Archives for January 2009 | Varied Celluloid

Archive for January, 2009

Wizard Of Gore

Posted by Josh Samford On January - 15 - 2009
Plot Outline: Sherry Carson who runs some kind of public access
opinion show, takes in a viewing of Montag the Magnificent’s show one night with her boyfriend Jack. Montag, unlike many magicians, doesn’t rely on silly things like wooden boxes to saw his female volunteers, he does it out in the open for everyone to see! The woman whom he does this to walks away perfectly fine, but afterwards when she’s in a restaurant, the wounds suddenly appear on her and she dies. Sherry, unbeknownst to her that the woman died the same night, walks away impressed while Jack is convinced it’s all lame. Sherry even goes on to mention Montag on her tv show. She then tries to get an interview with Montag, but he isn’t interested, but does want her to view his next show. Somewhere around this time Jack is starting to piece things together when he sees the girl who was sawed in half dead in the newspaper. The same thing happens when Sherry and Jack take in the second show, Jack notifies the police, but only after Montag finally concedes to come on Sherry’s show but only to perform. Now, Sherry has no idea what to expect of Montag’s performance, or even Montag himself.


  

The Review: H.G. Lewis, a man loved by many and hated by many more. I’m not a Lewis fanboy or anything like that, but I have to admit from watching a few of his films, I definitely get a kick out of them. I’ve seen The Gore Gore Girls, Blood Feast and now this. So far, this has been the most disappointing. For those of you who haven’t experienced the works of Herschell Gordon Lewis and haven’t read up on him, this is basically what he is to me: Ed Wood with gore. That’s basically the man’s output in a nutshell. I believe (although don’t take me for my word) I read a review or an article about Lewis once where he was said to take his films very serious and doesn’t like being compared to Wood, but if the shoe fits… Sure, Lewis’ films are a bit more professional as far as production goes, but when it comes to getting a response from his actors, Wood and Lewis are on even ground. Both feature some of the most over the top acting you could ever see in a ‘serious’ film. Troma tries often to duplicate the formula, but usually adds a tongue in cheek quality that is vastly different from these two pioneers of bad cinema.

It’s hard pinpointing what really screws Wizard of Gore up, but if I were to name the thing that really got in the way of me being able to actually get into the film, it was the incredibly terrible plot. Lewis isn’t known for having Mammet-like scripts, but this was just ridiculous. For one thing, the whole story is fleshed out over 100 minutes and NEVER goes anywhere! In my review for Dead Next Door I mentioned how much I loved just sitting and watching a 80 minute horror film that pulls no punches, well Wizard of Gore is basically the opposite. It tags on twenty extra minutes and the time just crawls by because we just keep going in circles. The writer of the film must have just ran out of ideas after the first ten minutes because we spend the rest of the film going in the same loop. We somehow end up at the magicians show about four or so times, each time with him brutally killing some young woman who doesn’t seem to be able to speak. It gets tiresome after the third time or so. I had no problems sitting through Gore Gore Girls or Blood Feast, but Wizard was actually hard for me to bare. It was still fun though and I guess that’s what matters. Plenty of hilarious lines, and basically anytime the magician opens his mouth it’s completely classic. His lines about reality in the beginning had me howling. It’s just funny to see a guy in a cape yell philosophical garbage, but maybe that’s just me.

The only thing most horror fans are going to care about is the gore, and from what I can gather, this is indeed Lewis’ goriest film. The chainsaw murder and the spike to the head deaths are both equally fake looking but also quite grotesque. The spike to the head bit started out laughable but near the end where he is ripping out the girls eyes I felt slightly grossed out. Not to the verge of vomiting or turning my head, but I’ve got a thing for eye gore that bothers me. These two alone are the sole reason to see the film. They both look pretty cheesy, but this is Lewis, what do you expect? I hate when I see reviewers who talk about how cheesy the FX are in films like this, I always feel like asking ‘why are you watching something like this then?’, so if you’re bothered by obvious dummy heads being decapitated, then this obviously isn’t something you should look up. The rest of the death scenes were fairly average for me, except for the final bit of gore which I won’t spoil here. So, there’s a lot of gore yes, but it’s all tied together by a plot strand no thicker than the hair off the top of my head. They obviously just wanted something to showcase lots of gore, and although that isn’t a bad thing in my book it still could have used some work. Especially in the editing department… especially in the editing department!

