Friday, October 31, 2014

The Mask (1961)

Allegedly Canada's first horror film, 1961s The Mask is a curious entry into the world of both fright films and 3D features. The plot involves a psychiatrist who becomes the owner of an extremely old tribal mask after a former patient sends it to him before committing suicide. When he tries the mask on, it propels the psychiatrist into a bizarre realm that quickly morphs from purely strange to increasingly disturbing with nightmare like visions. These visions soon begin to take their toll on the psychiatrist, altering his temperament and driving him towards madness.

I first became aware of this cinematic oddity when a still from the film was used on the cover of 1986s highly recommended RE/Search Incredibly Strange Films book. It wasn't long after that I finally got the chance to check out the film when it was broadcast on cable television. Most of the film is shot in standard black and white, but there are portions when a deeply reverbed narrator will remind you to "Put the mask on, NOW!" as all footage within the mask world is presented in 3D. A unique gimmick, the 3D viewers were not the conventional glasses, but instead a cardboard mask somewhat similar to the one in the film.

the trailer

the feature

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Krysar - Pied Piper of Hamelin (1985) - Repost

 Reposting with updated link.

This interpretation of an age old fairy tale was directed by Jiří Barta. Krysař (The Pied Piper of Hamelin) is an engrossing stop motion-animated Czech film. It's highly stylized wood carved visualizations take inspiration from the dark world of German Expressionism and the lack of understandable dialogue facilitates 
the dreamy atmosphere.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Three... Extremes (2004)

The film anthology Three... Extremes (2004) aka Saam gaang yi is a sequel to 2003's Three and presents a trio of horror tales in a genre described by Roger Ebert as "Extreme Asia." Each of the three disturbing tales are handled by a different Asian director.

Hong Kong's Fruit Chan directed "Dumplings," a truly demented + sick story that illustrates one actress's bold quest to stay youthful through the ingestion of very unique edibles. The second story is "Cut," by Korean Chan-Woo Park, who had directed Oldboy a year earlier. Like that film, this story is also one of trauma born from revenge as a horror film director awakens from blackness to the horror of himself and family constrained (his wife in an especially complicated truss of piano wires) by an unknown and angry aggressor. Lastly, "Box" comes the mind of Japanese director Takashi Miike. Two young girls perform in a magic act with their father and jealousy causes serious problems between them. The shorts all live up to the "Extreme Asia" tag and present very twisted and horrific visions of reality.

the trailer

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cronenberg on Cronenberg - 2013 Interview

Canadian director and favorite of mine, David Cronenberg speaks here in footage on 3sat (a public, advertising-free, television network in Central Europe that broadcasts in German) from 2013. He recounts his life and his progress as a film maker in a great interview that is both extensive in scope but very laid back in questioning, with much time allowed for him to expand on his answers.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Unseen (1980)

Directing this 1980 horror film The Unseen, is Danny Steinmann using the pseudonym Peter Foleg. Steinmann passed away in 2012, but along with The Unseen he is remembered in the movie world for writing and directing the 1973 porno High Rise, the 1984 Linda Blair revenge-ploitation vehicle Savage Streets, as well as 1985s Friday the 13th: A New Beginning.

The Unseen follows a freelance reporter and her two gal pals who find themselves having to spend the night in an creepy old house which of course also comes equipped with a menacing and murderous resident. Along with Mrs. Ringo Starr aka Barbara Bach as the reporter, other notable faces in the cast include Animal House's Stephen Furst and veteran character actor Sydney Lassick.

the trailer

the feature

Monday, October 6, 2014

Shock Waves (1977)

This is a re-re-post with updated, working links. 

The 1977 film Shock Waves would make a great double feature with Death Ship since they both deal with Nazi inspired supernatural terror on and near the high seas.

First viewed this when it aired on Night Flight in the 1980s.  Director Ken Wiederhorn (King Frat, Eyes of a Stranger, Meatballs 2, Return of the Living Dead 2) does a superb job creating tension and terror on a very low budget. Brooke Adams along with horror veterans Peter Cushing and John Carradine are the most notable faces in the film. 

They story follows a group of vacationers who charter a boat to tour, fish, and dive around some Caribbean Islands. The weather becomes odd, the boat collides with a mystery freighter, and the hull is damaged. This forces the crew and passengers to seek refuge on a small island where they encounter Peter Cushing's character and things take a terrifying turn for the worse.
the trailer

the feature