CiCi's horror reviews!

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Survivor 5s #2 Bitch
Hello everyone! It's great to meet you all, I just thought I'd set up a thread where I could leave some of my reviews (I recently started a blog where I review horror films, and maybe a few other cult films) and I would hugely appreciate any sort of feedback!

All reviews contain spoilers!

Already reviewed:
Page 1:
Deep Red

[REC]

Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

American Mary

I Spit on Your Grave (1978)


Page 2
28 Days Later

You're Next


Page 3
The Last House on the Left (1972)

28 Weeks Later

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls


Page 4
The Thing (1982)


Page 5
Martyrs


Page 7
The Loved Ones


Page 9
Let the Right One In


Page 10
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)


Page 11
Suspiria

Battle Royale


Page 12
In the Mood for Love

From Up on Poppy Hill


Page 13
Maniac (2012)

The Pact


Page 14
Children of Men


Page 15
Bram Stoker's Dracula


Page 18
Cannibal Holocaust


Page 19
Amer

Kill List


Page 20
Scream


Page 21
Farm House

Frontier(s)


Page 22
Opera (1987)

It Follows


Page 24
Ginger Snaps


Page 25
In Fear


Page 26
The Descent

The Human Centipede


Page 27
The Shining


Page 28
The Big Bird Cage


Page 29
Blade Runner


Page 30
Let Me In


Page 31
Hostel: Part 2



Survivor 5s #2 Bitch
The first one is of the original 1978 'I Spit on Your Grave' Enjoy!




Iím not sure how I came across this film, it probably popped up on the recommended bar on YouTube after I watched Wes Cravenís directorial debut The Last House on The Left (1972) which focuses on the often controversial narrative focus of ďrape and revengeĒ a plot device that was employed by a vast number of film makers in the 1970s and 80s. Nevertheless, when I clicked on the link, I donít think I was prepared for what I was about witness (bare in mind I think I was 14 when I first saw this!).

I Spit On Your Grave, like Last House, is a rape-and-revenge flick that follows the aspiring writer Jennifer Hills (played by Camille Keaton, pictured below) as she escapes the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle and flees to a secluded, rural haven, where she hopes that she will be able to complete her project in a tranquil and picturesque environment. Little does she know that a gang of local hill billies have sinister intentions that they enact on Jennifer not too long after her arrival. After capturing Jennifer whilst she is relaxing in a skimpy bikini, the four men subsequently beat, rape, fight, sodomise, humiliate, rape and then beat her up again and leave her to die. After being forced to to endure such horrific pain, Jennifer decides to exact her own revenge against each perpetrator, which she believes is befitting of the crimes they committed against her. Once she executes all of the men who wronged her, the credits begin to roll, with Jennifer sailing away from the scene with a look of indifference hung across her face.

Director Meir Zarchi made his directorial debut with this feature and itís quite obvious that he was working on a very tight budget. Consequently, this achieves some very mixed results, which does make it quite a hard film to rate. However:

Positives

It achieves what it sets out to do. Itís intention is to shock, and to display the true brutality and unpleasantness of sexual violence, something that mainstream films had either never done before, or they had approached the issue in a peculiar way (i.e. Clark Gable forcing himself on Vivien Leigh with the next shot showing an image of a sexually satisfied Leigh the following morning). Thatís going off topic a bit, but, yes, its depictions of rape are very bleak and do mirror the true nature of the crime, that inevitably leads for many uncomfortable viewing moments. In part, this is down to magnificent Camille Keaton who delivers a consistently impressive performance as the primary protagonist of the film. She displays quite a vast array of emotions and not once did I cringe at her acting, sadly though she never fulfilled her acting potential (in my opinion anyway) and her career stagnated afterwards. In fact, Iíd go as far to say that the credibility and merit of this film is held together by Camille. If Jennifer had been portrayed by a weaker actress, then what would have been left was a campy out take of rape and sexual violence against women that may have faded into obscurity (or eventually gather a cult following due its camp factor). Its avoidance of this, is largely due to the dedication, courage and commitment Camille placed into this role.