Not only is the film slow as molasses, the editor also must have been taking acid with the writer (what is up with that ending?) because he was definitely out of it if he didn’t see all the obvious mistakes and just complete absurdities within. For one, it was about halfway through the film before I realized that during the murders we’re supposed to be seeing things as they’re really happening (as in the magician playing with the girl’s intestines) and from the audiences eyes where there isn’t any real violence going on. At least that’s what I think was happening. To tell the truth I’m not completely sure. I thought it would have been odd that the audience stayed in place as a girl is sawed in half and then has her intestines played with in front of them. Then there are the quick jumps in the editing process that are just plain bizarre. I’ll keep this as spoiler free as possible, but in one scene we see a dead woman lying on the ground with a man’s pants legs in front of the camera but then there’s a strange jump cut to the SAME exact shot but without the pants leg in front of the camera. It was either a complete mistake or the strangest little edit I’ve ever seen. One last little note on the writing. After the second death, don’t you think the cops would have been able to establish the fact that both girls went to the same magician right before dying? That just seems like average detective work, I don’t see why they would need this LOSER to help them out. Ahh, but these are just the obvious complaints about the film. Sure, it’s bad. In fact, it’s terrible, but it’s funny and it’s entertaining. You’ll either love it, hate it or just not care enough to even form an opinion but any which way, you’ve been forewarned.

Night of the Demons 2 Review

Posted by Josh Samford On January - 11 - 2009

I’m back people! Kind of busy here lately, but I haven’t forgotten VC and want to get a little more active in my writing again. Hopefully after this week I’ll be able to do that if things go well. Still need to write reviews for Wizard of Gore 2009 as well as Mad Detective. Keep checking back people!

The Review: Well, Angela is back once again in the series that just couldn’t stay dead. The brilliantly titled Night of the Demons 2 takes up the mantle where the last film left off, in terms of story and direction as well. Once again, we’re not talking about a horror film that defied the rules here – Night of the Demons 2 simply plays by them, and how much you’re bound to enjoy the film is based generally off how big a horror geek you tend to be. Horror geeks are a more forgiving lot than the average film goer. We deal in convention and were raised on all the cliches of the genre, so when it comes to flicks like Night of the Demons 2 – the only things one can really judge the film on are the few original moments it introduces and whether or not at the end of its running time you are entertained. With Night 2, well, one is left simply feeling ‘meh’.

Read More Here

Night of the Demons 2

Posted by Josh Samford On January - 11 - 2009


The Plot: Angela and the demons of Hullhouse may have been put on hold temporarily at the end of the original Night of the Demons, but that hasn’t stopped her spirit from haunting the house and devouring anyone who wanders by. In the time just after the events of the original film, Angela’s sister Mouse has been sent off to a very strict catholic school where she, like her sister, doesn’t really fit in. However Mouse isn’t quite as outgoing, and becomes the butt of everyone’s jokes. One joke goes a little too far when one of these supposed “friends” ends up forcing Mouse into their car and taking her to another Halloween party at Hullhouse. Now the evil spirits are about to be riled up once again, and these kids are up for the (last) night of their lives.





