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Five Underrated Horror Films By Dante Tomaselli Director of Torture Chamber

December 23rd, 2013 · 2 Comments

The Night of the Devils (1972)

This is one of my favorite horror movies. Growing up, I don’t know how I ever missed out on it. Definitely triggers the same feeling I got when I finally experienced Suspiria for the first time in my late twenties. A magical feeling. A sweet horror rush. It aligns with my taste buds perfectly. Very moody, Night of the Devils is a beautifully constructed tale of madness. Simplicity is its greatest strength with the woods as its main backdrop. It’s the kind of film that unfolds like a disturbing nightmare. The mirage hints at the same vampire-like entity featured in one of the segments of Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath. This is a criminally underrated psychological horror shocker. Definitely worth seeking out for all horror fans.

A Reflection of Fear (1973)

Wow, what a genuinely strange film. I remember a friend loaning this to me around 2000 and it’s still wadding around my subconscious. The less said about the plot the better but it involves a rich, isolated girl reuniting with her Dad (Robert Shaw of Jaws). There’s something peculiar about this child who talks to a doll that seems to be alive. Or is it a projection of her off-kilter self? St. Michael, the warrior icon is chillingly conjured. This slow-burn film is so well made and not surprisingly it was directed by the cinematographer of Polanki‘s lush Rosemary’s Baby. I can see that very clearly! Dreamlike imagery galore. Any adventurous horror fan should appreciate this odd unsettling chiller.

This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse (1967)

Here’s a true independent horror film with the stamp of its creator all over. It’s such a macabre and bizarre concoction that it just needs to be seen to be believed. I can only imagine how shocked and mystified audiences were back in the late ’60s. I like to watch it through their eyes. The sequence where our anti-hero is sucked into a multi-colored hell is creative and outrageously eye-popping. Imagine a hazy nightmare that unfolds while you’re lying on your back in a coffin with a black cloth over your eyes and a tarantula approaching.

Frightmare (1974)

This fascinating ’70s low budget classic features a cannibalistic mother played by one of my favorite performers, Sheila Keith. I love every scene she’s in and would have given anything to work with her. Rest in Peace. As the enigmatic, flesh-eating Dorothy, she’s truly bloodcurdling. In the film, her daughter Jackie is trying to help her get better. Dorothy’s days in the insane asylum are behind her. So we hope. But lately she’s been reading tarot cards again and there are corpses in a room off to the side

The Visitor (1979)

I remember being 9 years old and seeing the black and white newspaper ad and staring at it endlessly. I cut it out and taped it on the refrigerator. This was around the same time The Godsend was being advertised too. I didn’t see The Visitor in theatres but experienced it a year later on cable TV. I was 10 years old. I really had no idea what to expect and was startled by its strong imagery. The pictures presented on screen were bold and stylish. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy horror mutation. The Visitor is confusing, crazy and a lot of fun…Visually, it’s a sensation. This film is a completely unique viewing experience and for that it’s gold.


THE VISITOR [Trailer] – Now In Theaters from Drafthouse Films on Vimeo.

UNK SEZ: Thanks Dante! It’s always an honor and a pleasure when you stop by Kindertrauma! I love your taste in movies and what an excellent list! You mentioned a couple of my favorites and even better, a couple I can look forward to seeing for the first time.

Folks, get ready because pretty soon we’ll all be able to check out the new film from one of the most original imaginations in horror! I’m talking about DANTE TOMASELLI‘s TORTURE CHAMBER! Make sure you stop by the official website HERE and prepare yourself for the trailer below! I can’t wait!

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Tags: Special Guest Stars · Where is the Love? Five Underrated Flicks

Five Underrated Snow Flicks by Unk

December 22nd, 2013 · 9 Comments

Are there ever enough movies that take place in the snow? Nope. That’s why this list is happening and don’t be surprised if there’s a part 2 in the future!

