L’été (1968) Summer

Rating: 9.0/10
Runtime: 64
Language: French
Country: France
Color: Black & White
IMDb Link: www.imdb.com/title/tt0063858

Director: Marcel Hanoun
Cast:
Graziella Buci … Graziella
Pierre-Henri Deleau

 

After the event of May 1968, a young woman shelters in the country, in a house where she waits for her partner.

 

“…‘Who creates? And for whom?’ What is important is that Hanoun does not answer these questions in a grandiloquent way.

On the contrary, far from showing a series of dramatic actions, he focuses on the in-between moments in the life of his beautiful young protagonist. He plays with fragments of the scene, re-framing the image, using frames (doors, windows, a mirror as a tableau vivant) and all of this confronts the viewer with a sort of catalog of repetitive acts, where drama and character development are absent.

These moments characterized by their pure banality end up permitting the real subject to slip through the cracks of the narrative… a whole series of scenes, sequences, images, that any other director would have cut, eliminated, removed, because they contributed neither to the narrative’s suspense nor its climax, nor to its dramatic progress, but which, because of the distance established, permit Hanoun to reveal the key, the meaning of his film: the confrontation, the controversial relation between desire and reality. In this way, the questions — Who creates? And for whom? — are reformulated in a more precise way: what one wishes for and how one seeks to change reality to satisfy this desire.”










Rating: 7/10

 

Clown Town (2016)

 

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SYNOPSIS:

A group of friends get stranded in a seemingly deserted small town and find themselves stalked by a violent gang of psychopaths dressed as clowns.
REVIEW:
Despite being something of a cliched idea, this direct to DVD/HD flick is surprisingly good, I had a lot of fun with it, to be honest.
The main thing that sets it apart from the norm is that it has a very creepy/eerie feeling throughout the duration of the film, something which many “modern day horror films” are lacking these days.
Another thing that sets it apart is the gore/blood content – it does not hold back or shy away from some pretty nasty kills and torture scenes (not giving any of these away, as you need to experience them for yourself).
Everybody hates clowns, and the use of them in a horror film as villains is nothing new and can be traced back decades, but do yourself a favor and check this little indie flick out, it’s a fine example of how good things can be done on a low budget whilst still being better than half the “major” horror films that are being spewed out by Hollywood today.
RATING:
6.6 out of 10 – a gem of an indie film.
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Hellraiser (1987)

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS:

A man finds he is given more than he bargains for when he solves the puzzle of the Lament Configuration – a doorway to hell. But his ex-lover has found a way of bringing him back, and his niece, Kirsty Lawrence, finds herself bargaining with the Cenobites, angels to some, demons to others, whose greatest pleasure is the greatest pain.

REVIEW:

I was originally going to review this film for the very first post on this site, but I decided against that, because it would have seemed too obvious for me to have done so. Hellraiser is an incredible slice of late 80’s gore and horror, from one of the Masters of the genre (in both film and literature) – Clive Barker.

My experience seeing this film at the cinema when it was released is nothing short or breathtaking. I was enthralled from the opening sequence where a man purchases a very nasty looking “box”, only to take it home and have it literally open up the gates of hell for him and reveal the most incredible icon of horror film in the last 40 years – Pinhead.

Barker’s creation is brought to the screen and director by him, and this is truly the only Hellraiser film you need to see – there are numerous sequels available, but this is the only one directed by Clive Barker.

When I first saw this film, I was young (very young), and more than 20 years later, the film still sticks in my mind as perhaps one of the modern day horror masterpieces of cinema, and it holds up (special effects-wise) even to some of today’s shit being produced and churned out by Hollywood.

Doug Bradley brings Pinhead to life in this, in perhaps one of the most menacing horror icons around, not to mention the other cenobite characters which have emerged from the genius mind of Clive Barker.

The Box itself also plays a major role in this film, opening the gates of hell, yet also answering all of your desires  – at a price. How far would you go to have your ultimate desire? Would you die or kill for it?

Many years ago, I purchased a replica of the box from one of those old online horror stores (most likely based in Asia somewhere), but I recall my disappointment when the box which I received was incredibly badly made, and did not even open! (hey, I was young!!)

Most secondary characters in the film actually do a superb job with what they are given too, with special mention going to Claire Higgins as Julia, Ashley Laurence as Kristy, and Oliver Smith as Frank the Monster.

