Tenebrae – Day 24 – 31 Days of Halloween

Tenebrae – Day 24 – 31 Days of Halloween

Probably Argento’s best movie in my opinion.

A successful writer Peter Neal is visiting Rome from America. He becomes aware that a serial killer is on the loose and strongly influenced by his work.

This film is staggeringly good. Prepare to be astounded by the tracking shot of the outside of the apartment block- one of the best shots I’ve ever seen in a film. Also, the scene where a characters arm is chopped off with an axe and her blood completely redecorates a wall. Directed with the usual flair and attention to detail and aesthetics that you’d expect from The Master.

This film also features an amazing turn by the legend John Saxon. Argento manages to coax a wacky, insane performance out of the actor which steals the show. Look out for the scene where he shows how his hat stays on no matter what.

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The ending is a master stroke also. I’m certainly not going to spoil the surprise here but its a corker and doesn’t feel forced or contrived.

This film came a cropper in Britain- it was mixed up in the 80s Video Nasties moral panic and was banned for years. There seems to be three vile repercussions of the DPP list- obviously the fact that it prevented the viewer watching what they wanted but also that masterpieces like Tenebrae were banned and much lesser films were immortalised. Wrongly so- some of the films on the lists should have disappeared without a trace otherwise.

Even the poster for Tenebrae caused a commotion. The original poster features the blood from a neck wound on a female victim. This was too much for London Underground who said that they wouldn’t display the posters as they were too graphic. Hence the red trickle of blood was instead replaced by a red ribbon for the UK posters and even the soundtrack art here.

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The original poster
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The altered poster- now fit for London Underground
If you love horror, see this film. If you love giallo, see this film. Damn- if you love cinema full stop- SEE THIS FILM.

5 out of 5

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Top 10 Horror Movies from the 70s

Top 10 Horror Movies from the 70s

Just made a video of my Top 10 Horror Movies from the 70s.

The videos HERE.

Do you agree? Get discussing horror fiends 🙂

Either leave a comment under the video or join the Meathook Cinema Facebook page.

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Going To Pieces – Day 23 – 31 Days of Halloween

Going To Pieces – Day 23 – 31 Days of Halloween

A documentary recalling the rise and fall and rise again of the slasher film genre.

Whilst the main players are here (John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Sean Cunningham) there aren’t any major revelations or anecdotes that haven’t been heard before.

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Also key works are omitted that had an influence on the genre- where is Blood Feast?

This doc is a good introduction to the genre for a beginner horror hound but is a bit old hat for more seasoned pros.

2 out of 5

Wes Craven’s Chiller – Day 22 – 31 Days of Halloween

Wes Craven’s Chiller – Day 22 – 31 Days of Halloween

I remember loving this as a kid and renting it out from my local video store on numerous occasions.

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Michael Beck (yes, Swan from The Warriors and accomplice to Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu) is cryogenically frozen. His freezer pod at the plant that holds his body malfunctions and he starts to thaw. His mother is overjoyed. He can reenter her life and take over the mantle of big bossman in the high powered family corporation.

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It quickly becomes apparent that something is wrong with him- he walks around with what looks like three layers of pan-stick on his face, the family dog barks at him for no reason (he eventually kills the mutt) and he starts to make unscrupulous decisions in his job. Its almost as if he doesn’t have a soul…

I just rewatched this the other day and its, well, a bit lifeless (excuse the pun). There was plenty of scope to make some brilliant observations about businessmen not having a soul anyway and linking this to Reagan 80’s America. These possibilities were squandered.

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This was directed by Wes Craven for TV in 1985. This could have been directed by anyone. Craven was taking any old job at this time as he was skint- hence he directed Swamp Thing (a good movie) and The Hills Have Eyes 2 (any movie that features a dog having a flashback is devoid of criticism as you already know ITS BULLSHIT).

I don’t know if this did well in the ratings when it was shown in 1985. And I don’t really care. I hope Wes was paid well.

1 out of 5

The Forest (1982) – Day 21 – 31 Days of Halloween

The Forest (1982) – Day 21 – 31 Days of Halloween

I first saw this when I lived in Sydney, Australia. There was a great video store there called Dr What. Instead of replacing old titles with newer movies they just add to their collection. This is more like a movie archive than a video shop.

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And so I saw this entertaining, offbeat and lurid horror movie when it had long become out of print.

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A group of four city folk decide to go camping in them there woods. They quickly realise that things aren’t as they should be. A killer is hunting them for food (isn’t KFC just easier?) and the ghosts of firstly his dead children appear to the campers to warn them (you can tell theres something strange about them as their voices sound like they’re speaking in an echo chamber) and then the ghost of his dead wife.

