Category Archives: Guide to Gore

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Dead Alive

1992 / d. Peter Jackson
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There’s something you should know about DEAD ALIVE: in all likelihood, you’ll never see a gorier film for the rest of your life. Peter Jackson’s splatter-comedy classic lives up to the hype in every way imagineable. You’ll laugh. You’ll cringe. You’ll be blown away. There’s enough gratuitous graphic grue to gross-out gorehounds: litres of thick, chunky intestinal muck strewn everywhere; a lawnmower massacre; festering pus-filled boils bursting at high velocity; organ removals; skeleton removals; skin removals; oh my! Better in many ways than Jackson’s other over-the-top cult classic: BAD TASTE. Put this one on your movie-menu, and your guests are sure to leave satisfied!

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Dead Snow

2009 / d. Tommy Wirkola
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Just like in the movies, you can’t seem to kill Nazi Zombies. In fact, these flesh-craving-fascists continue to pervade our mainstream culture more and more, be it in film or even in the ever-popular CALL OF DUTY franchise of video games. Regardless, if you’re seeking some truly epic Nazi Zombie action, stop your search immediately. DEAD SNOW offers everything, and more, than you could ever hope to see, including (but not limited to): a man climb up the side of a cliff using a zombie’s intestines, sew up a blood-spurting neck wound with nothing but a fishing hook, and then transform a snowmobile into a zombie-killing-death-machine fully outfitted with rifles. This film will kick your adrenal glands into full throttle as you cheer, cringe, and gaze in amazement. If DEAD SNOW doesn’t satiate your appetite for Nazi Zombie films, be sure to also check out: SHOCKWAVES (1977), ZOMBIE LAKE (1981), OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES (1981), and HORRORS OF WAR (2006).

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Demons

1985 / d. Lamberto Bava
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Italian gore-fest that delivers all the graphic grotesqueries that a horror fan could hope for. Shoestring plot features individuals trapped in a movie theatre while a demonic force possesses them one by one. Corny but entertaining transformation scenes, an eye gouging to rival Fulci, and an extended demon-slaying involving a motorcycle and a samurai sword. It’s ridiculous, but it works.

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Diary of the Dead

2007 / d. George A. Romero
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The fifth installment in the revered Dead series is not a bad film per se, but certainly is not up to the calibre we’re used to seeing from Romero’s earlier output. Through a documentary-style presentation, it tells the story of a group of film students who struggle to survive during a zombie outbreak. The film, which Romero described as a “rejigging of the myth”, begins on the same day as the 1968 original, though the setting is obviously modernized. Overall just not as compelling to watch as the first installments of the Dead series, but it still manages to boast a british professor whose zombie killing weapon of choice is a goddam bow and arrow. Classy!

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Dr. Butcher, M.D.

1980 / d. Marino Girolam
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People be warned: we’re dealing with some savage shit here. If exuberant gore, graphic gut munching, putrefying cadavers, and fiendish medical experiments aren’t your thing, then for godsakes turn back now. This unrepentent assault on the retinas isn’t for everyone, and even hardened horror fans may flinch while watching this one. But if you can hack it, well boy, you’re in for a bloody wild ride. All puns intended! Also released in North America as ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST.

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Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

1988 / d. James Signorelli
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There’s a touch of mature innuendo, but it’s a treat to see Cassandra Peterson’s alter ego host in a full length picture. The plot’s a predictable fish out of water scenario; with sexy Elvira taking an inheritance in a quiet, conservative town. Nevertheless, Peterson’s wit, bosom, and personality are all in spooky good fun.

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Evil Dead 2

1987 / d. Sam Raimi
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Essentially a remake of the first film, but this time brimming with nonstop tongue-in-cheek (or more accurately eyeball-in-mouth) and slapstick humour. Bruce Campbell reprises his role as Ash, hamming it up to the max with an over-the-top performance that never fails to put a smile on my face. Director Sam Raimi pulled no punches and managed to crank the gore-dial even higher, offering enough arterial spray and flesh trauma to satisfy any gore connoisseur.

