Disturbing Rosemary's Baby in southern sauce, "La reliquia" (seen online at the Fantafestival in Rome) is a successful insight into the practices and rituals of southern Italy. The theme is the atmosphere is very interesting and original, but the narrative suffers from the short duration. The cast of actors is exceptional, mostly comedians, but perfectly in part in histrionic (Paolantoni) or slimy (Rizzo) roles. The beautiful and evocative photography creates a dark atmosphere. Effective direction. Note of... Read More
Jerusalem, Israel. One week after the burial of Robert and Katherine Thorn (in the first Omen movie), archeologist Carl Bugenhagen (Leo McKern) asks his friend Michael Morgan (Ian Hendry) to deliver a box to the guardian of Thorn's young son, Damien. He reveals that Damien is the Antichrist and that the box contains a warning and the means to kill Damien. As Morgan is unconvinced, Bugenhagen takes him to the ruin of Yigael's wall, showing him an ancient depiction of the Antichrist with Damien's face. Morgan is convinced, but the two are buried alive as a tunnel collapses.
Seven years later, 12-year old Damien (Jonathan... Read More
It would be a wild exaggeration to suggest that “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” breathes new life into the increasingly fumes-fueled found-footage horror subgenre, but it certainly represents a shot in the arm for this series after 2012’s poorly regarded “Paranormal Activity 4.” Functioning more as a mythology-expanding spinoff than a proper sequel, this fifth installment (the first directed by longtime series writer Christopher Landon) smartly moves the setting away from airy suburbs to overcrowded working-class apartments, and introduces a winning sense of humor that almost compensates for its relentless reliance on... Read More
Watching MARTYRS is like staring into a blast furnace. Pascal Laugier’s film is a smoldering cell of anger and heat and hate and marvel. It’s difficult to watch head on and downright painful to endure over time. To be honest the experience is one I hesitate to recommend. However, one must be impressed by the effect of it, impressed by its ability to inflict such engineered torment, impressed that the film can survive its own extreme internal pressures. Laugier’s is an escalation game, vying not to push past boundaries, rather to set up residence on the border itself. The squirming endurance comes not from how far past the... Read More
The year 1973 began and ended with cries of pain. It began with Ingmar Bergman’s “Cries and Whispers,” and it closed with William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist.” Both films are about the weather of the human soul, and no two films could be more different. Yet each in its own way forces us to look inside, to experience horror, to confront the reality of human suffering. The Bergman film is a humanist classic. The Friedkin film is an exploitation of the most fearsome resources of the cinema. That does not make it evil, but it does not make it noble, either.
There seems to be a never ending supply of Stephen King adaptations in the horror genre. Carrie (1976) and Misery (1990) both inspired by King’s writing are phenomenal horror films which have stood the test of time. However with greats like these there are also an abundance of averagely made films based on the master of horror’s writing. Mercy’s (2014) source comes from one of his short stories (originally titled Gramma) found in his collection Skeleton Crew published in 1985. Mercy tells the story of a young boy George (Chandler Riggs, Walking Dead) who has a close bond with his grandma named Mercy (Shirley Knight).... Read More
Linda Blair began modeling when she was five years old. By her teens she had started acting on television and movies, and before she was 14 she had already taken her most famous role: that of Regan, the demon-possessed child in the 1972 film The Exorcist (co-starring Max von Sydow). The film became a horror classic, and Linda Blair was Oscar-nominated as best supporting actress for the role. She also appeared four years later in the sequel, and starred in the campy cult favorite Roller Boogie in 1979. Since then Blair has appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, performed on Broadway (in Grease as Rizzo), and is a well-known... Read More
It’s fair to say horror movies are given something of an unfair press. Unlike romance, drama, and sci-fi, they’re frequently looked upon as the poor relation and subjected to vicious critical attacks. They’re sometimes accused of only wanting to provoke a reaction, as opposed to having any higher aspirations to create screen-worthy cinema or an enduring impact. But that's no more accurate than saying all romantic flicks or dramas are the same. Thankfully, thrillers and horror films finally seem to be getting some of the recognition they deserve. Thanks to a number of classics that have combined strong storylines with masterful... Read More