To Watch Pile After Dark Podcast Transcript Episode 5

Oops! It would appear I forgot to post the transcript for this episode!

The To Watch Pile After Dark Podcast Episode 5

Good evening, horror lovers, this is Justin McNamara and is like to welcome you to my 5th episode of The To Watch Pile After Dark, where I’ll be looking at my 47th favourite horror movie of all time.

They say that New York Pizzas are the best in the world, and what better way to celebrate the Italian influence in New York then with this film…

(Trailer)

The New York Ripper, known in Italian, and you’ll have to excuse my horrendous attempt at the language, as Lo squartatore di New York tells of grizzled New York policed officer Lieutenant Fred Williams (Jack Hedley) who is in the midst of investigating two murders, one involving the hand of a prostitute found in a park and the other of the murder of a cyclist on a ferry. These murders have two things in common: the victims were beautiful women and witnesses claim the murderer sounded like a duck.

Williams talks to the pathologist, Barry Jones (Giodarno Falzoni) and discovers that there was a murder with similar circumstances the previous month, which leads him to one conclusion: there is a serial killer in New York!

At a press conference he announces his idea but is warned by the police commissioner (Lucio Fulci) that to avoid a city-wide panic, he should avoid further press announcements. He is told that whilst he was at the press conference, a man with ‘a voice like a duck’ had called him.

The man with a voice like a duck continues his campaign of murder, but also terrorises Williams with a series of phone calls and even murders his frequently visited prostitute, Kitty (Daniela Doria) meanwhile, we, the viewers, are subjected to several red herrings and examples of just how sleazy 80s New York was,..

The New York Ripper was directed by Italian horror legend Lucio Fulci, who, after several zombie films, decided to take on a human killer in a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock. Whilst it’s probably not very Hitchcock, it does make an attempt at a New York styled hard-boiled detective story… even emulating the sexism of those pulp stories, though THIS story might seem excessively anti-women, in actual fact, Dardano Sarchetti, co-writer of this film, claimed that all the violence towards women in the tale came from Fulci, himself.

Antonella Fulci, Lucia’s daughter, has claimed that this to be untrue, siting that the killer in this film doesn’t hate women, he hates beauty and his madness has led him to murder only those that are beautiful.

As I researched this film, using everything from Wikipedia to my many horror film related books, I discovered that a film that is so repeatedly described as ‘nasty’, ‘misogynistic’ and ‘excessively violent towards women’ wasn’t one of Britain’s so-called ‘Video Nasties’. Upon further investigation, legend says that it was rejected by the BBFC and director James Fermann demanded it be immediately exported back to the rights-holder in Italy so neither the distributor or the BBFC themselves could be charged with having banned material. Honestly I reckon that sounds like one of those stories that makes the film sound bad and that’s used to expand its notoriety so it becomes the sweetest of forbidden fruit.

As a teen I worked in a video shop on Sunday afternoons, and Fulci’s heavily edited films were always on the cards as a watch. Honestly I don’t think I watched much else other than Fulci zombie films and Dawn of the Dead, and because of this I became a Fulci-phile, but I didn’t get to see this film until I managed to get my hands on an Australian release DVD copy from Stomp in about 2005, and I loved the sleazy griminess if it immediately. I then bought the Shameless Screen Entertainment DVD and was pretty upset to find it was cut, but I then bought it again when they rereleased it in a less cut version, and then a third time from them on Bluray.

I appreciate it’s not for everyone and the first time I watched it I was stunned by how raw it is. It’s like a Giallo, which is probably my favourite type of film, but rubbed in the dirt. The story is well below average, and the concept of a killer who ‘sounds like a duck’… well, I’m sorry, but ducks don’t speak, and I guess it was too difficult to get permission to have the characters say ‘talks like Donald Duck’.

The litigation fingers of the House of Mouse are looooooooong.

Apparently Fulci once told his daughter that the reason he chose the voice of Donald Duck is that Mickey Mouse was too law-abiding.

So why is this film particularly in my top 50? It is a combination of a love for Fulci… even his worst films are better than a lot of so-called A movies, well, they are certainly far more interesting… a love of Giallo, no matter how bad and a love of American slashers, which I feel this lends itself a lot to.

Thank you for joining me for this episode of the To-Watch Pile After Dark. Please, subscribe and give me a five star rating, and also check out my movie review blog at www.towatchpile.com and listen my my other podcast, The Nerds of Oz.

Until next episode…

The To Watch Pile After Dark Episode 6 Transcript

The To Watch Pile After Dark Episode 6 Transcript

https://anchor.fm/towatchpile/episodes/Episode-6—Horror-Film-Countdown-46-e5jftp

Good evening, My black-hearted friends, to the latest episode of The To Watch Pile After Dark, my name is Justin McNamara and this is number 46 on the list of my top 50 favourite horror films.

In the early 2000s, a young man appeared in the horror landscape who was one of us, which of course means genre fans hated him… but not me. I immediately became a fan of Eli Roth the second I watched this film…

(Play trailer)

Cabin Fever was released in 2002 and tells the story of 5 friends, Paul (Rider Strong), Karen (Jordan Ladd), Marcy (Cerina Vincent), Jeff (Joey Kern) and Bert (James DeBello) who decide to have a week away before they go to college. They pick a remote cabin in the woods so they can have absolutely no disturbances. March and Joey intend on spending the week screwing, Paul intends on finally sealing the deal with Karen, which he has been trying for years, and Burt… well Burt just wants to get drunk and shoot animals with his rifle.

