Archive for category New Reviews

Bloodstained Butterfly

Continuing our journey through the stylish, sleazy world of giallo.

THE BLOODSTAINED BUTTERFLY

Like many early-cycle giallo, the film’s title is a riff on the trend started by Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage of including animals that usually end up playing a minor role, at best, in the plot itself. The Bloodstained Butterfly also follows Argento’s lead in making the limits of human perception central to the plot. Eye witnesses and circumstantial evidence that seems to result in a slam dunk case for the prosecution are revealed via a non-linear narrative to be more deceptive than they might initially appear. In the case of the two main eye witnesses, it is literally their ability to see that is called into question. For the forensic scientists, it’s not the results of their tests that are questionable, but rather the way those results are interpreted and the way the preconceptions of investigators lead them to certain conclusions that, while seeming reasonable and perhaps even likely, are not explicitly confirmed.


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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Take a bow, Dolph

Command PerformanceThe Dolph Lundgren actioner Command Performance is without doubt a rip-off of Die Hard, but it’s one of the better imitations out there.

Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.

The Invisible Man vs. the Human Fly

Wrapping up our look at the Japanese Invisible Man “trilogy.”

The Invisible Man vs. the Human Fly

Daiei had no history of werewolf, vampire, or mummy movies, and while it might have been cool to watch the invisible man square off against a traditional Japanese spirit or yokai the likes of which had been appearing in the studio’s ghost films, in the end it was obvious that the only fitting opponent for an invisible man is the invisible man’s natural enemy: a really tiny flying hitman. Thus was born Invisible Man vs. the Human Fly.


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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Forbidden Photos of Evelyn Rising from a Suspicious Grave

It’s a one-two punch of eye-searing giallo fashion and decor, so prepare yourself for shag carpet, silk cravats, long titles, and MURDER.

THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE

Giallo trade in awful characters doing awful things to one another, and rarely do they serve up much in the way of sympathetic protagonists. But usually, no matter how big a creep, the nominal hero of the story has on his or her side, at the least, the fact that they aren’t slitting anyone’s throat, which makes them a little more acceptable than whatever black-gloved and raincoated killer us running amok. Not so in The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, where the hero of the story murders about the same number of people as the murderer. In fact, the film’s only decent and sympathetic character is the hooker Alan assaults in the beginning of the film, so he might even be marginally worse than the mysterious murderous ghost.

THE FORBIDDEN PHOTOS OF A LADY ABOVE SUSPICION

Forbidden Photos concerns itself with only one murder, rather than a series of them, which might, for some, put it at a distance from the giallo genre as a whole. If you are someone who comes to giallo cinema primarily for its stylized violence that will likely be the case. However, if you are someone who, like me, is content just to bask in the film’s pervading atmosphere of slinky European licentiousness, it should be considered a pleasure not forbidden but prescribed.


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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El Santo Rises from the Tomb

New stuff at last:

 

Arrival (2016), in which talking to aliens is a lot harder when you don’t have a Universal Translator and they don’t watch “Galaxy Quest”…

The Crying Woman (1933), in which a native spook ushers in the first era of indigenous horror movie production in Mexico…

The House that Dripped Blood (1971), in which the rent is too damn high, however little the landlord is charging…

Magic (1978), in which dummies don’t have to be animate to scare the crap out of you…

Monster (1953), in which the Brainiac guy vomits the half-digested remains of every fright flick he’s ever seen back onto the screen…

Rogue One (2016), or Star Wars, Episode III.XCV

Scream (1981), which is not the one you’re thinking of…

and…

The Vampire (1957), which, come to think of it, might also not be the one you’re thinking of.

 
 
 

El Santo rules the wasteland-- and also 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting.

Misty, water-coloured and distinctly cartoonish

 

Matthew Broderick trying to out-cute a chimpanzee? Meh. A contemporary updating of 80s sex comedies? No thank you.

William Castle, recycled cartoons and a brain in a jar? I am sooo there!

 

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PROJECT X (1968)

…in which the future of “the West” hangs in the balance while desperate attempts are made to restore a secret agent’s wiped memories: a process which involves a budget-conscious recreation of the 1960s and a little mad science…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Liz Kingsley is the insane genius behind And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

The Invisible Man

THE INVISIBLE MAN

When news of the invisible man spreads across town, Yajima hatches a scheme to capitalize on the warning that another invisible man is out there. He dresses his gang up in the iconic Claude Raines style overcoat and face bandages and has them rob banks and race tracks while claiming to be invisible men themselves. The logic of this ruse is, well, there is no logic to it. Being an invisible man has pretty much one and only one advantage when it comes to pulling a bank job, and that’s being invisible. If you bust in fully clothed and clearly visible, merely shouting that you are an invisible man, it sort of undercuts the edge being invisible would give you during a heist. It’s like yelling that you have the strength of Superman while doing curls with a five pound dumbbell.


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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Twists and turns

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SlitherNot the 2006 horror movie of the same name, this particular Slither movie is instead a kooky and charming exercise that could only have come out of the 1970s.

Keith Bailey is the proprietor of The Unknown Movies Page.

The Invisible Man Appears

We’re slipping in one more for NO, THE OTHER ONE just under the wire, but before we get to that one, we have to talk about this one.

INVISIBLE MAN APPEARS

By 1949, the Invisible Man had all but vanished. But 1949 is the year in which Japanese director  Nobuo Adachi made Invisible Man Appears (Tômei ningen arawaru) for Daiei Studios. The heyday of the iconic Universal monsters was over, and the studio was pitting it’s classic creatures against Abbot and Costello (they would meet the Invisible Man in 1951). The last legitimate film in the Invisible Man series had been 1944’s The Invisible Man’s Revenge. This Japanese entry into the sweepstakes might not have been an official part of the series, but it certainly holds its own against Universal’s films, and in fact is a sight better than most of the official Invisible Man sequels.


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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All the Colors of the Dark

Continuing our tour through the weird world of giallo…

ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK

Martino’s 1972 giallo All the Colors of the Dark works within the confines of the genre (which was still relatively new in 1972 but, given the fecundity of the Italian film market, already contained quite a few films, established tropes, and expectations), but it takes the genre further afield than had previously been explored, resulting in a dizzying psychedelic combination of straight-forward stalker/murder mystery (the giallo’s stock in trade), hallucinogenic psycho-sexual experiment, and occult horror.


Keith Allison is the chief bacchanologist at MEZZANOTTE.

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