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Thursday, April 09, 2009

DVD Trash Roundtable: Week 1 - Your Contributions

"When your alone, what is your Wintry Friday Night Evening Wrapped in a Blanket Horror Movie? Basically the genre movie you curl up on the couch with!"

Guys, what a great response! Very happy, hope you can all add lots more in the coming weeks, thanks again! Fantastic!

Joshua Lew (Cinema Cafe Podcast)

"I read about the DVD Trash roundtable on Cinebeats and thought I'd put my two sense in. I congratulate you on your in-depth knowledge in this department, but for me, I'm a tad lacking when it comes to trash horror movie knowledge. Still, for my "Wintry Friday Night Evening Wrapped in a Blanket Horror Movie", I was thinking about putting down Argento's Suspiria, Gordon's Re-Animator, even more recent fare with Let The Right One In, or even Miike's Audition (but that's one movie being a male I could barely get through once let alone my choice of fine wine on a Friday). However the one movie that has stayed with me ever since I first watched it and is one I continuously go back to is, Near Dark. I love me some Bigelow Near Dark. I love vampire movies, but also understand that barring the old black and white classics, there haven't been many great ones, and perhaps that's why 2008's Let The Right One In resonated so well. But Near Dark shows the vampires how they're supposed to be- full of teeth with "got milk" mouths full of blood. So my pick is 1987's Kathryn Bigelow directed vampire flick, Near Dark. It's got Lance Henriksen and Adrian Pasdar. What more do you need? Come on!!"

Bob Turnbull (Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind)

“Horror wrapped in a blanket? For me that's gotta be the Ju-On films. I love Shimizu's atmospheric dread that curls me up slowly into a ball of tension on the couch. There's some goofiness (especially in Grudge 2 when that wig starts crawling), but a little laughter helps diffuse things a bit before building you up again. I may be alone, but I can't wait for Grudge 3.”

Kim Lindbergs (Cinebeats)

“Almost any British horror film, but in particular a good Hammer movie. There's something incredibly comforting to me about Hammer films that is hard to explain, but it can undoubtedly be traced back to my childhood. Hammer films were regularly shown on television when I was growing up in the '70s and early '80. I must have sat through almost a hundred of them by the time I was 15 and most of the time I was watching them alone. I also like the consistency of Hammer's filmography. The acting is always tops in any production since Hammer regulars like Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Michael Ripper almost always gave 110% to any performance. As a lifelong anglophile, the UK settings and sets are also incredibly appealing to me and I just enjoy all those British accents. In some ways I'm probably reminded of my British born great-grandmother who lived with my family for years before passing away. She refused to watch anything but UK made television programs and movies so my home was awash in various Brit accents for awhile. And last but not least, I never get tired of seeing a familiar Hammer film again. Hammer films conjure up all kinds of comforting feelings for me and they still feed my imagination. Vive le Hammer!”

Dshanya (Shutyomouthmovies)

“Right now, it's Rosemary's Baby. Psychological horror film as only Polanski can do....”

Wednesday’s Child (In it for the Kills)

“Hmm, a horror comfort movie? I'd have to go with Poltergeist. I sit there watching and wait for all my favorite parts even though I know what's coming up next, and I have been known to watch it and then turn right around and watch it again. Ghost movies, particularly ones with a bit of an explanation at the end, are my favorites, although I'll watch literally any horror movie no matter how bad!”

Bill Cunningham (Pulp 2.0)

“Okay, I'll bite.

There are several films that fit into this category and generally if you're going to stay home on a Friday night and not get laid then you really need to make a marathon of it:

DAWN OF THE DEAD (original)


Basically I try to fit about three movies in to a Friday night fright fest.”

Michael McKenzie (Land of Whimsy)

"That’s a pretty tough question, but I think I’m going to have to go with Richard Donner’s classic The Omen. It might be a fairly conventional, unadventurous choice, but for me it brings back a lot of fond memories. It was probably the first horror film I ever saw, when I was around eight years old, on a cold Halloween night after listening to my parents raving about it during an evening meal out. We hurried home in time to see it, and although I missed the first half-hour I remember being absolutely enthralled by it. I’d never seen anything quite like it before, and I suppose you could say it gave me a taste for the macabre that I’ve been trying to satisfy ever since. So yes, while there are better and more interesting horror movies out there, this one has a great deal of sentimental value for me."

Holger Haase (Hammer and Beyond)

"I thought long and hard about this and it was tough coming up with one choice. It’s not as if I don’t have enough favourite movies that I like to re-watch time and again. In actual fact a while ago when we did a similar exercise on another board I easily came up with 100 classic (and not so classic movies) that I would consider Favourites before I gave up on the exercise. Yet somehow, I could not pick a single one from that seemingly endless list that I would pick as a favourite for that wintry Friday night until the answer dawned on me.

I don’t have a comfort film!