The film also contains no score, but according to the trivia on IMDb, Zarchi did try to find an appropriate score but he couldnít select anything that enhanced the effects he was trying to create, so in the end he decided to avoid using a score altogether. Personally, I believe this was the correct decision to make, for instead all we are left to hear are the screams of anguish released by Keaton and considering the ultra seriousness of the topic, it probably would been a little bit odd hearing a funky 70s score playing in the background, and the camp factor would have reached levels thankfully never seen before!

Technically, this film was released in the late seventies, yet, it didnít flourish under its original title Day of The Woman. It was actually under a 1980 re-release where it was released under the revised, and far more popular title. During this release, it was classified by feminists and prominent film critics alike as misogynistic and a glorification of violence against women. Interestingly, Roger Ebert called it ďthe worst film ever made.Ē They believed that it allowed male viewers to sympathise with the rapists, but as a male myself, I find this interpretation to be completely false. I would never condone rape or sexual violence in any way, shape or form. The film also takes a similarly firm stance, it allows us to hear the hill billies justifications for what they did, and anyone with even the smallest quantity of intelligence will be able to comprehend that these men are not to be identified with, for their reasons (she wore a dress, she wants our attention) our flimsy and outrageous.

I do believe that the more modern perceptions of this film are the more accurate ones. Former feminists who detested the film now acknowledge it to be a prime example of early feminism within the horror genre. The reason I agree with this, ultimately, is because Jennifer is an empowered woman and a multi-dimensional character. Weaker writers who attempt to create powerful females will create women who are sweet, admirable, intelligent, perceptive, benevolent etc. in other words, they create squeaky clean, cardboard cut outs who possess no flaws and therefore arenít accurate representations of women at all (a good example of this would be Jade Aldemir from the recent video game Dying Light). However, Jennifer is flawed, after she takes justice into her own hands and removes all of her enemies, we get the impression that Jennifer has become even more traumatised and broken than she was after her initial ordeal. Therefore, I believe Zarchi (who also acts as the filmís writer) is trying to make an anti-violence message, which I approve of to be honest.

However, Ebert and many other peopleís confusion over the true intentions of this filmís creation arenít totally out blown out of proportion, to see this film in the way they do isnít that hard to be honest, which leads us onto the:

Negatives

As mentioned several times in this review, this film was shot on a micro-budget. Therefore, pretty much every aspect of the film is diminished to an extent. For example, the cast. Asides from Camille Keaton (interestingly a distant relative of Buster Keaton) the male cast is pretty dire. Their screams of pleasure really go over the top at times and all of them with the exception of Eron Tabor (the ring leader, also the victim in the infamous bathtub scene) exaggerate their acting to quite an embarrassing degree. Iím fairly certain that if the Razzies had been around then, one or two them would have been serious contenders for the Worst Supporting Actor award.

Another one of Ebertís (many) complaints about this film was that it didnít posses a shred of artistic meritÖ and itís kind of true, being subtle is not a strong point of this film. But simultaneously, this works in Zarchiís favour in other ways (as mentioned above).

But despite everything this review has said, I find it hard to understand why this film was made or who it is meant to cater for. This isnít an enjoyable film whatsoever, although it is powerful and youíll be thinking about it long after the credits have finished. This film also holds the record for the longest rape scene in cinematic history (about 40 minutes) and it is extremely hard to endure, even for dedicated followers of horror like myself. Zarchi did state that he was inspired to make it after helping a young woman who had been the victim of a vicious gang rape and he is making a point in making this film. But maybe he could have done so in a different way perhaps? Either way, you will probably only ever watch this film once and I wouldn't recommend watching it for a first date!

Conclusion

It is a peculiar contribution to the horror genre, and for an exploitation film, it is pretty good actually. I liked its development and inclusion of one of the most complex and perplexing female characters that horror has ever seen, yet the poor acting, drawn out rape scenes and the overall depressing nature of the film leave me with quite mixed feelings. Therefore, Iíll reward this film a:




Interesting to see a movie review thread that starts with the original I Spit on Your Grave.



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
That's a very nice review, and I'd have to say I agree with what you have to say. It's a crappy, but effective movie. I've seen it many times, the first as a child at the drive-in, when my parents thought I was sleeping in the back seat. If I remember correctly, I fell asleep during Bronco Billy, and woke up when they went to the other screen. The movie you mentioned in the beginning, The Last House on the Left, is a huge favorite of mine. Maybe try to add pictures to your reviews, but otherwise that's a great start!



