Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remastered 40th anniversary edition on the big screen

Texas Chainsaw Massacre remastered 40th anniversary

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remastered 40th anniversary

Leatherface is nuts

So last night I got to see the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remastered 40th anniversary edition on the big screen. The movie was shown at the Treehouse Cinema in Gulf Breeze Florida and hosted by local horror group Nightmare Theatre. This was my first time to actually see TCM on the big screen, and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remastered  40th anniversay edition is absolutely beautiful. I’m not going to get into technical specs about sound, video, aspect or whatever because I’m not that guy. I will just say the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remastered 40th anniversary version looks beautiful, it sounds beautiful and it is worth seeing on the big screen.

I have been a fan of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre since before I can remember. As a kid I saw the movie posters in the local theater, but never saw the film itself there. I’m not even sure it ever actually played there. TCM doesn’t sound like a good match for a small town theater in rural Mississippi in the 70s. I cant even remember when I first saw the movie. The commercials for it, and the sequels always intrigued me, but they also scared me a little. Okay, they scared me a lot. They promised blood, gore, and horror. Which was masterful advertising, since the first film has so little blood and gore.

Marilyn Burns in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre  remastered 40th anniversary

The Late Marilyn Burns as Sally Hardesty in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remastered 40th anniversary edition

What The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre did have, that it’s gorier remake doesn’t have is insanity. The remake is bloody, it’s violent, and it’s gory. The characters are evil and they are unbalanced. But compare the families, the Hewitt family versus the Sawyer family of the original. Although they really didn’t get a family name in the original, it works for here. The original family was absolutely insane. Look at the cook, played by the late Jim Siedow. “I dont take no pleasure in killing” he says, completely serious one moment, and the next he is cackling, and urging Grandpa on in his attempt to kill Sally Hardesty. The whole dinner scene is insanity. People like this are capable of anything. This is horror, this is what modern filmmakers don’t get.

It’s one thing to show people doing bad things, doing horrible things, but show people doing insane things and it’s scary. Jason Voorhess is evil but his movies are no longer scary. Why? Maybe because he’s predictable. Is he insane? Probably? Crazy? Not so much, if anything Jason is predictable. Come to Crystal Lake and he will chase you, slowly, catch you and kill you, especially if you are having sex. Leatherface? Well now, Leatherface will chase you at high speed. He will chainsaw his door to pieces, even though he could probably just open it, or cut through the lock. Leatherface will put you in a freezer and sit down and have a moment of self doubt. Leatherface will spin in the road with a running chainsaw. Leatherface is fucking nuts. Even worse, he’s possibly the sanest member of the family.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remastered 40th anniversary edition with the Sawyer family

The family is even crazier in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remastered 40th anniversary edition

Probably the coolest thing about seeing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remastered 40th anniversary edition on the big screen was seeing, and hearing people’s reaction. It was a small crowd, which was sad, but there were people there, and at least a few who had never seen the movie before. It is nice to know with all the crappy PG films, with all the horrible CGI, that the meat hook scene can still cause a reaction. Yep, some one exclaimed out loud, not the loudest shriek, but a reaction nonetheless. Call me naive, but I think a proper release with full studio promotion this film would draw. Yeah, I’m naive. Kids today are too jaded, they wouldn’t give it a chance, but if they did they would walk away happy, and maybe a bit scared to go down those lonely deserted roads.

So if you get the chance check out the Texas Chainsaw remastered 40th anniversary edition on the big screen, or just buy the DVD. It really is a wonderfully restored version, and well worth having without even touching on the extras. This is probably the best the film will ever look. But even beyond the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remastered 40th anniversary edition, if you are a horror fan, support when these films get shown on the big screen. Support the few small local theaters that still exist, and support your local horror community. For those of us living in the Lower Alabama, Florida Panhandle that is Nightmare Theatre and the Tree house Cinema in Gulf Breeze.

Nightmare Theatre will be hosting several cult horror films during the month of October, including Army of Darkness and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. If you are in the area I urge you to make the trip over the bridge and support these films, and the people hosting them.

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remastered 40th anniversary edition is availbale now on DVD and Blu Ray, and playing in select theaters

WCW: Pam Grier

So the big thing now is themed days like Woman Crush Wedsnesday, and Man Crush Monday, so why buck the trend; just give in with Woman Crush Wednesday: Pam Grier. That’s right, it’s Foxy Brown herself, the original and she’s a whole lot of woman.

Pam Grier as Coffy

Pam Grier as Coffy, Cult Film Woman Crush Wedsney

 

There was really no one else I could pick for the inaugral Woman Crush Wednesday here in the Coven.  Pam Grier is one of the most beautiful women to ever light up the big screen (or small screen). Pam has had starring roles in blacksploition films like Foxy Brown, Coffy and Sheba, she has had smaller roles in women in prison films like the Big Bird Cage, as well as guest appearances on television shows like Miami Vice. She brought it full circle taking the lead in Quentin Tarantino’s homage to exploitation Jackie Brown.