Unfortunately, those plans fall apart when the local hermit (Arie Verveen) turns up with what appears to be some kind of disease, and terrorises the friends, mainly due to the fact that Burt accidentally shot him earlier that day and didn’t tell the others.

In defending themselves they accidentally set him on fire and he dies, but not before infecting the water supply. Slowly but surely, one by one, the infection spreads, and panic sets in amongst the friends. The infection is horrific too, insomuch that it is a flesh eating virus that starts by melting your insides, resulting in a bloody cough, and ends in a full body meltdown.

Which of the friends will survive this horrific virus, especially in a town full of racism, mistrust and suspicion… will ANY of them survive.

I have to start by pointing out the real clever thing about this movie: even though the killer is a horrific, Necrotising Fasciitis, no one, and this is a massive spoiler so stop the podcast now I’d you haven’t seen it…no one actually DIES by the virus. Even one who carks it in this film, dies by the hand of someone who is panicking!

This film appeals to two of the film fans that live within me, just as it did the first time I saw it when I reviewed it for the now defunct Australian cult movie website Digital Retribution.

The first is the one that likes the facile teen comedies of the 80s and the other who digs the so-called ‘body horror’ films. The cast of this film actually fit the first fandom perfectly, as the cast are from such TV shows and films as Boy Meets World, Not Another Teen Movie, American Pie and Never Been Kissed, and the second love, well the special effects team took care of that love perfectly, probably due to the fact that Eli Roth’s script was based an experience he had where he apparently contracted a skin infection whilst working on a horse farm in Iceland from rotting hay.

There is also a legend that the sound mixer on the film John Neff was an actual victim of the real virus, and was hospitalised for 13 days with it, and he claimed the make up effects were quite accurate to what he had witnessed.

I first learnt about this film from an issue 33 of Rue Morgue magazine which interested me from the get-go. I was very excited when this film hit the Australian shores and I was a champion of both it, and of Eli Roth even though a large percentage of the genre populace weren’t fans, which I found preposterous as he seemingly was being accused of being a poseur when all I could see was a guy who, like me, loved horror, loved the 80s and wanted to make movies.

Unfortunately, to date I have only made one short film, and it was just for fun. If the opportunity arose again I’d probably jump right on it!

Roth very much wears his influences, both from a writing and a directorial aspect on his sleeve. His script emulates the 80s movies that he clearly loves, with not just horrorific elements, but also with a wry sense of humour and so many scenes are clearly riffing on scenes from Dawn of the Dead, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead and others, occasionally to somewhat comic effect. I’ve liked other films of Roth’s as well: Hostel amps up the teen comedy at the beginning and descends into a far more violent second and third act, and is the poster boy for the so-called ‘torture porn’, and Green Inferno, which is a far more complete film (even though it does have one ridiculous element that is out of place) which is a love-letter to the 7os and 80s cannibal flicks.

The funny thing I have found about doing this podcast is that it’s forcing me to rewatch films that I haven’t watched for a long time, and it’s probably been ten years since I saw this, so the revisit was one I completely enjoyed. I spend a lot of time on my website the To Watch Pile watching movies I’ve never seen before that occasionally I forget to rewatch epic stuff from the past.

I’d like to add a warning: I am talking only about the 2002 movie. There was a remake done in 2016, produced by Roth but directed by Travis Z aka Travis Zariwny with a script adapted from Roth’s by Rudy Pearlstein, and I can’t stress enough how much you must avoid that film. It is terrible.

Thanks you for listening to this episode of the To Watch Pile After Dark. Don’t forget you can see the transcript of this episode, and my movie reviews at my blog www.towatchpile.com. Also, listen to my other podcast, The Nerds of Oz, available wherever good podcasts can be heard. Please like and subscribe to the To Watch Pile After Dark, and throw me a review if you have the opportunity.

See you next time.

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

One from the re-watch pile…

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Film: Are you a fan of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Last House on the Left, Eaten Alive, and sleazy 70s grindhouse? Well I’ve got a delectable feast of delights for you! A tale where Life and Death are Meaningless…and Pain is God!!

October 30, 1977, Ruggsville, four twenty something’s on a road trip across the USA (Chris Hardwick, Jennifer Jostyn, Erin Daniels and Rainn Wilson) stop at Captain Spaulding’s (Sid Haig) Museum of Monsters and Mayhem, a gas station/ fried chicken hut with a Ripley’s Believe It or Not styled freak show, whose main attraction is the bizarre ‘Murder Ride’. In the ride, the travellers are told about a local psycho, Dr Satan, who was hanged out in the woods by Ruggsville townsfolk, and whose body mysteriously disappeared the next day. The four decide to visit the tree on which he was hanged, and on the way pick up a hitchhiker, Baby Firefly (Sheri Moon). Soon one of their tyres is shot out and the four have to stop in at Baby’s House, where they are introduced to the murderous Firefly family (Karen Black, Bill Moseley, Robert Mukes, Matthew McGrory and Dennis Fimple). The succeeding story will shock, terrify and haunt the viewer…FOREVER!!!

