Tuesday, April 30, 2013

HTITDS #31 - Jess Franco Double Feature

Despite some interference from one of the microphones in the first ten minutes (don't worry it goes away), Brad and I think this episode could be the greatest episode of any podcast ever made. Or it's just our new episode. Hello! This is the Doomed Show likes you. Enjoy. Also, we talk about Jess Franco's Eugenie de Sade and The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff. We also get a little spoilery but it's okay. It's all going to be okay.

Check it out right now, y'all.

Or check out the archives.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Frano Friday #39 - Un Silencio de Tumba

Franco Friday #39 - Un Silencio de Tumba

Hey kids. I had a tough time locating this one but that poster art had me hooked. So I ordered this one from jolly old England. Can you believe that? They finally have DVDs in the place where all Americans, no matter what nationality their forefathers or foremothers came from, are from. We were all born British. Deal with it. Foremothers isn't really a word. That's pretty sexist.

Un Silencio de Tumba
Directed by Jess Franco
Alberto Dalbes, Glenda Allen, Mario Alex, Montserrat Prous, Kali Hansa
83 minutes
ZDD Visual Media

A bunch of socialite and movie industry jerks just wrapped up production on a shitty spaghetti western and are on a boat headed for a remote island to have a little vacay. Valerie (played by Montserrat Prous) hates them all. You see, Valerie is the sister of Annette (Glenda Allen) and she can't stand the vacuous bitch. She has watched her sister throw herself at various men and destroy their lives. Not even the birth of her son, that Valerie raises like it was her own, has slowed Annette down. While everyone is partying like idiots, the child is kidnapped. When the threatening notes and ransom demands turn into acts of murder and every possible route of escape from the island is cut off, Valerie turns to Juan (Alberto Dalbes) the only man she believes she can trust.

Well, color me surprised. This is a side of Franco I didn't expect to see. This is Franco working as close to the giallo genre as I've ever seen. I don't think Franco ever did anything as obvious as having a killer don a pair of black gloves and go a slashing with a straight razor but this does the trick, for sure. The opening song is haunting, beautiful, and downright depressing. The rest of the score is discordant and brooding and serves the material well. Even though my copy is a tad muddy, I can see the cinematography of Javier Perez Zofio shining through.

I love this cast save for one: The little kid actor isn't really what you might call... an actor. He looked like an unnaturally happy and blond kid-sized mannequin. Luckily, his screen time is very brief. I really dig Montserrat Prous. She is able to play these haunted characters very well. Her big eyes look so sad. Aww, poor baby! Alberto Dalbes is great as always. He is our go-to European stud with way more charisma than good looks.

Kali Hansa is very intriguing as Laura, the- um, housekeeper, I guess. She looks less mannish and more exotic than she did in The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff. Her suspicious glances are the stuff that dreams are made. Suspicious dreams. One actress that can't help but stick out is Yelena Samarina. She plays Vera, the photographer chick, and I wish she had a bigger part. You can see her suicide jaw in other Franco flicks like Daughter of Dracula and Night of the Skull but I know her best from Murder Mansion.

If you ever doubted Franco's abilities as a filmmaker, look at the nail-biting climax of this film and you'll see a capable and confident duder at work. The guy could make a solid thriller and he really makes the most of a measly budget, a beautiful location, and a handful of capable actors in Un Silencio de Tumba. There is lots of dread in the air and a quiet menace throughout this flick. I can't help but recommend that you go for it, you crazy Francophiles.

"Poor, innocent Valerie, the only decent person in this shit-hole. I have to kill you as well."

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Lords of Salem

My friend Nafa called me on Saturday and gave me a one word review of this film.

He said: "Kinetic."

I really don't know what to say about The Lords of Salem other than I highly recommend it because I don't want to spoil ANYTHING. Horror fans, if it's playing in your city, check it the fuck out. I think missing this one on the big screen would be a big mistake. Yesterday morning, at the theater, Rob Zombie raped my senses for 101 minutes and I left wanting more. I have been a Rob Zombie fan since Halloween II bashed my face in back in '09 and I had high hopes for this film. This film is a cross between Dario Argento's Inferno, Juan López Moctezuma's Alucarda, The Sentinel (1977), and a Windows 95 screensaver.

