Buio Omega (1979)

Buio Omega (1979)Frank Wyler is a three-year-old boy living with his housekeeper Iris in a millionaire-villa in the country. Iris has taken care of Frank since his parents died in a car accident when he was young, and since then, the relationship between Iris and Frank has developed into something… rather bizarre and toxic, to say the least. After growing up living isolated with Iris, she is now using him as a sextoy by giving him a handjob while he sucks her tits like an infant… he’s gotten pretty messed up in his head. But when he finds the great love of his life in the much more beautiful Anna, Iris becomes mad with envy and goes to a voodoo witch/doctor to throw a curse over Anna in order to get rid of her. The curse works perfectly where she ends up in a hospital and dies, and Iris finally gets Frank for herself again.

 

However, this doesn’t last long since Frank drives straight to the cemetery the night after Anna’s funeral to dig up her body and take her back home. On the way back he gives a random young lady a lift, who falls asleep in his car. He brings his “corpse bride” down in the basement where a pretty graphic embalming scene takes place. The young lady wakes up and sees a glimpse of what’s going on before Frank tortures her by ripping out her nails, then he gets help from Iris who chops her body up in pieces and throws her remains in the bathub with corrosive acid. Iris saves some of the flesh which she and Frank eats for breakfast. Then, Frank goes jogging and meets a another young lady whom he takes home and have sex with. While having sex with her, he imagines he’s having sex with Anna, who lies in the double bed right beside them, covered in sheets. And then, the woman he brought home with him notices his dark secret…

 

Those who are familiar with sleazy, underground italian horror from the 70’s that were banned left and right around the world, will probably know the name Joe D’Amato, the man with as many pseudonyms as there is gender options on facebook. Buio Omega, or “Beyond the Darkness” as it’s called internationally, is one of his most known works. The film is a remake of “The Third Eye” from 1966, an other italian horror film which I haven’t seen, so I can’t come with any comparisons. But I doubt it is as sick, dark, raw and unfiltered as Buio Omega, which really tests the boundaries on what’s allowed to be shown on screen. Correct me if I’m wrong, though. Mutilation, necrophilia, cannibalism, detailed torture scenes and other taboo stuff with higly convincing gore effects that punches you in the nose.

 

The film takes itself dead seriously where there’s no room for imagination, which in this case could have turned it into a spectacular turkey, but despite its narrow budget it’s so well constructed that it works fine the way it is. It’s as gory as it is psychological, and explores the darkest corners of the human mind.

 

Also, great soundtrack by Goblin.

 

Buioomega

 

Director: Joe D’Amato
Country & year: Italy, 1979
Actors: Kieran CanterCinzia Monreale, Franca Stoppi, Sam Modesto, Anna Cardini, Lucia D’Elia, Mario Pezzin
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078916/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hell’s Ground (2007)

Hell's Ground (2007)The movie opens with a guy who crashes his car in the woods and then gets beat to death with a shovel. Then we get to another location where a creepy, disturbed old dude in a bloody shirt looks straight into the camera and says “you’re on the road to hell, my children” (in urdu) and ends it with an evil laugh. Yikes..

 

Then we get introduced to some teenagers who prepare for a road trip out in the countryside of Pakistan, something their parents are not so happy with. At the same time, the government puts out a warning regarding the water, as it could be infected with some virus that turns people into zombies. After a while on the road, and smoking dope, the kids stop at Deewanas Tea Shop, a real stinky shithole of a place, run by the creepy old dude we saw in the beginning. He drools while mumbling about a place called Hells Ground, while the kids buy some potatoes and moves on. Then the phone signal disappears and the van that had a full tank is suddenly empty, and after getting lost in the woods, they find themselves surrounded by a horde of zombies. If all this was not bad enough, a serial killer wearing a burqa and a big spiked ball is on the loose. Welcome to Hell’s Ground..

 

Hells Ground (aka Zibahkhana) is known as Pakistan’s first slasher-flick. The film is as much a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-worship as it is a tribute to 70’s horror. The film also works as a kind of a big rebellious middle-finger to Pakistan’s strict authority and religion, so yeah, the film has some huge balls, as huge as the film’s slasher villain uses as the murder weapon.

