Saturday, October 10, 2009

The OTHER Fall Holidays

Why should Halloween be the only fall holiday celebrated with horror films? Aren't Columbus Day and Thanksgiving pretty horrific in their own rights? Think about what we celebrate during those that lead to the downfall of entire civilizations. Spooky spooky!

Columbus Day: Apocalypto and Zombi 2

Celebrate all things Italian and the discovery of the new world with this deviously disgusting double feature!

First up it’s master-of-disaster Mel Gibson’s Mayan-melee Apocalypto. Sorry Bear Jew, but here's the true master of torture porn! Honestly, it’s one of great movies of the past decade. Also, it features a bee hive used as a weapon. The film’s ending is surprisingly ambiguous given the strength of the director’s personal convictions. That’s my diplomatic way of saying I am surprised that someone with such loathsome and moronic views could direct a movie that is not completely reprehensible. Keep in mind how powerful this civilization was because our next movie is in honor of the people whose favorite son would all send it crashing down. That's a shame because, if Mel Gibson is to be believed, they were awesome:

Our second film is Lucio Fulci’s inexplicably canonized Zombi 2. In all candor, I do not like Zombi 2 (aka Zombie). There are maybe four good scenes of genuinely creative gruesomeness (two of which are pictured below). Most of the film consists of terrible actors languidly spouting awful dialogue while driving through the jungle. It’s insanely boring and artless. Is Fulci horror’s most overrated personality? I think so. Actually, watch another Italian movie instead. Maybe Suspiria or Black Sunday. I picked this one because it involves Italians in the Caribbean.

The famous shark scene is more impressive as a physical act than a horror scene:
Thanksgiving: Witchfinder General and The Manitou

It’s puritans and Indians! I could not think of a horror movie that had them together but this double feature will satisfy all you feather and buckle needs.

Witchfinder General is considered one of the most sophisticated horror films of the 1970’s. This means, that by normal movie standards, it is still pretty silly at times. Vincent Price is his usual pervy and bombastic self. The perviness magnified by his page boy haircut and pilgrim-style sadism. The film does not present very historically accurate information but it does get some of the broad strokes right. I am sure that these guys were not missed when they left for the New World. I would like to think that my ancestors were more of the “get-rich-quick” scheme/Jamestown types.

The Manitou is not an undiscovered classic. It is one of the worst horror films probably ever made. It is also one of the most unique. It is about a Native-American shaman growing on the neck of a famous psychic’s girlfriend. Yeah. Add the fact that Tony Curtis plays the psychic and you’ve got a real maniac of a movie on your hands. I remember watching this on TNT when I was a kid. Even then I was struck by how deadly serious this film takes the issue of neck shamans. Like Phase IV, this is a movie that could only be made in the seventies.

And when the shaman fully emerges from her neck, he's a little person: