Archive for the Lost Classics Category

Dr. Giggles (1992)

Posted in Lost Classics on November 8, 2009 by jamesdunn81

dr-giggles-horror-movie-posterOkay sure, it’s incredibly cheesy, campy and full of overused slasher clichés. But damn it, I still love Dr Giggles. Always have, since its short theatre run in 1992, and always will. There’s something truly special about this underrated, yet entertaining gem, even if the story is all too familiar.

We begin our tale as Doctor (though his actual medical education as well as ethics are highly questionable) Evan Rendell Jr., the son of an infamous serial killer doctor, escapes from a mental institution to make his way back to his home town Moorheigh (pronounced more high, gotta love teen slasher movie humor) to avenge his father’s death at the hands of an angry lynch mob years before.

Played to absolute maniacal perfection by veteran actor Larry Drake, Dr Rendell is perhaps the funniest horror villain I have ever seen, touting hilarious medical tinged tongue-in-cheek hokey horror quips throughout the entire duration of the film. Here are some examples:

1. Before cutting a horny teen’s private area, he says ‘I hope you have protection’

2. He tells an arresting cop ‘have a heart’ before chucking one at him

3. He says ‘time to do what doctors do best’ before grabbing a golf club to bash someone with.Dr giggles mouth

As for many horror films made before the year 2000, Dr. Giggles follows the nightmare structure (aptly named because it turns everyday situations and people into brutal killers, delivering the viewer the nightmare question of, “what if that happens to me?”).

Dr. GigglesWith flicks like these, I love that you can watch them alone or with people and they are still awesome to watch. Movies that don’t take them selfs so serious are hard to come by these days in the genre. Everything seems to be based on either real life events, found footage type films or inspired by actually events. I long for the time when movies can go back to being fun. But for right now, I’ll just re watch Dr. Giggles….again.


High Tension aka Switchblade Romance (2003)

Posted in Lost Classics on November 2, 2009 by jamesdunn81

High Tension posterPeople can be killed in a variety of ways. People can be stabbed, people can be shot, people can be beaten, and if any of these things happen to a person then that person is likely to die. There are some murderers, though, who are not satisfied with the flimsy guarantees such methods provide, killers such as “The Killer” featured in High Tension. Call it dedication, call it professionalism, call it insanity but The Killer is willing to go to great lengths to ensure that his intended victim has flat-lined. If a person was to find that they were being skull fucked by The Killer, even after having been beheaded, then said person could at least rest assured that The Killer would only be displaying an admirable commitment to his cause, after all, said decapitated individual could be playing dead… what kind of homicidal maniac wouldn’t take the time to check?

High Tension is everything the title implies, from the opening shots a sense of dread pervades the film and after The Killer makes his entrance the tension rockets to almost unbearable levels, fuelled by the constant threat of extreme violence. After witnessing the brutal murder of her best friend Alexia’s family, Marie plays an extended game of cat and mouse with The Killer. She sneaks around the converted farmhouse hoping to evade the killer and summon rescue. High Tension 3The Killer though, has every intention of placing a chained Alexia into the back of his truck so that he might enjoy some quality time with her in more comfortable surroundings and so the chase begins. Throughout the film the cinematography, music and performances all contribute towards making High Tension the blood soaked, visceral experience it no doubt intends to be and it is easy to imagine watching the whole film without taking a breath… it is just so intense.

High Tension 2I actually saw this flick in theaters back when it was released on Valentines Day, I think the whole gimmick of the movie being billed as a slasher love story was stupid, but I was just glad I was able to see it in theaters. It’s actually of  a handfull of movies that I have seen bootleged then watched them in the theater, but after reading about it I just had to watch it anyway I could, I know you guys understand.

The movie opens with a horrifically scarred Marie (Cécile de France) narrating what has happened onto tape, and allowing an early glimpse of the killer, a murderously psychotic hick rapist (Philippe ‘Seul Contre Tous’ Nahon), receiving head in his truck from a head that is severed, it is clear that ‘Switchblade Romance’ is going to conform to that favourite slasher sub-genre of the seventies, the ‘survivor film’ (think Tobe Hooper’s ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ or Wes Craven’s ‘The Hills Have Eyes’), where the emphasis is not on identifying the killer so much as on simply outrunning, outwitting and outliving him. High Tension 4When this madman mercilessly slaughters the entire family of Marie’s friend Alex (Maïwenn Le Besco), and throws Alex herself, bound and gagged, into the back of his pick-up, he draws the resourceful Marie into a bloody game of cat-and-mouse from which only one of them can emerge alive except that, along the film’s rural by ways and backwoods, director and co writer Alexandre Aja has laid a trap for the unwary viewer which takes ‘Switchblade Romance’ from survivalist shocker to a nightmare of an altogether different kind.

Inside (À l’intérieur) 2007

Posted in Lost Classics on October 29, 2009 by jamesdunn81

inside posterInside (À l’intérieur) is one of the most exciting, disgusting, provocative and original horror movies ever penned and put on the movie screen. Never will a viewer’s hand come up to their mouths or eyes more than when viewing Inside. The first time I saw this film was at Horrorhound Weekend here in Indiana, as part of the film festival presented by There I sat in a room full of horror fans who had seen just about everything there was to be seen. After the film was finished, everyone got up speechless and quietly left the room, we were all left horrified as to what we just witnessed.

