Crimson (1976) Review

crimsonCrimson (The Man with the Severed Head) 1976

Las ratas no duermen de noche (original title)

Director: Juan Fortuny

Starring: Paul Naschy, Silvia Solar, Olivier Mathot, Gilda Arancio, Claude Boissen, Carlos Otero

Out NOW on UK DVD from Black House Films

“Otherwise…understand.”

A gang of four criminals lead by Henry (Mathot) is attempting to rob a jewelry store when it all goes hilariously wrong. One of Henry’s flunkies (I don’t know which- the one with glasses) steals a pearl necklace, setting off the alarm. The robbers flee and end up in a shootout with police during which their safe cracker Surnett (Naschy) is shot in the head. Unable to take him to a hospital the thieves call on a local drunk ex-doctor who makes his living patching up the local criminals. Dr Ritter (Otero)doesn’t have the skills to operate so he suggests that his old friend a mad scientist can patch up Surnett. Well to fix Surnett all the mad scientist needs is- another brain! And whose brain do they get? Another gangster by the name of The Sadist. Well that sounds like a recipe for fun. After installing part of the Sadist’s brain in Surnett, he turns into a mad rapist what rapes three women.

rsz_crimson_2I’m not even sure where to start with Crimson. The jaunty 1970’s jazz flute that plays over the rape for titillation scenes? The fact that it has not one but FOUR rape for titillation scenes. The ridiculously incompetent criminals? The utter lack of even an attempt at science? The fact that apparently, Crimson is originally in Spanish but dubbed in French? Decisions, decisions…

Let’s start with the science and that word, in the context of this film requires sarcastic air quotes. First of all Surnett barely looks injured, as though the bullet only grazed his skull, or as if the film didn’t have money for fake blood. SECONDLY how on earth is a brain transplant EASIER than brain surgery to remove a bullet? THIRDLY the Mad Scientist says, after examining an x-ray, that the bullet didn’t penetrate the brain. SO WHY ARE WE DOING A BRAIN TRANSPLANT?! And why do I care? Believe me, I tried to let it go. But there is only so much suspension of disbelief one can take. Even films like The Brain that Wouldn’t Die make a vague stab in the general direction of science, but not Crimson, NO, it couldn’t be bothered with such pettiness as logic or even watching an episode of say M*A*S*H.

rsz_crimson_3Incompetent criminals. Stealing a necklace during a safe robbery and tripping a secondary alarm system is only the beginning for Henry’s boys. The real hilarity comes when they trap and kill The Sadist. They have been ordered to bring back The Sadist’s head. And they take that mission both seriously and literally. After attempt one at decapitation fails they try plan B which works. Hint– it involves a train. When The Sadist’s gang finds out their boss is dead they go on a rampage of poorly organized vengeance.

And finally, the rape. OK, this is a film from the 70s. This is a film from France (possibly Spain). I knew what I was in for. What was surprising was the amount of boobage and the amount of rape for titillation. Like wow…insert slow clap here. Not one female character escapes the film un-raped with the possible exception of The Sadist’s evil girlfriend Barabara (Evelyn Scott) who is molested by Surnett post brain transplant when he is basically half-Sadist and she seems to have feelings for him. Anyway, there aren’t just breasts on display there is full frontal female nudity, which is present in such quantity that it is an actual “Plot Keyword” on IMDb. There are also the mysterious disappearing-reappearing clothing. Because who want to spend valuable rape time getting women’s clothing off when you can just cut to full nudity. This also applies to getting clothing back on. Don’t think it’s just lady buttocks that appear. There are at least two flabby man-asses the audience is treated to.

rsz_crimson_1So, what actual language is this film in? Was it dubbed from Spanish into French? Was it just a Spanish production filmed in France? I don’t know. It was subtitled in English which was good enough for me.

Crimson pure 70s sleaze and cheeze. It’s easy to riff on and laugh at and impossible to take seriously. But watch with caution. Because, you know, rape.

Kudos for: Professor Teets

Lesson learned: It’s not brain surgery.

6/10

Bad Acid, the short, supernatural social satire, is set to be released on Amazon Video on June 6th, 2017.

rsz_baBad Acid, the short, supernatural social satire, is set to be released on Amazon Video on June 6th, 2017.

The film, written and directed by David Chaudoir, was acquired by Amazon after winning a competition through the Promax film festival.