This film feels like a companion piece to Ti West's The House of the Devil but it goes way, way out of its way to get under your skin. One thing that Rob Zombie does is try too hard and I appreciate that. Everyone should do that. My best friend Scott once brewed a pot of coffee using caffeinated water instead of normal water. God knows that turned out well. I also noticed a big visual reference to Fulci and some dream logic that would have made The Godfather of Gore and Argento scratch their heads.

I wanted something that wasn't a remake and I got it. I wanted something that wasn't "found footage" and I got it. I wanted something smart, crazy, over-the-top, nauseatingly sexy, and blasphemous. Okay, maybe blasphemy wasn't really that high on my list but I sure as shit got more than I knew what to do with. Like I was saying, RZ always tries too hard and he bends over backwards to offend (as the directors of many a possession/Satanic-themed horror tale have done in the past) devout sensibilities. If you're easily offended by the site of Sheri Moon Zombie's butt then avoid this at all costs.

(This is where it happened.)

It is still hard for me to believe that "select cities" meant Tampa and it also meant, my theater: AMC Veterans 24 out on Anderson Road. It was an overcast and muggy day (unlike the above photo) and it was nice to sit in the cool darkness with Rob Zombie's feverish brain. Hopefully, The Lords of Salem will go nationwide so my homey Brad can go see it. Veterans 24 is an interesting theater. It has the feel of the theaters of my youth but also has the impossible danger of being in the flight path of Tampa International Airport which is disturbingly nearby. Yikes. Thanks to the Final Destination movies, I have some terrible scenarios in my head every time I watch a film there.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Repressed Memory

I just realized that I saw Six Pack IN THE THEATER when I was a kid.

Look at this shit:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Episode 30 - Happy Birthday To The Burning Prowler

Brad and I are finally famous or forgotten or folk heroes or frappuccinos or funky fresh. We made it to episode 30. We are talking about three 1981 slashers: The Burning, The Prowler, and Happy Birthday To Me. Enjoy the episode and we'll make 30 more of them. Probably.

Listen to it right here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Franco R.I.P.

I usually just keep my trap shut when icons of cinema pass from this world to the next. The main reason is I don't know them personally and the other reason is there are always people more eloquent than me will have better, more profound things to say. For instance, when his wife and collaborator, Lina Romay, passed away last year, I wasn't comfortable with blogging about it. I was just too sad for words. But now that both she and Jess Franco are gone, I guess I feel weirder not saying a little something. What else are cinema fans good for if not honoring their fallen heroes?

The whole reason I approached the films of Jess Franco with the "immersion method" of reviewing a film of his a week for 52 weeks (I needed a break after 33) was because my initial instinct toward the man's work was dismissive. At the time I felt like -and I'm sure there are others who feel this way- Vampyros Lesbos was enough for me and I could skip the other 500,000,076 films he directed. Hell, I used to get he and Jean Rollin mixed up all the time. WTF? But something told me I was very wrong in my thinking and I needed a moviethon of Franco's films to do the trick. The "trick" being waking my brain up to what old Jess had been up to all this time. That moviethon never happened but something much better did.

I forced myself to take a leap right into the deep end of his filmography and I'm so fucking glad that I did. Once you tap into the well of Jess Franco, you can't turn it off. The man himself certainly couldn't turn it off. Look at his IMDB page for proof of that. Look at the countless tributes to the man that will surely be springing up everywhere over the new few months to see the extent to which his films meant something to people. Obviously, look at the films and keep exploring. There is always more to find with this guy.

And his films do mean a lot to me. I have always tried to approach my reviews of them with with humor, total honesty, a dash of animosity, and loads of respect. He has helped me appreciate bad movies like no other director and he has taught me to look for greatness when all seems lost. I have been sideswiped by equal amounts of beauty and hilarity so many times thanks to the Franco Friday series. I still intend to stop (or at least take another break) at the 52 film mark but doubt I'll be able to.