Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rec 2

Rec 2 picks up about 15 minutes after part one ended. And I must say that you have to have seen the first one to have any clue whatsoever as to what the hell is happening in part two. A SWAT team of four and a chief in charge enter the building to assess what has happened. They know there was a contagion that is not spread through the air but through the blood and saliva. They search for survivors but only come across the infected. Part one lets us know that the infection is actually a viral form of demonic possession. The mission is to find the original possessed girl that was brought to the building for testing, more or less to find a cure and an antidote. Many characters from the first film are seen (albeit for 30 seconds or less, including Jennifer, her mother Mari, Senora Izquidero and Manu the fireman). This film seems to be all about explanation. The chief in charge seems to know a bit more than he's letting on and has a rather religious way of dealing with the situation. Turns out he's a priest sent by the Vatican to rectify the damage already done by the first doctor that was to experiment on the original possessed girl (Tristana Medeiros). Apparently, only her blood holds the key to the antidote, not the people she infects. Upon searching the doctors penthouse, a sample of her blood is found. The chief who is now revealed as a priest as he tests her blood by holding a crucifix over it. The blood soon sizzles and bursts into flames, unfortunately so does the test tube containing the rest of the sample, held by one of the SWAT team members. He of course drops it, destroying the entire sample, rendering the entire mission a failure. In the first film it is revealed that there is a drain cover in the basement that connects with the sewers that leads to a way out of the building. Three kids decide to pull a prank by attaching bottle rockets to the back of an inflatable "fuck doll" and send it sailing over the crowd that has gathered around the building. The prank fails and calls police attention to these dumbass teens. They duck into a sewer drain which happens to be the drain that connects to the building. The movie bogs down here when the SWAT team and the teens fight a lot. Too occupied with fighting, they are attacked by the infected and most are killed. As the remaining SWAT team and priest make their way back to the penthouse where the infection occurred, they come across Angela Vidal, the beautiful TV reporter that first entered the building with the firemen in part one. At the end of part one, Angela is dragged away by the possessed Tristana (the end). Assuming that she is now possessed, for how could she have escaped, she shows no sign of being infected. Meanwhile, a SWAT team member that was bitten and infected, is locked in a room with a rosary attached to the door to keep him in. Later, we hear Jennifer's voice coming from the room, pleading for her father. Like idiots, they open thr door only to find the same infected SWAT team member, letting us know that the infected can disguise their voices, for they are merely Tristana's puppets. The priest, Angela, and the remaining SWAT team make it back up to the penthouse to try one last time to get a blood sample from Tristana. This proves impossible and everyone dies except for Angela and the priest. The priest has a walkie talkie that he uses to talk to the police outside. Throughout the film, The SWAT tries to get him to call off the mission and get everyone out of the building, but he refuses to call off the mission until the mission is complete (get a blood sample from Tristana). The walkie is voice specific and can only be used by the priest, anyone who tries to use it gets turned down for a non-recognized voice. At the end when it's only Angela and the priest, Angela begins to act extremely violent towards him, demanding that he give the order to evacuate. After kicking his ass, she tells him that he is not needed. Her voice changes, she grabs his talkie and gives the order to evacuate. The voice is recognized and she tells them that everyone is dead or infected, even the priest whom she is imitating. She also adds that a female has escaped unharmed and must be evacuated at once. Permission is granted, leaving a huge cliffhanger that the infection could reach the outside (can't wait for part 3). The very end shows what happened to Angela after she is dragged away at the end of part one. After dragging her into the darkness, the possessed girl forces Angela's mouth open and pukes some kind of worm into it. She gets a glazed look and there you have it, the extended ending to part one and the beginning of part two. I can't say that this sequel is better that the original, but it sure packed a hell of a punch in the scare department and explained a few questions from part one. I've heard a rumor that part one impressed the producers so much that a plan was made to finance a total of four movies, the original plus three sequels. Can't wait!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The House by the Cemetery