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Evil Dead, The

1981 / d. Sam Raimi
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Claiming to be the “ultimate experience in grueling terror”, THE EVIL DEAD is truly an unrelenting splatter gem. Ridiculously over-the-top gore has this walking a fine line between outright horrific and ludicrously comical, but it’s a thrilling line all the same. An incredibly memorable performance from Bruce Campbell transformed him into an ass-kicking cult icon. Unrepentently violent and shocking, but not horrifying, THE EVIL DEAD is a monumental achievement in the horror genre.

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Evil Laugh

1986 / d. Dominick Brascia
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It’s like FRIDAY THE 13TH meets THE BIG CHILL… or, that’s what the writing on the back of the VHS promises. The truth is, it’s really not like either of those films, though it does reference them (and a plethora of other 70s and 80s movies) quite frequently. It’s a blatant commentary/deconstruction of the slasher film, containing a selection of exaggerated stock characters: the jock, the geek, the uptight girl, the bimbo, and the killer lurking in the shadows. In this case there’s even a paranoid horror buff whose obsession with Fangoria magazines leads him to believe he’s actually in a horror film himself (silly lad, your self-awareness won’t save you this time!). The plot centers around a group of med students who travel to a remote house for a little R&R, but unbeknownst to them a psychotic murderer is lying in wait. Everything down the kills walks the line between mediocre and outright ridiculous, but it’s the kind of flick that never takes itself seriously, so it’s all in good fun. In the midst of a decade of bad slashers that tried to be good, it’s refreshing to watch a film that–while still being a traditional 80s slasher–pokes a little fun at the genre at the same time.

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Exorcismus

2010 / d. Manuel Carballo
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I’m a sucker for demonic possession films. I foolishly go into each one expecting to relive the magic of watching THE EXORCIST for the first time, and instead walk away disappointed. EXORCISMUS is no exception. A young girl becomes possessed by an evil entity, and the only solution is an exorcism — which the girl’s parents allow to be recorded. Contrived and imitative scare tactics creep from one scene to the next, while the audience sits and waits for the promised appearance of Doug Bradley. I mean really, if an actor is in a film for all of ten minutes, don’t bill his name as one of the top three actors on the movie poster… it’s misleading and results in a movie-goer feeling duped. Furthermore, when was the last time you saw his name credited as Douglas Bradley? I sure haven’t. And by using his full first name, I somehow was under the assumption that his role was going  to be serious, epic, and that he was going to conjure up the spirit of Father Merrin and put some holy-shit-smackdown on Satan in this film. But… no such luck, which is why EXORCISMUS now joins the ranks of THE LAST EXORCISM, THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, and all the other Satan-inspired movies which just failed to impress.

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Fade to Black

1980 / d. Vernon Zimmerman
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Avid cinemaphile Eric Binford struggles with social disorders which stem from living his abusive wheel-chair bound aunt. When his sanity ultimately slips away, he delves into a psychotic film fantasy, in which he becomes some of his most beloved movie icons. Atmospheric and fun the first time, the film doesn’t hold up well on repeat performances. Still, effective performances by Dennis Christopher and Linda Kerridge (as the Marilyn Monroe look-alike love interest) make this worth a watch. Note the singular case.

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FAMILY (Masters of Horror 2006)

2006 / d. John Landis
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This particular episode, directed by John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), is about an average man, living an average life, with his not so average family. Having stalked and killed a woman and child, he bathes their corpses in acid and dresses up their skeletons for Sunday dinner. It’s his ideal family, cost effective with no real mouths to feed and he is in complete control…well until little Sarah wants a visit from Grandpa. His family continues to grow with every kill, until some pesky new neighbours move in next door.

The effects were decent, a few minor CG issues, but overall pretty good- especially in the last scene. The acting, on the other hand, was quite bland, with George Wendt being the best part. Both the story and direction overall were fantastic. With twists and turns and enough suspense to keep you captive from beginning to end, FAMILY was all in all a great episode and MMM approved.

