nothing spoiling this to anyone. (You'll thank me later!)

Wish that was my hands over there on that rifle...
In fact, I'm very disappointed with this; Amber Benson from the Buffy TV series and Nick Stahl of Sin City and The Thin Red Line (1998) are among the stars of this mess and they failed to live up to their talents. Writing is horrid at its best and the pacing is slower than a Galapagos Tortoise trying to defeat mass extinction, I really can't express any sense of joy and delight from this movie until it was over.

For real, don't give any shit for this movie. It's not worth your time, your friend's time, your dead grandparent's time, and most of all, my time.

1 male shot on the face with a rifle
1 male shot on the head with a rifle
1 female beaten to death with a rifle
1 female hits her had against a pool table, beaten to death with a pool cue
1 female poisoned
1 male poisoned
Total: 6

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Home Alone: 3615 Code Pere Noel (1990)

3615 Code Pere Noel (AKA "Game Over", "Hide and Freak") (France, 1990) 
Rating: ****
Starring: Brigitte Fossey, Louis Ducreux, Patrick Floersheim

In 1990, Home Alone was released in American theatres. The film concerns about an 8-year old boy accidentally left all alone in house when his family flew off to France for Christmas. He then discovers the hardships of responsibility and has to defend his home from a duo of bumbling idiots, all while spouting one-liners.

As cherished as it is as a holiday favorite by many, us horror (and thriller) fans knows a dirty little secret behind this film: France already beat them to it! Enter 3615 Code Pere Noel, a thriller following a similar plot, yet with a dark twist of its own.

Thomas is the son of a successful business woman and the grandson of a diabetic (and blinding) Grandfather Papy, whom the boy cherished as a beloved father figure. He is a boy of familiar interests such as video games, playing as Rambo with his dog, fantasy role playing game and a fascination with Santa Claus, but what sets him apart from other children is that he's a whiz. Not only is he capable of fixing cars and setting up security cameras, but he's also fully equipped to create remote- operated booby traps and secret passage ways that's all over his house.

It was one Christmas Eve when Thomas' mum had to go to work and may spend the whole night at her office finishing it all. With Papy and his dog as his only companions all through that evening, he decided to stay up late in hopes of capturing Santa on video to prove his existence. But unknown to him, the company where his mum worked at just fired a disturbed vagrant, who was hired the same day to dress up as Santa only to get too physical with a girl.

Wanting revenge, he hitched a ride on  a toy truck headed to Thomas' home and, after a quick killing spree bumping off the driver, a cook and a  gardener, he sneaks down a chimney and landed in front of a hiding Thomas, giving the child a sense wonder and delight...

...until "Santa" stabbed his dog on the throat with a cake knife. God, I hope that's not a real dog cuz it was graphic! Now alarmed, Thomas wakes up his grandfather and must spend an entire night in a fight for survival against a dangerous murderer, hellbent on revenge.

What sets Pere Noel apart from its American cousin is that it's darkly serious; Home Alone plays a family friendly version of a home invasion movie by setting up a witty (and sometimes obnoxious) kid against two harmless thieves who some how can survive traps that can definitely kill an ordinary man. Pere Noel goes through familiar trappings but with a child that's believable despite it's cartoonish high-tech skills. Thomas may have the capabilities of using his intellect and resourcefulness against a mad man but deep inside, he's frightened of the situation not only for himself, but also for his grandfather as any child would. The bond Thomas have for his grandfather is what drives this film in terms of warmth and thrills as the two characters are given enough scenes showing how close they are as a family, even before the nameless killer reared his spray-painted ugly face into the picture and by the time he did, much of the tension was placed around the boy's attempt to keep his granddad away from harm.

In turn, the killer here is no idiot who's calling card is to fill up basements with running water, but a homicidal maniac and child abuser who might be one of the better Santa-themed villains out there. He's frightening, merciless and clearly unhinged, seen with the way how he lacks any hesitation to kill Thomas and Papy whenever he almost got the chance.

Heart-warming and yet terrifyingly intense, Pere Noel is a title that deserves to be known out there if it wasn't for the risk of being compared to Home Alone. To be fair, Pere Noel came out first (released in 1989 for the Laon Film Festival of Youth and Children's Films, then nationwide in 1990) and it is a wonder whether Home Alone's writer John Hughes had taken a few influences from this film. Nonetheless, this French thriller is visually stunning and well-developed enough to make a personal impact, though I do have a few gripes on some slow scenes in the middle, a minor flaw compared to its respectable final result. (Plus it has Bonnie Tyler singing a soundtrack for the film! As a fan of 80s music, how is that not cool for me?!)

