70's

The original “The Hills Have Eyes” is a film enshrined in the upper most tier of the cult movie pantheon. It’s a fascinating slice of cinema in that it embodies so much of what makes American movies and in particular American “genre” movies what they are, what they were and what they can be. The film’s brutal narrative punch is still palpable today and it works wonderfully as a companion piece to Wes Craven’s earlier film “The Last House on the Left”, teasing out and further exploring innate, instinctual violence and its relationship to the family and self.

Come on down a rainbow slide to Candyland actualized, where bikkies and dollies and sweeties abide the every whim of the child inside. Orange and lemons say the bells of St. Clement’s. If on arrival you should find, a new friend smiling and happy times, then ask no questions, follow the rules and friends you’ll stay in a castle of fools. But try to run or spoil the fun, then ghouls you’ll find of fiendish mind, who will send you to the angels with a broken spine.

Everybody does it. Autumn hits, the leaves die off and turn pretty colors and little ghosts and goblins come knocking at your door to beg for sweet stuff. It's Halloween, that time of year that requires, dare I say demands, thrills and chills.

Ethics and movie reviewing can be uneasy bedfellows. I think this is mostly because we all start developing tastes well before we start in depth critical thinking about the construction and overall effectiveness of the films we watch. And though all of us may try to fall back on some techniques of objective critique, it can be difficult to apply what you know about film theory to a film like John Mikl Thor's “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare”. That said we all have some thumbnail idea about what makes a film worthy and rules that help us to determine that.

“Don’t Torture a Duckling” is the story of Accendura, a remote village in Central Italy that is beset by a rash of child murders. The police race against the growing rage of the community to find a killer in a town of myriad secrets. Accendura’s residents are closed off and superstitious, augmenting Catholicism with provincial spirits and the charms of a local shaman. The influences of early seventies Italy on the closed world of Accendura comes mostly in the form of hookers, outcasts, and in the middle of this crisis, a band of soulless reporters.

In 1972, director Massimo Dallamano teamed up with cinematographer Aristide Massacessi (aka Joe D’amato) to make “What Have You Done to Solange?” Dallamano was an accomplished cameraman in his own right, having shot Leone’s “A Fistful of Dollars” and “For a Few Dollars More”. Directorially he had a made a name for himself 3 years earlier with the infamous “Devil in the Flesh (aka Venus in Furs)”. Ultimately though, Solange’ would prove to be his best known and most highly regarded work.

Lucio Fulci is probably most famous for his role as accelerant in the Italian gore arms race of the late 70’s and early 80’s. If Argento and Umberto Lenzi were Kiss and Alice Cooper then Fulci was Gwar. His signature works of grue abandoned logic and cohesive narrative in order to push the splatter factor past revulsion to near parody. Films like “Zombi 2”, “City of the Living Dead” and “The Beyond” sought out increasingly severe and unconventional ways of getting entrails, connective tissues, and the four humors onto the screen by the bucketful.