Director Dario Argento‘s classy slasher flick — which sounds a lot more ominous and impressive under its Italian title, Profondo Rosso — follows a music teacher, Marcus Daly (David Hemmings), as he investigates the murder of a psychic medium, who was killed by someone wielding an axe. Daly’s poking and prodding ends up endangering everyone around him, including his best friend (Gabriele Lavia), his doctor associate (Glauco Mauri) and the reporter with whom he begins an affair (Argento’s off-screen partner, Daria Nicolodi), all while the inimitable Goblin performs their trademark maddening music, which comes into play here as a clue to the killer’s identity. As with many of Argento’s films, the mystery’s eventual payoff/revelation is a bit anti-climactic (and silly), but getting there is quite the ride — and, yeah, the final confrontation (which quite memorably involves an elevator shaft) is pretty sweet‚ and most definitely worthy of the film’s title.
[BoxTitle]The Evil Dead[/BoxTitle] [Trailer]http://youtu.be/wXpjFAisVvY[/Trailer] [Netflix] [NetflixAdd id="484369"/] [NetflixWatch id="484369"/]
Before he was the director of such big-budget extravaganzas as the Spider-Man movies, Sam Raimi was a kid from Michigan with nothing but a cabin, a camera, a lot of fake blood and a talented best friend by the name of Bruce Campbell. The Evil Dead is a horror film made with the blood, sweat and tears of a group of friends out in the woods; Raimi’s imaginative direction and energetic visual flourishes and Campbell’s spirited performance as a young man taunted by demons made the movie seem much bigger and more expensive than it actually was — and made it an instant cult classic. Raimi and Campbell went on to do Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1993) as well as several Evil Dead video games, with Campbell becoming a B-movie idol as the ever-quotable, sharp-tongued Ash. We’re still waiting for Evil Dead IV, even though Raimi is no longer the filmmaker he once was back in the woods (though he tried valiantly to convince us that he is with Drag Me to Hell), and Campbell seems to be getting crankier with each passing year.
[BoxTitle]The Exorcist[/BoxTitle] [Trailer]http://youtu.be/YDGw1MTEe9k[/Trailer] [Netflix] [NetflixAdd id="14546619"/] [NetflixWatch id="14546619"/]
What can be said about William Friedkin’s masterful, influential adaptation of William P. Blatty’s terrifying horror novel that hasn’t been said already? Well, how about that it’s not that great? Gasp! Don’t get us wrong — The Exorcist is indeed a classic and definitely one of the best horror films ever made. But is it us or is it suddenly less scary after poor little Regan becomes possessed? Everything leading up to the possession is the truly scary stuff, but once Friedkin turns everything into a freak show featuring rotating heads and pea soup, well, it gets a little, silly (-ish, at least). Regan silently and emotionlessly wandering into her mom’s party and just peeing on the carpet is a lot more unsettling than a possessed Regan screaming about Father Karras’ mother sucking cocks in hell. Maybe it’s because time hasn’t been kind to the special effects and cinematic trickery; maybe it’s because we’ve scene the possession scenes imitated and parodied so much over the years. Anyway, just a thought — even the classics need to be questioned and challenged every now and then.
[BoxTitle]Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer[/BoxTitle] [Trailer]http://youtu.be/IU3P6WXzvXU[/Trailer] [Netflix] [NetflixAdd id="584120"/] [NetflixWatch id="584120"/]
One of the first movies to sport the oh so intimidating NC-17 rating, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer features Michael Rooker’s career-best performance as a part-time exterminator of insects and full-time exterminator of humans, a nomadic demon currently shacking up in Chicago with Otis (Tom Towles), a guy he met in prison. We watch Henry go about his business over the course of several days, killing several strangers and eventually taking Otis under his wing, all the while trying to ignore the ever-increasing sexual tension between himself and Otis’ visiting sister, Becky (Tracy Arnold). A harsh, gritty and extremely well-done snapshot of pure evil, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer approaches its subject without judgment, presents these various crimes without remorse and reflects on these human tragedies without sympathy or regret, making it one of the most squirm-inducing films ever made — it’s a challenge to watch Henry, but it’s a challenge you should accept. Shot on 16mm in less than a month on a budget of about $110,000.
[BoxTitle]House of the Devil[/BoxTitle] [Trailer]http://youtu.be/6SOur3WwZvM[/Trailer] [Netflix] [NetflixAdd id="70117039"/] [NetflixWatch id="70117039"/]
An ’80s-style horror film that maybe flaunts its ’80s-ness a bit too much (it was released as a VHS in old clamshell packaging when it went to home video), House of the Devil stars Jocelin Donahue as Samantha, a college student in need of a few bucks for rent. Despite her (doomed) best friend’s (Greta Gerwig) protests, she travels to a mansion in the middle of nowhere, where the strange Mr. Ullman (Tom Noonan, excellent as always) confesses there is no child to babysit, only his mother, who’s tucked away in one of the bedrooms upstairs. From there, Samantha passes the time by exploring the house, playing pool and ordering pizza‚Ä¶ and then discovers she’s been chosen as a sacrifice of sorts in a Satanic ritual. House of the Devil is a terrific slow-burn horror story, crackling with weirdo energy and nightmarish atmosphere, though after a while you wonder why writer-director Ti West needed to make it an “’80s movie” — the various tricksy flourishes such as in-camera zooms and needless close-ups on Samantha’s giant Walkman give the film a sense of self-consciousness that’s really unnecessary. Still, this is a treat and a half — just don’t eat pizza while watching it.