Survivor 5s #2 Bitch
That's a very nice review, and I'd have to say I agree with what you have to say. It's a crappy, but effective movie. I've seen it many times, the first as a child at the drive-in, when my parents thought I was sleeping in the back seat. If I remember correctly, I fell asleep during Bronco Billy, and woke up when they went to the other screen. The movie you mentioned in the beginning, The Last House on the Left, is a huge favorite of mine. Maybe try to add pictures to your reviews, but otherwise that's a great start!
I originally did have photos in it, but I don't have enough posts to include them and I can't link it to my blog which also includes images and posters and things! I like Last House too, it's definitely better than this, but, not by much (in my opinion anyway).
But thanks very much, I'm glad you liked it!



Survivor 5s #2 Bitch


The plot follows a bright medical student, Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle), who quickly resorts to stripping after her financial circumstances become desperate. Subsequently, Mary is led into the world of underground surgeries and modifications, leaving more marks on her than her so called freakish clientele.

Positives
When the Soska sisters wrote the script, they had always envisioned Katharine 'Katie' Isabelle to play the lead, and it's fairly obvious because the role allows Ms. Isabelle to display her talents and demonstrate how capable she is whilst never venturing out of her limitations, as few and far between as they may be. Without a doubt, she is the sole factor that elevates this film from being forgettable to being a notable piece of cinema. Like I said in my Ginger Snaps review, something that Isabelle always does brilliantly is underplay the more sinister aspects of her characters, she's subtle, and that makes her come across as blunt, harsh, and plain out cold. Yet she's equally as skilled in portraying the more ordinary, likeable traits that Mary starts out with, thus creating a well-rounded character with depth and authenticity, and as such, her descent from being the girl next door to murderous fiend is an apparent and effective transition, that's both heart-destroying and chilling to watch.

Nevertheless, she is supported by some of her co-stars, like Tristan Risk, who portrays a woman obsessed with Betty Boop and therefore undergoes a series of body modifications to become a living embodiment of the iconic character. Her mannerisms and particularly her squeaky, cartoonish voice create an instantly likeable and captivating character that is consistent throughout all of her scenes, yet this is something that becomes devastating later on when sheís brutally attacked and hysterically crying on the phone to Mary.

Yet Beatress Johnson, the name of Ms Riskís character, isnít the only figure of the body modification community to expel and dismiss stereotypes regarding them, which naturally leads on to the writing of Sylvia and Jennifer Soska. The tagline they used to promote the film was ďappearances are everythingĒ something that was inspired by the sisters own experience in the film industry, in which they encountered a series of ordinary looking figures who were anything but pleasant towards them, an experience that wasnít replicated when they encountered the body mod community, and I think they touch on something quite relevant really. In a heavily superficial and materialistic world, those who donít adhere to expectations are cast aside as ďfreaksĒ and inferior to those who do, and ďAmerican MaryísĒ exploration into the significance of appearances is one of its stronger, and more thought provoking elements. Essentially, the film starts off with Mary having little to no interest in how she appears, but as she begins to descend into depravity, she begins applying her makeup with almost surgical precision to emulate a sense of normalcy to the rest of the world when sheís struggling desperately on the inside. In fact, all of the filmís antagonists appear as ordinary people, whilst Maryís clients are far more sincere, charming, and benevolent figures who simply reflect on the exterior, what they feel in the interior. Basically, the film promotes the message of ďdonít judge a book by its coverĒ and it does so successfully. To be honest, Iím not sure why Iím discussing this at such great length, because itís one of a multitude of topics the film discusses really, but I think I just personally resonated with the sense of wanting to fit in and feeling one of the best ways to do that is via your appearance, therefore disguising any insecurities or flaws, which is exactly what the more villainous characters do here, and a lot of people in real life do as well.

However, the writing in general is very much above par. This is one of the most original horror films produced in this decade without a doubt, and whilst most modern horrors can easily be classified as slashers, torture porn etc. This one is distinctly different from all of those, yet it still manages to be as horrifying as any of the aforementioned genres. In part, this is additionally due to the direction of the duo. A lot of the surgery scenes are all implied, yet they still made me almost gag a couple of times and the dark lighting thatís used for the entire duration for the film effectively establishes and maintains a macabre atmosphere.

