FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE...beware yon spoilers!

Mar 28, 2011

Ridiculous Faces of Death 8: Blood of Dracula

I've been watching the wrong movies, I guess, because I haven't spotted a Ridiculous Face of Death in ages. "Then whatchoo postin' 'bout, Willis?", you might say- a legitimate question, if oddly phrased. Well, the arbiter of taste and (I assume) good grooming himself, one Mr. Arbogast, brought the following RFoD to my attention. It's from Blood of Dracula (1957), which I've never seen. According to Arbo's write-up on it, however, Blood of Dracula essentially seems to be I Was a Teenage Girl Dracula, a concept I can get behind. The fact that the film features such a fine RFoD has me doubly getting behind it. Or something.

Mar 22, 2011

Film Club: Blood and Roses


As I watched my cruddy VHS copy of Blood and Roses, with its washed out colors and slight blur, I kept thinking what a marvel it would be to see the film all cleaned up, remastered, beautified, and restored to its rumored true run time of 87 minutes (versus the 74 minutes currently available). Why hasn't someone out there given the film the technological love it deserves? Isn't there some sort of Lesbian Vampire Historical Preservation Society in existence? If not, then I declare that there is now. I also nominate myself for President. I also second the nomination. The nomination is passed. Now please help yourself to juice and cookies.

Roger Vadim's 1960 take on Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla predates more famous interpretations of the story, such as Hammer's Karnstein Trilogy and The Blood-Spattered Bride; though it's not as salacious or bloody as some of those later sapphic vampire tales, it remains a bastion of eroticism and romance.

That's right...I said a bastion. As President of the Lesbian Vampire Historical Preservation Society, I take this all very seriously.

Poor Carmilla, a woman-child who knows little of life outside of her wealthy family's sprawling estate. Petulant about the impending marriage of her cousin Leopoldo De Karnstein, with whom she's in love, Carmilla gets in moods (you know how women be) and attempts to frighten Leopoldo's fiancee Georgia with tales of the Karnstein's good ol' days as vampires. To everyone's surprise, Georgia (Elsa Martinelli) finds the stories thrilling.

During an engagement celebration, a fireworks display in the estate's abbey ignites forgotten war munitions...and perhaps releases the spirit of the long-dead Millarca Karnstein, the family's last vampire. Carmilla (Annette Vadim) finds herself inexplicably drawn to the crypt, and before you can say "Millarca, thou art loosed!", Carmilla takes her ancestor's essence into her and it settles there like asbestosis. But sexier!

I mean look at this picture quality! It's a CRIME, I tells ya.

Soon, Carmilla's presence causes horses to cower in fear and pretty young maids to run in...well, fear. She needs blood to satisfy her hunger, of course, but what of Carmilla/Millarca's hunger for love? Her eyes remain fixed on the prize of Leopoldo (Mel Ferrer), but she's also undeniably drawn to Georgia- though whether as obstacle or object of desire is unknown. Perhaps both.

Georgia, too, finds herself drawn to her future cousin-in-law. Hiding from a rainstorm in a greenhouse, there's a sexually charged "Let me get that blood off your lip with a kiss" kiss that causes Georgia to sort of go "Oh...OH.", as those types of kisses often do.

When Carmilla finally seduces Georgia, Blood and Roses veers into surrealism as both women enter Georgia's dreamy nightmare or nightmarish dream or what have you. It's an unexpected sequence, but the hallucinogenic imagery is creepy and fantastic, all reds splashed against black and white.

It goes without saying, but again- this film really needs to be remastered.


So, in the end, has Carmilla really become Millarca, or is she simply cuckoo for cousin puffs and acts in bitey ways out of depression? Leopoldo feels one way about it and Georgia decidedly feels another. As President of the Lesbian Vampire Historical Preservation Society, however, I would have to say it's the former. Besides, that's the sexier answer, no?

Film Club Coolies!
-----------------------------
A Great Disturbance in the Farce
Don't Make Me Ang Lee
I Will Devour Your Content
Maynard Morrisey's Horror Movie Diary
Soresport Movies
Things That Don't Suck
The Agitation of the Mind
The United Provinces of Ivanlandia
Acidemic - Film
nijomu
Film Shuffle
The Montana Mancave Massacre
Musings & Meditations
Horror, Gore and More
Brutally Violent & Wonderful
Greetings from Movie City...

Mar 18, 2011

awesome movie poster friday - the THIS TERRIBLE MOVIE PROBABLY DOESN'T DESERVE SUCH AN AMAZING POSTER edition!

