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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Intruders (2011) Horror Psychological

Intruders (2011) - This is the first time I am writing a review while participating at home with a Stream Queens Podcast usually I just follow along at home and enjoy listening to the podcast. This film though is interesting enough that here are a few thoughts on it. First off this movie was a giant bomb if you look at the numbers on IMDB. It is a 13 million dollar movie that never was shown on more than 33 screens in the US and so failed to come close to making its money back and really worldwide made no more tha six million dollars back in 2011 when it came out.  The star of the film Clive Owen was several years removed from a string of good films, SinCity (2005), Children of Men (2006), Inside Man (2006) then more recent such as Shoot 'em Up (2007) and The International (2009) all making him a more known quantity to American audiences; so the fail of this movie is rather surprising. I for one don't really remember this film and maybe there was a lack of resources put into it on the marketing side. It came and went and really quickly and until it was picked for the podcast subject I really had no memory of it. Directed by Jaun Carlos Fresnadillo who also directed the pretty cool flick Intacto (2001) and then later 28 Weeks Later (2007).
Intruders is not bad with some turns that make sense after they are revealed. The story follows two story lines with strong parallels as we switch between each. A young boy, Juan (Izan Corchero) is terrified of night terrors featuring a character he has created called the Hollowman. This boogeyman is a character with no face who wants to steal the face of the little boy. He hides in the dark corners of the kids bedroom waiting, leaving little Juan frightened. Played with Spanish subtitles the and with short on the nose editing this story line seems like it could be happening a world away from our main story.  The second almost identical tale is of Mia (Ella Purnell) a twelve year old English girl who finds the story of the Hollowman in a hole in a tree near her grandparents house. She then uses the story as part of a school project and suddenly the man is showing up in her life. Is the Hollowman real? In both stories the character seems real as can be, Juan and his Mother Louisa (Perez Lopez de Ayala) fight off the Hollowman one night so you know she and he see it. Mia and her Father John also confront the intruder in her room and fight him until he flees. So we have a belief that the Hollowman is an actual person in both stories.
   Ah but that is where things change with the introduction of "Folie à deux (/fɒˈli ə ˈduː/; French pronunciation: ​[fɔli a dø]; French for "madness of two"), or shared psychosis, is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief and hallucinations are transmitted from one individual to another." Now we see that Louisa trying to get help from the local priest (Daniel Bruhl) but the priest being really skeptical. After John fights off the Hollowman he has a camera and alarm system installed in his house. This solution then shows that he also is not really fighting anyone off but is alone in the room with his daughter. He is confronted by the police, his wife (Carice van Houten), and psychologists to this fact and we then spin towards the ending Learning that Juan and John are the same person turns the movie again the story is how he had a shared delusion with his Mother and then as an adult with his daughter.
  As a child Juan's terrors centered around an incident that killed his ex-con Father and the Hallowman was the reaction to that trauma. In adulthood the death of a coworker in a similar fashions triggers the rebirth of the Hollowman this time connected with Mia. The resolution is a bit off with basically the father convincing his daughter that the Hollowman is gone forever. It is a thin premise that this biy/man seems to be able to share his psychosis with his Mother / Daughter but I think the story brings it to the fore pretty handily.  So much of this film depends on the editing the cutting between Juan and John story lines and not without fully giving away the twists that complicate the storytelling. When we finally see the full story that the Hollowman is really a psychological creation by Juan to deal with the trauma of his father being killed. We know that the parallel stories of he and his mother having a Folie à deux and he and Mia doing the same years later are drawn with an ending that is a bit less than satisfying. The whole construction is clever but the story lines too similar that it really feels a bit on the nose. Still this is not a bad movie there is something to take away even if the ending ties everything up in a bow.  So a mild kind of recommendation for this missed horror film.

  As I have done so far this year; I am doing as an experiment my Twitter account @Soresport is dedicated to following and being followed by people in and behind the scenes. Then I am also hoping some of them follow me back. (Not really expecting that though) It really is an experiment and where I love the horror community it is a way to keep track of what is going on by the people involved in it.  I am now following over 188 people while the followers is only 31 so as you can see people in the biz do not follow just anyone back. :)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Holidays (2016) Horror Anthology

