October 8, 2011

Filthy Review - The Last House on the Left: A Tribute To David Hess RIP

The Last House on the Left (1972)

Review by Jude Felton

When I first saw The Last House on the Left a few years ago I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Sure, I’d heard stories about it and read numerous articles on it, but still, you never quite know until you see the movie itself. Being as this was another victim of a ban in the UK I had to wait longer than I would have liked. However, reading all that I did couldn’t quite prepare me for what I did see up on the screen. Yes it is a nasty, cold movie, but it is also one of incredible contrasts. Contrasts that I for one was not expecting.

The main story has been borrowed from Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring and follows the ordeal of two girls that head to the big city to take in a concert. Whilst in the city they make the unfortunate mistake of trying to procure some drugs from Junior, who happens to be part of a vicious gang of murderers and rapists that is led by Krug (David Hess).

Things go from bad to worse as the two girls are subjected to the gang’s brutal beatings and even nastier rapes. This is not a glossy Hollywood movie, this is low budget and downright nasty, and is all the better for it.

One thing that did surprise me about the movie is the tone of it. One minute it is as dark as night, as you might expect from the subject matter, but you will have David Hess’s wonderfully cheerful music playing over the scene which plays with your emotions as you are watching the horrors unfold. The movie will then cut to an idyllic scene with one of the girls parents as they prepare for her birthday, or to the two police officers that add a little light relief.

The whole time though your focus will be on the suffering of the two girls, regardless of what is happening on screen at that particular moment in time. For a debut picture Wes Craven nailed this one spot on.

The gang themselves are wonderfully portrayed by the actors. David Hess being the focal point, menacing, yet charming. Personally though I thought the character of Weasel (Fred J Lincoln) was the more disturbing of the gang, although not quite as nasty as Krug, there is something very wrong with him, a wonderful performance played with great subtlety. Not that subtle is a word that can be easily used to describe anything about this movie.

Aside from the gang, the performances of the two girls were phenomenal, from happy-go-lucky girls out for a good time, to the suffering they endure, every emotion is portrayed perfectly by the two actresses.

The rest of the cast are also played perfectly, from the loving parents to the comedy cops, each performance adds another layer to what at first may seem to be a very one dimensional movie. Although one dimensional is so very far from the truth of the matter.

For an obviously low budget movie the special effects are quite decent, and very shocking, especially considering the age of the movie. In all honesty though this isn’t a movie that relies on, or needs, special effects, as it is the performances and the cinematography that make the movie so damned effective.

I must, once again, mention the music of David Hess (yes the same David Hess that plays Krug), which plays throughout the movie. Although at first it seems quite light and easy listening it helps add so much to so many of the scenes that unfold here. Even a relatively innocent shower scene, towards the beginning of the movie, is given an air of dread, as if warning us of the horrors to come later on.

Great movies are so often the sum of all their parts, and if that is the case then this truly is a great movie. Of course there is the odd minor technical flaw here and there, but that doesn’t take away from the movie as a whole. It is very rare for a horror movie to have every area performed with such skill, and credit must be given to Wes Craven for bringing this all together in this wonderfully nasty little movie.

When is comes to extreme cinema The Last House on the Left must be the benchmark to which all are compared. It may not be the most violent, or the goriest, but the atmosphere here is as dark as it gets.

Filthy Review - The Woman

The Woman (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

The Woman is the eagerly anticipated collaboration between author Jack Ketchum and director Lucky McGee. It’s a movie that has already stirred up a monumental pot of shit, thanks mainly to a looney at the Sundance Film Festival crying about it, which in turn has helped in the publicity department no end. If you have seen this fella’s rant, just Google it, you’d think that The Woman was the beginning of the Apocalypse transformed into a movie, which it isn’t. The Woman probably will ruffle a few feathers, as it is a bold and confrontational movie, but you have to remember we are dealing with a movie that Jack Ketchum co-wrote, and any movie will have to go a long way to even come close to the power of the novel The Girl Next Door, or even the excellent movie adaptation.