Yes, I do like re-watching some of my favourites when the opportunity arises, but there usually is a good reason for it, e.g. I am going to discuss it with others, I am going to meet one of the stars at a convention, I will write up about it or have just read an article on it.

But for that special Friday evening I love nothing more than plunge into my ever expanding stack of unwatched movies and hope I find a pearl.

Mind you, how I do this on that kind of night is subject to some very strict rules:

1. The movie needs to be new to me and at least promise some above average entertainment value.

I have seen more than my share of OK-ish blah movies and don’t mind watching them, but not on that kind of night.

2. I’ll watch it for my own entertainment and do not plan to write about it in any shape or form.

There is such an incredible amount of freedom associated with not feeling the need/urge/responsibility to write or blog about a movie, not having to jot down some notes and just totally immerse myself in it.

3. The movie needs to be short or (in my opinion) of normal length.

I still believe that 90 minutes is the perfect length for most movies. If it’s less than that even better. (Best decision Stallone made with Rambo was to have it at just about 80 minutes or thereabouts.) If it’s slightly more, fine, as long as it is not more than two hours max.

See, I do suffer more and more from ADD and on those nights I want to focus properly on the film and not end up leaving it only half watched, but most importantly

4. It will not be one movie, but two.

On those nights I enjoy nothing more than a personal double feature. Needless to say the shorter the movies the better the chances that I’ll find the time to watch two of them. This also, however, means that

5. The DVD should not have any extras of importance and definitely no audio commentaries.

Yes, I could ignore all extras and commentaries, but I feel awkward filing a movie away unless I have gone through each and every nugget on it. There have been very few productions where I gave up on those as they may have bored me to pieces. As I am looking for extra-free releases it is likely that the film will be from either a vanilla DVD I own, a rented disc where I am not that anal about extras, a rare DVD-R of a film that is otherwise hard to get or a movie recorded from television (Sky+).

6. The first film is going to be more mainstream than the second.

Two reasons for that: First of all, the more mainstream flicks may not be the revelation that I am hoping for, but it also may not be the stinker that the trash film may be. Should the trash film be a stinker, I could always switch it off and pick another one on to end the night on an impressive cult high note.

Reason #2: What can I say? I am surrounded by people who have accepted my love for everything cult, but don’t necessarily share it and – sniff sniff – may even annoy the shit out of me with derogatory remarks about them, so watching something more mainstream at the start of the night before everyone goes to bed ensures that I can enjoy a quiet view. Besides, some of those trash gems can be quite unsavoury, and I am not yet ready to expose my family to the unearthly delights of, ooh, say Emanuelle in America.

I think that pretty much covers most of my requirements. Last Sunday was one of those, ahem, wintry Fridays and proved to be a shining example for that kind of double feature when I first watched Donnie Brasco followed by Holocaust 2000.

‘Nuff said."

Neil (The Bleeding Tree)

"Genre movie? Preferably a Spaghetti Western frankly. Maybe Django would win out as often as any. Although I always like to see something new those nights.

Specifically a horror movie? The Abominible Dr. Phibes or The Whip and the Body. Something with a bit of a revenge scenario. A little sexy, a little scary. Cinema comfort food with perhaps a few vitamins mashed in there quietly so as you wouldn't notice."

Keith (Giallo Fever)

"For me it would probably be Suspiria, just edging it slightly over The Beyond and Blood and Black Lace."

Kit Gavin

"Admittedly, in the winter time I am not really one for horror movies. In fact, I have found as I have got older ("becoming old man syndrome" I guess - either that or growing up at last) I have shied more and more away from typical horror fare that I used to find entertaining as a kid and, though I always enjoyed them, I tended to focus more and more on either exploitation films, or thrillers to keep my attention going. In general the new wave of horror films end to be excessively splatter or hokum special effects based (I don't really have time for excessive gore - whether it be the French splatter flicks which are on the increase, or the latterday Brian Yuzna movies) or the generic American horror films that surface every now and again, spewed forth from the bowels of Hollywood with the latest flavor of the month screaming her head off.

For winter nights and horror films I tend to enjoy and want to snuggle under my feather duvet (has to be feathers - I must be one of few who isn't allergic to feathers but IS allergic to hollow fibre or worse still that non-allergic stuff cheap duvets are filled with), complete with a large mug of either Poulain chocolat chaud (a taste from my child hood) or some milky freshly ground coffee in a cafetiere - no cardigans or slippers here though(!) - tend to be more along the lines of the old fashioned traditional horror movies that came out of Europe in the 50's and 60's). If it's not a thriller I am watching, and in line with the question posed, I would have to cite two films as my favourite, as they both come top of my list and I am unable to make up my mind between the two - as it depends on the evening whether I am in the mood for a color movie or for a black&white one. If I am in the mood for a b&w, the accolade without doubt goes to Georges Franju's LES YEUX SANS VISAGE which surely needs no introduction, everything from the score by Maurice Jarre, the captivating imagery and well the whole movie in general is perfect for a cold Winter evening snuggled up in front of the TV with nothing better to do. If I am in a color mood the title of choice would be Mario Bava's I TRE VOLTI DELLA PAURA - the Italian edit as opposed to the AIP version. Granted the Italian version lacks Boris Karloff's voice but it is still imbued with his presence together with being a terrific triplet of movies - fully of atmosphere, mood, ambience nd each one as entertaining, beautifully shot and entertaining as the one previous.

