New York: Grove Press. DeMello, M. Lippit, A. Minneapolis and London: Minnesota University Press. Malamud, M. Society and Animals. Montaigne, M. In: Donald M. Frame trans. The Complete Essays of Montaigne. Mukherjee, P. In: Elizabeth M. Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment. Nixon, R. Said, E. New York: Vintage.
Singer, P. New York: Random House. Tiffin, H. In: Laurence Simmons and Philip Armstrong eds. Human-Animal Studies. But despite preaching what he does not practice, Deodato has made a film of such unswerving horrors and "pure moral terror" that it can never, ever, be simply and easily dismissed as a work of unfettered exploitation. There are images in this film that will never leave you: the burning of the villages; the lethal, ritualistic punishment meted out to a tribal adullercr; the stake-up-the-ass and out-the-mouth, and the final canni- bal assault will all reverberate far too long in one's consciousness.
It is an extremely difficult film to shake 15 off; even devoid of the repellent sequences of animal slaughter, there lies a dark and brooding heart, re- vealing elements of a real and painful truth. Man is a savage and instinctual beast regardless of what kind of "jungle" he inhabits.
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Besides being distinguished as one of the most violent and controversial films ever made, Cannibal Holo- caust also sports one of the most soaringly beautiful and endearing theme songs by noted composer Riz Ortolani heard this side of a Disney film. Adding perhaps its own "Beauty and the Beast" counterpoint to a simply scorching and unforgettable cinematic experience.
Although Cannibal Holocaust has been legally unavailable in theU. An exceptionally well-controlled, superbly acted thriller about a waifish, insecure high-schooler with telekinetic powers and her over- zealous, religious fanatic mother, energetically portrayed by Piper Laurie. Carrie Sissy Spacek is a shy, withdrawn teenager constantly intimidated and bullied by her class- mates until the night of the prom when a particularly vicious prank backfires and Carrie unleashes her psychic powers in revenge.
Although a bit overdone and needlessly flashy, the climax is quite powerful, un- compromising and very exciting. When Carrie's mother is impaled by flying kitchen utensils like her revered statue of the martyred Saint Sebastian in their prayer room, you know DePalma is reaching out for some grandstand trickery which un- fortunately seems to mar the conclu- sion by its unflagging excessiveness. The "shock" ending - one of those "gee, I must have dreamt it" - se- quences is effectively surprising and horrifying but it is still a cheap dra- matic device normally employed to distract you from a faulty storyline and a director's inability to satisfac- torily wrap up a wayward plot.
It becomes infuriating because DePalma uses it the same way in both The Fury and Dressed to Kill and he is jus t too skilled a director to have to continually resort to these unsatisfying plot. Sissy Spacek's touching, sensitive performance as well as Piper Laurie's crackling, live-wire embodiment of the rabidly religious mother are both rare treats in a film full of accom- plishment and power. Paul Schrader's updating of the classic 1 film by V al Lewton and Jacques Tourneur suffers from loo much self-indulgent hipness and an icy, detached sense of misplaced erotica, not to mention the ponder- ously awful storyline.
Attempting to deal with voodoo, mysterious rituals and human and animal natures becoming inter- twined, Schrader lets all these fasci- nating possibilities take a backseat to his voyeur's enthrallment with sexual obsessions.
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So instead of be- ing a fascinating psychological hor- ror story it instead becomes merely a rather primitive story about sexual possessiveness. The effects by Tom Burman's stu- dio are first rate and Natassja Kinski's transformation is especially well-handled. Such a promising opening shot of gusting winds whipping sand across a bright, rust colored landscape, slowly exposing masses of human skeletons simply dissolves into a rather portentous, rambling, miscast vehicle for Schrader's obsessively individualistic style; a style appar- ently not successfully suited for horror pieces.
The cat both the real one and Burman's mechanical stand-in is the real star and manages the only real scares in this unfortunately limp at- tempt at updating and improving what was said so much belter and so much more simply back in Although not based on work by Edgar Allen Poe, its inspiration in- stead comes from a historical figure, a self-proclaimed "Witchfinder General" by the name of Matthew Hopkins, who murdered over suspected witches in his religious purges in the 17th century England.
Vincent Price is superb in the title role; and free from his usual eccen- tricities and hamminess, he turns in an absolutely stunning performance as the vicious, deceitful and lustful witch hunter. The film is indeed shocking for its very realistic portrayal of sadistic torture techniques and brutal execu- tions and its very dark view of hu- manity in general. Price's Witchfinder General is not merely a misguided religious fanatic but a truly despicable, malefic monster whose code of morals completely ignores rape, theft, blackmail, kid- napping, torture and murder.
