Tuesday, December 20, 2011


   A Monster Mash, and/or Bash, a potpourri of the possessed, a ghoulish goulash, a cavalcade of kitchen sinks; 1986's Spookies has everything that a veteran of late night vid-junk needs, well...  everything except a plot.  Wait, there are a few plots, grave plots for the disposable cast.  But we will get to that later.  For now, prepare yourself for one of the KVLT'S all time favorite slices of cinematic schlock,  Spookies.

  The movie opens with a kid named Billy, who has run away from home because his parents have forgotten that it was his birthday.  Billy ends up at what appears to be an old funeral home next to a cemetery.  After deciding to have a look inside, Billy is pursued by a creepy undead magician and his were-cat henchman with a hook hand who is also wearing looks to be either a pirate shirt or a bad Prince costume?  The KVLT is not even making this up.  Then, in true-to-form classic b-movie fashion, a group of obnoxious twenty somethings looking for a party take a wrong turn and end up at the very same funeral home.  Once inside, they too are being stalked by the sorcerer, the hook-handed were-cat and a legion of randomized bloodthirsty creatures.  Somehow this has something to do with the resurrection of the sorcerer's late wife.   The problem is that she appears to already be alive and not too happy about it either.  So why then does the maleficent magician send his undead army to brutally dispatch a group of young people just looking for a party?  Maybe the evil magician hates uninvited guests?  Maybe he was bored and just needed to blow off some steam?  Maybe worrying too much about the glaring inconsistencies and flaws in Spookies will only result in headaches, nausea, and nosebleeds?

 Shhhh...  be very quiet and very still so that you don't alert the ever elusive shape-shifting, hook-handed, North American Were-Cat.  Or is it just a disgruntled background performer from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats?

  If you are a fan of old school analog movie make-up, Spookies delivers the ghoulish goods tenfold.  It almost seems as if the entire budget was spent solely on special effects.  The parade of creatures include, but are not limited to: zombies, muck men, a spider lady, shape-shifting were-cat with a hook hand, an evil magician, a vampire kid with an ice-pick, a flying witch, demons of varying sizes, an undead bride who looks like a B-movie Winona Ryder and the Grim Reaper!

 The KVLT knows who the hardest working man in show business really is.

 The KVLT thinks that they have spotted Winona Ryder's b-movie anti-matter, the lovely and amiable Wenona Rider. 

  As the great drive-in and B-movie guru, Joe Bob Briggs has said, "a movie can be anything, as long as it's not boring."  The KVLT could label Spookies as being unintentionally funny, cheap, incoherent, a hodge podge of horror
cliches, but rest assured its anything but boring.  The whole movie clips along at a very fast pace like a wacky gameshow and with every look behind "door number 3" there is a new monster eager to claim the lives of the unlucky contestants.  So flip your brain's autopilot switch to the on position, and enjoy the raucous ride.  Intellectually speaking, Spookies is kind of like watching Deal Or No Deal, but with just a little more demonic possession and gore. 

Fun Facts about Spookies:

  Spookies actually received a very limited theatrical run, but most people remember renting it during the late 80's and early 90's or seeing it featured many times on cable during USA's late night show Up All Night.  

  Originally titled Twisted Souls, financial backers stressed legal and creative concerns with the original filmmakers during post production.  Another director was brought in to shoot new footage, that footage was spliced in with the old footage and from this creative cocktail the awesomely atrocious, Spookies was born.

  Tracking down a real copy of Spookies may prove to be an arduous task since it has never been officially released on dvd, and vhs copies can go for as much as $40 on Amazon.com and Ebay. 


