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Tag: Euro horror

Movie Review: RED CATS IN A GLASS MAZE (aka EYEBALL)

Nobody can title a horror movie like a 70’s Italian, except maybe a 70’s Spaniard. Twitch of the Death NerveSeven Notes in BlackThe Bird With Crystal PlummageA Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, The House of the Laughing Windows, on and on. While much lower on the notability list, Red Cats in a Glass Maze is pretty high on the rankings of “best ‘unusual’ horror movie titles,” particularly when compared to its alternate, American title, Eyeball.

That simpler, decidedly less metaphorical and less interesting title does reference the goings-on in the film, at least. A killer in a red rain coat is stabbing out an eyeball here and there while killing young American women during a bus tour of Spain. I imagine you’re already thinking, “Wait, during a bus tour? Do all of these killings take place over a short period of time on the bus somehow? Because as absurd as that would be, it would still be less ridiculous than if they were to continue the city-to-city tour after the first murder, much less after the second, third, and fourth.” Well, if you’re up for watching this movie, I hope you’re prepared to turn your brain and its reserve power off, because they do indeed continue the tour. READ MORE

Movie Review: TERRIFIED (ATERRADOS)

In my review of Don’t Knock Twice, I knocked it for being a “Stuff Just Happens” horror flick, while also noting that this is not an automatically negative sub-type of horror. To support this, I referred to the Argentinian flick Aterrados (Terrified), which is very much a movie where “stuff just happens.” It’s also amazing.

Essentially a series of scary vignettes loosely connected by more of a premise (or series of premises) than a fleshed-out plot, Aterrados is not remotely interested in a satisfactory explanation for any of its goings on. At least, not according to the English translation available on Netflix, which admittedly has a couple of obvious errors that call the entire translation into question, at least as far as context goes. It’s possible there are fine details we’re missing here in the English-speaking world. I doubt it, though. And if I’m wrong, I’m mostly sure I’d prefer never knowing those details. With my most recent viewing of Aterrados–my third–I’m falling increasingly in love with it. READ MORE

Movie Review: STAGE FRIGHT (1987)

Perhaps my least favorite type of horror character–even more so than “obnoxiously precocious child” or “skeptic turned denier”–is the “irredeemable a-hole.” You might know the type: they’re specifically designed to be the person you’re really rooting to see killed, but personally, I’m usually rooting for them to not exist in the picture at all. I just find them too often overly predictable and uninteresting, whether their actions actually help drive the plot (think Yon-Suk in Train to Busan) or don’t serve any purpose at all other than to be loathed (think Carter from Final Destination, or Carter from The Final Destination). Occasionally, however, you run into a character that technically belongs to this category, but who’s either funny enough to at least be tolerable, or who crosses over into being redeemable. Think Steve and C.J. (respectively) from the Dawn of the Dead remake. READ MORE

Movie Reviews: AMSTERDAMNED

For a little over an hour, Amsterdamned is a very competent, above-average little-seen slasher. More watchable and creative than many other largely unknown horror flicks, it is the kind of film that die hard genre fans would be happy to find, although it doesn’t quite rise to “hidden gem” status.

For about an hour.

And then a boat sinks, and then that sunken boat is explored, and then there’s a tense underwater encounter, and then there’s one of the best (and most dangerous-looking) boat chases I’ve ever seen, and at that point the movie becomes a gem so bright you wonder how it didn’t shine through whatever has kept it hidden. READ MORE

Movie Review: THE GRAPES OF DEATH

Le Raisins de la mort (translation: The Grapes of Death) turns out to be a pretty blunt title for a movie that I’ve seen described as “surrealistic” from a director whose calling card was, arguably, surrealism. I suppose one could cook up some kind of symbolic meaning behind the title if so inclined, but in the end this is a zombie a movie in which literal grapes are the source of literal death, and the unimaginative title is reflected in a surprisingly unimaginative movie.

But let’s start with what there is to like about The Grapes of Death. The zombies are interesting and notable in that they’re not utterly mindless, merely murderous. They are not reduced to base impulses such as hunger or rage, They can still feel remorse and at least a semblance of love. They can connive and make sacrifices. They are just far enough removed from their humanity to be dangerous–especially en masse–but not so far removed as to be hopeless. It’s a welcome take on a supersaturated genre. READ MORE

Movie Reviews: YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY

Exchange the word “vice” for “love”, frame the second clause and Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I have the Key would be a fitting title for a mid-70’s, quiet storm R&B song. I can absolutely hear Michael Henderson or Ronald Isley singing those words in a chorus that concludes by pushing the metaphor to the brink of literality.

It’s a fittingly excessive title. Just before the film reaches the ten-minute mark it features the following:

  • Public spousal abuse by way of trying to make one’s wife drink a bowl of wine at a party
  • Racist / supremacist sexual harassment of a black maid
  • Impromptu hippy a capella choir singing accompanied by nude table dancing
  • Oedipally influenced psychological taunting and sexual assault

I’m unsure of what drugs the party-people in this scene have indulged in–besides alcohol–but the writers of this film might have had powder-caked nostrils. READ MORE

Movie Review: DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS

Final VerdictMayyyyybe worth a watch if you’re curious about a fairly corny, occasionally inspired cult erotic sorta-horror flick.

When you combine being sick in bed on a Sunday with Shudder’s unique streaming alternatives, you can easily find yourself watching something you ordinarily wouldn’t. You ou see, while Shudder’s service has the familiar “watch what you want any time you want” option of every other streaming service, it also has what basically amounts to four “channels” that feature unalterable, programmed content. There’s “Slashics” which–you might guess–runs slasher movie classics. There’s “Wicked Grin” that features more comedic or lighthearted horror / thriller fare. There’s the “Psychological Thrillers” channel, which doesn’t have time for any cute name shit. And then there is the primary channel, “It Came From Shudder” which, near as I can tell, just plays whatever the hell it wants to. READ MORE