Negatives
The soundtrack was pretty dire, and that's fairly substantial for horror films, it's probably one of the vital elements that made Argento's films, Deep Red and Suspiria, so acclaimed and relevant. It largely consists of heavy metal pieces, that I'm not a fan of anyway, and it was a wasted opportunity to enhance what was occurring on screen.

There were also noticeable problems with the pacing, certain events felt rather forced, and the last act nearly fell a part in this regard. And although the ending was abrupt and kind of anti-climatic, it really was the most appropriate ending... and that scenario never should have arisen, because with whatever decision they chose probably would have been a bit mediocre.

Also, after almost a year after first seeing it, I still just don't get the title. The fact that Mary is American is not relevant whatsoever, and I see no obvious metaphor. I still think some along the lines of Ave Maria or Hail Mary would have been more fitting, and more striking too.

Another problem that you kind of can't help of noticing is the contrast being the talents of the actors. Tristan Risk, and particularly Katharine Isabelle, are superb and deliver their lines with conviction, clearly conveying their deep understanding of their characters and what each conversation could potentially lead to for them. This is simply not mirrored by the other cast members, and although some, like Paula Lindberg (Ruby Realgirl) are pretty okay, some others like Antonio Cupo (Billy something, basically the strip club owner) are fairly disposable and amateurish.

Conclusion
It's original, and it's refreshing to finally see women behind the camera, not just for horror, but in general, and if there's any inequality in the film industry, then it's this, and attention should be paid to it so it can be somewhat addressed, not the non-existent racial prejudices of the Academy. Anyway, moving away from that the film has a lot of charm to it, it's as if you can tell how much the sisters adore the craft of cinema.
It isn't perfect, it is flawed, yet American Mary always holds a place in my heart for being a terrific attempt at cinema that falls just short of being glorious. And finally, feminism is dealt with appropriately in a horror film, in fact, it's never been handled quite so proficiently.

And as a side note, this is what a good rape-and-revenge film looks like, in this regard it truly puts films like I Spit on Your Grave to absolute shame, it really pales in comparison.




Survivor 5s #2 Bitch
Today's review is of the Spanish horror flick [REC] I hope you all like it, and if you have any recommendations or anything like that, please let me know!




The found footage sub-genre is now, arguably, one of the most common forms that contemporary horror films manifest themselves in, for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, it is a very cost effective way of producing a film that can still generate a massive amount of revenue (as evidenced by The Blair Witch Project (1999) the forefather of the sub-genre that produced millions despite being shot on a tiny budget). Also, itís an efficient way of shooting scenes, due to the mobility of the equipment required, meaning filming can be a very brief process in such films. However, despite being extremely popular amongst film makers, a very small proportion of such films are able to emulate terror in a way reminiscent of perhaps more ďtraditionalĒ horror films. However, [REC] is most definitely not one of these films, and is amongst the greatest films that the sub-genre has produced.

The plot follows a TV presenter named Angela (played by Manuela Velasco) and her camera man, Pablo (portrayed by Pablo Rosso) who the audience shares a perspective with for the vast majority of the film. They have been instructed to follow a fire department in order to get a true perspective on their occupation and what they actually do. When the firemen receive a call informing them about an agitated old woman in her apartment, they rush to the scene, with the journalists accompanying them. Upon arriving at the scene, the woman attacks a police man and kills a fireman. In quick succession, the building is quarantined and the inhabitants of the building are told that they are not permitted to leave, and extreme measures will be taken if they attempt to escape. The victims of the old woman begin to re-animate and attack the survivors, causing panic and mayhem, and when health inspectors enter the building, they are swiftly killed off too. Eventually, we are left with Angela and Pablo, who escape into the penthouse, where it is revealed that the entire incident has been caused by religious motivations. Inside the penthouse, however, are a couple of infected, who kill Pablo, and, in the final scene, drag a distressed Angela away from the camera, into the darkness.

