If we Americans have learned anything over the last 20 years, it’s that Australia is hell on earth. Spiders bigger than your face, jellyfish that can kill you from ten miles away, sharks, Yahoo Serious. . . it’s the kind of place we should really nuke from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
At its dark little heart, the 1978 Australian film Long Weekend is about hell, and the different ways that concept can manifest itself into reality.
I detest romantic comedies. They are often decidedly unromantic and terribly unfunny. Throw drama into the mix and it’s even worse: concocted conflicts and clichéd characters. Horror comedies are a more palatable but often hit or miss. Combining all four genres seems like a bad idea. Somehow Spring manages to do that and still be terrific. It’s the best romantic comedy/drama horror movie you’ve seen yet.
In 1972, African-American writer, director, and actor Bill Gunn was given free reign to make a film that would capitalize on the success of Blacula. The result was the bizarre yet beautiful Ganja & Hess, his rumination on addiction, religion, and African-American culture, which would thrill audiences at Cannes, only to be savaged by critics upon its eventual release. The producers re-edited and repackaged Ganja & Hess as Black Vampire and the film was mostly forgotten.
But Bill Gunn never forgot. In 1973 he wrote a scathing letter to the NY Times, which said, among other things, “Your newspapers and critics must realize that they are controlling black theater and film creativity with white criticism.” Sadly, Gunn died in 1989, after making only one more film, 1980′s Personal Problems.
Brian O’Malley’s feature debut Let Us Prey reveals its darkness slowly and deliciously at first, evoking a sense of dread and mystery that keeps you watching. It also provokes a lot of questions. Who is this mysterious stranger who looks a lot like Liam Cunningham? Why has Police Constable Rachel Heggie been reassigned? Why is everyone at the police station so angry?
Oh how we all get richer / Playing the rolling game
Only the poor get poorer / We feed off them all the same
—Society‘s version of the Eton Boating Song
How do you explain a movie like Brian Yuzna’s Society? It truly is one of those things you must experience for yourself. The 1989 film is an important chapter in the body horror/ero goru subgenre, but it’s also just plain weird.
Jobriath A.D. tells the story of singer and would-be glam rock star Jobriath’s career and personal life. It focuses on the period when he was professionally active between 1968 and his death in 1983. His story is told nearly entirely from interviews with people who were involved in his life and career at the time or people who were influenced professionally by his work. There is some narration (by Henry Rollins, no less) to tie parts of the interviews together, and a series of animations provide visual interest and make up for the fact that there exists very little actual footage of Jobriath.
As I’ve been going through the movies that Olive Films has reissued, I’ve been finding some that are truly unique, amazing, and kind of unknown. One of these is called The Weapon.
The original German title of Michael Armstrong’s infamous Mark Of The Devil was Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält, literally translated into Witches Tortured Till They Bleed. It’s a horrifying, yet accurate title for a movie that contrasts lush scenery and exquisite period costumes with some of the most excruciating scenes of torture ever put on film.
Even talking about Zombieworld seems silly to me. Dread Central recently released a “movie” anthology of zombie shorts. That seems interesting at first, but when you notice that the shorts are have been around for a few years and are simply strung together with no wraparound, you realize this was just a sloppy and lazy way to make a quick buck.
My mom and I watched horror films consistently all through the years of my youth. My mom wasn’t a horror buff, but was really into slashers, so naturally I was as well because I soaked up whatever she would show me. Almost every night we would go to my room and watch at least one film and I would stay up late to make it a double feature. (To this day she will come over to my place and we will either watch a classic or I will show her something new I’ve discovered.)