Okay, so this is a tiny, tiny AMPF. If I put on my thinking cap, busted out my oversized novelty magnifying glass, and did some microfiche research, I'm sure I'd come up with plenty more examples. However, I unearthed this poster for The Child, and...well, I love The Child but I also recognize that it's not particularly a very good movie. The poster, though...dayum!

It's even better if you pretend they're all filing in for a Tupperware party.

Mar 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Kurt Russell!

If I were a guy, I would dress like Snake Plissken all the time. I don't know why you dudes don't do it.

In fact, I may start doing it anyway, despite the fact that I am 104%* woman.

Happy 60th Birthday to Mr. Russell. May he defeat every antiquated chess computer that dares face him!


*I have a third boob on my left leg

Mar 16, 2011

it's WEDNESDAY!

Now, before you get all excited because of those capital letters- which would seem to indicate something special about Wednesday- please note that there's really nothing to get excited about today beyond the fact that it's Chuck Woolery's birthday.

Sorry I've been an absentee mom recently...there just hasn't been much horror in my life lately. Well, except for my hair, which is neither bouncin' nor behavin'. (rimshot) Anyway, I know you'd like to think that while I'm not here typing away furiously, I'm simply staring off into space and withering away, like Christopher Reeve at the end of Somewhere in Time. I'm sorry to say this is only mostly the case, for sometimes I do do things. Observe!

- I have been playing Dragon Age II like nobody's business! That's right, nobody's business...and yet I decided to write about it anyway over at Jill Sandwich, thereby making it everybody's business.

WHAT.

- If you are in Canada (yes, any part of Canada), then you can see Ludlow on the big screen this Friday night! It's showing as part of the Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto, and it's also been nominated in the Best Debut Feature and Best Experimental categories. I couldn't be more thrilled. What an honor! Go check it out if you can...and if you're feeling particularly bold, please consider clicking "like" on Ludlow's Facebook page. I realize that I very rarely click like on anything on Facebook, so if you're thinking that this is a time for cyber retribution, I understand. It saddens me, however, that there are, like pages on Facebook for pickles and said pickles received more interest than my film.

Mind you, I do realize that some pickles are really fucking cool. Like this one, that yodels.


- This woman be making comics. Like, a real ongoing, epic thing. It's called RPG and as you can safely assume from that title, it's all fantasy nerdery with, like, swords and monsters and quests and shit. It's still a newborn, but it updates on Mondays and Wednesdays, and you can check it out at www.rpgcomic.com.


- Next week I'm seeing Scream 4, and I will faithfully report on it when the PR people tell me I can. By the way, I refuse to call it Scre4m, except for when I did it right there when pointing out that I won't do it.

- I fear that Cathy's Curse is taking on Rumplestiltskin-sized & -shaped real estate in my brain. That is to say, it's terrible, but I find the words "It's the best thing ever!" coming out of my mouth and I desperately want to watch it and I kind of can't stop thinking about it. Oh, such powers Cathy wields!


Now if you'll excuse me, I have some walls that need some starin' thrown their way.

Mar 9, 2011

Other people make things, too!

I have this friend named Brent Engstrom, and he's one of my favorite artists, straight-up. STRAIGHT-UP, people. He does sketch cards and illustrations for stuff you've heard of: Mad Magazine, Star Wars, Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packages...all the weird, twisted stuff I ate up as a kid, the weird, twisted stuff that was highly influential in making me the...person I am today. Brent's work is, as you might expect, largely weird and twisted and full of black humor. You know, kids with smiles full of rotten teeth and worms in their ears. In other words, awesomely delightful, and I love it.

He's got some horror/Garbage Pail-flavored mashup cards up on his blog. I'm posting only a couple; check out the rest and explore his site- lots of goodness abounds. And if you're in the market for a sketchcard or some such, hit him up. The dude can do anything!





Mar 8, 2011

okay, UNCLE.

Madame FanGirlTastic sent me this still and info from the forthcoming Silent Hill: Revelation and dammit, I've decided to be excited about the film.

That's right. EXCITED. I remember how much I looked forward to Silent Hill and whether or not it ended up living up to the hype I created for myself, it is awfully nice to be pumped about a movie, to gobble up trailers and practically run to the theater for the first showing on opening day. It's easy to get bogged down in cynicism, to no longer care about films coming down the pike because everything sucks anyway, but you know what? Fuck that. I've been mighty bored with horror lately, and I'm tired of it. I'm tired of being tired of it. I don't want to get all wrapped up in negativity and just put down everything, whether it's in pre-production or it's 30 years old. I love horror, and I love it most when I'm excited about it.

