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Horror Film Blog

February 2009

raymac Written by raymac
Feb. 16, 2009 | 12:55 AM





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A Month of Friday the 13ths: Carnival of Souls

Today we feature the atmospheric cult classic, CARNIVAL OF SOULS.


<a href="http://www.joost.com/05970r2/t/Carnival-of-Souls">Carnival of Souls</a>


Joost Presents: A Month of Friday the 13ths

Thirteen classic movies to scare the crap out of you.

 


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Gordon S. Miller Written by Gordon S. Miller
Feb. 15, 2009 | 4:28 PM





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Friday the 13th: Uncut (1980) (Blu-ray )

After the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween, producer/director Sean Cunningham decided to rip it off, according to screenwriter Victor Miller.  In doing so, they, along with make-up artist Tom Savini, created a pop culture sensation that returned more than 70 times its budget at the box office.  Unknowingly, they were starting a horror movie franchise that would create more sequels and earn more money than its inspiration. 

Friday the 13th opens in 1958 at Camp Crystal Lake in New Jersey.  A young couple of counselors sneak off to have sex in an attic and are killed.  We flash-forward a couple of decades to present day, Friday, June 13, and meet Annie, whose vocals all sound dubbed.  She is heading to Camp Crystal Lake, which is being re-opened, to work as a cook.  She meets some townsfolk who warn her the camp is haunted.  A truck driver informs her a young boy drowned and a young couple was murdered.

Other counselors are arriving and work to help Steve, the new owner, spruce up the place.  He has some errands to run and leaves the camp in his truck.  Annie gets picked up hitchhiking, but we never see the driver.  When they pass the camp, Annie realizes she is in trouble.  She jumps out of the car and is chased into the woods, but there’s no escape and she gets her throat slit.

Back at the camp, the counselors do what comes natural to young people when their supervisor is away: they soak up some sun, get high, and have sex.  As horror fans know, this means, to quote Thunderdome’s Dr. Dealgood, “dyin’ time’s here.”  No doubt to the delight of many male viewers, Marcie runs around in a tight, pink top and no bra, so it’s natural for her to sneak off with Jack (Kevin Bacon).  You expect them to get killed during sex, but it is revealed Ned is dead in the bunk above.  It’s a good twist on expectations and creates suspense.  As the movie progresses, the characters get isolated and start dropping like flies.  Alice is the last person standing and eventually battles with the killer.  I was surprised to learn the killer’s identity and was impressed that it was cleverer than I expected. 

Albeit a bit dopey and amateurish, Friday the 13th is a good time for those who like chills and thrills and is an undeniable landmark in the history of cinema.  Along with Halloween, Hitchcock’s Psycho is also an influence in its music and story, and there’s a nod to Carrie at the end.  The packaging states, “This unrated version contains 10 seconds of footage different from the original R-rated version.”  I don’t know what has been added, but I believe the movie would still get no worse than an R in this condition.  Nearly 30 years later, it might be too slow and not gory enough for modern movie watchers. 

The Blu-ray has been released to coincide with the remake, but not much was done to prepare the movie for high definition, which is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.  There’s a lot of grain throughout, especially in dimly lit scenes and during a freeze frame that zooms in on the image.  The colors are muted, the blacks can barely be called that, and the details aren’t in sharp focus.  On the plus side, the picture looks clean and free of dirt and defect.

In regards to the audio, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 didn’t offer much.  The music sounds like it’s been remixed and is too loud, which contrasts with the low levels for the dialogue. The front speakers do almost all the work as the surround offers very little beyond faint ambiance.  I’d recommend going with the Dolby Digital Mono as it creates a more authentic experience. 

There are a lot of special features for F13 fans.  Peter Bracke, author of Crystal Lake Memories, and interview clips with cast and crew are edited together to create the commentary track, which sounds like it was recorded close to the 20th anniversary of the movie. 

