Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Horrors, girls, and a body in the web.

Well, here's an interesting one. This is a German - Yugoslav film released in 1960 and directed by Fritz Böttger. Upon a quick look at Wikipedia and Internet Movie Database, this film goes by a number of titles such as Body in the Web, It's Hot in Paradise, Horrors of Spider Island, The Body in the Web, and Girls of Spider Island.

It's always good to have a few different titles for a film, just in case someone forgets what movie you're talking about, that way you can throw another title at them to see if they'd remember exactly what it is that you're referring to.

When it was originally released in the U.S., it was a chopped 75 minute "Adults Only" film under the Hot in Paradise title, which recieved an even more edited version with the Horrors of Spider Island title. The version I'll be covering is the Horrors of Spider Island version. Keep in mind that I did not hunt down any particular version of the film, as it was included in a sci-fi box set I had recently purchased.

The plot is as follows, after hiring a number of female dancers, an oddball dance manager named Gary travels with his new employees by plane bound for Singapore to work at a dance club. On their journey, their plane catches fire and crashes. Days go by and Gary's assistants back home are left in the dark of their fate, but however one faithful assistant has hope, boldly saying "There is nothing to worry about, all we know is their plane caught fire and we lost radio contact."

Well, we soon enough find out that Gary and his girls made it out of the plane alive, as they some how procured a inflatable boat and were stranded as sea for four days, rationing out scraps of food. They soon find an deserted island, where they set up camp.

As a few more days go by, many of the girls seem to come on to Gary, which causes him to go out for a walk alone to get away from from all the stress. As he takes his walk, he is attacked by a giant mutated spider and gets bitten, which oddly enough causes him to turn into what looks like a werewolf, not a spider-man mutant as one would expect.

 He soon then terrorizes the girls, which instead of causing them to band together, causes much in fighting to the point of throwing blows and rolling on the floor, for two of the women at least. Not long after, two men on a scientific study come to the island and meet the group of women, and decide to hang out for the party until one of the men and the girl he was accompanying get attacked and killed. Those remaining go and hunt down Gary and eventually kill him by pushing him in what appears to be quicksand.

All in all, this film was a rather poor film. The pacing was off, and even if it was the unedited version, I doubt the pacing could had survived. You could tell it was more of a "beautiful women stranded alone" exploitation type film with a 'monster' thrown in to pass it off as a horror or sci-fi movie. The story was lacking, to the point where you actually had to look for it.

I was expecting more "horrors" of the monster roaming around, as implied by the title, but it being a low budget edit of an exploitation film, I guess I should have known better. It was a pretty terrible film, but if you're truly curious and love low budget films as I do, then go ahead and go for it.

PLEASE NOTE: this is going to be one of very few films where I review a "bad" movie for the sake of it being bad. From this point out, I will be covering stuff that is actually good in one form or another and is, at least slightly, more competent than this. If you were to send me an e-mail requesting something, I ask to please not have it be a "It's SO bad...you should rip it to shreds" e-mail, mostly because not only do I actually enjoy these films, I also find it hard to write legitimate posts reviewing these low grade films, as I may have exemplified with this particular post. Plus, I also like giving legitimate reviews, not "bad reviews for the sake of giving a bad review" type of thing like some entertainers on the net do. Every once in a while I'll most likely do a b-movie review as like I said, I love them myself, but they tend to be a little challenging to write about, for me at least.

A book review: Stephen King's 'IT'

Being a fan of horror literature, one of the writers I tend to gravitate to is Stephen King. While I don't believe he is the greatest of writers, which I will touch on why in a bit, I still love reading his books. I fully believe that King has one of the greatest imaginative minds, not only from the past 30 years or so, but in American story telling as a whole.

He is able to create a realistic set of characters, living in a town that feels like could be an actual American town, full of it's own culture. His classic novel It portrays this, even if it does also exemplify why I tend to not always like his writing style very much. I am going to discuss just the novel here, and not touch on the film (which I may do at a later time).

The novel was published in 1986, told in a non-linear style alternating between two time periods, and is a 1138 page beast. Many horror fans already know it's basic premise, so I'm not going to go into any deep length to outline the story, but will give a bit of a plot summary (and be warned, I WILL be giving away some plot elements, if you have not read the book, skip ahead).

The story takes place in the small town of Derry, Maine (a fictional town thought up by King). Every 30 years or so, there tends to be a series of violent murders, ending with a catastrophic and bloody end. The killings almost always involve children, with each catastrophic end tends to take out whoever is in the path of it. We learn in the course of reading that these murders are committed by a shape shifting creature that needs to feed on living humans to survive, and chooses to mostly prey on children as it sees their minds as "weak" and easy to manipulate in order to lure.