YOU’LL LIKE MY MOTHER (1972)

If you are not sold by the name PATTY DUKE alone, I’m really disappointed in you but I’ll plow forward anyway. PATTY plays profoundly pregnant Francesca who goes to visit her deceased husband’s mother for the first time. Things don’t go well. The mother (ROSEMARY MURPHY) is sneaky and snidely and casually speaks of drowning non-pedigree kittens. She also tends to lie about everything, browbeats her sad mentally challenged daughter (SIAN BARBARA ALLEN of SCREAM PRETTY PEGGY) and is secretly harboring a psychopathic rapist (a very un-John Boy RICHARD THOMAS). This is a claustrophobic, tense psychological chiller cut from similar cloth as THE COLLECTOR, MISERY or DEAD OF WINTER. As far as atmosphere goes though, this one is in a class all by itself. Never has a snowy landscape appeared so relentlessly dismal and woeful. In fact, I think it’s filmed in suicide-o-vision and I mean that as a compliment. Strangely, five years after the movie was made, two very real (and unsolved) murders occurred in the oppressive mansion where it was filmed. Why am I not surprised?

BLOOD RELATIONS (1988)

Wait, it seems a lot of my unloved horror flicks tend to get lumped into the “thriller” category. The way I see it though if the crap that happens to the characters in these movies happened to me, I’d call it “horrible” rather than “thrilling” and so here we are. Anyway for about the first half hour of watching the snowy enough for this list BLOOD RELATIONS recently, I began to wonder, “Why the hell did I like this movie?” and then the entire flick nosedived into a surreal nightmare zone of depraved insanity and I had my answer. It was like when Cindy Brady was all, “Why do you always make me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? And her mom Carol goes, “Because they’re your favorite” and Cindy goes, “Oh yeah, I forgot! I forgot that I’m playing the part of a character so dumb she can’t even remember what she likes to eat.” BLOOD RELATIONS cleverly tricks you into thinking it’s about cold, calculated family backstabbing and then it punches you in the face with the fact that it’s about cold, calculated involuntary brain operations. That’s cool isn’t it? It’s also got RAY WALSTON, is mildy pervy and was filmed in Canada.

A COLD NIGHT’S DEATH

Another pattern I see forming with these unloved flicks is that they tend to have forgettable titles. A COLD NIGHT’S DEATH? Is that trying to be Shakespearian or something? You don’t win friends with salad. If you’re like me, you love JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING more than you love any of your friends or family but you always felt that one thing was missing from it and that thing is a monkey. There is no monkey in THE THING. It is verifiably monkey-less. A COLD NIGHT’S DEATH does indeed involve a monkey or two. On the other hand, never at any point during A COLD NIGHT’s DEATH does a person’s head fall off, sprout crab legs and do a jig under a desk so ultimately there’s not much of a competition. The good news is this made-for-television production does get right what CARPENTER’s film does, the sense of isolation and paranoia is truly palpable and it’s hard to get a firm grip on exactly what to fear. I’m not sure if that’s enough to make up for COLD’s shocking lack of scenes in which chests explode into teeth that chomp off arms but it’s something. How’s about ROBERT CULP as a compensation prize? He’s sort of the unsung king of winter horror considering his turns in SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT 3 and SANTA’s SLAY. Certainly he and monkeys combined are an adequate substitution for the mind-blowing artistry of ROB BOTTIN? I guess not but give this one a stab anyway.

THE DARK HOURS

Now this movie is truly underrated. See, there’s this psychiatrist (KATE GREENEHOUSE) who finds out she has a brain tumor. She goes to hang out in her cabin in the snowy woods and is surprised to find her little sister and husband already there and plenty of suspicious evidence that her unexpected arrival thwarted a tryst. Shocking as that may be, the night has much more drama to offer in the form of one of her disgruntled ex-patients showing up for one of those surprise home invasions that are so popular these days. This movie is unnerving. And the stakes are higher than most of its kind because the characters seem like real people and the danger feels like legitimate danger. It’s also a bit of a mind-screw so make sure you keep an eye on every fire lit detail. How this one keeps falling between the floorboards I’ll never know.

THE BOOGENS

Don’t give me that look. I know there are far more obscure films needing a leg up than this one but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t try to cram THE BOOGENS into every possible conversation I could. Everybody knows about THE BOOGENS but do they respect THE BOOGENS? Not as much as they should. People like to give this gem a hard time simply because it presents monsters that look like adorable turtles but c’mon, those shoddy shots only concern about two minutes of screen time! Hmmm, I feel like I ranted about this before. Did I already tell you how I read the movie tie-in novelization and I loved it and it had the same characters but in different situations and it concerned the entire town all leading to a climax together which reminded me of THE FOG? Or that in the book the monsters were so hideously described that I just picture them that way now when I watch the flick? Can you believe that I’m watching THE BOOGENS right now as I write this? It’s true. How can you beat that cabin in the snow? I’m not kidding when I say I think Trish and Mark (REBECCA BALDING & FRED McCARREN) are my favorite horror couple at this point. Oh and Tiger the dog, let’s not forget him! Or that Jessica (ANNE-MARIE MARTIN) was not only in PROM NIGHT & HALLOWEEN 2 but also once battled BUCK ROGERS with glowing-eyed psychic powers!!! The less we talk about Roger (JEFF HARLAN) being on MORK & MINDY the better on account of he tried to date rape Mindy in the pilot. I’m going to watch this movie every year for the rest of my life. I just want you to know that.