A grim, disheartening look at mankind's way of dealing with forces it doesn't un- derstand and life-styles that stray from accepted patterns of existence. One couldn't help but wish this would have been the horror film of the "double decade," what with the teaming of horror impresarios George Romero and writer Stephen King along with master effects artist Tom Savini.
What we do get is a mildly uneven mix of horror rehash, predictable stories and a strange schizophrenic bonding of comic books, animation, gaudy, pop light- ing and too many bloated , decaying corpses. But, along with these dubi- ous distinctions, we also get a funny, very scary and enjoyable tour de force of horror cliches by the fiercely independent Romero who hits more often than he misses.
The writing is surprisingly weak considering the prodigious talents of writer King; but Romero manages to extricate every last bit of story through imaginative editing, angles and lighting. The cast is especially fine and many performers look to be really relishing their roles and a chance to ham it up and have some fun.
Even Stephen King's acting in "The Lonesome Death of Jody Yerril" is not without its merits; sur- prisingly so, considering the real goofball he played as a bit part in Romero's Knightriders. Marshall is superb and runs away with the acting honors for his short, very affecting performance as a bitter, hostile phobia-ridden ec- centric who has a deathly fear and disgust of germs and insects. The only trouble with these short horror vignettes is that like EC com- ics, you could usually pretty well guess the ending after the first five minutes; as they all worked on a similar motif of vengeance and retri- bution.
Savini's work is remarkably incon- sistent, from the rigid, barely articu- lated spectre at the beginning peer- ing in through the boy's window, to the very nicely realized horrific beast in the "Crate," to the stiff, waxy- looking mannequin stand-in for E. Marshall during the cockroach crowd scene. The quantity of effects must have hampered Savini as he was called upon to use a vast array of makeup techniques. Still, some of the effects do rate among his best work and Savini even manages time to play a bit-part as a trash-collector near the end of the movie.
The film is still a delight, a very brave and eclectic attempt to marry horror, homage and hilarity into a weirdly functioning menage-a-trois. Marvelously frightening, gruelling adaptation of the Stephen King novel about a rabid St. Bernard loose in the New England countryside. The exceptional special effects unit uses made-up St.
Bernards, me- chanical dogs, and, unbelievably so, a black Labrador mix in a dog suit! The effects are blended in an abso- lutely seamless manner and it really always looks like the same dog. An awesome chronicle of mass slaughter and Romero's sequel to Night of the Living Dead, Dawn manages to be alternately brilliant, meandering, funny, horrifying, gut- wrenching and frivolous at the same time. Lacking the storyline and irony of the first feature, this film makes up for it in sheer energy and spec- tacular effects.
The black humor, spirited performances and cartoon- like action keep the film from be- coming just a merciless bloodbath- slaughter film and eases it into the category of satire and parody. The final zombie-biker slash-off is com- plete with rousing stunt work, a pie fight and more splattering than you've ever seen. The effects, hor- rific as they may be, are never really repugnant nor depressingly morbid.
They seem to be executed more in a sense of fun and parody rather than aggressive viciousness. The film is rich in small details, yet curiously wanting for a more strident storyline. Too often it be- comes almost a circus and the zom- bies really are running wild. Fortu- nately, Romero's originality and di- rectorial skills manage to effectively surmount the absence of a plot, and in place of story we have lots of action, and relentlessly exciting ac- tion shots at that.
His effects work in this film is simply unparalleled in this genre. He decided to distribute his movie independently from the Hollywood system. Inde- pendent distribution without an MPAA sanction is usually the kiss of death for a small film; but Romero's Pittsburgh Splatter Express has managed to gross over 55 mil- lion dollars worldwide. A flawed, but marvelous film. Also available in a minute, 16mm, non-theatrical version. Rarely given its proper due, even among Romero's staunchest fans. Day of the Dead seems as far re- moved from its immediate prede- cessor as Dawn of the Dead was from its precursor.
But that is the good news. Indefatigably overrated and slavishly worshipped by horror fans, Dawn now appears somewhat cartoonish, shallow and unchallenging in the wake of the very serious themes courted in Day. Truly "the thinking man's zombie film," Day of the Dead is far more charac- ter-driven and provocative than his previous opus; showcasing Romero's skill in handling a plethora of dis- parate personalities who are far more intriguing and developed than the bickering, aimless mall soldiers of Dawn.
Though Romero had to re-think and scale down his original vision of a worldwide zombie apocalypse due to financial considerations he was promised big bucks in return for an R rated feature , he still manages to use the smaller canvas to his ul- timate advantage. In an underground silo, soldiers, scientists and civil- ians face the grimmest of odds - outnumbered by deadheads nearly a half -million to one.
