Mini Film Review: The Devils (1971)

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Ken Russell’s film “The Devils” is currently playing on Shudder. Naturally, as a proponent of free speech, I was drawn to this film, as I am a sucker for anything that is banned and or controversial. This film originally received a “X” rating and was subsequently banned here and in the UK. It has never received an uncut release (except in bootleg versions), and is still difficult to obtain, even censored.

I was disappointed to learn that even Shudder’s version omits some of the more controversial scenes and once I looked up what they omitted…holy shit…I would LOVE to see an uncut version! That said, this is a BRILLIANT film. Simply brilliant. And a BIZARRE film at that! That’s putting it mildly, really. Russell also made ‘Altered States‘ if that gives you any indication, but from the opening scene all the way to the credits, ‘The Devils’ is as brilliant as it is surreal – like an acid trip.

It’s billed as a horror film but really, it’s much more than that. What makes this film so horrifying, you realize, is that it’s all true! As brutal and grotesque as this film is, and trust me, (this is one fucked up movie), it becomes even more so when you realize it’s all historical…this film left me thinking about it, long after, in the middle of the night, when I kept replaying scenes over in my head, particularly the ending, which is just goddamn brutal, and haunting.

The editing on this film is magnificent and plays on your subconscious, hence the LSD reference above.

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Without delving too much into the plot (17th century France and sacrilege/heresy), I would suggest either just diving in and watching it yourself, or Googling it and looking up the history that the film is based on – both are shocking, literally. Seriously, do some research, it’s crazy!

Again, what makes this film so goddamn terrifying is that it’s all true, even documents from the event still exist and they’re nuts! These characters all existed and the events actually happened. I realize I’m repeating myself, but once you watch it, you’ll understand why. Truth is, after all, stranger than fiction.

A word of caution: this film is not for the squeamish or easily offended! If you’re devoutly religious I would avoid it if I were you…

That said, I challenge you to watch it and NOT ask yourself: what the fuck…Oh! And Roger Ebert hated it! HA!

 

 

 

 

 

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Mini Film Review: Colors (1988)

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Mini Film Review: Colors (1988) – Dir. by Dennis Hopper | Blu-Ray by Shout Factory

I’m fairly confident I know more about the film ‘Colors’ than the average person. I saw it in the theater approximately 8,000 years ago and it made a huge impression on me, and on many others. Recently, I purchased the “collector’s edition” on Blu-Ray from Shout Factory. I was hesitant to buy this film, yet again…I owned it on VHS and have watched it on cable a ton of times. But it’s an American classic. It’s a brilliant film. It’s also a time capsule and what it captures is something for historians IMO.

Other generations have Easy Rider, my generation had Colors. Yes, I feel that strongly about it. This version has the “unrated” cut of the film, which immediately drew me in (I’m a sucker for uncensored films and extras!). This unedited version has a MUCH longer sex scene between Maria C. and Sean Penn 👀 and it also has the brutal stabbing in Venice Beach, which is often edited out, and includes longer versions of other scenes, like Pac-Man making a crip choke on his crack rocks.

This version also includes interviews with screenwriter Michael Schiffer and technical advisor, and ex-L.A.P.D. gang division, Dennis Fanning, who has cameos in the film and who Sean Penn based his Pac-Man character on. Both interviews are fascinating, especially if you’re into the lore of how this film was made and why.

A few years back, I wrote an article called “Everything You Wanted to Know About Colors but were Afraid to Ask.” I included all kinds of “nasty cheese” in it and I still get e-mail about it to this day, which trips me out. I’m happy to announce that I will be including that essay, along with many others in an upcoming book of my essays.

Also, I’m having a hard time deciding where to post my mini film reviews, so that’s why I’m dusting off this blog! Ha!

Mini Film Review: We Go On (2016)

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Mini Film Review: We Go On – Dir. by Jesse Holland & Andy Mitton. 👍

This film is currently playing on Shudder. Not knowing anything about this film prior to seeing it, I wasn’t expecting much. I knew it was an afterlife/seeking ghosts flick and that it would have to be pretty damn good to hold a candle to that genre. Numerous films have done this premise, and quite well I might add. Stir of Echoes was great.

This film doesn’t bring anything new to the table in terms of premise, per se, but it is entertaining nonetheless. I enjoyed it. It had decent twists in it as well and the acting was surprisingly good.

