Author Topic: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011  (Read 34919 times)

FLYmeatwad

  • An Acronym
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 26468
  • I am trying to impress myself. I have yet to do it
    • Processed Grass
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2011, 07:33:23 PM »
I'm definitely going to be seeing The Shining and The Thing (is The Thing Part 2 supposed to be good?), and maybe The Exorcist. Probably others too. Who knows. Like Junior, I'll put reviews or something here.

I haven't heard any advance word on The Thing (release date is 10/14) but I believe it is supposed to be a prequel to the 1982 version.

Well I mean I'll be seeing the 1982 version, and wondering if The Thing Part 2, I assume this was made in the 80's as well(?), is supposed to be good.

EDIT: Guess not! I guess that's why they say they are showing The Thing Part 2 on Friday. Interesting.

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 28613
  • Marathon Man
Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Black Sabbath (1963) by 1SO
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2011, 11:17:29 PM »


Black Sabbath (1963)

Cult legend Mario Bava delivers three "tales of terror and the supernatural". Typical for the director, the stories are thick with atmosphere and lurid colors and rather thin on character and plot. Not something with much lasting power beyond the atmosphere, a couple of effective moments and the presence of Boris Karloff, who introduces the film and stars in one of the stories.

First up is "The Telephone" about a  high-priced escort who receives a series of strange phone calls. This doesn't develop into another round of Scream, but goes a surprisingly subtle route. It has a predictable climax, but that's followed by a low-key surprise. Not bad, but certainly not remotely scary.

Next is "The Wurdalak", which sounds so cool, especially the way Karloff says it. This is where the disappointment set in. Wurdalak is another name for Vampire. Even though they don't say it, that's exactly what it is. Everybody walks around oblivious to what is obviously going on. This includes the film, whose big reveal is exactly what you thought it was going to be 3 minutes in. I waited for it to go somewhere else but instead the story just wasted my time.

Finally there's "The Drop of Water" which benefits from the simple story, doesn't overstay its welcome, and offers one genuinely creepy image. If this is meant to be the dessert of the film, it's pretty sweet but as empty and unimaginative as a bite-sized candy bar.
RATING: * *

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 28613
  • Marathon Man
Shocktober Group Marathon 2011 - Cannibal Holocaust (1980) by 1SO
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2011, 12:07:43 AM »
Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
Quote
Radically ahead of its time and still unbearable to watch for many viewers, Cannibal Holocaust marks the apex (or nadir, depending on your viewpoint) of the Italian cannibal movie subgenre which flourished through the '70s and early '80s. ...grim worldview and unremitting nastiness make for a very rough ride whose viciousness remains potent and startling.

HORROR (noun)
1. An intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.
2. A thing causing such a feeling.

Despite its stigma, the Horror Genre is generally meant for fun. It's an adrenaline rush and the filmmakers behind the scenes are usually interested in creating a good time more than anything else. Cannibal Holocaust is horror by the strictest of definitions. I've watched A LOT of horror movies in my time and have a pretty strong stomach for whatever a filmmaker wants to throw at me. Watching Cannibal Holocaust there was some fear, quite a bit of shock, and a great deal of disgust. When I say watching Cannibal Holocaust was a horrific experience, I say it with absolutely no encouragement. This is not a litmus test to see if you can handle the extreme gore. It's not good enough or even bad enough to be interesting.

So then, why does Cannibal Holocaust have any reputation at all? Why does it still have any relevance today, where you can say 'Cannibal Holocaust' in a room and a few people will acknowledge they've at least heard of it? There are a few answers to these questions. First of all, unlike a lot of cheap exploitation horror, the gore effects are quite convincing. In fact, except for the editing in what is supposed to be found footage, the images and performances are mostly convincing. This is aided by the filmmakers decision to film animals that were most definitely harmed on camera. It's a moral line, one of many the film will cross both in the fiction of the story and for real. By not holding back on any transgression, Cannibal Holocaust is much more challenging and dangerous than anything remotely similar.