Filmed in 2000, but not released until 2003, due to Universal’s cowardice towards an NC-17 rating, but eventually picked up by Lion’s Gate Films, Rob Zombie has created a visual trip that has more genre homage’s than you can poke a stick at. House of 1000 Corpses received Best Special Effects for Wayne Toth and Michael O’Brien at Fantasporto in 2004 where it was also nominated for Best International Fantasy Film, not to mention it was nominated for Choice Movie- Horror/Thriller at the Teen Choice Awards 2003.

Zombie obviously has great affection for everything that we Horror fans and Gore fiends love. Being a collector of the macabre and trash culture himself, not to mention a Marx Brothers aficionado (to which some of the characters are named after: Otis Driftwood, Rufus Firefly and Ravelli). To a layman, this film might seem a rip-off of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and there is no doubt that there are many comparisons, but there are levels to this film that make it so much more than that. To go into those levels would be to reveal far too much of the film itself, and lose some of its journey for the genre fan. Unfortunately this film has been heavily cut, when played at the Mar del Plata Film festival, it ran at 105 minutes but the eventual release plays at a mere 88 minutes. Don’t worry though; there is still plenty of carnage to enjoy.

The filming of this movie is great, sometimes Hollywood gloss, sometimes gritty and grainy, which gives the viewer an impression this was actually made in the seventies, and also has some quick MTV style cuts for dream sequences and such.

I absolutely love this movie. It’s never going to be known as a breakthrough of originality and top shelf acting, but isn’t entertainment what cinema is all about, something that this film delivers by the bloody bucket load. Zombie knows his genre stuff and has collected a cast from movies such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Spider Baby, Trilogy of Terror and others, to deliver ‘the Most Shocking Tale of Carnage ever Seen’. Have fun!!

Score: *****

Format: Always crisp and sharp, the 16×9 anamorphic widescreen is impressive, the only time this movie sinks to grit and grain is in its segues, where it is obviously deliberate. The audio is presented in an immaculate DTS-HD 7.1.

Score: *****

Extras: Unfortunately, this Bluray release is missing the spectacular menus from the initial DVD release. Those menus, hosted by Baby, Otis and particularly Captain Spaulding were fantastic, powered by Mojo DVD navigation; those menus had these three characters commenting on everything from what the special features contain, to your very own sassy hairdos.

Directors commentary is as you would expect from someone like from Rob Zombie. He talks all way through, rarely taking a break and revealing some interesting aspects of this film, including how much of it was filmed in the basement of his own house. Sometimes commentaries from only one person have long breaks or pauses, but Zombie has a short story for every scene that plays. The amount of extra bits and pieces he points out are incredible, even down to continuity faults.

The Making of featurette is a 4:14 minute summary of the film as told by the actors playing the leads, and a couple of sound bytes from Zombie about the making of the movie, but not very special or informative.

Casting is audition footage of Dennis Fimple (King Kong) who played Grandpa, which is pretty funny.

Rehearsal footage show some of the cast in their rehearsals for some particular scenes in the film.

The Interviews section has Q & A’s with Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, Sheri Moon and Wayne Toth (special make-up effects). Fairly standard fare, but interesting never the less.

Interview with William Bassett is a new interview from Umbrella Entertainment with William Bassett from The Towering Inferno and The Karate Kid.

Theatrical Trailers are fairly self explanatory.

Score: ***

WISIA: I love this film so its a regular rewatcher for me!

The Killer Must Kill Again (1975)

One from the rewatch pile…

The Killer Must Kill Again aka L’assassino è Costretto ad Uccidere Ancora (1975)

Film: I love giallo films, and it was with great pleasure that this one, The Killer Must Kill Again, finally crossed my palms. Also known as L’assassino è costretto ad uccidere ancora or Il Ragno (The Spider), The Killer Must Kill Again is the second film directed by Luigi Cozzi and was made in 1973, but was initially banned, and did not get an official release until 1975.

Scumbag husband Giogio Mainardi (George Hilton) had decided to leave his bitchy, mistrusting, but rich, wife but gets a better idea when he happens to witness a serial killer (Michael Antoine) dispose of a body. Giorgio blackmails the killer, and for some reason also offers him $20,00, to kill his wife. The Killer executes the plot perfectly, but has fate thrust upon him when the car he is storing the body in the boot of is stolen by a pair of joyriders, Luca (Alessia Orano) and his girlfriend, Laura (What Ever Happened to Solonge’s Christina Galbo) who are travelling to a place called Seagull Rock where Luca intends to deflower Laura.

The Killer steals another car in the street and pursues them cross country. Meanwhile, Giorgio waits with a police investigator who is led to believe that Giogio’s wife has been kidnapped, seeing as how her father is rich, and so they make preparations for a ransom call that has yet to be made. The inspector though, slowly becomes more and more suspicious of Giorgio.

Eventually the Killer catches up with Luca and Laura, but what happens next?

The answer quite possibly lies within the films title…

Cozzi wears his influences on his sleeve with this film. It is a little bit Dario Argento, but with his usual ploy of not revealing the killer until the end turned on its head, and a little Alfred Hitchcock, but much sleazier. Sleazecock perhaps? Several scenes are clearly influences by Hitchcock, such as the Killer pushing a victims car Marion Crane like into a body of water. In actual fact, Michael Antoine looks a little like Anthony Perkins, although maybe more like a DNA splicing of Charles Bronson and Reggie Nalder with Johnny Cash’s wardrobe.

