Cannibal Holocaust, Eli Roth, & Riz O

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This iconic scene from the movie, Cannibal Holocaust (1979) was so troubling to Italian authorities, the director, Ruggero Deodato was forced to prove the images were fictitious in court and explain to law enforcement that he hadn’t actually killed anyone.

I’m not reviewing Cannibal Holocaust (1979). That’s been done to death and also I just don’t feel like referencing the faux outrage and calls for censorship of Eli Roth’s upcoming remake, Green Inferno (2015). My review today is about the soundtrack from Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust (1979) composed by the great Riz Ortolani.

But since I’m on the topic of Eli Roth’s new movie, here’s what I’ll say about it for now. When I see it, I’ll compare it against Deodato’s version and write up a gratuitous review for your enjoyment. Trailer below:

Do I think Eli Roth’s movie should be banned? Do I think a movie about white, social justice warriors getting brutally massacred by brown people is offensive? Ha. What do you think? More often in horror movies, brown and black characters are slaughtered without dignity for white entertainment. Our bodies are still first to be jeopardized onscreen and off…so am I supposed to wave torches and pitchforks over fictionalized, reversed-racial horror? You’ll find out when I watch Green Inferno.

But I digress. Let’s listen to the maestro, shall we?

What made Cannibal Holocaust so great was the off-kilter soundtrack. I use “off-kilter” ironically, because in truth, there is nothing off-kilter about it. It’s fucking beautiful. I adore horror movies with a full orchestral score and my absolute favorite composer for that sort of thing is Bernard Herrmann. However Riz Ortalani’s score is a must for any horror movie buff, too. Not only is the soundtrack beautiful, but when combined with scenes from the movie, the result is a strange, horrifying cognitive dissonance. Modern horror filmmakers alert audiences to the horror with music that is meant to frighten us. But Riz doesn’t do that, here. Instead, he uses sweeping violins, folksy guitar, and funkadelic pops of the synthesizer. By listening to the soundtrack alone, you would never know it accompanied such a gory, controversial movie.

There are 10 tracks in all but my favorites are Adultress’s Punishment (the infamous impaling scene) and Savage Rite. If you write horror, I strongly recommend you try listening to the Cannibal Holocaust soundtrack to get you in the right mood.

Have you watched Cannibal Holocaust? Green Inferno will come out September 25, 2015. Place your bets which one will be better. Whadduya think, fam? Should we all be outraged?

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Penny Dreadful’s Gory Premiere

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Alright! Here’s our look at Penny Dreadful. Sorry for the late post!

So Penny Dreadful is about Sir Malcolm and his friend Vanessa Ives looking for Malcolm’s daughter. They enlist the help of Ethan Chandler, a gun slinging American as their muscle. Their search leads them to a……wait for it……VAMPIRE NEST! After battling these Nosferatu, they bring a body to a young Victor Frankenstein for examination. Ethan’s eyes have been opened to a world of the supernatural and he’s been giving the opportunity to explore it further with Sir Malcolm and Miss Ives. But will he remain with them?

Let’s go over the characters:

Ethan Chandler is played by Josh Hartnett and he falls into the category of “hopeless alcoholic”. He runs a traveling shows where he spins tall tales about his exploits and shows off his gun slinging skills. He doesn’t seem offended of the idea of being a hired gun when one of the questions he asks Miss Ives if they’re going to kill someone. He’s obviously has a mysterious past he doesn’t like talking about. I thought it was amusing how Miss Ives read him like a cheap romance novel. We’ll see what Ethan as to offer.

Sir Malcolm: A Famous explorer desperately searching for his daughter, Mina. What’s fascinating is that he has no hesitation that the supernatural is to blame for it. He relays on Vanessa’s psychic ability to help him in his search. It also looks like he knows how to handle himself around vampires.

Vanessa Ives: She’s an interesting lady. She has this psychic ability that let’s her know what the hell is going on. I like how she just goes on about her business while the men are busy fighting monsters. She just walks by them like a boss. She also prays a lot. I think it more of a trance than praying and sometimes it can get intense.

Victor Frankenstein: We all know the name so by the end of the premiere episode it shouldn’t be a surprise that we find a body in his secret lab. Young Frankenstein, however, has more of a poet’s soul that anyone else. He truly believes that nothing else matters than finding that spark between life and death. He even goes as far as to mock Sir Malcolm about his explorations. Well, Frankenstein gets his wish and his creature comes to life!