Saturday, December 10, 2011



  How's this for an original movie premise?  Two friends, Marty Malt, and Gus live, and work as garbage men in a post industrialized wasteland.  Gus is content with living a sleazy subsistent existence as a metaphorical human cockroach, living off what he and Marty find at the dump.  Marty, however, has aspirations of becoming a stand up comedian.  After some failed attempts on stage during a local amateur night, Marty decides to give up on his dreams of being a comic.  The next day he wakes up with a strange lump in between his shoulder blades.  Over the course of a few days, the protuberance forms into a fully functional third arm.  Mortified, Marty tries to keep his new limb a secret, but Gus and a sleazy talent agent named Jackie Chrome view Marty's newly acquired appendage as a gimmick to be exploited in the screwball sideshow world of showbiz. 

  The KVLT agrees that nothing breaks up the blasé of the old "third arm out of the back trick" than the musical accompaniment of a deviate with an accordion.

  A movie almost too bizarre for it's own good, The Dark Backward carries and unabashed heart on it's sleeve for the outlandish, and reads like a love letter to, from, and for the terminally weird.  In spite if it's overarching oddness and the fact that it was Director Adam Rifkin's first feature, it sports an unusually ample budget and a strong Hollywood cast with names like Judd Nelson, Bill Paxton, Wayne Newton, James Caan, Rob Lowe, and Lara Flynn Boyle.  Most of whom  knowingly took a bit of a paycut, compared to their usual fare, because they loved the script's original approach, zany characters, surreal setting, and it's tongue-in-cheek mockery of the entertainment industry.   On the dvd's bonus features section James Caan and Bill Paxton speak about their mutual affinity for the film.  They've both said that it was among their best personal performances and that The Dark Backward remains one of the most cherished projects in their careers. 

The KVLT would love to party with Bill Paxton, or at least party like Bill Paxton.  Clearly, the man knows how to live.
  Some of the oddities therein; Bill Paxton  constantly playing an accordion, Bill Paxton constantly eating random rancid food stuffs, Bill Paxton having a ménage à trois with three morbidly obese women, Bill Paxton licking the corpse of a dead woman who was discarded in a landfill, James Caan as a quack doctor who makes his patients pay for their bill by having sex with his nurse, a viking woman playing a human xylophone comprised of midgets in sailor suits, a drainage gutter spilling out dead fish, a bloody send-up of the Tom and Jerry Show that predates Itchy and Scratchy, ads for a company called Blumps who make disgusting products like squeezable bacon, cheddar scented cheese, weaselroni, and pork juice.  For a movie of it's strange caliber, it's shot very impressively. Boasting comic book style camera angles and odd neon lighting techniques that accentuate the filth and slime that clings to every frame of celluloid in The Dark Backward, creating a sort of devil-may-care despondence and a day-to-day casualness toward the parade of aberrations within the film. 

 Don't act so appalled.  You've probably eaten worse things.  The KVLT definitely has.

  The Dark Backward's deliberate dementia is clear.  But, it's overall intent is to pull back the curtain to shed some limelight on the abysmally deep, dank, lint-caked naval of showbiz' bloated underbelly.  A lesson that proves even those with wax wings and the best intentions can fail to realize that maybe Hollywood isn't the Sun in the proverbial solar system of artistic success.  Watch The Dark Backward.  Celebrate the awkward.

Fun Facts about the Dark Backward:

In preparation for the awkward, nebbish and funny-as-a-crutch character of Marty Malt, director Adam Rifkin signed actor Judd Nelson up for open mic nights at local comedy clubs before filming.  Judd performed in character and in full costume so that no one would know that it was actually him.  And in true troll form, they used the purposely written bad jokes from the script as material. 

Advertisements for the fictional company Blumps Industries, can be seen throughout The Dark Backward as well as in most of Adam Rifkin's movies.  In fact, Blump's Squeezable Bacon was recently referenced by Charlie Sheen during his media-hyped fifteen minutes of shame.  The public just thought that it was another weird Sheen-ism like "Tiger's Blood", and "Winning".  But in all actuality, it was a Blump's ad recycled from The Dark Backward and reused in The Chase, in which Sheen starred.