Holidays (2016) - Anyone who regularly checks in on this blog will know that I love horror anthologies. There is always the promise of that distinct clear piece of horror that the short format is made for. Some writer and director work in unison with a small crew to create the perfect little shock, dread, surprise making the viewer remember that story above all the others. So many times one or two parts are the cliche cream that rises to the top. Then of course there are segments that do not get the raves, sometimes by very established writers and directors. It's okay though in this format. Not everything connects with everyone and the great thing about an anthology is that the discussions that come out of this tidbit about personal taste can be just as entertaining. Where I can love the creeping dread of one story, someone else can see it as a plodding road to nowhere. Where the 80's kitsch of one piece is not appreciated by some twenty something it is relished by an older person. There is usually something for everyone though so I will keep reviewing them and welcome feedback about what connected with you.
 Dennis Widmyer and directed by Kevin Kolsch who did the wonderfully creepy Starry Eyes (2014) about how far one can go to find fame. The style is very different in this segment about a picked on dreamer who has a crush on her gym teacher. Written (I'm guessing) to play on the mean teen movies of the eighties and nineties it at first seems the characters are overly stereotyped and acted. Then we shift and see the surreal fantasy of the main character Maxine (Madeleine Coghlan) as she daydreams and realize that this is all very much an aesthetic choice. Her crush on her gym teacher and  her abuse at the hands of the mean girls lead by Heidi (Savannah Kennick) put the viewer in one headset only to have it shift a bit later into a more sinister scene. Still playing the line of being a lost segment from a Creepshow film it goes from a cheesy story of a picked on girl to a wonderfully threatening stalking sequence and back to that fanciful if somewhat expected ending.
 Holidays is a collection based on a set of holidays, Valentine's day, St. Patrick's day, Easter, Mother's day, Father's Day, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. Chronologically may be the way to present this review so let's start with Valentine's Day written by
  St. Patrick's Day by Gary Shore plays first on that disturbing child motif where the smiling child just creeps the shit out of you. Shore who directed the recent Dracula Untold (2014) has written a piece that centers around the myth of St. Patrick who drove the pagans from Ireland but is said to have driven the snakes from the Island the more commonly known metaphor. In this little tale a teacher Elizabeth (Ruth Bradley) desperate for a child in her life teaches at primary school with a strange new student. A girl Gráinne (Isolt McCaffrey) who is isolated too being new to the school. Efforts by the teacher to engage are met with a gift, a straw snake with the sentence, "Only your deepest wish can make me smile." Using quick and sometimes off putting editing to move the timeline along the film plays out a story of dark desire and the unexpected consequences a wish can have. Built in to that those is some really creepy child smiling and a continuation of the snake pagan of Ireland myth setup in the first scene. What I like about this film is the sharing of the knowledge of the the baby inside Elizabeth is not quite right and still her insistence that she carry it to term. The strange birthing scene in the tub that shifts to the pagan ritual in the next it all plays out in a cool little crazy journey.
  The simple but dark tale for Easter is about a small girl who is told that little kids have to go to bed the night before Easter and not get up. That they are not allowed to see the Easter Bunny.  The opening scene with her Mother reminded me of putting my daughter to bed and how sometimes it takes a lot to get them to settle and for the parent to get out of the room. To connect the Easter story to Jesus this is a family morning the death of the Father so the kid has questions about death and Jesus coming back from the dead. Now its been a while so I am not totally sure how age appropriate those question by little girl (Ava Acres) but it does setup the late night encounter well. Writer Director Nicholas McCarthy (At the Devil's Door) , (The Pact) does the scary house scene well hitting all the right notes and the effects for the man in the bunny suit (Mark Steger) are wonderful. The dread felt for the little girl is palpable throughout their encounter. Weird but very enjoyable!
  Mother's Day is a twist of a tale where we have a woman with a fertility problem instead of a infertility one. Kate (Sophie Traub) has the problem of getting pregnant every time she has sex. The pain of multiple abortions has her at her wits end. Dr. Harding (Jennifer Lafleur) suggest she go to a women's group centered around fertility. A bit unusual but maybe she can find some solace there. Here is where writer, director Sarah Adina Smith twist things. We all think that the women there are there because they can't get pregnant and that is true; but there is a more sinister meaning to why they want Kate there to be in their fertility ritual. The most adult of the stories in the collection the appropriate nudity is insignificant to the more mature ideas of rape under the influence and kidnapping. The shocking if a bit unrealistic visually, ending does not do justice to what is a serious story in my opinion.
  Father's Day written and directed by Anthony Scott Burns takes a more cerebral approach telling the story of Carol (Jocelin Donahue) a teacher who years before lost her Father. In this present she receives a box that includes a cassette tape. On it is a message from her Father. He apologizes for leaving her but at the same time takes her on a present day journey where they can be reunited. The film covers her struggle with his message and then the suggestion that she could now join him where he is. We watch Carol take the journey. The tape as it plays and guides her melds the past with the present is a very original way. Scary as it draws to its conclusion we relive Carol's childhood trauma while anticipating her future one. A really nice complete story about one woman's desire to see her Father again and the horrific consequences of the desire.
  My least favorite story of the collection was Kevin Smith's Halloween. The unlikable lead character Ian (Harley Morenstein) was just too much to overcome even if he gets his comeuppance. He is a man that lures young woman to Hollywood to be Cam girls, woman who perform on webcams. Taking advantage of young women he is a sweet talking on the phone until he has them at the apartment and then he is a real dick to them. We see this in two scenes one where he is sweet talking girls on the phone to get them to move to his pace, and then his other side as he verbally abuses his current girls because they want a night off to celebrate Halloween. Really the only connection to the holiday is, it is when the events take place. Even the ridiculous monologue about the witches coven does little to add an atmosphere captured more readily by the other stories. I am saying it is a wonderful little torture the three women end up afflicting on Ian making him the star of his own webcam show. The story is vulgar and not really in the spirit of horror more than a revenge story.
  The Christmas centered story is about trying to get the hottest toy on the Market for his kid. uVu is the latest in virtual reality with the slogan uVu shows you you! It's Christmas eve and Pete Gunderson (Seth Green) thinks he has landed the sought after item but after rushing down to the store he finds the last one is walking out the door not held for him as he thought he had an agreement for. Pete tries his best to get the guy who scored the head wear to sell it to him but to no avail. When an unexpected occurrence happens Pete has a morally challenging decision to make. Does he step in to help or take advantage of the situation for his own gain. His wife is thrilled that they got the device and when Pete tries it for the first time he is so surprised at the mental connection and how it shows a surprising fantasy hiding in his mind. Of course these things have a way of flipping and soon the guilt feeling from his decision show him a nightmare that leave him reeling. When his wife Sara (Clare Grant) confronts him later looking at his images since he forgot to log out things shift. Writer Director Scott Stewart, (Legion, Dark Skies) has the story asks questions about the secrets that couples keep from each other and challenges the idea of being completely open in a relationship. Well turned the story is a creepy little tale of unexpected behavior.
  The final story by Adam Egypt Mortimor, written by Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes) was quite enjoyable, establishing a sick serial killer who preys on date site victims and then turning it all on its head was really great. Andrew Bowen is the creepy serial killer Reggie who on New Year's Eve get more than he can handle from his internet date Jean (Lorenza Izzo) the last story is tight and taut with tension before exploding into violence and murder. It is a very good capping piece to what is a very good collection. This one is good and recommended so get it and see it.
  As I have done so far this year; I am doing as an experiment my Twitter account @Soresport is dedicated to following and being followed by people in and behind the scenes. Then I am also hoping some of them follow me back. (Not really expecting that though) It really is an experiment and where I love the horror community it is a way to keep track of what is going on by the people involved in it.  I am now following over 186 people while the followers is only 31 so as you can see people in the biz do not follow just anyone back. :)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Lights Out (2016) Horror Ghost

