Tag Archives: accents from hell

Diagnosis terminal

BEYOND REMEDY

2.5 Stars  2008/18/91m

“Don’t worry… You won’t feel a thing.”

Director: Gerhard Hross / Writers: Jorge F. Peterson & Soren Hoffmann / Cast: Marie Zielcke, Daniel Krauss, Edward Piccin, David Gant, Rick Yune, Annalena Duken, Tobias Kasimirowicz, Jacqueline Burgschat.

Body Count: 5


Six young physicians volunteer to participate in a radical form of confronting therapy to rid them of the fears and phobias that obstruct their career paths. Pretty Julia is scared of blades (handy in a slasher film) after failing to give her dying brother a tracheotomy. There’s also the dark, claustrophobia, vertigo, and mirrors.

Professor Gingrich’s (cheapo Christopher Lee clone, Gant) methods are harsh enough but there’s also a scrubs-and-chainmail-clad killer who starts to do away with the youngsters one by one.

This German film has English audio, some decent setups and creepy imagery from time to time – the apples and blood work quite well when they appear – but suffers from characters who choose split up at the most unlikely time and a budget that means gunshots are presented as feeble clicks rather than big bangs.

Better than some of the other experiment-based slashers and the killer is interesting, if not entirely obvious, but too little in the way of scares or tension and some of the murders are damp squibs – despite what the cover says about ‘strong bloody violence’.

Stock Background Characters 101: Holy Vessels

In this feature, we examine the lesser beings of the slasher movie realm, which, if you’re making your own slasher film, could provide a good cast roster for you.

No killer or final girl profiles here, this is a celebration of those underlings who made the most of their fleeting flirtation with stardom. And usually died.

Now, cross yourself and say your prayers, because today belongs to the HOLY VESSELS!

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Overview: The humble slasher movie may not have loads to say on the subject of religion, it leaves that to the likes of The Omen and The Exorcist, but wherever there’s fundamentalist belief, there’s almost certainly horror and thus the leaders of religion. In slasher territory, it’s usually priests and nuns, and they can be nice or they can be agents of eeeeeevil.

Linguistic Snapshot: “My child, God has chosen to punish you. For the killer and his phallic weapon are what he hath sent to cleanse you of your sinful ways. Now here, drink this holy water before you BURN IN HELL!”

Styling: There’s really not much fashion variation in the church; Gok Wan would have a tantrum. Nuns don the usual habit, while priests have cloaks and collars but can at least do something with their hair: Murderous Father Jonas of Prom Night IV has a ponytail grown from years of being locked up in the depths of the church. Evil-child preacher Isaac from Children of the Corn rocks one of those old-tyme circular hats that sits like a black halo. A black halo of evil.

Hallmarks: Depending on whether the religious vessel is evil or not, hallmarks are unusually variable. For instance, Silent Night, Deadly Night‘s Mother Superior is not a villain per se, though it is she who undoubtedly plays a massive part in driving the killer’s rage come Christmas time, thanks to her strict ways and over zealous handing out of punishments for ‘naughty’ kids. There are the helpful Sisters of Christ from beyond the grave, guilt-ridden Catholic priests with secrets the Church cannot fix, cannibal satanic priests, water-bound ghost-nuns, and wannabe-hip homo-repressed fathers.

Downfall: Again, the fate of a holy vessel depends on their relationship to the victims. If they are killing them then the usual rules apply, if they are trying to save them then often they will die trying, see Father Reilly in The Boogey Man, who gets a torso full of kitchen knives as he faces down the mirror-demon thingy, and in non-slasher terms, Father Malone in The Fog, who sacrifices himself out of guilt.

Other holy vessels who serve to annoy or get in the way of the rest of the cast are summarily done in as any other victim: Ricky finally achieves what his brother never could by axing Mother Superior in Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (though why she is now scarred and the absence of her strong accent remains a mystery), and a dead prom queen-possessed teen shoves a crucifix down the throat of the guilt-ridden priest in Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II.

Father Cummings in Bloody Bloody Bible Camp gets a visit from Jesus – or Ron Jeremy – that saves him from the grave in order to save the remaining members of his flock from the psychotic killer ‘nun’.

Genesis: Religious folk have been appearing in slasher films for a long time in roles of differing significance. Alfred Sole’s anti-Catholicism flick Alice, Sweet Alice in 1976 had a zealot in a creepy plastic doll mask going on a minor killing spree, culminating in a church showdown; Wes Craven’s Deadly Blessing featured a sub-Amish community of hyper-religious folks and a mystery-killer operating in the locale, and a Loomis-aping priest tracked a psycho loon in Absurd.