In Adam Rifkin's segment of drive-in era spoof Chillerama entitled "Wadzilla", scenes from the Twinkie Doodle Show, a fictional variety show in The Dark Backward, are shown in the background, on a tv set, and in between newsreels.

Apparently, Adam Rifkin had written the entire screenplay for the The Dark Backward when he was only 19 years old.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


  Seasons Bleedings.  It's that time of year again!  "To Deck The Halls with The Bowels Of Holly" and to make sure that "the children are hung by the chimney with care."  That's right folks, it's time for a little X-mas Ex Mortis!  Don't we all need to blow off a little holiday shopping steam by watching old St. Nick do what most of us fantasize about, which is killing everyone in his path, whether they are naughty or nice?  Or inversely, to watch Santa get his bloody comeuppance for playing a pivotal role in instigating the commercially-charged economic rape of a holiday?  Fear not, dear readers!  KVLT VISIONS has the gift that keep on living long after the giving.  

    As with most slasher flicks, the premise is very straightforward.  It's your basic "man pushed beyond his limits of restraint, hence, man goes on a murderous rampage" story.  The plot revolves around a young boy named Billy who witnessed his family's roadside murder on Christmas at the hands of a maniac in a Santa suit.  Billy is then sent to St. Mary's Orphanage.  Throughout his adolescence and formative years, Billy, is subjected to a steady regimen of harsh "spare the rod..." corporal punishment at the hands of the school's Mother Superior, who makes Nurse Ratchet look like Florence Nightengale.  Eventually Billy turns 18 and leaves the orphanage and gets a part-time job at local department store during the holidays.  Under the duress of seasonal work, post traumatic stress disorder, and being forced by his employer to don a Santa Claus suit during an after hours office party, Billy snaps delivering his own brand of sadistic justice and yuletide terror to anyone that gets in his way, each time uttering the word "punish" before he kills.


  Not the first killer Santa flick, but definitely the first to gain notorious notoriety.  Panned and banned by moral majority watch groups in the US. and the U.K., the PTA, and mainstream critics like Leonard Maltin and Siskel & Ebert, Silent Night would not go away so silently.  In fact, the negative publicity seemed to only heighten the public's awareness of the film, causing those with an already piqued interest to race out see if it was as bad as the critical witch-hunters had made it out to be.  Silent Night... actually out-grossed Wes Craven's now horror classic A Nightmare On Elm Street druing it's opening weekend in United states and aside from being a top rental in the early 80's vhs boom, has gone out of print both times it was re-released on dvd.  There are even  talks of, and I shudder to say, a remake. 

For this public shaming of the Silent Night, Deadly Night Gene Siskel and Ebert deserved to be "PUNISHED!" 
  Keep in mind that this is not a Hitchcockian whodunit, or a spicy Italian giallo.  This is hard-edged, demented, and at times sleazy American horror in the vein of Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, but with a little more holiday flare.  From the very beginning, the audience is made completely aware of who the killer is, and what his motives and methods are.  Since the mystery is out on who the killer is, this puts the audience in a place of theoretical moral and/or ethical complicity, as accessories to the gruesome murders happening on screen by proxy.  Which is probably why the critics railed against it upon it's initial release. At the time, few films outside of Bill Lustig's slasher classic Maniac, I Spit On Your Grave, and Last House On The Left, which were all demonized by the same critics mentioned above, have shown the audience what it was like to view the world through the eyes of depraved, deranged killers.  The critics seemed to think that the world just wasn't ready for Jolly Old St. Nick and his murderous ways during the holiday hustle and bustle of 1984.  Perhaps they were truly frightened and appalled by what they saw, which, I shouldn't have to point out, is the point of watching a horror movie.  Or maybe they were just using their positions in the public eye to prop up a moral soapbox to foster higher ratings for their television shows and magazine and newspaper editorials?  Either way the proof was in the pudding in that before Silent Night, Deadly Night was pulled from theaters by the angry moral majority, it actually out-grossed Wes Craven's modern horror classic A Nightmare On Elm Street opening weekend. 