Despite the lengthy summary, the film clocks in at just over 70 minutes, which has mixed results. However:

Positives

The final 20 minutes are absolutely superb. It is extremely successful in causing fear and panic, and successfully manages to accurately portray the levels of panic and utter dread that the characters must be experiencing. Due the amount of people, and the little amount of room available, a sense of claustrophobia and entrapment is established and maintained from the start, but it is massively enhanced here, and knowing that there is a vicious killing machine just metres away from the camera and characters is petrifying, and creates a sense of hopelessness for the characters, that makes us pity them and sympathise with them hugely. In other words, the ending is hugely impacting, and you wonít be forgetting it in a hurry!

The main character, Angela, is so refreshing as well. She isnít dumb, she doesnít make silly mistakes, sheís very perceptive and influential and in terms of her personality, sheís quite abrasive and far from perfect. She is original, unlike so so many female protagonists of recent times in horror films. And although you probably would not wish to encounter her in real life, her refusal to be submissive to her fate and the secrecy of her peers is admirable. Furthermore, she doesnít need to prove her power via physical confrontations, for example, when she instructs Pablo to keep recording so that everyone can see how the government is treating them, he silently obeys, despite numerous objections from several parties. All in all, sheís a unique creation, and there isnít (in my opinion) a female heroine out there who is quite like her.

Her actress, Manuela Velasco, is extremely good in conveying all of these qualities, which isnít an easy task at all, considering she had to improvise in certain scenes (i.e. the fireman falling scene). She received an array of acting accolades for this role, and she thoroughly earned each and every one of them, for her performance was by far the best one that this film showed to us. Nevertheless, the supporting cast are good too, but thereís not a lot of distinction between them, they did what they had to do, and they all did it to a high standard. The acting in this film really was commendable. However:

Negatives

The supporting characters do not have that much depth to them at all, they are each given a sentence or so as a back story (doctor, immigrant, grieving mother, casual racists, a bit senile etc.) but theyíre not very interesting, and as such, you donít really feel anything when they are eventually killed. A part of me thinks that maybe the film should have spent more time developing these characters, but another part of me thinks that this would have removed the authenticity of the film, because everything was happening at such a quick rate that itís hard to comprehend what is occurring at times and spending an extra 20 minutes developing these characters who have had a negative impact on the fluidity and pacing of the film and would have made the characters reactions less believable. So although itís a bit of a bummer, itís only a slight inconvenience.

However, despite having such a short running time, the first 50 minutes or so are extremely slow, and with an exception of a couple of minutes here and there, not a great deal happens at all, I was checking my clock after a while because it was hard to maintain interest. However, the final 20 minutes will reward you for the wait, and more than make up for that inconvenience.

Conclusion

Overall, I found this film to just about live up to its reputation. The good performances, effective choice of using ďfound footageĒ and the unforgettable ending make this film great. There are slight annoyances as mentioned previously, yet they are massively outweighed by the positives. So therefore, Iíll give this film:




I liked [REC] . Thought it was a very effective at scaring the audience just by the use of their imaginations.
thanks for the reviews



Survivor 5s #2 Bitch
I liked [REC] . Thought it was a very effective at scaring the audience just by the use of their imaginations.
thanks for the reviews
That scene where they look down the staircase and they're all looking back at them was purely terrifying!
I also noticed In the Mood For Love is in your top ten, so I feel like we're going to get along amazingly XD



Survivor 5s #2 Bitch
ah In The Mood For Love, now you're talking - what a film
I'm going to watch it again tonight now, Maggie Cheung's performance gets me every single time



Survivor 5s #2 Bitch
My first Argento review it's of the 1975 giallo, Deep Red, enjoy!




The giallo sub-genre is quite a peculiar section of horror, that focuses and concentrates on mystery and suspense just as much as it focuses on the horror elements that composes its narrative. In fact, unlike traditional horror films that introduce a situation that allows the events they feature to be mildly plausible, the giallo sub-genre frequently places a gargantuan emphasis on their plots, that perhaps defies the more stereotypical views on the writing of horror films. But featuring the iconic black-gloved killer and gorgeous female victims, it was a sub-genre that horror icons Mario Bava and Dario Argento heavily contributed to, with Argentoís very own Deep Red frequently being cited as being amongst the best films that the sub-genre had to offer. (I refer to it in the past tense, because sadly, the sub-genre has more or less died out)

