Terror Trailers of the 80s vol. 1: 1980

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The Conjuring is James Wan’s Hollywood redemption

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It would have been very hard for me to not like this film. I Love films based on true events, I’m a fan of the work done by Ed and Lorraine Warren, I love James Wan’s Films, I love supernatural type films, I’m a fan of Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, and Lili Taylor…Needless to say, my expectations were high. As the release date drew closer and closer, I started to worry about whether the film could live up to the hype. I had heard great things from test audiences and sneak previews, but i couldn’t help but be a little nervous. As it turns out, this is the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a long time!

The story follows The Perron Family, who moves into a run down Rhode Island Farmhouse only to experience frightening Paranormal occurrences that increase in both frequency and intensity, prompting then to seek the aide of Ed and Lorraine Warren, well known Paranormal experts and Demonologists. Upon arriving at the Perron home, the Warrens learn that things are even more serious than they could imagine. I’ll leave everything else spoiler free, as I hope you all will go see this film in Theaters and have the same experience I did…More on that in a moment.

If you’ve seen a few Haunting/Possession/Paranormal type films before, then you will agree that The Conjuring does not show us anything we haven’t seen many times before. If you’ve seen as many of these films as I have, you’ll be able to anticipate the scares well in advance, making the events on screen almost predictable, but even though I knew exactly what horror lay on the next frame, each scare would send a chill up my spine. Every element was done to perfection. So what if we’ve seen the same tricks before? This is an opportunity to see them done with maximum effectiveness and impact! This is terrifying, beautiful art! The casting is spot on and even the performances of the small children were fantastic. A lot of credit has to go to Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor, who play the Perrons, as well as Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga who play the Warrens, all turning in fantastic performances.

The choice to go with mostly practical effects was absolutely the right choice, as the horrors come across as more authentic. The choice certainly was not one of necessity as the film had a budget of $20 million (taking in $41.5 million opening weekend alone). These are the perks of working with a big Hollywood studio. This is unique for James Wan in that his greatest artistic as well as commercial success has come from low budget/non-Hollywood films such as Saw and Insidious. By all accounts, his first foray into the jungle known as Hollywood film-making was a disappointing experience as Dead Silence was wrought with studio meddling. What made The Conjuring different, i believe, is that the project had been in the works in some form or another for over 20 years, shuffling back and forth from studio to studio, until all the tumblers finally fell into place with Warner Bros. Thankfully Wan was allowed to shine, and what we got is a Horror film that I think will likely end up being a landmark for the Genre.

Alrighty, now on to my experience in the Theater…The screening room was pretty full, my group is flanked by two young teen girls to our left, and some youngish fellows who likely use the term “Swag”. As the tension builds for each scare, you can feel the tension in the air from the collective audience. You could tell when each scare was coming, but when it arrived, it was still effective to ellicite screams from a good portion of the audience. The teens beside us screamed for everything…EV! RY! THING! As the film continued and the terror built up, the swag boys in front of us started to scream as well. not just a startled scream every now and again, loud screams, sustained screams! They screamed, paused for breath, and screamed more! I loved every second of it. Not only can i see evidence that the film I was greatly enjoying is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do by scaring the shit out of it’s audience, but I get to be a sadistic bastard and delight in a whole theater screaming like little girls.

 

Wilson and Farmiga have both signed on for a sequel, we’ve not seen the last of the Warrens! 😉

 

9/10 Haunted Farmhouses

Hidden Gem at the Mountaintop (a.k.a. How The Fuck Did Everyone Miss This?)

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Thanks to the double wonderful Jen and Tom P for throwing this one my way! I got WAY more out of this than I expected! This 1986 film by Jim McCullough Sr. received mostly negative reviews upon it’s initial release, but found it’s way under the “Cult Classic” Umbrella. On the surface, it is an un-pretentious slasher film. The story concerns Evelyn, a widowed mother who is also a former mental patient. After losing her temper, Evelyn accidentally kills her young daughter Lorri, who just so happens to be invoking spirits in the hidden tunnels beneath the Motel. Yes, you read that right. I’ll come back to this. Evelyn drags the body topside and tells police it was a freak gardening accident, no charges are laid but at the funeral, Evelyn’s spiral into madness continues as she hears the accusing voices of the mourners in her head. Opening the Motel for business will not allow life to return to normal, as Evelyn is haunted by the voice of her Daughter, urging her to kill her guests, which she does, using the underground tunnels to slip between rooms undetected, first tormenting her guests with snakes, insects and rodents then dispatching her victims with a sickle. Straightforward low budget Slasher flick, right? WRONG! Back this shit up!

