A scary thing happened on the way to the Movie Forums - Horrorcrammers

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I've added it to the docket.

Have you seen The Onion Field? I'd not even heard of it (bad title holds it back, I think) but he and the movie blew me away. I'd place it alongside Casino, Videodrome and Hercules as peak Woods.
I saw it back in the 80s but not since.



Guys, so many quality James Woods spasgasms: Against All Odds, Best Seller, Cop, The Boost, Diggstown. It's like the 80s were meant for him. He's slippery as an eel, twice as electric, just as vicious.
Cop and Diggstown are definitely prime Woods.
I've been a fan of both for decades. I probably prefer Diggstown as it's a more fun film but Cop is just like "what if we just hired James Woods and threw some kinda story around that?"



You may be embarrassingly wrong about Halloween Resurrection being better than Halloween Kills, but you're right on the money here.
Nice try, but endorsement of this opinion means you automatically agree with all my others. It's in the fine print.



Nice try, but endorsement of this opinion means you automatically agree with all my others. It's in the fine print.
Halloween Resurrection, Passion of Joan of Arc, Microwave Massacre, lots of great ones to pick from.



Any thoughts on the 70s Axe?

So far (about 30 minutes in) it's been a real muddle. Their tormenting of the young woman at the grocery store generated a bit of tension/discomfort, but aside from that . . .



Any thoughts on the 70s Axe?

So far (about 30 minutes in) it's been a real muddle. Their tormenting of the young woman at the grocery store generated a bit of tension/discomfort, but aside from that . . .
I'm a fan. It's a bit disjointed but I think that adds up to some real dread by the end.


The director's followup, Kidnapped Coed AKA The Kidnap Lover AKA Date with a Kidnapper, is a more assured piece of work and features one of the same actors. Also of interest (assuming you enjoyed the above) is Bloody Brothers, a cut that combines the two.


I wrote about all three in my thread earlier, let me repost down below.


Friedelmania!



I recently watched I Drink Your Blood, and while it was far from the most graphic thing I've ever seen, I can understand why, with its forceful delivery of its exploitative elements, it ended up on the Video Nasties list. In contrast, Frederick R. Friedel's Axe feels like the furthest thing from the other film's blatant provocation. There are graphic elements, for sure, but the movie stumbles into them with an almost childlike nonchalance, which likely reflects the headspace of the protagonist, a young woman with the mind of a child who cares for her elderly, disabled grandfather. Their simple existence is interrupted by a trio of criminals looking for a quiet place to hide out, but given their respective capacities for violence (the criminals having just committed a murder, the heroine seen robotically killing chickens), the situation deteriorates quickly. The movie runs under seventy minutes, but Friedel's direction opts for a slow burn, preferring to build tension through what the characters do with their hands (fiddling with cigars, trimming their nails, reaching for a straight razor). His visual approach is disjointed (a scene where the heroine contemplates how to use her razor is spliced together from a jagged assemblage of angles), which only enhances the sense of claustrophobia, and he gets a jolt out of the way the candy red hue of the blood contrasts with the earthy tones of the rest of the movie. (This contrast is anticipated by the opening titles, with flowery, elegant text announcing the names of the actors followed by the crude, angular font announcing the title.) And lest one think this is a completely humourless enterprise, Friedel gets in a ketchup-blood gag, which he later echoes in one of the film's most disturbing moments.

Jack Canon, who played one of the criminals in Axe, returns in Friedel's followup, Kidnapped Coed. Like that movie, the title sounds more salacious than the actual movie. Here Canon plays a man who kidnaps an heiress to hold her for ransom, but pretty soon his plan goes sideways and they end up falling in love. Like Axe, this also is not devoid of exploitative elements, but once it gets them out of the way in an unpleasant yet effective early scene, it settles into the rhythms of a road movie, with Canon and the heroine slowly forming a bond, a relationship that feels natural thanks to Friedel's willingness to hold on quieter moments. There's also an absurdist streak at play, with the heroes encountering bizarre or hostile locals at seemingly every turn (a kid who flips them off unprovoked, a birdwatching group that nearly finds their hideout, a retired sheriff who comes at them with a pitchfork). It feels cliched to make comparisons to certain auteurs ("Lynchian" is so overused as to lose all meaning), but you get the sense that Friedel drew inspiration from Terence Malick's Badlands, even if the antagonism in his movie goes in a different direction. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the final scene features an electronic take on "The Blue Danube".

