You’d assume ten years in to one’s career that a filmmaker would begin to mature as a storyteller. But here we are in 2015, and Eli Roth is still telling the same story. A bunch of inept Americans go in to a foreign country and get brutally massacred. It’s the same xenophobic, sophomoric, silly slop that Roth’s been feeding audiences since “Hostel,” and he doesn’t seem intent on changing the formula any time soon. Roth at heart is still a fan boy stealing from his favorite horror movies, while directing tonally uneven and ridiculous schlock with the intent to shock first and foremost. Really, the intent is to shock and nothing else.
I really wanted to love “Gravy.” In fact during some rare moments it manages to win me over, especially with the way it uses its array of character actors to great effect. “Gravy” sadly falls under the weight of its own self satisfaction, eliciting a ton of flat improv, lame ad libbing, unresolved sub-plots, and a climax that goes nowhere very fast. We follow our heroine for ninety minutes all for absolutely zero pay off. Did Roday and co. run out of money or did they run out of ideas?
Justine joins Alejandro’s social activists group after seeing that they had real results at her university getting janitors health coverage. Soon she finds herself going to the Amazon forest in Peru to save a small village from being destroyed by a company wanting the natural gas found under the area they occupy. The group goes to Peru, does their thing, and then heads back home. However, they do not make it home as their plane crashes in the Amazon. A part of the group dies in the crash in various horrible ways. As the survivors escape the wreckage, the villagers they came to save attack them killing a few more and taking the six last survivors with them. It quickly becomes clear that the captives are meant to be breakfast, lunch, and dinner as the first member is dispatched gruesomely and cooked.
If I had to pick a cult film that I’d take with me on a deserted island, it’d either be “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!”, or Jack Hill’s “Spider-Baby.” It’d probably be the latter if I was pressed. I fondly remember being introduced to “Spider-Baby” as a child, when I used to sit down to watch “Horrible Horror” with Zacharly. I always found the scene of Jill Banner slicing and dicing poor Mantan Moreland to be one of the sickest bits of horror cinema I’d ever witnessed. Years later, I was happy to watch the film in its entirety, and thankfully Jack Hill’s dark horror comedy hasn’t aged a single bit.
I’ve seen “Motel Hell” almost five times in the last two years and goodness knows I’ve tried so hard to love it. At risk of getting my horror fan boy card revoked, I sincerely do not like “Motel Hell.” Kevin Connors’ horror comedy is a silly and often dull attempt to ape “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” I’m one who has often found much of what unfolds in “Motel Hell” absolutely dull and monotonous with the attempts at absurdity kind of forced and tedious. It’s almost like “Eaten Alive” where there’s another effort to catch lightning in a bottle that just doesn’t quite hit its mark. And I’d still rather see Tobe Hooper’s “Eaten Alive” than ever really re-watch “Motel Hell” ever again.
What is it about Ruggero Deodato’s vicious masterpiece that continues to elude horror fans and film enthusiasts to this day? Surely, it’s a shocking film with immense gore, but “Cannibal Holocaust” is about so much more than splatter and bloodshed. It still holds a volatile resonance in a day and age where the world is obsessed with voyeurism. “Cannibal Holocaust” is still such an enormous master work from Ruggero Deodato whose own film has pretty much guaranteed to outlive its creator. As well, it’s inadvertently posed as the template for all of the found footage films currently storming the box office. It’s a film about the media exploiting and demoralizing a primitive culture for the purposes of entertainment. It’s a film about entitled young Americans intruding on a foreign soil to manipulate their civilization. It’s also movie about how humanity is often a destructive and vicious force of evil consuming one another for nefarious purposes without conscience.
It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t see the original “We Are What We Are” before Jim Mickle’s remake. I typically find time to pick up the original article, but time didn’t allow the convenience, so Jim Mickle’s remake of the Mexican horror film is what I had to base my entire opinion on. And that’s something of an advantage, since on its own it’s a fairly mediocre but interesting tale about cannibalism of the body, and the eternal cannibalism of the family unit.
This October, zombie fans are able to scoop up the newest film compilation from Mill Creek Entertainment. With over sixteen hours of classic and not so classic zombie movies, this is for the horror fans looking for more with their bucks. The 1962 shocker “Carnival of Souls” is a classic spook fest, about a young woman who crashes in to a lake and survives to tell the tale. Trying to make sense of the incident, she finds herself being stalked by pale bug eyed zombies, all of whom are identical and desperate to take her. For reasons unknown (until the very end), she can’t escape their grasp.