The idea of these apparitions appearing to guide the living and warn them of the killers presence is a novel idea and very effective. ‘Where is he know?!’ asks one of the campers. ‘Right behind you!’ replies the children with relish. And they’re right!


It appears that the killer bumped off his wife after catching her in the sack with another man. The flashback fight scene between these two men has to be seen to be believed. Kinetic and deranged are two words that just don’t do it justice.


The fact that Killer Dad explains this backstory to two of the campers is reminiscent of an early Scooby Doo episode. But with actual ghosts rather than a janitor wearing a rubber mask resplendent with flourescent paint. Oh, and if there were throat slashings.


And add to that a doom laden 80s score which includes a few unintentionally funny pop ditties and you have the recipe for a great movie.

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Off kilter, quirky and full of character. Check it out. 3 out 0f 5

Something Weird

Something Weird

I became a fan of Herschell Gordon Lewis after reading about his work in the RE:Search book Incredibly Strange Films book (if you don’t own this tome then buy it NOW!!! Its been a major influence and point of reference in my cult film adoration).

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Around this time there was an episode of Jonathan Ross’ excellent Incredibly Strange Film Show devoted to Lewis and his work that I lapped up.

I then bought a copy of Two Thousand Maniacs on VHS in Forbidden Planet on first moving to London in the mid-90s. And boy, did it rock my world. Quirky, innovative, funny, full of character and gory as hell.

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From that moment on I became dedicated to buying as much of Lewis’ work as possible. Next came Blood Feast and then She Devils on Wheels. Both masterpieces, both seminal films.

Whats more my other cinematic heroes seemed to hold Lewis up for canonisation just as I did.

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The Pope of Puke meets his hero

I was gobsmacked when I heard that Arrow Video were to release a new boxset of his work. And from what I’ve seen its quite some boxset! Arrow Video go from strength to strength. I’m so glad they treat the films  that I hold close to my heart with the respect and love that I know they deserve.

The good people at Dread Central have just released this boxset unboxing video for us to salivate over-

Heres what is in the boxset via the press release-

The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast
[Blu-ray + DVD – 17 discs] (October 25th)
Limited to 2500 copies!
Director: Herschell Gordon Lewis

In 1963, director Herschell Gordon Lewis pulled a cow’s tongue out of an actress’ mouth on camera, and in doing so, changed the landscape of horror cinema forever. That sequence was just one of numerous gruesome gags featured in Blood Feast, the film credited as being the world’s first gore movie. It’s no exaggeration to say that the modern gross-out movies of today owe their very existence to the pioneering efforts of H.G. Lewis. But whilst Lewis is most widely celebrated for his blood-and-guts epics (Two Thousand Maniacs!, The Wizard of Gore et al.), there’s more to the prolific director than splatter.

From tales of sordid photographers (Scum of the Earth) to sex robots (How to Make a Doll), from biker girl-gangs (She-Devils on Wheels) to youths-run-amok (Just for the Hell of It), and from psychic witches (Something Weird) to hard liquor-loving hillbillies (Moonshine Mountain), the filmography of H.G. Lewis reads like a veritable wish-list of exploitation movie madness.

Now, for the first time ever, Arrow Video is proud to present fourteen of the Godfather of Gore’s most essential films (including nine Blu-ray world debuts), collected together at last and packed full of eye-popping bonus content. So put your feet up, pour yourself a glass of good ol’ moonshine, and prepare yourself for a feast – H.G. Lewis style!

Features:

Fourteen of the Godfather of Gore’s finest attractions, newly restored from original and best surviving vault materials
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the features and extras on 7 Blu-ray and 7 DVD discs
Additional 2 bonus Blu-rays featuring 1.33:1 versions of Blood Feast, Scum of the Earth, Color Me Blood Red, A Taste of Blood and The Wizard of Gore [limited editions exclusive]
Additional bonus DVD: Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore documentary [limited editions exclusive]
28-page H.G. Lewis “annual” stuffed full with Lewis-themed activities plus archive promotional material [limited editions exclusive]
Newly illustrated packaging by The Twins of Evil [Feast edition exclusive]

BLOOD FEAST (1963) + SCUM OF THE EARTH (1963)

Brand new introduction to the films by director Herschell Gordon Lewis
Audio Commentary on Blood Feast with Lewis and producer David F. Friedman
Audio Commentary on Scum of the Earth by Friedman
Blood Feast Outtakes
Blood Perceptions – filmmakers Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact) and Rodney Ascher (Room 237) offer their insight on Blood Feast and the importance of Herschell Gordon Lewis
Herschell’s History – archival interview in which Lewis discusses his entry into the film industry including Scum of the Earth
How Herschell Found His Nitch – Lewis discusses more of his early work in nudie cuties and the making of The Adventures of Lucky Pierre
Archival Interview with Herschell Gordon Lewis and David F. Friedman from 1987
Carving Magic (1959) – vintage short featuring Blood Feast‘s Bill Kerwin
Blood Feast Radio Spot and Trailer

