Horror

Reviewer: Jeffrey M. Anderson
Ratings (out of five): ** 1/2

Yet another horror remake, this one comes from an almost forgotten and not very well-liked Troma release from 1980, written and directed by Lloyd Kaufman's brother Charles. It was a rape thriller, which probably explains its reputation today. Fortunately, the remake chooses another path. Rather than three women going camping and running into a sadistic mother and her scumbag sons, the plot becomes slightly more complex.

Blog entry 05/08/2012 - 4:16pm

Reviewer: Jeffrey M Anderson
Rating (out of five): ** 1/2

Lamberto Bava is the son of the legendary Italian horror director Mario Bava. Lamberto entered the business young and assisted his father on many films, and recently even helped to assemble the amazing "lost" film Rabid Dogs (1974). When Mario died in 1980, Lamberto embarked upon his own filmmaking career. Two high points were Demons (1986) and Demons 2 (1987), both of which were co-scripted by Dario Argento, another Italian horror legend, and were both playfully post-modern chillers well before Scream came along.

Blog entry 01/10/2012 - 3:01pm

Reviewer: Jeffrey M. Anderson
Rating (out of five): *** 1/2

After an absence of ten years, master director John Carpenter's new film The Ward was treated as if it were suddenly deposited in a kitty litter box. It only opened in a couple of theaters, and after disastrous reviews and poor box office, a wider release never materialized. There were cries of Carpenter being "rusty" or "in decline," similar to claims made against Hitchcock, Hawks, Welles, and Chaplin during their later years. Perhaps worse, Carpenter chose to tell a rather old-fashioned ghost story, wherein a ghost sometimes pops out from the shadows. Additionally, the script has a twist ending that further irritated his detractors.

Blog entry 09/26/2011 - 9:28pm

Reviewer: Craig Phillips
Rating (out of five): ***

Mexican director Jorge Michel Grau's undeniably creepy if tonally uneven We Are What We Are (Somos los que hay) is on the one hand a melancholy dysfunctional family tale, and on the other hand, well... they'd like to eat it.

After their father perishes in a heap on a city sidewalk, the two sons, Alfredo (Francisco Barreiro) and Julian (Alan Chávez*), help their haggard mother (Carmen Beato) with the family finances as well as the family appetite, despite not being especially equipped for either role. The most important thing? Continuing the family "ritual" -- the unpleasant task the patriarch done for them for years. Meanwhile, two curious cops, after seeing the coroner find a finger in the man's stomach, decide to investigate further -- at their own risk.

Blog entry 08/01/2011 - 11:51am

SF IndieFest kicks off its 8th Annual Another Hole in the Head Film Festival this week, featuring 3 full weeks of horror, sci-fi and fantasy programming. It all goes down at the historic Roxie Theater from June 2nd through the 17th. 

Featuring everything from Japanese Action/Sci-Fi  (Helldriver, the opening night film; Yakuza Weapon; and Karate-Robo Zaborgar), Grindhouse (The Victim), zombies (Zombie Undead, Eaters), Nazis (Uwe Boll's AuschwitzBloodrayne: Third Reich), and foreign surreal/fantasy films (Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale), A Hole in The Head Film Festival celebrates all ends of the spectrum: international and local, schlock and arthouse, and everything in between. 

Thanks to our friends over at SFIndie, we are giving away 3 pairs of tickets for each show of the festival! Continue reading for more details. 

Blog entry 06/03/2011 - 10:17am

Reviewer: James Van Maanen
Rating (out of 5): **

Simon Rumley's Red White & Blue is a half-step up from this writer/director's earlier The Living and the Dead, a slight tale about a very odd dysfunctional family which the filmmaker buried under a bundle of repetitive visual tics and back-and-forth time trips. Rumley and his well-cast lead actor offer some interesting situations and characterization before the film's raison d'etre – a raft of unpleasant tortures/murders – begins. From what I can gather, Rumley's themes encompass everything from America's sex/drug/rock-and-roll mentality to its current mid-east wars, general state of health (pretty sick) and employment opportunities.

Blog entry 05/10/2011 - 11:23am

Reviewer: James van Maanen
Rating (out of 5): ****

Philip Ridley is back to theatrical movie-making after nearly fifteen years. In Heartless, he's come up with something so strange and frightening, marvelous and moving, apocalyptic and chilling -- and perhaps undecipherable (but you probably won't mind) -- that all I can say is: See it. (I’ve just seen it for a second time, and, yes, it’s still undecipherable, though I may be getting closer.) The man who made the cult movie The Reflecting Skin (sadly not on DVD) and who wrote The Krays (also not on DVD) is an artist, and I don't think that it's so much that he won't compromise his vision, as it is that he can't. Just as well, too -- when one’s visions are this original.

 
Blog entry 04/18/2011 - 2:22pm

Reviewer: Jeffrey M. Anderson
Rating (out of 5): ****½

Guillermo Del Toro has become one of the most interesting of the new auteurs. Over the course of just seven films in 18 years, he has established a definite, fluid, rich visual style and specific pet themes, not to mention a singular fascination and enthusiasm for a certain kind of genre film. He also manages the nearly impossible feat of juxtaposing personal comic book movies (Blade II, Hellboy) in Hollywood and more ambitious works of art (The Devil's Backbone, Pan's Labyrinth) elsewhere.

I had seen his debut feature Cronos some time back, and I liked it, but it did not resonate with me, and I was glad for the chance to see it again now that I have become more familiar with Del Toro's work as a whole, now that the Criterion Collection has released it on a spectacular new DVD.

Blog entry 01/24/2011 - 4:14pm

Reviewer: James Van Maanen
Rating (out of 5): **

 

What a collection of talent is gathered here: writer/directorJoe Maggio, who gave us the wonderful Virgil Bliss (2001) and the interesting Paper Covers Rock (2008); a cast of indie pros like James Le Gros, who’s coming up on a 30-year career of mostly independent film and TV, in which he’s always good and often charismatic; Joshua Leonard, so different here from his work in last year’s Humpday; the lovely Amy Seimetz, currently on a roll, after Alexander the Last, Tiny Furniture and Open Five; and producer/co-starLarry Fessenden, who’s always fun to watch ( I Sell the DeadWendy and Lucy) and whose production company Glass Eye Pix has given us some wonderful little “scare” movies of late. The result of all this talent blended into a chef-gets-revenge-on-food-critic thriller (in which even Mario Batali makes an appearance) is the disappointing Bitter Feast.

 

Blog entry 01/18/2011 - 11:01am

Reviewer: Steve Dollar
Rating (out of 5): ****

One of the grimiest slabs of blood-soaked sleaze to emerge from the grindhouse era, Maniac is the menacing brain-child of one William “Bill” Lustig, a childhood devotee of the 42nd Street theater circuit who nourished himself on a decade of exploitation fare before he became what he beheld. And it was good.

Good enough for everybody's favorite French auteur, Olivier Assayas (Carlos), to select the film - along with Zodiac - for reappraisal during this spring's BAMfest at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. And certainly good enough for Lustig to re-release in Blu-Ray, through his own Blue Underground DVD label, which has been steadily updating its 200+ film archive with the new format. The releases typically include bonus features, and Maniac offers not only two commentary tracks (both with Lustig alongside some key players) but a second disc of interviews, trailers and documentary featurettes.

Blog entry 11/24/2010 - 12:55pm

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