The whole film appears to be made to offset the mind of the viewer. There is a lot of queer scoring and music effects and some some fantastically weird camera work and editing. One wonderful example is the juxtaposition of a rape and some lovemaking that makes for a scene that acts as a sexy/repulsive collage of lust. The script follows some strange paths as well. Even though the ‘kidnapper’ has not made any sort of demands, the inspector suggests that a ransom is put together… but why?

There is a lot to like about this film. It is super cool and somehow extraordinarily scummy at the same time. George Hilton is suitably bastardish, and Michael Antoine’s cavalier sociopath is a perfect example of how to act creepy. You really have to love a film that doesn’t really have a clear ‘good guy’: all the characters are either macho womanizers, bitches, slutty bimbo’s or just plain out frigid.

Simply, I can’t recommend this enough: I loved every second of it.

Score: *****

Format: The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation has a few tiny artefacts here and the but nothing to really detract from the viewing experience. For its age this is a splendid transfer. No fancy 5.1 remix here, with The Killer Must Kill Again presented in old school stereo, but it is a decent track. You also have the choice of subtitles Italian or dubbed English.

Score: **

Extras: A nice basket of extras on this disc.

 

There is a thorough commentary track by Cozzi, who is prompted along by interviewer Pete Tombs, author of Mondo Macabro. Cozzi talks about all aspects of the film, and it is entertaining and informative. He discusses the original title – Il Ragno – and where it came from, and generally has great recollections of the films production.

The Road to The Killer is an interview with Cozzi from October 2004 and he talks about his influences and career.

Initials D.A. The Killer has a lighter with the initials D.A. on it, and Cozzi discusses how this is a tribute to Dario Argento, a man whom he seems to respect.

The Giallo Genre is a documentary originally presented on the Region 2 Mondo Macabro release of Death Walks at Midnight. It is narrated by Adrian Smith, author of the giallo book Blood and Black Lace, and is a decent introduction to the world of giallo. I did find an issue with the audio at this point though. Everytime Smith spoke, my sound system accompanied his speech with a dull hum, whether this is present on the disc or was just my equipment, I am not sure.

There is also a theatrical trailer, a blogs and stills galleries, which feature posters and text filmographies, and an original title sequence of the film as it was known as Il Ragno.

In addition, this disc has a collage of film scenes called More from Mondo Macabro, which shows scenes from their other releases, such as Alucarda, The Diabolical Dr. Z, Aswang, Living Corpse, Blood of the Virgins, Seven Women for Satan, Lady Terminator, Crazy Love, Mill of the Stone Women, Dangerous Seductress and Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay Special Edition. The worse thing about this sequence of films was the amount of DVDS I am going to have to purchase over the next few months!

Score: ****

WISIA: With it’s strange vibe, The Killer Must Kill Again is a definite rewatcher.

I Kill Giants (2017)

One from the to watch pile…

I Kill Giants (2017)

Film: Having a site called ‘The To Watch Pile’ means I need to make sure I watch as many new films as possible… well, not necessarily ‘new’ but certainly ones I haven’t seen before. My ACTUAL to-watch pile is ridiculously large and is spread across my house, filling a footrest and a whole cabinet under my TV. I know that a lot of this is going to be pretty awful, and as a devout movie fan. I’m happy to torture myself with silly stuff. I also know that occasionally I’m going to find a gem amongst the manure.

.. and this is one of them.

I Kill Giants was written by Joe Kelly and is based on the limited series comic made by him along with Ken Niimura which was published by Image Comics between 2008 and 2009. It was directed by Anders Walter, who win an Academy Award for his 2013 short film Helium.

I Kill Giants tells of 12 year old Barbara (Madison Wolfe), an extraordinarily strange girl who walks to the beat of her own drum, resisting normalcy no matter what her sister, Karen (Imogen Poots) asks if her, no matter what the school psychologist, Mrs. Mollé (Zoe Saldana) says and especially no matter what school bully, Taylor (Rory Jackson) does to her, and she seems to have an incredible strength that rises her above all this.

This is because Barbara has a secret: she is the sole defence for her town against the constant threat of giants. Giants that no one else can see.

Barbara has covered the town with protective runes, and has many wards and symbols that help her in her goal, and she also enlists new neighbour Sophie (Sydney Wade), but this causes a problem… Sophie can’t see what it is that Barbara says she can, and is concerned that perhaps Barbara isn’t quite mentally well, and maybe that disbelief will cause Barbara to lose her powers against the giants…

An ambiguous synopsis? You better believe it. Honestly I’ve watched the film twice as of this writing and I am still not quite sure if Barbara can see these mythical creatures or not, and I think that perhaps that ambiguity really makes the film something special.

It’s not just the ambiguity of Kelly’s script though, it’s also the acting skill of the cast, both the established older actors and the children. This whole film hangs on the talent of Wolfe and she not only rises to the occasion, she nails every scene she is in. In particular, there is one scene where she is being challenged by the psychologist and goes from distracted to tears no naturally it’s astounding.

The other small rise to the occasion too. You forget that Saldana has amazing talent now that she is a blockbuster sweetheart, and I have to say her characters husband is played by Noel Clarke was a nice surprise, me being a Doctor Who fan. Imogen Poots also kicks goals with her role as the sister who is trying to keep her family together after a family tragedy (which is an underlying theme of the plot) and her frustrations are almost palpable.