Controversy and hype aside I will admit to have been looking forward to watching this as soon as I heard that Lucky McGee would be working with Angela Bettis again. These two just seem to work so well together, their 2002 movie May still being one of the best horror films of the past decade.

Onto The Woman then, not literally of course, and what we have is a very simple plot that has many different layers to it. Lawyer and family man Chris Cleek has the perfect life, or so it seems, he lives in the nice big house in the country, has his doting wife and loyal children. So, on the surface it might seem strange that whilst out hunting upon spying a young feral woman he decides to capture her and tie her up in a cellar on his property. His plan is to “civilize” her by fair means or foul, mainly the foul side of things. His family doesn’t seem to think that there is anything wrong with this, his son worships him, his eldest daughter has her own worries and his wife just accepts it. It is not until the movie progresses and the layers are unraveled that the true horrors are revealed in this brutal movie.

If you go into this movie expecting a bloody and violent exercise in pure horror you may find yourself a little disappointed. Sure, it is brutal and it does get quite bloody but it isn’t quite as straightforward as all that. The focus is more on the actual characters than in trying to shock and offend, which it could well do. Sean Bridgers, as Chris Cleek, delivers a cold yet personable performance, you know there is something very wrong with him yet it takes time to really uncover the depths of it.

The Woman is also a movie of contrasts with many scenes having a seemingly out of place soundtrack that conflict with what is taking place on screen. To me this seemed to be a very deliberate way of manipulating the viewing experience. Initially this put me off yet I ended up thinking that it made perfect sense.

One argument I can see be leveled at The Woman would be that it is an incredibly misogynistic movie. However, from my point of view, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Woman, and women, are all the focal points of this movie and yes for the most part they are treated fairly horrifically, but this is a movie that needs to be seen in its entirety for all the pieces to fall into place. It is though a movie that will be interpreted differently from viewer to viewer, and from female perspective to male perspective, as Ketchum and McGee force you to confront the onscreen horrors.

The Woman is certainly not your typical kind of horror movie, there are echoes of The Girl Next Door amongst others, and it does require a certain amount of patience to appreciate its full and devastating power. It is uncomfortable, violent and unsettling viewing, pretty much everything an effective horror movie should be.

The Woman is an excellent and confrontational movie and as such comes highly recommended from me.

The Woman hits selected theaters on October 14th

Filthy Review - Atrocious

Atrocious (2010)

Review by Jude Felton

As a fan of genre cinema it all amuses me how time puts a different perspective on how films are viewed. At the time of writing this there is an almost constant bemoaning of the amount of first-person, or found footage, style of movie that are doing the rounds right now. This style which was brought out into the public consciousness with The Balir Witch Project, and more recently with Paranormal Activity, isn’t particularly new but it is very popular with filmmakers right now. Let’s go back in time though. In the 60s’ there was a new gothic vampire flick every 5 minutes, the 70s gave us an influx of Giallo and 80s we were bombarded with Slasher movies. Not all these movies were great, in fact some were downright terrible, yet more often than not they are looked back at with rose-tinted glasses. The genre goes through phases, and right now the found footage style is popular.

Is it all that new though? For years we saw the action in first person through the eyes of the killer, I mean who can forget the lengthy opening to Halloween? It put us, the viewer, right at the bloody heart of the action. Now we get the flipside, we are put into the action from the perspective of the potential victims, admittedly for the entire movie. Is it so different though?

This all brings us, in a lengthy and roundabout way, to the latest found footage movie to grace my screen. The movie in question is the Spanish flick Atrocious, which aside from not having the most enticing name ever, aims to put another spin on the genre. The film is shot from the viewpoint of brother and sister, Cristian and July, who like nothing more than to investigate urban legends and make home movies about them.

The film we see is cut from 37 hours of film the police discovered after Cristian and July, along with their parents, brother Jose and family dog, vacation in a family house near Sitges in Spain. The isolated house and surrounding area has tales of its own urban legend featuring a girl named Melinda, so of course Cristian wants to investigate this story.