Into the bleakest of scenarios come a number of sharply-drawn, incendiary charac- ters, all at the end of their emotional tether. Captain Rhodes Joe Pilato in a stinging performance is a pro- fane, neo-fascist with a hair-trigger temper attempting to maintain order while Dr. Logan Richard Liberty tries a dissect-and-domesticate pro- gram on the zombies with a series of ever-escalating, gruesome experi- ments. Sarah Lori Cardille is try- ing to maintain her own equilibrium despite the macho haranguing from Rhodes and a whimpering boyfriend who's quite literally, falling to pieces.
Day of the Dead is far more cere- bral and penetrating than either Night or Dawn, but that doesn't translate to a reduction in the film's gore quo- tient. Not by any means. The Sauce- O-Meter hits overload with a meaty barrage of anatomically-correct, fleshen debasements that display some of Tom Savini's best work to date. A Grand Guignol gourmet feast that sticks to the ribs and the brain long after Rhodes becomes a gut salad in a penultimate scene guaranteed to make yoM "choke on it. Great Twilight Zone type of horror movie building to a nifty revelation in the last few seconds.
Written by Dan O'B annon Alien, Dark Star , it concerns some unusual experiments conducted by a town's mortician Jack Albertson, in a spry, enthusi- astic performance on the recently deceased. The effects by Stan Winston are horrific and bizarre, including an acid-up-the-nose face job that is not to be believed.
Overly atmospheric to the point of appearing to be almost surreal at times. Although the plot is not of the most original material nor is the "surprise" ending really surprising, Dead and Buried is very chilling to the bone, hard-core horror that leads the audi- 21 ence to a delicious, little secret re- vealed by an appropriately smug, condescending Albertson when he informs our hero "Oh Hauntingly effective retelling of the classic short story "The Monkey's Paw," Deathdream follows a young soldier's return to his hometown af- ter being killed in combat.
His mother's fervent prayers have brought him back from the netherworld, but even the most stri- dent faith fails the flesh when the Conqueror Worm comes a callin'. To avoid complete putrefaction, the young lad must kill and then suck the sauce; leading inevitably to complete and utter nuclear family meltdown. His father veteran char- acter actor John Marley in a fine, heart-rending performance commits suicide as his wife accompanies their son to the cemetery where the boy has already dug himself a grave.
The police arrive, begin shooting, and one family's apocalypse is complete. Nothing flashy here, but the ever- spirally descent into madness, disin- tegration and death hits home with quiet, yet devastating vengeance. Writer Alan Ormsby was also responsible for the well-crafted special effects; work- ing with first-timer and future FX demi-god Tom Savini. Deep Red marks a transitional phase for the Italian maestro.
Abandoning the conventional plot devices and linear structure of previous thrillers as The CatO'NineTails and The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Argento allows Deep Red to explode across the screen in a dazzling, majestic and furious display of directorial bravado. His camera swoops, prowls and pirouettes through a sublime tapestry of telepathy, murder and preternatural mystery; fuel-injected by an eerie and commanding score by the Goblins, assisted by Giorgio Gaslini. When a noted psychic is brutally murdered by an axe-wielding psy- chopath, her neighbor David Hammings, echoing his role in Antonioni's B low- Up begins his own investigation with the help of a curi- ous journalist Dario Nicolodi.
Several particularly vicious and nerve-shredding murders follow, in- 22 eluding one in which a man's teeth are continually bashed against a stone mantelpiece. Deep Red builds to a furious, cata- clysmic finale, climaxing in a su- perbly staged and ingeniously or- chestrated elevator decapitation only slightly compromised by a patently phony prosthetic effect engineered by Carlo Rambaldi and Germane Natali. An unforgettable film experience. Deep Red appears in three distinct versions: the edited U.
Dismissed by one perilously lame wag as "an overrated. Aided immeasurably by the writing and production skills of Maestro Argento, Demons kicks major ass and doesn't let up until the final coda slyly played out beneath the credit crawl. Patrons are invited to a mysterious movie premiere by a mute, masked man director Michele Soavi and become infected with a zombie virus that causes the mayhem inside the theatre to match the ever-escalating action appearing on the screen. It's essential a one-joke gimmick, but hot-wired into a frenzied and froth- ing slaughterthon lubricated by the wild wetness of Sergio Slivalletti's FX and propelled into nihilistic oblivion by a pounding rock score featuring Motley Crue, Billy Idol, and Claudio Simonetti.
Demons succeeds on its very own, admittedly simplistic and formulaic terras - but, then I've never heard the Ramones apologize for only playing three chords, either. Fuck the prissy, pseudo-scholars - this motherfucker rocks! Among the small handful of films directly inspired by the real-life an- tics of Wisconsin ghoul Edward Gein I needn't insult your intelligence listing the other two contenders ; this modest, yet frightfully compelling tale comes closest to what actually happened.