A number of special features are presented in HD.  The highlight is the film’s original trailer.  It is very evocative as the narrator counts down the bodies.  A reunion of cast and crew from Kentucky’s 2008 “Scare Fest” contains anecdotes about the movie and lets fans who haven’t gotten a life ask questions.  What looks to have been recorded at the same time is “Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th.”  Composer Harry Manfriedi claims the “chi chi chi” sound on the soundtrack is actually “ki ki ki” to represent “kill,” but I don’t hear it.  The movie clips used here are letterboxed, which begs the question why they aren’t on main feature.  “The Man Behind the Legacy” is an interview shot at Cunningham’s home and he’s done well for himself.  Something called “Lost Tales from Camp Blood Pt 1” is some vignette where Jason kills some a couple in their home.  It’s terrible and utterly pointless.

Presented in standard definition and likely from a previous DVD release is “The Friday the 13th Chronicles,” which covers some of the same ground from other extras, and “Secrets Galore Behind the Gore.”  It’s comical that they always inform the viewer that the clips shown are from Friday the 13th.  They may have been from a larger feature about the franchise.

Considering the better technical capabilities don’t offer much to the presentation, I would recommend buying the new DVD version instead of the Blu-ray. If it’s already in your collection, it’s not worth a double dip unless your F13 devotion is high and you have to own the new extras.


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raymac Written by raymac
Feb. 15, 2009 | 11:14 AM





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A Month of Friday the 13ths: Shock

Today we feature SHOCK, the tale of a psychologically distraught woman who is committed to a private sanitarium run by Vincent Price.


<a href="http://www.joost.com/05900sz/t/Shock">Shock</a>


Joost Presents: A Month of Friday the 13ths

Thirteen classic movies to scare the crap out of you.


1 comment | Leave a Comment

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raymac Written by raymac
Feb. 14, 2009 | 9:17 AM





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A Month of Friday the 13ths: The Little Shop of Horrors

Today we feature Roger Corman’s black comedy about a boy and his man eating plant, The Little Shop of Horrors. Watch for a young Jack Nicholson in a minor role.


<a href="http://www.joost.com/05900fw/t/Little-Shop-Of-Horrors">Little Shop Of Horrors</a>


Joost Presents: A Month of Friday the 13ths

Thirteen classic movies to scare the crap out of you.


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raymac Written by raymac
Feb. 13, 2009 | 4:22 AM





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A Month of Friday the 13ths: Night of the Living Dead

In celebration of Friday the 13th, Joost presents thirteen classic horror movies to scare the crap out of you…


Night of the Living Dead
Little Shop of Horrors
Shock
Carnival of Souls
I Bury the Living
The Devil Bat
White Zombie
Dementia 13
Bride of the Monster
Hunchback of Notre Dame
Virus
Attack of the Giant Leeches
The Brain That Wouldn’t Die


We will feature a film a day on the Horror Fan blog, if you are the impatient type you can go to Joost to see any of these films and more!

http://www.joost.com/024qa4q/t/Joost-Presents-A-Month-of-Friday-the-13th



First up is George Romero’s 1968 seminal zombie classic, Night of the Living Dead.


<a href="http://www.joost.com/33i7hck/t/Night-of-the-Living-Dead">Night of the Living Dead</a>

 


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raymac Written by raymac
Feb. 6, 2009 | 6:54 AM





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Lesbian Vampires make out at The Silent Movie Theatre

This February, head over to The Silent Movie Theatre on Fridays at midnight for one of the most enduring subgenres of the horror film which stretches from the glory days of Hammer in the sixties and seventies to the many direct-to-dvd entries of today. The folks at Cinefamily sum up perfectly the appeal of these films.


“With their eternal youth and slinky good looks, hypnotic stares, and penchant for killer hickies, vampires are already the most erotic creatures in the horror menagerie. So what’s sexier than a vampire? A lesbian vampire! Sapphic lust and blood-sucking seduction have been working together for centuries—Carmila, the iconic gothic-era female vampire story, actually predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula by 25 years. We still love our vampyros lesbos, a great excuse to lend an air of aristocratic sophisticaion to girls getting it on with each other whilst sleeping all day, and partying all night. Let’s hear it for boobs, blood, and blood on boobs!”


