Thirty Hertz Rumble

A bl-g about movies, music and nostalgia by James David Patrick

Author: jdp (Page 1 of 57)

Night Creatures: 31 Days of Horror

#29. Night Creatures (1962)

Nature of Shame:
Unseen Hammer Horror.

Hoop-tober Challenge Checklist:
Decade: 1960’s
Hammer Horror

I took a poll on Twitter to see which Hammer horror film I should consider to fill my Hooptober requirement. As I’d seen most every one of the suggestions, the conversation became a welcome reminder about how much I enjoy these movies. I really should fit more Hammer horror into my schedule.

I fell on Night Creatures because it was mentioned in that thread and I happened to have the recently released 8-film Hammer Blu-ray set featuring a bunch of movies I’d seen and Night Creatures!

The Story

In 18th-century England, the Royal Crown sends Royal Navy Captain Collier and his crew to investigate reports of illegal smuggling and bootlegging in a coastal town where locals believe in Marsh Phantoms.

night creatures aka captain clegg

Talking about Night Creatures (aka Captain Clegg) might be unfair to anyone that’s not seen the film. Detailing the film might remove the sense of discovery because any in-depth description might, in fact, cause a viewer to say “meh,” and move on to something more salacious. Directed by Peter Graham Scott, Night Creatures proceeds at a languid pace and without any legitimate “creature” payoff.

So instead of detailing specifics, I’ll tell you why you’re still going to watch Night Creatures.

#1. Peter Cushing as a priest with unspecified past transgressions.

#2. A restrained Oliver Reed with a pompadour coif.

#3. The titular “night creature” effects.

#4. Pirates. Angry pirates. Retired pirates. Pirate henchmen. You name the pirate variety, Night Creatures offers you pirates.

Final Night Creatures Thoughts:

This entry in the 31 Days of Horror marathon has been brought to by the words “brevity” and the phrase “about to eat Thanksgiving food.” I do encourage you to watch Night Creatures because it surprises and rewards through the offerings of two proper thespians and a nice little twist that may or may not see coming.

 

30Hz Movie Rating:

Availability:

hammer horror blu-ray

 

Hammer Horror 8-Film Collection is available at Amazon and wherever fine Hammer films are sold.

Buy Hammer Horror 8-Film Collection on Amazon.

 

 

2017 @CinemaShame / Hooptober Shame Statement
31+ Days of Horror. 33 Horror Movies. 33 Reviews.

#1. Caltiki The Immortal Monster (1959) / #2. The Devil Doll (1936) / #3. The Velvet Vampire (1971) / #4. Mill of the Stone Women (1960) / #5. The Initiation (1984) / #6. Poltergeist (1982) / #7. Night of the Lepus (1972) / #8. The Black Cat (1934) / #9. The Raven (1935) / #10. Friday the 13th (1980) / #11. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) / #12. Body Snatcher (1945) / #13. Dismembered (1962) / #14. From Hell It Came (1957) / #15. Symptoms (1974) / #16. Eating Raoul (1982) / #17. Spellcaster (1988) / #18. The Old Dark House (1932) / #19. House (1985) / #20. House II: The Second Story / #21. Christine (1983) / #22. Suspiria (1977) / #23. The Invisible Man (1933) / #24. Spider aka Zirneklis (1991) / #25. The Wife Killer (1976) / #26. Cannibal! The Musical (1993) / #27. The Wicker Man (1973) / #28. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) / #29. Night Creatures (1962) / #30. Nosferatu (1922) / #31. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare / #32. Day of the Dead (1985) / #33. Psycho II (1983) / #34. The Green Butchers (2003)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2: 31 Days of Horror

#28. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

texas chainsaw massacre 2 posterNature of Shame:
Unseen Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie.

Hoop-tober Challenge Checklist:
Decade: 1980’s
Tobe Hooper

Texas Chainsaw Massacre graced my 2015 @CinemaShame list. I’d never watched the entire movie all the way through. I righted that wrong and felt wholly content with my exposure to all manner of Lone Star-state massacres, but like the lunar solstice, Hooptober rolled right around again this October and I needed sequels and more Tobe Hooper films to fill out my schedule. Two birds. One stone.

Truth be told, I never paid any attention to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. I knew of its existence, obviously, but I’ve only got so many moviewatching hours in the day. What finally piqued my interest of all things was the poster. (It’s up there at the top of this page if you need a refresher.)

You’re looking at that and thinking one of three things.

Option 1: That’s… not very interesting.