Close, mind you, but still light years away from the flinching facts: shoeboxes full of spray- painted vaginas; nipple belts; hearts in saucepans, and moonlit pirouettes enlivened with flayed skins and vulvas-on-strings. Narrated stiffly by Canadian actor Les Carlson who later undergoes meltdown in Cronenberg's Videodrome , Deranged starts slowly but finds its mark as soon as Roberts Blossom is allowed suffi- cient screen time to suck you into his own personal black hole of guilt, 23 dementia and perversion. Blossoms' portrayal of "Ezra Cobb," the "Butcher of Woodside," is, most certainly, one of the most focused, believably nuanced performances of any screen psycho in recent history.
You just know the poor fucker got off to a rocky start when his mother's dying words included a pecker- withering caveat to stay away from "the filthy black-souled sluts with pus-filled sores and gonorrhea, syphilis and death. They'll steal your soul. Special effects, including the mummified corpses seen in an espe- cially harrowing, Texas Chainsaw- styled dinner table sequence were built by a young Tom Savini with the assistance of sculptor Jerome Bergson. For the definitive Gein story, con- sult Judge Robert H. Gein died in prison in Both Ormsby and Clark apparently so- bered up in the 80's and claimed responsibility for such mainstream fare as My Bodyguard, Murder By Decree.
Porky's and A Christmas Story. They briefly worked together again on the troubled Canadian production of Popcorn in Deranged remains a relatively ob- scure video find, neglected by both major and minor distributors for nearly two decades. A vicious, frighteningly surreal look at 17th century witch hunting and politics with bravura perfor- mances by Vanessa Redgrave as a possessed, hunchbacked nun and Oliver Reed as Father Grandier, a worldly priest with political and sexual ambitions.
Based on Aldous Huxley's exhaustively researched book, The Devils of Loudun, about the witchcraft trial and subsequent execution of a rebel priest, the film is historical and hallucinogenic at the same time. Director Russel bom- bard us there's no other term for it with some of the most frightening, unsettling and blasphemous images ever seen on the screen.
The sexual obsessions of the nuns are some- thing to behold, indeed, including an almost unspeakable scene with a crucified Jesus and a ravenous, sexually aroused Redgrave. Russel takes plenty of liberties with the his- torical facts, presenting us with a haunting kaleidoscopic mixture of religious fanaticism, political chica- nery, cruelty, egomania and sexual obsessiveness.
Not ahorror film in the truest sense, but a truly horrifying, brutal experi- ence. The exhausting and grotesque climax to the film when Father Grandier is tortured and burned alive is truly painful to watch. The vi- ciousness and ferocity of the vio- lence and madness in this movie as well as the disturbing, blasphemous desecration scenes earned The Dev- ils an "X" rating in its original re- lease version. Recommended, but you've never seen anything like this. A flawed masterpiece, so unashamedly bold, iconoclastic and deranged that it forcibly holds your attention in a spellbinding, voyeuristic kind of way.
A shameless, plotless, exploitation gorefest, apparently using some of the old jungle sets and actors from another Italian schlock-o Zombie. The film is miserably dubbed; some of the sets are downright laughable as is the slipshod acting and ram- bling "plot. Luckily, the film fails to take itself too seriously and that may be its saving grace.
When the opening shot is a camerapan through an eerily lit, fog -shrouded graveyard, paus- ing lovingly to rest upon a tomb- stone engraved with "Snuff Maxi- mus," you get the idea that this ain't Inherit the Wind. The violence is gleeful, excessive and extraordinarily explicit; this film clumsily combines cannibalism, zombies, ersatz medical experimen- tation, grave robbing, ritual disem- bowelment, and more intestinal munching than even a George Romero film. The film concerns a mad what else? It's rather refreshing to see nice, normal Amazonian cannibals wielding the machetes and butcher knives instead of your run-of-the- mill psycho cases.
The film is bold and audacious enough, seemingly unafraid to jux- tapose startling horror with hilari- ous acting and plot, but the effects are the main show; still, beware the heart munching, the eyeball poppings, throat slittings and dis- embowelments. They are rude and gagging in extremis. Another of DePalma's richly tex- tured tributes to Hitchcock; this freiizied, but classy film is about as exciting and mesmerizing as psycho- thrillers get.
Unfortunately, another of DePalma's classic cop-out, fake dream sequences at the climax pulls the rug out from under you just when you were about to become a true believer. It worked fine in Carrie, but it seems contrived and uncom- mitted in this film. A supposed transvestite psycho-killer is stalk- ing Angie Dickinson, playing a sexually repressed, frustrated housewife. Nancy Allen then, Mrs. DePalma is a frightened, though savvy call girl who witnessed the murder. Dickinson's son and the hooker start amateur sleuthing to try and trap the killer; perhaps they are ef- fective beyond their dreams.