Walter has created a beautifully designed film too. The constant dark and oppressive sky doesn’t just set a tone of potential danger, and reflect Both Barbara’s real and fantastic situations, it also acts as somewhat of a cover for the films giants, which beautifully fit into the landscape.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this film, and I have to say I was surprised by what I did get: an engaging quasi-fantasy film that played an amazing song upon my heartstrings.

Score: ****

Format: This film was reviewed on the Umbrella Entertainment R4 NTSC DVD which runs for approximately 106 minutes. It is presented in 2.35:1 image which is great, and a decent audio, running on Dolby 5.1. I did have the sound lose sync on two occasions, but I have been assured by Umbrella Entertainment that this has not been a common complaint.

Score: ****

Extras: Seems to be a common thing with Umbrella DVDs these days, but no extras.

Score: 0

WISIA: I did enjoy this film, very much, but I think it would lose some of its magic with a rewatch, so I thunk I’ll leave it where it is.

The Wind (2018)

One from the to watch pile…

The Wind (2018)

Film: I must start this review with a simple statement about my genre tastes: I have zero interest in films, TV, comics or video games that take place in the American so-called ‘wild’ west. I’ve seen very few Django films outside of Tarantino’s, I’ve only watched the ‘Dollar’ trilogy once, my comic collection has a couple of cowboy comics, but not in comparison to horror, sci-fi and superhero ones and the video Red Dead Redemption 2, that everyone was cartwheeling in excitement over, bored three different shade of crap out of me.

I’m not a cowboy guy, ok? Even when everyone in horror was excited about Bone Tomahawk, I couldn’t get much more than a raised eyebrow out of the film, and that was just at the graphic violence! Maybe I should give it another go…

This film was directed by Emma Tammi, who directed the documentary Lens Across America, and was written by Teresa Sutherland, who prior to this hadn’t written a full feature, but her short film The Winter was very well received.

This film tells of Lizzy Macklin (Caitlin Gerard) and her husband, Isaac (Ashley Zukerman) who live in 1800s America in the Wild West. They live a frugal life and he spends a lot of time away working for their survival, leaving Lizzy alone, who is potentially suffering from post natal depression after a stillborn birth and because of the isolation, thinks something is in the plains watching her.

Our story sees a young couple, Emma (Julia Goldani Telles) and Gideon Harper (Dylan McTee) move in to the cabin close by, and Lizzy paranoia starts getting worse, thinking that Emma is attempting to seduce her husband.

So is there something in the wind on the plains, or is Lizzy slowly but surely losing her mind?

So this wasn’t the movie to change my opinion on the western. Don’t get me wrong, this film is visually realised beautifully and the performances are fabulous, but I found no tension and the story to be disjointed and plodding. I’m not one to be looking at clocks whilst watching a film, but this time, I was constantly with one eye on the time praying for the 80 odd minutes to come to an end.

As a discussion of post natal depression, paranoia and post traumatic stress disorder is where this film work best, and honestly I really think the addition of the supernatural elements may be where this film falls apart as you aren’t quite sure what it is you are watching.

I’m a fan of more deliberate horror films, like The Wicker Man, for example, but I just couldn’t get into this. Yes, maybe it was because I’m not a fan of westerns, but I am a fan of good pacing, and this didn’t have that.

Score: *1/2

Format: This film was reviewed with the Umbrella Entertainment region 4 DVD which runs for approximately 84 minutes. It is presented in a quite clear 2.35:1 image with a really good Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Score: ****

Extras: None. Not even a menu screen.

Score: 0

WISIA: Nope. It’s that simple.

Podcast Transcript – Episode 4

Greetings, gore hounds, to this, episode 4, of the To Watch Pile After Dark Podcast, where we are counting down my 50 favourite horror films! This episode sees us at film 48 out of 50, and it’s the first full length feature film from Christopher Smith…

(Trailer)

Unfortunately that trailer doesn’t tell you much, especially the title of my 48th film, which is 2004’s Creep.

Creep tells of strong-willed professional Kate (Franke Potente), who is leaving a work function early with an intention to sneak into an A-lister party where she is setting her sites on George Clooney, who is supposed to be there.

Unfortunately the friend who she was supposed to leave with goes without her and she’s left to catch a train to the destination, but she is a little drunk, and tired and dozes off on the train station, awaking to find the last train, HER train, has left and the entire station is abandoned.

Another train turns up regardless and she jumps up on it, only to have it stop deep in the tunnels and for her to find out that she’s not alone. One of her workmates, Guy (Jeremy Sheffield), a man she rejected the advances of at the party, has followed her to the train and high on drugs, attempts to rape her, but the rape is stopped when he is dragged off the train by something in the tunnels.

Very quickly, Kate discovers that there is a monster in the tunnels, a misshapen creature who murders those stuck in his tunnels at night. The victims pile up as Kate seeks assistance in her plight, but everyone she asks for help from ends up and the wrong end of the creatures wrath, A creature we discover to be named Craig (Sean Harris) who lives in the abandoned rooms, offices and doctors surgeries that were built in case the aristocracy ever had to retreat underground during a war, but he knows about the human race only through the things he has observed by what happened in the rooms and he copies them…

The attraction for me with this film initially was the appearance of Potante, who I had really liked in the films Anatomie, Blow, Run Lola Run and two of the Bourne films. She’s atypical of the regular types that end up in these roles insomuch as she a actor of great skill, her characters always have a great tenacity and she doesn’t disguise her accent.

