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Mother of Tears

Posted by Josh Samford On February - 17 - 2009
Contributing Review by Jon Jung

Plot Outline: At a construction dig, the remains of the ‘legendary’ Oscar de la Valle are dug up along with an urn. It seems that this urn contains remnants of the titular Mother of Tears and de la Valle was tasked with delivering them to the Vatican. However, death and destruction followed him and eventually de la Valle himself perished during the journey (which one character glibly summarizes “He had a bad trip”) and the urn and he were buried together. Back to modern day, the urn is sent to the Museum of Ancient Art in Rome where Sarah (Asia Argento) and Giselle (Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni) both work. In a stupid “never seen Evil Dead nor even read about Pandora’s Box” move, Giselle ends up reawakening the Mother of Tears (and getting an intestinal necktie in the process) who seeks to continue her reign of terror in Rome. It’s now up to Argento and her latent white magic powers to save the city!




The Review
Genre film fans should well know by now that Mother of Tears, one of the most long awaited horror films, is the third and final installment of the “Mother” trilogy which also included the seminal art-horror flick Suspiria and the overwrought yet enjoyable Inferno. Sadly, however, this series ends on a markedly anti-climactic note. I know that there are a lot of Dario Argento apologists out there who will defend Mother of Tears as at least somewhat of a return to form. After all, the film certainly tries to be good since it has a good amount of gore, plenty of euro-trash imagery (including a group of witches with faux punk/goth makeup and wardrobe), violence against Achilles heels, pubes, eyes, children AND infants, and the mighty Udo Kier. Plus, Argento made his name nearly synonymous with Italian genre film due to his contributions in giallo (Deep Red, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage), horror (Suspiria), and westerns (Argento co-wrote Once Upon a Time in the West). However, we all have to admit that, save a couple of decent entries in the Masters of Horror TV series, Uncle Dario has been phoning it in for most of the past couple of decades. Unfortunately, “Mother of Tears” is no different.

The film’s main problem is its writing. Not that it’s particularly bad but it’s very dull, forgettable and feels overwritten at times. OK, so it’s kind of bad and the actors really don’t do the script any favors. In a key scene in which Sarah is fleeing the police and her magical powers are first introduced, she is instructed by the disembodied voice of her mother (Asia’s real-life mother Daria Nicolodi) to “Concentrate, and they won’t see you”. After the police indeed don’t detect her, Sarah flees in the opposite direction but not without yelling “What!?!” to a customer staring at her puzzlingly. Way to listen to mom, Sarah. Speaking of Asia Argento’s acting (if we must), she really needs to figure out how to look scared, somewhat surprising since she’s the offspring of a horror master. Her facial expressions during scary scenes tend to fluctuate between dumb-founded and constipated. That’s probably overexaggerating but at the least Mother should be proof that nepotism is never a good thing.

The Conclusion
Subpar acting and dialog are really nothing new to an Argento film, though. Even the best of his films are spotty in both of these areas and, really, it’s the style and atmosphere that matter most to Dario fans. Argento certainly tries to make the film look good with lots of warm earthy tones to contrast the flashy primary lighting (a la Suspiria). Some of the gore, however, is obviously CGI which removes the impact and organic feel that makes Argento’s earlier films so appealing. Overall, in fact, the film has a clean, sterile look which gives it a cheap TV feel to it. I thought that Brad Anderson’s 2001 flick Session 9 had similar problems; the clean look to it marred what was otherwise an effective and spooky experience. That’s where comparison of these two films can stop, though, because whereas Anderson’s effort was an above average old school exercise in horror, Argento’s is far below what we should expect of him. Mother isn’t terrible but it’s so underwhelming that it doesn’t distinguish itself from many other modern horror films and that’s not necessarily good company to keep.