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming · Where is the Love? Five Underrated Flicks

Five Underrated Flicks By Kevin of House of Mysterious Secrets

December 20th, 2013 · 4 Comments

1. Messiah of Evil

2. Let’s Scare Jessica to Death

3. Night Warning

4. Knightriders

5. Phase IV

UNK SEZ: Thanks Kevin! Those are all excellent picks! Kinderfolk, the holiday is looming closer! Make sure you stop by HOUSE OF MYSTERIOUS SECRETS to take care of all of your horror shopping needs (especially if I’m on your list)! And why not “like” HOMS on Facebook HERE!?

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Tags: General Horror · Where is the Love? Five Underrated Flicks

Sunday Streaming:: Eve Tushnet on Resolution (2012)

December 15th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Hello! Most of my favorite “underrated” horror movies either aren’t that underrated (“Spider Baby,” “The Face of Another“) or you’ve already featured them (“I Start Counting“)…

But the 2012 indie film “Resolution” (Currently available on Netflix Streaming) really moved me. The basic idea is that a man receives a disturbing video from his meth-addicted former best friend, and he heads out to the friend’s remote hideout with a terrible, terrible plan to rescue him from addiction.

It’s a fun genre mash-up with an implied attack on the audience, like “Cabin in the Woods“; it’s got a good shift of balance as you start to wonder which friend is really crazier; the friendship is palpable, the dialogue is really funny, and the ending is a good sharp twist. Definitely more eerie or thought-provokingly disturbing than straight-up scary, but I loved it.

I wrote a somewhat longer review HERE.

All best–love KT & have found lots of great movies through you all,

Eve Tushnet

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Tags: Sunday Streaming · Traumafessions · Where is the Love? Five Underrated Flicks

Where is the Love? Five Underrated Flicks by Propagatrix

December 14th, 2013 · 3 Comments

Strange Behavior (1981) — not-bad story, nice work by Dey Young, and great Tangerine Dream soundtrack.

Death Mask (1984) — Farley Granger, based on Philadelphia “boy in the box” case

The Night Walker (1964) — so much to love here — William Castle, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Taylor, a blind Hayden Rorke (!!!), Lloyd Bochner and his voice, and music by the composer of the Addams Family theme

Count Yorga, Vampire (1970) — two words: “kitten eating”

Dracula’s Widow (1988) — directed by Nicolas Cage’s brother and starring Emanuelle and Harold from “Twin Peaks”

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Tags: Where is the Love? Five Underrated Flicks

Where is the Love? Five Underrated Flicks by Unk

December 5th, 2013 · 5 Comments

I was just waxing nostalgic for when we were knee deep in the “It’s a Horror to Know You!” campaign. I loved those posts because they were so chock full of movie recommendations. One of my favorite questions was “What horror films do you think are underrated?” How can you go wrong throwing attention towards a movie that you believe is too often neglected? I don’t know about you, but as soon as my IAHTKY post was up, movies that I forgot to mention began pouring out of the woodwork of my noggin. How could I forget such and such and so forth? To remedy that sorry situation, I bring you “WITL?:FUF” which is simply an epically annoying acronym for a list of five underrated films I believe deserve a little more notoriety.

If you are interested, and I hope you are, you can do a “WITL:FUF” too. Just write out a list of five titles you believe deserve a day (or a longer day) in the sun and send it to kindertrauma@gmail.com. The beauty part is, you can do as many of these as you like. I plan to do another 5 soon enough and please feel free not to worry about ranking the flicks in any order. Who needs that hassle? If you want to say why you dig the flick that’s cool but if you just want to list them, that’s cool too! If you have a project or blog you’d like to share with us, make sure you specify that and we’ll throw up a link! You know how we do! Let’s get started. Here are five underrated flicks (with more to follow) from yours truly:

THE GRANNY (1995)