Close runners-up are Chico Ibenez-Sarrador's LA RESIDENCIA (which I have never seen in English - so it has to be the longer Spanish version), THE DEVIL RIDES OUT (Terrence Fisher), ASYLUM (by Roy Ward Baker), and JUDEX (again by Franju) .

KingMob (Dear Bastards)

"I'd have to say something like Peter Medak's The Changeling, with George C. Scott living alone in that old spooky-ass house in an effort to come to terms with the death of his loved ones. I have a strange affection for the film because I remember watching it first as a child, somewhere in the 10-12 yr old age range and it scared the hell out of me! I distinctly remember thinking that dusty wheelchair was going to suddenly appear in my house and chase me down the hall if I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I've conquered my fears lo these many years later, though I admit there was a lingering fear in my gut when I first threw down the money to pay for the film on DVD, as I wondered if I'd be able to sleep with that thing in the house if it hit me like it did when I was in Jr. High.

I still find the film very effective to this day, but I've managed to steel myself against my childhood reactions and finally put aside the nagging fear that I'll be roused in the middle of the night to help a dead child settle his affairs with the world of the living.

Most of the time."

Ian Price (Treorchy)

"The Wicker Man - all that heat warms one up."

Rob Carver (Vanwall Land)

"Paperhouse" - it never ceases to fascinate me.

For reliving youthful scares, I watch "Caltiki - il mostro immortale" ("Caltiki - The Immortal Monster"), which scared the crap outta me as a kid so many times.

I'd have "Phenomena" as a second bill.

Chthonik (Twitter)

I don't have a single go-to movie for winter nights, but I find that I am drawn to black-and-white horror films from the 30s and 40s during the season. I think it may have to do with the snow changing the view outside my window into vast fields of white with the occasional washed out colour peeking through, or the muffling of street sounds adding to the relative silence of the minimally scored movies I've selected. Bundled up and drifting off, the flickering phantoms of films like The Island of Dr. Moreau or The Ghost Ship melt into my dreams.

Matthew (Double O Section)

Good question! Being wrapped in a blanket on a Friday night really conjures up a Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movie, but only a few of those can really qualify as horror. Rather than resorting to an old favorite, I'm more likely to turn to a favorite genre in such circumstances: probably a Hammer flick or a giallo. Gialli really suit those circumstances for me because they're like the cinematic equivalent of comfort food. I know, that's weird, that I'd find comfort in a genre known for masked killers and copious bloodshed, but I think I know why I find them so comforting. Even though the genre is all about creating scares, it's such a rigid genre with such a strict formula and so many hard rules (and clichés) that watching a new one (with a few notable exceptions, of course) is like returning to an old favorite. I settle in and I know I'm going to get black gloves, spiral staircases, J&B bottles, awesome apartments and inexplicable fashions (both in an amazingly vibrant color palette), beautiful (often naked) girls, outre camera angles, a great, groovy score, probably a female killer and definitely that odd breed of hirsute Italian hero who only existed in the 1970s. No matter what giallo I pop in the player, whether I've actually seen it before or not, it feels like a favorite. I'm still always treated to the scares I want out of a horror movie on a stormy Friday night, but I also know exactly what to expect, and it's rewarding as each of those checklist items make their appearances--and equally rewarding when the formula is occasionally broken. While I have great appreciation for movies that break the mold, my favorite genres and series (including James Bond, Tarzan, barbarian movies, and of course Hammers and gialli) all tend to follow predictable patterns. And I couldn't be happier about it.

Louis Fowler (Damaged 2.0)

When you're a film critic, sometimes you get so wrapped up in what you have to watch that you tend to forget to actualy kick back and enjoy something light and feathery, a comfort film, if you will. Something to watch with a plate of tacos. I guess, for me, as of late, when I get a chance to relax, I'll watch usually a double feature of EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN. Not horror films, per se, but definitely horrific in their own way. I just bought a bootleg of SANTA SANGRE last weekend, so I'm sure this'll be added to the list lickety-split.

Mr Anonymous

“One flick that I keep going back to over and over is Don Knotts' The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. It’s a fun little flick from my childhood that I can watch at anytime, and has a great cast to boot. Sure it’s goofy and stuff, but its Knotts at his best, in my opinion.”

1 comment:

El Vox said...

You can get laid on a Friday night? Where? When?

But back to wintry movies: I go with original House on Haunted Hill much better than remade one, but that's generally the norm, The Blog--original (the remake wasn't too bad here), or Alien (seen many times).