Posts Tagged ‘Italian

26
Oct
08

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue)

Great movie poster.  Blah movie.

Great movie poster. Blah movie.

Let sleeping corpses lie also known as the living dead a the Manchester morgue is yet another fairly well known European zombie flick, no doubt created in the wake of the success of Romero’s American zombie works.  Apparently someone was sleeping (get it, sleeping) when they were studying other zombie movies, because besides a few gnarly scenes, this walking dead romp is lacking in the fundamentals.

Gore specifically.  Sure, you can make a zombie flick without heavily relying on blood and guts to keep the audience interested, but it’s kinda like ice skating uphill.  The very nature of the dead coming back to life to eat the living brings all sorts of wild images into the imagination, and unless your a master at creating atmosphere and a tight, tense story, your going to have to have some seriously gross scenes to keep people squirming, and above all keep them caring.

Acting isn’t to fault here, as you might expect with a foreign, dubbed zombie film.  Our main duo do their jobs adequately, so much so that’s there’s really nothing I can complain about.  I just wish there was more for them in terms of harrowing scenes, violence, and atmosphere to react and be a part of.  The supporting cast isn’t really too important, but I should mention the inspector, who does a great job as being the “non-believer” prick type guy throughout the whole ordeal.

The plot is more than serviceable, as a pair of “hippie” types run into each other at a gas station, then later are accused of murder, for which the real culprit is of course, zombies.  According to this mythos though, zombies don’t show up in photographs, are sometimes referred to as ghosts, can speed up their shuffle walk when need be, and their only weakness is fire.

Directing is kept pretty modest, with a few interesting POV shots and interesting angles, but nothing really pops off the screen and grabs you.  In horror, there’s a major difference between watching and experiencing, and this definitely falls into the category of just something you merely watch.

I was expecting a lot more, especially since Sleeping Corpses has a strong online reputation and following.  For the zombie enthusiast, this is somewhat recommendable, but chances are if your ga-ga about the undead, you have already seen or at least heard of this one.  To the more casual fan, this is easily overlooked, as the European theater of film has literally dozens of superior walking dead titles to choose from.

As for the Inspector I mentioned earlier.  We do get an awesome quote from him though.

“You’re all the same the lot of you, with your long hair and faggot clothes. Drugs, sex, every sort of filth!”

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25
Oct
08

Dario Argento: An Eye for Horror Documentary

Dario putting on his "serious thought" face.

Dario putting on his"serious thought" face.

Dario Argento is a big deal.  His name is synonymous with Italian horror and Giallo films.  Dario’s name is both whispered in esteem and shouting in anger.  My own experience with his films has been mixed, going from moments of pure bliss, to moments where I felt as lost as the characters that are stuck in Argento’s disjointed reverie.  What I do know is that I have only scratched the surface of his 15 plus movie catalog, and that I also wanted to get to know the man a little better, because anyone creating such violent, nightmarish, and sinister flicks much be someone who has an interesting story to tell.

So imagine my joy when i stumbled upon this little 50 minutes documentary spanning his entire career up to the year 2000.  As you can probably imagine, since this doc. is under an hour long, it cuts through the usual bullshit and starts giving you the highlights almost immediately.  We get the brief childhood story, then into his days as a critic, his big break writing a movie for Sergio Lione, and then we get to his directing career.

John Carpenter, George Romero, Tom Savini, Alice fucking Cooper, Maitland McDonagh, daughter Asia and Fiore Argento, and more all come in and speak there parts about what they know and what they have experienced working with the lgened over the years.  The exception being Maitland McDonagh, who is a professional film critic and author, and one of my favorite of the learned critics out there, because she loves horror movies and knows more than I could ever wish to know about them.  Some good stories pop up every once in a while, while Asia gives some frightening insight to the relevance and complexity of the Argento family and their on and off screen relationships.

Some footage of classic kills and dreamy scenes are used to show off Argento’s skills, and to offset the sheer boredom that would eventually overcome any viewer after just watching people talk about something that is obviously very visual.  So take that as a warning for those who don’t want anything spoiled.

This is a small treat for both those familiar with Dario’s work, and those looking to find a reason to give a shit about him.  Besides the minor spoilery contained within the footage from his movies, this is about as good an intro to the world of Argento film making as I’ve seen.

Expect more reviews to come in the very near future, including some of Argento’s work.