The KVLT knows better than to bother Santa when he's busy making toys in his workshop. 

  In the end, it's impossible to ignore that Silent Night, Deadly Night took cues from the then burgeoning concept of the holiday slasher flick and amped them up a few notches.  Packing in more on-screen violence, insanity, and mayhem than all of the previous holiday themed horror flicks prior, Silent Night Deadly Night perfects the killer Santa formula ushered in by Tales From The Crypt: The Movie (1972) in a segment entitled, "...And All Through the House."  Like so many gift boxes, bows, and wrapping paper the formula for the killer Santa movie was recycled in Silent Night Bloody Night (1974), Black Christmas (1974), Don't Open Until Christmas, To All A Goodnight (1980), and Christmas Evil (1980)

The victims were hung by the chimney with care.  In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

  In the KVLT'S psychtronic eyes, Silent Night Deadly Night is a perennial favorite and has it's place amongst the offbeat celluloid holiday mantle pieces like Black Christmas (1974), Gremlins, Die Hard, and Lethal Weapon.  The KVLT guarantee's that after viewing Silent Night, Deadly Night, that you'll be in the throes of the holiday spirit, the death throes that is.  Just make sure that you say "punish" before you commit your holiday atrocities.  Because you know that every time you say "punish" before you violently assault someone on Christmas, Billy, dons his bloodied Santa suit and tears off an angels wings. 

Fun Facts about Silent Night, Deadly Night:

Look for scream queen Linnea Quigley in an early, and yes, topless, role.  

Quentin Tarentino and Robert Rodriguez have both been quoted in saying that they realized that they had to work together after they found out that they both can quote Silent Night, Deadly Night from start to finish,

In the United Kingdom, it was never technically ruled as a Video Nasty, but it was nonetheless banned outright until 2009

In protest of the film, Siskel & Ebert read the credits aloud on their television show saying, "shame, shame, shame" after each name.

Angry parents actually succeeded in having Silent Night, Deadly Night withdrawn from theaters with constant picketing at each showing and a signed petition.


Monday, November 21, 2011

GHOSTHOUSE a.k.a. La Casa 3

  The horrifically gory and unintentionally hilarious plot concerns a ham radio operator and self-proclaimed "computer wiz" named Paul who accidentally picks up a broadcast of someone being stalked and violently murdered.  So he and his girlfriend Lara, do what anyone in their situation would do...  No, they don't call the proper authorities...  They trace the signal and take a road trip to the source of the disturbance, a rumored haunted house on the outskirts of town.  Makes sense right?  Once they reach the house, they encounter the people who's voices sound identical to the ones heard on the aforementioned ham radio signals, only no murders or any sort of violence have occurred...  Yet.   Soon after the group begins exploring the house a little girl in a white dress, carrying one of the creepiest clown dolls ever to appear on film, shows up and one-by-one the group is divided and individually subjected to ghastly goings-on in the Ghosthouse. 
   If that sounds like an all too familiar formula and you are now a little scared to take a chance on buying a foreclosed property like Ghosthouse in today's falling housing market, KVLT VISIONS completely understands.  But aesthetically speaking, Ghosthouse does more than just cash in on themes from popular supernatural horror film franchises of the 80's like Poltergeist, House, and Amityville.   It also fits nicely into the "Monster Mash" sub-genre where the kitchen sink approach to movie making is implemented by simply adding random and new monsters, at random, until the whole movie becomes a parade of creature effects like The Monster Squad, Nightbreed, The Freakmaker, Neon Maniacs, The Basket Case sequels, the oft overlooked Spookies, and The Midnight Hour.  (More on those later)  As with most exploitation flicks and especially with Italian knock-off-horror, plot is minimal, atmosphere is heavy, dialogue is heavy-handed, and on-screen violence and gore are the main attraction.  Lenzi's Ghosthouse, is by no means anywhere near the feverish intensity of his early grindhouse-friendly works like his cannibal classics Cannibal Ferox, (Make Them Die Slowly) and Eaten Alive, or his frenetic zombie-fest City Of The Walking Dead, (Nightmare City) but after it is all said and done, Ghosthouse remains a unique hodge-podge of gory supernatural horror devices, and unintentional hilarity, but with just enough Italian guts and gusto to entertain the most jaded cult film junkie.

