It was only a matter of time, really. The Blood Theatre has always been comprised of people who love their celluloid dripping red, and this is our chance to let loose and deliver some short, to-the-point reviews on some of our favourite (and not-so-favourite) horror flicks. Although, keep in mind that you can also peruse our full-length reviews of movies as well. In memory of the late, great Chas Balun (1948 – 2009) we have decided to employ his infamous GORE SCORE, which in his own words:
“…concerns itself with nothing but the quantity of blood, brains, guts, slime, snot, puke or other assorted precious bodily fluids spilled, slopped or splattered during the course of the film.”
Therefore, you will see films rated twice: the first is our standard FOUR SKULL rating as seen in every review posted on the website. The second is our GORE SCORE, which ranges from 1 – 10. Thus, we offer you two perspectives on each film: the former rates the quality of the movie itself, and the latter looks at nothing except the amount of gruesome violence it contains. Gorehounds, enjoy. The squeamish, beware:
…there be blood ahead.
||We’ve got a classic, folks.
||Gore Score 1-10
||Monster Movie Monday
Approved – Group viewing
1981 / d. Lars von Trier
ANTICHRIST, according to director von Trier, was created out of a simple desire to create a horror film. What resulted, however, is a fantastic, surreal, and devastating picture which burns itself into the pysche of anyone who witnesses it. Stellar performances by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, who star as a husband and wife who retreat to a remote cabin in the woods, in hopes of restoring peace to their minds and their marriage. Lurid, explicit, terrifying, sexual — words can scarcely prepare you for the sights that await you.
1987 / d. Peter Jackson
Before Mr. Jackson was directing ring-toting hobbits on perilous quests to Mount Doom, he was making insanely entertaining, low-budget gore flicks. BAD TASTE oozes, excretes, gurgles, vomits, and sprays blood, guts, and a multitudinous amount of sickening fluids for a satisfying ninety minutes of comedic genius. If you can handle brain munching, head exploding, arm amputating, and other grim spectacles, this film is right up your alley. Recommended for fans of EVIL DEAD 2, RE-ANIMATOR, and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD.
1980 / d. Ulli Lommel
Early supernatural slasher hokum which, by merit of its taboo-breaking (and outright icky) opening sequence, earned its place on the infamous list of “video-nasties” and thereby developed somewhat of a cult following. From the get-go the film is too reminiscent of BLACK CHRISTMAS and HALLOWEEN to be an accident, and it quickly becomes clear that there is scarcely an original idea to be seen; owing heavily to earlier, better movies such as THE EXORCIST, PATRICK, and THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, to name only a few. THE BOOGEYMAN is just a cliched mess of a movie that spends too much time attempting to be too many other films, which ultimately results in a heavily unfocused and difficult to follow mishmash of scenes. Only the ending, with its unexpected use of black humour, make this film worth a watch; otherwise, your time is better spent elsewhere.
1981 / d. Tony Maylam
In a subgenre dominated by lemons, there are few films that can adequately measure up to THE BURNING. Certainly the idea of a camping excursion gone horribly awry is nothing new to the slasher film – entire franchises have been built around it – but there is something skillful about the execution of THE BURNING that makes it so endearing and memorable. The plot can essentially be boiled down to good old-fashioned revenge: Cropsy, the camp caretaker, is the recipient of a horrible prank-gone-wrong. After becoming disfigured beyond recognition, he returns to extract his vengeance on the kids at Camp Blackfoot. Featuring a plethora of visceral treats from gore-maestro Tom Savini, the film offers up a delightful smorgasbord of garden-sheer mutilations, amputations, and stabulations (I might have invented one of those words); fingers fly, necks are sliced, and – true to its name – people are burned. Watch for appearances by Holly Hunter and a young Jason Alexander!
(As an aside: if you’re looking for more information on THE BURNING, I highly urge you to check out Justin Kerswell’s retrospective on his website: Hysteria Lives.)
2002 / d. Eli Roth
Man, how I dig this flick. Eli Roth managed to create an immensely well-made horror film, with gratutious blood, guts, vomit, and a massive assortment of skin grotesqueries that’ll give you the heebie-jeebies on more than one occasion. It’ll sure make the horror-loving ladies out there think twice before shaving their legs again! Fuzzy! Look for homages to a bunch of the horror classics, such as: THE EVIL DEAD, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, THE CRAZIES, FRIDAY THE 13’TH, and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, to name only a few.
1997 / d. Douglas Buck
There’s a fine line that filmmakers walk when they seek to transcend the accepted levels of on-screen violence and embark in the dangerous realm of gore. When a film becomes excessively graphic, one of two things can happen: either the viewer becomes desensitized and leaves feeling unphased, or a lack of convincing special effects transforms the film into outright silliness, regardless of how serious the subject matter. CUTTING MOMENTS, however, fearlessly traverses the choppy waters of violent filmmaking, and creates an unforgettable portrait of domestic horror. Set against the backdrop of a quiet American neighbourhood, we are introduced to a loveless couple and their only child; a husband now indifferent to his wife, despite the affection they once shared at the onset of their marriage. The film explores the dramatic lengths that an individual will go to in order to regain their love’s attention, and the perverse sadism that can occur behind any closed door — even in quiet suburbia. CUTTING MOMENTS demands your attention, but be warned, it is not for the faint of heart: its stark imagery is not easily forgotten.
1978 / d. Don Taylor
Ah puberty! The time in every young man’s life when he awkwardly begins to change. The other kids look at you differently, your confidence is shaken, you find a noticeable birthmark of three sixes burned into your skull, and you have to come to terms with the fact that you are no longer a little boy, but rather, the son of the devil. After Damien’s father tried to kill him in the first film, the newly orphaned boy is shipped off to live with his uncle. Growing up alongside his cousin allows him to develop into a loving, well-rounded little boy; but all that soon changes when Satan’s cleverly placed henchmen start to step in and kill off those who get too close. Finally Damien discovers who he is and must stay true to the path is birth father (The Devil) set out for him. This film wont do much for you in the way of gore, but there are some pretty interesting deaths. And yes, that is Lance Henrikson, he’s just not featured in the title sequence.
2003 / d. Jonathon Liebesman
DARKNESS FALLS belongs to a category of films which span a period from the late 90’s up to the late 2000’s. Just as you can watch 80’s slasher films and immediately know that they’re all from the same era, the same goes for films such as SKELETON KEY, TH13TEEN GHOSTS, DEAD SILENCE, GHOST SHIP, and DARKNESS FALLS — to name only a few. They share a common atmosphere, and although their subject matter isn’t always the same, their style is easily recognizable. In DARKNESS FALLS, we are presented with a small town urban legend: Matilda Dixon, a woman beloved by all the town children, was known as the Tooth Fairy, since she would present them with a gold coin for their lost tooth. However, when she was accused and executed for a crime she didn’t commit, she swore a curse on the little town of Darkness Falls… what she took in kindness, she would take forever in revenge (talk about a reverse deathbed conversion!) The problem with DARKNESS FALLS is that it lacks memorability. On its own it’s not as terrible and easily dismissible as people tend to remember it; it still manages to offer up some minor thrills, and a decent (albeit contrived) story. The similarity between it and the later released DEAD SILENCE has been noted on more than one occasion, and in this reviewer’s opinion, DEAD SILENCE is the superior film. However, if you’re looking for another reason to fear the dark, give DARKNESS FALLS a shot. You might even like it.