At the beginning of the film, we see Lorri in the tunnels invoking spirits, and praying to her dead father, she has rodents and snakes for pets (familiars), has an Ouija board in her room, and has done several drawings depicting the transformation from man to horrific beast, and of devils. Young Lorri has been dabbling in the Dark Arts! *cue Harry Potter music* How long has this been going on? How did it start, and for what purpose? Did this have anything to do with her Father’s death? After doing a little digging into other reviews, I haven’t found anyone else who clued into this angle, so I’m either brilliant or bonkers. Fuck it. If we take what we have learned from movies and TV, we can assume that Lorri has opened the door to the spirit world, whether she knew what she was doing or not, and the rest of the film is the result of her meddling. My Theory is that She was trying to contact her deceased father and something else crept through and possessed Evelyn. Historically, before we knew about things like mental illness, these maladies were chalked up to demonic possession. Was Evelyn mentally ill before the possession? Or was it the possession that prompted her stay in the Mental Hospital? Who knows. When Evelyn attempts to stop her daughter’s invocation, she loses control and ends up killing her daughter. I saw this as the demon seizing an opportunity to silence the one who called it up, thus preventing it from being banished again! Hearing the voices is how the Demon torments and influences Evelyn, driving her to commit murder! *throws record with Harry Potter music far off into the distance, then cues up Exorcist soundtrack, sits back in rocking chair by candle light and lets this all sink in*

At one point, as some soon to be doomed guests are driving up to the Motel, a large White dog appears out of nowhere, darts in front of their vehicle and causes them to swerve. was this an omen to turn back? As Evelyn kills a priest, she shouts “Out, Devil”. On the surface, this is the outburst of a disturbed woman, but I saw it as Evelyn struggling to regain control of herself. She tries to stop herself from killing by commanding it out, but she is not strong enough. Take a close look at Evelyn’s face in the final tunnel scene. Doesn’t she look far more sickly and haggard than she did mere moments before?

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Didn’t the same thing happen to Regan in The Exorcist? As the survivors leave the Motel, a brief glimpse of Lorri can be seen watching them leave, then vanishes without a trace. Is this her spirit now relieved to be at piece? Look closer. Her features are dark and ghoulish, I think it is the Demon that possessed Evelyn manifesting in it’s last form, searching for a new host. I could be waaaaaay off base with all of this. Maybe it is just a simple slasher film. Watch it again, and decide for yourself.

4/10 sickles, 7/10 hidden demons.

Lets Get Nasty! : “Axe” and “The Beast In Heat”

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Once, just once, can there be a film in this series that has one goddamn title? Fucksakes! Anyway, Axe(1977), also known as Lisa Lisa, and California Axe Massacre is an American film directed by Frederick R. Freidel, who also stars as “Billy”, while The main character, Lisa, is played by Leslie Lee. As near as i can tell, not a lot of fuss was made over the film until it was added to the DPP list in 1984. This was surprising because the film is rather tame. The plot concerns a group of 3 criminals on the run, who take shelter in a secluded farm house occupied by Lisa and her Grandfather. After subjecting the two to various humiliations, and taking too many liberties with Lisa, little sweet Lisa grabs an axe and takes revenge. The story is nothing special, and really suffers from poor pacing, and irrational acting. The criminals must be in their 30s or 40s, yet during the scene where they “terrorize” the corner store, their tactics are those of the school bully. Stirring shit up just to get a reaction. One of the stateside re-releases tried to cash in on The Texas Chainsaw massacre by using the title California Axe Massacre…cute. Including this film as one of the Video Nasties is a stretch. Sure, there may be some things that could potentially offend people, the home invasion, the attempted rape, the violence and murder…But you will almost certainly have fallen asleep long before any of that comes about.

Beast in Heat

Now THIS is a True Nasty! A film that has no other purpose than to depict Nazis as kinky sadists, and show lots of  rapey sex! This Italian slice of sleaze was originally titled La Bestia in Calore, and also known by the English translation The Beast In Heat. Subsequent releases saw the use of such titles as: SS Hell Camp, SS Experiment Part 2, and Horrifying Experiments of the SS’ last days.  Made in 1977, this film attempted to cash in on the success of Ilssa, She Wolf of the SS. A film that led to Nazi Exploitation films to become quite popular in Italian Cinema. I can’t find the exact date this film was added to the DPP list, or that it was prosecuted, but i can confirm it is banned in the UK as well as Australia to this day. Like many Nazisploitation films, the plot is formulaic, the editing inept, costumes cheap, and includes a SS Dominatrix. In this case, our SS Queen demonstrated the genius of German science by creating a squat half man/half beast mutant thingy…

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Lookit him.

Why create such a beast? Meh, who cares…But now that he exists, lets feed him a diet of super-aphrodisiacs, and have him rape a bunch of beautiful young girls while we Nazis stand around and watch! Fuck Yeah! Heil Hitler!

That’s the movie. No joke.  The film features heavy amounts of torture, nudity and sexual violence, but any impact these elements may have is rendered mute by the constant sex-crazed chuckle of the beast. Seriously, if you hear it, suddenly rape will become funny.

In our Next Installment: The Beyond, and A Bay Of Blood!

State of the Mausoleum address.

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I have fallen a bit behind in my posts. I have several pieces I’m working on, but have been extremely busy, and haven’t been able to spend much time on them. Also I am exhausted and sunburned. So I’m gonna rest up for a bit, and then get back to it. Anyone who wants to speed along my recovery is encouraged to send nudes.

 

Thanks for your patience creeps!

 

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More shit, for when you are bored

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If any of you revolting readers use facebook, why not spend your time on something other than creeping exes and playing Candy Crush? Check out my group: Dr. Havok’s Spooky Fiend Club of Doom (type it into to search bar). You’ll find random pics, cool links, and interactions with some like minded folks.

 

Also, be on the lookout for upcoming posts, as I will try “live reviewing” a film. Writing my thoughts as i watch the film for the first time.