  Looks like the clown doll from Poltergeist had another starring role in Ghosthouse!

  Without giving away the few plot devices Ghosthouse has, you get to see a creepy ghost girl and her supernatural clown doll (a lot), a corpse in a washing machine, a snarling hound of hell, a crazed slasher who runs like he's constipated, 2 hatchet's to the head, a fan blade death, bi-section by falling blade, defenestration death,  an acid bath, death by garden shears, a maggot-faced grim reaper, crypt and corpse defilement, zombies, and the most gratuitous use of ham radio ever captured on film.  First generation home computer geeks and ham radio enthusiasts take note; Ghosthouse will have you either giggling or grinding your teeth at it's brazen abuse of 80's era techno-jargon. The downer ending was also a nice afterthought.  Just don't expect a serious Euro-shocker from the likes of Ghosthouse.  This is by no means Lenzi's best work, but it is uniquely entertaining in it's own weird way.  If you've seen all or most of the Italian classics by Lenzi, the Bava's, Fulci, Deodato, D'Amato, Argento, Martino, Margherti, and Soavi and are just in need of a quick cheesy snack, then get out the crackers because this is your of filmic feta. 

  The Grim Reaper makes his ten-billionth movie cameo in Ghosthouse.  He doesn't mind though, he's got his S.A.G. Union card.  I mean in this day and age, even Death has bills to pay. 

  In the right hands, and with the right amount of mind-altering substances, Ghosthouse is a prime piece of MST3K or Riff Tracks real estate just beckoning for a buyer. But then again, with real estate market the way it is at present, you may just want to rent instead of buy.

Fun facts about Ghosthouse:

Humphrey Humbert, the director of Ghosthouse, is an Americanized pseudonym for Italian filmmaker Umberto Lenzi. 

Ghosthouse was shot in the very same house that was used in Italian horror maestro Lucio Fulci's House by the Cemetery

Ghosthouse is known internationally as La Casa 3.  La Casa 1 and 2 were the international titles for Evil dead 1 and 2. 

La Casa 4 is known in the United states as Witchery, and stars David Hasselhoff and Linda Blair.

  Be as cool as this guy and get your mind blown by the absurd and awful  awesomeness of Ghosthouse.





  Due to the recent resurgence of public interest in theatrically released killer aquatic animal flicks like Piranha 3-D, it's sequel Piranha 3-DD, Shark Night 3-D, the seemingly endless barrage of made-for cable and direct to home video market sea monster movies like Mega Piranha, Mega shark, Sharktopus etcetera, as well as the ecologically righteous reality show Whale Wars, The KVLT has decide to skim the sea floor to dredge up a long forgotten sea-bound serial killer whale flick from the 70's.  A film, inappropriately rated PG, but very appropriately titled ORCA: The Killer Whale. 

  Before, you start bringing up Jaws and it's terrible sequels let The KVLT assure you that Orca shatters the clichéd trappings of killer shark flicks in many ways; one way is that it's about a killer whale, two is that it boasts an amazing and unusual soundtrack by spaghetti western and horror composer Ennio Morricone, and the third is that Orca is actually a nature-run-amok revenge movie.  That's right.  Orca isn't just out to indiscriminately devour any unfortunate seafarer or swimmer who happens to cross his path. Orca is out for bloody revenge! 

