Hello everyone I am the Mad Cinesta. I am here to share my experiences in the realms of cinema and television. I will write reviews, rant and gush. I will contemplate the universe or just explain why Michael Bay is a hack and Edgar Wright seems like the coolest guy ever.

This blog was inspired by the book Showgirls, Teen Wolves and Astro Zombies: One Film Critic's Year-Long Quest to Find the Worst Movie Ever Made by Michael Adams. He shared his experiences with us and I felt a need to share my experiences. Even if you don't read my blog you should read the book, it's wonderful.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Rawmeat A.K.A Deathline

This 1972 effort by Gary Sherman is an excellent film. However I can't help thinking that it meant to be more. The movie's plot revolves around a family of cannibals living in an abandoned subway tunnel under London. The family has been abducting people for food since they were imprisoned by a cave in in the Victorian era. During the film The last of the family kills an important man and a police investigation ensues.

The film is filled with strong performances particularly from Donald Pleasance as Inspector Calhoun, the bloke leading the investigation, and David Ladd as Alex and American student who's girlfriend is abducted. All of the actors play well off of one another and show how a skilled director can bring a story to life.

At my introduction to the review I mentioned that the movie seems as though it was meant to be more. I stand by that. On its own the movie is an excellent, scary, well-plotted horror film. I feel that it was meant to be a meditation on class conflict. I came to this conclusion from studying the character of Inspector Calhoun. The man is blue collar through and through, from his accent to his cheap suit the man is more pub than opera. He makes several comments about the cost of things and how one of the victims owned thins he didn't need. Also, the cannibal didn't receive any notice until an uppercrust gentleman got taken. It doesn't matter that he was a reprehensible human being, he was in the right social strata. I feel that there was meant to be so much more addressing this but, it was most likely edited out at some point.

As far as negatives go, the only negative I found was the music. The film started with something that sounded like experimental jazz composed for a porno flick or peepshow. There was also an attack scene filmed to hopelessly catchy music, rining any impact the scene may have had.

All in all the movie was great, the failings are minimal and the successes prolific. I would give this film a 4.75 out of 5 only downgraded because the music is less than stellar and it feels as though an opportunity was wasted.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Gates of Hell or What the Hell did I just watch?

I would like to start off my new blog with a quick review of The ates of Hell by Lucio Fulci. This movie is a Zombie/Satanic movie made in 1980. It's the story of a group of heroes, Mary, Gary, Sandra and the Reporter (whose name I don't remember), who discover that the gates of hell have been opened and they have two days to get them closed before all of the dead rise and take over the earth. They discover this when Mary apparently dies of fright from having a vision of "The Living Dead. Well she's not really dead and The Reporter saves her from being buried alive. Anywho, a lot of weird stuff has been happening in the villiage of Dunwich and creepy Bob, the local sex fiend, has been blamed. That's neither here nor there as people in the town begin dying and disappearing, all the while seeing a dead priest who had hanged himself in the cemetery and opened the gates of hell. Well I'd tell the rest but the recap is boring me so I'll go on to what I liked and didn't about the film.

To start off I had issues with the dubbing and accents of the dubbers. The movie's Italian, which means that the actors are mostly Italian with laughable dubbed accents. The sync never quite works right and that does a lot to distract the viewer and it tends to completely derail the horror on screen. Also, the editing doesn't do the horror any favors, the scenes are jarring. One moment you're in a creepy cemetery with moody music, the next you're in a brightly lit kitchen. There is no subtle shift, and this can cause an unobservant viewer to wonder where they are and which subplot is being explored.

On a positive front the music is excellent and even when the images on screen were dull and boring the music allowed this viewer to feel the appropriate vibe. I must say that the music was the best part, followed by the gore with the gorgeous actresses rounding out the list.

In true Fulci fashion we got extravagant gore. My favorite scene was when a young woman, parking with her boyfriend, locked eyes with the lead baddie and began to vomit up her insides while tears of blood streaked down her face. The intestines were obviously fake, but the look of pain on the girls face seemed to be genuine. It makes me wonder what Fulci made his actresses do and if he was as charismatic as everyone says. The next big gore scene involved a drill being forced through the head of a poor unlikeable fellow. This scene should have been more effective but I kept thinking the drills trajectory was off. It went through his cheek and out his temple, yet an overhead shot showed it going through both temples, that one shot took away all belief from me.

The women in this film are GORGEOUS, Mary, Emily and Sandra were absolute stunners. I didn't care whether they could act or not, I just wanted to look at them. I read in another review that Mary was a Fulci regular. Now I have more reason to watch his films.

I feel that I can't end this "review" without mentioning the ending. The ending is the worst that I have seen in a long time, I won't go into depth but the end undoes everything the last 15 minutes had set into motion. Also, I feel that the "good conquers evil" vibe was a bit heavy handed. At one point Mary, the gorgeous psychic and Gary,one of the male leads, are surrounded by zombies and face to face with Father Noose. They. Are. Fucked. Until Gary picks up a convenient cross and stabs the priest in the nads, thus ending his reign of terror. That's not right, Gary should have been zombie chow and Mary should have been crying tears of blood while getting her insides to the outside. All in all the ending blows, then sucks, then blows some more.

If I were to rate this on a 1-5 scale for watchability I'd rate it a 3.5 but for actual quality most likely a 1.5-2. I'm not ashamed I watched it but I doubt I'd recommend it to anyone, except for a chance to watch Mary. That woman was amazing and well worth the 93 minutes spent on this flick.