But this wasn’t all that attracted me to this film, it was the location, which I must expand upon.

My first ‘proper’ job was in the city of Sydney, and from my humble house in the suburbs, I had a fairly decent trip into work. I read hundreds and hundreds of horror novels in my time going back and forth, and like most people of those tender young ages, I dreamed myself to be a great horror novelist… it must be easy, right?

Anyway, when the trip got to the city, the train would go into the subway or underground or whatever you want to call it, and I’d stop reading and look out the window into the darkness. The idea of these dark caves under the technological wonders of modern society always were alluring, and my ideas for novels merged my experiences, with those of fantastical characters made out of hive-minded slugs and weird, sex-obsessed mutants (influenced by Shaun Hutson and H. P Lovecraft, no doubt).

When I first saw this film over ten years ago, when I reviewed it for the now-defunct Digital Retribution website, it reminded me of those days, both the experience of the tunnels, and the monsters living within them. I felt like Smith had reached into my skull and pulled out my idea and then thrown an actress that I really liked into it.

Sure, it’s is reminiscent of the 1972 Gary Sherman film Deathline, but only so much in its location. Smith claims that he had never heard of that film, and the differences are enough that I have no reason to not believe him saying that… especially when you consider it’s not necessarily a well known example of early 70s UK horror.

As I do these To Watch Pile After Dark Podcasts I am rewatching the films and honestly I wish I had have placed this higher as I hadn’t watched it for a while. The story is gripping, the gore is plentiful and the antagonist is disturbing, though like all good horror movies, there is that one scene that will make almost everyone wince just a little bit… and the rest cross their legs in terror!

It should be pointed out too, that Craig is played by Sean Harris, who played Ian Curtis of Joy Division in the docudrama 24 Hour Party People, Solomon Lane in a couple of Mission Impossible flicks, and Fifield in the surprising Alien prequel, Prometheus. This role could have been disappointing in the hands of a lesser actor, but Harris’ physicality brings something to the role.

If I am to point out anything that isn’t great about this film is the make up Harris has to wear. It’s a very generic ‘mutant’ make up that at time, under some light, just looks like a thickened cake mixture has been stuck to the poor actors face.

Smith went of to direct other interesting films as well, the follow up to this being 2006’s Severances, 2009’s Triangle and 2010’s Black Death, all films also worth checking out.

So that’s is, we’ve Creeped around all we can and this episode must come to a close. Thank you for listening to the To Watch Pile After Dark Podcast, and please, check out my other podcast, The Nerds of Oz, and my horror movie reviews at www.towatchpile.com. I’d really appreciate it too if you like the podcast, give me a 5 star rating and leave a comment.

Until next time,,.

The Curse of the Weeping Woman (2019)

One from the to watch pile…

The Curse of the Weeping Woman aka The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

Film: Sometimes, when choosing a movies, alarm bells should ring.

First, I don’t like supernatural films, but like some kind of self-flagellating moron, I still like to give them a chance, hoping that I might find another Sinister, instead of another dumb piece of tripe like Insidious. My mistake here was that the cover quite clearly states ‘From The Producers of The Conjuring Universe’ which for someone like me who isn’t a fan, that basically is like a restaurant having a sign out the front that says “our chef has a cold and never washes his hands after taking a dump’ and me going in and eating there anyway.

I deserve whatever I get.

Secondly, I occasionally make the mistake of watching a film because of the lead actor, and I have sat through some buckets of poop because of this. In this case, the tempting lure was two-fold: Linda Cardellini, Velma from the 2002 and 2004 Scooby Doo movies, stars and one of the supporting actors is Patricia Velasquez, from 1999’s The Mummy, and I bit like a hungry trout at a fish farm.

This film is directed by Michael Chavez, from a story by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, who co-wrote Five Feet Apart, the teen tear-jerker… was that another alarm bell?

Set in 1973, The Curse of the Weeping Woman tells of social worker, Anna (Cardellini) who has been called to investigate Patricia Alvarez (Velasquez) who has apparently been abusing her sons, but when she gets to Patricia’s house, she finds the boys locked in a closet, and Patricia willing to defend their imprisonment… violently if need be.

The police step in and Patricia tells Anna she needs to protect the boys from La Llorona, before she is taken away, and her sons are placed in temporary housing. On the first night there, though, they are taken by ‘something’ and drowned.

Anna, a single mum herself, is called to the scene of the crime late at night and has to take her son and daughter with her. Her son sneaks out of the car to see what’s going on and is attacked by a spirit of a woman, who attaches herself to the family, and the terror of the Weeping Woman, a scorned women who killed her sons and then herself, continues…

Will Anna and her children be able to survive her grasp, even after they enlist the help of father religious man, Rafael (Raymond Cruz), a shaman with seeming insane practises for exorcising ghosts?

Now the first thing I must point out that this isn’t just from ‘the producers of the Conjuring universe’ but IS a part of the Conjuring universe, and the character of Father Perez, played by Tony Amendola, was also in 2014’s Annabelle, so maybe that blurb on the cover should say ‘ steeped well within The Conjuring universe’.

Now, this is one of those post-millennial ghost stories that all seem the same: set in the seventies (to avoid technological trappings like mobile phones), deep bassy sounds to add to the terror, a ghost style-guide that fits an aesthetic that has worked so far in far too many films, a cold filter on the image to make everything look dark and wet (or should I say ‘the Wan Ghost Aesthetic) and a bizarre re-installation of Christianity/ Catholicism wielded loosely by a bizarre shaman as the heroic tool.