Option 2: Holy hell that’s a riff on The Breakfast Club!

Option 3: Obvs.

the breakfast club poster

(For reference.)

The Story

Chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface (Bill Johnson) is up to his cannibalistic ways once again, along with the rest of his twisted clan, including the equally disturbed Chop-Top (Bill Moseley). This time, the masked killer has set his sights on pretty disc jockey Vanita “Stretch” Brock (Caroline Williams), who teams up with Texas lawman Lefty Enright (Dennis Hopper) to battle the psychopath and his family deep within their lair, a macabre abandoned amusement park.

texas chainsaw massacre 2

How do you follow up a critically-acclaimed cult masterpiece? With reverence and humility. Also, it helps to not give two f*&#s.

The 1980’s became sequel obsessed. The Friday the 13th franchise turned out six films in six years. Nightmare on Elm Street? Five movies in six years. Pressure must have mounted on Tobe Hooper to follow up 1974’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre. 12 years had passed. 12 years of expectation. 12 years for the original to evolve into a cherished and untouchable classic.

Hooper hadn’t even planned to direct the sequel — but he couldn’t find an acceptable director to work under the budgetary constraints, which I read as he couldn’t find a director willing to work for free. Hooper stepped in to direct again, but he’d conceived TCM2 as a black comedy. Cannon Films wanted a straight horror sequel.

texas chainsaw massacre 2

Not a straight horror sequel.

Cannon obviously wasn’t satisfied with the final product, and the film’s $8million box office (good for 83rd place in 1986 between Haunted Honeymoon and The Best of Times) seemed to justify their distaste. The film’s original  “X” rating from the MPAA certainly didn’t help matters. Hooper instead chose to release it without a rating entirely.

Texas Chain Saw Massacre created terror through the unseen. Perfectly inserted moments of cathartic gore and violence punctuated the pursuit of a skin-masked chainsaw-wielding maniac. An exercise in restraint. Hooper’s sequel disembowels that restraint and lets the entrails falls out on to the floor. And then wears the entrails as a shirt.

texas chainsaw massacre 2

The film opens with 80’s douchebags being attacked by the obligatory chainsaw maniac scored by Oingo Boingo. If you should know one thing about me, it’s that a 1980’s movie featuring Oingo Boingo is the quickest way to my heart. From there, TCM2 wallows in hilarious depravity. Hooper never undermines the original; he takes this opportunity to explore the flipside of that brand of unsettling horror. Skin-wearing lunatics living in a cavernous underground themepark from hell.

Critics eviscerated the film at the time of its release. The excessive gore and wasted stock characters caused a bit of indigestion. Dennis Hopper’s role especially caused consternation because he floundered around the screen as a hapless detective with no drive before flipping a switch and becoming a chainsaw waving erstaz hero. These critics failed to recognize that crazy Dennis Hopper is pure entertainment — no explanation necessary.

dennis hopper texas chainsaw massacre 2

If you want to find more meaning in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2‘s on-screen shenanigans, there’s some merit to the analysis of the film as a commentary on 1980’s excess. That said, if you’re not already on board with Hooper’s absurd approach to the Massacre‘s legacy, I doubt a criticism of Reagan-era consumerism will re-orient your perspective.

 

Final Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Thoughts:

I knew enough to expect “bonkers,” and I still wasn’t fully prepared for Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’s warped sense of humor. By not putting Texas Chain Saw Massacre on a pedestal, Hooper created something truly and bizarrely original. Dare I say it? I enjoyed this more than that heralded original.

 

30Hz Movie Rating:

Availability:

texas chainsaw massacre 2 blu-ray

 

Shout Factory’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Collector’s Edition is available and it’s lovin’ every minute of it.

Buy Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 on Amazon.

 

 

2017 @CinemaShame / Hooptober Shame Statement
31+ Days of Horror. 33 Horror Movies. 33 Reviews.