  The set-up is simple, Orca, the Killer Whale lives up to the killer part of his namesake as he gets stalks the captain and crew of a whaling ship who killed his mate and unborn offspring.  It gets a little complicated when we learn that Orca and Captain Nolan (Richard Harris) have a telepathic link, and that Orca, apart from the usual one-dimensional toothy monsters of killer shark flicks, uses very calculated means of tactical warfare and even revels in the wake of his own  unique brand of bloody vengeance. 

  KVLT VISIONS was at a loss and then awestruck when we saw this!  Name another film that showcases a forced-whale-abortion and it's aborted whale fetus and you will be instantaneously inducted into KVLT VISIONS Hall Of Arcane And Astounding Knowledge. 

  Some highlights include; A forced-whale abortion in graphic detail (pictured above), Orca implementing infrastructural warfare on a fishing community where Captain Nolan and his crew are docked, Orca getting his intended victim, Annie (Bo Derek), or at least her leg, which is shown in up-close, graphic detail in a scene the defies the films very misrepresented PG rating, one of the greatest insult-to-injury shots ever captured on film, as we watch  Orca gleefully crying out while performing celebratory back-flips in the ocean amidst the backdrop of the fishing community he has just demolished, as it rages ablaze in the night sky.  and last but not least, Orca demonstrating a vast understanding of the laws of trajectory and physics against Captain Nolan in a man versus whale, hand to fin, aquatic battle royale. 

When "Willy" is truly "Free" his bloodlust cannot be sated

Fun Facts about Orca: The Killer Whale

Orca: The killer whale was portrayed by a combination of stock footage taken at Marine World in Redwood City, California, and an animatronic whale which was filmed off the coasts of Malta and Newfoundland.

The orcas seen in the stock footage used from Marine World were named Yaka (female) and Nepo (male). They were both captured in 1969. Nepo died in 1980, and Yaka died in 1997.

Orca: The Killer Whale was actress and 70's sex symbol Bo Derek's first film credit


Monday, October 24, 2011


  Street Trash is a tongue-firmly-in-cheek exercise in exploitative extremes.  Trying to explain the concepts and storylines that make up this 1987 cult classic,  is like calling Ted Kasczynski for tech support.  But what I can tell you about this neon green slime covered cult gem is that it's worth seeking out.  So many things in this movie go above and beyond the normal expectations of the gore bag, gross-out, sub-genre of horror made popular by movies like Dawn Of The Dead, Peter Jackson's Bad Taste, The Toxic Avenger. First off, Street Trash showcases some of the best and most frenetic camera work in a low budget film of it's era.   In fact, after Street Trash, Jim Muro became one of Hollywood's best steadycam operators working on such big budget sets as Field Of Dreams, Terminator 2, Casino, and even Titanic!  Not bad for a guy who once made a movie about how a toxified form of cheap alcohol causes human beings become the equivalent to gore-spewing, Jackson Pollock paintings.  Secondly, The acting is completely over the top and by unknowns, which always lends a real sense of credulity to almost any indie film.  Apparently, some actual homeless people were cast for authenticity.  Which makes it hard to know when lines are actually being delivered, or if the audience is just witnessing the rantings of a chemically addled, mentally ill derelict.  Thirdly, like it's crazed homeless characters, Street Trash prides itself in being a completely random and rough customer.  A sense of deliberate depravity pervades every frame in this film.  So don't get too bent out of shape over inconsistent motives, plot holes, or the overall weirdness of the script.  This movie was made for midnight movie geeks and the cult flick addicted cinephiles who have seen it all and are in need of a new fix, even if the needle is dirty.
  Maybe listing a few of the delightfully disgusting gags that Street Trash offers, may explain the heart of the situation?

  My eyes have seen the glory gory of booze that causes multiple melting and exploding vagrants, a man dematerializing until he is nothing but a floating head in a toilet, full frontal male and female nudity, Nam vet hallucinations, mortuary humor, the homicidal use of a knife made from a human femur bone, hilarious banter with mafia goons, one of the most hilarious shoplifting scenes ever, a roid-raging cop's celebratory vomit on a subdued mafia goon after a fight, a game of keep away with a severed penis, gang rape, necrophilia, and decapitation by a Co2 tank!