Where oh where is THE GRANNY love? I was recently reminded how much I enjoyed this movie while watching THE CURSE OF CHUCKY because well, they both have such similar settings. I thought THE GRANNY was a hoot and back in 1995, I wasn’t finding myself in a hootin’ mood all that much. Its wacky, go-for-broke, over-the-top gore-friendly spirit made me think of THE EVIL DEAD, RE-ANIMATOR and DEAD ALIVE, so I thought for sure it would find a place in horror fan’s hearts but…nope. So sorry GRANNY, wrong place, wrong time I suppose. Maybe if you just came out a little later in the age of DVD’s you’d have picked up some steam by now! Oh well, it’s never too late! I think you’re more fun than a barrel of rage fueled zombie cats!

BLOOD SALVAGE (1990)

Maybe I have a terrible sense of humor. That possibility has occurred to me often in life and it sure would explain a lot. BLOOD SALVAGE cracked me up and freaked me out and I thought it was a pretty clever homage to the more amusing side of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE series & MOTEL HELL. Somehow though, this funky flick never made it to the horror hit list even though I bet its deranged sensibility would fit in with many a fan’s taste even more than my own. How does a movie that stars JOHN SAXON, RAY WALSTON and EVANDER HOLYFIELD remain so firmly tucked under the radar? It’s not that dreaded “not available on DVD” demon rearing its ugly head again is it?

LIES (1985)

All right, I can understand why LIES didn’t make a bigger splash because it presents itself as more of a sexy thriller and may have lured the wrong crowd. There’s a bit of a soap opera vibe that may have left horror fans cold as well. On the other hand, with its twisty plot about a struggling actress being unknowingly set up for a colossal mind-fuck, it’s not so different from CURTAINS or DEAD OF WINTER and how can horror fans resist a cast that includes CLU GULAGER, DICK MILLER and BRUCE DAVIDSON? When you witness ANN DUSENBERRY portraying an eighties final girl within the film within the film- you’ll wish she actually had (what?)! And GAIL STRICKLAND is beyond aces as a sinister ice queen. Maybe I’m nuts but the lab coats, the warehouse and the hard to swallow conspiracy all scream HALLOWEEN 3: SOTW to me. Is that a good thing? LIES was directed and written by brothers JIM and KEN WHEAT who both went on to pull the same duties on another favorite underrated film of mine 1989’s AFTER MIDNIGHT.

IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE (1998)

Yikes, yikes and more yikes. Going through an old box of tapes I found this forgotten nightmare from the late nineties. I can’t say I enjoyed this home invasion flick but it sure made me want to invest in extra locks for my door. I think I’ve discovered why YOU’RE NEXT and THE STRANGERS had little effect on me, it must be because IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE had already fully tapped that particular fear zone in my brain. Don’t get your hopes up, it can’t possibly be as scary and disturbing as I remember, but I’m not watching it again to find out and so you are on your own. I must be exaggerating things or perhaps I was just in a vulnerable state of mind at the time? Who knows? In any case, I’m a little surprised something this vexing, which was released during a rather languid year for horror, went so unnoticed. Now I feel the need to hide in the chimney.

THE SENDER (1982)

This one isn’t all that obscure and it often gets a certain amount of positive nostalgic attention simply for being released during the early eighties horror boom. But it’s not enough! Whereas my other picks could easily be excused away by my admitting to a strong affection for the strange and left of center, THE SENDER is head to toe an exemplary movie in my book. The whole shebang is top notch and I think it’s one of those silent influencers that other films casually pilfer from while never extending any gratitude or credit. So much of its dream/reality hallucinatory power has been cribbed, it’s easy to forget how innovative it was at the time. Ironically what really makes it special (its tone, its characters, its performances) nobody bothered to imitate at all, as the genre had much more lucrative, teen-oriented flashy neon fish to fry. Not that that I’m complaining, it’s just that I wouldn’t mind a few extra mellow, thoughtful tunes like this in my horror jukebox. Oh well, I guess that just makes it all the more unique (full slobbery review HERE).

That’s it. That’s five underrated films I’m more than happy to sing the praises of. I hope I didn’t bend your ear needlessly about stuff you were already well aware of. If you’re up for sharing your own five flicks, please join along. You’ll never find a more receptive or understanding audience than the readers of Kindertrauma. Take my word for it. Folks let me get away with liking all kinds of crazy stuff around here.

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Tags: Where is the Love? Five Underrated Flicks