The plot follows an English Jazz pianist, Marcus Daly (David Hemmings) living in Rome. After visiting his alcoholic friend, Carlo, (Gabriele Lavia) Marcus then witnesses the brutal murder of prominent psychic, Helga Ullman (Macha Meril). After being questioned by the police and the enigmatic Gianni Brezzi (Daria Nicolodi) Marcus finds himself targeted by the killer, forcing him to discover their identity, before they gain the opportunity to kill him. Whilst doing so, he begins a liaison of sorts with Gianni, who wishes to assist him for occupational purposes, however he rebuffs her, claiming that men are superior to women, making her assistance futile and unnecessary. Marcus then uncovers various links, but every time he decides to meet someone in order to further his progress, they are killed by the person who is determined to get rid of Marcus. After a close encounter with the killer, Marcus notices that a song of a child singing plays each time the killer arrives, and making this connection, his investigation begins gaining momentum and after accepting the help of Gianni, they go to a school where, after finding a piece of incriminating evidence, assume Carlo is the killer. However, they do not realise that Carlo is present with them, and in a frenzied panic, he stabs Gianni before attempting to escape, however he is unsuccessful and is subsequently killed by a truck. Marcus then believes that his ordeal is over, but then he notices that Carlo was with him when the first murder occurred and after confronting the killer a final time, it turns out be Carloís mother, Martha (Clara Calamai) who is beheaded by an elevator after a brief confrontation with Marcus. The credits the begin to roll, with Marcus staring in a pool of blood.

This is only a very brief summary of the film, for the plot is far more extensive and covers a broad range of issues that I havenít been able to cover in order to maintain some sort of brevity. Nevertheless, its reputation is most definitely deserved, and hereís why!

Positives

The plot. It has to be one of the best and most enticing and captivating plots horror has probably ever seen, and featuring an array of unique and interesting characters, you canít help but be invested in Marcusí struggle and your curiosity as to who is the sadistic, knife wielding killer, will be piquing. However, not only is the plot itself incredibly strong, but the dialogue and character development are all extremely strong as well (quite an astonishing accomplishment considering Argentoís English dubs are usually mediocre at best). Not once was there a cardboard cut-out or over used stereotype that we had all seen before either, these characters felt genuine and real and are accurate representations of the more quirky characters we find in our societies. Additionally, even though she is utterly insane, you canít help but pity Martha somewhat, for the circumstances that drove her to commit her first murder were rather sad (her husband decided that she could no longer pursue acting, something she very obviously devoted her life too, leaving her trapped, isolated and totally despaired) and pitying a killer is an incredibly hard thing to do indeed, with very few films successfully managing to do so, so Argento did something quite rare I feel with Martha.

Developing on this somewhat, Deep Red covers a broad range of issues stretching across our societies. It tackles the issue misogyny and feminism, with the female characters often demonstrating themselves to be just as worthy, competitive and terrifying as their male counterparts, both physically (Martha) and verbally (Gianni). Also, being gay myself, it was quite satisfying to see an LGBT character who wasnít defined by his sexuality, as is the case even in modern times sadly. Argento really was quite ahead of his time in consideration with these issues, and he was praised for it, and rightfully so too.

Argento is known for his leading ladies as well, and this film is no exception. The acting by Daria Nicolodi (his partner for a decade and mother of his second child, Asia) is astounding, and she truly steals every scene she is in, probably due to how she manages to embody Gianniís hyperactivity, sexual allure, fascination, frustration and more or less any emotion in a diverging way, relying on her physical mannerisms just as much, if not more than, her voice. Clara Calamai (who came out of retirement to appear in this and is pictured below) is pretty good too, and she manages to define Martha as an eccentric matriarch without over-acting or over-emphasising her psychotic nature and itís quite easy to see why she was one of Italyís most treasured actresses (besides being the first Italian woman to go topless in mainstream cinema).

Argento is also known for his reliance on soundtracks in order to reflect the nature and ambiance of his films, and Deep Red features one of his finest scores that fits the majority of the scenes that the music (composed by Goblin, also the composers of Suspiria) is paired with. His moving camera angles are also a nice touch, for viewing a film through a static camera is something that any movie-goer has become de-sensitised to, so featuring a moving camera in the more slow scenes makes for a nice change, that also allows the viewer to search for anything that may link to the killer (Argento uses mise-en-scene in this to great effect in relation to the identity of Martha) that was also a great addition to the film. Nevertheless, there are still some:

Negatives

At times I felt the soundtrack was too funky or inappropriate. For example, when David rushes to Helgaís apartment, this cheery piano tune starts playing, that creates an unusual and perplexing juxtaposition that just feels wrong, considering a woman is being butchered whilst this is going on.