Any self-confessed horror fan has already seen this film (along with it’s sequels), but if you have not (shame on you!) – stop reading now and go and pick this absolute classic up from wherever you can find it (there’s actually a very nice looking Bluray box-set out now, which I would like for Xmas!).

RATING:

10 out of 10 – an instant classic, which has aged very nicely, like a fine wine.

Now somebody please buy me a real puzzle-box??

Uninvited (1988)

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SYNOPSIS:

A bunch of young people are invited to a Caribbean cruise on a gangster’s yacht, to distract the attention of the authorities.

Unfortunately, a mutant cat which escaped from a test laboratory also gets on board, and kills most of the passengers.

REVIEW:

Greydon Clark directed this little cheapy from 1988, and I believe it was a direct-to-video release, without a proper theatrical release date.

It stars George Kennedy in a very unforgettable role, and this must truly be possibly one of the most forgetable films from a fantastic era of horror classics, but something always brings me back to it.

I saw it when it was first released, and enjoyed it then as a kid, but watching it again recently, I found myself kind of cringing at some of the films’ very badly done effects and the acting is just over-the-top terrible in parts, yet the cat itself is very cute you just cannot hate it’s existence in the film, no matter how cheap and nasty it looks!

RATING:

3 out of 10 – see this if you’ve seen it before…or are under the age of 7 right now!

The Territory (1981)

(No trailer for this one, I could not find a link, sorry!)

SYNOPSIS:

A small group of well-to-do vacationers go on a hiking trip into the woods. Foolishly unprepared to deal with Mother Nature and their situation, they wander around lost for days and weeks, becoming more and more fatigued, hungry, and desperate. A brief encounter with a pair of epicureans on a bridge fails to garner them any of the gluttons’ feast due to a language barrier. Eventually their party begins to die, and the survivors ration their meat among them, attaching a religious-type ritual to its dispensation.

 

REVIEW:

Raul Ruiz‘s 1981 film, The Territory, takes a theme that has haunted modern literature from The Heart of Darkness to Lord of the Flies – the savagery bubbling beneath the veneer of civilization – and gives it a bizarre comic twist.

In this variation, two American families on vacation in Europe metamorphose from sophisticated picture-perfect tourists into cannibals without much fuss during a camping trip in the South of France.

The Territory is an odd little art film that has the feel of a European version of an episode of The Twilight Zone.

Mr. Ruiz, the prolific Chilean film maker who directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Gilbert Adair, has lived and worked predominantly in Europe since 1973.

His film, though set in France, was actually filmed in Portugal. And among the themes it addresses are exile and the notion of crossing boundaries: of language, nation and morality.

In embracing cannibalism, it is suggested, the characters are succumbing to the power of ancient primitive spirits inhabiting the region.

The film’s protagonists are an attractive-looking but rather cold bunch of tourists who set out on an ordinary camping trip with a grumpy professional guide.

Abandoned by him after a spat, they find themselves hopelessly lost in the lush European countryside dotted with medieval castles.

While wandering in circles, they discover their guide’s body. Ravenous and out of food, they slice and barbecue his corpse in a ceremony that is rationalized as a kind of holy communion.

The one member of the party who cannot bring herself to eat human flesh becomes the party’s next source of food.

One running joke in the film is that during their ordeal the campers are never more than a few miles from civilization.

Even when they meet people who could help them find their way back, they become so impatient with the language barrier that they cease trying to communicate.

There is something grotesquely funny in the scenes of the smug, smartly dressed hikers with their fancy cameras solemnly cultivating their new eating habits.

The two children prove to be the quickest to adapt.

In one of the film’s nastier scenes, they fight over a severed hand that once belonged to one of their mothers.

The Territory, which is decently acted by a cast that includes Paul Getty Jr. as the creepy guide, makes the most of its tiny budget to achieve some mildly disorienting surreal effects.

RATING:

6 out of 10 – See this film for it’s awesome atmosphere and decent acting!

