Horrorfest 2014 Presents: The Ninth Gate (1999, Roman Polanski)


Although more of a thriller than a horror movie, The Ninth Gate is rooted in both the supernatural and reality, something that Polanski did with Rosemary’s Baby, The Tenant and Repulsion. Johnny Depp portrayals a book dealer and collector who is hired by a rich collector named Boris, played by Frank Langella to prove his copy of a book written by the Devil is not a fake. Even though the reasons are never revealed, Depp’s Corso presses on with the search, brushing past increasing dangers and witnessing horrible things in the process.

This, like all of Polanski’s films is rather well made and is engaging throughout. However it almost falls apart in the second act and the ending is a tad unsatisfying, and the film could have been shortened by at least 20 minutes. The mystery woman (the rather gorgeous Emmanuelle Seigner)  that aids Corso is a little too convenient and the film itself dives into silliness in certain parts. Yet I was still mostly entertained and the film has the hallmarks of many of Polanski’s best works. A much better modern Polanski thriller is The Ghost Writer, a film that has a better cast and is more tightly paced.

 

Horrorfest 2014: Still Not Quite Dead


Since 2008 I have watched horror movies from August to early November ever year. Its a grand tradition, one that I will probably keep on doing until I’m finally tired of horror movies…..or more likely run out of the free time necessary to binge every year. There is no set schedule this time, and the theme is horror franchises. Buckle up folks: its going to be another fun ride.

The Dry Run:

1. Zombie (1979, Lucio Fulci)-Zombies=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/horrorfest-2014-presents-zombie-1979-lucio-fulci/
2. Phantasm II (1988, Don Coscarell)-Supernatural=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/horrorfest-2014-presents-phantasm-ii-1988-don/
3. A Field In England (2013, Ben Wheatley)-Crazy People=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/horrorfest-2014-presents-a-field-in-england-2013-ben-wheatley/

Netflix Instant Viewing Films:

1. Phantoms (1998, Joe Chappelle)-Creature Feature=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/horrorfest-2014-presents-phantoms/
2. The Ninth Gate (1999, Roman Polanski)-Satanic=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/horrorfest-2014-presents-the-ninth-gate-1999-roman-polanski/
3. Red State (2011, Kevin Smith)-Rednecks=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/horrorfest-2014-presents-red-state-2011-kevin-smith/
4. Sharknado (2013, Anthony C. Ferrante)-Creature Feature
5. V/H/S/2 (2013, Simon Barrett, Jason Eisener, Gareth Evans, Gregg Hale, Eduardo Sanchez, Timo Tjahjanto, Adam Wingard)-Anthology=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/horrorfest-2014-presents-vhs2-2013-simon-barrett-jason-eisener-gareth-evans-gregg-hale-eduardo-sanchez-timo-tjahjanto-adam-wingard/
6. Ravenous (1999, Antonia Bird)-Crazy People=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/horrorfest-2014-presents-ravenous-1999-antonia-bird/
7. Below (2002, David Twohy)-Ghosts-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/horrorfest-2014-presents-below-2002-david-twohy-2/
8. Wishmaster (1997, Robert Kurtzman)-Supernatural-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/horrorfest-2014-presents-wishmaster-1997-robert-kurtzman/
9. Grabbers (2012, Jon Wright)-Aliens-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/horrorfest-2014-presents-grabbers-2012-jon-wright/
10. Candyman (1992, Bernard Rose)-Slasher-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/horrorfest-2014-presents-candyman-1992-bernard-rose/
11. Orca: The Killer Whale (1977, Michael Anderson)-Creature Feature-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/horrorfest-2014-presents-orca-the-killer-whale-1977-michael-anderson/
12. Nightmare City (1980, Umberto Lenzi)-Zombies-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/horrorfest-2014-presents-nightmare-city-1980-umberto-lenzi/
13. Humanoids From The Deep (1980, Barbara Peeters)-Creature Feature-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/horrorfest-2014-presents-humanoids-from-the-deep-1980-barbara-peeters/
14. Black Sabbath (1964, Mario Bava)-Anthology-Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Black Sabbath (1964, Mario Bava)
15. Visiting Hours (1982, Jean-Calude Lord)-Slasher-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2022/01/14/horrorfest-2014-presents-visiting-hours-1982-jean-calude-lord/
16. Dust Devil (1992, Richard Stanley)-Slasher-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/horrorfest-2014-presents-dust-devil-1992-richard-stanley/
17. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920, John S. Robertson)-Creature Feature
18. Event Horizon (1997, Paul W.S. Anderson)-Instant Viewing-WTF
19. You’re Next (2011, Adam Wingard)-Slasher/Crazy People
20. Big Ass Spider (2013, Mike Mendez)-Creature Feature-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/2014-horrorfest-presents-big-ass-spider-2013-mike-mendez/

The Franchises:

Listed are only ones that I have not seen yet. I might think of more later. I’ve viewed most of the Halloween series and all of the Friday the 13th films so they will not be featured.