This film, while polished, looks like a made for cable TV film but that’s not terribly distracting because the story moves along well. I usually enjoy films that explore the possibility of life after death without delving into the hokey aspect of it, which is easy to do. This one keeps it just serious enough to be creepy.

You won’t find any earth-shattering revelations in this one though, and it lacks star power, unless you count Annette O’toole, whom I had to look up to remembe why she looked os familair…48 Hours!

The soundtrack could have been MUCH stronger IMO (see It Follows), but it’s a good film nonetheless and I enjoyed it quite a bit. If you liked Stir of Echoes you’ll dig this.

Nightmare City (1980) Dir. Umberto Lenzi – why did no one tell me about this film?!

Why was I not told about this film sooner!? I only recently heard about it because legendary special effects man, Tom Savini, is set to remake Nightmare City in 2016. His crowdfunding camping was a success! Boom!

I absolutely loved what Savini did with Night of the Living Dead. So much in fact, that I prefer it to the original, so this has all the makings of a killer remake! And that’s coming from someone who typically loathes remakes!

I have not seen this film yet and that’s exciting. It looks awesome and if the reviews for it being “terrible” are anything to go by, I’ll most likely love it!

It’s been called a “cobbled together disaster” and “absolutely terrible in every way.” Sounds perfect!

According to Wikipedia, director Umberto Lenzi said that he felt the film was not to be labeled as a “zombie” film but rather a “radiation sickness movie” with hints of an anti-nuclear and anti-military message. Again, this sounds amazing.

I’ve discovered that, after growing up on American horror, I really dig Italian horror films so this is right up my alley. And is it me, or did Robert Rodriguez borrow heavily from Nightmare City for his Planet Terror film?

Anyway, this one is on my wish list now. I’ll give it a full review when I watch it. Let me know if you’ve seen it and what you think.

Review: It Follows (2014)

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“Childhood is over the moment you know you’re going to die.” – Top Dollar, The Crow (1994)

“Nothing gold can stay.” – Johnny, The Outsiders (1983)

These two quotes came to mind after watching It Follows (2014), directed by David Robert Mitchell. They didn’t come to mind immediately after watching the movie but in doing some research on the film after being left with unanswered questions. It Follows, in my opinion, is one of those films that requires more than one viewing in order to really get the gist of what’s going on. Or maybe I’m just slow…

One of my pet peeves is having to Google a movie after I watch it in order to figure out what happened. This usually results in me either hating the film or obsessing over it. With It Follows, I found myself with lots of questions and when the credits rolled I felt let down and wanting more explanation. But I wasn’t sure if this was because I was supposed to feel this way or if I just didn’t “get it.” It turns out it was a combination of the two.

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Review: Creep (2014)

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Creep (2014) Rated R – 77 minutes

When a cash-strapped videographer takes a job in a remote mountain town, he finds that the client has some unsettling ideas in mind.

I almost didn’t make it through Creep (2014) the first time I watched it because frankly, it started to creep me out, for lack of a better term. This film has been on Netflix for a while now, and lacking any other new options, I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did…I think.

As I said, near the beginning of the film (tubby time), I almost shut it off and moved on because it creeped me out! But something compelled me to stick with it and see it through. This is funny because it’s the same kind of thing that prompts the protagonist, played by Patrick Brice, to stick with his creepy assignment rather than listen to his instincts and walk away. Brice also happens to be the director.

One of the many criticisms of the film is people assuming the protagonist is an idiot. But this is a first person, behind the camera-shot, film; so if the main character is an idiot than so are we all for not shutting the film off. What happens to the protagonist also happens to us. It is for this reason that I believe the film is a success.

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Review: We Are Still Here

I watched ‘We Are Still Here,’ from Dark Sky films recently. It was mediocre at best. I’d been wanting to see it as it was hyped by some as a homage to the gore and splatter of Italian master Lucio Fulci. Plus, it was produced by the same people that did ‘The House of the Devil’ and ‘Starry Eyes’ and was supposed to be a “throwback” film.

Well, suffice to say that the production company hit a home run on ‘The House of the Devil’ got a “walk” on ‘Starry Eyes’ and struck out with this film. It’s flat and loses its way towards the end. What a disappointment.

It started off great and the first act is spectacular but shortly thereafter the film starts to fall apart and you are left with a mess and one with too many questions and contradictions.

From a writing standpoint, this film seems to suffer from too many writers and not enough resolved or developed ideas. I blame the director for this and for not going to print with something more concrete. There are way too many unfinished and half-cocked ideas at play, leaving you scratching your head.

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