  If the above mentioned scenes sound too disgusting, absurd, or tasteless, it's because they are, and that's exactly what the team who made Street Trash was going for.

Fun Facts about Street Trash:

Usually classified as a cult horror-comedy, Street Trash is also considered a "melt" movie.  Other notable melt movies are The Incredible Melting Man, Slime City, Body Melt, and The Devils Rain. 

Thunderbird was the original volatile vino used in the short film that Street Trash was based on.  It was changed to Tenafly Viper for the feature. 

Bill the Cop was played by a real NYPD officer named Bill Chepil

Bryan Singer, the man responsible for directing House M.D., The Usual suspects, X-Men, X-2,  and producing X-Men: First Class, Apt Pupil, and Trick 'R' Treat, was a production assistant on Street Trash

Tony Darrow, an actor who's career almost exclusively consists of being typecast in mafioso roles, plays another mafia type in Street Trash named Nick Duran.  He also performs the song "We Do things My Way" that plays during the closing credits. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

À l'intérieur a.k.a. INSIDE (2007)

  Do you tire of the same old human fodder-filled teen slasher flicks?  Do you want to see an actual suspenseful, shocking, and gruesome "killer on the loose" movie that doesn't rely on the attractiveness of the cast or cheap gore gags?  Do you like foreign films?  If you answered yes to these question, then you are ready for 2007's French sleeper, À l'intérieur, or better known in the U.S. as, Inside.

  The movie starts off with a devastating car wreck from which a pregnant woman named Sarah is rushed to the hospital.  Four months later she awakes from a coma to find that she lost her husband in the crash, but their baby is about to be born on Christmas Day.  She goes home to prepare for her baby's delivery only to be stalked by a mysterious woman in black who will go to any homicidal length to steal Sarah's child.  Cue the Ace Of Base single "All that she wants"

  Inside is a perfect example of modern horror done right.   Horror fans will undoubtedly squirm with genuine feelings of unease and overwhelming dread at the grotesquely intense scenes of bodily harm, (and there are many) as well as the practical and painstakingly realistic special effects.  But what really  seals the deal is the oppressive force of the mood.  Juxtaposing while accentuating the brutal and horrific elements of this film, the cinematography of Inside, is an absolute breath of fresh air in the horror genre.  A bleak hazy atmosphere and a fevered sense of desperation hangs heavy throughout.  It's an unshakable foreboding ambiance that most modern filmmakers have unfortunately traded in for POV shaky cam shots and jump cuts every 1.5 seconds.  The minimal yet pulsing electronic score is very effective and fits the pacing perfectly.  Once Inside opens, it gains momentum at a very deliberate clip until it's running full steam ahead.  It moves relentlessly for the the last two thirds of it's duration until it slams to a jarring halt with one of the most horrific ending sequences in horror film history.

  I am glad that the folks at Dimension Extreme released this film a few years back, but I do have my scruples with the packaging (shown above) and the little or no promotional campaign.  The dvd cover art looks like a hurried photoshop project that makes Inside look like another vague but potentially gory slasher flick.  Inside definitely deserves better.  It has the potential to claim a spot in the annals of such slasher horror classics as Psycho, Peeping Tom, Dario Argento's giallos, Bill Lustig's Maniac, Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer...  So if the you are tired of the pandering PG-13 rated psuedo-horror, and teen sex comedies thinly veiled as slasher flicks, then do yourself a favor and give Inside a spin.  It's a true horror film made for true horror fans.

Fun Facts about Inside:

Inside is part of the new wave of extreme horror films from France.  Other notable titles include, Frontier(s), Calvaire: the Ordeal, Martyrs, Them, and High Tension.

Inside was Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo's first time in the director's chair.

Director, Jaume Balagueró of (REC), has mentioned interest in remaking Inside. 

