Category Archives: 60s & 70s

“I Spit on Your Grave” (1978) REVIEW

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 What a fucking great title for a film. Truly one of the most badass.

 This is one of those exploitative “rape and revenge” flicks that was so popular in the 70s, along with Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left and Ruggero Deodato’s House at the Edge of the Park. I mean, yes, the film is pretty vile. And it is mostly violence and sex for violence and sex sake. But there is nothing better than watching the reeeallly bad guys get their comeuppance.A pretty, young writer goes to a secluded cottage to get some work done. The locals take a liking to her, but she shrugs off their advances. They don’t take kindly to her city ways and decide to give her a nice country welcome with a heavy dose of gang rape. Left for dead, the young woman exacts revenge on the redneck rapists.
 
There are a couple classic (cringe-inducing) scenes, especially for the male viewers. And who can forget that classic box art? If you want to be a well-rounded horror film fiend, you’ll make sure to watch this along with your haunted houses and mutant bugs.

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“Zombi 2” (1979) REVIEW

ZombieFleshEaters2While this movie should be shown in school as some sort of requirement to graduate, I still feel it’s unwatched enough by entry-level horror fans to be included on this list.

Maybe Lucio Fulci’s best known work, it was oddly marketed as a sequel to Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” — which it most certainly is not.

When zombies are found on an abandoned yacht in a New York harbor, the vessel is traced back to an island where it’s owner, a doctor, was last seen. The island, as it turns out, was suffering from a ‘strange disease’. The doctor’s daughter, along with some allies, stupidly goes in search of her father on the contaminated island. You can guess what happens next.

This is an Italian production, so you know what to expect: fast, cheap production; slow pacing; funky music; gore; tits. The movie contains several memorable scenes, including ‘the eyeball gag’ and ‘zombie fights shark’. It’s also notable for its creepy portrayal of the zombies, going for an earthy, decaying, ‘claypot’ look.

With Tisa Farrow (Mia’s sis) and Ian McCulloch as your leads you can expect at least decent acting. As I said, this is required viewing. Take notes — there will be a test.

“Wake in Fright” (1971) REVIEW

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“Wake in Fright” is not a horror movie in the traditional sense.  There’s no murder, no death, no overstated violence; There’s no boogeyman, no stalker, no creature that lunges from the shadows.  But the contents of “Wake in Fright” are indeed horrifying, and the peril the lead character finds himself in is far scarier than your typical slasher film, because the circumstances are much more real.

A teacher in a small, Australian town leaves class on the first day of Christmas vacation, boarding a train in hopes of seeing his girlfriend a couple hours away in Sydney.  There’s a layover in an even smaller, more desolate town called Bundanyabba where the teacher decides to grab a hotel room.  With nothing but time on his hands, he heads to a nearby bar.  Despite keeping to himself, he’s immediately greeted by the local sheriff who buddies up to him, buying him round after round deep into the night.  At first the teacher is cold and aloof, thinking himself above the locals.  But soon he’s drunk, and he eventually warms up to the sheriff, who introduces him to a gambling circuit happening in the back room of the bar.  The teacher starts out hot, winning hand after hand, resulting in fistfuls of cash.  He runs back to his room, awed by the amount of money he has won.  It is not enough, however, and soon greed consumes him, and he heads back to the bar where he proceeds to lose every dollar to his name.  Broke and stranded in a town he does not know, he must rely on the sketchy locals he earlier shunned for sympathy and support.  What started out as a stop for the night winds up being a three day plunge into the depths of humanity.  I don’t want to give it all away.  But I assure you, you’ll feel yucky when it’s all over.

I believe the film “U-Turn” — a movie I really enjoy — was inspired greatly by this movie.  A very similar set of circumstances befall both leads.  But while the small town characters in “U-Turn” are over the top, cartoonish caricatures, the people of Bundanyabba are flesh and bone, and as real and frightening as any person with nothing left to lose.

Lastly, sometimes you see a movie and the subject matter happens to coincide with current events in your life that make the movie all the more important and memorable.  When I was younger, I saw “Twister” during a particularly active tornado season in my small southern town.  Afterwards, walking down my street, gray skies overhead and wind whipping the trees back and forth, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a scene I’d viewed just a few hours earlier in which a tornado rips through a movie screen at a drive-in theater.  The similarities between the fictional and factual incidences coalesced to create a memory I can recall to this day in vivid detail.

“Wake in Fright” worked similarly: I watched the film during a particularly hot stretch toward the end of summer.  Plus, I got drunk while watching it, which is kind of the best way to see it.  As I sat there, sweating while guzzling down copious amounts of ice cold beer, I couldn’t help but feel like one of the characters: trapped by the inescapable heat and my own drunkenness.  I could almost taste the dust and hear the flies buzzing.  A truly hopeless feeling.

Trivia: Directed by the guy who did “First Blood” and “Weekend At Bernie’s”.