Inside’s gruesomeness is akin to the remake of The Hills Have Eyes’ infamous “Trailer Scene” multiplied and sustained throughout Inside’s entire last two acts. In many sick avenues, it actually trumps the “Trailer Scene”. Writer/director Alexandre Bustillo and director Julien Maury should be given whatever horror award is applicable for going into the outer reaches of taste and on screen morality, destroying convention and horror compliancy in their wake. The viewer will constantly be surprised by the exquisite, extreme level of violence and squirm gore that would make any gorehound or reader of the popular Eyeball magazine cringe. There are one or two moments in The Devils Rejects where the viewer may think of the worst thing that could happen and then they actually see it happen on screen. In Inside, the viewer, possessing a creative (or demented) mind, will undoubtedly have this occur to them multiple times. This is especially the case because of the film’s pregnant protagonist Sarah (Alysson Paradis). Inside saraThere are many things the viewer may think will not, could not happen to Sarah because of the baby in her belly. They all happen and then some. The antagonist, La Femme (Beatrice Dalle), acts as though she could careless that Sarah is pregnant and going to give birth the very next day. As it turns out, La Femme cares a great deal.La Femm

Alexandre Bustillo’s Inside is one of the most devastating and disturbing horror movies every made. It sits towards the top of the horror tower peaked by The Exorcist, cradling unimaginable sequences most films stay away from and never approach. With that said, thats why us here at Murder Legendre love this film, and in our hearts and the hearts of man others this film in an instant classic. You have been warned, enjoy!

Rojo Sangre (2004)

Posted in Lost Classics on October 26, 2009 by jamesdunn81

rojo sangreFor those not in the know, Paul Naschy (screen name of actor Jacinto Molina) is a veritable icon of horror movies. Referred to affectionately as “The Wolfman of Spain” by his legion of fans, Naschy has appeared in more films than I can count (a ton of which I still haven’t seen). He is best known, however, for his recurring character of Waldemar Daninsky, a Spanish werewolf who manages to die at the end of every film yet somehow come back for another outing (kinda like our own slasher icons). Naschy was a king from the late ’60s to the mid 1980s, and then his advancing age, the fickle tastes of filmgoers, and a relative downturn in the popularity of the genre in general left him looking for work.

Rojo Sangre, which Naschy wrote under his real name, is a loosely autobiographical tale about the actor, once so famous and loved, who finds himself ignored, forgotten, and unappreciated by modern audiences. He ends up finding a job outside a high end brothel. Mr. Reficul (the man who owns the brothel) needs an actor to act as a human statue in the guise of famous historical villains such as Jack the Ripper, Rasputin, Ivan the Terrible, etc. From here on he has trouble understanding what is real and imaginary. This is probably one of the better foreign horror films I have seen in a while. Both Karen and I got drawn in fairly quickly and it had us the rest of the film.

rojo sangre 2The story reveals each twist and turn one by one, leading the viewer deeper and deeper into the story and each of the characters. The director, Christian Molina, does a wonderful job as setting up an unsettling atmosphere and building suspense throughout the story. The film itself is beautifully shot. The colorful interiors contrast with the dull, grey city streets, giving the film a sense of containing two different worlds. The lighting is wonderful and the colors evoke a sense of earlier Dario Argento films. Red is used very effectively throughout the film. The script is very well written by Paul Naschy himself, under his real name, Jacinto Molina. It seems that he has an ax to grind with the film industry! There is some clever and hilarious dialogue throughout, such as the opening scene showing Pablo talking to a fellow older actor about a strange stress reliever he uses.rojo sangre 4

The gore is adequate, but not over the top. This is more a film about focusing on the character of Pablo than anything else, though, so gore isn’t a big focus here. There is one scene in particular were we see the aftermath of one of Pablo’s attacks that is pretty grisly! In addition, we get stabbings, throat slashings, a torture scene in which a girl is strung up and beaten on film, shootings and the handy use of some Japanese blades.

Rojo Sangre is a stylish film, different from the typical hack and slash horror films and it entertained me through and through. While it wasn’t scary, it was still suspenseful and it was very interesting to see where the story went. I was impressed with Rojo Sangre’s gorgeous style, the performances of the actors and the original story. After viewing this film, I am looking forward to checking out more films from Naschy’s repertoire and more horror films from Spain.

Rojo Sangre – Trailer

Trick R Treat (2007)

Posted in Lost Classics on October 25, 2009 by jamesdunn81

Trick r TreatEvery once and awhile you stumble across a movie that is absolutely amazing. This film is very much going to be revisited every Oct 1st and Halloween night, its that damn good. Even though this film is still fairly new, it’s already a coveted classic. From story telling, visuals, and acting it keeps you entertained and interested in whats happening. Trick ‘r Treat is nothing short of those, and Karen and I are glad that it has finally been released.

