Lines In Wax

THIRTEEN YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

horror

Goblin – Greatest Hits (1979)

Goblin – Greatest Hits (1979)

I feel like I’ve heard multiple different iterations of this “best of” collection over the years, but it doesn’t really matter because everyone knows what tracks are always going to be on these things. Whether you’ve seen the movies that these tracks appear in or not, Goblin are such an unique band that listening to these compositions is always an enjoyable experience. The atmosphere is tangible, the instrumentation weird and tense. I mean, I guess it’s why Goblin are so revered in the horror world. Legendary stuff.

Re-Animator (1985)

Re-Animator (1985)

Since I’ve started my foray into the world of horror and exploitation cinema, Herbert West the Re-Animator’s imagery has cropped up constantly. Before that, it was in the many reams of goregrind and death metal I listened to. I recently read the Lovecraft story on which this movie is based, which is actually a hundred thousand leagues away in tone and content. On the face of it, Re-Animator is a decent exploitation / B-movie flick, with suitably terrible acting and hilarious SFX work. The plot would surely send HP himself spinning in his grave, but if blood, tits and bad acting are your favourite bits about movies, then surely you need look no further.

Hellraiser II: Hellbound (1988)

Hellraiser II: Hellbound (1988)

Hellraiser is a tough act to follow, and admittedly during watching there was a lot to Hellbound that I really didn’t like. However, in hindsight, the plot and the trippy hellscape elements, whilst not super entertaining at the time, have stuck with me and remain with me, purely for their unusual and bizarre imagery, and for their disturbing dreamlike feel. Freddie’s boiler room can do one, the maze of Hellraiser’s hell is a true nightmare.

Day Of The Dead (1985)

Day Of The Dead (1985)

Day Of The Dead is another classic entry in the classic horror series. Set underground, the story once again plays with the isolation that breeds in the setting of a world-wide apocalypse of sorts. The increase in domestic violence in the real world Coronavirus lockdown spookily and worryingly echoes that of the madness that transpires in the pocket-communities of humanity shown by the …Of The Dead series. Art imitates life, so they say. But there we go, that’s enough thinking for one day. To recap: a great and classic horror flick (with a banging soundtrack to boot).

John Harrison – George A. Romero’s Day Of The Dead OST (1985)

John Harrison – George A. Romero’s Day Of The Dead OST (1985)

This record haunted me. There’s a reoccurring motif that I just couldn’t place. It hit me after a while, it was a sample used by Gorillaz for the track “M1 A1” on the self titled record, which was the first album I really spent any decent amount of time with when I was a kid. I’ve also seen the Day Of The Dead film so I have no idea how didn’t put this together before. Anyway, that aside, the soundtrack has that balance of spookiness and artsy pomp that I have come to love and expect from soundtracks in this vein.

Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997)

Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997)

The downward spiral continues with Leprechaun 4, where the quality descends even further still, but to the point where the plot is now so goddamn ridiculous it almost gets a pass. In this 4th offering, the Leprechaun makes it into space, where there is scantily clad princesses, trigger happy marines, Nazi scientists and terrible CGI spacecraft. A huuuuge drop in quality and budget from the 2nd and 3rd entry in the franchise, but incredibly entertaining nonetheless.

Leprechaun 3 (1995)

Leprechaun 3 (1995)

Leprechaun 3 has none of the endearing characters present in the first two movies. Everyone is pretty awful, or drastically flawed in some way, to the point where you don’t really give a suit about what happens to any of them. Luckily then, that the Leprechaun has conjured some creative ways to dispose of the cast, before culminating in yet another awful conclusion. It is what it is, but Leprechaun 3 is pretty shit.

Leprechaun 2 (1994)

Leprechaun 2 (1994)

Leprechaun 2 is probably my favourite of the original 90s run of movies. A loveable simpleton and his on/off girlfriend incur the wrath of the Leprechaun who of course, fancies her for his bride as she some direct descendant of some poor sap that crossed the Leprechaun in the past. Anyway, it has a creative set of kills and situations, before a fairly useless showdown in the Leprechaun’s lair. It ends on a bum note as there was supposed to be a direct sequel, but this was shitcanned and Leprechaun 3 ended up being something completely different when the time came around, with a completely different set of cast and a different director.