If you want something different to watch apart from your usual Christmas specials, or just wanted to see something very obscure to add in your horror/thriller watch list, feel free to seek out 3615 Code Pere Noel. It's not the best film to come out of the country, but it is an entertaining piece of work that truly deserves to be discovered.

1 male murdered, method unknown
1 male and 1 female killed offscreen
1 dog stabbed on the neck with a cake knife
1 male murdered offscreen
1 male shot to death
Total: 6
This scene. So Halloween (1978)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Radio Plays of The Devil: Satanic Attraction (1990)

Satanic Attraction (Atração Satânica) (Brazil, 1990)
Rating: ***
Starring: Ênio Gonçalves, Gabriela Toscano, André Loureiro

(A special shout out to luigihotpitagradecimentos para os filmes raros!)

In a sunny coast in Brazil, hot young DJ Fernanda is hosting her own horror story about a killer terrorizing the streets for girls to hunt down. With each chapter written and aired daily, Fernanda's listeners are divided between captivated fans and those who are horrified by the tale's graphic nature, but little do they know the story's about to get frighteningly real; coincidentally, whenever Fernanda tells her tale of dismemberment and blood draining, a real killer follows the plot so eerily close that local cops begin to suspect something is out of the ordinary and they're keeping a real close eye on our radio hostess.

However, Fernanda's just as frightened and disturbed about this fact, even more when she begins to see visions of a reanimated corpse, the supposed sibling of the killer from her stories. Nevertheless, she continues with the story under the demands of her boss and the bloodbath continues, followed by a chain of possible suspects not limited to Fernanda's sailor friend, an antique shop owner (who keeps a pet panther!), and a random girl who appears to be in a trance.

All of this is just the first half of this near 100 minute long slasher whodunit, director Fauzi Mansur envisioned a serious tone to this story only to have an end product that's gorily good but a tad confusing at times.

For the record, I enjoyed this Brazilian hackathon a lot more than the last title I covered from this country; with an exotic ethnic look at the classic Satanist cult sub-genre that's thrown in the mix, Satanic Attraction could have done more with its supernatural elements as plenty of questions surrounding how our DJ heroine was able to envision the killer's every move were failed to be answered. In fact, considering the twist reveal on killer's identity was done halfway in its lengthy running time, the film raised more head-scratchers than answers then as more twists came about and motivations got blurred, cleared, and then blurred again.

Nevertheless, Satanic Attraction is still pretty entertaining; to market this film to English-speaking viewers, the producers hired amateur voice actors to dub this film, resulting to wooden performances that some will find mind-shattering, while others funny. (I am among those that find it slightly funny) The pacing is never boring and it moves along quite tolerably despite the lack of any action in its middle portions and I can see that some money was spent to ensure this film has quality.

And of course, let's not forget the very heart and blood of a slasher movie, the gore; seeing Mansur also directed another Brazilian slasher in 1989 titled The Ritual of Death, it's observable that he has an eye on good, gooey and exploitative gore. When not chasing girls across the sandy beach in broad daylight or sneaking into their hot tubs to put razors in bath soaps, our killer boasts some crazy kills like an effectively messy double impaling, pickaxing, and a visceral killing spree that might also be the best scene from the entire film.

Everything ends predictably and never bothered answering any of the important details. Still, I'm not saying I didn't have fun with this. To be frank, I'm going to check out Mansur's apparently gorier Ritual as soon as I get my hands on it. As of this movie, I'm gonna say Satanic Attraction deserves a look. Not for the story or the scares, but more of something to mindlessly entertain yourself given you're the kind of person who can tolerate B-Grade cheapness.

1 female stabbed on the back with swords, dismembered
1 female hacked on the head with a cleaver
1 male and 1 female skewered with a spear
1 male found murdered, feet cut off
1 male and 1 female poisoned
1 male slashed by the eyes with a sword
1 female disemboweled with a scimitar
1 female beheaded with a scimitar
1 male ran through with a scimitar
1 female stabbed with a harpoon
1 female strangled
1 male hacked with a pickaxe
1 male shot to death
Total: 15

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Strangle This and Strangle That: Shock- Diversao Diabolica (1984)

Shock: Diversao Diabolica (Brazil, 1984)
Rating: **
Starring: Jurandir Abreu, Claudia Alencar, Elias Andreato

It's often said that some things are best left alone; take Night of the Dribbler (1990) for example, a supposed sports-themed spoof on the slasher sub-genre that tries too much to be funny and forgets the slasher part almost through-out the movie. It wasn't clever. It wasn't exciting. It was not even so effin' bad it was good, and some (if not most) of those slasher fanatics who begged for the film to be released were quick to wash their hands and hoped that sonovabitch-of-a-movie will be shelved again.