 

Otherwise, there’s not much new under the sun here. It’s a straight-forward slasher-flick mixed with some zombies and the same old character tropes we have seen a thousand times. Visually, the film looks great, it’s well directed and has that raw, unpolished 70s-look. The use of dirty, disgusting locations and intense colorful lighting with the environment of Pakistan’s countryside, gives it an eerie and unique atmosphere.

 

And the scenes with Burqaface alone makes the movie worth a watch.

 

Hell's Ground

 

Director: Omar Kahn
Country & year: Pakistan / UK, 2007
Actors: Kunwar Ali Roshan, Rooshanie Ejaz, Rubya Chaudhry Haider Raza, Osman Khalid Butt, Rehan, Najma Malik
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0887973/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Session 9 (2001)

Session 9 (2001)Danvers State Mental Hospital is an old asylum that has been empty since 1985. An asbestos team lead by  Gordon (Peter Mullan) and Phil (David Caruso) is hired to do the preparations for the renovation of the old building. With a bonus payment of 10.000 dollars hanging over their heads if they get the job done within one week, the working environment becomes filled with stress and bickering. This is nothing compared to what the asylum has in store for them, however…

 

Down where the most crazy of the patients were held, one of the workers finds an old sound recording of the interview with Mary Hobbes, a woman with three personalities: “The Princess”, symbolizing her innocence, “Billy”, who is her protector, and “Simon”, whom the doctor tries to come in contact with. Even though Mary’s story belongs to the past, it’s not without consequence for the asbestos workers.

 

“Session 9” is a psychological thriller that’s at times a bit slow, but builds up to something really creepy. While not perfect, it’s a pretty well-crafted horror movie that manages to keep the suspense up while keeping jumpscares and cgi-effects at a minimum. It’s a movie that plays primarily on the psychological horrors: knowing that there’s something scary there but it isn’t something you can see or touch. The ending puts everything together in a really creepy context, and is prone to give quite a chill.

 

Session 9

 

Director: Brad Anderson
Country & year:  USA. 2001
Actors: David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle, Josh Lucas, Peter Mullan, Brendan Sexton III, Charley Broderick, Lonnie Farmer, Larry Fessenden, Jurian Hughes, Sheila Stasack
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0261983/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lodgers (2017)

The Lodgers (2017)Set in 1920’s rural Ireland, “The Lodgers” tells the dark tale about Rachel and Edward: twins that are living alone in a large but crumbling mansion which used to belong to their ancestors. We learn early on that they have strict rules they need to follow: they need to be in bed by midnight, they cannot let anyone else enter the house, and trying to escape might put the other one’s life in danger. The sinister force that haunts them wants them to continue their family’s “sin”, something Rachel is determined to not let happen, and this puts both her and Edward’s life in danger from the wrath of “the lodgers”.

 

While this movie is mostly presented as a horror film, it’s more of a gothic drama with a rather sad story than a scary one. While the house is beautifully atmospheric and creepy, there wasn’t much of a build-up to keep up the tension. The “sin” that “the lodgers” wants the twins to commit is also too easy to figure out very early in the movie, which doesn’t make it much of a surprise when Rachel reveals it later. There was a lot of potential for some real good chills and scary moments, but in that regard it didn’t have much to deliver. The movie does have strong visuals and good acting, so if you’d go for it and expect a gothic drama instead of an actual horror movie you may not be disappointed.

 

The Lodgers

 

Director: Brian O’Malley
Country & year:  Ireland. 2017
Actors: Charlotte Vega, Bill Milner, Eugene Simon, David Bradley, Deirdre O’Kane, Moe Dunford, Roisin Murphy
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4399952/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ravenous (1999)

Ravenous (1999)During the Mexican-American war in the mid 1800’s, Captain John Boyd is sent up in the mountains to Fort Spencer, a secluded camp where a small group of weirdos keeps it guarded. One evening a disturbed, frozen Scottish man named Colquhoun arrives. He tells a horrible story about his gang of people somewhere up in the mountains, who were forced to eat each other in order to survive. Some of the men join Colquhoun and head up to the mountains to look for survivors.

 

The movie’s tone is set already within its first seconds. You don’t exactly know what to expect, but will quickly realise that this film is one of a kind. The film is known for its black humour, but it is first and foremost a pure horror movie with blood n’ gore where the humour is kept on a more subtle level. The greatest thing about Ravenous is how unpredictable it is, how the tension builds up, and the use of great forest landscapes that adds to the grim, cold atmosphere. It’s always refreshing to see actors actually interact with the real nature instead of standing in front of green-screens in a studio, isn’t it…

 

It also have top notch actors, but Robert Carlyle as Colquhoun really steals the show here. He does a truly terrifying portrait of his character. Watching his grin with the blood dripping from his mouth as he stares with his crazy eyes…that’s something that just gets under your skin (pun intended).