Pit, The

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 24 - 2008
Originally Written by Prof. Aglaophotis


The Plot: Jaime is a very odd boy in his suburban neighborhood; seeing that he’s a twelve year old who has an obsession with pornography and female bodies in general and his only friend is Teddy his home-made teddy bear, he is easily estranged by everyone. His parents have caught on to this and feel that because he is reaching puberty he should start being mature and make more friends, which is why they hired young psychology student Sandy to look after him and be his friend while the parents are on a business trip. Also, Jaime knows about something that everyone else in the town doesn’t, something buried in the woods, hiding a big secret of sinister proportions: a large pit leading to an underground cave that houses four bright eyed creatures that have nothing to do but sleep and look up at Jaime whenever he visits them. As Jaime attempts to express his feelings for Sandy in his own oddball ways, Teddy guides him in taking care of the monsters in the pit and wooing Sandy, but once nothing goes Jaime’s way on either option, Teddy reminds Jaime about all of the people in town that hate him after finding out what the monsters like to eat and after running out of money to steal in order to buy the monsters meat. It’s then that Jaime literally puts the two factors together, but will his new little hobby of feeding his new pets ever get out of hand?




The Review
Once in awhile, you end up watching films that you never heard of that you never knew existed until you have seen them and once you do see them, they really make you stop and wonder what exactly you just saw. It’s a typically ambivalent feeling I get after watching an often mentioned rare cult film and it usually takes me awhile to get over it, depending on the concept. For The Pit, the feeling lasted with me long after the movie was done. The concept drew me in for the most part, but the way the concept and story is directed and developed… it was nowhere near bad, but it boggled my mind for a month. I couldn’t hate it, nor could I hold it in the highest of regards; that feeling has been gnawing on me since and I couldn’t figure it out! A month has past now and while writing this review I found out the answer: my expectations were too high. I was expecting a creepy old school horror movie and I ended up finding a goofy black comedy instead! It almost comes off as a character study of a disturbed little boy as it tries to pay attention to his disorder, but as it did, it often lost me in the process and when it told a story that was all about the monsters that the boy fed, it didn’t seem to end.

The film was shot in very good lucidity, ensuring that every actor on screen was visible, though the cinematography was a little hum drum as there weren’t too many spectacular shots to speak of except for maybe two notable scenes where we actually see a little blood and gore as well as some choker close-ups of Jamie watching the creatures in his atrium. The lighting was also very good, but almost… too good. By this I mean that it made sure nothing/no one was obscured on screen, but this would include the monsters as well; we saw just a little too much of them. The musical score, though somewhat fitting for the use of a demented kid for a main character, was just a little too well orchestrated for it to fit. Not that it was bad, hardly, it just didn’t emit any real fearful moments, playing off of strenuous and horrifying situations as if it were either shocking, trying to be dramatic or playful. The only moments that the violins and trombones really matched any terror was whenever Jaime would stalk around the women; keeping his eyes on whatever young lady was around him. The dialogue is on an average scale for me as the lines were spoken in believable ways, but in such a way that you wanted to correct whoever was talking. For instance, throughout the movie, Jaime calls the monsters that are presumably identified as troglodytes ‘trall-logs’. Now as believable as this is for a kid not being able to memorize the appropriate name for subterranean man-eaters, I wanted to shout the correct word at the screen. The acting was equal with the dialogue as characters either stay for awhile with an average level of charisma or they come and go before you know it. Sammy Snyders did a great job of being a weird, young, psychological outcast who has high hopes of having a girlfriend who easily gets peeved and jealous. Many other characters from supporters to extras ran from semi-believable to lousy (more notably, any cop in the movie on the lousy part…would they really want to keep away the reason why people were found torn to shreds from the town?).