Therefore, I am excited about Silent Hill: Revelation. My interest was aroused (SO HOT) when it was announced that Michael J. Bassett (Wilderness, Deathwatch) was at the helm, and now that the basic plot is out there, my interest is like a boner the size of the Great Wall of China, which plenty of spam messages have assured me I can have if I send away for some pills. Behold!
For years, Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) and her father have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn’t fully understand. Now on the eve of her 18th birthday, plagued by terrifying nightmares and the disappearance of her father, Heather discovers she's not who she thinks she is. The revelation leads her deeper into a demonic world that threatens to trap her in Silent Hill forever.
DUDE. They're basing it on Silent Hill 3! Heather! Female protagonist! Totally unexpected. Totally boss. I hope that they're true enough to the game that she sports a silver puffy vest and there's some effed up Otherworld mall action.


At the risk of sounding like Kool Aid Man, OH fucking YEAH.

They've just started filming this in Toronto, so it's going to be quite some time before I have to worry about being first in line...but you know what? I CAN'T WAIT.

Mar 4, 2011

In...In...Insidious

While those of you who are not a member of The Olds may not get it, I hope at least some of you out there are singing that post title to this tune.

Anyway, what of Insidious, the forthcoming ghost flick from Saw creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell? Consensus seems to give it several thumbs up; while I think it's the best thing they've done since Saw, I give it 3/4 of a thumbs-up. Or, I should say, a thumb 3/4 of the way up, for I have a regular-sized thumb.

Wow, verdict out of the way early, so unlike me! However, I'm feeling succinct today. In fact, I'm feeling scatterbrained and bullet point today.
  • You'll like this movie. It starts out very strong, sort of a Paranormal Activity (you know, creepy stuff around the house...but it's not the house that's haunted, it's the boy!) with a plot. This is no surprise, as Paranormal Activity's mastermind Oren Peli is a producer on Insidious.
  • I'm very firmly entrenched in Camp Rose Byrne Can Do No Wrong, and so the fact that the two-thirds of the film belong to her and her character Renai, I was quite happy. In fact, early it seemed that Insidious would address a theme that's a bit Yellow Wallpaper-esque- that marriage and motherhood can sometimes not jive with a lady. As is virtually always the case, however, this was never taken up wholly. Maybe it was never an intent of the filmmakers, who knows...but I think it's there, just a little kernel of something interesting. However, for the last third of the film, the focus shifts to Renai's dullard of a husband Josh (Patrick Wilson) and it becomes his story. Renai does little from that point on besides cry, and it's a letdown.


  • Between this movie and Wan's & Whannell's previous effort Dead Silence, it's evident that the duo find old ladies to be entirely terrifying, just by the virtue of their existence. Surely poor old Miss Havisham haunts both of their dreams.

  • When Insidious becomes Josh's story, it also becomes a love letter to Poltergeist, complete with a wacky ghostbusting squad and Lin Shaye as a Tangina/Dr. Lesh hybrid. This is not unwelcome, particularly the Lin Shaye-ness of it. Maybe it's just me, but I love seeing her in a major role in the multiplex.


  • Early on, there's no denying that Insidious is fucking creepy. It is, in fact, a "good old-fashioned" haunted house movie replete with phantom footsteps, creaky doors that open of their own volition, the whole nine yards. There are also some of the best jump scares I've ever had the pleasure of jumping out of my seat to.
  • Later on, there's no denying that Insidious gets far less creepy. It never degenerates into an overblown CGI mess, but the filmmakers make some really bad choices and show far too much that's on the "hey, that's corny" side of scary. If I'm told a place is akin to Hell, full of tortured souls suffering in eternal torment and you decide to show this place, don't make that place a house filled with ghosts who stand there and give "creepy" smiles. If you've spent an hour establishing that a demon is horrifying, don't subsequently show him in his lair, surrounded by bouncing marionettes (we get it guys, you did Saw and Dead Silence) and sharpening his claws on a modified old timey sewing machine as "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" plays.
Insidious is a race horse you bet on despite your well-founded hesitation- could this actually be a winner? To your surprise, it starts out even stronger than you could have hoped for. You cheer it on, unconcerned that you're making a bit of a fool of yourself- you know, like Julia Roberts at that polo match in Pretty Woman- and you think YES. Your faith is restored! The, in the last half-lap, it falters and you think NO. No, Insidious, just a bit further! Keep chugging, you can do it! Insidious does keep chugging, but it's too winded to finish in first. It falls back, and back again, barely wheezing across the finish line. You crumple your betting ticket a bit disappointed, but then you reflect on the jubilation you felt early on and you think YES. Yes, that's enough...besides, I only bet $12 and I also had some Sno Caps. It was a good race.