#1. Caltiki The Immortal Monster (1959) / #2. The Devil Doll (1936) / #3. The Velvet Vampire (1971) / #4. Mill of the Stone Women (1960) / #5. The Initiation (1984) / #6. Poltergeist (1982) / #7. Night of the Lepus (1972) / #8. The Black Cat (1934) / #9. The Raven (1935) / #10. Friday the 13th (1980) / #11. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) / #12. Body Snatcher (1945) / #13. Dismembered (1962) / #14. From Hell It Came (1957) / #15. Symptoms (1974) / #16. Eating Raoul (1982) / #17. Spellcaster (1988) / #18. The Old Dark House (1932) / #19. House (1985) / #20. House II: The Second Story / #21. Christine (1983) / #22. Suspiria (1977) / #23. The Invisible Man (1933) / #24. Spider aka Zirneklis (1991) / #25. The Wife Killer (1976) / #26. Cannibal! The Musical (1993) / #27. The Wicker Man (1973) / #28. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) / #29. Night Creatures (1962) / #30. Nosferatu (1922) / #31. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare / #32. Day of the Dead (1985) / #33. Psycho II (1983) / #34. The Green Butchers (2003)

the wicker man 1973

The Wicker Man: 31 Days of Horror

#27. The Wicker Man (1973)

the wicker man 1973 posterNature of Shame:
No Shame. Just a worthy revisit and a bizarro #Bond_age_ live tweet.

Hoop-tober Challenge Checklist:
Decade: 1970’s

The first time I saw The Wicker Man, I was left broken, beguiled and bewildered. The second time I saw The Wicker Man, I finally saw the film for the first time. The third time, this time, I marveled at the people who dared make such a bold slice of cinema that was destined for misunderstanding.

 

The Story

Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) arrives on the small Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate the report of a missing child. A conservative Christian, the policeman observes the residents’ frivolous sexual displays and strange pagan rituals, particularly the temptations of Willow (Britt Ekland), daughter of the island magistrate, Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee). The more Sergeant Howie learns about the islanders’ strange practices, the closer he gets to tracking down the missing child.

the wicker man 1973

I stuck to the rote, prescribed version of the narrative description so I can move on with other thoughts about The Wicker Man. I find it freeing — the not wasting energy retelling the plot in movie reviews. Conservation of brain cells. Plus, it takes less time than conjuring “cute” new ways to describe a movie you’ve likely already seen.

If you haven’t seen The Wicker man… first a word of warning. Do not strangle The Wicker Man while watching it. The Wicker Man requires patience and the ability to step back from the active experience of moviewatching. Active moviewatchers can be demanding and ill-tempered. Sometimes the most profound experiences happen when we’re allowing the movie to play out on its own terms. During my first viewing, expectation clouded the experience.

Robin Hardy’s film assaults you on an entirely different level than face-value terror. To experience The Wicker Man as an unsettling, truly frightening piece of cinema, concessions are required. One must not only accept that Sergeant Howie’s Western ideology is fallible — but also that Summerisle’s pagan beliefs are just as logical.

the wicker man 1973

Doing this requires the censure of our innate skepticism toward cult teachings and pagan religion. It’s not Hardy’s film supports a world devoid of God; it creates a parallel between the blindness of Christianity and the devotion of a cult that believes ritual sacrifice will bring back a failing orange crop. It calls everything into question.

Still I wouldn’t go as far as to say that The Wicker Man supports a strict doctrine of existentialism. It calls into question the beliefs that distract us from considering truths. When the credits roll, the emptiness — if we choose to embrace it — leaves us totally and emotionally bankrupt. In part because movies generally don’t dare end on such a note and in part because what we’ve just witnessed has raised questions about the way all of us live our lives.

And that stays with you, writing beneath you skin in a way a jump scare or a fleeting moment of terror couldn’t even imagine.

the wicker man 1973

Final The Wicker Man Thoughts:

Even if you don’t care for The Wicker Man upon a first viewing, let it sit, let it simmer. Come back to it with a clear mind and fresh eyes in a couple of years. And then let it wash over you without expectation, like a great jazz composition, with attention but without concern for strict narrative logic. The Wicker Man might just be one of the greatest horror films ever made — if you allow it access.

 

30Hz Movie Rating:

 

Availability:  

the wicker man blu-ray

 

 

The Wicker Man is available wherever fine pagan cinema is sold.

Buy The Wicker Man on Amazon.

 

 

2017 @CinemaShame / Hooptober Shame Statement
31+ Days of Horror. 33 Horror Movies. 33 Reviews.