Midsommar (2019)

Midsommar (2019)

What in the sweet holy fuck did I just watch? I’m not a film writer so my language and terminology is not developed enough to really do this film justice, but Midsommar was a twisted, genuinely disturbing journey into the world of off-grid cults. I’m not entirely sure of every message that the creators were trying to convey, but its very interesting watching how things transpire, if not a little (a lot lol) terrifying doing so. Just be prepared for things to get very trippy and extremely violent. Florence Pugh is on fire in this.

Leprechaun (1993)

Leprechaun (1993)

If you read my ongoing reviews of this series you will no doubt surely be able to tell that I have something of a love/hate relationship with the Leprechaun movies. They are just so atrociously bad in every conceivable way. The funny thing about the original Leprechaun is that I managed to convince my girlfriend to watch it with me, off the back of Jennifer Aniston being cast as the lead. Let me tell from the off however, that even a ripe and fresh-faced, pre-Friends Aniston cannot save this absolute joke of a movie. Leprechaun becomes more self-aware with its passing sequels, but the original is kinda devoid of anything; exploitation thrills, horror, gore, any real level of comedy. This is a cultural wasteland of a movie, which in itself has its own charm, I guess.

Chopping Mall (1986)

Chopping Mall (1986)

Its incredible what chopping 15 minutes off your average runtime will do to a film, especially one of this calibre. Maybe I’m getting bored of watching low budget horrors, but for me a lot of them just suffer with horrendous pacing. Chopping Mall’s plot is direct to the point and doesn’t drag at all.  As for the movie, a gang of young and sexy party goers are trapped in a mall overnight and are pursued by killer security robots. The robots look like the love child of ED-209 and Wall-E. The whole thing is frankly ridiculous. But hey, that’s why we are here, right?

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

There have been many retellings of the Dracula tale since the classic silent-era Nosferatu (1922). Not all of them have been particularly amazing, and I suppose you can count 1992’s big Hollywood stab at the tale in that camp. This movie hits the mark about half of the time. The atmosphere, the imposing danger and creepiness, and most importantly, the casting in these timeless and crucial roles. Hopkins as Van Helsing is fantastic, as is Gary Oldman as the titular vampire, who hams it up to no end whilst playing the legendary undead gentleman. Also, I might be somewhat biased, but Winona Ryder is the perfect Mina. Oh, and an honourable mention to Tom Waits as Renfield. Keanu Reeves as Harker, though? Monica Bellucci dropping in as one of Dracula’s brides? Don’t get me wrong, Monica Belluci is hot as balls, but its stuff like this where the movie kinda trails off, and it becomes apparent you are watching a Hollywood movie, and not the gripping terror of Dracula. Its still absolutely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it yet, and are a fan of gothic horror, but just be aware of some of the downsides if you do! Ah, the children of the night!

Basket Case (1982)

Basket Case (1982)

Basket Case is a bizarre low budget horror movie from the beginning of the sleazy 80s. I’m not sure if this would count as body horror (probably not), but the little monster in the basket (spoiler alert) has a very Cronenberg kinda feel to it, if just a little tackier. This movie seems infamous, and I suppose it is – with good reason – but I can’t help but point out my issues with pacing in the first half of the movie. All in all, it was an enjoyable chucklefest of b-movie madness, and I can’t wait to watch the rest of the series.

Tonight She Comes (2016)

Tonight She Comes (2016)

What in the holy mother of fuck did I just watch? Like, this is a mess. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I honestly don’t know. What starts as a slasher setting quickly devolves into a clusterfuck of Satanic rituals and insane plot twists. The plot can literally go fuck itself, but I have to commend this film on its gore, it’s cast (eyes are now firmly back in skull) and its production style. The film is well made. I’m just not sure if it’s a good film. Either way, be warned, this shit gets hella fuckin’ wild.