It’s boring, made seemingly exciting by SUDDEN INCREASES IN VOLUME, but essential is just another forgettable ghost story that’s directed well and has a half-decent cast

Score: **

Format: This film was reviewed with the Australian, region B release which runs for 83 minutes and is presented in a high definition 2.4:1 image with a matching Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track, which it relies on heavily for its scares. Honestly you couldn’t watch this late at night while everyone else was in bed because you would be adjusting the volume up and down for the quiet ghostly bits and the LOUD SCARES!

Score: ****

Extras: There are 5 extras on this disc.

The Myth of La Llorona is a brief look at the history of the myth of the Mexican ghost ‘the Crying Woman’ and how it apparently dates back to the days of Cortez. This isn’t the first time this myth has been filmed: the TV show ‘Supernatural’ used her legend in the pilot episode, and in 1963, Mexican Director Rafael Baladón’s Le Maledición de la Llorona entertained the legend as well. This featurette is two minutes of cast members talking about the legend.

Behind the Curse looks at the making of the film and the incorporation of the legend into the film. Hilariously, one of the cast members mentions how it’s ‘not cliched’ which is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.

The Making of a Monster looks at the design of this ‘new, original’ monster. Make up effects are always interesting so at least it did offer that, and the performer Marisol Ramirez is a trooper.

Deleted scenes are just that! About ten minutes worth of stuff that really didn’t add to the film at all, if anything, it detracted from it somewhat, and would had slowed the film down, and even made Cardellini’s character seem maybe less of a good mother than she was.

Storyboards shows some PIP storyboards in comparison to the film, but don’t expect beautiful lavish illustrations here! No these are fairly crudely drawn thumbnails but they show they sat pretty close to the final film and it’s always interesting to see a director or cinematographer’s processes.

Score: ***1/2

WISIA: I can 100% guarantee the next time I need to see something with Cardellini in it, I’ll watch Scooby Doo again and that’s a much better rewatcher.

Podcast Transcript – Episode 3

Welcome back, terrorphiles, to The To Watch Pile After Dark Podcast. My name is Justin McNamara and we are counting down my top 50 favourite horror movies.

You’ll find in this list that there is a lot of 70s and 80s films, and that’s because my opinion is that the best films came out in this period, and certainly the ‘horror franchise’, a pop culture trend that I love, was at its height towards the end of the 80s. This film WAS a one off, but the 2010 remake, and its sequels, were so successful that they eventually spawned a sequel to the original in 2019, which feels like Déjà Vu…

(Play trailer)

I Spit on your Grave aka The Day of the Woman tells the story of writer Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton) who retreats to the countryside of Connecticut from New York to work on her latest novel. At a service station near her house she meets a bunch of ne’er do wells who act in a lecherous manner towards her, and her casual way is taken by them as flirting.

She goes to her country house and has some groceries delivered, which is done by mildly mentally disabled man Matthew (Richard Pace), goes tells his friends, the same ones at the service station, included ringleader Johnny (Erin Tabor) that she had been VERY nice to him and shown him her boobs, which they take an an invitation.

They descend upon her house and tell Matthew that he should rape her and that they are helping him to lose his virginity, but we he declines, the other men repeatedly violate her, beating and raping her, until Matthew, under the influence of alcohol decides to join in. This torture lasts for hours and they finally leave her for dead…

… but she’s not dead…

She carefully creates plans to exact her revenge on the men, and does so one-by-one, taking no prisoners, and doing so in grisly, violent ways.

This film was written and directed by Mier Zarchi after he and a friends found a naked woman who had been beaten and raped, and took her to the police. Zarchi claims the police officer was extraordinarily cavalier in his behaviour towards the woman, even insisting that she answer questions even though her jaw was obviously broken. Zarchi was offered a reward by the woman’s father, which he declined, but the experience stayed with him and he eventually wrote the film whilst on his commute to work.

As a writer and director, Zarchi isn’t really know for many other films, other than 2019’s sequel, I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu and the terrible ‘Don’t Mess With My Sister’ whose title offers some sense of dread, but never actually gets to the levels of this film.

This film, depending on the version you get your hands on as it’s received many cuts over the years, and was even one of the UK’s ‘Video Nasties’, goes for between 93 and 101 minutes, which is a standard movie length of its era, but what is unusual is the length of the gruelling rape scene which sits at around the 25 minute mark in the full uncut version, and Keaton spends all that time totally naked, a brave, potentially career killing choice in that day and age.

Rumour has it that the rape scene was so emotionally difficult to film that two crew members quit, one being a make up artist who was struggling with her own demons after experiencing a gang rape.

Zarchi skills as a director aren’t great and this shows in the average performances and dialogue delivery of his male cast, but his ability to direct an assault scene is amazing, and the scenes of Jennifer’s rape are gruelling, so gruelling in fact that by the time you get to the ‘revenge’ part of this ‘rape revenge’ film, you feel the men are actually let off lightly in comparison. The remake shows the Jennifer character, this time played by Sarah Butler, offer the men far more ‘torture porn’ styled punishments, which is to be expected in a post-Saw version of the film.