#1. Caltiki The Immortal Monster (1959) / #2. The Devil Doll (1936) / #3. The Velvet Vampire (1971) / #4. Mill of the Stone Women (1960) / #5. The Initiation (1984) / #6. Poltergeist (1982) / #7. Night of the Lepus (1972) / #8. The Black Cat (1934) / #9. The Raven (1935) / #10. Friday the 13th (1980) / #11. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) / #12. Body Snatcher (1945) / #13. Dismembered (1962) / #14. From Hell It Came (1957) / #15. Symptoms (1974) / #16. Eating Raoul (1982) / #17. Spellcaster (1988) / #18. The Old Dark House (1932) / #19. House (1985) / #20. House II: The Second Story / #21. Christine (1983) / #22. Suspiria (1977) / #23. The Invisible Man (1933) / #24. Spider aka Zirneklis (1991) / #25. The Wife Killer (1976) / #26. Cannibal! The Musical (1993) / #27. The Wicker Man (1973) / #28. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) / #29. Night Creatures (1962) / #30. Nosferatu (1922) / #31. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare / #32. Day of the Dead (1985) / #33. Psycho II (1983) / #34. The Green Butchers (2003)

cannibal the musical

Cannibal! The Musical: 31 Days of Horror

#26. Cannibal! The Musical (1993)

cannibal the musicalNature of Shame:
Unwatched Cannibal! Musical

Hoop-tober Challenge Checklist:
Decade: 1990’s
Cannibal Challenge

I’ve seen every episode of South Park. No, really. Every one. The first episode aired during my freshman year at college. Every week we’d gather much of the hall (and some other halls) and watch the magical filth spewed by children in South Park in my dorm room. We had a 32″ TV and mood Christmas lighting so naturally we were the viewing environment of choice. We also watched Dawson’s Creek religiously, which also dropped the same semester. Good lord did we watch the trials and tribulations of Dawson and Joey and Pacey.

Don’t judge. You weren’t there. You don’t know the power of Dawson’s Creek. We needed our stories. But I digress.

Why I’d never bothered to pop on this cannibal musical written and directed by Trey Parker, one of the creators of South Park, I’ll never quite understand. Maybe it’s because my experience with Troma has been hit or miss or miss. Maybe I just assumed that pre-South Park Trey Parker was just some warm up to something better. Still, though, I owed it to myself to check out a nonexistent-budget musical about cannibals from the mind of Trey Parker.

cannibal the musical

The Story

This should sum things up nicely:
.

No? Well, how about this?
.

So maybe that didn’t clarify anything. Wait. Are you looking at my eye?
.

Final Cannibal! The Musical Thoughts:

More hokey than gory, Cannibal! The Musical boasts a number of truly inspired gags at the expense of the Oregon Trail-era of westward expansion. Some of Cannibal! The Musical is half-baked, which is attributable to it’s $5 budget, but the cast and crew embrace the budget in creative ways that never cripple its aspirations. It’s unfortunate when you’re humming a tune called “Shpadoinkle” in public but that’s the price you pay.

 

30Hz Movie Rating:

 

Availability:  

cannibal! the musical

 

Buy, stream, own, devour Cannibal! The Musical. It’s worth the indigestion and bloat.

 

Buy Cannibal! The Musical on Amazon.

 

 

 

2017 @CinemaShame / Hooptober Shame Statement
31+ Days of Horror. 33 Horror Movies. 33 Reviews.

#1. Caltiki The Immortal Monster (1959) / #2. The Devil Doll (1936) / #3. The Velvet Vampire (1971) / #4. Mill of the Stone Women (1960) / #5. The Initiation (1984) / #6. Poltergeist (1982) / #7. Night of the Lepus (1972) / #8. The Black Cat (1934) / #9. The Raven (1935) / #10. Friday the 13th (1980) / #11. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) / #12. Body Snatcher (1945) / #13. Dismembered (1962) / #14. From Hell It Came (1957) / #15. Symptoms (1974) / #16. Eating Raoul (1982) / #17. Spellcaster (1988) / #18. The Old Dark House (1932) / #19. House (1985) / #20. House II: The Second Story / #21. Christine (1983) / #22. Suspiria (1977) / #23. The Invisible Man (1933) / #24. Spider aka Zirneklis (1991) / #25. The Wife Killer (1976) / #26. Cannibal! The Musical (1993) / #27. The Wicker Man (1973) / #28. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) / #29. Night Creatures (1962) / #30. Nosferatu (1922) / #31. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare / #32. Day of the Dead (1985) / #33. Psycho II (1983) / #34. The Green Butchers (2003)

the wife killer 1976

The Wife Killer: 31 Days of Horror

#25. The Wife Killer (1976)

the wife killer posterNature of Shame:
Unwatched Mondo Macabro DVD

Hoop-tober Challenge Checklist:
Decade: 1970’s
Country of origin: Greece

I’ve never seen a Greek horror movie. Come to think of it, the most Greek movie I’ve probably ever seen was My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I’ve had this movie on my shelf for a few years so what better time to toss it in and taste a Greek-style giallo. Maybe with some baklava because baklava makes everything better.