Lights Out (2016) - After hearing this film talked about on the Zombiegrrlz Podcast I decided to break my general rule of avoiding the movie theater and hop over to Solomon Pond Mall to see this scary little film.  The film based off a short was pretty decent if you want my opinion. Yeah well this is a horror blog and I suppose if you are reading it you actually want my opinion. The film has an opening that sets up the present day story Paul (Billy Burke) is working late and gets a call from his son Martin (Gabriel Bateman) because the son is concerned with the behavior of his depressed Mother Sophie (Maria Bello). His father reassures him that he will get a handle on Sophie's mental health problems but after some really scary stuff does not get the opportunity, Some of the groundwork is set up here, Mom's mental state, how the ghost works in that you can only see it in the dark and it can only harm you if you are in the dark. There really is no story at this point so like the opening scene of Supernatural the scene is to set the stage and all will be explained later.
  The present day story is after old Billy Burke's character was buried and the kid martin is living with his off her meds Mom. After watching Burke on the television show Revolution I have to admit watching him die was somewhat of a secret pleasure. Even though I don't think any actor could save the writing on that show. We are introduced to the female lead of the film, the lovely Teresa Palmer as Rebecca. She is Martin's step sister who left home after the last time her Mother was having hallucinations and she is somewhat reluctant to get back involved with the family. Or anyone else for that matter, she has a boyfriend she can't seem to commit to Bret ( "Say what again!" I know its unrelated but when ever I hear that name). He is a good guy but she has her own issues since her father left the family years before when Sophie's mental illness flared up when she was just a girl. Abandonment issue will mess a girl up. So she lives in a little apartment in the city has a not too friendly relationship with her Mother.
  Martin bears the brunt of the crazy, now alone with Sophie he is terrified of the ghost in the house and because of it is not sleeping so well.  The ghost for its part is a long arm female that does not seem happy that the kid is around. Martin gets in a bit of trouble for sleeping in class and since crazy Sophie is not available the school calls Rebecca. She and Bret ("mmmm, that's a tasty burger.") arrive and when she hears the kid out she decides to go to the house to find out what kind of shape her mother is in. We learn through the story a bit about the ghost named Diana (Alicia Vela-Bailey) and her connection to Sophie and the kids lives.
The film has a good amount of character development and relationship development that make it a much better film than a horror film. The horror elements are there but are surrounded with a decent story about mental illness and the effects of it on the family. We learn who Diana is and why her ghost is around the family Also though we see the horrible implications of untreated mental illness and its impact on those close to the affected person. The writer Eric Heisserer off a story by David F. Sandberg connects all the dots that explain how this being is connected to the family and the tragedy of the impacts over time for the entire family. The back story of the ghost may not totally make sense with the shaky premise that she gets in peoples heads as the line the viewer has to swallow to suspend disbelief.  That and the way too convenient but necessary power outage but in general a very well constructed film.
  Palmer carries the story with a sure footed and calm performance that hit the right notes for the character. She plays the adult where adults are hard to find with Sophie effective off balance throughout the film. Palmer just seems to hold the emotions until things happen that should get larger reactions, a very convincing job. Bateman adequately plays the scared child and Alexander DiPersia is solid enough as boyfriend Bret ( "Is Marsellus Wallace a bitch? Then why you fucking him like one?")  Maria Bella is just exceptional as the off her rocker Sophie. She is fragile while still being just a bit threatening, using her eyes to carry a great deal of the conflicting emotions the character has. Sandberg directs and seems to have gotten good performances from his cast. The scares are there and are really what we want when we go to a horror film. So this film is somewhat enjoyable and I already have my idea for the double feature with Darkness Falls (2003). So go support horror in the theaters and see this film.
As I have done so far this year; I am doing as an experiment my Twitter account @Soresport is dedicated to following and being followed by people in and behind the scenes. Then I am also hoping some of them follow me back.. It really is an experiment and where I love the horror community it is a way to keep track of what is going on by the people involved in it.  I am now following over 160 people while the followers is only 23 so as you can see people in the biz do not follow just anyone back. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Island of Lost Souls (1932) Horror Mad Scientist

Island of Lost Souls (1932) - After his ship goes down  in the south pacific Edward Parker (Richard Arlen) is rescued at sea. Thinking of his fiancee Ruth (Leila Hyams) he tries to get a message to her since it is going to seem to her that he is dead. Aboard the ship the Cavena he recovers from his ordeal of being adrift at sea. On the Cavena is a large collection of wild animals as well as some dogs. Mr Montgomery (Arthur Hohl) is a former doctor who is arranging the delivery of the animals and is not pleased with the Captain. The Captain a drunkard attacks first M'ling a part man part animal servant to Montgomery,  Parker seeing this abuse responds by knocking the Captain out. It creates the situation where he is cast off the ship onto Dr Moreau's island instead of continuing on to his beloved Ruth in Apia (a town on the Upolu island in Samoa). It's actually a great scene with the Captain sucker punching Parker and tossing him overboard as his ship pulls out shouting to Moreau that Parker is his problem now.
   Moreau (Charles Laughton) is an egomaniac scientist with a whip and he freely uses it on the creatures he and Parker pass on the way up to the house. Soon Edward has the full story through the delighted telling of it by Moreau. He is taking animals and making them human trying to perfect his techniques. Parker is appalled at the arrogance of the man. A man willing to torture the animals as he forces genetic change on them.  All the Island creatures including the lovely Panther Woman (Kathleen Burke) are products of the mad scientist.
It's very obvious that Moreau is making men out of animals I suppose if you had not read the H.G. Wells book or seen the later versions of the films then maybe you would not know. This writer did though and was wonderfully surprised with the makeup and presentation of the animal men. In the special features of this Criterian Collection there is a conversation about makeup artists, Charlie Gemora and Wally Westmore, who performed the great work for this film doing makeup that really works. 
  Of course in the film genetics are not mentioned, to early for that. More we have the idea that all life forms are trending towards human and Moreau is just speeding the process along. Even though this is an incorrect scientific idea it is used to build the story. Moreau revels in his success the master of evolution, the creator of men. His amazing sexist joke about teaching the creatures to speak and his God complex is a serious problem for Parker. When Montgomery and Moreau get the idea to see if the Panther Woman would be physically attracted to Parker, they hope he and she will maybe mate. What an implication of sex? Oh they will only be watching for science's sake. Parker of course is attracted to the dark haired woman apparently a fine contrast to his blond fiancee back at home but when he sees her animal claws he is at his wits end.
 There is a patriarchal arrogance of this film from Moreau's desire to create a woman and then tries to prove her humanity by getting her and Parker together. His first joke about how hard it was to teach the creatures to speak and Moneau's gleeful quip that it will be so much easier when he creates females. To how absolutely pissed Parker is to learn that Lota  (Panther Woman) is an animal creature too. "Those creatures out there in that jungle were horrible enough, but to have created  a thing as tragic as that girl, An animal with a woman's emotions, a woman's heartbreak, a woman's suffering, ah that's criminal." he continues " I could have overlooked those others, I could have shown you that much consideration, but not now. Now I will expose you to the world for what you really are Moreau." Wow all because he was attracted to Lota. If her hands had not started reverting to animal form Moreau may have fooled him. The attitudes toward women is from the original work by Wells a misogynist comes through all over this script.
  The island full of partial man animals are lead by a creature who is played by the great Bela Lugosi credited as the Sayer of the Law. Which is interesting in itself with his impassioned presentation of the Laws Moreau hopes will control the beast he has somewhat turned into men. What is the Law? Not to run on all fours. Not to eat meat, not to spill blood. With the iron fist of an animal trainer Moreau has taught them to fear him. They recite, His is the hand that makes, his is the hand that kills, his is the house of pain.  "Are we not men?" This seems a temporary solution to this viewer but that may be prior knowledge of the story. What really sells this film is the magically ego filled portrayal by Charles Laughton. He breaths so much life into the part that it really is amazing both cruel and creepy he really is so good. The he turns to get what he wants from scuttling the boat Parker was going to use to leave, just so he can get Lota to hook up with Parker. Other roles are also well filled, from Lugosi's beast man to Richard Arlen as Parker and Hohl as Montgomery full of self loathing, all are really great in this film. Moreau is the mad scientist like Frankenstein, which came out the year before he thinks he is above god and that his creations are under his thumb. Frankenstein conquers death through science, Moreau conquers evolution. This film is a A level film but because Universal was having such success with Monster movies this film which is more serious was not well received.
  When Ruth (Leila Hyams) arrives on the island we move towards the climax of the film. Reunited with Parker she and he want to immediately leave the Island but it is a dark and dangerous place. Since the animal men have seen her there is a rumble down under for some of the males seeing a lovely blonde woman. Getting back to the absolute crazy approach to women Moreau sees that the man beast are very interested in Ruth and sets it up so there is a chance one can get into her room and rape her. He sees it as a natural extension to trying to hook up Lota and Parker. This idea is even too horrible for Montgomery and he expresses to Moreau his anger at the decision. After a creature tries to get to Ruth she Parker and the Captain Davies (Stanley Fields) who brought her decide enough is enough. Davies heads through the jungle in the night to get his crew. Moreau sends a beast man after him with permission to kill him. The biggest mistake of his life since these simple creatures have their world view completely destroyed. They see that men can die and so make the connection that Moreau can also die. The bringer of pain can die. Moreau is so arrogant that he thinks with his whip he can contain the situation. An animal trainer who gets too over confident that he can not recognized the gravity of the situation. His grave ending can not be said to be not deserved.
  In the end the island is destroyed by fire with Montgomery, Parker and Ruth fleeing to Davies ship in what is a sudden end. A really great film worth renting or buying this one is very mush recommended.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Scherzo Diabolico (2015) - Horror Revenge