It’s almost like the director had an idea of how to utilize the world and vocabulary of a goofy/freaky twelve year old and adhered it to the film in such a way that plays on everything involving the main character as innocent, silly and intriguing, yet shallow. All he needed to do to complete this assumption was to make the down to Earth on location spots bizarrely shaped, oversized and manipulated sets that would overwhelm the child characters and the movie would probably be held in a higher artistic regard. Despite this seemingly ‘innocent’ factor however, there are one or two strong moments in The Pit that make you realize that there is some harshness amidst the innocence. This is mostly due to our main character’s perversion for naked women that keeps you on the edge of tension as he goes to great lengths just to see some nipples. The best example of this is when he practically dehumanizes the town librarian by getting her to take her top off in front the window of her living room…damn, was that cruel. The pace of the movie itself is slow as Sandra tries putting the pieces of the Jaime’s problems together to possibly find an origin to it all and Jaime just does whatever he wants too. Unfortunately, we only get a hint of how Jaime’s problems started and as disturbing as they are, they’re just left dangling around. I will say this though; the movie does a good job of starting events in different patterns. I don’t say this so much out of editing as jump cuts are abound from scene to scene and flashbacks run unnoticed, but I say this out of the sequence of events in the film as they just open up and unravel and the movie takes off from that point. Due to the cut-down content, it’s hard to accept, but they had a seemingly anti-linear plot device in mind, so that counts. The editing did show a bit of problems here or there though, as the opening of the movie starts out with a scene that occurs later in the movie (godammit).

As I stated earlier, the movie doesn’t take on much of a horrific feel to the content; the fact that our main character bumps the people he doesn’t like off by finding different ways to drop them into a pit full of man eating monsters is played off in an atmosphere of dark humor instead of terror, which may not seem that big of a deal, sure, but the movie starts out this process by killing two of the most stereotyped ‘innocent’ characters in a horror movie that usually live at the end of main media horror films and as an avid horror movie fan, it’s hard for me to imagine why that is not expressed in a more terrifying light seeing that the movie all ready breaks such a heavily established stereotype. As an example of this dark humor, one out of the five people we first see get dumped into the pit get silent once they land in the pit; all you hear from the pit is the sound of the troglodytes roaring away at who has just dropped in, letting the audience assume that they are having an off screen flesh-feast. It’s hard to imply that every victim conveniently broke their neck or got knocked out once they dropped in (with the exception of one fainted victim).

There are also some facts that stand out in The Pit that really can’t be overlooked and dare to be scrutinized by the viewer. For example, when Jaime nabs the old, hateful, crippled, blind lady that hates him, he introduces himself to her and takes her for a non-consensual, bumpy stroll with her sitting in the wheel chair hollering and yelling for him to stop, all the way from the suburbs to the forest, a mile trip in broad daylight… and no one takes notice of this?? Riiiight. Another factor to this is when he dumps the school bully into the pit at night during a sudden costume party and the bully brought his girlfriend along. While she stays and watches over the bully getting closer to the pit, Jaime, who is dressed up as a ghost, creeps up behind the bully and pushes him in; a white cloaked figure against deep green foliage, sneaking behind a white shirt wearing pirate, all pretty well lit by dense moonlight and the girlfriend didn’t take notice of it before the bully got dumped. Riiiight.

Another problem is that of the more technical standard. First off, the pit itself is huge; it’s rectangular shaped in a small clearing, about eight by four feet, and it leads directly into hollow ground with no walls leading downward, leading into a big cave perhaps a quarter more the size of the pit’s opening for the four troglodytes to roam around in it. The problems with these factors run in the sense that anyone running towards the clearing could hardly miss a big black patch of emptiness smack dab in between fallen yellow autumn leaves and although the wall-less opening of the pit emits a sense of immediate danger as there is nothing to hold onto during your fall, the fact that the ground above the hollow cave is supported by practically nothing but conglomerate rock is dismaying and just having a big hole to look into a big subterranean cave about twelve feet down, revealing a cluster of stumpy hairy creatures isn’t as scary as looking down into a wide (five-by-five foot), sunken-in, square shaped pit that partially obscures the creatures below during the day, only revealing eight beady little yellow eyes looking up at you during the night, with at least six feet of dirt walls leading straight down into a six foot high cave. That would have been much creepier to see (though it would eliminate the atrium analogy in the movie). Still, it’s someone else’s movie; who am I to impose my own mental images upon what’s already been carved into the celluloid?