I Spit on your Grave was originally released as The Day of the Woman in 1978 and wasn’t received very well, but Jerry Gross renamed it I Spit On Your Grave and redistributed it in 1978 to a bit more of a response, though film critics Siskel and Ebert hated not just it, but the audiences response to it. In the UK it was labelled a Video Nasty and feminist Julie Bindel protested against its release, though she later claimed it was actually a feminist film.

I think many people protested this film initially without taking into account, described best in the 1986 book The Encylcopedia of Horror by Tom Milne and Paul Willeman, that ‘the men are so grossly unattractive and the rapes so harrowing, long drawn-out and starkly presented that it’s hard to imagine most male spectators identifying with the perpetrators’. I don’t think this quote means the men are physically unattractive, but instead psychologically unattractive with their attitudes which manifests initially as leering lust before escalating into so much worst.

Keaton’s performance in the ‘revenge’ part of the film has been criticised as well as being flat and almost catatonic, but I think that the assault causes her to be stripped back to an almost avenging angel figure, and that perhaps she has actually lost some of who SHE was.

The reason this film is in my top 50 is it is a film that effects me. As a married man with a daughter and mostly female friends, I find the film difficult to watch, and isn’t that what horror is supposed to be? It effects you in a way that I haven’t seen in many films, and this is all due to Keaton’s performance: her fear of her solitude being invaded, the response to every part of the rape, the dead-eyed horror of being stripped back to nothing more than a thing to be abused by bad men, and rebirth as an angel of vengeance with a cold heart.

I have to admit to being a latecomer to this film, and was surprised by how violent it was for the era it was from, and I have wrote at length about it, even to the point that the current release on DVD and Bluray in Australia has a quote from my review from my days as a film reviewer for now-defunct website Digital Retribution.

Thank you all for listening! At my website The To Watch Pile, (www.towatchpile.com) you can find movie reviews and a transcript of this episode of the To Watch Pile After Dark, and please, give a 5 star review on your listening program, hit the subscribe and even drop a few works of support: it heaps a great deal if you do.

You can also find me on Twitter at @thetowatchpile or on Instagram, seeing as I am part of the Nerds of Oz network, @thenerdsofoz. Also please check out our comic and nerd-related podcast Nerds of Oz, available where all good podcasts can be found.

See you on the next episode…

The House That Jack Built (2018)

One from the to watch pile…

The House That Jack Built (2018)

Film: It is a strange thing that sometimes, the viewing of a film makes you realise that you haven’t experienced a particular director’s work at all. Before starting the review on this film, The House That Jack Built, written and directed by Lars Von Trier, I looked at the directors filmography and discovered that even though I have both volumes of Nymphomaniac and Antichrist, I don’t remember actually watching them.

This is why this is called the To Watch Pile: too many movies, too little time.

Von Trier originally perceived this film as a television series, which it would have possibly suited considering it is played out episodic in a series of 5 ‘Incidents’ that take place over a 12 year period from the 70s to the 80s.

The House That Jack Built tells the story of architect, engineer and serial killer, Jack (Matt Dillon), and a discussion he is having with Verge (Bruno Ganz), a disembodied voice whose identity we eventually discover, but to share here would be to spoil the ending.

The two are looking over a series of incidents, in reality murders, that Jack has committed on various victims (played by Uma Thurman, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Sophie Gråbøl, Riley Keough and others) that Jack attempts to justify as psychological soothing acts which result in art. Jack and Verge explore Jack’s origins as well as his state of mind during the acts, and the highs and lows of the act of murder itself.

This is a quite fascinating look at the functions of a serial killers mind, and Von Trier has done his research. Von Trier doesn’t just reference psychology though, as Jack finds justifications for his ‘art’ everywhere, and his fractured thought process is shown through archival footage from hunts, World War 2 newsreels, cartoons… everywhere really, and it represents the state of mind perfectly.

One thing I can say is that even though its a discussion on serial killers, their acts and their origins, it certainly doesn’t mind showing you the acts of violence and the ensuing gore or the results of the violence, and even though it appears to be practical special effects, some of them aren’t necessarily great… but that also might be the point: it’s hard to tell whether Von Trier’s restrictions are deliberate, or an accident of budget or lighting. There is also a little bit of animal violence, both in the afore mentioned archival footage of hunting and special effects, so if that’s something that completely and utterly repulses you, this film definitely isn’t for you.

Von Trier’s camera style is unusual too. The whole film is told in this almost voyeuristic news camera-styled look that perpetually moves and keeps every scene, no matter how static, interesting.

The casting is fantastic too. It’s easy to forget just how good an actor Dillon is, and he both recounts his tale to Verge, and acts like a psychopath with such a lack of enthusiasm that is comes across as very real. The other cast are fantastic in their roles too, a highlight being Thurman playing quite possibly one of the most horrible human beings ever put to film, which in a movie about a serial killer is saying something, and is an interesting juxtaposition on character.

It’s a long film, but there is always something happening, and it is constantly saying something about the psychology of killers, and also how societal norms have changed the regular human being into a lamb, and there are very few tigers.

Score: ****

Format: This film was reviewed with the Australian Umbrella Entertainment release, which is apparently the complete and uncut version, which runs at about 2 hours and 32 minutes and is presented in a fines 2.35:1 image with a deep Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.

Score: ****

Extras: Nothing.

Score: 0

WISIA: Whilst this film is both interesting and provocative, I am not sure if it does hold itself up to repeat watches.