Atrocious is most definitely a game of two halves, with the first half consisting of us getting to know the cast and not too much happening, as is often the case. Once the film passes the 40 minute mark (it’s only a 73 minute movie) the action cranks up to an almost frenetic pace though. Writer/Director Fernando Barreda Luna ensures that it doesn’t let up until the end.

I was actually quite surprised by how effective Atrocious was, it does get quite scary in the later stages with the feeling of not knowing what is going to happen working wonderfully. The film isn’t especially gory, yet they are still some fairly uncomfortable scenes to sit through that some might find quite shocking.

If I had any real complaints it would be that some of the scenes were quite dark, making it hard to see what was going on. It’s not until later on in the movie that they decide to employ their night-vision camera. That being said though Atrocious is a more than worthy addition to this sub-genre. If you don’t like this style of movie it probably won’t sway you in its favor, however, if you appreciate the slow-burn in your face action I can see you really enjoying it, as I did.

Atrocious is a film for the patient viewer and is one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Atrocious is available on DVD through The Collective on October 25th

October 7, 2011

Human Centipede 2 - Poster, Trailer and Stills

After A Serbian Film one of the most controversial, and talked about, movies was without a doubt The Human Centipede (First Sequence). Today, October 7th, see's its equally controversial sequel (Final Sequence), once again directed by Tom Six, open in New York and Los Angeles through IFC, with other cities following suit. It will see a VOD release on October 12th and I am sure will no doubt fuel many heated conversations.

Below is the list of theaters it will be opening in, as well as a full synopsis, a handful of stills and the trailer for your viewing pleasure.

Theater List for HC2


Martin is a mentally disturbed loner who lives with his nagging mother in a bleak London housing project, where loud neighbors and cramped living conditions threaten to plunge this victim of sexual and psychological abuse over the edge.

He works the night shift as a security guard in an underground parking garage, where customers and their vehicles come and go as he indulges his obsession with THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE) watching the film over and over on the small TV set in his office and meticulously examining the scrapbook he has lovingly filled with memorabilia from the film, including the mouth-to-anus surgery instructions made famous by Dr. Heiter, the mad scientist from Martin's favorite movie.

Pushed to the brink by his harridan mother, haunted by the teasing voices of his abusive and incarcerated father, Martin sets into motion his plan to emulate Heiter's centipede by creating his own version, in a rented warehouse, which he begins to fill with victims, including a loud neighbor, two drunk nightclubbers, a prostitute and a lecherous john, and several more ... including Martin's pièce de résistance, one of the actresses from THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE).

Except that Martin lacks the surgical skill, medical instruments and operating theater necessary to create a larger centipede in the image of Dr. Heiter's masterpiece. So he makes use of materials at hand: duct tape, staple gun, household tools and a fanboy moxie.

What follows is one of the most harrowing and terrifying films ever conceived, featuring a central character that makes FIRST SEQUENCE's Dr. Heiter seem downright cuddly in comparison. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FINAL SEQUENCE) is a triumph in biological horror by one of the new masters of the horror film.

October 5, 2011

Filthy Review - Submarine

Submarine (2010)

Review by Jude Felton

I will start off this review by saying that I haven’t been overly familiar with director Richard Ayoade’s acting career. Shows such as The Mighty Boosh and The IT Crowd never really crossed my radar. Saying that though, I did enjoy Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, even if I can’t recall the roles Ayoade played. Maybe this is a blessing though as it meant I went into Submarine with no expectations whatsoever connected to his name. If Submarine is anything to go by I would hope, and expect, to see more (or less if you prefer) of him behind the camera.

Released in the UK in 2010 Submarine is just now getting its DVD and Blu-ray release here in the States. Whether this is in part due to Ben Stiller’s involvement as Executive Producer I can only speculate, but seeing as though it is a slightly warped coming-of-age flick from Wales I would possibly think so.

Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) is a strange young lad, he’s socially awkward preferring instead to daydream and conjure up fantasies in his head. Seemingly obsessed with Jordana (Yasmin Paige), herself somewhat of an outcast, yet reluctant to put too much effort into his pursuit of her, and subsequent courtship.

