Chillerama Year: Directors: Adam Rifkin, Tim Sullivan, Adam Green, Joe Lynch Chillerama is another anthology, but with a framing story that is a bit more grounded and conventional—all the shorts are simply being viewed at a classic drive-in, until terror leaps off the screen in the form of a zombie outbreak in the theater in the final segment.
A whole lot of filmmakers have tried to make films like this one in the last 15 years, but Chillerama can at least say it executes better than most. This is a man who personally directed almost movies between , which ran the gamut between horror, giallo , comedy and outright pornography. Most tend to be on the ramshackle side, like an even more shoestring version of Mario Bava, but a few such as Count Dracula do have a sumptuous, plush look to them.
Bowen escapes from police custody and begins tracking her down. The cheap VHS video aesthetic and smarmy news anchors create just the right touch—schmaltzy, but in a way that is truly genuine rather than overtly parodic and over the top. Indeed, for the first 30 to 45 minutes of this film, it feels like a broadcast that could have truly happened. Nightmare City, aka City of the Walking Dead Year: Director: Umberto Lenzi If you love ludicrous foreign horror cinema, and especially batshit crazy Italian zombie movies, then Nightmare City is like the holy grail of your subgenre.
Because this movie is insane.
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And oh, how they kill! These zombies are armed to the teeth with knives, axes, even machineguns. I repeat: This movie features machinegun-firing zombies, priestly zombies, doctor zombies and even zombies that are implied to have somehow flown and landed a large military plane on their own. Add to that a delightfully wacky English dubbing, full of awkward pauses, strange voices and philosophical ramblings, and you have the birth of a camp classic on your hands. The story of a pair of out-of-work former soldiers who have become hitmen, it presents itself as a mystery or crime thriller as much as a true horror film, although there are certainly segments that are difficult to watch, such as the torture of a pornographer.
There are some wonderful individual performances though, particularly Neil Maskell as the protagonist and troubled hitman, Jay. In that way, you can think of it as an arthouse horror flick. CGI gore will never be as icky as this. Cannibal Holocaust , on the other hand, became more infamous for the rumors that surrounded it, namely that real-life human deaths had occurred on screen.
This was blatantly untrue, although there are numerous real-life animal slayings, which make it a very difficult watch for anyone squeamish about animal violence. If it ends up being something you enjoy, the derivative Cannibal Ferrox can also be found on Shudder. Sororities have always been prime slasher territory, thanks to the preponderance of young female victims living under the same roof—even the first-ever true slasher, Black Christmas , was set in a sorority.
This one reveals tightly around a group of seven girls who accidentally murder their overbearing house mother in a prank gone wrong. As they try to cover up the crime, members of the group start showing up dead, begging the question of who or what is doing the killing. When his undead soldier creations come to life, the Russian soldiers end up fighting for their lives. Plot and performances are essentially unimportant—what ends up being extremely impressive here are the fabulously grisly monster designs, practical effects and inventiveness in staging found footage action sequences.
House Year: Director: Steve Miner House is a legitimately odd film, and not an easy one to classify. Our protagonist is a Stephen King-like horror novelist who suffers traumatic flashbacks to both his time in Vietnam and the unexplained disappearance of his son. George Wendt of Cheers makes an amusing appearance as the next door neighbor, but what most people remember House for is its unpredictability and Vietnam-inspired horrors. Compare it to say, Fatal Attraction , if Glenn Close had the chance to enact an extended torture scene.
That is of course what people tend to remember about Audition today, especially the harrowing portions with the needles and the piano wire, but the rest of the film is a deftly shot Miike thriller.
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The first Dead Snow , though no masterwork, is the better film because it at least partially tries to hit the horror audience instead of abandoning it for full-on horror-comedy camp. A group of students camp out in a remote, snowy cabin in Norway and unwittingly revive a regiment of Nazi zombies by appropriating their Nazi gold—pretty standard stuff for the genre.
The attempts at humor and characterization are so-so, but the FX and action work are top-notch for an indie feature, with great costuming for the zombies and lots of explosive bloodletting. Ichi the Killer Year: Director: Takashi Miike Ichi the Killer is visually striking—in the sense that it will strike your eyeballs with its ultragore visuals for minutes.