This is an incredibly erratic story, with a lot of unexplained content, but I'll see if I can clean it up a little so that it can be somewhat understandable. OK, the movie starts out with a couple screwing in an old abandoned house. The boyfriend goes missing (I guess he went to take a piss and never returned) and the girlfriend goes looking for him. Suddenly someone with ugly rotted hands takes a knife and stabs her in the head, then drags her into the cellar. Fast forward to a family in New York. Dr. Boyle, his wife Lucy and the their weird son Bob. By the way, Bob is a dead ringer for a "Village of the Damned" kid. Platinum hair and sky blue eyes. Anyway, the family is planning on moving to an old mansion by a cemetery, so that Dr. Boyle can continue the research of one of his colleagues that killed his wife and daughter, then committed suicide. A little girl named May keeps popping up and talking with Bob. They speak telepathically, which leads us to think that May is either psychic or dead. May constantly warns Bob about the house and not to go there. Upon cleaning the house, Lucy discovers a tombstone hidden under a rug in the hallway. After this unnerving discovery, followed by a vicious bat attack, the family has had enough and consults their real estate agent about moving. Apparently, no one stays at this house more than a few days. The agent comes by while the family is gone. She is approached by the killer, whom again we only see his rotted hands. She runs across the tombstone which splits under her feet. She falls into it and breaks her foot and can't get away... the rotted hands strike again!!! Oh yeah, the tombstone belongs to a Dr. Jacob Freudstein. Upon following Dr. Peterson's research as planned, Dr. Boyle notices that Dr. Peterson's research isn't what it's supposed to be. He was supposed to be researching old houses, but has turned his studies towards the mysterious Dr. Freudstein, who we slowly (very slowly) learn was into some bizarre and highly illegal medical experiments. Dr. Boyle finds a tape recording left by Dr. Peterson, talking about how it was Dr. Freudstein (who's supposed to be dead as of 153 years ago) who killed his wife and daughter (and eventually drove Dr. Peterson to suicide). A babysitter that was hired for Bobby wanders into the cellar and gets decapitated. Later that night, Bobby goes looking for her and gets stuck in the cellar. Mom tries a key which breaks, then tries a knife... which breaks. Soon Dad comes home and has luck with a hatchet. Upon entering the cellar, Mom Dad, and son, finally learn who those rotted hands belong to. Dr. Freudstein has been continuing his experiments, which are based on using dead body parts to keep him alive. I can't say that he's been all that successful, since he looks like a corpse and is composed of maggots and congealed blood. The "dead" doc rips the dads throat out and Mom and Bob make a run for some metal stairs in the corner of the cellar. At the top of the stairs is the tombstone (aptly placed, since the dead doc never leaves the cellar). Since the tombstone is cracked from the death of the real estate agent, Mom and Bob try to get out, but the crack is too small for the mother. Soon Dr. Freudstein grabs her by the ankles (make a wish!!) and drags her down the stairs to a gloomy death. While Bob is struggling to get through the crack, the dead doc is hot on his trail. Suddenly, a small hand grabs Bob and pulls him to safety. It's May, who basically says "I told ya so". Soon May and Bob are joined by May's mother who is a woman seen previously on a tombstone as a Mary Freudstein. Turns out that May is Dr. Freudstein's daughter. May's mother takes hold of both children and walks toward the cemetery. May and her Mom are obviously dead, but what of little Bobby's fate???????? A decently enjoyable piece of badly dubbed italian crap, circa 1983.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Legend of Hell House

This is a great haunted house story from 1973, starring Pamela Franklin as Florence Tanner, a mental medium. Roddy McDowell as Ben Fisher, a physical medium and last survivor of a previous attempt to rid the evil of Belasco House. Dr. Barrett (Clive Revill), a physicist that is determined to unravel the secrets of Belasco House under strictly scientific terms. Dr. Barrett reluctantly brings his wife Ann (Gayle Hunnicutt) along on this expedition. Brilliantly written in 1971 by horror master Richard Matheson, and brought to the screen by John Hough in 1973 under Richard Matheson's strictly written screenplay. Dr. Barrett (Clive Revill) is approached by a rich old eccentric who has one foot in the grave and is very adamant about learning about life after death. He recruits Dr. Barrett a physicist, Barret's wife Ann, Florence Tanner (a mental medium), and Benjamin Fisher (a physical medium). All will receive $100,000 for proof of the afterlife. The place, Belasco House, better known as Hell House, also known as "the Mt. Everest of haunted houses". Emeric Belasco was a pure deviant, who's escapades included drug addiction, beastiality, orgies, vampirism, murder, rape, cannibalism, ... among a selection of even more atrocious goodies. This ensures in everyone's mind that Emeric Belasco is the full power behind the haunting and the sole reason for the evil within. Upon entering the house, Ms. Tanner has a strong feeling that things are not what they they seem... and that the house is well aware that it's guests have arrived. Upon entering the house, they notice what appears to be a chapel, a sort of "Church in "Hell, just off the main hall. Again, ms. Tanner is repelled and cannot