The elevator murder sequence is as deliciously complex as Hitchcock''s shower scene mPsycho; butno shots in the movie are better executed and realized than the masterfully fluid, slinking tracking shots following Angie Dickinson through the art museum. Highly charged with erotica and a sinister sexual air. Dressed to Kill is a sleek, sophisticated shocker, well controlled and manipulated by one of our more clever, gifted directors.
A marvelous little bit of mayhem, played as a very hip, new wave hor- ror film. The film is very moody, very dark, with a claustrophobic, suffocating feel to it. An extremely knowledgeable group assembled this little-heralded, minor masterpiece, attaining a thoroughness, style and 25 pace that one rarely witnesses in today's genre offerings. A literate, cynical script that always keeps the film in bounds without its drifting into ridiculous excesses or inept parody.
Nicely lit sets, fluid and imaginative camera work, and a steadfast, lead performance by di- rector Ferrara makes Driller Killer far more than just another forget- table exploitation hack-job. The Driller Killer is an accom- plished, but habitually broke artist whose loft happens to be on the other side of a studio where a punk rock group practices incessantly at an excruciating volume. The painter needed just the tiniest bit if a push to go over the edge anyway and the obnoxious band provides that and more.
So does his flunky art agent, his girlfriend, the building supervi- sor and several winos and low-lifes, who all contribute to some nasty drilling action in revenge. The ef- fects are convincing and bloody, but imaginatively executed. Several of the artist's diatribes against the un- fortunates who happen to cross him are funny, scary, articulate, and are all delivered in a schizoid flurry by the hostile painter. You can't help but howl sometimes at the characters, the camera shots, the action, or the dialogue, but it is not a derisive laugh but a knowl- edgeable chuckle. Complete with a nifty, understated ending, the film offers a rare chance to see exploit- ative film making done with a style and refinement not seen since the early "B" film days of Carpenter, Romero, Dante, or Landis.
A much-maligned second offering from Texas Chainsaw director Tobe Hooper. Allegedly "butchered" by studio editors, the film still retains a distinctive Hooper feel to it and is mildly effective as a horror film. Neville Brand plays the eccentric owner of a rundown hotel who keeps an alligator in a little murky pond to feed unwanted guests to. Brand grandly overplays the role but in- jects enough subtle humor and bi- zarre mannerisms to make it rather memorable.
The look of the film re- flects the major studio financing as does the name cast - an unusual grouping of minor Hollywood char- acter actors Mel Ferrer, Carolyn Jones, Brand and Stuart Whitman. The hotel is a set with bizarre, comic book-lighting and the tiny pond contains a mechanical alliga- tor that severely tests one's sense of natural realism. Marilyn Burns re- turns to the screen as the undisputed queen of the scream; and her perfor- mance is just as frenetic and agitated as Texas Chainsaw.
The film is loosely structured, lacking the mo- mentum to really build to an excit- ing finish and contains some really grating country western music con- stantly being played in the back- ground through all manner of tinny radio speakers. The plot is quite predictable, though, and the few real scares do little to help re- vive the lackluster writing, though Hooper does his best and does man- age to show quite a visual flair in many scenes. The bizarre and ca- cophonous soundtrack does sustain an air of electrical madness through- out the film and the times that it's not downright annoying, it is very effec- tive.
Nominated for Best Picture by the Academy of Science Fiction and Horror in , the film never lives up to its potential; and it is a disap- pointment for those expecting the same edgy madness that made Hooper's first features such a clas- sic. Again, check out Robert Englund, B. When I saw the West Coast pre- miere of this much heralded, grossly overrated film at the Los An- geles Filmex, I knew something was wrong right away with this "fero- ciously original, ultimate experience in gruelling terror.
A bunch of suburban airheads spending their vacation at an iso- lated cabin find an occult book bound inhuman flesh, and filled withchants that can raise the dead. Great story possibilities fall apart though, through inept acting and clumsy, really feeble writing. Don't get me entirely wrong, it's still a pretty good little film, though I did find myself muttering once or twice This is strictly Dead-Lite - all hu- mor, little horror.
Perhaps wunderkind director Sam Raimi re- alized he had already made "the ul- timate experience in gruelling terror" or so say the credits at the end of the original, as if you're not absolutely convinced and opted instead for some sort of "E" ticket on a demented Dead Disney ride into cartoon hell.
In horror filmmaking, an oft-quoted dictum states that "if you don't give the audience something to laugh at. Obviously, Evil Dead 2 was never intended to frighten anyone - and the biggest joke of all was on the audience who came expecting a horror film. Not really a sequel at all, but rather a studied, confident and comfortably- budgeted remake, the film forces Raimi to employ nearly every cin- ematic trick in the book to disguise the fact that it's still the same old Gang -O' -Chumps -in- a-Haunted- Cabin scenario that had already been beaten to death in the original not that the concept was anything breathtakingly nouveau to begin with.