Now am I saying Shock should fall into a similar fate? Honestly, I can't really tell: everybody was speaking in Portuguese!

Shock-Diversao Diabolica is a rarity for reasons that it was never released with dubs or subtitles and for that, reviewing this movie proves to be a challenge. Luckily there were a few horror enthusiasts out there who reviewed this film and cleared enough plot points for me to follow the film without getting lost. (Much)

The film follows a rock band who decided to haul up one night inside a house while waiting for their instruments, apparently delayed due to some issues with whoever was transporting them. As any hot and young teenager/young adult couples would do in this predicament, we spend a good near-20 minutes watching them (graphically) make love while the scene jumps back and forth to some people in a club. And seeing this is a slasher movie, the band soon realizes that they are not alone and someone donning heavy black boots is strangling and garroting them dead, one by one.

With six victims and sixty minutes to spare after the first murder, Shock is quick to show that it wasn't only influenced by American slashers; normally in a movie of this kind, these characters would be running out doing dumb things that will get them killed but instead, these would-be murder victims decided to confine themselves in a room while one of them went out to get the cops. They then spent most of their time discussing who could be out killing band members and a couple of other things I didn't quite catch since, again, it's in Portuguese.

Interestingly, its not just the victims that broke the slasher cliches; the sex=death formulation was tweaked with as one female character rejects her boyfriend's sex-is-natural talk and would have been our virginal final girl, only to unsuccessfully seduce him and, of course, gets killed off as an early victim. In turn, the villain does not act like quite a crazed maniac but instead, he is methodic and patient enough to make himself a sandwich, smoke a joint he found on the floor (eww) and play the drums tunelessly in hopes of driving the kids out. (And it worked!) We never get to see his face, just his hands and boots, so the enigmatic nature of the killer is always a plus in my book.

Sadly, there is one thing that prevents me from rating this any higher, apart that I only understood half of the conversation, and it's that the kills aren't too exciting. With the later slasher parts taking place inside an single room, we have no chase scenes and each of the murders (save for a real rat getting pinned to the floor with a knife) are nothing but strangulations. Sure you can try to spice it up with slow-mo shots or an epilepsy-inducing strobe light effect, but in the end a slasher movie needs blood. Or at least a creative variation to the killings, like the automated noose from Argento's Trauma (1993)!

Watching Shock wasn't a bad experience as a whole, but rather it was just a little odd. The ending of the film was quite nice and I can say that the film's director, Jair Correia, was aiming for something more intellectual than your average hack-a-thon, but with a lack of thrills comes a lack of attention and, in turn, a lack of distribution. It's not worth loosing any good night's sleep being tracked down but when you do have the opportunity to watch it, see it out of curiosity.

1 female strangled to death
1 female hoisted by the neck, strangled
1 male garroted with a rope
1 male garroted with a rope
1 female strangled to death
1 rat pinned to the floor with a knife
1 male found murdered, body tied to a column
Total: 7

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


And here we are again for another December and as a sort-of tradition for this blog, here be my Holiday wish list for this year. Please don't be weirded out by some of the entries. I am a nerd of multiple (and sometimes, unfocused) interest!

1. Movies (Some titles I wanna see right now...but can't cuz i have to wait due to legal reasons): 

a. Billy Club (2014)
b. Don't Go To The Reunion (2014)
c. Charlie's Farm (2015)
d. The Drownsman (2014)
e. Cub (2014)
f. Among The Living (France, 2014)
f. Jurassic World (2015) *squeee!*

2. Toys and Collectibles (You don't stop playing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop playing! ripped from Emgo the freakin' Geek)

a. Transformers Generations Deluxe Windblade
b. G1 Transformers Wheelie
c. Transformers Generations Unicron
d. Beast Wars Silverbolt
e. G1 Transformers Megatron
f. Monster High Robecca Steam
g. Either an Emmet or a Princess Unikitty LEGO mini-figure
h. Puppet Master Six-Shooter replica

3. Books and Comics (Some reads to pass the time.):

a. I Know What You Did Last Supper by Wayne Williams and Darren Allan
b. Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies by Peter Normanton
c. Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide by Glenn Kay
d. Lenore The Cute Little Dead Girl by Roman Dirge (any of the Trade paperback)
e. Slashermania by Russell Hillman and Ron Joseph
f. Sabrina Online: A Decade of Black and White by Eric W. Shwartz
g. Draw More Furries by Jared Hodges and Lindsay Cibos
h. Teenage Wasteland/The Slasher Movie Book by Justine Kerswell (why do you evade me, book?!)

4. Miscellaneous (other etc.)

 Either a pet hedgehog or a ferret.

 I'll name the hedgehog, Prickles

and the ferret, Frankenfurter