Monday, September 25, 2017

"You'll Never Find the Reason" - The Devil's Rain (1975)

"Heaven Help Us All When The Devil's Rain" is the tag-line for The Devil's Rain (1975), one of the most famous examples of a copywriter misunderstanding the difference between a possessive apostrophe and a plural noun. However, the clumsiness of the advertising copy does not detract from the high quality of Robert Fuest's allegorical masterpiece of good versus evil.

When the film was first released, someone named Roger Ebert wrote, "The problem is that the material's stretched too thin. There's not enough here to fill a feature-length film. No doubt that's why we get so many barren landscapes filled with lonely music and ennui." (In fact, this film is on a list of Ebert's most hated films, along with other fine movies such as The Deathmaster, Critters 2, and Halloween III.) Continuing with reviews, on IMDB Aaron1375 writes, "Most of the movie is sadly rather underdone. Seems they had a somewhat interesting concept and just rushed it to the finish line." Lee Harris, also on IMDB, writes, "Volumes could be written about what this film lacks; plot, compelling diologue, catharsis, acting."

Simply put, these reviews are incorrect. Correcting them requires a detailed exploration of the film so detested by this "Roger Ebert" character.

Monday, September 18, 2017

"Are You Still Interested in a Pituitary Gland?" - The Chilling (1989)

Our next film is 1989's The Chilling, a variation on 1985's Return of the Living Dead but with an additional layer, a fascinating moral dilemma. The dilemma is whether cryogenically freezing bodies is good or evil. (Spoiler: it is evil.)

While The Chilling is a modern classic in my universe, the influential IMDB reviewers of your universe are less convinced of its quality. For example, Coventry writes, "Even in spite of the low budget available, they could have done better. The set pieces, make-up effects and costumes are pitiable." Uriah43 writes, "Everything—the action, the suspense and the horror—seemed tepid. And as a result I can only recommend it to 'zombie' and/or 'animated corpse' enthusiasts. Whichever the case may be." Paul Magne Haakonsen writes, "For a horror movie, then "The Chilling" is really boring and uneventful. And I am sure for a 1989 movie, it wasn't even really scary back then."

These reviews, needless to say, are incorrect. Let me correct the record and attempt to raise The Chilling to its rightful place among the zombie movie pantheon.

Monday, September 11, 2017

"Understanding the Mental Ills and the Psychological Problems of Mankind" - Werewolf Woman (1976)

I am no expert, but I do not believe there are many Italian werewolf films in your universe. A quick search turns up a few with which I am unfamiliar: an Ursus movie by Antonio Margheriti and Ruggero Deodato in which a sorceror turns men into werewolves, Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory (1961), and something called Versipellis. In general, however, I believe the Americans and the Spaniards have historically been more interested in werewolves, which is something of a shame given the spectacularly erudite Italian contribution to the genre, Werewolf Woman (1976) aka La Lupa Mannara.

 As is often the case with Italian films, the critics of your universe  completely miss the intellectual depth of the film. On IMDB, reviewer lazarillo writes, "This is NOT a good movie. Nor is it really even 'so-bad-its-good.'" TheMarquisDeSuave writes, "Unfortunately, the film becomes pretty irritating fast. There's no actual plot or anything else really." The_Void writes, "Normally, I enjoy films like this; but Werewolf Woman is indeed a bad film, and despite all the sex and savagery on display; it doesn't even make for a fun watch, and that really is unforgivable."

Unforgivable? No, entirely forgivable, as we shall soon see...

Monday, September 4, 2017

"A Bunch of Fantasies Going on Only in Your Head" - The Boogeyman (1980)

A film that has gone in and out of fashion over the years is 1980's The Boogeyman, directed by Ulli Lommel, a former actor who collaborated many times with Rainer Werner Fassbinder and a friend of Andy Warhol's. Mr. Lommel's artistic background was put to fine use in The Boogeyman, one of the first slasher films with no slasher.

While the film has both supporters and critics, it is clear that the negative critics are quite unfair to the film. When The Boogeyman was released in 1980, reviewer Gary Arnold wrote somewhat confusingly in the Washington Post, "It's difficult to judge whether the payoffs would be enhanced by a more plausible or clever pretext. Probably not. The shocks might even be curiously diluted by a little preliminary sophistication." On IMDB, reviewer ModKuraika says the film has a "dismal tone, terrible effects (for that time), cheesy acting. One of the worst films I have ever witnessed and never wish to view again." Also on IMDB, tomgillespie2002 calls the film "daft" and "instantly forgettable."

As always, I must dispel the cloud of negative perceptions about this film by looking at its positive qualities in detail.