The acting by the leading men wasnít too great either. David Hemmings didnít show too much range to be honest, and had no real presence, being shadowed or upstaged by more or less any other member of the cast. Gabriele Lavia, who plays the alcoholic Carlo, is pretty cringe-worthy in his idea of what being drunk entails, he over acts a large proportion of his scenes to quite a large extent and is quite off-putting really.

Also, the main character, Marcus, has more or less no redeemable qualities. He finds rape jokes amusing, is hugely sexist, and is one of the most boring leading characters Argento has ever created. To be perfectly honest, I kind of wanted him to die and even at the end, we donít get the impression that Marcus has changed his views on women at all.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, this is one of Italyís finest contributions to horror and there have been many, so Argento did himself proud with this film. With the interesting choice of camera angles and mise-en-scene to create a nightmarish atmosphere (if you look in the bars behind Marcus, there is minimal amount of movement, as if the patrons are mannequins) alongside an astounding female cast that tackles numerous of issues that wouldnít be brought to the forefront of societies for decades, this is an amazing film, despite some weak acting here and there. Therefore, Iíll give this film




Survivor 5s #2 Bitch
My first ever non-horror review! I still hope you all enjoy it though, it's of the cult, Russ Meyer, 1965 film Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!



I have no idea how I stumbled across Russ Meyer, I think I saw the poster for this film on the recommended section on IMDb and I was immediately captivated by it, so I began searching frantically and I eventually found it. Iím so glad I did though, it truly is like nothing I have ever seen before, but in a peculiar and fascinating way though!

The plot follows three strippers, Rosie (Haji), Billie (Lori Williams) and the leader of the girl gang, Varla (Tura Satana) as they spontaneously flee to the desert. The women are very impulsive, they randomly rush into streams and get into fights with one another over tedious details. However, upon their journey, they encounter a boy racer named Tommy (Ray Barlow) and his bikini-clad girlfriend, Linda (Sue Bernard) however they immediately clash and Tommy and Varla engage in a fight to the death, with Varla snapping his neck with ease. They then kidnap a hysterical Linda and flee to a nearby town. There, they learn that a misogynistic old man is storing a large quantity of money somewhere in the desert, and the girls hatch a plan to steal it, whilst keeping Linda hostage. Varla begins seducing the manís eldest son, Kirk (Paul Trinka) in order to attain any details as to where the cash could potentially be stored. However, when they begin questioning the circumstances regarding Lindaís presence, all hell breaks loose. Linda attempts to escape but is caught by the manís youngest, and mentally challenged son, simply named The Vegetable (Dennis Busch) who begins preparing to sexually assault her. However, Kirk prevents him from doing so and he and Linda flee on foot. Varla, knowing her capture is imminent, wishes to kill all the men and Linda to cover their tracks. Billie objects, so Varla swiftly kills her. Simultaneously, The Vegetable viciously kills Rosie who was Varlaís lover, so as an act of revenge, Varla runs him over before catching up to Linda and Kirk. There, she begins fighting Kirk, and is on the verge of killing him before Linda runs her over in Varlaís own car, resulting in the conclusion of the film.

As per usual, I had to exclude certain details in order to maintain a sort of brevity, but Iíll attempt to cover them as best I can!

Positives

The writing is actually quite impressive, considering it was written within a few days. In particular, the dialogue is astounding, and it has to be the most quotable film I have ever seen, and I was laughing on a very frequent basis, but thatís probably because I enjoy sexual innuendoes and double entendres, and this film is full of them, as is any Russ Meyer film. This is heavily dependent on personal preferences, but, when comedies today are quite insulting to the viewerís intelligence and possess not an ounce of subtlety, I really enjoyed and appreciated Meyerís approach to comedy.

The deliverance of such lines and scenes are done very well by certain members of the cast. In particular, Lori Williams (who was only 19 during filming) and Tura Satana. They manage to perform both dramatic and comedic scenes with an equal amount of skill, and they excel at both, consequently heavily contributing to the overall merit and credibility of them film, with Turaís performance and imagery eventually becoming iconic within cult films. Yet Meyer would cast neither one of them again, sadly.