 

Ravenous

 

Director: Antonia Bird
Country & year:  Czech Republic | UK | USA | Mexico, 1999
Actors: Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies, Jeffrey Jones, John Spencer, Stephen Spinella, Neal McDonough
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0129332/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grave Encounters (2011)

Grave Encounters (2011)Grave Encounters is a “found footage” horror movie about a reality TV series where three paranormal investigators visists historic haunted landmarks in the United States, like we’ve seen in “Ghost Hunters”, “Ghost Adventures” and numerous more of these shows that’s exploded in the recent ten years. But “Grave Encounters” was ahead of its time, according to what a producer tells us in the introduction before the movie starts. The film revolves around the sixth episode of “Grave Encounters” where the entire crew were to inspect an abondened haunted asylum where they disappeared and were never seen again. The only thing that was found was the 70-hour raw footage trimmed down to the last episode. And the producer that introduces us to the episode also tells us that what we’re about to watch is real, has not been tampered with, and just been edited strictly to cut down the time.

 

The movie also does not hesitate for a second to throw in some obvious satire on “Ghost Adventures”, which has become one of the most famous series in the genre. Grave Encounter’s host and producer Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) can easily be seen as a parody of Zak Bagans with the same style of clothing, hairstyle and manic behavior. The crew also brings along a psychic, a dude that looks like a mix of Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop who must turn on his acting skills between the takes. The series has so far been a pure hoax with its five episodes, but after they get locked inside the mental hospital while camera gets rolling and shit starts to happen for real, they show their true colors and aren’t as tough as they seemed to be. Well, exept the host, Lance, who pushes the crew to keep the show going.

 

What makes Grave Encounters one of the much better found footage films is the realism, great acting, and steady narrative. They go from being characters in a fake series where everything is scripted, to obviously distressed and scared people when things begin to actually happen. It’s that “what-if” scenario that makes Grave Encounters stand out from the found footage-jungle out there. What if all of those paranormal investigators actually got a real up-close encounter with a ghost? Would they run away, or would they actually stay and get more out of it? Well, in this case we know the answer, but it’s a funny thing to think of when you see one of these shows in disbelief. Also filmed in a hospital where the narrow, dark corridors give a cool, isolating atmosphere, and overall a great tension that builds as a locomotive till the end.

 

Grave Encounters

 

Director: The Vicious Brothers
Country & year: Canada, 2011
Actors: Sean Rogerson, Ashleigh Gryzko, Merwin Mondesir, Juan Riedinger, Shawn Macdonald, Mackenzie Gray
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1703199/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Death Day (2017)

Happy Death Day (2017)Tree Gelbman, a young college student, wakes up in a guy’s room, hungover as hell and barely no memory from last night. On top of it all, it’s her birthday today, a day she is not too fond of for reasons later revealed in the movie. She leaves the guy’s room with a pissy attitude, and we see pretty quickly that this is a girl that tends to make bad choices in her life, and treat people around her like crap. At the end of the day, she gets chased by someone wearing a mask, and ends up being killed. And then she wakes up in the guy’s room again, repeating the day all over again. In a desperate fight to reveal the identity of the killer, and try to figure out how to avoid being killed by him/her, she relives the day of her birthday and murder over and over…

 

«Happy Death Day» goes into a concept that has been touched multiple times over in other movies and tv-series: that of reliving a specific day over and over («Groundhog Day»«Triangle» and «Timecrimes», just to mention some). So in that regard, this movie brings nothing new or groundbreaking to the horror genre. It’s a simple yet entertaining horror comedy that is best served without any expectations in mind.

