Blood Money, Vol. 29
Byon Jul 24, 2012
Welcome to this week’s installment of Blood Money, where we round up the week’s theatrical and home video offerings, as well as any other special new or recent entertainment releases for you to choose from as you’re attempting your one-man or one-family economic stimulus plan.
Theatrically, there’s only one film that falls anywhere near the horror category, and that’s William Friedkin’s Killer Joe. The story of a feckless kid who hires a cold-blooded detective to kill his mother in order to cash in her insurance policy, the film stars Emile Hirsch, Matthew McConaughey, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon and Juno Temple. Really more of a terrifyingly black comedy than a straight-out horror film, it features some of the more odd cinematic behavior audiences will watch during these summer months, but McConaughey seems to be on a roll between this and Magic Mike, here offering a truly chilling turn as the placid and unwavering title character. Although it’s not a great movie unless you like to watch uneducated people yelling profanities at each other, Killer Joe does have some genuinely disturbing moments, making it watchable as a shock piece more than anything.
On Blu-ray, Silent House comes home, and Elizabeth Olsen continues to make a splash as ne of her generation’s most promising actresses, here playing a young woman trapped inside her family’s home with a killer. Filmed in one continuous shot by the team responsible for the “stranded in the ocean” thriller Open Water, it’s as much of a stunt as it is a story, but there are some genuinely scary moments among all of the rest of its carefully-constructed, suspenseful payoffs. The Blu-ray features a commentary track by filmmakers Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, but we suspect you won’t want to listen to that at least until after the first viewing; otherwise it wouldn’t be a “silent” house, right?
Next up is the latest masterpiece from Asylum, 100th Street Haunting: The Ghost of Richard Speck. What I sort of love about this studio is that even diehard horror fans know that it exists to cheaply and crassly knockoff every even marginally successful “real” horror movie released, and yet they watch their output anyway. In any case, the film allegedly focuses on the “real” footage from the investigation of Richard Speck’s ghost at the site of his “heinous killing spree.” Little else is known about the film – including its cast, who’s not listed at places like Amazon – but available on Blu-ray and DVD, this is one of the better-quality releases in terms of presentation, even if it’s not necessarily so in terms of content.
Bathory: Countess of Blood is a 2008 film starring Anna Friel and Karel Roden, and it focuses on a real-life countess who was evidently one of the most prolific serial killers in human history. Directed by Juraj Jakubisko, the film’s stars are its marquee attraction, not to mention the prospect of watching a comely actress literally bathe in blood. Meanwhile from IFC, there’s The Corridor, which follows five friends who venture into the woods only to discover a portal which changes each of them – and all of them – irrevocably, producing an outcome which, as always seems to happen, “leaving no one unscathed.” (Just once we’d like to see someone emerged without any scathing at all.)
From Scorpion Entertainment comes The Hearse/ Blood of Dracula’s Castle, a double feature of old-school horror whose promotional synopsis sells Blood as “a version with a werewolf,” as if that’s such a remarkable accomplishment (real or not) that viewers will be helpless to resist its charms. Nevertheless it’s a double feature of old-school, creepy movies for less than $20, so it’s worth picking up, if only for performances from Trish Van Dever (Day of the Dolphin, The Changeling), Joseph Cotton (The Magnificent Ambersons) and John Carradine among others.
We wrote about it a few months ago, but Meeting Evil arrives on home video this week, a psychological thriller starring Luke Wilson as the victim of a killer (played by Samuel L. Jackson) who enlists his help in a killing spree across the nearby countryside. That this movie exists is such a weird discovery – it barely came out in theaters and shows up on DVD without fanfare – but it also stars Leslie Bibb and Tracie Thoms, so there’s some bona fide talent (or at least attractiveness) to enjoy as you’re figuring out how and why these two actors somehow ended up in this weird little horror movie. And finally, there’s Dracula vs. Frankenstein, this weird, wild 1971 movie starring Lon Chaney Jr. as an “axe-wielding maniac” working for Dr. Durray, the last descendant of the Frankenstein family. Dracula visits Durray and offers him the opportunity to revive his ancestor’s greatest creation, but we’re guessing that backfires on him – or if it doesn’t, then Monster Squad has a lot to answer for when it comes to originality.
Over at La-La Land Records, check out their new release of the Rosemary’s Baby soundtrack, which features the original LP soundtrack, as well as score elements that have seldom if ever been released officially. With 36 tracks, the disc features that soundtrack, the film’s score, and source music, making this the definitive release for the film’s soundtrack, and it’s not to be missed if you’re a fan of the film or simply great, terrifying film music. Meanwhile, Screen Archives recently offered pre-sale copies of a new CD featuring the scores to not one but two of John Carpenter’s early films, Assault on Precinct 13 and Dark Star. The Precinct score is a total knockout – a truly amazing piece of work – but prior to now, Dark Star has only been available in limited quantities on long-out of print vinyl, so this is a treasure trove of exclusive and amazing new music that is worth buying even if you’re only a passing fan of the filmmaker’s work.
But whatever you do, and whatever you watch, please stay safe, and be careful. And certainly only in reference to the entertainment you choose and the way you elect to pass your time, stay scared. We’ll be back to frighten you with more films, future and past, next week.