The film has completed it’s festival run where it won best short film at the Popcorn Horror film festival in Glasgow and was screened at the London Short Film Festival and at festivals in Canada and America.

Praise for Bad Acid:

“Bad Acid is an expertly crafted, gleefully told supernatural cautionary tale, and comes highly recommended.” Battle Royal With Cheese

“a fine example of how to stimulate the senses through suggestion rather than brute force” The Slaughtered Bird

” a complete and fully realised short, a quintessentially British film” The Other Guy

“a great film caught somewhere between Tales from the Crypt and Phoenix Nights” Popcorn Horror

“Not only is it high on production value, but story wise it would be totally at home in one of the old anthology horror tv series like HAMMER HOUSE OF HORROR” Horror News Network

more info: http://badacidfilm.com

Alien: Covenant (2017) Review

rsz_ac1ALIEN: COVENANT (Dir Ridley Scott, USA, 2017)

Starring- Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz

No doubt when a new ALIEN film turns up everyone turns their heads in anticipated glee awaiting the new entry into the franchise which has lasted almost 38 years since Scott turned a spaceship into a terrifying claustrophobic nightmare pitting humans out of their depth, against an unstoppable killing machine. Since that first film the Alien has gone onto a superb sequel in James Cameron’s ALIENS, then followed by the underrated and superb dark misery of ALIEN 3 and the uneven and sub-standard ALIEN: RESURRECTION. Following that there were two heavyweights clashes with it’s rival extraterrestrial bad guy the Predator, ALIEN VS PREDATOR and ALIEN VS PREDATOR: REQUIEM, both as bad as each other. It took until 2012 for Scott to return to the franchise with PROMETHEUS a very flawed but technically stunning picture which has started a series of films to go about explaining the origins of the Xenomorph being and this brings us to ALIEN: COVENANT, the first film in this prequel series of films to feature the word ALIEN in it’s title.

Covenant is the name of the colonisation vessel on a seven year mission route to a new planet. On its journey the ship is hit by a solar flare storm which severally damages the vessel and causes loss of crew life including the main captain and husband to Daniels (Waterston) leaving Oram (Crudup) to reluctantly step up and take charge. The ship receives a distress signal from a nearby planet which Oram decides to send out a re-con mission to investigate and to see whether the new place could be a possible hospitable home for the colonists (you can see where this is going, right?). Naturally when they arrive some nasty spores causes some nasty reactions to their human hosts and the re-con crew find themselves under attack from an earlier version of the Xenomorph only also to find sanctuary from the synthetic David (Fassbender) from PROMETHEUS who has managed to survive on the planet. Yet David who sinister intentions in the previous film seem more apparent and this puts the crew in even more danger.

rsz_ac2It’s safe to say that this latter series of ALIEN films will not reach the tension and terror of Scott’s original, or the bombast and brutal action of Cameron’s sequel and not even the grim beauty of Fincher’s ALIEN 3 but in turn it’s trying to bring a fresh origin story to the franchise. Whilst PROMETHEUS felt uneven and quite overblown in it’s execution it seems to be a necessary forefront in establishing the beginnings of the origin. ALIEN: COVENANT does follow this in many way’s even with the dialogue which at times seems clunky and contrived and retains one of the main characters from that film, David. Though in the process it gets rid of the engineers from the previous film and only offers their absence with a flashback sequence that shows they where exterminated. Yet this is not fully explained or attributed and in its absence you would have liked to have known more of the background to the engineers especially since this is supposedly an origins story. Whilst it does attempt to follow a new path parts of the film almost seem like a greatest hits retread of the first two movies with a bit of ALIEN thrown in there and a bit of ALIENS dropped over here. It also does rely to heavily on the use of CGI effects for the Alien which seems a bit disappointing in retrospect when the original film used the classic man in a monster suit to great effect.

rsz_ac3Admittedly its necessary to use CGI for the Alien’s first beginnings and growth but at the same time the nostalgia and effect of prosthetic effects is greatly missed and the reliance on CGI ends up coming off as more lazy than necessary in parts. Despite the flaws the film is in the end visually and technically stunning. One thing that Scott is great at is world building and visual craft which has been one of the most important aspects of his career and will be a surely a hard act to follow in the forthcoming BLADE RUNNER sequel due out this year for that films particular director Denis Villenuve. Even with a flawed script Scott somehow manages to maintain a stunning visual presence in the film and design a fantastic outer space world which on the IMAX screen is brilliant to watch and thankfully in this films release they have dropped the gimmicky 3D effect which was utilised in PROMETHEUS. Credit should be given to the cast with Fassbender both in dual roles as the synthetic David and the Covenant’s ship own robot Walter and is again superb, Waterston is also confident and reliable in what is essentially the Ripley role as Daniels and also McBride as Tennessee the chief pilot. McBride has mainly been in comic roles but this time round he manages to shrug of the funny guy persona and deliver a decent likeable serious role as the brash Covenant pilot.

