Monday, 7 December 2015

CINEMATIC SHOCKS IS ON HIATUS UNTIL SOMETIME IN 2016

Unfortunately, with much reluctance, I have to put Cinematic Shocks on hiatus yet again as life stuff is getting in the way yet again. I’ll resume writing regularly for the site sometime in 2016 and maybe until then I’ll publish a new review occasionally. 

As some of you might already know, I’m a British expat whose been living in Thailand on a visa for the most part of the last coming up to ten years now. I’m currently residing in the UK with family to sort out a lot of stuff that I have to get done before I can get back to where I want to be living. I even went from writing a bi-weekly blog to writing a fortnightly one to get into a more feasible time management routine but even updating that often I’m finding it hard to keep it up and leave myself with enough time to get on with all the other stuff I need to do. So, I have no choice but to step back from writing for Cinematic Shocks for a while except as I said maybe publishing a new review occasionally when I can fit it in.

Thank you all for reading and for your continued support, see you soon,

Dave

Friday, 4 December 2015

The New York Ripper (1982)


NOTE: The following article is a fully revised version of a review originally published on Tuesday, 24th January 2012. This new version now takes the place of that post...  

Giallo mystery thrillers that employ prolonged murder sequences entailing graphic depictions of the victims’ demises and an excessive amount of young female nudity and sexually explicit imagery are one of the main innovators of the slasher film. A prime example of this is Sean S. Cunningham’s successful borrowing from Mario Bava’s excellent 1970 giallo/slasher prototype ‘A Bay of Blood’ ten years after its release with the effective Friday the 13th as it slashed its way through box office receipts igniting the slasher boom of the early ‘80s. The encapsulation of its giallo-esque atmosphere that would transcend through to its first three sequels, SFX maestro Tom Savini’s excellent work creating the blood-drenched set-pieces and supplemented with boobs and nookie cemented this Italian genre as a prime stylistic influence on this American horror sub-genre.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Friday the 13th Part III (1982)


The slasher sub-genre really came into its own in the early ‘80s thanks to the film that spawned this franchise - the much maligned by mainstream critics yet phenomenal box office performer and crowd pleaser Friday the 13th (1980) with director Sean S. Cunningham getting the ball rolling on the gore factor. Shamelessly exploiting the success of John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ (1978) by aping the shit out of its template, everyone with even just an ounce of filmmaking knowhow was capitalizing on the slasher boom that Friday the 13th induced. Most were terrible but there were a handful of good ones and even a few great ones. It was an easy format to follow and sometimes due to fluking it or sometimes because of actual talent behind the camera there was a genuine sleazy vision that came through the cinematography and framing, lighting and SFX work. The sub-genre is quintessential comfort zone horror; it is the most basic of horror and it can often be very enjoyable horror. Its simplicity and predictability is its main draw and nearing towards the end of the early ‘80s, many entries started to veer towards campiness and cheesy shenanigans.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)


The genre production and distribution studio Dimension bought the rights to the  Halloween franchise with a lot of baggage as they were forced into making a follow-up to the worst entry in the series at this point - 1989’s rushed ‘Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers’ co-written and directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard. This meant instant doom for the production. It would have been a wise decision to have rebooted here instead, as it would have spared us this trainwreck but with a storyline left dangling for over half a decade the core fanbase were demanding a continuation to tie up the loose ends. Therefore, this monstrosity was what was produced for a sixth instalment (fifth if you do not count the delightful 1982 standalone story ‘Halloween III: Season of the Witch’).

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Re-Animator (1985)


‘Re-Animator’ is Stuart Gordon’s loose contemporary adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s 1922 short story ‘Herbert West - Reanimator’, a parody of Mary Shelley’s most famous work the 1818 Gothic novel ‘Frankenstein’. An important genre work the film has deservedly achieved its legendary cult status within the horror community since its release 30 years ago at the time of writing. This is due to its extremely gory and imaginative set-pieces displaying SFX ingenuity with an abundance of offal showing us just how disgusting the human anatomy really is and because it has an exact right balance between this body horror and its black comedy elements. This is a campy and surreal experience that while is not particularly scary is shockingly disturbing in places, immensely grotesque and hilariously absurd. While Gordon’s vision perfectly gets to grips with the source material’s intended ridiculousness by Lovecraft it is hard to imagine these bat shit crazy proceedings working half as well if the filmmaker had not put together such a fantastic ensemble cast. There are also three main cuts and only one of which is the true version.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Lesson of the Evil (2012)


The prolific Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike is one of the most endlessly interesting directors working in gene cinema today. I find the majority of his work that caters for the art-house and extreme horror crowds to be engrossing and fascinating that while depicts excessive amounts of graphic violence and also explicit sexual perversion there is always a great sense of eccentric blacker than coal humour. It distracts from the seriousness of the proceedings making the audience laugh at the most inappropriate moments; we know we should not be taking joy in what we are watching and it makes us feel guilty for doing so but it also provides buffers giving us release from what are intense visceral sequences. Along with fellow contemporary filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, Miike is a master of juxtaposing violence with comedic elements and the unnerving and deeply disturbing yet strangely humorous at times ‘Lesson of the Evil’ - a psycho teacher and high school student drama - is a perfect example of this.