Shivers (1975)

Shivers (1975)

Well this was just glorious. Eery yet hilarious from the outset, what this lacks in Cronenberg’s infamous body horror FX it makes up for with hilarious attitude and plot. A sexually promiscuous young woman and a scientist of sorts have brought an unstoppable parasite to a housing complex. Weird shit, and almost surrealist in some ways, I’m sure there’s a bigger message here that maybe I am missing. Nevertheless, there’s enough nipples showing through tops to keep your attention if surrealism isn’t your thing. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Beetlejuice (1988)

Beetlejuice (1988)

Every Halloween its become something of a tradition for this to go on the TV. The titular character holds little charm or comedy value for myself, but I have grown to appreciate the crazy world that Tim Burton has built for this movie. The wacky, gothic, almost laughable approach to a story about death is strangely heartwarming, despite being generally very weird. Throw in Winona Ryder in her prime, and you’ve got yourself a deal. Hey, she gets me through! Haha 

The Blob (1988)

The Blob (1988)

I thoroughly enjoyed The Blob. For something I thought was going to pure tacky nonsense throughout (don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of this too), the SFX and violence were a lot more intense than I expected. The acting was pretty appalling but the space creature looks pretty insane and the majority of its kills are fairly terrifying. Throw in some 80s-to-the-max vibes, and you’ve got a winner.

Rabid (1977)

Rabid (1977)

Well then… a decent film, with a stunning lead (how beautiful was Marilyn Chambers? Cool to see her here, I didn’t realise it was the same lass that was in that Green Door porno) but suffering with horrendous pacing issues. I enjoyed the story but was honestly bored for the majority of the film. A shame, considering the effects are pretty cool, and also considering the director’s reputation. I feel like the concept was all there, but the idea was somewhat lacking.

Land Of The Dead (2005)

Land Of The Dead (2005)

My quest through Romero’s …of the Dead series marches ever onward. Slowly I guess, like a shambling zombie. Land Of The Dead is a strong one, pitting the zombie apocalypse against a Mad Max kinda societal vibe. Some outstanding gore effects, but loses some points for a few patches of atrocious CGI (nothing makes me more flaccid, truly lol). Those of you who enjoyed the Tenpenny Tower subplot of Fallout 3 should resonate with this movie.

Scream (1996)

Scream (1996)

Dug this out recently for our “Its October So Lets Watch More Bad Movies Than Usual Month”, and I realised that I hadn’t seen Scream in so long that I couldn’t remember who the killer was in the original movie. There is eye candy galore in this Wes Craven classic, and although the plot is a bit daft, as an older and wiser (and more bitter) individual I can now get most of the horror movie references that this movie flaunts shamelessly. It changed the slasher genre forever, and to be honest hasn’t aged all that badly.

Hellraiser (1987)

Hellraiser (1987)

1987 gory classic that birthed a seemingly endless array of sequels. There is something charming (is that the right word considering the subject of this film?) about the fact that this film is British. Oh, no tears please! I read recently about some of the cuts made to this film and they are quite frankly ridiculous. I could tell in parts where the cuts were made and I agree with Mr. Barker that this has done nothing but damage the film. It’s a slow burner, but a cult classic nonetheless.

TerrorVision (1986)

TerrorVision (1986)

How can a b-movie without any violence or nudity be so good? Ha! TerrorVision pulls out all of the stops without drowning you in blood and gore, and there isn’t a tit to be seen. Instead, the hilarious overuse of ‘body horror’ style prosthetics and monster creations rely heavily on the usage of slime and disgusting sound effects. As far as the humans go, the raunchy factor is steepened by innuendos, absurd situations and hammy over-acting (for instance, 4 of the cast are open swingers and their lifestyle is outrageous). Very entertaining, if a bit daft.

Stephen King’s Pet Sematary (1989)

Stephen King’s Pet Sematary (1989)

Incredibly awful Stephen King story that should have just stayed as a novel. With your active imagination filling the gaps, this might just work. Otherwise, it really hasn’t aged well (and no, I won’t be watching the remake!). I always wondered what happened to Tasha Yar from Star Trek, though.

Videodrome (1983)

Videodrome (1983)

Classic lo-def body horror thriller from Cronenberg (M-Mmmmorty). James Woods is a bit wet (reminds me of Weller’s RoboCop) and Debbie Harry, despite looking absolutely fine, leaves a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, its a great movie with some awesome trippy effects.

Nightmare City (1980)

Nightmare City (1980)

Nightmare city is a decidedly average yet somewhat quite enjoyable zombie horror movie from the 80s. It tells the story of a radioactive army plane returning from an unknown destination, bringing with it an army of crazed undead. As unfortunate for the viewer as it is for the victims trying to escape in near slow motion, the pacing of this feature is somewhat dire. This even makes the most chaotic or gory scenes seem boring and tiresome. The dubs are nothing short of abysmal, which catapult straight past being entertaining into the territory of downright irritating. That being said, Nightmare City does offer the rare kind of zombie that is functional enough to run and use weapons. There is a small amount of nudity and the fake blood is very silly looking, but these elements add to the production rather than detract. The zombies themselves just appear to be regular humans with Homer Simpson’s recipe for leprosy glued to their faces. Nightmare City is an enjoyable rehash of all the tropes of the zombie movie but is poorly executed, and suffers heavy due to the one-speed pace.

