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Dead By Words

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Exploitation

31 Days of Halloween – Day 9 – The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

Rob Zombie’s movies are always brutal, and The Devil’s Rejects is no exception. A sequel to House of 1000 Corpses, the film follows the murderous Firefly family and the sinister Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) as they torture and kill their way through anything that tries to stop them – or just for fun.

It’s actually a pretty good road movie, and there’s a scene where the tables are turned on the Firefly clan which has you rooting for them. They’re depraved, they’re dirty, but boy are they good fun.

IS SHERI MOON ZOMBIE IN IT?: Of course

GORE RATING: 3/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 3/5

TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 6/10

Watch it for: Bonnie and Clyde vibbbbbes

Watch out for: That truck

Review: The Green Inferno (2013)

The Green Inferno promises a cannibal splatterfest and it certainly delivers, if watching a man have his tongue cut out, eyes gouged out and limbs cut off is your kind of thang. The problem with the film is it could have been absolutely terrifying but it fails in the scares. There’s no emotional connection between us and the poor college students who face the atrocities in the rainforest. It’s also kind of, well, stupid.

We know Eli Roth always delivers on gore – Hostel and Cabin Fever prove that. But he also has a tendency to try and bring tasteless chuckles into his films which distract from making the movies scary. The Green Inferno sees a dead girl being stuffed with super weed by the surviving college students, so when the cannibals eat her they get stoned. It’s their escape plan. What they don’t bank on is the cannibals getting the munchies.

Lead character Justine is played well by Lorenza Izzo (married to Eli Roth), and she’s the only one we really feel for. Her eyes express her terror, horror and finally hope. If you know this genre, you’ll understand she’s Laurie, she’s Sally, and she’s going to fight.

Despite the lack of scares, The Green Inferno is a good watch and keeps your interest throughout. It’ll be too strong for some, but will also leave a lot of us thinking ‘what was all the fuss about?’ And as Roth’s homage to 70s Italian cannibal films and 80s cannibal gore, he pulls it off. It’s just not as good or powerful as it could have been.

TOTAL RATING: 5/10

GORE RATING: 8/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 2/5

Watch it for: Lead Lorenza Izzo

Watch out for: The first cannibal kill. It’s pretty heavy

Review: Maniac (2012)

A remake of the 80s horror cult classic, Maniac is a gruesome slasher where Frodo goes seriously bad; Elijah Wood is serial killer Frank Zito, a loner with Mummy issues who likes to kill women and scalp them for his mannequins. He’s like a more extreme Andrew McCarthy.

Beautifully shot with a haunting 80s synth score by Rob, we prowl the streets at night with Frank as he goes in search of his victims. Shot in Frank’s POV, we become the killer; we stab, we strangle and we scalp. We catch clever glimpses of Frank in mirrors or reflections, as he looks at himself/us in disbelief. It’s a brave move for Wood, who takes some great chances with his films. We’re reminded it is Wood. Sometimes we forget, as we’re the killer. It’s incredibly voyeuristic and intense.

Frank strikes up a ‘friendship’ of sorts with artist Anna (Nora Arnezeder) who wants his mannequins in her show, and he hopes for a normal relationship with her. We know there’s no hope, and have fear for Anna as she gets closer and closer to him. Will she find out what he is before it’s too late? Can Frank be stopped?

This version doesn’t have anything that matches the original’s infamous ‘Disco Boy Scene’ with the shotgun, but it’s creepy and brutal with two particularly graphic scalpings. The camera doesn’t shy away, and french director Franck Khalfoun has made a modern horror masterpiece. The night shots are as good as Drive, Shame or Collateral. We can’t wait to see what he does with Amityville: The Awakening, coming next year.

TOTAL RATING: 8/10

GORE RATING: 4/5

SCARES: 4/5

DISTURBIA: 5/5

Watch it for: Elijah Wood is genius

Watch out for: The opening murder. You won’t be able to scream

Review: The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

Rob Zombie’s sequel to 2003’s House of 1000 Corpses is a fantastic piece of filmmaking – set to a 70s soundtrack of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers and Joe Walsh, this exploitation film is brutal and sadistic, showcasing the talents of Zombie as a director and screenwriter. It’s one hell of a ride – a western, a revenge flick, throw in a bit of torture porn and a little mix of road movie – delivered with style and substance. It feels more whole compared to 1000 Corpses, which was gloriously demented and all over the place.

Rejects follows on neatly from the previous movie, as Sheriff John Wydell (William Forsythe) and his State Troopers bust the Firefly family home, the scene of over 75 grisly murders. With Mother Firefly (Leslie Easterbrook) taken in, Otis (Bill Moseley) and Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) escape and vow to meet up with Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) at a nearby motel. Of course they do anything to get by…thrown in with the usual unnecessary torture and murder.

The film concentrates on Wydell’s hunt for the gruesome trio, across dusty Texan landscapes and via a seedy brothel. The cinematography by Phil Parmet itself is stunning, something Zombie brings to all of his films; his take on Halloween was also divinely shot. All actors put in formidable performances; Forsythe’s Wydell hell-bent on his own form of justice, and Spaulding, Otis and Baby taken with a huge dose of black humour as they dish out their perverse violence.

It’s an intelligent movie, and not quite the ‘nasty’ a lot of media have made it out to be.

TOTAL RATING: 7/10

GORE RATING: 3/5

SCARES: 1/5

DISTURBIA: 4/5

Watch it for: Sheri Moon Zombie’s wonderful Baby

Watch out for: THAT truck. Aaaaargh!

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