The Conclusion
Overall, The Pit is a mixed bag; it’s got a great premise that comes out as the prefect image of what a children’s film produced by Roger Corman would be like and just about anyone who has ever made a movie with the word Don’t in the title. Simultaneously, it’s hard to call it a horror film despite its premise, psychological factor, use of later clichéd kills (betcha’ that girl isn’t gonna take her top off before she gets nabbed), and practically minimal amount of blood and/or gore. It’s hard to recommend as the amassed scenes feel PG-13 based and would be suited for any adolescents getting early interests in the odd side of cult cinema (so long as they are either allowed to watch the movie or if they can ever find it) I was lucky to stumble upon a DVD release from Anchor Bay containing some international still-shots and posters, but why this isn’t making a better appearance here on the review is because the DVD… sadly, comes coupled with another movie on the other side of the disc, that really shouldn’t be there (trust me, it’s NOT a movie worth mentioning). Between the acting, music and plot, The Pit will come off more as a bizarre comical tale of misogyny and (off-screen) murders that is bound to make you chuckle in occasional disbelief rather than cringe at the content, but regardless of such results, The Pit just might pull you in.



Friend

Posted by Josh Samford On September - 18 - 2008
Originally Written by KidCaffeine
Plot Outline: The intellectual, the humorist, the gangster and the brute: Four unlikely friends growing up during the 70s. But as with all good things, this friendship must eventually come to an end. After enrolling in college, Joong-ho and Sang-taek return to their hometown, only to find out that one of their oldest friends has become a drug addict and the other is in jail. Let alone the fact that both are involved in gang activities. As the years go by, we follow the twists and turns in the lives of the four friends. We follow the tests and trials of the friendship between Joong-ho and Jeong-suk, as well as the rivalry between Jeong-suk and Dong-su in the deceiving world of organized crime.


  


The review: I’m stunned! 5 stars and an award for this movie: review end… No, really, I haven’t got one bad word to say about this Korean gem, but I bet I would have old man Josh on my back if I didn’t at least comment on it. So, brace yourself young ones, and get ready to hunger for this fantastic drama that’ll take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride, which in many ways changed the way I look at Korean cinema.

So, what’s so great about this movie you ask me? I wouldn’t know where to start. Even though I had read some pretty good reviews of the movie before buying it, I still couldn’t help but to be astonished by how good it actually was. It made me laugh at the right times, it managed to make me feel for the characters, and actually made me a bit sad towards the end (trying my best not to spoil the ending for you). But most of all, this movie made me nostalgic. It made me think of my earlier years with my friends. After I moved to another town I stopped seeing a lot of them, and I more or less felt like calling them up on the phone right after I finished the movie. It made me think of how hard it must be to witness your best friends become junkies and gang members without you being able to do anything about it.

“Friend” deals with something that everybody has to face at some point or another, the crossroads of life. It portrays several ways of dealing with the act of growing up, both the “correct” way that your parents would tell you to do things, enrolling in college etc, as well as the “wrong” way, earning your money the fast way. I think this is one of the reasons that this movie has become so popular. The problems at hand are something that everybody can relate to. Most people have tried stopping for a minute and look around one day, only to find out that you didn’t have as much in common with your friends any longer. It’s a tough situation to be in, and “Friend” does an excellent job at depicting the feeling that you get in a situation such as that, especially in the friendship between Joong-ho and Jeong-suk. Even though not many people have been in the situation of Jeong-suk and Dong-su, the movie also does an excellent job at drawing the audience in, and showing them how hard the lives of these two gangsters really are.