 

He Never Died (2015)

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SYNOPSIS:

“Jack, a social outcast, is thrust out of his comfort zone when the outside world bangs on his door and he can’t contain his violent past.”
REVIEW:
Henry Rollins in a new film role? YES! I believe this may be his largest role yet, to be honest, he’s shown up in a lot of films in the past, but usually only in small (but still valuable) parts.
Henry plays Jack, someone who is a very socially isolated and outcast person with some terrible inner anger issues. This fits Rollins perfectly, as I have always considered him to be quite a menacing force to be reckoned with, especially whilst fronting Black Flag, and then his own Rollins Band outfits.
Let me put it out there – Henry does a fine job in his role as Jack, and it is carried with how well the script is written. At times it may force you to laugh out loud. and other times identify with the inner turmoil and frustration that I think everyone can relate to in Jack’s character.
Henry does not seem to need to act like many other “non-actors” who do , he just shows up, gets the job done, then goes home, and he does so very well in this flick.
A lot of people have panned this film as being “a cheap and nasty film for social misfits and loners”, but I don’t think they’re quite getting what director Jason Krawczyk was going for in this. I, myself am not a social misfit, perhaps a loner, but I believe this film will appeal to anyone who’s ever held grudges or anger and society, and I think that is everyone, because we’re all human.
This is a good film, it does not outstay it’s welcome, and you get to see the legend Henry Rollins in a larger film role that truly suites him perfectly.
See this soon!
RATING:
6 out of 10 – Henry Rollins, and an incredible script – what more could you ask for?

La Luna (1979)

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SYNOPSIS:

“While touring in Italy, a recently-widowed American opera singer has an incestuous relationship with her 15-year-old son to help him overcome his heroin addiction.”
REVIEW:
Let me start off by saying that I believe Bernardo Bertolucci to be a revolutionary filmmaker, and someone who’s films I have been a fan of since seeing this film as a child.
To set the stage, La Luna is one of Bertolucci’s most sought after films, not necessarily just because it is perhaps his best (it is!),. but also because it’s never truly had a proper release, due to many reasons, really.
I was about 11 years old when I first saw this film. I used to have a TV in my room, and would often wake up from nightmares in the middle of the night, so would throw the blankets over my head, covering myself and the TV, and plug headphones into the headphone jack of the TV so that nobody would wake up whilst I watched.
Flicking through the channels on one particular cold night, I noticed almost immediately the beautiful surroundings of La Luna flashing across the screen. It needs to be said, the cinematography by Vittorio Storaro is astounding, especially for a film made in 1979. I was captivated by the beautiful scenes of Caracalla Thermals in Rome, and  also (later on) of Parma in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.
Sadly, I had missed the beginning of this incredible film, but it did not stop me from falling in love with it from my first visions. Jill Clayburgh plays Caterina Silveri, an Opera singer who is touring through Italy, with her teenage son (played incredibly by Matthew Barry).
At the premise of this film is the relationship between Caterina and her son, Joe. But the film goes much deeper, and darker than just a “normal” mother/son relationship.
Joe ends up becoming heavily addicted to heroin, and in a last attempt to try to love her son unconditionally, Caterina invests herself in quite an explicit incestuous relationship with him.
At 11 years old, the scenes between Caterina and Joe caused me some distress, but I could not stop watching, nor could I believe that they were showing this film on Television at 3AM in the morning!
It felt like I was the only one in the country who was up watching this, as though it screened just for me (hey, I was a kid!).
Even though the subject matter for this film is deep, and extremely taboo, I would insist that anyone who enjoys films see this film in any way they can (just do not ever see it in a censored version, please).
It is said that Bernardo Bertolucci (Director) has stated this film is his least favorite of all of  his, yet it holds somewhat of a very special place in his heart all the same. I believe this to be because he suffered quite an intense relationship with his Mother whilst growing up too (not to the extent of this film).
Needless to say, I stayed up well into the daylight hours of morning (even after this opus film had finished), because I could not get it’s images out of my mind, and over twenty years later they are still there. Some films just do that sort of thing to you, and it’s incredible when it happens (not very often, and with only a handful of films to me).
I HAUNTED this film for years after seeing it, begging video stores to help me try and obtain a copy (legitimately, of course!), but they told me various rumors – it’d been banned, there’s no way I could have seen it on Television, because it’s “not allowed” on there etc, but I had checked the newspaper the following day after seeing it, and it had definitely screened.
Only recently was I able to locate La Luna again and enjoy it as an adult, and it’s impact is similar. Perhaps not quite as shocking as it was when first seeing it, but it still did it’s job at showing the breakdown, collapse and also beauty (in many ways) of a Mother/Son relationship. The ending is astonishing, yet not very well explained, you have to see it for yourself, and interpret it the way that suites you.
A fun bit of trivia – Matthew Barry rarely appeared in any other film, he is instead quite a well-known casting director!
Please see La Luna alone, and in a cold environment as soon as possible, it will help with the overall tone of this , one of the best films by Bernardo Bertolucci.
RATING:
10 out of 10 – An absolute masterpiece of Italian cinema.