Trick ‘r Treat brings us four different stories that are all intertwined in some way. Within the small town where the story takes place, Halloween is a big thing. It seems like all of the towns people celebrate and have their own Halloween traditions and beliefs. However, breaking or even disrespecting those traditions can result in some deadly consequences.

The four stories within this movie are so very interesting that each one could probably carry its own movie. Michael Dougherty (Writer & Director) did an amazing job at keeping them long enough that your get the point, but also conveying the affects of the actions for the people involved.School Bus

Each story (”The Principal,” “The School Bus Massacre Revisited,” “Surprise Party,” and “Meet Sam”) carries its own twist. From murder, toying with the special needs and dead, and breaking a simple Halloween tradition all carry consequences and they will eventually come back to haunt you.

It is honestly hard to try and pick a favorite out of the four because each one is different. They all express different aspects of Halloween that everyone has been told or even experienced once.

SamI will say that Dylan Baker’s character of Principal Wilkins was one of my favorites. Also, Anna Paquin and Brian Cox’s carried their characters and stories. Oh, and I can not forget about Sam and after watching this film you won’t forget him either.

Trick ‘r Treat is a great way to get into the spirit of Halloween and maybe have you stick to tradition because you don’t want that little footed pajama sack head wearing kid showing up on your door. It will also make you second guess the candy you get from Trick ‘r Treating and if you run into a stranger that night.

Mark of the Devil (1970)

Posted in Lost Classics on October 14, 2009 by jamesdunn81

markofthedevilWitch hunting is a topic made in exploitation heaven. Not only do you have the opportunity for extended sequences of mutilation. (usually female, per grindhouse orders) Cecil B. DeMille no doubt smiles down upon the films that engage in such hypocrisy, and it’s easy to see Michael Armstrong’s Mark of the Devil showing favor with him, with it being both horrible tortures and condemnation of horrible tortures. Yet for all its terrible, pioneering gore, what sticks are the film’s scenes of various witchfinders standing around debating the viability of the practice, which somehow manage to take the curse off the whole sleazy film.

Mark of the Devil 2Our time frame is the 18th century, our place somewhere in Europe. Count Christian von Meruh (the awesome Udo Kier) arrives in town to deal with allegations of witch activity and doesn’t like what he sees. Local inquisitor/illiterate turd Albino  has been blackmailing the women for their sexual favours, sending those who resist to be tortured and burned, a situation that chills the soul. He naturally appeals to the authority of his mentor, Count Cumberland , a man he sees with fairness and mercy, but that’s before he falls for Vanessa. She, despite being set up by Albino, sets up no pity in Cumberland, and thus the stage is set for a disillusionment of epic proportions, to say nothing of the burnings. And the stretchings. And the gougings.markofdevil1

The film is justly famous for its “realistic” gore, including a tongue pulling, immortalized on the cover art of Blue Underground’s DVD reissue, worthy of Herschell Gordon Lewis. Mark of the Devil remains frighteningly true to its convictions, down to a fittingly moking ending that shows the pervasiveness of how they see things and how doing the right thing won’t always keep you alive. Not bad for something that bills itself as “positively the most horrifying film ever made!”

Calvaire (2004)

Posted in Lost Classics on October 13, 2009 by jamesdunn81

Calvaire posterFrench horror movies are becoming more of a natural occurance these days. After “High Tension”, the next big French horror flick to be released comes from Fabrice Du Welz called Calvaire. Calvaire has an opera singer named Marc on his way to a Christmas job and as fate would have it, his car breaks down on him. Lucky for him, he meets a man who guides him to a nearby motel run by a man named Paul Bartel. Marc decides to stay there until he can get his car fixed but Bartel little to Marc’s knowledge…has other plans for him. And thus begins a french version of “Deliverance” mixed with a bit of “Wrong Turn”. Calvaire is really nothing new if you’re american, but if you’re not american or not an avid watcher of horror movies…you might just find this film shocking and disturbing. I personally found it very disturbing…but when you dissect this movie, it’s just another unlucky person stranded in rural territory with nutty rural people type of horror film. Of course Hollywood has made plenty of these movies before, but Calvaire sort of reverses things a bit.

hair cutInstead of grossing us out with an abundance of blood, butchering, and torture…the movie more so tries to mentally disturb with images of utter weirdness all the while playing with very stomach turning subjects such as beastiality and twisted sexual acts. This kind of madness would happen to any poor soul who happened to be unlucky enough to get stuck in rural West Virginia or Mississippi…but Calvaire wants us to believe the subject matter is something new and inventive, in some ways it is, it’s also a strange homage to other films that spins into its own warped weirdness, but it is the type of film that will reward multiple viewings. It’s the unexpected creepfest that’s beautifully realized, unsettling to watch, and invites discussion and thought when it’s over.almost over

Calvaire can be compared to the classic horror film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the similarities between them are many. But, The Ordeal makes this genre film of an innocent being thrust into a place of evil its own with its strange and bizarre locals and the titlular ordeal that Marc must endure. Definitely not for the squeamish or faint at heart.