Nearly every frame of Evil Dead 2 is bursting with a seemingly endless barrage of gimmicky camera acrobatics; make-up and mechanical effects; miniatures; matte paintings; stop-motion puppets and in-your- face and out-your-ass zooms and PO Vs that the overall effect becomes numbing rather than exhilarating. Like a pizza "with the works" that soon grows soggy on the plate, it's a simple case of "getting more than you bargained for is sometimes just as unpleasant as getting less.
The third installment, the ellipti- cally titled Army of Darkness, is a major studio effort that marketing mavens have threatened to release as a "PG" rated feature sometime in ' Now that's scary. Friedkin, m. An often-told tale of demonic pos- session of a young innocent yetrarely told so powerfully and convincingly as the amazingly frightening film based on William Peter Blatty's best seller. Even two decades after its initial release, it remains a viciously shocking, uncompromisingly brutal look at a subject so ineffectively explored by dozens of light-weight predecessors.
Friedkin is a filmmaker of fierce originality, one whose films all bear his unmistakable mark. The power of The Exorcist lies in Friedkin's ability not only to shock, horrify, and disgust us, but his gift to make the most outrageous seem very, very plausible.
Despite the more spectacularly bi- zarre elements of the story, it is also a small, human story about the power of faith and one man's coming to terms with his own conscience. Dick Smith's effects are simply fantastic; and the degree rota- tion of Regan's head is still one of the most shocking and unsettling effects in modern horror history. An expertly crafted, staggering achievement in contemporary hor- ror. Zimmerman, m. Fun film about a nervous, self-ef- facing movie buff who gets even with his tormentors by donning costumes of his favorite celluloid heroes and acting out his violent, revengeful lusts on them.
Dennis Christopher is the fanatic who does menial filing work on a movie lot in addition to watching films every waking hour, sometimes imagining himself to be Cagney in White Heat. Christopher is not dynamic enough, curiously tuberculin and wasted looking; he lacks the power and energy sorely needed for the part. However, his performance is still richly textured and thorough considering he almost 28 always comes across as a really pa- thetic wimp who almost deserves to be bullied.
The homage to filmmaking in general is so thorough and inspired, it's like a mini-class in American movie appreciation. You want to know more about the stars, the roles and the films mentioned in this little thriller. Linda Kerridge as a Monroe look-a-like is both startling and en- gaging as a girl Christopher has fan- tasies about.
Though the film is dark, moody and cynically depressing at times, several scenes capture all the magic that is movies. Christopher's scene as an avenging Hopalong Cassidy as well as his splashy demise atop Grauman's Chinese Theatre, sput- tering his dying words, "Top of the world, Ma," are quite simply, mar- velously rendered bits of inspired filmmaking. Carpenter, 91 m. Simplistic, highly stylized ghost story concerning the revenge of some pirates exacted against the greedy little seaside town that betrayed them a century earlier.
What follows is pretty predictable and rather timo- rous, although done with such a de- gree of style and flair that we are momentarily distracted as to the aridity of the plot line. Carpenter has stated he wanted a subtle, under- stated ambience of horror through- out the film and perhaps the scenes that could have been great are merely malingeringly competent. So re- strained and timid was the final cut that Carpenter went back and re- edited the film, inserting some bru- tality and explicitness in hope of luring the hard-core fans.
Well-acted throughout with ex- quisite attention paid to detail and mood. The Fog still never manages to rise above the staid, moldy story it has been saddled with. Worthy of note is the pairing of the modern scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis, with her co-starring mother, Janet Leigh Psycho as well as sol- idly delivered support performances by Hal Holbrook and John House- man. Cunningham, 95 m. Probably one of the best and more imaginative slasher films.
One must put this film in a proper perspective as it was one of the first of the new- wave horror films and so should be judged on its own merits apart from the flock of imitators which hurriedly followed. Camp Crystal Lake has been closed for several seasons due to the unex- plained and mysterious deaths of several summer camp counselors.
Now, the camp is reopening with the new crew mostly unaware of the past history of "Camp Blood. The film owes much to the grisly effects of Tom Savini; his work in the film set standards that few could duplicate. The murders are well staged and excitingly executed - from the clas- sic hunting arrow sequence to the startling axe-in-the face scene in the restroom. Sean Cunningham's direction is fairly inspired for this type of film with nice storm sequences and an effective ambience of confusion and terror maintained throughout the movie.