Pam Grier as Jackie Brown

Pam Grier kicks ass as Jackie Brown

Grier was one of the first female action stars. She was tough, no nonsense, straight to the point. She could be hard as nails and had no qualms about blowing someone away, but she never lost her sexy. In fact she used her sexy to get what she wanted. She truly paved the way for women in action films, a path still not heavily tred. In a time when female leads were rare, here was a black female. I grew up in the deep south, in a family that was not racially sensitive, but when I saw Pam Grier, all I saw was a beautiful woman. A beautiful woman kicking ass and taking names. She still is my number one crush of cult and exploitation film, hell my number one crush of all film.

Pam Grier sexy in Native headdress

Sexy Pam Grier

 

I came close to meeting Pam once, but had a prior committment. I only hope I get that chance again. Luckily I did have a friend snag me an autograph, but I realy want to meet her in person. Who the hell wouldn’t want to meet her? Pam Grier you are my Woman Crush Wednesday

Foxy: My Life in Three Acts


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Shock Waves (1977)

 

Nazi zombies from Shock Waves (1977)

Arise Zombie! Shock Waves

When it comes to the genre of Nazi Zombie movies, the field might be a bit small but it’s filled with good choices, and Shock Waves is probably the best choice of them all.  Wait there is a whole sub genre of Nazi zombie horror?  Yes, yes there is Virginia. Recent films like Dead Snow and Dead Snow 2, join the Outpost series, and  Jean Rollin’s 1981 Zombie Lake (and a few other odd entries) but the king of them all is Shock Waves from 1977.

Shock Waves stars Hammer Stalwart Peter Cushing as a former Nazi scientist along with Brooke Adams, who sizzles the screen in her bikini, and former Flipper star Luke Halpin all grown up. Shock Waves also stars one of the most iconic actors in horror, John Carradine playing one of his usual gruff, cantankerous characters.

The film starts off with Brooke Adams being found floating adrift, looking far worse then she does later in the film. She relates her story, which becomes the main body of the film. Carradine is the captain of a broken down boat taking Adams and a group of vacationers on an island tour, a three hour tour. Well actually it’s about ninety minutes. Halpin is his long suffering first mate, who has attracted the eye and attention of Adams.

Brooke Adams in a yellow bikini in Shock Waves

Brooke Adams helps make Shock Waves (1977) visually appealing

Things quickly go from cantankerous, to bad to worse, as the boat is enveloped in a strange orange haze, then side-swiped by a mysterious ghost ship. The crew and passengers find themselves scuttled on a mysterious island, sans the Captain and with a rusting hulk looming nearby. They go ashore to find a seemingly deserted hotel, where they run into Cushing and his strangely British sounding German accent.

Peter Cushing in Shock Waves

Peter Cushing gives his best go at a German accent in Shock Waves

People start to disappear and Cushing relates how he helped engineer Nazi super soldiers who could exist in any extreme and were virtually indestructible, When the reich was collapsing he was ordered to dispose of his group of water breathing zombies (is that an oxymoron? breathing zombies?). He accomplishes this by sinking the ship they are on, in what was probably not such a smart way to get rid of water breathing monsters.

The castaways aren’t buying it till the goggle clad undead attack in force, forcing a desperate fight and flight to get off the island.  This eventually takes us full circle, and spoiler free, to the opening scene.

I have a fondness for horror films from this era, and Shock Waves is one of my favorite. It is also highly under rated and gets no where near the buzz of other horror classics of the seventies. While it might not be a genre defining film, it is a one of those movies that still packs an impact today.

The effects aren’t flashy but they come across as reaslistic. No rotting, walking dead, type zombies but they look suffeciently water logged, and the goggles and Nazi uniforms add a chillingly creepy look to the undead.

The actors all do there job, Carradine is the same old Carradine as he is in so many movies, gruff, angry and mean.  Cushing gives his usual commanding preformance in his limited screen time. He is perfect in the role, even though the accent doesnt exactly fit. If I have one issue with Shock Waves, it’s that I would have loved to see much more of Cushing in the film.

Brooke Adams and her bikini almost steal the film from the two horror icons. Acting wise, she holds her own. Oscar worthy? No, but for one of her first starring roles it’s good enough, and doesn’t hurt the film. The scenes of her in a bikini though are truly epic. She wears a swimsuit like a swimsuit should be worn,and her underwater scenes rival those of Jacqualine Bisset in The Deep, without the wet t-shirt.

Brooke Adams in a bikini

Bikini clad Brooke Adams has a glow about her in Shock Waves

The one thing that makes Shock Waves a classic, in my opinion, is the armosphere. From the very opening a sense of dread hangs over the movie. From the lighting, to the sound, to the zombies themselves,Shock Waves is one creepy movie. The mood and atmosphere is also one of the things that make it just effective today as it was when it was released.

While so many movies, even the acknowledged classics like Halloween and The Hills Have Eyes, are heavily dated, and dont hold that same punch, Shock Waves still makes for great late night viewing.

Shock Waves is available now on Amazon video on demand and DVD and is scheduled to be released on Blu Ray later this year. Do yourself a favor and check it out on which ever format you prefer

Shock Waves


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