THE LINEUP


February 6th


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THE HUNGER

If you thought you knew the limits of director Tony Scott’s delirious stylistic excess (Domino, Beverly Hills Cops 2, Revenge, Top Gun)—an orgy of television commercial visual design matched with the minimum of required narrative coherence, then you haven’t seen his debut film. At the time of its release, The Hunger was met with critical derision and commercial failure, but time has made it a cult classic. Smoked with seduction and soaked in stylization, The Hunger features an egregiously sexy lesbian love scene so steamy that even the film’s negative reviews had to acknowledge the power of sultry sirens Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon “making it” while covered only in what would soon become some of Scott’s signature visual elements: hazy interiors, gauzy eyelines, blowing sheets. The film is also one of the early touchstones of Goth culture, with its hot-pale-chicks-with-‘80s-haircuts, romanticized bloodsucking, and appearances by both David Bowie (in a supporting role) and Bauhaus (performing “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” in the nightclub opening).
Dir. Tony Scott, 1983, 35mm, 97 min.
Tickets - $10

 


February 13th


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VAMPYRES

The most savage girl-on-girl vampire movie ever, Vampyres usually gets tagged as British horror even though it was directed by Jos? Larraz, the mad Spaniard who stunned ‘70s audiences with potent visions of carnal violence like The Coming Of Sin and Black Candles. Two incredibly sexy women living in a remote English estate (later used in The Rocky Horror Picture Show as Frank-N-Furter’s castle) drain their victims’ blood after bouts of wild sex and leave the bodies in staged car accidents, but when one insatiable man comes their way along with a nearby couple camping out in an RV, the stakes get considerably higher. Packed with a ridiculous amount of nudity and blood as well as a strong poetic streak and a purposefully baffling framing story, this sinfully entertaining cult classic drips with dank, dingy English atmosphere and just keeps getting better with age.
Dir. Jos? Ram?n Larraz, 1974, 35mm, 87 min.
Tickets - $10

 


February 20th


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THE VELVET VAMPIRE

Dune buggies, rattlesnakes and hippies aren’t common staples of your average vampire movie, but then again, there’s never been anything like this outrageous desert paean to bloodsucking and partner-swapping. Incredibly, this arty answer to Hammer’s same-sex fang flicks was one of the earlier releases from Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, who ruled ‘70s drive-ins. Michael Blodgett (Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’ Lance Rocke, R.I.P.) is caught between his vapid, vanilla girlfriend (Sherry Miles) and the smokin’ hot exhibitionist/art gallery devotee Diane (Celeste Yarnall), but soon it looks like he might be out of the picture once the two ladies develop eyes for each other. Directed by fascinating Corman protegee Stephanie Rothman and laced with a psych music score, this endearing, rare cult item remains best experienced on the big screen in all its gaudy, color-coded glory.
Dir. Stephanie Rothman, 1971, 35mm, 80 min.
Tickets - $10

 


February 27th


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DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS

Surrealist Belgian director Harry Kumel conjures up a dark, magical brew, spilling over with haunting imagery and chimeric plot twists. This kinky fairy tale revolves around ethereal vampiress Delphine Seyrig (Last Year at Marienbad), whose world-weary persona resembles Marlene Dietrich after lingering in a sarcophagus a few years too many. Recently married Stefan (Dark Shadows’ John Karlen) and Valerie find themselves staying at a deserted, off-season hotel along with the traveling Countess Elizabeth Bathory (Seyrig) and her beautiful sapphic companion. Soon Bathory sets her sights on seducing Valerie away from her brutal, belt-whipping husband, who has more than a few nasty skeletons tucked away in his closet. Intoxicatingly erotic, haunting, creepy, and even hilarious, this ravishing mixture of art house elegance and blood-spraying horror is like no other; at the very least, you’ll never look at a glass punchbowl the same way again.
Dir. Harry Kumel, 1971, 35mm, 87 min.
Tickets - $10

 


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