Monday, October 17, 2011


  Welcome to the absolute most dire of cinematic dregs.  The lowest low in movie history.  The bottom of the barrel has rotted through, leaving the filmmakers of A Serbian Film, as well as it's audience, to burrow further into the soil beneath the barrel, like the flesh-hungry, corpse-feasting worms.  To what or where you might be asking yourself?  To the next level in a continual struggle in the horror film industry for the lowest common denominator?  To chip away at an already deteriorating moral core?  Or maybe, to simply flex political, artistic, and esoteric muscles to an increasingly apathetic world audience fed on the banal redundancy of PG-13 rated Hollywood horror, torture porn, remakes, and Saw sequels?

  Dear reader, do not take my acquiescing of a Serbian Film with being a new low point mortally literal.  Deconstruction and unlearning can be the fuel that furthers progress.  But, when discussing horror films or shock cinema, it's important to make clear the intent, and the very essence of what makes these films resonate.  The most effective horror films to date all seem to have one thing in common.  Horror films, like capacitors in electronics, are vehicles for resistance.  They are built to test the audience's limits in the realm of harrowing experience.  Invariably, it's a race back to our primal fears, our dark recesses.  Down the fabled rabbit hole to find a new lower end, to see just how much an audience can take.  A true horror film's merit should leave it's viewers shattered, then reborn with new perspectives.  Real horror films should act as a proverbial branch or sharp stone that in nature, would help us to slough off old dead skin or sharpen our claws, horns, and teeth.  As Wes Craven puts it, "horror films are the boot camp for the psyche.'

  Some horror films, especially the franchised contemporary lot, prefer to give the audience prerequisite information, holding the viewer's hand through a film's duration.  Others, like Night Of The Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, Last House On The Left, I Spit On your Grave, Cannibal Holocaust, leave the viewer naked, in a hopeless cannibalistic nightmare reality without the slightest reprieve.  Few films in horror cinema history have the gall to assault the viewer on so many levels as the above mentioned films.  These hard-edged horrors seem to only come around every few years, almost out of nowhere.  Independently crafted by unknown directors and casts who are hell-bent on lowering us into even darker territories.   Shattering expectations forever, or at least for a while.  With an almost calculable certainty, most contemporary critics will fervently pan and decry the intent of these types of films as being unethical, morally bankrupt, or even pornography.

  Ironically, or perhaps intentionally?  A Serbian Film's story revolves in the world of an aging ex porno actor, Milos, who is requested to star in a new experimental style of pornography.  Knowing that his age is starting to show and that he has a family to support, Milos takes the job in hopes of acquiring enough money to free himself and his family of financial burdens for the rest of their lives.  Unbeknownst to him, the movie that he is set to star in is planned to be the most realistically dehumanizing film project of all time.  The involvement with said project brings an unrelenting terror into his life that has never before been witnessed in horror film history.

  Without giving away much more than what the dvd and blu-ray distrubutors would in the synopsis portions of their packaging,  Just know that A Serbian Film is a true cinematic force.  To be quite honest, if you are not a seasoned veteran of shock cinema, you may want to build up a tolerance by watching some of the above mentioned shock classics.  Or maybe stay away from A Serbian film all together.  It's a heavily debated and detested film for a myriad of reasons and as such should be approached cautiously.  You can't just watch it.  It's not that easy. To say that you have "experienced" it, seems to be a more accurate description.    For someone to say that they "like" or "love" A Serbian Film doesn't seem to truly hold the films undeniable weight either.  It will rape, level, crush, and finally mark everyone who choses to stand in it's path.  Saying that you "fear" or "respect" A Serbian Film may be a more honest appraisal.

  So if you are up for a new, challenging, and ultimately nihilistic horror film experience, A Serbian film is your new high or low, depending on how you look at the philosophy and intent of the modern horror film. 

Fun Facts about A Serbian film:  There is nothing fun about A Serbian Film.