Terror At The Wax Museum (1973)

Terror At The Wax Museum (1973)

This looks like something of a classic, but unfortunately fails upon delivery due to excruciating pacing issues. The plot follows a series of characters as they squabble over the estate of the late John Carradine (who plays yet another useless mad scientist / professor type). Basically, Carradine’s character was about to sell out to an American, and have the contents of his wax museum shipped to New York. The wax creatures of his museum are sentient, and do not agree with the proposal, so quickly do away with their master. Personally, if I was a murderous waxwork, I’d enjoy a trip to New York, if only to get away from the stink of industrial London. Anyway, the plot is a bore and not even the low cut tops of the female cast can save the day (I’m truly sorry, feminists). The fight scenes are unbelievably hammy and the score irritating and intrusive. Throw in a Scooby Doo-grade ending, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for British horror nonsense.

The Autopsy Of Jane Doe (2016)

The Autopsy Of Jane Doe (2016)

The Autopsy Of Jane Doe starts as a promising creeper, where a pathologist / medical examiner father & son duo come across a female corpse that has sustained horrific injuries and is harboring all sorts of bizarre secrets. Dad (Brian Cox) is a methodical and professional character, who offers interesting insights into each increasingly bizarre discovery on or in the girl’s body. I felt that there was over-use of musical queues (I hate being told when to be scared), but asides from this, the film was building an interesting level of suspense and it was genuinely puzzling how the girl had been killed. And then, in what I can only describe as a Dusk ‘Til Dawn style twist, the film just strays off into the fucking cosmos. Think Cabin In The Woods, but without a single hint of irony, homage or parody. Yeah, I love weird shit, and I’m pretty partial to horror, even of the supernatural variety. But, this, this was just pure fucking dreck. I won’t spoil it, but it fucking sucked, and ended up being another one of those “glossy” supernatural horrors, such as Insidious and the like. 

Il Plenilunio Delle Vergini (1973)

Il Plenilunio Delle Vergini (1973)

Billed as Full Moon Of The Virgins on Amazon Prime, and known as The Devil’s Wedding Night to most of the world, this fantastic Italian horror movie can comfortably join the Low Budget Movies With 9000 Different Names Club. I’ll go with the original title, Il Plenilunio Delle Vergini, even though I have absolutely no real fucking clue on how to correctly pronounce it. Il Plenilunio Delle Vergini is brilliant. I loved every second of it. The ridiculously wooden acting of Mark Damon (sorry bro) somehow lends itself to the overall atmosphere of the feature, especially towards the start. And then, as the film progresses, Esmerelda Barros as Lara and Rosalba Neri as the Countess take over the spotlight. Both are oddly creepy, but the latter truly shines in her role, with some breathtaking scenes (the bathing in blood scene being the most striking, see below and above!). The film does unfortunately lose marks for its fairly shitty ending and twist, and the hammy inclusion of some zombie vampire guy who just does a whole bunch of shuffling around and not much else. But as far as virgin sacrificing Dracula knock offs go, this is pretty good. 

Pumpkinhead (1988)

Pumpkinhead (1988)

Ah, good ol’ Pumpkinhead. Honestly, I only wound up watching this because of the Misfits song of the same name (which I guess is loosely based on this? It has the same poem at the end). On first impressions, I found this to be a fairly crummy movie, but the more I thought about the whole premise and story, I found it to be pretty original and interesting (more so in story than in actual execution). Pumpkinhead – the creature – is kinda gnarly looking but isn’t the most nimble of creatures. How he pulls off the stalker/monster thang of being constantly at the heels of his prey is actually pretty funny because of this. The whole thing looks stunning; this is the pinnacle of visual FX and analogue filming, as far as B movies go, anyway. The sound is crisp and the picture is fantastic. The editing leaves a little to be desired (being obtuse but without really shadowing the monster enough, bizarrely) and the acting is pretty abysmal, to be fair. Cynthia Bain is fucking mint, though. There are three sequels to this, but hey… I’ll get to those some other time…

