Blood Money, Vol. 32
Byon Aug 23, 2012
Another week, another series of dismembered corpses. Yes, it’s time for a new installment of Blood Money, Chiller’s weekly chronicle of the latest (if not always greatest) horror-themed movies to hit theaters and home video. And remarkably, there’s not one but two theatrical releases determined to scare the pants off of you this week (or at the very least, scare the money out of them): The Apparition and The Revenant.
Starring Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan and Tom Felton, The Apparition follows a couple who find themselves being followed by a spirit they accidentally conjured during a university parapsychology experiment. Felton plays a supernatural expert who agrees to help them get rid of the evil force – that is, if it’s not too late. While the writer-director, Todd Lincoln, doesn’t have a name that will be immediately familiar to genre fans (it’s his feature debut), his cinematographer is the great Daniel Pearl, who worked on both the original remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as well as the remake of Friday the 13th. In fact, it’s his expertise at rendering some gorgeously terrifying images that makes this worth seeing, even if the prospect of seeing a Twilight cast member and Tony Stark’s dad hang out with Malfoy from Harry Potter isn’t enough to get you into the theater.
Then there’s The Revenant, a film which has drawn raves at a variety of festivals for its combination of sociopolitical commentary and its irreverent affection for zombie-movie conventions. Featuring Chris Wylde and David Anders, the film follows a dead soldier sent home from Iraq who becomes re-animated and seeks help from his longtime best friend. After the two of them exhaust conventionaly means of getting him human flesh, they turn to crime fighting, and eventually, just plain crime. Again, it’s fun and goofy while still retaining a gory edge, and even possesses a (moderately) substantial commentary on the disposability of American soldiers and the hierarchy of good and bad guys who populate the streets.
On home video, Anchor Bay has released Halloween 4 and 5, which offers a welcome upgrade to two films in the series, which, while not necessarily favorites, certainly are essential to fleshing out one’s collection of films from the series. But if their titles are too subtle for your tastes, there’s also Psychos in the Woods: Killing Frenzy Unleashed, which is fairly self-explanatory and fully satisfying, if you like watching movies about campers falling prey to killers in the woods. Or, if that’s still not quite weirdly geographically specific, there’s Extreme Canadian Horror: 5 Movie Collection, which includes the films Abolition, Aegri Somnia, Long Pigs, I Heart Doomsday and Werewolf Fever, none of which I’ve ever heard of, but then again maybe they were originally shot in French and are therefore seemingly more obscure once they’ve been brought to the States.
For something a little bit more old-school, try out 10-Film Horror Cult Classics Collection, which includes the features Night of the Living Dead, The Devil Bat, House on Haunted Hill, Piranha, White Zombie, The Bat, Carnival of Souls, Maniac and The Last Man on Earth. Mind you, not all of these are the films you might expect – Piranha, for example, is not Joe Dante’s cult classic – but these are all bona fide classic horror films featuring the likes of Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price, and they offer a welcome alternative to the overstated gore and desperate “grittiness” that many contemporary filmmakers use to disguise low-grade production values. And for $10, you can’t go wrong – this is value and quality, all in one.
From Redemption Films, meanwhile, comes Black Magic Rites (Remastered Edition), an Italian horror film from director Renato Polselli. Redemption typically does a solid job finding – or at least restoring – original film elements, and produces here a good transfer of a film which you may not know, but is deserving of attention at least within the canon of Italian horror, which certainly has films that vary wildly in quality, but almost all of them have a specific kind of aesthetic that makes them distinctive or interesting.
Finally, there’s Thinner, the adaptation of the Stephen King story about a man who is cursed by a gypsy to try and consume as much as possible to avoid dwindling away to nothing. Directed by Tom Holland of Fright Night fame, this film failed to make the same kind of waves that his others did, but via a new Blu-ray courtesy Olive Films, this might be a good opportunity to revisit it and see if it deserves to have its reputation fattened up, so to speak.