The story is told in three groups. There is an expedition to search for a small documentary crew that disappeared in the jungle, the found footage showing what happened to that crew and the financiers reacting to the footage. By far the most interesting thing about Cannibal Holocaust is the debates by the producers over the found footage, which depict the film crew upsetting the villagers with appalling sadistic violence applied by a feeling of superiority. The scenes, which include burning the villagers huts have obvious political parallels and I actually applaud the film for how believable I found their actions. A moment of lust becomes a graphic sex scene performed in front of the now homeless natives, who can only watch from the beach in the deep background. It may sound like B.S. exploitation, but I bought as very interesting commentary. Plus, it perfectly sets up the revenge you know is coming.

Meanwhile, the producers question the actions of the dead filmmakers. I'm sure this is nothing more than little breathers meant to wet your appetite for what's to come. It does feel like "well if you thought that was horrible, wait till you see what's on the next reel." However, the discussions are ernest, even if accidentally so. They talk about whether it's right to film such atrocities as female mutilation. Aren't the filmmakers equally guilty of savagery? Should the found footage that people lost their lives to film, even see the light of day? (Of course that last one is great meta-commentary since I'm sitting there watching the same footage.)

Ultimately, what is genuinely interesting about Cannibal Holocaust is undermined by a couple of huge mistakes at a crucial moment. For the first hour the only silly moment is when the leader of the 2nd expedition decides to go skinny dipping to gain the trust of the tribe. He's soon joined by a group of native girls. Only, they don't look like National Geographic natives so much as Polynesian porn stars. In the last twenty minutes, the film crew participates in a gang rape. It makes no sense. Nothing the crew has done before make this a plausible action, especially since one of the crew is with his girlfriend. She is literally shoved aside as he takes his turn. (Also, it happens in mud to hide the fact that the victim is white, unlike the rest of the tribe.) This is followed by a graphic discovery, and the reactions sound completely false. Right at the climax these characters reveal themselves as actors. The whole enterprise loses all credibility.

Before the final stupid decisions, I wrestled between giving 2 1/2 stars because there is some interesting discussion to be had about Cannibal Holocaust and giving it 1/2 star because I want to sound as discouraging as possible. (Zero Stars can act as encouragement because it means I was offended, so it worked on some level.) There are a handful of absolutely brutal, immoral films out there. The question remains can they be defended on some kind of artistic grounds. Films like Salo and Enter The Void are easy to support by comparison. The original Last House on the Left takes higher ground than Cannibal Holocaust. Ultimately, the few really interesting bits do not balance out the rest of the film's extreme off-putting disregard for humanity, which is displayed like a badge of honor. Cannibal Holocaust isn't the worst film ever made. It is a film best ignored and forgotten.
RATING: * 1/2
« Last Edit: October 22, 2014, 01:29:22 PM by 1SO »

Bondo

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 19898
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2011, 12:57:50 AM »
Night of the Living Dead (George Romero, 1968)

Wait, why is this in black and white? I know they had color film by 1968. Something about lower budget black and white, especially in genre films, as opposed to the richer black and white of the classic period, makes me think of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, not of quality films.

On the other hand, early in the film it is black and white more thematically, as a capable black man appears in time to save a white woman (who frankly adds nothing to this situation, she does not seem to be long for this zombie apocalypse). They end up holing up in a house, surrounded by zombies.

This lull in the action seems a good time to start this marathon with the general note that I came a bit late to the whole zombie craze. Not necessarily deliberately, I pretty much let all zombie stories (with the exception of Thriller and probably a Goosebumps book or two). And then there was 28 Days Later (top-15 film). Then there was Shaun of the Dead. Then there was Zombieland. Whether for thematically rich drama or for comedy, suddenly I saw the broad potential of zombies in art, going so far as to listen to a multi-part podcast/university course discussion about zombies that included Romero. I figured it was about time I watch the person most closely linked to the emergence of zombie lore.

Fresh on the heels of the civil rights movement, the racial tension sits heavily upon some of the interactions, though it wasn't as present as I was expecting. This film doesn't seem to be making much of a political point. Even the origin of the zombies is designed in a way to minimize thematic meaning, and I really do think those who try to draw out really deep meaning are reading too far into this one or at least the film relies so heavily on the context of the 60s that its insights are lost to time. The main interest to find here is simply watching this group try to survive. By now this might seem mundane but the film has a lasting richness in its construction, even without high production quality, consistently strong acting or thematic depth.