Inland Empire (2006)

Inland Empire (2006)

Simply put, nobody does dream sequences or dream worlds like David Lynch, and considering this entire film blurs the lines between dream and reality from beginning to end, this is the ultimate expression of that art form. The budget is minuscule, but you will be left questioning what is real, and what it is that really matters, if anything. Laura Dern is excellent, as usual, and there is a pure-Lynchian (sorry to use that term!) scene where she gets stabbed with a screwdriver, and the people around her continue the most morbid conversation, in the most nonchalant way. It is hard to describe, you just have to watch it to see how twisted it is. This is a difficult movie, but one that rewards your attention.

Stephen King’s IT (1990)

Stephen King’s IT (1990)

With all the recent hubbub around the It remake I thought it would be worth finally checking out the original. What I didn’t know what that this was essentially two TV movies glued back to back, so I found watching the whole thing in one go was a bit much, especially as the second half kinda wanes and gets lost a bit. I don’t know what it is about Stephen King stories, but they are just more enjoyable when it involves children. It just seems that the type of horror that Mr. King creates is more fitting to a child’s world view (that might be because most of it is a pile of shit that only kids could believe, but there we go). That being said (and probably for that reason, thinking about it), the kids really shine here. The first half of the film is filled with mystery and wonder, but when they are all grown up the characters are boring and annoying. When It turns into a ridiculous (in the best way possible!) giant spider puppet, things start looking up, only to disappoint me when it doesn’t chop half of the cast to tiny pieces with its massive pincers. I did enjoy It, I really did, but I found it very drawn out and I think the whole “PG horror” thing really isn’t for me. On the plus side, Tim Curry was amazing as Pennywise – I wish I had seen this as a kid, that shit would have terrified me!

Event Horizon (1997)

Event Horizon (1997)

When I first saw this as a kid it frightened the absolute living shit out of me, and re-watching it 20 years later, I can still see why. Perhaps it is the echo of that fear I developed in my youth, but there is something incredibly unsettling about Event Horizon. Yes, the sci-fi side of things doesn’t really add up, causing enormous continuity errors and goofs, and resulting in this half lost in space adventure / half inter-dimensional psychological horror really hitting the mark – for about only half of the time. The fact that there was a lost 130 minute cut of this 90 minute movie tells me that there was a lot more going on that we weren’t filled in on. A recent journey through the revived Twin Peaks taught me that a deeper sense of satisfaction can be achieved by embracing and perpetuating mystery; that great things can come of events that raise more questions than they set out to solve, but here it still kinda feels like we are being cheated out of finding what truly lies behind that portal into the “hell” dimension. The lost cut is just that; lost, forever, and that bizarre story just adds to the intrigue around this contrasting movie. Maybe we don’t need to find out what “hell” looks like…perhaps we are already there. A highly recommended 90s sci fi horror, give or take some terrible effects and over-use of the word “motherfucker”. 

Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

Welcome to the first LIW film post! In the seemingly endless recent downtime I have been thinking of ways to expand on and better this site and incorporating TV/film-speak into the goings on here seemed like the next logical step. LIW started in 2011 as a vinyl-only blog and initially grew to cover CD and cassettes. In 2014, it became “format free”, covering music regardless of format or whether I owned a physical copy of the release, and I started doing festival reviews but not many have been included. Anyway – from today, LIW will contain posts about film and over associated media. Cheers for sticking with LIW (although I guess the site name is irrelevant now!). I’ve recently been on a bit of a kick to catch up on watching films that I’ve been putting off for years, and Zombie (or Zombie Flesh Eaters) was high at the top of the list. Initially, I found that the New York scenes and the scenes in the confines of the boat really didn’t really grab my attention. The scene where Anne and Peter pretend to be lovers to avoid the wrath of the policeman didn’t seem to make much sense at all, but there we go. Things definitely get better towards the second half of the movie, helped in spades by topless scenes of Olga Karlatos as Mrs. Menard and of course, a zombie fighting a fucking shark. As the action ramps up towards the end, the zombies seem to become more and more disgusting. Absolutely fowl creatures! Fulci most definitely created the ultimate zombie; some of them are absolutely disgusting. Brilliant! Bit of a daft ending too, but I really enjoyed this film. The graininess of the footage really lent itself to the content. Classic!