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Friday the 13th

1980 / d. Sean Cunningham
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Splatter maestro Tom Savini lends his special effects wizardry to create this highly influential nerve grinder. Raw, shocking, and still an edge-of-your seat experience, this film helped set the stage for the next twenty years of slasher movies.

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Friday the 13th (2009)

2009 / d. Marcus Nispel
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Jason Voorhees returns to the silver screen, this time adding new tallies to his bodycount in slick, heavily polished, Hollywood style. Call me crazy, but I didn’t think this film was half bad. A few intentionally funny chuckles, and as pointless as remakes may be, I don’t mind Marcus Nispel as a director. Plus, the incredibly graphic and white-knuckle opening earned my respect.

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Friday the 13th III

1982 / d. Steve Miner
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Thanks to DVD, this puppy can now be viewed in splendiferous 3D once again! Corny, campy (literally!) fun, this is really one of the best sequels in the series and also sees Jason Voorhees trade in his one-eyed potato-sack for his trademark hockey mask. It’s eye-popping enjoyment!

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From Beyond

1986 / d. Stuart Gordon
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If you like REANIMATOR, odds are you’ll also love FROM BEYOND. Released just one year later, FROM BEYOND recaptures much of the same horror zaniness, and also reunites Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs, this time adding Ken Foree into the mix. Once again drawing from an old H.P. Lovecraft story, it tells the tale of an obsessed scientist who opens a gateway into another realm, and the horrors which subsequently ensue. The characters are each touched by Lovecraft’s recurring themes of madness and insanity, which often seems the only appropriate response after witnessing the horrors that they are subjected to. It’s fun, it’s campy, and it’s gross. Not to mention it has a little something for both the guys and gals out there: a mustached Ken Foree wearing only a set of bright red skivvies, and a leather-clad Barbara Crampton both grace the screen. Saucy!

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Funny Games

2008 / d. Michael Haneke
                                     
A brilliantly twisted piece of work from director Michael Haneke (Cache, The White Ribbon), Funny Games is a shot-for-shot remake of his original 1997 film of the same name. Naomi Watts, Tim Roth and Devon Gearhart play a family heading up to their lake house for a vacation. Soon after arriving, two young men (Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet) arrive at their doorstep, asking to borrow some eggs. What unfolds over the next two hours is a series of horrifying psychological “funny games” played by the family at the mercy of these two men. Haneke is a master of the shock horror, without resorting to blood and gore. The thought of a home invasion scares many families into buying home alarm systems, but the extent these two men go to, for no explained reason, is one of the single most terrifying aspects of the film, one that sticks with you long after the credits have rolled. Even more warped is the constant breaking of the fourth wall by the two men, addressing the audience and even rewinding the film when things don’t go their way. This might break the illusion for some, but for others (especially fans of Haneke) it will only serve to further the depravity of the film. Purists might want to watch the Austrian original, but with the 2008 American version, Haneke has only changed the location and the actors; it’s still a shot-for-shot remake of his own film and the horror aspect of home invasion is still kept well-intact. Do yourself a favour and set some time aside to play Funny Games.

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Girls Against Boys

2012 / d. Austin Chick
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While the story may not appeal to everyone, and some may feel that this type of rape-revenge has been done before, I believe the minor differences in this film go a long way to set it apart. There is one clear victim and even though her actions are heavily influenced by a “wild card” character so to speak, her reactions to her own behaviour are not typically that of the victims we are used to seeing in this subgenre. The mental state of the characters ranges from enjoyment to indifference with little regret and, at times, it creates a very twisted form of comic relief. With beautiful cinematography, very stylized and not at all gritty as one would expect, I only found myself disappointed with a few slow motion shots toward the end. These shots were great in the beginning, but when the story progression is already slow, the last thing I wanted was each individual shot matching the pace. Good performances and a solid amount of blood. The last death was my personal fave.

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Gore Gore Girls, The

1972 / d. H. G. Lewis
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Repulsive low-budget bloodfest from the godfather of gore, Herschell Gordon Lewis. The movie watches like a cheap 70s porno, with a soundtrack to match (say what you will, the music is actually a hilarious selling point), and is certainly not for everyone. Women will need to look past the misogynistic overtones to enjoy the campy, gratuitous gore, which includes everything from a rump beating with a meat tenderizer, nipple removals with a pair of scissors, to a ruthless face scalding in a pot of boiling oil. Sleazy fun at its best… or maybe worst.