Never a director with the critical acclaim or heightened stature of a Dario Argento, Fulci was instead prolific, making his name in with the greatest of the Italian zombie films, Zombi 2. It follows a young woman and her friends, who travel from New York to the Lovecraft-inspired town of Dunwich, where the suicide of a corrupted priest is causing the dead to rise from their graves and strike out at the living. The story revolves around Michael, something of a deluded sad-sack who was recently dumped by his girlfriend.
The very low budget is consistently apparent in the dull-looking visual palette and single location, but Kren gets the most out of his actors in a zombie movie that is also surprisingly gore-less. And at only 63 minutes, it never has to worry about overstaying its welcome. Rammbock is a lean, mean little zombie story that does just enough differently from the template to be memorable.
The premise is simple but rewarding, as the creators get film directing and writing luminaries together to discuss classic film trailers. Each entry is only minutes long on average, making Trailers From Hell a series of bite-size excursions into film history with the most knowledgeable of tour guides. Not only can you hear what famous directors think of your favorite horror films; you can mine new entries for your to-watch list from some of their personal favorite movies.
The series is both entertaining and instructive for all your future viewing. Following the election of a far-right candidate to the French presidency Donatien Trumplamoose? Going by back roads, they eventually run afoul of a secret family of Nazi holdout sadists and are captured to be used as food, slaves or worse. Like Sally Hardesty in Texas Chainsaw , Yasmine truly suffers and watches her friends get picked off one by one, but unlike Sally, she refuses to simply run. Our main character is Angela, a troubled girl who absolutely everyone picks on for no good reason.
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Everyone who meets her immediately hates her guts and subjects her to cruel taunting. But soon, the people at the camp who were mean to Angela start getting knocked off. The movie seems calculated to come off as a straight horror film, but the death scenes are often so outlandish that it veers pleasurably into horror comedy as well.
Highlights include the lecherous camp cook, who gets a giant vat of boiling water dumped on his face, or the kid who gets a beehive dropped into the outhouse with him. It follows a close-knit family of cannibals secretly maintaining their way of life in an urban setting. What follows is a somewhat awkward, very dour and morbid series of misadventures as they try to maintain their way of life.
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The film is both creepy and gory, but it lacks the strength of characters and relationships that are established in the American version, which delves deeper into the psyche of each family member. You can see why Mickle took an interest in the premise, though. The whole thing takes less than a minute. Certainly, for any major horror junkie, the idea of being the one person who can correctly spot a vampire must serve as some brand of wish fulfillment.
Recruiting help from both his friend Evil Ed a fantastically over-the-top Stephen Geoffreys and horror-actor-turned-late-night-TV-host Peter Vincent Roddy McDowall at his curmudgeonly finest , Charley attempts to gather evidence that his new neighbor secretly wants to eat him.
Nightbreed Year: Director: Clive Barker Nightbreed is an odd duck of a movie, stranded somewhere between legitimate horror film and dark fantasy story. Clive Barker directs, only a few years after Hellraiser , but here his ambition perhaps got the best of him. One thing that is spectacular throughout is the art direction, sets, costuming and makeup. The story follows an alcoholic police officer who has to face a new threat to a sleepy seaside community when octopus-like aliens begin emerging from the sea and killing townspeople.
Therefore, to combat the monsters and make themselves unpalatable, the police and townspeople have an obvious choice to make: Get totally hammered and grab a bunch of weapons.
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That may sound rather close to the summary of a direct-to-video movie by The Asylum, but Grabbers is surprisingly intelligent, witty and well-written in such a way that it easily escapes a fate in DVD bargain bin hell. This low-budget nightmare fever dream hails naturally from Japan, and combines aspects of Cronenbergian body horror with a somewhat cyberpunk aesthetic. When an ordinary businessman gets infected with some sort of metallic curse, his body slowly begins to morph into a monster. Although it can be a little slow and portentous, the setting and ideas are spectacular.
The film imagines a near-future, sci-fi tinged world where obsession with celebrity lives has replaced nearly every other facet of the arts. People are so celebrity-obsessed, in fact, that a booming genetics business has developed to cater to disease hounds—people who literally want to be injected with specific strains of diseases, such as STDs, that have been harvested from various starlets.
Elsewhere, people stand in line at meat markets to buy muscle tissue grown and cultivated from celebrity donors.