Reviews

The-Devils_UK poster

Film: The Devils (1971)

The Devils dvdThe Devils is not a film for everyone.”

Ken Russell’s 1971 masterpiece The Devils mixes the avante garde with the blasphemous, creating an unforgettable cinematic experience.

Censored and widely banned since it’s release, the full, uncut version of the film, which includes an infamous scene involving a crucifix (known as the “rape of Christ” scene) and several other salacious scenes, has never been made available to the public. This DVD version contains as much of the film as Warner Bros. will currently allow to be released and is as good a version as I have ever seen.

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Film Review: Spookies (1986)

richard-corben_spookies-poster_1987Spookies harks back to that glorious time for American horror films – the mid to late 1980’s. It has the perfect mix of stereotypical teen characters (all played by actors that are well into their twenties, in line with horror tradition) and incredible special creature effects that still look good today. No CGI here – all the effects were done with puppets and models, giving them a solid, believable look that is sadly missing from today’s horror movies. (more…)

cult film horror

Cult Film: Blood Orgy of The She Devils (1972)

“A terrifying, screaming plunge to the depths of Hell!”

BOOTSD

Blood Orgy of The She Devils

Produced by Ted V. Mikels (Astro Zombies, The Doll Squad), this film has a one-star rating on its IMDB page. Despite this less than encouraging first impression, I was determined to give the film a chance. After all, someone had kindly uploaded it on to Youtube so I would be watching for free. I had nothing to lose and I can’t resist an obscure old horror with witchcraft and scantily-clad actresses. In fact, the one-star rating piqued my interest. If the general viewer considers the film to be complete garbage, then it just might turn out to be a hidden gem!

Of course, the film does not entirely live up to it’s title, but it does feature some scenes that attempt to depict witchcraft.

Lila Zaborin stars as Mara “queen of the black witches.” She presides over a coven of impressionable teenage girls (who also happen to be reincarnated witches!) and performs demonstration rituals for them for a living with a view to teaching them the secrets of the Black Arts.

While these rituals are taking place, Dr. Helsford (an expert on witchcraft) meets with two students, Mark (Tom Pace) and Lorraine (Leslie McRay). He attempts to explain the historical truth behind witchcraft, and goes into some detail about the real life witch trials that took place in centuries past. There is a relatively chilling reenactment of a witch being burnt at the stake about mid-way through the film. This is one of the most interesting scenes along with the Mara coven scenes, which build in intensity as the film reaches its climax.

The plot is not that engaging, and the acting and dialogue is beyond cringe-worthy. That said, it is worth a watch for fans of obscure 60’s and 70’s horror. If you discovered these films through bands like Electric Wizard and Cathedral, then this will be a good choice. It’s not a patch on The Living Dead at The Manchester Morgue (this film makes it look like Shakespeare!), but is does have some cool retro scenes for connoisseurs of exploitation cheese. Visually, it’s the kind of film you would expect to see projected behind a band at the Roadburn Festival.

If you’ve seen Zombie Flesh Eaters so many times that the idea of re-watching it scares you more than the movie itself, then you could do worse than Blood Orgy of The She-Devils. Just don’t set your expectations too high.

Remember: You can find the whole thing on Youtube for free, but to be honest the two-minute trailer I’ve included here covers all the best bits!

Copyright © Steve Wilson and The Third Realm, 2014

Evil-Dead

Evil Dead (2013) vs. The Evil Dead (1981)

Ah, remakes. There seem to be more and more of them being released these days, and fans have very strong opinions about them. In the last few years we’ve seen slick 21st century “re-boots” of I Spit On Your Grave, Halloween, Dawn of The Dead, Total Recall, The Wicker Man (Oh God, if only I could wash out my mind with soap and water!). The list is endless. There is even a re-make of Robocop due out in cinemas next month. If I am totally honest, I may not have courage to go and see the theatrical release. I value my cherished memories of the Paul Verhoeven original to much to risk sullying them with a sub-par “re-imagining”. You just know the damned thing will be awash with slick editing and state-of-the-art CGI and totally devoid of the cult vibe that made the original so entertaining. If and by that I mean if I do go and see it, I will write up a comparison here, once I’ve recovered from the inevitable disappointment.

I suppose the real question I should be asking myself is how did I become so jaded and cynical? The truth is, I don’t know. There is just something about modern movie-making that leaves me cold. It’s no one thing, but a combination of factors. They just seem too slick somehow. Too… Polished. And above all, too dark. I know the whole point of remakes is to shed the kitsch, cheesy vibe of the originals and appeal to a hip young audience (who simply were not born when the originals came out). I can relate to that but at the same time, that was what made the originals so special. Classic cult films (of any genre, but particularly horror) have a special atmosphere, a vibe, that cannot be recreated in today’s modern, high definition era. Many have tried, and done a reasonable job at it. Robert Rodriguez largely succeeded with Planet Terror a few years back, and the Soska Sisters films have kicked ass so far. It’s definitely possible, but rarely happens. Another factor is budget. Studios are under pressure to deliver a production quality that will appeal to this generation of movie goers, not just thirty-something horror and heavy metal nerds with a chip on their shoulder (i.e. me!). This, for me is the key issue. Only a fan would make that conclusion but here it is anyway. They are too well made. The quality is so good and the picture is so clear that there is nothing left of that grind house vibe that made them special in the first place. I feel the same sense of anti-climax with most mainstream rock and metal albums. They’re OK, but they are really too clean. I prefer underground stuff with that special quality that, while they may not be as well produced in the technical sense of the word, keep me coming back for more literally years after I bought original disc.

So… On to Evil Dead

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