The Review: Well, Angela is back once again in the series that just couldn’t stay dead. The brilliantly titled Night of the Demons 2 takes up the mantle where the last film left off, in terms of story and direction as well. Once again, we’re not talking about a horror film that defied the rules here – Night of the Demons 2 simply plays by them, and how much you’re bound to enjoy the film is based generally off how big a horror geek you tend to be. Horror geeks are a more forgiving lot than the average film goer. We deal in convention and were raised on all the cliches of the genre, so when it comes to flicks like Night of the Demons 2 – the only things one can really judge the film on are the few original moments it introduces and whether or not at the end of its running time you are entertained. With Night 2, well, one is left simply feeling ‘meh’.

Much the same as the first film, we’re dealt a variety of cliche characters we’ve all seen in various other slashers and supernatural horrors before a million times including the jocks, the idiotic boyfriend, the leather jacket wrapped bad boy, the mousy girl with dark premonitions about the future, the cheerleader blonde and of course the geek. Everything is cut and dry in the world of Night of the Demons, and this second continuation of the series doesn’t look to stray too far off the beaten path. As you can tell by the plot synopsis, the twenty minute introduction at the catholic school kind of sets the film up to wander down conventionally the same path as the first of the series, but thankfully things do take on a different twist as the kids actually get to leave Hullhouse and instead are locked away at the school with Angela and her cronies unleashed with devastating fury.

The character of Mouse, sister to Angela, is an interesting addition to the series even though I suspect most would find her annoying. She’s a little whiny, a little cute and at the very least more interesting than the majority of characters. Letting the kids actually leave Hullhouse was what really saved the film though. While the film built up and with the kids actually arriving there with much of the same set-up going on, such as the painting of pentagrams on the wall and a satanic ritual set to take place, but when the kids actually escape from the outside wall it at least gave the film some sort of unexpected drama. Not enough to make this sequal better than the first, but enough to actually warrant seeing it in my opinion. One of the better holdovers from the first however is the use of great physical FX, including one of the most amazing breast shots of all time. Well you see, these aren’t just ordinary boobies, we’re talking boobies that through the genius of latex FX work – turn into hands before your very eyes and reach out and grab some hapless victim. That, my friends, is the glory of low budget horror pre-CGI.

The addition of comedy within the series is a bit of a mixed bag here. The first film really played out like your average horror of the time would, with maybe some light humor sprinkled throughout but nothing that distracted from the scenes that were supposed to be “scary”. This sequel however wants to take the series into a more “horror-comedy” direction, but unfortunately due to the way it is all put together the horror-comedy only seems to come into play during the very last half of the film due to Angela, as a physical entity, being introduced so late in the movie. Her character takes on a VERY Freddy Krueger-ish style of reeling off one-liners and ripping out the occasional pun or bit of physical comedy. There’s a lot of Evil Dead style camerawork (also present in the first film, but taken to a different degree here) and even what could only be a reference to those films in a scene showing a nun gathering her armor like Ash in the second Evil Dead when he crafted his chainsaw arm. So, the comedy is both good and bad but I suppose is more welcome than it is a distraction, even if I don’t agree with the use of one-liners before a kill within the horror genre.

As I stated earlier, with flicks like this it all comes down to just how much new content there is and how much of the same old-same old is on display. For my buck, I thought Night of the Demons was a lesser film than the original in most respects. It took the tongue in cheek comedy of the first film and completely ran with it in a very hit or miss direction; but thankfully didn’t ruin the film with inept schtick. The gore and violence were actually a step up I found and think that in the end the best compliment you can give it is that it’s a very imaginitive sequel that opens up the borders that the original film set upon itself by limiting the number of sets. It simply feels more like a horror-comedy-adventure though, and it takes away some of the power that the film had. Ultimately, these films are as formulaic and by the books as you would expect but there’s a certain amount of fun that can be derived from pure genre fans. I don’t think most will see it and have their minds blown, but there’s a good time to be had if you’re up for it. It recieves the same rating as the original, a three out of five. Not a very high rating, but there’s entertainment value here if nothing else.



NAVIGATION

VIDEO

TAGS

Sponsors

About Me

Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

Twitter

    Photos