To see a film made in the mid sixties that features an array of powerful female characters that have absolutely no tolerance for any form of abuse produced by their male contemporaries was a positive and enlightening experience, and it was delightful to witness it. Additionally, all of the women are shown to have flaws as well, so in other words, they are accurate and effective representations of women, showing, that like any man, women can be immensely powerful despite inevitably containing some flaws as well. And it seems a bit of an anachronism, in that it was very ahead of its time in regard to feminism within the action genre, with Varla potentially being the first ever female lead in an action film (being made 3 years prior to Barbarella). So Meyer is to be commended for that, however, he oddly never repeated these qualities and messages throughout his expansive career, something that Tura Satana herself picked up upon in a later interview.

Negatives

Meyerís fascination and obsession with the female/Amazon physique that he admired doesnít pay him too many favours here. For although two of his female leads can act, the other two couldnít act their way out of a paper bag. Haji has no range whatsoever, and this was massively emphasised in her scenes with Lori and Tura, because the difference in skill is strikingly apparent throughout the duration of the film. Sue Bernard is so annoying and whiny as well, I actually kind of wanted the women to finish her off because she is unbearable and so cringe-worthy, yet, she was 17 in one of her first ever roles when she filmed this so I feel a bit bad, but nonetheless, Lori was only 2 years older and like Sue, this was her first (and only) expansive role and there are an array of adolescent actors who excel at acting, both past and present. Nevertheless, Meyer was working on a minimal budget, so selecting a cast must have been extremely difficult, so I can forgive them both slightly. The male cast are slightly better, if not a little amateurish, but they are satisfactory enough and their performances are only elevated when acting alongside Sue or Haji.

The ending felt very very rushed though, and you can tell a mile off that the writers were making the events up as they went along, in the end, it just about works and it is entertaining. However, we donít find out why the women have fled to the desert or anything about their backgrounds, and for such interesting and enchanting characters, this was a bit of a let down. The only characters they developed were the trio of men, and they were never interesting, especially next to such innovative female characters, so I just didnít care why the old man hated women or why they live in a totally isolated environment. Overall, the film has a short running time (about 83 minutes) so I feel as though Meyer could have afforded to have developed the history of his characters without boring audiences.

Meyerís direction had room for improvement too, especially during the fight scenes. They are dragged out and a lot of the time, it just involved Varla rolling around the desert with one of her opponents, which got repetitive and dull after a while.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, this is Meyerís greatest production, that featured characters so intriguing, that despite their negative aspects, we couldnít help but be invested in their efforts to trick a diverse range of male characters, both good and bad. To see an action film featuring a female lead (something that was rarely repeated until just recently) was a spectacular touch, and with witty dialogue and exciting (if a little prolonged) action sequences throughout, this is a underrated film that deserves more praise than it usually receives. Nevertheless, some of the actors are pretty dreadful and would have been piling up the Razzies had they existed in the sixties, but all of the films flaws are really only slight annoyances that donít heavily diminish the merit of the film. Therefore, Iíll give this film




cricket's Avatar
Registered User
I agree with your reviews of American Mary and Faster Pussycat. I didn't quite like Rec as much as you, but I did like it, and I didn't care for Deep Red as I just don't think I like giallo.

Good work!!



Survivor 5s #2 Bitch
I should probably mention as well, if you have any recommendations for anything you'd like to see, please just let me know! It's actually much harder to to choose films than I first thought!



Survivor 5s #2 Bitch
I agree with your reviews of American Mary and Faster Pussycat. I didn't quite like Rec as much as you, but I did like it, and I didn't care for Deep Red as I just don't think I like giallo.

Good work!!
Giallo is definitely not for everyone, so if you didn't like Deep Red, I'd avoid the genre also, I forgot to mention, I was reviewing the uncut version of Deep Red (but it wasn't much better than the cut one to be honest)

And thanks for letting me know what you thought about them too, it means so much! I'm really glad you like them!



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
I should probably mention as well, if you have any recommendations for anything you'd like to see, please just let me know! It's actually much harder to to choose films than I first thought!
As far as I'm concerned, your picking good movies to watch and review.