The other main focus of his life is his observations on his parents relationship with each other. Lionel Tate (Noah Taylor) and Jill Tate (Sally Hawkins) seem stuck in a rut and Oliver is convinced that his mother is planning an affair with the fantastically mulleted Graham Purvis (Paddy Considine), a self-help guru wannabe ninja. Oh, just watch the movie, it will all make sense!

So the movie weaves its magic, it’s straightforward yet almost dreamlike in its approach. The script is absolutely wonderful with all the cast delivering it perfectly. In particular Roberts, who is a revelation, is just fantastic and the double-header of Taylor (Red, White and Blue) and Considine (Hot Fuzz) are just great in their roles. The soundtrack is also spot-on, performed by Andrew Hewitt, it never intrudes on the story, but serves only to compliment and enhance it.

There had to be something about this movie that didn’t work, right? Well, not from where I was sitting. It is very rare that I watch a movie and then want to watch it again straight away. Yes, I thought it was that good. It IS that that good. The other coming-of-age flick that I would say I enjoyed just as much is the phenomenal Stand By Me, and even though the stories are miles apart I would put Submarine right up there with the Stephen King adaptation.

Quirky, touching and laugh-out-loud funny, Submarine is by far one of the most enjoyable films I have seen this year, and I have seen some excellent films. Don’t be surprised to see this on my films of the year list come the end of the year. Fantastic.

Submarine is available now from Anchor Bay Entertainment

October 3, 2011

A Serbian Film Set To Brutalize DVD And Blu-Ray

Without a doubt the most controversial movie of recent years, Srdjan Spasojevic's A Serbian Film is all set to hit DVD and Blu-ray on October 25th through Invincible Pictures. So make sure you have a strong stomach before watching this over the Halloween season! I do believe that even though this is an NC-17 rated release it is not entirely uncut. I could be wrong, although I would be very surprised to see an uncut release.

Milos, a retired porn star, leads a normal family life with his wife Maria and six-year old son Petar in tumultuous Serbia, trying to make ends meet. A sudden call from his former colleague Layla will change everything. Aware of his financial problems, Layla introduces Milos to Vukmir - mysterious, menacing and politically powerful figure in erotic art and film. A leading role in Vukmir's new production will provide financial support to Milos and his family for the rest of their lives. A contract insists on his absolute unawareness of a script they will shoot.

From then on, Milos is drawn into a maelstrom of unbelievable cruelty and mayhem devised by his employer, "the director" of his destiny. Vukmir and his cohorts will stop at nothing to complete his vision. In order to escape the living cinematic hell he's put into, and save his family's life, Milos will have to sacrifice everything - his pride, his morality, his sanity, and maybe even his own life.


New York, NY (October 3rd, 2011) - Invincible Pictures is proud to announce the October 25th, 2011 home entertainment release of Srdjan Spasojevic's incendiaryA SERBIAN FILM. Since inspiring outrage and debate upon screenings at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival, A SERBIAN FILM has become one of the most notorious, shocking, discussed and controversial films within recent memory. Too provocative for Netflix, the film will be available in stores, on Amazon.com, the film's official site (www.serbianfilmmovie.comand on FlixFling.com, a new online streaming service.

For more information, please visit: http://www.serbianfilmmovie.com/



Street Date: 10/25

Run time: 104 minutes

Rating: NC-17 for extreme aberrant sexual and violent content including explicit dialogue

DVD Sound: Stereo

Blu-ray Sound: Stereo

DVD SRP: $19.95

Blu-ray SRP: $19.95

Screen Format: Widescreen

Language: Serbian (English Subtitles)

CC: English



Found Footage Flick Atrocious DVD Artwork, Trailer And Stills

The Spanish language found footage flick Atrocious is the latest in the Bloody Disgusting Selects series of flicks to hit DVD and Digital Download. It drops on October 25th from The Collective and follows the releases of Phase 7, YellowBrickRoad, The Woman and Rammbock: Berlin Undead.