rsz_ac4In terms of being a return to the original nightmare of the first series of films COVENANT won’t reach those dizzying heights and whilst I can understand the negative feelings towards the film, I still like to recognise some of the impressive work within this particular outing and on the biggest screen you can see it, makes it all the more stunning. Given a stronger script Scott, who intends to carry on with another film in this series, could benefit even more. Though in the meantime he still manages to stage and orchestrate some fantastic visual and technical skill that at the core is one of the retaining and beneficial factors of COVENANT.

6.5/10

CryptTV at Tribeca Film Festival: Genoveva Rossi meets and talks with Eli Roth and CryptTV CEO Jack Davis

 

genrossibannerrsz_gr1CryptTV at Tribeca Film Festival: Genoveva Rossi meets and talks with Eli Roth and CryptTV CEO Jack Davis

This horror queen was honored to attend the legendary Tribeca Film Festival and watch Crypt TV’s Monster Madness shorts block. After the screening I was able to get a few words with Eli Roth and CEO Jack Davis.

Crypt TV’s Monster Madness features some of the best and biggest character shorts from the digital brand’s scaremakers.” -Tribeca Film Festival

A few words with Eli Roth:

rsz_gr4Q: What attracts you to horror?

What scares Cronenberg isn’t what scares Wes Craven. What scares you varies. Horror is very personal.” –Eli Roth

Q: Where did the inspiration for CryptTV come from?

Roth: I graduated from NYU 1995 and wrote Cabin Fever. I know that dates me, but I am old. Even then I felt like horror had a big audience like the Comic Cons. We are seeing that now with Walking Dead. What I want to create is a platform that I wished existed when I was getting out of film school, back when filming a short cost a minimum of 10k. Now we can shoot shorts for much less and even on our phones. So we created something to showcase horror shorts that serves the genre’s audience.

Q: Roth wants to help other filmmakers.

Roth: After the success of Cabin Fever and Hostile I was in a position to help other filmmakers with films like Clown and The Last Exorcism. I really enjoy helping people I like. CryptTV is part of that.

rsz_gr3rsz_gr2Interview with Jack Davis CEO of CryptTV

Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about CryptTV for ukhorrorscene!!! I am sure our readers are anxious to check out your great horror programming. First off I want to say it was really inspiring meeting you and Eli Roth at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City for the CryptTV screening and panel.

Genoveva: Tell us a bit about what CryptTV is and what makes CryptTV unique in the horror genre? 

Davis: CryptTV makes mobile scares. We specialize in creating original scary stories and creating our own monsters in three to four minute videos perfect for watching on your phone. Crypt is the only brand creating original, short form programming every day for people watching on the phone which is why I think we are unique in the horror genre.

Genoveva: How did the great Eli Roth come to be involved with CryptTV and what exactly is his role?

Davis: Eli Roth is the co-founder of CryptTV. We launched Crypt together and he plays an integral role in content and brand strategy as well as giving his input on general company operations. Eli has been at the cutting edge of the genre for decades so having his insight is invaluable for Crypt.

Genoveva: What is your own background in horror and what inspired the creation of CryptTV?

Davis: Knowing and loving the power of scary in film and TV I was inspired to co-found CryptTV because there just was not a great destination for original scary that could be enjoyed on mobile.

Genoveva: What can horror fans look forward to seeing on CryptTV in the near future?

Davis: More monsters. We are going to start serializing our fans’ favorite content very soon.

Genoveva: Where are the best places to look for updates on CryptTV? Also how can aspiring horror filmmakers get involved? 

rsz_gr6Davis: Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CryptTV & sign up for our newsletter on CryptTV.com which we will be bringing back soon. Aspiring horror filmmakers email submissions @CryptTV.com with your work!

Thanks for reading this month’s A Life In Blood: Tales of a Horror Queen! See you ghouls next month for more tales of horror.

Yours in screams,
Genoveva Rossi
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