One of the things I loved about this episode was the vampires. The “old ones” looked like the classic Nosferatu. More bat-like than human. Then there’s, of course, the gore involved. You can’t get enough of it.

Anyways, those are my thoughts so far. Hope you all tune in to watch the series!

Welcome to Horror Television, Penny Dreadful!

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Recently I’ve been watching these previews for a new show on Showtime called “Penny Dreadful” starring Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, and Josh Hartnett. From what I’ve heard and seen, this show features some of our favorite monsters from classic horror novels. Among the monsters creeping in this show are Dracula, Dorian Gray, Frankenstein, and Frankenstein’s Monster.

The plot has been very vague:

“Some of literature’s most terrifying characters, including Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and iconic figures from the novel Dracula are lurking in the darkest corners of Victorian London. PENNY DREADFUL is a frightening psychological thriller that weaves together these classic horror origin stories into a new adult drama.” says Showtime.

I’m actually excited to watch this show. First reason: I love Eva Green. I think she is a brilliant actress and she knows how to play a mysterious femme fatale. Second reason: Classic Monsters! I’m interested in seeing how these monsters are portrayed. Third reason: Gore, Gore, Gore! There’s going to be a lot of gore in this show, I can tell.

Well, I’ll set my DVR to check this show out. Or maybe I can check online for the premiere episode. Anyway, I’ll check it out and review it for you.

PENNY DREADFUL TRAILER

Stewart Granger in “Blanche Fury”

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Don’t you just love these old timey, black-n-white flicks? The breathlessness. The melodrama. The lusty screams of terror. Can’t get enough of it. I’m also a sucker for Stewart Granger. That man can cock his brow like a boss. (Not convinced? Behold. The panty-creaming eyebrow raise)

Just got hot in here, didn’t it? 

Marc Allegret directed this British film. Valerie Hobson plays the title roll, Blanche Fury, opposite of Stewart Granger.  The cinematography is modern for its time, which is impressive. The acting is phenomenal and (since the movie is based on a book) the plot sweeps across the screen in epic glory.  “Blanche Fury” is less a horror and more of a crime-drama or gothic romance. It has the same appeal as a Brontë novel; scowling Byronic heroes and strong-willed heroines.

Blanche Fury is the cruel and ambitious woman, who, once employed as a governess at a mansion, quickly makes the moves on the nearest heir so to marry into wealth. She mistakes Philip (Stewart Granger) as the heir, when in fact he is only the heir’s bastard son. Philip admires Blanche’s cunning. He is a disgrace to the family, which is why he is forced to work in the stables without any money. Predictably, Blanche and Philip fall madly in love and carry an affair long after she marries her Sugar Daddy. However, the closer Blanche comes to inheriting the family’s wealth, the more resentful and unhinged Philip becomes. Eventually he goes insane and murders Blanche’s husband and attempts to murder their child.

I liked this movie a lot. And yes, I’ll shamefully admit it was a lot like watching a soap opera, but hey, I dig psychopathic heroes and infanticide. I recommend “Blanche Fury” for fans of moody cinema and classic, black-n-white film. Granger’s insanely hot eyebrow raise bumps the grade to a B+

The Fascinating “Freaks”

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[CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Now this is a classic gem that everyone should enjoy! It centers around a group of circus freaks and the bond they share with each other. But when Cleopatra(Olga Baclanova) and her lover, Hercules(Henry Victor), plot to kill the owner of the circus(who happens to be a midget) and take his fortune, the rest of the circus freaks plan their own form of justice.

Now why am I talking about this film. I think this film is an important part of horror film history. This film had real circus freaks in it and was actually banned in most parts of the United States and has been cut and re-cut. This film was made in 1932, so there was a certain standard to be held for audiences.  In the original version of the film the Freaks castrate Hercules so he becomes a castrato and they also disfigure a helpless Cleopatra and turn her into a human duck. Apparently this was took much for some audiences to handle because one woman threatened to sue MGM for causing a miscarriage. Yikes!

That goes to show  how big a grip audiences have on a film. So instead of the horrifying mutilations of Hercules and Cleopatra, we get a happier ending with Hans the midget(played by Harry Earles) reunites with his former fiancee and lives happily ever after. We still see Cleopatra as the human duck but we don’t see how she got that way.

 We also see, what could be called, real circus freaks. Frances O’Connor played the armless woman and she was born without arms. Daisy and Violet Hilton were real conjoined twins, and Prince Randian played the human torso; he was born without arms or legs. That adds to the horror, knowing that the freaks were real. Don’t you think?

Some references:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freaks

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0022913/