 

 

Happy Death Day

 

Director: Christopher Landon
Country & year: USA, 2017
Actors: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Charles Aitken, Laura Clifton, Jason Bayle, Rob Mello, Rachel Matthews
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5308322/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1922 (2017)

1922 (2017)Based on a novel from 2010 by famous horror-writer Stephen King, comes this Netflix original that was released on October 20th. It’s a story about Wilfred James, a proud farmer who conspires to murder his own wife when she wants them to move away from the farm and sell the land, which she owns because it was willed to her by her own father. Neither the father nor the son wants to move away from the quiet farmlife they’ve grown so attached to, and Wilfred convinces his son to participiate in the murder of his wife. After comitting the horrible act and dump the body of her into the well outside, Wilfred soon starts to experience that things do not go as smoothly from there on, even with his wife out of the way…

 

«1922» is for the most part a dark thriller, with some horror elements mixed it. There are no over-the-top weird stuff that some might be used to from certain popular works by the famous author (like «It», for example), it’s a down-to-earth thriller with some supernatural elements mixed in. Unexpectedly, when a desperate man like Wilfred decides to murder his wife due to his own desires, we all know that he won’t escape such an act unscathed…and neither will his son. “In the end, we all get caught”.

 

1922

 

Director: Zak Hilditch
Country & year: USA, 2017
Actors: Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Dylan Schmid, Kaitlyn Bernard, Neal McDonough, Tanya Champoux, Brian d’Arcy James
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6214928/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frankenhooker (1990)

Frankenhooker (1999)Jeffrey Franken (James Lorinz) is a young medical student whose fiancee, Elizabeth Shelley, gets overrun by a lawnmower at a backyard party and gets shredded to pieces. The only thing left of her is her head, which he puts in the freezer. He’s determined to get her back in some way, and arranges his garage into a typical “mad scientist” lab. Then he drives around New York’s dark streets to pick up the finest hookers to assemble body parts for his new girlfriend.

 

Obviously,  troubles start right from when she wakes up, with a mentality of a whore and all the body parts stitched on her. She escapes the garage and gets loose on New York city and all she can say is: Need some company? Looking for some action? Got any money? And then she enters a bar where she meets the pimp of the missing hookers who notice a certain tattoo on her new arm..

 

With a title like «Frankenhooker» you may expect the worst, but if you’re familiar to Frank Henenlotter’s movies you know what you’re getting yourself into. With the limited amount of resources and small budget, he really knows how to use it and combine horror with comedy. Frankenhooker is probably his best one and the most lightened, entertaining and overall the craziest. And like Henenlotter’s previous films, the darker and sleazy streets of New York are portrayed in a authentic way. Shot without permission during the night with real hookers in the background gives his films a more realistic look.

 

James Lorinz is great in his role as Jeffrey. He reminds me of a milder version of Herbert West. He’s sympatethic and really feels bad for killing streetwalkers to collect the body parts, but he really wants his loved one back. The more he slips into desperation and obsession to fix his fiancee back to life, you just feel sorry for him. Patty Mullen as the Frankenhoooker isn’t bad either. She’s not as serious as Lorinz, but her facial ticks and overacting fits the tone and her scenes are entertaining  as hell.

 

And of course, how can you not love a movie with exploding hookers?

 

Frankenhooker

 

Director: Frank Henenlotter
Country & year: USA, 1990
Actors: James Lorinz, Joanne Ritchie, Patty Mullen, J.J. Clark, C.K. Steefel, Shirl Bernheim, Judy Grafe, Helmar Augustus Cooper, Joseph Gonzalez
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099611/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)A father and a son who are running a coroner business from their own home, need to identify the body of a young woman who was found in a house full of brutally murdered bodies. The other bodies were that of the family living in the house…but in the basement, the police found the half-buried corpse of that young woman. The corpse is pristine, there isn’t even a scratch on her or any blood. As the old saying goes, however: looks can be deceiving…

 

When they start their “work” on her (and if you are queasy when it comes to body horror, you’ll probably be squirming in your seat while watching it) they soon find out that the girl appears to have been through extreme torture before she died. Her tongue has been cut out, one of her teeth are missing, and from the inside it appears that she’s been burned…but still, her outside is intact, like if nothing ever happened to her. The girl harbors a dark secret, however, and soon weird shit starts to happen.

 

«The Autopsy of Jane Doe», directed by norwegian André Øvredal (known for «Troll Hunter», aka «Trolljegeren»), has given us a really atmospheric and creepy film that easily manages to get under your skin. There are several scenes that are outright bone-chilling. Well recommended if you enjoy dark psychological horror movies.

 

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

 

Director: André Øvredal
Country & year: UK / USA, 2016
Actors: Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Olwen Catherine Kelly
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3289956/

 

Vanja Ghoul