The second day of my pointless ‘challenge’. A challenge which isn’t particularly challenging, albeit that the majority of films on Horror Channel are dreadful. Either way, I’ve managed to record a few more which will be seen in the next few days of this challenge. I even managed to find that infamous film, Teeth, a film I can really sink my teeth into…or just never want to go near a vagina again. Either way, the night started off reasonably fun and camp with a Roger Corman B-movie, and then descended into silly torture, blood and vaginal pubic hair with the two ‘dead teenager movies’ that followed.
The Terror (1963):
A man sees a mysterious woman on a beach who then miraculously disappears. He then investigates into this and gets caught up in a ghost mystery.
I want Boris Karloff’s eyebrows. They’re just so bushy and amazing, and the emotions he can convey with them are simply spectacular. Maybe I just really like Boris Karloff. I’ve never fanboyed about a particular part of B-Movie star’s body, I think I’ll soon want Bela Lugosi’s eye-lashes, or maybe Tor Johnson’s retina. I dunno.
Either way…this film has all the trademark’s of a camp B-movie castle-ghost story by Roger Corman. A castle – obviously -, bad weather, Boris Karloff as the main, and a random death of a character who dies by being struck by lightning. However, the film doesn’t unfold in a ‘so bad it’s good way’, I actually took the story pretty seriously. This doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t fun though. Surprisingly, the story wasn’t very predictable, and the path of the narrative span around itself a few times in the final third. The movie drawed me into its mystery about the ghostly beautiful woman: why is she there? Why is she haunting Boris Karloff’s character? Who is the old woman? Who’s Eric? The film’s mystery is further intensified by its setting, the castle: dark shadows, doors which are difficult to open, a drawstring gate, and the intense waves of the sea nearby which are threatening and dangerous.
Perhaps the mystery and intrigue is created by the fact that behind the camera was a skilled young Francis Ford Coppola – yes, the man who made The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. But, this isn’t surprising, as B-movie fans will know that he also directed Dementia 13 – a film which at first confuses because when viewed, you realise that it isn’t the 13th installation in a series, and because it is completely unrelated to dementia.
Either way, watch this and gasp at the fact that it’s directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the fact that Jack Nicholson stars in it, and simply divulge in the sheer wizardry that is Boris Karloff’s eyebrows.
The Final (2010):
A group of outcasts are bullied repeatedly every day. They then organise a party for their bullies to attend. They drug the bullies, shackle them and begin to psychologically torture all of them, and then physically torture them one by one…
Films like this make me wonder what has happened to the horror film, or to be more precise: the revenge flick? This film, with all of its torture, acid-cream, tongue-chopping, finger cutting, stomach-stabbing and the fact that anyone who holds a gun with the intent to use it gets ‘punished’ has a deeply blunt anti-violence message. But that’s all this film is ever about: the violence. It is all finger-cutting and no substance. Anyone who has been bullied will know that it’s not the punch that hurts more, but what the punch leaves you with. Psychological damaging is more horrifying than physical. Sure, the opening scene explores this (in a rather unintentionally funny way, mind you), and we see the victims cry and beg endlessly due to the amount of reaction shots…but reaction shots don’t particularly dig deep.
Halfway through the film, one of the outcasts gives a key to a friend who wasn’t supposed to be there. Using the key, he escapes and gets help. I think this is another fatal flaw with the film. This subplot distracts from the main philosophical issues of the film: how far can revenge go before it can be considered morally dubious? Is what the gang doing right? And of course, the repeated bully-victim-cliche: what did they do to deserve this? A statement which can of course be placed on the bullies and the victims.
I think the film would have had a bigger impact if the question wasn’t answered at the end, and instead left the viewer with a gory moral dilemma. The opening scenes where we see the outcasts being bullied should last longer so that we get a precise 50-50 split, and if the sub-plot was ditched, it would make this film even more challenging. The subplot provides a glimmer of hope halfway through. I don’t think this is the sort of film which requires that. It should be harsh and unforgiving. But of course, the film didn’t do this. What do you expect from a film which attempts to scare the audience from that so renowned fear: the fear of having all of your fingers cut off with a pair of garden sheers?
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006):
Mandy Lane is hot, and boys would – quite literally (as you’ll find out in the opening sequence) die for her. 9 months later, she’s got hotter and her and a few friends then go to a farmhouse for a fun weekend of sex, drugs and banter. But one by one, the teenagers are hunted down.
The characters include a jock, a loner, a stoner, an angry man-whore, two female sluts, a virgin girl and a shy innocent male. Now guess who survives and who dies. These characters have sexual relations, as well as drinking alcohol, taking drugs, and then playing truth or dare – it’s as if they’ve been taken from the writers straight out of a crappy horror film. There is a moment where one of the characters goes outside to investigate a mysterious gunshot fire, followed by him pretending that he sees someone and scaring the whole group because he can. There are uses of slow-motion for no reason I can think of. There’s also a charmingly bizarre scene where we see one of the girls cut off her pubic hair with a pair of scissors, for no other reason than to ‘explore the issue of teenage body-image angst’…or something. N.B. Previously in the movie, this girl took a piss in front of all of her girly-friends – as you do – and one of her bezzies mocked her by saying “you really need to cut that thing, it’s like a forest!). Either way, all of this adds up to form an impressively predictable film, and even ‘the twist’ at the end isn’t surprising. I also don’t care about any of the characters. After all, they’re all popular and pretty and handsome and oh so perfect…and so thick it’s as if they’re stock characters taken straight out of a crappy slasher film…oh wait……………
Well, the cinematography was very artsy so at least the deaths had an aesthetic sensibility to them. Whoopee.