Scherzo Diabolico (2015) -  The description on the box pales to the actual film. Described as "Tired of his nagging wife and his dull existence as an underappreciated employee, seemingly mild mannered Aram snaps after he is passed over for a well-deserved promotion. Suddenly and menacingly asserting his long reserved power, he devises a plan to kidnap a schoolgirl and keep her tied up in an abandoned warehouse in order to finally get what he feels he is owed. But what seems like a perfect plan soon unravels into his worst nightmare."
It sounds good if a bit creepy and possibly horribly twisted in a control sexual power way. The thing is though this is not that movie. It is more like Falling Down (1993) where for most of the film you think it is just about a guy that snapped but it is really much more deeply disturbing where the road to the final acts have been paved for quite a while. In that film the antics are exaggerated as the Michael Douglas character weaves his way through LA but it is all about his decline. It shares with this film in that at the turn we learn that the motivations of the main character are not exactly as the film is sold. Still this film is different in that it ends up being about the unforeseen consequences of the main characters actions. That the depth of the plot is greater than it is originally portrayed. It is going to be difficult to review this film without ruining the turn and where that leads but I will do my best to do it spoiler free.

  I am a fan of  Director Andrián García Bogliano. When I had my old twitter account we followed each other and I look forward to renewing that twitter relationship with the new account. Since I cleared my account for this current experiment. He is a great writer and director already with a roster of films as strong as any professional working in genre. Rooms for Tourists (2004), Cold Sweat (2010),We are What we Are (2010), Penumbre (2011) with its absolutely stunning ending, and the remarkable Here Comes The Devil (2012). He also directed the recent Nick Demici vehicle Late Phases (2014), all very solid entries and I look forward to getting each new entry in Adrián's resume.
  In this film he gives us a scary look into the beta male psyche and shows how being powerless warps healthy interactions in the world. In this case the main character Aram (Francisco Barreiro) is pressured by his wife (Milena Pezzi)  to do more with his life. He works as and accountant and is a bit of a push over, working long hours saving his boss's hide only to be overlooked and under appreciated. This powerlessness is presented to the audience with a series of interactions setting the character up as a bit of a loser who is unhappy with this life. His boss Licenciado Sosa (Jorge Molina) telling him how much he is appreciated in one minute and then in the next telling him he will not be paid for the overtime he worked is just perfect. Then we get to see that maybe Aram has more too him than we first thought. There is a plan he is working on.  We see him studying a schoolgirl walking home tracking her time in each section of her walk. In a series of scenes we realize he is planning to kidnap this girl. This being a genre film we expect this is the character exercising what little power he has in a psycho sexual way. He will have control over someone he sees as weaker and thus feel empowered while all around him in the rest of his life he is giving ground. These expectations though are deftly thrust upon the audience only to be turned in a surprising new direction.
  Women are intricate to the plot of this film, from the pressuring wife   who is not the most positive female stereotype. Unsatisfied with her husband inability to do more with his life, her dissatisfaction plays out with a coldness and lack of intimacy. A male excuse for misbehaving men since the first women's movements in the 1800's it is not this reviewer's favorite presentation. Lack of intimacy and denied physical contact drives our male lead though and sets us up that he may have the heinous idea of kidnapping a high school girl. Forming in our minds that he is a certain kind of sicko. We see through a series of scenes, one rather shocking one of his preparation always calming himself as he goes by listening to the piano classic the Mephesto Waltz. Later we see Aram getting advice on how to bind someone from a prostitute he sees on the side and so we see he through these early scenes what he is planning how it is being ritualized. She is emblematic of how the powerless male seeks a place where he is in charge, paying for the right to do as he pleases with her body. Still I thought it was telling that he took a passive position during the sex with her on top and in control. Later when he thinks he has won we see a very different approach with his new secretary. Our captured girl Anabela (Daniela Soto Vell) once captive is held and to an extent mistreated but for her the experience changes her from an innocent child to a revenge driven adult. She is shocked with a taser repeatedly as a way to pacify her and it hardens her. She becomes a very damaged woman all so a male can feel empowered.
  When the crime is committed and Aram has this young woman we see more than a man's desire to control a woman, although he is mistreating her there is something else going on too. He is has some reasons we are yet not privy to. Tasering her to get here to beg for her life on camera, having her strip and filming her naked body. They are acts that could fit the sicko profile but he is disturb by his own behavior. Is this the reaction a non alpha man would have? There are hints along the way to what the real motivation is but still the turn is hidden well enough to make it a good plan when it is revealed.
  Aram after successfully executing his plan is a changed man. Now the man who is in charge at his work he is becoming the alpha he always wanted to be. His wife likes his success and he is more attractive to the ladies in the office. Through inter cut scenes we see that success for Aram means an affair with a coworker, his wife's renewed interest, but no more visits with his prostitute since he now has all he desires.Still there is a disturbing truth about this man. He keeps the images and the video of the girl he used to gain what he has, that marks the need to see and feel the control all over again even after he has apparently won. He is still a beta male hiding beneath the skin. While juxtaposed with the recovery of the girl and her family. Everything he did appears to have great benefits for him but the girl struggles to deal with an ordeal that has scarred her deeply and torn her family down. They are never going to be the same and again we are reminded what a small man Aram really is, willing to sacrifice others for the allusion of success.
  Here the need to be vague because there is a shocking turn triggered by the Mephesto Waltz, and what a turn it is. The climax we were not expecting where this little strange thriller about male need for control becomes much more of a revenge flick where finding victims is easier than finding forgiveness. The walls close in on Aram as the consequences of his action are suddenly appearing all around him. Sometimes you wear the mantle but are not really the king. Wonderfully paced the third act raises stakes and takes no prisoners ending in a gory spree of murder. This is a definitely a film worth seeing and you should buy or rent it soon.
As I have done so far this year; I am doing as an experiment my Twitter account @Soresport is dedicated to following and being followed by people in and behind the scenes. Then I am also hoping some of them follow me back.. It really is an experiment and where I love the horror community it is a way to keep track of what is going on by the people involved in it.  I am now following over 160 people while the followers is only 23 so as you can see people in the biz do not follow just anyone back. :) 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Tam Lin (1970) Drama