The first time I saw the film the audience was so effec- tively suckered that it came out of nowhere, the crowd screamed in unison and then followed with a smattering of appreciative applause. Brilliantly set-up and executed, this climax is guaranteed to make you jump. Hats off to Cunningham and crew for one of the real classics of the slasher sub-genre. Obviously, director Steve Miner, who has worked on all the previous films in this laughable trilogy, needed a new gimmick to draw the crowds back for more of the same. The 3-D process is quite excellent and is used very advantageously and often enough to help override the languorous, juvenile scripting and obviously set-up murders.
Jason, the moldy kid from the lake, is at it again and the body count gets ri- diculous. Really, without the added attraction of 3-D, this film would fall pitifully near the lower-middle ground of this tiresome slasher for- mula. Luckily, though, a few scenes redeem the mess and after a rather slow start, they accelerate past the half way mark and an exciting, al- beit, cliche-ridden climax is in the offing.
Clever parody scene when a girl is reading the Fangoria magazine ar- ticle about Tom Savini's gore effects in Friday the 13th 1 - the arrows, the axes, the butcher knives when, all of a sudden Coldly manipulative, scornfully written, this film is only for the most forgiving genre fans. Hooper, 96 m. A very satisfying, mature work from the director of Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The film doesn't contain 30 the relentless, nightmarish scenario of his first effort, but instead opts for a leisurely paced, traditional teenager vs, monster movie using a troubled circus as a backdrop, and a well-designed albino mutant created by Rick Baker and Craig Reardon. The rather simplistic storyline con- cerns four teenagers who decide to spend the night in a rundown funhouse and eventually witness a murder among other unforgettable sights during their "night on the town.
Although lacking some of the vis- ceral shocks liberally sprinkled throughout Texas Chainsaw, Funhouse nonetheless succeeds on its own as a classy, well-controlled, meticulously crafted piece of work. Log In Sign Up. Katarina Gregersdotter. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act , or under the terms of any licence permitting limited copying issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, Saffron House, 6—10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS.
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ISBN —1———6 This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fully managed and sustained forest sources. Logging, pulping and manufacturing processes are expected to conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
It defines this popular sub-genre, outlines its history and studies recent films as well as cult classics from a variety of perspectives. A central idea in the book is that animal horror cinema mirrors socially entrenched fears of and attitudes toward animals. Thus, animal horror cinema reveals attitudes toward the fabric of social life, the fragility of the eco-system and a deep uncertainty about what makes humans different from animals.
ISBN —1———6 hardback 1. Horror films—History and criticism. Animals in motion pictures. Gregersdotter, Katarina, editor. H6A45 This is one of many ways in which Topsy was anthropomorphised by marketing and the media. Despite the remorse recorded here by The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the killing of Blount turned Topsy into a notoriety and, in the eyes of the public, an even uglier elephant. After a number of incidents, and rumours that Topsy had killed at least three people Anon.
This was cast not simply as euthanasia, but as a form of punishment. Consequently, she was put to death on January 4, , in front of an audience of invited guests. Two technologies, both developed by Thomas Edison, converged on the execution of Topsy. The first was electrocution. This was invented by Thomas Edison in an effort to prove that the AC current championed by George Westinghouse was more dangerous to living beings than the DC current Edison was supporting.
Brown had pub- licly electrocuted a number of animals. Electrocution was first used on a human being in , when the convicted murderer William Kemmler was put into the electric chair that Brown had invented. Thus, Topsy is not the first to be exposed to this technology; she was merely the first elephant to be successfully electrocuted.
The electro- cution of Topsy was filmed by Edison Studios. This early short shows Topsy standing chained to the ground and to a large steel structure, electrodes tied to her feet. She has already been fed carrots with cyanide and is trying to shake off the electrode attached to her right front leg. The human capacity for lan- guage, for coherent thought and reason, for suffering and for death all manifest as absences in the animal.
The problem that Lippit identifies is that this wilderness and the animals that inhabit it began to disappear from urban modern life during the nineteenth century. This disappearance coincided with the emergence of new technologies that were then used to house not the animal itself, but a form of animality that could still serve as a contrast to humanity.
Thus, as Lippit observes, the animal becomes central to the emergence of cinema as a media. This entire volume can be read as an exploration of animal horror cin- ema as a space made possible by the spatial and conceptual separation of the human and the non-human animal, which in turn prepares the ground for narratives about moments when humans and animals come face to face, or even cross the conceptual borders that separate them.
By anthropomorphizing the animal, animal horror cinema stirs up emo- tions and provokes reactions in the viewer. It makes it possible to understand the animal as a character in a narrative, who responds to the unfolding of events as we expect human characters to do. Even Topsy, who was obviously not a willing actor, stands before the camera not simply as an animal but also as a being who is imagined to have consciously transgressed the boundary between right and wrong. The circus, the newspapers and the movie company all saw a possibility to commodify a story about an animal that, having been spectacularly brought into the most urbane place in the world, New York City, is no longer fully an animal.