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Halloween

1978 / d. John Carpenter
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John Carpenter’s late seventies romp in unadulterated terror was a trailblazer, establishing a template for the next decade of slasher flicks to follow. Haddonfield, Illinois: Six year old Michael Myers brutally stabs his sister to death, and after spending fifteen years in Smiths Grove Asylum, escapes and returns to his hometown for some long overdue trick or treating. Made on a shoestring budget and featuring a nail-biter of a soundtrack, HALLOWEEN is arguably the best executed slasher film ever made. It’s a shame that it was subjected to a barrage of progressively weaker sequels that, until HALLOWEEN H20, weakened the credibility of the series.

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Halloween 2

1981 / d. Rick Rosenthal
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Picking up directly where the first HALLOWEEN ends, we continue to follow Laurie Strode as she struggles to survive an attack from a masked boogeyman hellbent on ending her life. Creepy hospital scenes and a driving re-do of John Carpenter’s classic musical score create tension and a true atmosphere of Halloween night, while the plot shines light on the relationship between Myers and Strode. Aside from the fact that Myers’ mask is clearly altered, the overall feeling and tone between the movies remains consistent. A worthy sequel, and the perfect film to set the mood for Samhain.

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Halloween 2 (2009)

HALLOWEEN 2
2009 / d. Rob Zombie
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Rob Zombie’s sequel to his incredibly well done re-imagining of HALLOWEEN was sadly, an enormous letdown. An unfocused script was the culprit, which turned Michael Myers into a walking, talking (oh yeah, you heard right), heavily-bearded Jim Morrison lookalike. Zombie’s wife (Sherri Moon Zombie) returns as Michael’s mother, in a simply bizarre role that was far too reminiscent of Pamela Voorhees for my liking. However, the film was deliciously violent in typical Rob Zombie fashion. While I love him as a director, hopefully he’ll put this flop behind him and go back to making films more like THE DEVIL’S REJECTS.

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Halloween 3

1982 / d. Tommy Lee Wallace
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Watch HALLOWEEN 3 and you’ll see: an eccentric, silver-haired maskmaker with grandiose plans and a demented sense of humour; facial reconstructions by men in grey suits; seizure inducing 1980s digital effects; and who could forget, an annoying TV jingle which will be stuck in your head for days to come! Aside from the title, HALLOWEEN 3 owes nothing to the Halloween franchise, and because of that many an unknowing viewer has left disappointed, expecting to see Michael Myers continue his onscreen bodycount. Though generally ignored, HALLOWEEN 3 has its moments, and is corny enough to be enjoyable with the right attitude. Listen for an uncredited voice cameo by Jamie Lee Curtis as the telephone operator!

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Halloween 6

1995 / d. Joe Chappelle
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My personal least favourite of the series, but without a doubt the most graphic and mean spirited installment. Seeking to develop even more mythology around Michael Myers, HALLOWEEN 6 further explores the “man in black” from the previous film, as well as delves deeper into the Cult of Thorn storyline. Absolute rubbish that takes the series to an all-time low before the much needed HALLOWEEN H20 injected some much-needed credibility back into the franchise.

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Halloween H20

1998 / d. Steve Miner
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An excellent installment in the long-winded HALLOWEEN franchise, and in this reviewer’s opinion, the second best film after John Carpenter’s original. Ignoring parts 4, 5, and 6, HALLOWEEN H20 reunites us with Laurie Strode, who has since changed her name, become headmistress at a remote boarding school, and is the mother of a sixteen year old son. She is faced to confront her demons once and for all when her dear old brother returns, leading to an epic and intense free-for-all. Plenty of homages to the previous HALLOWEEN films thanks to a well rounded script by Kevin Williamson, and even a brief appearance by Janet Leigh and the original car from Psycho. It’s a shame they couldn’t leave it on this note, and had to drag the series further through the mud.