Tam Lin (1970) aka "The Ballad of Tam Lin", aka "The Devil's Widow" Based on a Scottish song the film stars an aging Ava Gardner as a wealthy elite who uses (magical powers?) her cult of personality to keep a group of jet setter twenty and thirty somethings with her web of influence. Truly a product of its time this wandering tale of the lover, Tom Lynn (Ian McShane) who tries to get away is a weird trip of LSD induced paranoia and interpersonal game playing only a star like Gardner could pull off. In his Directorial debut and what ended up being the only directing credit he would get Roddy McDowall delivers a strange hallucinatory experience of inter and codependency.  This film is a departure from the normal horror fair that gets reviewed here at Soresport movies but there is a connection that can be explained. Last Christmas I received as a gift the wonderful Hammer Glamour, pictures and bio of the women of hammer films. Recently looking through that book gave me the idea of seeing some of the actresses in roles other than those from the Hammer studios. Since this had so many great actors in it I decided that this was the first to see. The connecting actress is Stephanie Beacham who we will also talk about in future review.
 In this film she plays Janet Ainsley a local village girl near the estate where Michaela Cazaret (Ava Gardner) has taken up residence with her troupe of groupies. Her favorite at this time is Tom Lynn a young dark and dreamy man twenty years her junior. When Janet and Tom meet there is a sluggish connection that eventually becomes love. Michaela always attentive to those caught in her web does not miss the attraction and uses her alluring persona to attempt to keep her pet boy from straying. Like in the song it gets its name from the story of love found and lost and the witchery of Michaela play out to a satisfying ending.  McDowell for his part make some interesting choices in the filming. There is this bizarre sequence where both Tom and Janet are wandering in the countryside and cross paths at a stream. The film then switches to images of the two and their encounter like snapshots every twenty second or so. I thought that the CD was skipping at first except that the music played through in perfect sync so it was an intentional choice. Later in the climax sequence a more interesting LSD driven set of scenes with hallucinations that I think worked much better.
  The plot showing the web Michaela has weaved getting the young group to love and worship her while in her head putting off her own reality of aging by staying with the young. The codependency of the group with her and she with then plays like a sad commentary on how money can buy anything and anyone. She is an entitled and arrogant woman with the desperate need to feel young and beautiful and uses her money and considerable charisma to get what she wants. When Tom falls for Janet and decides to leave Michaela for the younger woman it is more than the senior can bear.  A woman scorned she plots a revenge on the couple that fills the third act with an amazing sequence where drugged and hallucinating Tom fleas the group as the young pack hunt him. Janet finds Tom first and as they flee together with the hunters on their tails we see how her love of him can get him through the ordeal.  Not the greatest of films it drags early but recovers in the third act and was definitely worth viewing. For her part Beacham pales in scenes with the amazing Gardner, but then most people would fail to compare to such a powerful actress. Janet does though hang in there and in the end wins her man through trial of fire. So much of this film screams the late sixties and it is a interesting look at what we may think as strange ideas. It also though in our current reality of income inequality a glaring light on the wealthy and how they use and abuse those around them as commodities. Money being power and power that always needs exercising by the selfish wealthy without regard for the harm they do to those in the path.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Found (2012) Horror Serial Killer

Found (2012) - A great start, a voice over of a twelve year old Marty (Gavin Brown) explaining how he first discovered the head in the bowling bag in his older brother Steve's room. How the head in the bag changes and that his brother is a serial killer. He wonders if his Steve would kill him if he knew Marty was aware of the heads, probably yes he surmises in his twelve year old mind. If Steve (Ethan Philbeck) is a serial killer he must be crazy he supposes.  So then how does one become a serial killer? The family has its problems above and beyond the fact that Steve is keeping heads in his closet. So much dysfunction they have regular arguments that quickly become shouting matches. This is a very cool premise that is out front from the opening of the film. What do you do if you are a kid and find out your brother is a serial killer?
  This being a family drama that has that premise we have to build the characters up before anything can be resolved. There is the paternal older son conflict so common in families, with the father (Louie Lawless) and Steve struggling with the power dynamics as the younger man comes into his own autonomy. Steve should probably have moved out already but hasn't and we see the larger conflicts blowing up regularly. Marty struggling at school being bullied and wishing for a more stable environment at home. He is a timid kid who is afraid to stand up for himself. Marty talks about his family's secrets in his voice over. Everyone has their private things and nobody likes having their secrets exposed. Mom's (Phyllis Munro) saved love letters from a past lover, Dad's dirty magazines he keeps in the garage, Steve's head in his closet, you know the stuff that goes on in all families.  When Steve learns that Marty is picked on in school by a bully named Marcus (Edward Jackson), he actually is pretty good about supporting his brother and talking to him about not being the kid that is picked on. You can also guess what is probably going to happen to the kid. Through these scenes we see how flawed the family is but maybe not flawed enough to make a serial killer? The two boys though seem to have a good relationship better where even though Steve is a bit off his rocker he trries to lead his little brother to defend himself. Martyand his one sort of friend David
(Alex Kogan) meet at is an old horror attraction, the horror films they talk about and the collection of videos the brothers have. These features show the film makers are really into horror. The horrors of Marty's life are a driving force in a horror fascination but really does he need in his life is the question. We are asked to look at the connection between horror films and the idea of the real thing. Marty encapsulates the struggle through his knowledge of Steve. We see this so explicitly when he and David are watching the movie headless. A film his brother stole from the video store and has in his private collection. As the killer in that film tortures maims and kills a woman and then sexually defiles the head, Marty imagines his brother as the killer. The on the nose voice over at this point takes away from the emotional impact of the scene. We are given this glimpse of a the idea of does horror create the killers but there is strong enough family dynamic to believe horror is the escape not the cause.
There are some cool elements in the film, the posters on Marty's and Steve's rooms, the video store they go to seems to have a great selection, and even the father loves horror films.
  The predictable kid drama with the inevitable showing of Marcus's head to David and Steve finding out about it turns the film in a new direction. Will Steve kill David, Marty, everyone? Will he recruit his little brother? At this point the film should start picking up steam but will it? "You really fucked up kiddo, you really fucked up." says Steve to his little brother. Now a dread settles in to Marty as he worries about what will happen next. Unfortunately Director Scott Schirmer has made a character driven film like this has a tendency to linger on the characters and here we get symbolism of childhood ending, the letting go of past things and starting anew. The melancholy music is symbolic of the problem here, it does not quite fit the film sort of like it is a boxed and could be used on any film. There is nothing particularly wrong with it but it's just not quite right either. Marty transforms but it does not help the pacing of the film, each time the tension is raised we get a quiet scene behind after it that blunts instead of builds. Much like the voice over which is just a bit too on the nose at times so it pulls away from the drama happening on screen.
Overall the film works with the above reservations because the Marty, Steve dynamic works for the most part. Marty is the focal point of the film and I appreciated that he remained the character we are seeing the story through. So often the killer is the eyes of the story there was probably a risk of the focus shifting. Instead we get Marty's response to his brother's behavior which seemed more consistent with the early parts of the film. The off screen kills are a let down I guess budgets kept that from being a thing, but the intensity of the brothers shared scenes make the film successful. When all is said and done it is a competent interesting take on the serial killer shown through family dynamics and a brother to brother bond. Not perfect but certainly worth the watch.
As I have done so far this year; I am doing as an experiment my Twitter account @Soresport is dedicated to following and being followed by people in and behind the scenes. Then I am also hoping some of them follow me back. Lastt week Corin Hardy director of the wonderful film Hallow followed me back, Thanks for that and your great film. It really is an experiment and where I love the horror community it is a way to keep track of what is going on by the people involved in it.  I am now following over 130 people while the followers is only 15 so as you can see people in the biz do not follow just anyone back. :)  