It is of course difficult to forget all that came after this and thus understand how sensational this might have seemed at the time. Hearing the descriptions of the response to the violence in this film (which is extraordinarily slight by modern standards) is rather surprising. And being so versed in zombies at this point, the idea of cannibalism as taboo isn't of itself motivating. Anyway, I write this on October 1st, the 43rd anniversary of the film's premier, to the day. Sounds like a good way to start Shocktober.

4/5

Bondo

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 19898
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2011, 01:04:59 AM »
Re: Cannibal Holocaust

So not an intelligent critique of imperialism? Somehow that film is #1 on the iCM grindhouse list.

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 28613
  • Marathon Man
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2011, 01:17:05 AM »
It's #1 because that list is alphabetical. It only ranks as high as #10 on the 2007-08 list.

I read skjerva's comment. It definitely critiques imperialism during the most interesting portion of the film. But you're pulling 10 minutes out of an incredibly rough 90 minute presentation.

MartinTeller

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 15466
  • martinteller.wordpress.com
    • my movie blog
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2011, 01:35:31 AM »
Fresh on the heels of the civil rights movement, the racial tension sits heavily upon some of the interactions, though it wasn't as present as I was expecting. This film doesn't seem to be making much of a political point. Even the origin of the zombies is designed in a way to minimize thematic meaning, and I really do think those who try to draw out really deep meaning are reading too far into this one or at least the film relies so heavily on the context of the 60s that its insights are lost to time.

Fun fact: any racial implications are purely accidental.  The part wasn't written specifically for a black man.  They just liked Duane Jones the most.

Glad you liked it, I'm not big on zombie films but NotLD is a fantastic watch.

Junior

  • Bert Macklin, FBI
  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 27418
  • What's the rumpus?
    • Benefits of a Classical Education
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2011, 09:02:09 AM »
Fresh on the heels of the civil rights movement, the racial tension sits heavily upon some of the interactions, though it wasn't as present as I was expecting. This film doesn't seem to be making much of a political point. Even the origin of the zombies is designed in a way to minimize thematic meaning, and I really do think those who try to draw out really deep meaning are reading too far into this one or at least the film relies so heavily on the context of the 60s that its insights are lost to time.

Fun fact: any racial implications are purely accidental.  The part wasn't written specifically for a black man.  They just liked Duane Jones the most.

Glad you liked it, I'm not big on zombie films but NotLD is a fantastic watch.

Yeah, this is why the movie is on my list and not Dawn. The racial commentary really only comes at the very end. I don't know if the context of the 60s is lost to time, but the movie certainly isn't focused on the race issue. Romero seems to have forgotten that scares come first and designed the rest of the series around "important social issues," which are boring.
Check out my blog of many topics

ďIím not a quitter, Kimmy! I watched Interstellar all the way to the end!Ē

Bill Thompson

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 17562
  • DOOM!!!!
    • Bill's Movie Emporium
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2011, 11:31:43 AM »
Day Of The Dead (1985)

Quote
I remember when I first watched Day Of The Dead many moons ago. I didnít like it very much, but over time I chalked up my dislike to being young and not quite getting the genre or George A. Romeroís sensibilities. Now that I return to Day Of The Dead as an avid fan of Mr. Romero and someone who loves the horror genre (while also having a decent grasp on horror themes and concepts I think) I expected to love it. Turns out that young Bill understood Day Of The Dead perfectly fine because all these years later itís still a movie I donít like.

Read the rest at my blog.

Beavermoose

  • Elite Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4602
  • Samsonite! I was way off!
Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2011
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2011, 11:43:22 AM »
Child's Play

Criminal Charles Lee Ray uses his voodoo magic to possess an ironically titled "good guy" doll. The main child actor tells his parents that the doll talks to him but no one believes him. That is until the doll starts killing people! The narrative is conventional slasher fair but is saved mostly by the novelty of having a freaking doll as the main villain. I feel like its sort of satirizing those kinds of unstoppable serial killer movies, even referencing terminator at the very end with Chucky half destroyed and still going. Its a fun movie, and incredibly amusing when you just think of the fact that a 3 foot doll is attacking grown men. Nothing to write home about but a fun take on the slasher genre. Not scary at all though.

 

love