Another eclectic week – Italian gore from Joe D’Amato, regional American exploitation, a pair of Amicus horrors from director Roy Ward Baker, a documentary about Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis, and a glorious restoration of the Russian folk-horror Viy.
Some more brief comments on recent viewing: classic horror, Italian crime action from Umberto Lenzi, gender-bending art from France and exploitation from Australia, the U.S. and the Philippines.
More Italian genre movies from the 1970s – horror, giallo and poliziotteschi – along with a gritty American exploitation movie which owes something to the giallo.
A decidedly mixed bag of recent viewing; a pair of young adult zombie stories — the Maze Runner Trilogy (2014-18) and the small-scale The Girl with All the Gifts (2016); a taut ’50s prison escape noir (Crashout, 1955) and a polished new crime noir (Dragged Across Concrete, 2018); a minor, dull thriller (All the Devil’s Men, 2018); and a bloated, enervatingly pretentious remake of a genre classic (Suspiria, 2018).
Inspired by the international success of Dirty Harry and The French Connection in 1971, the Italian poliziotteschi quickly became a versatile genre reflecting the political paranoia and nihilism of the ’70s; three recently viewed movies show a range of approaches to the genre.
Recently viewed Blu-rays from Severin films include a range of Italian horrors featuring zombies, necrophilia and Lovecraftian gods, a revisionist vampire tale from the golden age of Ozploitation, and an unsettling experimental adaptation of a Lovecraft story from Sweden.
Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin ended their world tour with a dynamic show at Winnipeg’s Park Theatre on December 10, 2018, playing the entire score of Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977) live, followed by more than an hour of Goblin’s greatest horror themes.
I’ve recently sampled a broad range of movies from Arrow Video, from Japanese classics to obscure gialli, recent horror and an original and disturbing Mexican movie which combines marital drama, dark eroticism and a very disturbing alien.
More eclectic recent viewing, from 1970s detective noir to an Italian anthology from the ’60s to Japanese horror and classic ’50s sci-fi.
Severin Films recent Blu-ray special edition of Robert S. Baker and Monty Berman’s Jack the Ripper (1959) is ambitious but compromised; the atmospheric horror film is presented in three different versions, all of which have serious issues with the transfers (print damage in one case and incorrect aspect ratios in the other two). More satisfying, technically and creatively, is Severin’s Blu-ray edition of Richard Stanley’s typically idiosyncratic documentary The Otherworld (2013).