Adapted from the Bram Stoker novel of the same name, The Lair of the White Worm was written and directed by Ken Russell (The Devils, Gothic), and released in 1988 by Vestron Pictures. Based upon the North East English ‘Lambton Worm’ legend, revolving around John Lambton and his battle with a gigantic ‘worm’, The Lair of the White Worm was the last novel released by Stoker before his death in 1912.
Sam Peckinpah achieved prominence as a director and writer by showing us the savagery and the effect violence had upon human beings. The Wild Bunch, a revisionist, neo-western epic. The movie shocked critics and audiences alike with an opera of bodies torn apart by various weapons and the wholesale killing of women and children. The Wild Bunch thus became the essence of a Peckinpah film, one against all his other movies were judged.
“Why is his head worth one million dollars and the lives of 21 people?”
The Green Inferno is the horror director’s homage to the Italian cannibal films of the 1970s and 1980s. Those films, such as Cannibal Holocaust, Make Them Die Slowly and Eaten Alive were in turn influenced by the sub-genre of Mondo films. These films showed actual executions, animal slaughter and other graphic scenes of barbarity. While these movies portrayed indigenous and primitive peoples in an unflattering light, the invading Western protagonists also committed unspeakable acts of violence, leading the audience to wonder who the real savages were.
“No good deed goes unpunished.”
I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale; literally translated as The Bodies Bear Traces of Carnal Violence, is an Italian giallo directed by Sergio Martino. Released in the United States as Torso in 1973, Martino’s artistic direction combined feverish sexuality and visually striking violence into a film that predates the American slasher subgenre. Perhaps then, the slasher owes a lot more to the Italian giallo than it is usually given credit for?
“Enter… if you dare the bizarre world of the psychosexual mind.”
Humanoids from the Deep, directed by Barbara Peeters (and an uncredited Jimmy T. Murakami), is an American science fiction monster movie produced by Roger Corman and New World Pictures.
Star Ann Turkel has stated that what began in pre-production as “an intelligent suspenseful science-fiction story” soon became an exploitative splatter movie. Roger Corman, disappointed with the rough cut, requested that further sex be shot and inserted into the final cut.
“They’re not human. But they hunt human women. Not for killing. For mating.”
Today, when we refer to modern horror icons we still mention the now decades old Michael Myers from John Carpenter’s Halloween, Freddy Kruger from Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street and Jason Voorhees from Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th. This is testament to their popularity, that has arguably surpassed that of both Universal and Hammer’s horror creations. It is perhaps then surprising to horror newcomers that the character of Jason is notably absent for the majority of the original Friday the 13th.
“They were warned… They are doomed… And on Friday the 13th, nothing will save them.”
Based on the Manga by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, Death Note is a huge franchise in Japan. The Netflix remake rather misses the entire message of the original Death Note – which is that power corrupts. It barely touches on the themes that gave the original depth and intrigue and lacks its tension-building storytelling, which left the viewer wondering where the latest development might lead, and who would win. It’s the version for people who can’t cope with subtitles.
“Every human spends the last moments of his life in the shadow of a death god.”
Tobe Hooper was one of the most influential horror directors of all time. His vision and intelligence can be seen in almost every slasher and splatter film over the last forty years and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is Hooper’s masterpiece.
Originally conceived as a faux film “based on true events”, Hooper did draw inspiration from the story of Ed Gein, a murderer, grave robber who had a predilection for a number of other unsavory character traits.
“What happened is true. Now the motion picture that’s just as real. Once you stop screaming, then you’ll start talking about it.”
Olaf Ittenbach is a German auteur who is a combination of Tom Savini and Takashi Miike. Originally a dental technician, Ittenbach then became a top notch SFX artist, his most notable credit being for BloodRayne by Uwe Boll.
Along with Boll, he is part of the German new wave bringing media attention to their underground films specializing in rape, necrophilia and extreme violence. Ittenbach’s films focus on pain, body destruction and gore, preferably as much that can be jammed into a two hour film.
“Breaking up is so very hard to do…”
The Western is the most American film genre of them all, encompassing a variety of themes and time periods. The 1970s were a fertile period for films that questioned traditional beliefs about our country’s march towards the Pacific, the interests of big business versus individual rights, its treatment of the indigenous peoples and notions of heroism.
Ulzana’s Raid can be viewed as a horror movie that takes place in the West or a Western with all the trappings of a horror film.
“One man alone understood the savagery of the early American west from both sides.”
Lucio Fulci’s The House by the Cemetery (1981) is notorious in the United Kingdom for being one of the 39 movies that were prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act in the 1980s. Dubbed a ‘video nasty’ by the garbage British tabloids, The House by the Cemetery was effectively banned from distribution and personal possession…
If you are prepared to endure the awful dubbing, The House by the Cemetery is deserving of its cult reputation.
“Read the fine print. You may have just mortgaged your life!”
Before Umberto Lenzi’s 1981 exploitation film Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly) was “banned in 31 countries”, Almost Human had a reputation as a particularly nasty Italian crime thriller.
The late, great Tomas Milian (The Designated Victim) stars as the sadistic, criminal low life Giulio Sacchi, a man capable of rape, torture and murder.