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Defining animal horror cinema On a very basic level, animal horror cinema tells the story of how a particular animal or an animal species commits a transgression against humanity and then recounts the punishment the animal must suffer as a consequence. In this way, the horror that most animal horror cin- ema depicts turns on an attack on human beings by an animal.
Many films that must be seen as central in the genre we propose to call animal horror cinema have been placed under the label of eco- horror. However, eco-horror cinema also includes movies where the relation between humans and animals plays a marginal role and where the ecosystem itself — its plants, mountains, forests, seas, and seasons — is the villain. We believe the term animal horror cinema is a more useful concept than these eco-centred monikers. By animal horror cinema we mean films where the portrayed animals retains a resemblance to actual animal species.
Thus, by animal horror cinema we do not refer to movies that feature an otherworldly, supernat- ural creature enhanced by radiation Godzilla or originating from outer space the Alien. While many animals in horror cinema have been given attributes in particular enormous size that real animals do not have, other filmmakers have attempted to make the animals in their films as believable and life-like as possible but have often failed, with sometimes hilarious results, because of their often limited budget for special effects.
Finally, by animal horror cinema we want to refer only to fic- tional horror films. In other words, we do not view animal horror cinema as comprising films that depict actual human violence against animals for documentary purposes or as entertainment. By focusing on the fictional cinematic representation of human—animal relations we do not wish to ignore the fact that cinema has often exploited cruelty to animals for commercial or other reasons. However, we contend that the fictional element and the fact that it is a unspoken agreement between the filmmaker and the audience that the violence depicted in the film is not real is a theoretically important difference between films like Jaws or Anaconda, and films like the documentary The Cove and the mondo film Faces of Death For instance, the horror expe- rienced by the viewer of Faces of Death, a film that showcases extensive and authentic violence against animals, has little to do with the animal as a potential threat against humans.
Thus, and to reiterate, we define animal horror cinema as fictional movies where the animal seeks to challenge the predominance of the human through physical, some- times consumptive, violence. In this way, it is the dangerous and trans- gressive animal that elicits suspense and fear in animal horror cinema. Theoretical and ethical approaches to animal horror cinema While cinematic representations of animals have been studied for dec- ades, the focus of this volume is on the mechanisms and ideologies of horror in the relation between human and non-human animals on film.
The reason why this is the first anthology of its kind might be that, with the exception of some notable classics, like King Kong , Jaws , and The Birds , animal horror cinema has long been seen as a low-budget, low-quality form of entertainment that is largely dis- connected from serious cultural debates. Most of the critical literature about animal horror cinema therefore either focuses on the canonical films in the genre, or is written by fans of eco-horror who argue for the overlooked quality of films that they love but that have largely been ignored by mainstream viewers and critics.
However, the possible criti- cal and theoretical inroads into animal horror cinema are convoluted and so numerous and entangled that this book only offers a basic over- view of some of the clusters of theoretical problems that we, the editors, see as central to the study of the genre. However, among the most central of these approaches is the study of how films rely on and simultaneously subvert and re-inscribe the basic conceptual separation of the human and non-human animal. Scholars such as Donna Haraway, Ted Benton, Susan Armstrong, and David DeGrazia have demonstrated the porousness of the boundaries that Western thinking about humans and animals has erected.
This instability is one of the central concerns of animal horror films. From this observation springs many lines of enquiry that we will pursue in this section. The first and perhaps most important questions is that of ethics. The most long-standing ethical question concerning animals on film is undoubtedly how, if at all, ethical treatment of animals used in the entertainment industry can be ensured.
However, the use of animals in films also raises questions of the ethics of representation of non-human creatures. It might be added to this observation that animals that are used in the entertainment industry continue to suffer psychologically and physically despite the work of activist groups and animal welfare legislation and that they will con- tinue to do so, since there is no way to fully guarantee their wellbeing. This gives rise to a large number of interconnected ethical questions.
This view is arguably based more on the insistence that filmmakers have a responsibility for the way they portray animals than on empirical studies of the relation between cause and effect. He shows that, to Levinas, only humans are ethical beings and non-human animals are incapable of an ethical response to the Other p.
List of natural horror films
This volume repeatedly returns to this deeply entrenched idea in Western thought, which constitutes an important element in the horror of many of the films discussed. In animal horror cinema, the animal — say, the shark in Jaws — typically exists beyond the ethical, as do other familiar char- acters in horror cinema, such as zombies, monsters and psychopathic killers. The animal is hardwired to be a relentless predator, unable to show remorse or pity.
Therefore, the only way for humans to protect themselves against the ferociousness of the animal is to respond to it by becoming as ferocious as the animal, and to kill it. On the other hand, many animal horror films also suggest that if animals exist beyond ethics, this does not change the fact that humans have an ethical responsibility towards animals.