1. A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989, Stephen Hopkins)=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/horrorfest-2014-presents-a-nightmare-on-elm-street-5-the-dream-child-1989-stephen-hopkins/
2. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991, Rachel Talalay)=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/2014-horrorfest-presents-freddys-dead-the-final-nightmare-1991/
3. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994, Wes Craven)=
https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/horrorfest-2014-presents-wes-cravens-new-nightmare-1994-wes-craven/
4. Child’s Play (1988, Tom Holland)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/horrorfest-2014-presents-childs-play-1988-holland/
5. Child’s Play 2 (1990, John Lafia)-Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Child’s Play 2 (1990, John Lafia)
6. Child’s Play 3 (1991, Jack Bender)
7. Bride of Chucky (1998, Ronny Yu)
8. Seed of Chucky (2004, Don Mancini)
9. Curse of Chucky (2013, Don Mancini)
10. Halloween: Resurrection (2002, Rick Rosenthal)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2022/01/14/horrorfest-2014-presents-halloween-resurrection-2002-rick-rosenthal/

Other Films:

1. Body Bags (1993, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Larry Sulkis), Public Library-Anthology=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/horrorfest-2014-presents-body-bags-1993-john-carpenter-tobe-hooper-larry-sulkis/
2. Perfect Blue (1998, Satoshi Kon), Public Library-Crazy People=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/horrorfest-2014-presents-perfect-blue-1997-satoshi-kon/
3. Opera (1987, Dario Argento), Slasher-YouTube=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/horrorfest-2014-presents-opera-1987-dario-argento/
4. Phenomena (1985, Dario Argento), YouTube-Slasher=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/phenomena-1985-dario-argento/
5. Night of the Demons (1988, Kevin Tenney), Public Library-Demonic=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/horrorfest-2014-presents-night-of-the-demons-1988-kevin-tenney/
6. The Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton), Netflix-Ghosts=
https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/horrorfest-2014-presents-the-innocents-1961-jack-clayton/
7. The Wicker Man (1973, Robin Hardy), Netflix-Satanic-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2022/01/22/horrorfest-2014-presents-the-wicker-man-1973-robin-hardy/
8. The Premature Burial (1962, Roger Corman), Netflix-Revenge
9. The Masque Of The Red Death (1964, Roger Corman), Netflix-Satanic-Horrorfest 2020 Presents: The Masque of the Red Death (1964, Roger Corman)
10. Tales From The Crypt (1972, Freddie Francis), Public Library-Anthology=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/horrorfest-2014-presents-amicus-double-bill-tales-from-the-crypt-1972-freddie-francis-and-the-vault-of-horror-1973-roy-ward-baker/
11. The Vault Of Horror (1973, Roy Ward Baker), Public Library-Anthology=https://madman731.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/horrorfest-2014-presents-amicus-double-bill-tales-from-the-crypt-1972-freddie-francis-and-the-vault-of-horror-1973-roy-ward-baker/
12. Prom Night (1980, Paul Lynch), Netflix-Slasher-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/horrorfest-2014-presents-prom-night-1980-paul-lynch/

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: The Lords of Salem (2012, Rob Zombie)


After witnessing a bunch of old witches having a huge devil worshiping orgy in the middle of the woods many things will seem tame after wards. In this case though the film The Lords of Salem decides to up the level of insanity after a slow buildup that establishes the main characters. Rob Zombie effectively channels Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Roman Polanski, and even Stanley Kubrick while managing to make a slightly better and frightening woman targeted by satanists movie than Ti West did with The House of the Devil. I’m impressed, to say the least, although I’ve only viewed his two Halloween films. I much prefer his latest over each of them, and I do plan to go backwards and view his first two movies. Say what you will about his music but Zombie has a knack for camera placement, haunting visuals, and fairly good plots. The problem with the two movies I mentioned have been more of the acting and dialogue variety, coupled with H2 ending up being way too concerned with overly extreme and pointless violence instead of its far more interesting psychological center.

Lords of Salem however lacks most of the issues that plagued his previous works, and has some rather starkly wonderful and creepy moments. Such as the eerie hallway moments, or the inside of Heidi, the main protagonist’s, apartment-there is only dim light in there, and it has the feel and look of a tomb. With a great big amazing poster from the classic A Trip To The Moon inside, also. I read that the moon is involved with fertility, and that makes sense because poor Hedi’s seemingly nice landlord may not be who she actually is. Spooky. Of course we are also left with the possibility that all of Heidi’s troubles are the result of her struggling to stay clean from drugs, which only adds to the dark proceedings. Oh they are dark indeed, bleak and terrifying nightmares that plague Heidi and cause her to question reality. Its bad enough when you are facing normal problems, yet suffering from possible hallucinations is even worse.

The rest of the film continues to unfold in a suffocating atmospheric manner, growing more and more odd and entering further into the world of the bizarre. Mysteries are answered only resulting in new questions, and by the film’s last act the final connections to reality are completely severed. Rob Zombie has given us a freaky new horror film, an experience in terror that is bold, well crafted, and different. By the time the end credits rolled I was almost glad that the film had ended only so that I could witness something happy to cleanse my thoughts. However the images still lingered on long after the screen had faded to black.

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