One thing that took me by surprise was the acting. I don’t mean to sound prejudice or anything, but as much as I love Asian cinema, there’s just something about the acting in many of the movies that I haven’t found too likable. Take for instance Ringu: I loved the movie, but don’t tell me that you found the acting to be spectacular, especially not during the first 10-15 minutes. That was just bad acting, not even Mike and the bots could make that acceptable. The acting in “Friend” was spectacular, though, and I was especially surprised to see “Bulldozer” from “Attack the Gas Station” acting out his role so well. I always had this picture of him in my mind as somewhat comical and unable to play serious roles, but I guess that’s what an unserious role like that will do to ones reputation, even though I liked the movie itself. As for the rest of the cast they’re doing a great job as well, so I’ll not get into commenting on each and everyone of the character’s ability to act.

As for the DVD itself, what I have here is the All Region Mega Star release. As opposed to what I’ve heard some people say, I was pretty satisfied with this release. It comes with a 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen picture, as well as some pretty good English subs (good enough for me not to notice any errors nonetheless.) Last but not least, it has a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track in Korean. That’s right, no English dubbing here! All in all, I consider this an above average release, with a pretty good image quality compared to what we’ve seen from a lot of the other Asian DVDs.

What’s left to say about this movie? Nothing much really, except that I urge all of you to go out and buy it. I got it pretty cheap off DDDHouse, and that was money well spent on a DVD of pretty good quality and a movie of exceptional quality. A gem in the collection! As I said in the beginning of the review, I haven’t got anything bad to say, which actually make this movie quite hard reviewing for an old angry bastard like me. But if you ever need to take a break from the ultra-violence of Miike, or the Nazi sleaze that you appreciate so much, perhaps even if you need a movie to watch with your girlfriend (you know that she won’t appreciate “The Gestapo’s Last Orgy”) this may be just what you need.



Saturday the 14th

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 31 - 2008
Originally reviewed by our good friend Jon Jung (AKA: Coffin Jon) from the VCinemashow podcast and web blog.

The Plot: An average couple (played by real-life couple Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss) inherit a house from an eccentric uncle. It turns out that the house, um, houses an ancient book which unleashes a curse whose power reaches its apex on the title date. Two characters, Van Helsing (Severn Darden) and vampire figure Waldemar (Jeffrey Tambor), are both after this book albeit for different reasons and the struggle for its possession leads to a great battle between good and evil. But who is good and who is evil?




The Review
Let’s get things out of the way first: this movie has no relation to the Friday the 13th series other than the tragically misleading title and the fact that it came out a year after the Voorhees masterpiece, 1981. In reality, Saturday the 14th is a horror spoof that covers the classic Universal/Hammer era: haunted houses, bats, vampires, and other rubber-suited fiends of the night. Anyone expecting a slasher spoof should just go back to Scream, Beneath the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Club Dread, or other wink wink, nudge nudge, tongue in cheek horror “comedies”.

Another thing, and this is a confession: from my first viewing of this movie at age twelve, I’ve seen this movie at least two dozen other times. No, not because it is good, funny, or a rousing tribute to classic horror icons. No, these are not descriptions that could be used for Saturday the 14th. The one reason is Kari Michaelson, who would take sassy tongue lashings from Nell Carter later in the TV series “Gimme a Break!”, is absolutely hotness on wheels; a lengthy bath scene in which we are treated to Ms. Michaelson removing her panties and later, only wearing a towel, being pursued by a gill creature is worth it for the price of admission.

There is plenty that does not work for the movie. Cheapness is not necessarily one of these things as it’s almost de rigeur for a spoof of classic horror movies to harp on that which makes those oldies fun and memorable to begin with. Rather, the problem lies in the screenwriters producing a decidedly goofy, yet unfunny, and definitely not scary script. In fact, the movie feels like something that I’d be watching the tube on a Saturday morning with a bowl of generic Rice Krispies. In fact, I’d like to think of Saturday the 14th as a precursor to the Bailey School Kids series (which includes such classic titles such “Sea Monsters Don’t Ride Motorcycles” and “Mummies Don’t Coach Softball”): a few cheap jokes in a faux ‘spooky’ setting that would make The Haunted Mansion seem like the Sawyer family homestead.