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Hallow (2015) Horror Monsters

The Hallow (2015) - This film takes something that is an innocent fable and changes it into something complex and frightening that is not expected but totally enjoyed. The hallow is a story about the faerie people but not the little leprechauns we know and love. These mischievous and dangerous beings are territorial demons who do not appreciate trespassers.  So when a conservationist Adam Hitchens (Joseph Mawle) is sent to a small Irish village to look at the forest where the fairies creatures live he, his wife Clare (Bojana Novakovic) and baby are treading into unknown danger. Director Corin Hardy in his debut feature. The Book of Invasions is quoted to open the film "Hallow be their name, And blessed be their claim.If you who trespass put down roots, The Hallow be your name." Shot in Ireland in five different forests the film is about what is under the surface what is under the myths and fairy tales as the director says in his commentary on the Scream Factory Blu ray. The film opens with or male lead hiking through the forest, baby in a carrier on his back and dog in tow marking trees in the forest and taking samples for them. His lovely wife is back at their new abode taking the iron bars off the windows of the house. The music is gentle but with just a hint of foreboding as Adams while looking for the dog crosses a bridge into the deeper part of the forest and comes across a ruined house. In the house is the carcass of a deer with a broken neck in the corner of a room. A fungus on the creature gets the attention of Adam and he takes a sample.
  Meanwhile back at the house neighbor Colm Donelly comes to see Adam while he is away. Played with a stoic intimidation by Michael McElhatton the actor captures the idea of a local who does not want outsiders to be poking around. As the movie progresses we learn the reasoning behind his interest in the new family. He believes in the fairy creatures in the wood and is trying with a grieving passion to get them to understand the danger. He has lost a daughter in those woods and knows the danger. Unfortunately trying to scare people away through intimidation and unfriendliness never works and so his story gets a bit muted in the film. The actors intensity in the role really sells it but the script probably could have done more with him. In the early stages of the film it is a drama with the couple the forest and the community. Outsiders are not particularly welcome but there all the same and these story structures work. Note: Director Hardy makes a note about a visual reference to the movie the Thing, did you see it? After bringing the sludge back to the house we see the dripping black slime coming from the ceiling beams hmmm.... Could that and the talk of the ant fungus have anything to do with the slime? The exposition is about fungus mind control and they have both touched it. This is a nice possible reading of the film where maybe the slime allows the couple to see the creatures?
  As the story progresses we see scary occasions and more warning but it seems our couple is already on the path and so with each event they dig their heels in and try to cope with what is happening instead of cutting and running. We see the creatures a bit here and there and they are getting closer. Still the script is suggesting that the neighbor Colm is responsible for the stranger and stranger occurrences happening. It is a nice idea having the neighbor seem so forceful Clare has this real life threat while Adam has more and more supernatural experiences. Our couple from London can't believe the local myths even as the community tries to warn them but at the same time things are getting weirder and weirder. It really goes on growing in intensity as the couple is besieged by the woodland demons. The sound design in the tension filled scenes really give a mood that puts the viewer into the action.
  The turn into the monster movie is about halfway through the film. Adam thinking still that Colm is behind the power going out in his house searches the place with a loaded shotgun. He is fighting to be brave enough the fight. Then they look at the book that Colm left for them and we start shifting into the supernatural. The idea of the Changling and the reveal of the very creepy looking Hallow makes for a build into the third act that really works well. They try to flee as the creatures close in and they of course in classic horror fashion can not get the car to start. After crashing and realizing the Hallow are real we reach the a heightened fairy-tale. Adam gets infected by the black fungus of the hallow and so we move onto the final part of the film. Adam moves into the transformation reminiscent of Jeff Goldblum's transformation in The Fly.
  It is a fight for survival the couple knows that daylight will be their savior if the can make it to dawn. They know bright light hurt the creatures so how will they manage until morning. The creatures though are finding their way into the home, based on the idea that the creatures are woods based and will be able to do that. We see the rot seeping in through the wood of the house and the couple struggling to get the generator going to drive them away. A wonderfully tense and exciting scene where the creatures are finding routes in and Adam struggles with the machinery. I am really repulsed by the eye trauma possibility and it is so close it is viscerally uncomfortable. Adam is infected and although the family gets a reprieve he has to struggle personally knowing that he is changing into one of the creatures. They get some time to put the iron bars back onto the house, to try to protect themselves during the siege. We get another classic idea of the generator running out of fuel and knowing morning is still too far away.  Adam changing into the creature suddenly may not be trustworthy. The the turn into the finally when the baby is taken this setting up the climactic scenes of this fine monster movie.
  So we get to the the final twenty-five minutes where Adam fights for his humanity, and Clare runs into the forest to get her child from the creatures. I won't go too much further here sharing the finer plot points as this wonderfully entertaining movie should not be spoiled. We get lots of wonderful practical monster effects that are so worth the effort because they look great and real which is lost in so many cgi filled movies. I very much enjoyed this film and wish all of you to go out and find it. The Scream factory blu-ray version I have comes with a making of documentary and commentary by the director. another feature is the art and story boards that make the version good but I would have loved more people in the commentary because the give and take and how people remember things often makes for better stories. Still considering this was Corin Hardy's first go he does a fine job sharing during the film. He has a writing credit with Felipe Marino and the film is really well put together. He does an even better job on the film itself. I am glad to have this one in my extensive horror movie collection.
As I have done so far this year; I am doing as an experiment my Twitter account @Soresport is dedicated to following and being followed by people in and behind the scenes. Then I am also hoping some of them follow me back.  It really is an experiment and where I love the horror community it is a way to keep track of what is going on by the people involved in it.  I am now following over 130 people while the followers is only 15 so as you can see people in the biz do not follow just anyone back. :)  