Friedel apparently was completely screwed over financially with Axe and Kidnapped Coed, so in an attempt to finally make some damn money off of his work, he edited them together into a new feature called Bloody Brothers, which parallels the plots of both movies with the framing device that Jack Canon's dual performances represent twins who decide to go on crime sprees on the same day. It very obviously doesn't work as a complete movie given the completely unrelated storylines (although the way Friedel ties them together at the end is clever enough), but is worth seeing for fans of those two films as an interesting experiment in contrasts. Despite both movies having been made on meager budgets and within a few months of each other, the difference in their rhythms and sense of space (jagged and claustrophobic in Axe, leisurely and open in Kidnapped Coed) becomes heightened when juxtaposed with each other. (It helps that as both movies run well under an hour and a half, Friedel is able to combine them coherently enough into a ninety-minute feature and let their respective segments play out so as not to lose their original character.) And the movie ultimately works as a pretty nice tribute to Canon as an actor, allowing you to savour the contrasts between the characters and the nuance he brings to the ruthless, cold-blooded criminal in Axe and the troubled but not heartless kidnapper in Kidnapped Coed.



Angel Heart. A private investigator is hired to track down a missing person in a situation with...let’s say religious implications. This started off pretty ****in cool but there’s a whole hour that’s just Mickey Rourke doing legwork on the case that tested my patience. It wraps up nicely though and DeNiro is great. Not sure it’s horror enough for October, probably fits in more with Noirvember.

The Perfection. Alright I’m gonna be honest with you guys. I only chose to watch this because Allison Williams is stunning. Then I saw Logan Browning is in it who is also gorgeous. Then 10 minutes into the movie the two of them have a sex scene and I almost died. My attraction to the two leads aside this was a well-made beautifully shot movie, if a little over stylized at moments. There’s a uniquely terrifying part a little less than halfway through and while some of the plot points are a little iffy it’s overall a damn good little horror/thriller.

Ruin Me. A couple signs up for a horror themed camping trip/escape room/scavenger hunt, but is it all real?!?! This was terrible, just terrible. Uninspired ideas, poor acting, stock characters, nonsense story.



The trick is not minding
Glad you loved it! It's definitely my favorite of Polanski's horror trilogy.
Yeah, it was definitely fascinating. Amazing, even. Can’t praise it enough.



Yeah, it was definitely fascinating. Amazing, even. Can’t praise it enough.
Out of curiosity, how would you rank it amongst Rosemary's Baby and Repulsion? I'd probably rank them like this:

The Tenant
Rosemary's Baby
Repulsion



The trick is not minding
Out of curiosity, how would you rank it amongst Rosemary's Baby and Repulsion? I'd probably rank them like this:

The Tenant
Rosemary's Baby
Repulsion
Ayyyyyeeee….I haven’t seen Repulsion yet 🙁🙁
I would rank it next to Rosemary’s Baby, but above Cul De Sac, which I know isn’t considered a part of the trilogy, but feel compelled to say that regardless



Watched a couple weird foreign horror films with a friend last night. First up was Tumbbad a 2018 indian mythologic horror parable that is phenomenal. To start the film is gorgeous and/or grotesque when it needs to be and does a wonderful job of slowly unraveling it's mystery without having to go on long winded expositions. the acting is solid and the special effects while not top of the line do the job just fine. If you want a creepy, occasionally surreal horror surprise definitely recommend this.

Next up was November which is probably best described as a trippy Estonia Folklore tragedy. The core story of a girl trying to get a boy to like her is intercut with a ton of other small segments and moments, take those and stir in a healthy dose of WTF with a side of gorgeous cinematography and well you probably won't be bored at least. I'm not sure I can say I enjoyed all of it but there are elements of it I really liked and I'm certainly not sad I took the time to watch it. Definitely on the bizarre surreal side of things so if that is your jam I'd say give it a go.



I'm a fan. It's a bit disjointed but I think that adds up to some real dread by the end.


The director's followup, Kidnapped Coed AKA The Kidnap Lover AKA Date with a Kidnapper, is a more assured piece of work and features one of the same actors. Also of interest (assuming you enjoyed the above) is Bloody Brothers, a cut that combines the two.


I wrote about all three in my thread earlier, let me repost down below.
I remember that you'd reviewed them, but I often don't read reviews too closely if I haven't seen the film yet for fear of spoilers.

Thanks for the reply!



I remember that you'd reviewed them, but I often don't read reviews too closely if I haven't seen the film yet for fear of spoilers.

Thanks for the reply!
All good. I'm actually the same way, so I try to put a disclaimer up top if I'll be discussing spoilers (although what constitutes a spoiler is up for debate, I suppose).



See, I watch normal movies too...


Drag Me To Hell (Raimi, 2009)




This review contains spoilers.