The Conclusion
Luckily, the one hour and spare change running time makes this a relatively painless watch. In 1988, a sequel of sorts, Saturday the 14th Strikes Back, somehow managed to get produced with a nearly identical premise. Proof positive that the creaking you hear might not be the sound of a dilapidated door opening to a dark and haunted house at the corner of the street but actually that of money being flushed down the toilet.

Driller Killer

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 26 - 2008
Originally written by Prof. Aglaophotis


Plot Outline: Reno Miller is a man clinging to a shoe string; living in his New York apartment as an exceptional painter with his two girl friends Carol and Pamela with a number of mounting problems, particularly their attrition of money, lack of support from his art dealer coupled with the pressure of completing his current painting, the heavy bill to pay with poverty looming over their backs, the non-stop practices of the new punk band downstairs…the list of problems just goes on for Reno. Under this sort of pressure, there seems to be no way Reno can ventilate his emotions, much less direct his anger. That is of course, after Reno starts to fulfill his new found infatuation, for after helping Pamela drill a hole in one of the doors, Reno gained this hidden desire with drills…so much to the point that he slowly begins to lose his mind from the pressure and begins burning out his rage by using the power drill on the local street paupers. But how far will Reno go once his problems reach their negative zenith?


  


The Review
I have always loved a good character study in whatever I read or watch; it proves that a human being can use their imagination to its fullest lucidity in order to bring a fictional character to life, especially in a psychological manner. Although I knew I was in for a character study with a unique blend of visual artistry in Driller Killer, I felt amazed at witnessing the spectacle of a man trying to live out his imagination only to find that it cannot reach its expected potential due to suppressed feelings that shatter his social control, leading to detrimental behavior as a sole outlet and that is one of the many things I enjoyed about The Driller Killer. I first heard of this movie from Pantsman over the horror forum and as blasé as the title sounded, the more I read about it, the more intriguing it became to my mind. There is practically nothing you can’t find symbolic or meaningful to life in this movie, as ambiguous/long winded shots can easily be inferred and interpreted in ways that, no matter which direction they are taken either in the obviously new-found phallic/homoerotic obsession or the elimination of negative figures that are held equal to the character’s father, hit pretty damn close to home. What blows me away about this character is how realistic he and his situation really are; it may just be a horror movie, but it has its share of reality in mind. As most people try to chase their dreams and ambitions, some will grab hold to nightmares as they already struggle desperately to the life they already lead and how Abel’s character Reno finds his way to vent and lash out is deeply effective as you can see anyone with enough suppression in their lives to find a different way out on their own a harrowing ordeal and that is what really makes the movie stand out.

The audio quality in the movie was just about average, as keeping the volume too low makes lighter toned dialogue sound like murmurs and keeping it too high might throw you back into your seat (unless you have a stable surround sound system so that not every word is channeled in a seemingly singular solid direction). The soundtrack was interesting enough to keep the audience somewhat drawn in as we get a few synthesized tracks that reflect Reno’s drilling sprees with some industrial sound pounds and an almost Jaws/guitar-twang feel to it, teeming with some tribal chase-inducing drumbeats. The punk band contributes to the audio and soundtrack as well, as the sound of the band practicing and playing on stage sound raw enough to emit the feeling of actually standing in front of the band in a stuffy closed up room, the bass lines and heavy voice of the singer over the microphone and the drum beats throbbing against your body and banging against your ears, making their incessant role in the movie boost up enough so that the audience sort of feels for the struggling Reno (I should know; I used to have a band playing my garage). The cinematography was quite effective in the sense that even the most candid and obvious continuity lags are forgivable, seeing how well they actually adhere to the unfolding of events. Reno continually watches the winos outside his apartment from time to time like a hateful cruel reminder of the results of his artistic failure; that he could end up just like them. The use of occasional hallucinations and dream sequences as well as the use of Douglas Metro’s paintings in Reno’s apartment all contributed in the artistic form of the movie, as well as the all time favorite reoccurring red theme which would all contribute to the foreshadowing violence ahead (the reoccurring image of Reno being sprayed with blood was dirty enough to keep me in awe). The acting, for the most part was average, but highly down to Earth as the characters were all brought into light with the actor’s dialogue and actions (Pamela actually reminds me of a punk girl I know today), the bums Reno runs into are all highly believable and well improvised and of course Abel Ferrara starring as the main character was quite a treat, bringing his anger and depression to the screen with personally lucid sharpness.

