Sunday, 18 April 2010
Basking In The Cesspool Of Filth #13
Been awhile since I've thrown one of these up, but I just haven't been gobbling up the horror movies of late. Not for any specific reason, that's just the way the viewing habits go sometimes...
The House Of The Devil (2009 - Ti West) - Tremendous fun. I understand the complaints of those who didn't like the last section of the film or who thought everything leading up to it was too slow, but they're all wrong. This intentional throwback to 70s style tension-filled horror uses lighting, framing and camera movement to keep viewers constantly on edge and does it extremely well. The sequence of our heroine dancing through the house to The Fixx's "One Thing Leads To Another" was wonderfully constructed even though it doesn't actually resolve into anything. Of course, that's part of the fun of it. When things do reveal themselves, the film drops any pretense of subtle tension and goes for the opposite. Do I really care about the specifics of the devil worshippers at this point? Not really, but I don't think I'm supposed to - I'm supposed to be having fun and I really got into this section of the film too. Even the somewhat anticlimactic and downbeat ending fit perfectly with the vibe of the film.
House Of Whipcord (1974 - Pete Walker) - After enjoying the heck out of Pete Walker's "Frightmare" a few cesspools ago, I dove head first into a bit more of his oeuvre. Though never quite rising to the enjoyable standard of its follow-up film, Whipcord does manage to lay out a reasonably horrific idea and drop some surprises along the way. An old abandoned asylum is used by a small crew of disturbed individuals to imprison wanton females (or at least, those they believe to be). A beautiful young French lass gets nabbed and we get to see the inner workings of the "prison", the hardline "warden", the frail and no longer sane "judge" and the female "guards". There's also the handsome Mark E. Desade who essentially lures and procures these women for the prison. It's quite silly and bordering on over the top at times (Penny Irving's French accent is laughably bad as she plays an exceptionally dim bulb), but it also creates an oppressive atmosphere at times and also delights in skewering the morally uptight. Not quite as much pure entertainment as it could've been, but it certainly won't throw me off Walker's other films.
Tower Of Evil (1972 - Jim O'Connolly) - More British horror from the 70s. Though it doesn't quite reach the heights of its opening sequence again, it ends up being a grand old time. The mystery of who is responsible for the killings at a deserted old lighthouse isn't necessarily intriguing, but it does leave you unsure as to exactly who is going to "get it" next. Along with the current set of stranded guests, the film also flips back to the storyline of how the previous guests - those whose bodies were shown at the beginning of the film - met their own fates. And check out the attire on the ladies...
Alucarda (1978 - Juan Lopez Moctezuma) - Like his earlier "The Mansion Of Madness", Moctezuma can sure put together some arresting visuals and moments, but he just can't seem to create a story that moves at any sort of reasonable pace or that contains any character for which I might possibly care. Oh sure, there's nuns, witches and impressionable young ladies plus demonically possed vampires (or is that blood-sucking demons?), but it drags in too many spots and has - I think hands down - the largest amount of women screaming in a single film ever. And really bad, annoying screaming. I even fast forwarded through some of the scream scenes as they went on and on and on...Still, there's certainly an image or two that'll rattle around my brain for awhile.