Legacy: Unlike many of our other Stock Backgrounders, there’s been little change in the representation of holy folk in the genre. There are as many well-meaning ones as there are psychos: Maureen in Psycho III was a fallen nun who accidentally caused the death of another sister and was banished from the convent, only to end up at the Bates Motel where a worse fate awaited her; the ghost of Amanda Krueger whispered advice in Craig Wasson’s ear about defeating her evil undead son once and for all in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, and returned as a younger version of herself in the fifth film.

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A particularly creepy killer priest stalked college kids and some of his old comrades in Happy Hell Night, outdone twenty years later by the axe-swinging nun who terrorised the Happy Days Bloody Bloody Bible Camp (although it was set in 1984, so theoretically before Malius’ little spree), and the ghost of a nun took revenge on some old Catholic schoolgirls in…uh, The Nun. Or did she? Check out the accompanying Twist of Fury for this film’s risible revelation.

Plenty of other killers have used religion as a motive, the loon in The Majorettes, for example, who believes he is ‘purifying’ the ‘slutty’ girls of a high school cheerleadering squad.

And who could write about nuns in horror without taking a moment to recognise Jessica Lange’s Sister Jude from ‘American Horror Story’ – possibly the best nun in screen history?

Conclusions: Religion can be good or bad. I’m not a fan of it, but it certainly jazzes up some horror films when needs be. What I’d really like to see is a film with a transsexual nun. No idea why, just think it’d be awesome.

"No, sister... we were fucking."

“No, sister… we were fucking.”

A festival of wrong

wrongturn5dvd2WRONG TURN 5

1.5 Stars  2012/18/87m

A.k.a. Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines

Director/Writer: Declan O’Brien / Cast: Doug Bradley, Camilla Arfwedson, Roxanne McKee, Simon Ginty, Paul Luebke, Oliver Hoare, Amy Lennox, Duncan Wisbey, Peter Brooke, Borislav Iliev, Radoslav Parvanov, Georgi Karlukovski.

Body Count: 10

Laughter Lines: “Can you help me, officer, I think I took a wrong turn…” / “Another wrong turn?”


Almost ten years ago, I drove some distance to see Wrong Turn on the big screen. Expecting little, I was stoked to get a lot. While not a massive commercial success, amongst the horror audience, it has quite a good reputation for its balls-to-the-wall high-octane survivalist opus, which pits inner-city teens against a trio of mutant cannibal woodsmen in the middle of the West Virginia boonies.

I imagine it’s how people might’ve viewed A Nightmare on Elm Street twenty years earlier, and then mourned the dilution of the villain over the ensuing sequels. Freddy, however, at least retained a scary enough ambience in the second and third movies, before toting all the threat of a puppy thereafter. The mutants of Wrong Turn took the Chucky route to all-out parody ten minutes into the second film. A wrong turn of another kind.

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While the second movie was camp and bloody enough to be entertaining, by the time the third came around, production had been outsourced to Bulgaria and all aspects of horror were lost in a sea of cheap prosthetics and low-grade CGI grue. They went to Canada for the fourth (a prequel) and it’s back to Eastern Europe for the fifth film, a sequel to the prequel. I’m dizzy now.

The sad result is that Wrong Turn 5 is even worse than the third one. A combination of misleading plot, British actors shipped to Hungary and there trying to sound American, sets that look like they’ve been made of a cheap Lego substitute, and cheapo Halloween-mask make-up effects for the villains.

Observe Three-Finger in the original and how he looks now, which is ironically supposed to be a matter of weeks or months before the 2003 film:

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…or rather then-er. Further back.

Here, five teens camping out near the town of Fairlake, Hungary West Virginia, for the “Tenth Annual Mountain Man” festival, wrap their BMW round a tree and have an altercation with Doug Bradley, adopted father of sorts to the mutant loons. All are rounded up by the plucky female sheriff and thrown in jail.

Pinhead’s boys soon come to town to break him out, crossing paths with the same group of teens as they go and inflicting all sorts of pain on them: one girl’s belly is slashed open and she’s fed her own guts as she fades away, two more are run over by one of those ice-shredding trucks, and there are burnings, stabbings, and guttings galore.

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A festival setting might’ve been fun, but the budget was clearly so low they couldn’t afford one. Almost everything occurs in the cop shop, a motel room, or the Lego street sets, rendering Wrong Turn 5 more boring than any of its other sins.

Virtually every attempt to be creative fails, save for a couple of real-enough looking car crashes. Third-time-returning director O’Brien fills the time with ad-hoc nudity, people arguing the same point over and over, and sloppy demises for all. Three-Finger gets most of the screen time, giggling like the godawful Child’s Play-puppet he’s become.