The Story

Because I’m still dropping #31DaysofHorror reviews in the middle of November, I’m going to start taking a few liberties with these “reviews.” Like copying plot synopses from the DVD distributors:

Penniless playboy Captain Jim is in hock to his rich older wife, Helen. She has even bought him the fancy yacht that now bears his name. But Jim does not want to be Helen’s toy boy any more. He wants to marry his lover, Laura. He pays a psychopathic killer of women to murder Helen so that he will inherit his wife’s millions. But the psycho killer has his own plans. Suspecting Jim will double cross him, he engineers a complex scheme that will give him the upper hand. Very much in the style of the violent and baroque “Giallo” thrillers from 1970s Italy, The Wife Killer is a twisted, shocking and brutal exploration of the devious male psyche. Previously only released to cinemas in a cut version, this is the first official DVD release of the film in the U.S., complete and uncensored.

Here’s the thing about “giallo” type thrillers: they can go a few different ways. The film must decide how it’s going to go about its business. The Bava and Argento school preaches hyper-stylization and the importance of visual setpieces over narrative. The alternative methodology leans on the Poliziotteschi (Italian police procedural) for its backbone and merely borrows giallo tropes.

the wife killer 1976

What we have here with Kostas Karagiannis’ The Wife Killer (aka The Rape Killer, aka Death Kiss) is a film firmly rooted in the furthest reaches of the Poliziotteschi side of the spectrum. While the murders are frequent, the dry presentation offers no visual spectacle to alleviate the viewer from the difficult on-screen brutality.

So the murder’s favorite weapon? A knife, right? Every good giallo killer uses a knife. Maybe a hatchet? No? Okay, so he strangles them. Wait. He slaps them silly? You’re putting me on. 

No, good sirs and madams, I am not. The Wife Killer’s favorite method of attack is the open-faced palm slap. And repeat. One slap murder is okay. Two is comical. Three is a crowd. I’ve never seen so much slapping in a movie this side of Airplane!

Despite the slaps and tangled machinations, I found The Wife Killer to be an incredibly slow film without much payoff. That said, I’m not a huge deep-cut Poliziotteschi fan and I prefer my gialli in the hands of Bava or Argento or their hyperstylized disciples. But if a twisty and brutal Poliziotteschi film dressed in deranged marital disharmony sounds like your cup of tea, I encourage you to seek this one out.

Final The Wife Killer Thoughts:

 

The film’s alternate and seemingly more common title — The Rape Killer — suggests a kind of base depravity that’s just not present. The Wife Killer makes more sense because the film largely just concerns a violent, depraved misogynist. Occasionally uncomfortable, always 1970’s-brand grimy and gritty, but mostly forgettable. If you’re not familiar with Poliziotteschi or gialli films, seek something better. If you’re an expert devouring whatever world cinema has to offer, by all means sample this Greek slice of Italy’s genre cinema.

 

30Hz Movie Rating:

 

Availability:  

the wife killer dvd

The Wife Killer is available wherever you find depraved world cinema.

 

Buy The Wife Killer on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

2017 @CinemaShame / Hooptober Shame Statement
31+ Days of Horror. 33 Horror Movies. 33 Reviews.

#1. Caltiki The Immortal Monster (1959) / #2. The Devil Doll (1936) / #3. The Velvet Vampire (1971) / #4. Mill of the Stone Women (1960) / #5. The Initiation (1984) / #6. Poltergeist (1982) / #7. Night of the Lepus (1972) / #8. The Black Cat (1934) / #9. The Raven (1935) / #10. Friday the 13th (1980) / #11. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) / #12. Body Snatcher (1945) / #13. Dismembered (1962) / #14. From Hell It Came (1957) / #15. Symptoms (1974) / #16. Eating Raoul (1982) / #17. Spellcaster (1988) / #18. The Old Dark House (1932) / #19. House (1985) / #20. House II: The Second Story / #21. Christine (1983) / #22. Suspiria (1977) / #23. The Invisible Man (1933) / #24. Spider aka Zirneklis (1991) / #25. The Wife Killer (1976) / #26. Cannibal! The Musical (1993) / #27. The Wicker Man (1973) / #28. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) / #29. Night Creatures (1962) / #30. Nosferatu (1922) / #31. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare / #32. Day of the Dead (1985) / #33. Psycho II (1983) / #34. The Green Butchers (2003)

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