I didn't see Drag Me to Hell when it first came out, but I do remember there being a fair bit of anticipation in my internet circle around the return of Sam Raimi to the horror genre. You see, there was a fair bit of commiserating around the state of the horror genre at the time, what with all the PG-13 and torture porn (but alas, no PG-13 torture porn) and a general consensus that what horror movies really needed was for an old hand to come back and show the kids how it's done. (Of course, Wes Craven and George Romero had made well received movies within the decade, and there were good movies from the young'uns as well, but I suppose that's not enough. You will also forgive me for oversimplifying these discussions, as they occurred on the Rotten Tomatoes message boards, which no longer exist as they were unceremoniously flushed down the toilet a few years ago, so I can't exactly go back and check that I've characterized them accurately.) And looking back, I can see why this was the overarching sentiment. I wouldn't call myself a huge fan of Raimi's Spider-Man movies, but I do appreciate that they (at least the first two; never saw the third) manage to have distinct personalities despite being mass-marketed IP-driven studio product, which feels increasingly rare these days. (Also, full disclosure: seeing the first one eight times across four different flights during a summer vacation led a ten-year-old me to develop a Godzilla-sized crush on red-headed Kirsten Dunst. Okay, maybe I like the first one.) So now that I've seen it, and have spent all these words talking about things only tangentally-related to the movie, what do I think?

It's pretty good, but I'll cite some of the reception selectively before going straight to my thoughts if you don't mind. I'm seeing a lot of reviews referring to this being a morality tale and to Raimi's old school influences, which I think is on the money. I think by 2009 Universal productions had switched to a computer generated logo, so seeing the old, grainy filmic one telegraphed to me that it would be a bit of a throwback. But what I was not entirely prepared for (likely from limited knowledge of the film's premise) was how much it was grounded in our current economic realities. This was made in 2009, when the wounds of the Great Recession were still fresh, and the movie concerns a heroine turning down an old woman's request to extend her mortgage, dooming her to the loss of her house and financial ruin.

Raimi does a tricky thing here. The old woman is Romani, which is in line with his influences, and she's excessively othered and depicted even a bit repulsively, with her glass eye, chipped fingernails and habit of putting her teeth in a handkerchief on the table. In the wrong hands this could seem incredibly retrograde in its racism, but I think he wants us to see the character through the heroine's eyes. The heroine goes to her boss, who dangles a promotion over her and tells her it would be real good for the bank if she didn't extend the mortgage and he's sure she'll make the right decision. At this point, seeing her client as less than human, she decides to turn her down, leading her client to put a curse on her which we see play out over the rest of the movie. The queasy racial aspects are also redeemed by Raimi's more compassionate depiction of the woman's family during her funeral, leading me to believe he's actually interrogating the racism of his influences. Interestingly, many of the characters are people of colour, including a psychic to whom the heroine turns for help, and the heroine's rival. Ebert points out that the psychic is named after Ram Dass, who was actually white, and the rival, played by an Asian American actor, has the extremely Caucasian-sounding name of Stu Rubin. I'm not entirely sure what exactly the commentary is concerning these auxiliary characters, but there is something there.

Back in those days there was a fair bit of debate about the extent to which the financial crisis was caused by overarching systemic factors or the actions of individual bad actors. Raimi's movie doesn't depict explicit financial wrongdoing, but does show how the dehumanizing effects of capitalism and how it incentivizes people to **** each other over. (The concept of moral hazard was something that permeated public discussion at the time, and while Raimi doesn't depict it exactly, I think he captures the spirit of it pretty well and in terms most people can relate to.) But at the same time, this is a morality tale, and Raimi isn't so eager to let the heroine off the hook for her decision. The movie subjects her to all sorts of torture, not just viscerally in the vein of his Evil Dead movies, but also socially (bombing with her boyfriend's parents) and professionally (her boss shifting his preference to her rival in the office), the latter of which has a certain modern resonance perhaps not explored by Raimi's influences. I've seen references to the ending being cruel, but given that the heroine's attempt at an out involves trying to damn a dead woman's soul to hell (after screwing her over in this life as well), the outcome seems like she's being held accountable for her decisions. That she seems like a nice person makes it sting all the more, as Raimi astutely observes that most people making these decisions don't see themselves as bad people.

All of this is delivered in a highly entertaining manner, with Raimi proving that the PG-13 rating doesn't necessarily mean that horror movies will be neutered and lacking in potency. I recently rewatched the Scream series and was struck by how Craven was able to wring a visceral impact out of a slick studio production values. Raimi updates the Evil Dead approach for a studio context, with an emphasis on stuntwork, special effects, pleasingly disgusting touches (an eyeball in a cake, gumming the heroine's face, vomiting, bugs) and bruising camera moves, although in one of the movie's bigger set pieces, I was a little unmoved when a possessed character started dancing. Perhaps the joke was too obvious (full disclosure: I'm lukewarm on Army of Darkness, the broadest of the Evil Dead films), but I also think a little something is lost when you pour this much money into a style repurposed from movies whose low budgets induced a certain claustrophobia. That being said, that was maybe a single moment when the movie missed for me. For the rest of the runtime, it's a pretty relentless and surprisingly thoughtful work of visceral horror.




See, I watch normal movies too...
I kinda hate this movie.