We’re a long, long way from the low-concept, high-result territory of the first film. Makes me wonder what those involved with that film think when they see Wrong Turn 5 on a shelf?

"Can you still hear the lambs, Clarice?"

“Can you still hear the lambs, Clarice?”

Blurbs-of-shame: Iliev played Three-Finger in Wrong Turn 3; Radoslav Parvanov was one of the loons in Bulgarian-shot WT-rip off Stag Night.

Dire-logue’s Greatest Hits Volume 10: Stay calm, now…

“We all go a little mad sometimes,” so said one Norman Bates many, many moons ago. He wasn’t necessarily just speaking for “those of us” (but not me) who flip and start killing people, far more common is that many of us (this time including me) just flip and yell a lot…

THE DRILLER KILLER (1979): “I’ll tell you what you know about… You know to BITCH, and how to eat, and how to BITCH, and how to shit, and how to BITCH!”

FINAL STAB (2001): “Why don’t you go find a phone, some help at a nearby farmhouse, or a fucking tampon! I don’t care.”

HARPOON: REYKJAVIK WHALE WATCHING MASSACRE (2009): “I might be disgusting to you, but this fag here is the only hope your Bible-belt ripped church ass has of getting out of this alive!”

HAVE A NICE WEEKEND (1975): “You do exactly what I tell you! Mother – make sandwiches for everyone.”

HOLLOW GATE (1988): “Just a few Halloween nuts – is that all you old bitches want? Happy Halloween you filthy old HAG!”

KOLOBOS (1999): “How about a nice, hot cup of shut the fuck up!?”

MR HALLOWEEN (2006): “Why does everybody in this GODDAMN town gotta tell me my GODDAMN job? Got no GODDAMN  respect!”

OFFICE KILLER (1996): “Kim: go home… go to unemployment… just leave!”

SCARECROW GONE WILD (2004): “If I hear the worlds “let’s split up” I will bitch-slap the both of you.”

TENEBRAE (1982): “Male heroes… with their hairy, macho bullshit.”

TOOLBOX MURDERS (1977): “Come here, you dirty fornicator!”

VOYEUR.COM (2000): “Hey, you’re killing my buzz, Euroboobs!”

Break a leg.

STAGEFRIGHT

3 Stars  1987/18/86m

“The theater of death.”

A.k.a. Aquarius; Bloody Bird; Sound Stage Massacre

Director: Michele Soavi / Writer: Lew Cooper / Cast: Barbara Cupisti, David Brandon, Mary Sellers, Robert Gligorov, Jo Anne Smith, John Morghen, Martin Philips, Piero Vida, Ulrike Schwerk, Lori Parrel, Clain Parker, James E.R. Sampson.

Body Count: 10

Dire-logue: (cowering victim to chainsaw swinging killer) “I’ll do you a deal… you leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone, OK?”


I really need to seek out StageFright again someday. It’s probably worth more than three stars.

Anyway, based on what I do remember many moons after I saw it in the age of big box ex-rental VHS tapes, young stage actress Alicia (Cupisti), injures her ankle, she’s taken to a nearby psychiatric hospital to get it checked by a doctor. High-profile psycho loon Irving Wallace breaks out of his cell at the same time and hides in the back of her car, getting a ride back to the theatre where she’s just been fired from an all-night rehearsal for a play about Jack the Ripper.

When the costume designer gets a pick-axe in the mouth outside, egotistical director Peter decides to change the play to be about Wallace (under the illusion the killer fled the scene) and re-hires Alicia out of sympathy. And locks them all in.

It soon becomes clear that Wallace is stuck inside with the cast and crew and begins offing them with knives, axes, power-drills, and a handy chainsaw – all under the disguise of a pretty creepy bird mask. This gory flick supposedly influenced Argento’s Opera and features some good, intense sequences and downright brutal demises for a majority of the cast.

Alicia’s brushes with the killer as she struggles to find an escape route peak in a scene where she tries to retrieve the key to her escape from beneath his feet. Of course, at the end they engage in one on one combat and she prevails, but the added scene lends a most surreal slant when Alicia returns to retrieve her lost watch and the caretaker repeats the same line over and over for no apparent reason…

The only flaw is the re-recorded dubbing, which disables much of the effect of the original dialogue and, like so many European movies, cannot recapture the ‘in the moment’ performance, drawing laughter sometimes when there should be terror.

Blurbs-of-interest: Director Soavi played the role of a victim in Absurd; Mary Sellers was also in the super-creepy Ghosthouse.

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