TWO THOUSAND MANIACS! (1964) + MOONSHINE MOUNTAIN (1964)

Brand new introduction to the films by director Herschell Gordon Lewis
Audio Commentary on Two Thousand Maniacs! with Lewis and producer David F. Friedman
Two Thousand Maniacs! Outtakes
Two Thousand Maniacs Can’t Be Wrong – Tim Sullivan (director, 2001 Maniacs) on Two Thousand Maniacs!
Hicksploitation: Confidential – visual essay on the history of the American South’s representation in cinema
David Friedman: The Gentlemen’s Smut Peddler – a tribute to the legendary producer featuring – Herschell Gordon Lewis, filmmakers Fred Olen Ray, Tim Sullivan and Bob Murawski
Herschell’s Art of Advertising – Lewis shares his expert opinion on the art of selling movies and how to hook an audience.
Trailers for Two Thousands Maniacs! and Moonshine Mountain

COLOR ME BLOOD RED (1965) + SOMETHING WEIRD (1967)

Brand new introduction to the films by director Herschell Gordon Lewis
Audio Commentary on Color Me Blood Red with Lewis and producer David F. Friedman
Audio Commentary on Something Weird with Lewis and Friedman
Color Me Blood Red Outtakes
The Art of Madness – visual essay on the recurring motif of mad artists as killers in horror cinema
Weirdsville – film Scholar Jeffrey Sconce on Something Weird
Lewis on Jimmy, the Boy Wonder, his 1966 children’s musical
A Hot Night at the Go Go Lounge! – Lewis’ 1966 dance short
Trailers for Color Me Blood Red and Something Weird

THE GRUESOME TWOSOME (1967) + A TASTE OF BLOOD (1967)

Brand new introduction to the films by director Herschell Gordon Lewis
Audio Commentary on The Gruesome Twosome with Lewis
Audio Commentary on A Taste of Blood with Lewis
Peaches Christ Flips Her Wig! – the San Francisco performer on The Gruesome Twosome
It Came From Florida – filmmaker Fred Olen Ray (Scalps) on Florida Filmmaking
Herschell vs The Censors – Lewis discusses some of the pitfalls involving local censorship and the lengths to which angry moviegoers tried to stop him
Trailers for The Gruesome Twosome and A Taste of Blood

SHE-DEVILS ON WHEELS (1968) + JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT (1968)

Brand new introduction to the films by director Herschell Gordon Lewis
Audio Commentary on She-Devils on Wheels with Lewis
Garage Punk Gore – filmmaker and musician Chris Alexander discusses the films and music of Herschell Gordon Lewis
The Shocking Truth! – Bob Murawski on his lifelong love for Herschell Gordon Lewis and what he has learned from Lewis’ films
Lewis on his 1968 film The Alley Tramp
She-Devils on Wheels Radio Spot
Trailers for She-Devils on Wheels and Just for the Hell of It

HOW TO MAKE A DOLL (1968) + THE WIZARD OF GORE (1970)

Brand new introduction to the films by director Herschell Gordon Lewis
Audio Commentary on The Wizard of Gore with Lewis
Montag Speaks – a brand new interview with Wizard of Gore actor Ray Sager
The Gore The Merrier – an interview with Jeremy Kasten, director of the 2007 Wizard of Gore remake
The Incredibly Strange Film Show: Herschell Gordon Lewis “The Godfather of Gore” – episode of the Jonathan Ross-hosted documentary series focusing on Lewis’ films, featuring interviews with Lewis, producer David F. Friedman, actor Bill Kerwin, etc
The Wizard of Gore Trailer

THIS STUFF’LL KILL YA! (1971) + THE GORE GORE GIRLS (1972)

Brand new introduction to the films by director Herschell Gordon Lewis
Audio Commentary on The Gore Gore Girls with Herschell Gordon Lewis
Audio Commentary on This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! by camera operator and Lewis biographer Daniel Krogh
Regional Bloodshed – filmmakers Joe Swanberg and Spencer Parsons discuss the Midwestern roots and work ethic of Lewis’ output and how The Gore Gore Girls represents the shift into transgressive ’70s cinema that would dominate the American horror lan
Herschell Spills His Guts – Lewis discusses his career post-The Gore Gore Girls, why he left the film industry and his role as a leading figure in the copywriting industry
Gore Gore Girls Radio Spot
Trailers for This Stuff’ll Kill Ya! and The Gore Gore Girls

Wow! I need this in my life. Find it HERE if you live in the UK or HERE if you live in the US.

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