Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Wizard of Gore: Movie Review #3

The Wizard of Gore (1970)

Back in 1999 or 2000 I was reading Disco Bloodbath by James St. James, which tells the story of the infamous NYC "murder in clubland" during the peak of the Limelight party era. In this book James claims that the party-boy murderer, Michael Alig, was hooked on old low budget horror films (among other things), and his party Blood Feast was a result of this obsession. I investigated further and discovered Blood Feast, and Lewis immediately became one of my favorite horror filmmakers.

Herschell Gordon Lewis is, quite simply, a genius. Even more than just from a film lover's point of view - the man writes scores to his own films, so as a musician I have an even deeper respect for the man . The Wizard of Gore might just be my favorite Lewis film of all time. The main character Montag looks like someone's drunken uncle, but he is a magician/murderer that mauls women on stage, stabbing and sawing them into a bloody pile of organs. The illusion is that the audience sees this happen, but the participants do not actually die . . . they walk off stage in one piece (that is, until they go home). Bodies begin turning up, cut up and mutilated the same way they were on stage. Pure genius.

It seems to be a trend in Lewis's films to torture and murder women, and this film is no exception. Some think of him as a pervert, or a psychopath, because of the bloody gore and sex that is so prevalent in every one of his films - I think this just makes him a bona fide genius and artist.

The movie has been resurrected, with Crispin Glover playing Montag. That's right, good old Marty McFly aka Willard the Rat Collector. I think he will do the character justice - as a matter of fact, I can't think of a single actor I'd rather see play this lead. However, there is no possible way that Jeremy Kasten will be able to mimic the low budget cinematography, disturbing music, and 70's feel of any Lewis film. Nonetheless, I have never been this excited for a remake . . .

For more info on the new film, check out

Friday, March 14, 2008

House of Wax: Movie Review #2

House of Wax (1953)

Vincent Price has been my idol since the very first time I heard him laugh on Michael Jackson's Thriller. I am in the middle of Denis Meikle's book Vincent Price: The Art of Fear and I cannot put it down. But I did take a break from my reading for yet another viewing of the classic horror film, House Of Wax.

First off, the recent remake of this film does the original absolutely no justice (which is usually the case in most horror remakes, but having Paris Hilton in the cast is enough to make it completely useless). However, Price's performance in the original made him an instant staple in horror cinema for years to come. While House on Haunted Hill remains one of his more popular titles, House of Wax is still my personal favorite.

After Price's life's work as a wax sculptor is destoyed by his greedy investor turned arsonist, Price seeks revenge by murdering people and using their bodies as wax sculptures in his new museum. Visitors marvel at the realistic appearance of the figures. Presumed dead in the fire, Price's burned face is hidden by his own wax mask for the duration of the film as he runs around town like a mutilated Zorro, fully equipped with black hat and cape, which is more of a laugh than a scare. His sidekick is a deaf mute also adds some real comedy to the plot, and the stupidity of the local police adds even more. But like all bad guys, Price gets his in the end, by falling into an enormous boiling cauldron of wax. Forgive the bad joke here, but this film is absolutely PRICELESS!

Funland: Movie Review #1

Funland (1986)

It is rare that I will turn off a horror movie before it ends. However, after almost 40 minutes of this PG-13 1986 disgrace to the horror film genre I had had enough. I hate to start off this blog and my first film review on a bad note, but here goes . . .

The Funland Amusement Park is taken over by a stereo-typical Italian family who's father saw The Godfather series one too many times, and their first move is to fire the park's mascot, a deranged circus clown whose only friend is a talking pepperoni hand puppet. The humorous and ridiculous dialogue of the film is enough to capture your attention for a good 30 minutes, and the knockout cast includes the lady who said the famous "there's no basement in the Alamo" line in Pee Wee's Big Adventure and one of the cops from an early Police Academy. The lead character's plunge into insanity is far too drawn out, and there is no gore at all for the first half of the film. I didn't make it through the movie so I can't say there was even any gore worth mentioning. Save yourself some time and rent Killer Klownz From Outer Space or Drive Thru if you're in the mood for a good clown-killer movie.