Monday, June 21, 2010

Retro Review: Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

It was no secret to us that Cannibal Holocaust was a controversial movie. In fact, on the DVD cover it claims to be "the most controversial movie ever made." We knew that some parts of this film had caused it to be banned in a multitude of countries. Because of this, its hard to find. While at Monster Mania horror convention, we found out that it had been released by Grindhouse Releasing. Mike bought the DVD with no hesitation. We weren't exactly sure what we were in for when we sat down to watch it the first time, but we were not disappointed.

Quick Spoiler Free Summary
A documentary film crew has been sent into the Amazon to film indigenous tribes. After not being heard from for two months, an anthropologist and his tour guide went deep into the Amazon rainforest to find them. Halfway through the movie, they find the incomplete documentary footage from the group. However, the original crew were not found alive.


Plot- 3.5/5
This film created the cannibal genre in Italy. This setting of the Amazon rainforest has become a staple in many a cannibal film. The documentary style parts of the movie seemed authentic, as if we were watching an actual documentary. The movie as a whole seemed plausible, giving it an extra layer of depth.

Acting- 3/5
The fact that the movie is dubbed over makes it hard to accurately critique a large portion of the acting. Having just watched this an hour ago, there were only about two parts where the acting just seemed silly. The silliness can be attributed to the voice over, not the original acting. Apart from that, the acting was better than mediocre.

Gore- 6/5
I know, you are probably laughing at this score, but let us explain. The gore rating for this movie is maxed out because...most of its real. There are numerous instances in this movie where there are animals actually being butchered on screen. There has also been controversy over the director using actual corpses as props.

Fear- 4/5
The reason we gave this such a high score for fear is the mere fact that it does not seem impossible. All the other movies we've reviewed have been about things that didn't seem as likely to happen. If you were to walk into a house, you are not automatically expecting it to be haunted by an evil presence. If you do, however, walk into the Amazonian rainforest, the first thought in your head would be, "I'm probably gonna die."

Shock Value- 5/5
There are many points during the movie where you can't believe what you are watching. The multiple instances of animal cruelty are among some of the most appalling scenes in any movie we have viewed. There is one scene during the movie where this group literally guts a humongous turtle. It is the most disturbing piece of footage we've ever seen on film (besides Salo).

In Conclusion- 4.3/5
It is not uncommon to hear about older movies being banned in different countries for their shocking content. Most of the time, these movies do not live up to the hype of being so terrible. When you look back on them with modern sensability, they aren't quite as shocking. However, this was not the case with Cannibal Holocaust. This film delivered on its claims to be "the most controversial movie ever made."

Disclaimer: This movie is NOT for the faint of heart. There are real instances of violence and gore, not suitable for all horror fans.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blog of the Dead Interview

We have a special post here on Mike and Chuck's Blog of the Dead. Today, is about the future. Weird, I know. But I mean the future generation of horror fans. My (Chuck) little cousin Matthew Burdash is a 9 year old kid whose becoming sucked in to the genre known as horror. After having a nice discussion with Matthew, I decided to do an interview with him exclusively for the blog. He was really stoked about the idea, so here it is! The BD is Blog of the Dead, and MB is Matt Burdash.

BD: If you can remember, what was your first horror movie?
MB: Hmm…well the first was the original Night of the Living Dead on Halloween night. I watched it with my dad, brother, and some friends. It was pretty scary because people are dressed like zombies and that sort of stuff. I really liked the part when [Dwayne] used the shotgun to kill all the zombies
BD: How old were you when you first watched Night of the Living Dead?
MB: I was 8 years old.
BD: How did you first get into watching these movies?
MB: My dad told me that watching horror movies was a tradition on Halloween. After I realized that horror movies were not real, I started to watch more and more. Now, I love them.
BD: What is your favorite horror movie?
MB: My favorite horror movie is A Nightmare on Elm Street.
BD: What about A Nightmare On Elm Street makes it your favorite?
MB: Well I really like the weapon that Freddy uses, it’s pretty dang cool. My favorite is the knived for fingernails, that’s awesome.
BD Is it safe to say then that Freddy Krueger is your favorite horror character?
MB: Yes he is. Besides the really cool weapon, I think it’s really cool that he shows up in your dreams. I liked the ghost of Freddy coming through the wall, and then seeing him disappear when Nancy woke up.
BD: Do you think a horror movie can be scary without all the gore?
MB: Yes I think a movie could be scary without those things. The serial killers could pop out of nowhere and such.
BD: If you could make your own horror film, how would it go?
MB: I’d put in Freddy Kruger, Michael Meyers, and Jason together. It would be called Jason vs Freddy and Michael Meyers. I would have the setting in an apartment complex. It would be a contest on who can kill the most people.
BD: Will you continue to watch horror movies? Why?
MB: Yes I will. Because they’re really cool. I love zombies and slashers.
BD: Which is your favorite genre? Slasher or Zombie?
MB: Hmm… I don’t know. I’ve gotta say slashers, because they don’t die that easily. It only takes one shot to kill a zombie. One time, a girl hit Jason in the brain with an axe and he doesn’t die.
BD: Who has been your biggest inspiration for getting into horror?
MB: My dad. He’s encouraged me to watch them, stating that they weren’t real. He helped me get over my fear of scary movies, especially zombies. He would act like a zombie in order for me to get over the fear. He has had the biggest impact on me when it comes to horror movies.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Review: The House of the Devil

We read a lot about this film on, and were very interested. We both enjoy old school 70's and 80's horror movies, so we thought we'd give this a try. It got great reviews by the people on the website, and was spoken very highly of by some of our peers.

Quick Spoiler Free Summary
A beautiful young woman named Samantha, looking to make a little extra money while at college, accepts a job as a baby sitter. Upon arriving at the house, she learns things are not what she expected. After an uneventful evening, things go incredibly wrong. The mystery of why she is there, is beginning to unfold. Soon Samantha finds her self fighting off the evil which has tormented her.


Plot- 3.5/5
This film didn't have the greatest plot, however it served its purpose. There weren't any instances that deviated from the central story. There were no plot holes present, and everything made sense. There was a steady flow to the plot, keeping it very easy to follow.

Acting- 4/5
Jocelin Donahue does a tremendous job portraying the character of Samantha. Donahue's performance was spot on for an 80's horror heroine. It was also good to see genre veterans Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov. They did a great job at playing the mysterious elderly couple that has brought Samantha into this hellish nightmare.

Special Effects- 3.5/5
The movie was not intended to be a splatter-fest. Although there wasn't a lot of gore in the movie, the parts where there was gore were done pretty well. There was one scene where the character gets her face shot off, that was to our complete surprise and pleasure. They went all out and made it look like her face was actually separated from her head. A big plus for us was the forgoing of CGI graphics. They kept it old school with the natural effects, and did a great job.

Fear- 3/5
Once again, to the casual horror fan this movie may have done enough to cause uneasiness. The director uses a technique called a "slow burn," which is basically using the first 76-82% of the movie to build suspense, leading to the ultimate climax. The fear comes more from the suspense than actual "jump-out" scares.

In Conclusion- 3.5/5
We were really impressed at the atmosphere of the film. It really felt like we were watching a horror movie from the 1980's. Even the credits looked like they were lifted from an old school horror flick. One scene that really stuck out to us both, was one where Samantha danced around the house while listening to her walkman (see video below). When it comes down to it, this was an enjoyable romp through vintage horror; which we'd like to see more often.

Joeclin Donahue doing the most adorable dance we have ever seen.