Monday, April 11, 2016

Writing about not writing 1

Many times in the scheduling of watching and writing about films I find that I don't want to really write about a film I saw. This happens pretty often and usually I just move on waiting for the next movie that stirs some words in me.It happened twice this week which spurred me into thinking about what it is that turns me away from blogging movies. Writing about a good or bad film happens often. The ideas whether I liked them or hated them can illicit a response that I want to record. Somethings though there is nothing the film could be great but I just don't really want to put anything down. The same can be said with viewing a movie that was so bad that writing seems a waste of time. So I wanted to spend a bit of time  talking about two films I recently viewed but could not find the energy or interest to review.
  The Reverend (2011) - Written and directed by Neil Jones from his graphic novel is the story of  a nameless priest played by Stuart Brennan who unfortunately for him is a man chosen to be tested. There is a nice backstory centering around the idea of the bible book of Job that plays out with our young reverend. He early in the film is bitten, intentionally by a vampire and quickly has the thirst to feed. So here we have his dilemma can he be a man who sees this  condition as a test from God and like Job never question God's will? Can he use this curse of having to feed on blood in a way that furthers what he sees as gods will? All of this is played out as he finds the corruption that has infiltrated the little hamlet that he is assigned. The film is well executed with adequate gore and effects but something in this perfectly acceptable horror film just did not connect enough with me to give it a review.
  Juan of the Dead (2011) - Juan de los Muertos (original title) by writer / director Alejandro Brugués is a really wonderful film with political commentary, ridiculous end of the world scenarios and touching relationships between characters. Some how though this was just too complicated for me to write about. There were so many cool little bits and commentary on the world that I felt like I could not do it justice.It's a shame because I think it is a movie that should be seen and reviewed. I should be able to at least talk about some of the great weird scene ideas like the view under the ocean or the cool beheading of the zombies surrounding Juan and his friends. Still when I sat down to do that writing nothing felt right, the phrasing was not there and so I abandoned the review.

As I have done so far this year; I am doing as an experiment my Twitter account @Soresport is dedicated to following and being followed by people in behind the camera for the films I see. Then I am also hoping some of them follow me back.  These films are pretty new. I don't hold much hope for any of them to folow back especially since there are not full reviews here. I do fear that Twitter has become too much of a promotional tool for people in film to actually get those follow backs but hey its an experiment. I am now following over 110 people while the followers is only 16 so as you can see people in the biz do not follow just anyone back. :) 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Shock (1977) Horror Ghost

Shock (1977) - aka "Beyond the Door II": The great Italian director Mario Bava's last film is a strange and ultimately sad film that mixes murder and ghosts and possession to give a unique take on a horror film. Bruno (John Steiner) and Dora Baldini (Daria Nicolodi)  move back into the house where Dora's first husband Carlo committed suicide seven years before by sailing out into the ocean never to be seen again. Coming with them is Dora's son Marco (David Colin Jr.) who is also seven years old so never met his father. Its a beautiful house but the boy seems more drawn to the creepy cellar early in the film. Bruno is supportive of Dora who is very nervous about moving back to the house. She had a nervous breakdown after Carlo's (Nicola Salerno) death and spent time in an asylum. So this is probably not the best place for her but she is making the best of it because Bruno has insisted. So early on you think this may be a story about learning what happened to Carlo and when strange things happen the viewer is left wondering if it is just Dora's mind slipping. We also learn that Bruno is an airline pilot so there will be times when just Dora and Marco at at the house.
  It does not take long for the ghostly shenanigans to start, as the couple make love in the living room we get a shot of Marco seemingly in a trance chanting "pigs, pigs, pigs". The couple never see this so when Bruno heads off for a couple days away at work We see that Dora and Marco get some creepy. Marco makes his swing in the yard move from inside the house and we see a creepy dead hand touching Dora in her sleep. It does not take long for things to start going bad between Mother and Son. At a dinner party the kid says to his mother "Mama, I have to kill you." which really puts Dora on notice. Then later she finds a razor blade between the keys of her piano and discovers that her son has stolen and shredded a pair of her panties, yes things are sort of weird. The film plays the line that maybe something is up with the kid, while also implying that Dora could be losing her mind.
  There are a couple of wonderfully frightful dream sequences in this film and each time the director does not let the viewer know that is what they are when they begin. There is also this mix of supernatural bleeding through from the dream world to the real world. The first has Dora threatened by a box cutter that is floating in the air, it cuts her nightgown and when she wakes screaming we see her nightgown is still cut. A great little piece of foreshadowing for the upcoming climax. Its this crossing of supernatural and reality that makes Dora's anxiety so believable. There is something going on and it definitely is not just in her head. Marco is surely possessed at times and seems to be trying to hurt his Mother, when he is in a trance furniture moves on its own, pictures fall from the walls and doors lock and unlock on their own.  Marco does this bigger thing where he pins Bruno's picture to his swing, and when he pushes it we have cuts to Bruno in his plane losing control of it. Only when Dora stops the swing does Bruno get control back in flight. This really is the start of the third act where all the crazy shit comes together for a big reveal.
  When the climax comes and it does with a hysteric spree, the plot twists and turns through screams bumps and hallucinations in a swirl of confusion. The answer to whether Carlo killed himself is answered as well as whether or not Dora did it. The last few scenes push us the tension so high the audience has to hold their breath to get to the end. It can't be said that this is a great movie, its not. What is it is a competent supernatural thriller with some cool tricks in the camera work, some unexpected plot twists and real ghosts.
Daria Nicolodi who was coupled with Dario Argento and the parents of Fiore and Asia Argento was co-writer of the script for Susperia (1977) an Argento classic. She claims that the story was inspired by real life experiences of her grandmother. "She went to study piano at an acclaimed music academy said Dora "And discovered that it was a front for the study of black magic."
  This was Bava's last film and a good part of it was directed by the assistant director his son Lamberto Bava, who went on to have a good career in film also. In genre he is responsible for directing a couple of my favorites Demons and Demons 2.
As I have done so far this year; I am doing as an experiment my Twitter account @Soresport is dedicated to following and being followed by people in and behind the scenes. Then I am also hoping some of them follow me back.  This film being older who knows if anyone associated is on twitter. I do fear that Twitter has become too much of a promotional tool for people in film to actually get those follow backs but hey its an experiment. I am now following over 100 people while the followers is only 15 so as you can see people in the biz do not follow just anyone back. :) 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Barbarous Mexico (2014) Horror Anthology