In 1958, one by one It tries to lure and kill a group of friends who affectionately call themselves "The Losers Club" due to the fact that they're bullied by their peers, specifically by Henry Bowers and his group of thugs, and feel like outcasts in their own homes for one reason or another. Due to this fact, they are able to effectively stand up to It and find that It resides in the city's sewer system.

During their confrontation with it in the sewers that it's actually an interdimensional being of sorts that is thousands, if not millions, of years old and spreads to destroy and consume many forms of life. The seven wound the creature to the point where it appears to have been killed.

However, 27 years later a young homosexual couple is attacked, and one is thrown over a bridge, waking It up and causing It to feed on the young mans remains. This causes Mike Hanlon, the only member of "The Losers Club" to not leave Derry and become successful, to make six phone calls, each one to his former friends and pleading them to return.

End of semi-spoilers here

I liked the fact that there was a lot of mystery behind the creature and that there was that constant lurking threat. Throughout the entire novel, there is a sense of dread as you knew that it was somehow watching you from the shadows. It plays on ones fears of isolation and the fears one would have during childhood. It could either hide underneath a veil of happiness or come full force in a horrific way.

I also liked the fact that fear came from not only the creature, but from other sources as well. Henry Bowers and his gang could easily scare any reader, due to the fact of how demented Bowers could get. Bowers was just an all around miserable person who was raised in a miserable environment and was manipulated by the evils around him to do terrible things. He did such terrible things that it would have made a great novel all on it's own. The terrible things that he and his friends get into will easily stick in ones mind for a long time, and throughout the novel you will see the decay of his consciousness.

However, there is just that one thing about this book that makes it a hard read, and King tends to have this habit with most, if not all, of his novels.There are points where it feels that there is a bit too much exposition and things aren't getting accomplished in any shape, form, or fashion. While I'll agree that we need characters to relate to, and it's good to have realistic characters, I don't think we need to constantly be told of one characters farm life and to go through his daily routine a number of times. This is my main gripe with many of Kings books, if he didn't feel the need to constantly lather us up with almost pointless exposition at times, then he'd be a great writer.

This novel is certainly worth checking out, despite this fact. I can say that even though it was dragging at times, I certainly enjoyed reading it to the point that I've read it a second time for the heck of it. While King needs to tone down the exposition, his imagination is one of the best out there.

Eventually, I plan on doing a review of the film version of 'It' (which I very much enjoyed), and other King novels, such as The Stand (which I have read once many years ago, but I won't be getting to that one for quite sometime as I believe it deserves a reread). I'll also be doing reviews of other horror related materials in the future that I've enjoyed, as well as a look and observations on other things in dark culture (much like my Halloween post).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Minor Update

I do, in fact, have two posts that I'll be publishing soon. I plan on a simultaneous release for the both of them, and they should appear shortly.

One of the posts is in fact done, the other is still in progress. Reason for doing this is that if the finished one is read before the other, than one may get the wrong impression of the purpose of this blog, so therefore I wanted to showcase what it was that I was trying to do with the blog.

Anyways, I know that I'm more or less rambling to myself in a way, but I'll be posting minor updates like this for the blog every once in a while, at least for my own sanity.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A notice of halloween, rather early

It seems as if each year, the acknowledgement of Halloween is coming earlier and earlier. I remember thinking last year during the last week of September, that it seemed Halloween came really early in stores and what not.

This year, half way through the month, Halloween stuff is already here in stores like Target, and there's a Halloween specialty store that is soon to be open right next door to Target. I am not complaining, as it makes it easier for people like me to buy things for ones room to use all year around (such as a small skull that I bought today from Target, in fact. That will be there day in and day out, even when October is long gone), yet it just seems like Halloween is getting a little more acknowledgement more and more each year.

I myself never celebrated Halloween. I never went out Trick or Treating, nor did I really decorate the house for the day (even though I like the spooky stuff and tend to buy stuff just for decorating sake, not Halloween sake), but I did always like the dark and spooky since I was young.

Maybe people are warming up to the idea that the spooky isn't all bad, or maybe people just like the idea of "dressing up" at least once a year (a practice I never really understood, to be honest). Whatever the reason may be, I like to see the slightly spooky as I go out, even if for a little while.

A resurgence

After a rather long absence, I decided to start anew with my blog. My older blog, which had the same title, had a lot of reviews and writings that I had put a lot of effort into. I had put general ideas down, reviews, and other assortment of things relating to that of a darker nature.

I then deleted it. I got to the point where I wasn't writing, and felt as though there was little to no point for it being there. It seemed if I couldn't get a blog written, reviewed, edited, and eventually posted within about a weeks time, why continue with it.

I however decided to make a return after realizing there was a point of the blog, which was to discuss the things I love, whether or not the blog had actually gotten any views. I loved reviewing things of a dark nature, and writing for the sake of writing to get ideas out.

I'm sure that this time, the darkness will not die, as shadows may fade only to return in another form.