Driller Killer has a lot of style to it any way you look at it. There were various scenes that just made the movie feel greater than it already is, such as when Reno is presented with a dead rabbit for dinner and as he dresses up with lipstick and lingerie before going on a new drilling spree. Although I did get a little tired with the incessant band as we received various shots of them just being their annoying and intolerable selves (when they weren’t inadvertently bugging Reno, they bug the audience for reasons I don’t think Ferrara ever listed) and some of the drilling scenes might have needed a little more work in the process of creativity (what? No throat impaling?), they all contributed in the line of producing succinct grueling effects as well as some fun-with-drill-bits, so either way, the drillings were pretty cool. I found it hard to find something not to like about the movie as it said something about the human mind, how it can bend around circumstances until it wears out, as well as just about every theme within the movie being hard not to ignore. The poor bums might not have deserved the deaths since no one wants to live on the streets forever, but that is exactly where the ending of misery pops into the film, as well as the character’s cleverness, taking his anger out on those not as missed in society as others would. As a striving literary artist, I found the film’s theme of failure of artistic success being sparred with someone else’s annoying yet more successful art form to be as equally and personally powerful; it’s one of the cruelties of life and society that director Abel Ferrara has used in his work that applies so well in the Driller Killer. It’s violent, gritty, personal and enriching…check it out.

The DVD
I couldn’t help myself once I saw what this DVD really contained aside from one of my new favorite low budget serial killer horror films: a second disc featuring the early short films of director Abel Ferrara! How can one resist the temptation of watching one of the greatest realist cinema director’s early work in the film industry? Starting with the Driller Killer disc though, it really is a pretty good one as the transfer isn’t crystal clear, but hardly anything is obscure to our eyes. Most DVD commentary you run across is somewhat formal and informative, am I correct? Well, alright, perhaps I am not, but Abel Ferrara’s commentary on the film is not so much non-informative or informal as it is informative, slightly enlightening and quite humorous. He brings the facts and opinions up most of the time, as well as bringing some random light to whatever is on screen with jivy spontaneous comments, which really brings you into his mentality. Delving into his early short films, I began to appreciate his settings, themes and style of commentary, regardless of the fact that many background noises were heard alongside his dialogue. We got a better sense of Abel and where he comes from with his own personal stories, experiences with other actors and the mundane world around him. The shorts themselves, (Could this be Love and The Hold Up) were quite tangible as we get succinct yet down-to-earth feelings for some of the characters involved and their actions. The short entitled Nicky’s Film was ultimately intriguing as it’s a fortuitously/inadvertently silent movie with surreal themes involved and the theatrical trailer for Nine Lives of a Wet Pussy was great, seeing that you could still see Ferrara’s style of filming amidst the adult theme. In short, the second DVD is quite a find as it brings Ferrara’s mentality and first few films available to the audience, as well as a great horror film that’s worth the money digitally released from Cult Epics.

The Conclusion
Seeing that this is the first movie AND (multiple) DVD review I am offering as viewer sacrifice, I would have to say that the combination is great enough to be recommended for just about everyone interested in either discs.




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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.

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