ATROCIOUS is a gruesome, mind-bending thriller shot in a style reminiscent of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. The horror film excerpts found footage from a film reel recovered by Spanish police, documenting a family of five discovering the truth behind a dangerous urban legend. The 37 hours of found footage follow Cristian and July Quintanilla passing time at their summer home by investigating a terrifying and mysterious urban legend. As their investigation intensifies, strange occurrences in and around the house escalate rapidly, culminating finally in unspeakable atrocities.

October 2, 2011

Filthy Review - The Hounds

The Hounds (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

To take a premise as overused as a group of friends on a camping trip and still making a film that is not predictable is definitely an achievement. If the film turns out to be good as well that can only be great news. This is what we get with the English horror flick The Hounds.

Dave, Martin, Sarah and Jake are four friends that meet up at the Hound and Hare pub for a few drinks. During the course of the evening they decide to go camping the following day. The next day comes and whilst three of the friends are ready and raring to go, Martin is nowhere to be found. Not wanting to hang around the three friends decide to head on out to their destination.
Running parallel to this plot strand is another featuring Myke, an alcoholic Detective, who is working a case. As the movie progresses the two stories keep their distance and keep you guessing as to how they are both linked.

What I will say about The Hounds is that it is most certainly a film of the slow-burning variety. The focus being very much on the camping friends and the interplay between them, and not on action-packed gore sequences. When the scares, and moderate gore, do arrive it is very effectively done, yet this is secondary to keeping the viewer guessing as to what is actually happening. To draw any comparisons to other films, of which I tried, would only serve to spoil the film. So, it’s just as well I couldn’t think of any off the top of my head. It is that sort of film, the less you know the better.

I would hazard a guess that The Hounds was shot on a moderate to low budget, by the directing duo of Maurizio and Roberto Del Picolo, and even though at times it does show it does not affect the impact of the movie. The acting is decent enough, with only one character being particularly grating, and the cast all come across well, giving solid performances.

I would have liked to have seen the filmmakers tighten the movie up just a little as some of the earlier scenes did drag slightly. The payoff though is well worth it with some genuinely creepy scenes to get the hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention. The fact that The Hounds is the debut feature film for the directors is also worthy of note, and I can only hope they build on this movie in their future work.

Slight pacing issues aside I have no hesitation in recommending The Hounds to fans of original horror, that is unless you have an attention deficit disorder that won’t allow you to sit through a movie that wasn’t edited by someone hopped up on caffeine.

A good, solid horror film that, I am sure, will keep you guessing until the very end. In this day and age that is definitely something to applaud.

The Hounds is currently awaiting release and is due to play Festivals later this year. For more information check out the film's Official Site.

Filthy Review - Red

Red (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Director Maude Michaud was not a name I was familiar before viewing this short movie. I do believe however that we will be hearing more from this Canadian filmmaker, especially if Red is anything to go by. If you know me you will know by now that I am fan of the short movie, so it is always a pleasure to view new and exciting entries to this format.

The movie itself focuses on Dan and his hobby of seducing the tenants that rent out his spare room, and then murdering them. That’s right, our man is a snuff fanatic who likes nothing more than to sit back with a smoke and admire his work. Dan’s not some knuckle-dragging mess of a man though, he’s just your everyday kind of fellow with a very disturbing pastime.

Whilst watching the film of his latest conquest a new prospective tenant turns up at his front door, and this is when things change for Dan.

Red is an assured piece of filmmaking and, whilst I did work out exactly what was going to happen, kept me enthralled through to its conclusion. This was due in the most part to a slick script that turned the gender roles on their head in a subtly manipulative manner. We, the viewers, know exactly what is going on and even when Dan thinks he is in charge we know he isn’t.

With this in mind it is here that I would find the only real negative point about Red, and that is the sense of knowing what is going to happen. On the flipside though, with the main theme of the film being voyeurism, you could also add that the film brings the viewer in as an accomplice. Whatever director Michaud’s motive are you can safely say that this is an impressive outing that I recommend checking out. 

Solid performances from the leads, a cameo from Viscera Film Festival Co-Director Shannon Lark and an obviously love and appreciation for cinema all combine to make this a film well worth watching.

For more information about Red and Maude Michaud's work check out Quirk Films Official Site