Barbarous Mexico (2014) - "When Warriors felt threatened, they performed a ritual asking for prosperity in exchange for human blood. This was so in the Mexico of the Aztecs, and was so in the Mexico of the Narcos. Rivers of blood were spilled to please the gods." part of the voice over in the beginning of this anthology where a journalist tells us the story of when he got to hear about and see the results of one such Narcos ritual. It sets up the piece we are about to see and I guess the horror is in the visuals because although there is a quiet tension to this first story it always feels like an inevitable build to a gruesome reveal. One of the Narcos an intimidating man (Memo Villegas) tells the reporter (Marco Zapata) of the story of sacrifice where their group takes a bunch of partying students and kills them in the desert as a way to gain prosperity. The visuals are dark and gruesome with the use of a ritualistic stone knife. When the killer speaks during this scene the writer / director (Laurette Flores Bornn) uses a modulator in to make the man sound supernatural as he spews on about satisfying the sun and the god Tlaltecuhtli. ( I am guessing through the context that this is the one they were going for even though the subtitle had a different spelling. It's effective for what it is but the piece lacked something, no real character to grab onto. The journalist is not strong enough even though he is the witness. Titled Tzompantli for the final reveal it is a dark start to a anthology based around Mexican myths and history.
  Story two about desperados who are making an escape after stealing some gold only to pick the wrong place to stay the night. One of the two men shot Martin, (Waldo Facco) during the crime is barely alive so the second man, Jose (Harold Torres) chooses Jaral de Berrios to stop and care for him, a place which is said to be cursed. Shot in the real abandoned hacienda of Jaral de Berrios the piece is heavy on spaghetti western imagery from the first beautiful opening shot to the close up it is really well filmed by writer / director (Edgar Nito). Since the location is so cool we do Nito exercises it with shots and cuts where it is honored. The ghost (Florencioa Rios) is watching the two as they stumble into the building and it does not take long for her to finish off the wounded man. Jose knowing he should leave this place is suddenly in a surreal would where he is seduced by the spirit before meeting his own demise. Strong in its lead up shots and western aesthetic it could have had more ghost but was enjoyable all the same. I could not find a particular ghost myth connected to the location but the "Woman in Black" appears in so many cultures around the world I can see this story being built this way. The final sequence is wonderfully executed with the ghost reveal being a highlight.
  The third story Drena, "Drain" by Aarón Soto we see a woman (Leslie Arce) finding a dead body in a hole. For some unexplained reason she takes the cigarette from his cold dead hand? Sure it is a connecting element and a bit shocking and as you watch this short you realize it is all about the shocking. When she lights the cigarette she is visited by a foul mouthed demon that asks her, no demands that she do something really gross or will face the equally vile consequences of not doing it. The story has such a strange tone and almost no dialog making it interesting if a bit obscure in its intent. The absolutely strange final shots leaves this as one of the strangest tales.
La Cosa Más Preciosa (That Precious Thing) is about a impish demon, an Alux who steals precious things and when a young man brings his virgin girlfriend to the cabins in the area of this creature we get a sick little tale with way too graphic demon junk.  A couple Javier (Rubén Zerecero) and Valeria (Sara Comacho) looking to have sex for the first time take a road trip. They arrive at the cabin and there is a indication from a worker, more a warning that there is something in the woods that steals things. Little do they know that what the creature steals will have horrible consequences for the pair. There were choices made in the making of this story that were odd, shot in a style to make it look like a old seventies film. Dark bits on the film like an old grind house movie that was not cared for very well. It doesn't need it or the reason for it escapes me, maybe when this is on DVD we can interview writer / director (Isaac Ezban) and get an answer.  This short really does get a lot of props for the makeup done on the creature, very well done there. Shocking in its graphic use of violence and rape but showing a closeup of the Valeria's face where she sort of crosses her eyes and the penis in the face shot sort of plays the horrific rape for comedy. I am not a fan of that approach at all. The inevitable final shots of the consequences were very predictable.
Fifth up Lo Que Importa Es Lo De Adentro (It's what's inside that matters) is just a little fucking evil piece of necro-paedophilia based around a Mother (Claudia Goytia) and two children in a city apartment building. She shows kindness to the homeless man Pepe (Ánuar Zúñiga) that her retarded daughter Laura (Dulce Alexa Alfaro) is afraid of calling him the boogyman. We again have a story that quickly becomes tragic as we learn Pepe has a secret and little Laura can't with her communication issues can tell her mother what she sees from the window. Then the story gets really strange as we see how Pepe makes money and what his particular kink is.
 Isla de las Muñecas is a real place and the next film Muñecas by (Jorge Michel Grau) uses the location well creating a story with this tourist oddity becomes a literal tourist trap. Shot in black and white we follow a woman (Patricia Ortiz) who appears to be trying to escape as she hides and then faces off with a large man wearing an apron. It is an effective piece in its simplistic struggle to survive. The turn is sad and the final reveal appropriate for the content with very little dialog it is a wonderful piece of dread.
Siete veces Siete (Seven times Seven) is a really great revenge tale based around a reanimation ritual that I absolutely loved. The sense of place and magic runs through this as the story slowly pieces together not only how the ritual works but what the motivating factor is that drives the scarred man, Rabbit (Ramon Medina) performing it.(I hope I am attributing the actors correctly the character names were not included for the two leads in the credits) Such a well done complete story in a short that uses location and ritual to show what can drive a man to seek revenge over and over. Writer / director (Ulises Guzmán)  gives us the story from when Rabbit steals the body (Agustín Tapia) and takes it to a place of magic. The complex set of rituals bring the body back to life, but it seems the soul is no longer intact so more magic until the being remembers who it is. The turn in this film is wonderful with flashbacks of how this being became important to Rabbit and why he is so driven to have the being remember who it is. The final turn also is very satisfying after we have the full story we know this could just be a beginning for this revenge tale.
Day of the Dead is also a revenge tail about a group of strippers who pay back the bad men that hurt one of their own. Starting with the introduction by the matriarch (Adelita Rockhill) of the place, we see Mexican city Frontera life while she explains how the world is hard and you have to be harder to have any piece of it. Then into the strip club she runs and learn how one of her girls was mistreated by a group of men cut to all the women in make up of the Day of the Dead dancing in the club. Shit goes crazy fast and we experience the chaos of revenge at its finest. There is a bit reminiscent of Salma Hayek in From Dusk to Dawn right before the shit hits the fan. We are suddenly in the mix with special effects and violence to rival that film. Writer Director (Gigi Saul Guerrero) goes all out with the scene making it a viceral gore fest. "Justice can be one of the most gentle lovers, but revenge is a real fucking whore."
  I like more of these stories than I disliked, there is a horrible computer animation between the stories that could have been left out. As anyone who reads this blog I love anthologies and this is one I recommend seeing this one as there are some very well done pieces in it. This particular film collection is full of violence and gore as well as some really decent shock value for people looking for that. If I made attribution mistakes on this film send me a correction, this was a bit incomplete in IMDB.
    As I have done so far this year; I am doing as an experiment my Twitter account @Soresport is dedicated to following and being followed by people in and behind the scenes. Then I am also hoping some of them follow me back.  This film being current and with what I would call some rather popular actors I don't hold much hope for any of them to even notice this review let alone follow back. I do fear that Twitter has become too much of a promotional tool for people in film to actually get those follow backs but hey its an experiment. I am now following over 100 people while the followers is only 15 so as you can see people in the biz do not follow just anyone back. :)