After the excellent release of the limited edition 2018 print, Code Red delivers a wider and more broadly available upgrade for the highly deserving “Savage Streets.” The 1984 cult classic is still a marvelous gem of eighties exploitation. It channels the classic Youths Gone Wild films of the fifties, and is filled with gorgeous women, roughneck teenagers, and an insanely sexy Linda Blair wreaking pure vengeance against the men that victimized her sister. She does it all with a bitchin’ crossbow, to boot.
With “A Clockwork Orange,” Stanley Kubrick set forth a high bar and standard upon which all future gang warfare films would be based on. It’s a surprising fact considering “A Clockwork Orange” is not entirely about gang warfare at all. It’s a science fiction, dystopic, thriller about a predator of humanity who gets a taste of his own medicine a hundred fold once he is rehabilitated into a docile animal of society. Or so that’s what we’re led to believe up until the very ambiguous climax where Alex reverts to his classic recurring orgy fantasy.
Meir Zarchi’s revenge rape thriller is a movie that continues to inspire immense bile from movie critics and movie buffs since its release in 1978. Much like its contemporary “Cannibal Holocaust,” Zarchi horror movie is deeply upsetting and requires the viewer to endure it in a certain state of mind. It’s a film you’ll either love or despise, and it gets a very good treatment from Roninflix who brings it home to fans like yours truly.
This year “I Spit on Your Grave” was given a deluxe box set on Blu-Ray and 4K allowing fans a new vision for what is easily one of the most upsetting, polarizing, and controversial films ever made. The Meir Zarchi film that popularized the volatile sub-genre rape-revenge films has spawned dozens of cinematic carbon copies (along with infamous bile from Roger Ebert), and features one of the most notorious castration scenes ever depicted. In commemoration of “I Spit in Your Grave” being released to fans yet again, I thought I’d sound off five of some of the more grotesque movie castrations ever filmed.
Director Ryan Nicholson’s slasher throwback is thankfully a horror film that, while imperfect, has managed to appreciate in value since its release in 2008. While we may be well past the age of the eighties revival in horror cinema, “Gutterballs” is a nice look at the fad done well and with some semblance of substance over style. It’s still not a masterpiece, but it’s definitely midnight movie fodder that should be appreciated with its cinematic contemporaries. Frankly I’m surprised slasher BBK’s signature look never caught on with the horror community, but I digress.
This year we were once again lucky enough to cover the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, and though we came on a bit late, we were able to catch a shorts film block from the festival as well as some features! This year the shorts block was solid, and I took on the #MeToo shorts block. This list of short films covers the topics of sexual assault, rape, toxic masculinity the like.
The gallery of genre entries was great once again and I loved the substance these directors brought to film.
The Academy is always a fan of the historical epic. They love movies about perseverance to hard times during a bygone era, from “Lincoln” and “Glory” to “Amadeus” and “Saving Private Ryan.” One of the movies that they didn’t touch in 2020, despite being a relatively mesmerizing picture, was Jennifer Kent’s 2019 “The Nightingale.” Despite it being a virtually gritty and gruesome journey in to darkness a la “The Revenant,” the Academy never offered the film its due, even in the realm of cinematography and or acting. There’s not even a best original screenplay nod handed to the thriller, and it’s a shame. Jennifer Kent’s revenge period piece is the antithesis of the glossy Oscar fodder that they stumble over themselves to honor every year.
At the end of the day you can’t even call “Black Christmas” a remake. It’s not even a re-imagining when you get down to it. At first it bears a slight resemblance to the original film’s themes, but once it shows all of its cards, it’s just aping the title for brand familiarity. And it fails, big time. “Black Christmas” has good intentions with a very relevant message, but it forgets story, suspense, and inherent terror, in exchange for a silly, preachy, and convoluted premise.