enter the church. (by the way, the crucifix has a devil's head). On with the tour: While the rest of the group is still touring the church. Ms. Tanner follows a sound and it is soon found the be a phonograph. Upon it is a "Welcome to my house thing, Hope you enjoy your visit, Don't get killed ... blah, blah, blah. sort of a thing" Florence does few "sittings" to try to make contact. The first on, she has spirits talk through her, the second, she emits ectoplasm, third time was all out poltergeist activity. The activity is then dubbed the physical manifestations that a mental medium usually cannot manifest. Ms Tanner was very surprised as everyone else, constantly repeating "But, Im only a mental medium". Soon after, Ms. Tanners is visited by what she feels to be Daniel Belasco. She had her linens thrown at her, by an obviously pissed off ghost, who even opened and slammed the door when he left. Ms.Tanner becomes rather fascinated with Daniel Belasco, even though everyone else in the group thinks that she's crazy and that there was no Daniel Belasco. With her mental abilities, Ms. Tanner searches the house for proof of Daniel Belasco... she finds him inside a wall, buried alive, chained to the wall, left for dead. Florence and Ben give Daniel an appropriate burial and funeral, but it doesn't seem to help. His spirit contacts Florence in a dream. The dream becomes erotic and Daniel appears to be having intercourse with her. She opens her eyes and screams. Upon responding to her scream, Ben comes to her aid and finds her hysterically laughing. At this point she is obviously possessed by "someone". Meanwhile, Ben remembers something Ms. Tanner said during a trance about "terminations and extremities" . He soon makes the connection that everyone on the group he went in with, when he was much younger.... one fell and broke both legs, one had a back injury that paralyzed him from the waist down, one lady's legs were accidentally burned near the fireplace. Fisher starts putting two and two together... "terminations and extremities"... legs. Meanwhile, Dr. Barrett is finishing a machine he arrived with called "The Reversor", that apparently has the ability to reverse any negative energy that still exists in the house. Thus, proving his theory that hauntings are just mindless energy that has yet to be expelled. Differing with Dr.Barrett's theory, Florence tries unsuccessfully to smash it. She hits the machine, Dr. Barrett hits her and knocks her out. She awakens and sneaks into the church unseen. She begs for Daniel to meet with her. She hears a creak, and turns around just in time to see the crucifix fall and crush her. Before she dies, she writes (in her own blood) the letter "B" in a circle. She whispers softly before she dies... "You tricked me.". Dr. Barrett sets up his machine and the others go outside. After the machine has performed it's capabilities, they re-enter, to find the house seemingly clear of ghosts. Dr. Barrett is overjoyed... until. Slowly, the Reversor starts to indicate negative energy and proves a failure. A failure that Dr. Barrett cannot comprehend. As the phenomena of evil swirls around him, he screams in anguish just before being crushed by a falling candelabra. This leaves only Ben and Ann. Ann is clueless, but Ben has it all figured out. He starts bitching at the church because that's where Belasco's visage remains. Ben starts making fun of Belasco's height. Extremities and terminations. Ben continues... You're mother was a bitch! You're probably not even 5 ft tall!! This causes the stained glass behind where the crucifix lay, to shatter and reveal a room. Upon entering, Belasco is right there (stuffed of course), with a glass of brandy in his hand. Ben takes his knife and stabs Belasco in the knee, finding a fake leg where a real one should be. He was so ashamed of his own shortness, he has his own legs cut off and wore fake ones instead. If thine eye offend thee... pluck it out. Just before leaving, they notice that the room in which Belasco lies is completely lined with lead, which was what rendered the Reversor ineffective. The End. Great stuff, huh?

I've read the book, simply titled "Hell House", and it's way more gruesome and sexually charged than the movie. A few examples: In the book, the crucifix doesn't have a devil's head. It looks like Jesus, but it's got a HUGE phallus. And when the crucifix falls on Ms. Tanner... it impales her right in the kootchie and sends a gush of blood down her inner thighs. When Daniel Belasco is making love to Florence, she opens her eyes and screams. She screams because when she opens her eyes, she sees a nasty corpse, dripping with maggots, having his way with her. The moat that surrounds the property is called "Bastard Bog", because so much debauchery was taking place that unwanted babies were being born on a regular basis and were constantly being thrown into the moat. When the sheets are seen moving in Ms. Tanners room, she is aroused when she sees the silhouette of a huge phallus just under the covers. After Ms. Tanner is possessed, she is found levitating with her legs wide open and dripping in maggots and blood. There's a scene where Ann (who was named Edith in the book) is forced to insert her tongue into Florence's vagina. For the movie, this obscene act was changed to a second absinthe induced seduction attempt on Ben Fisher. If you watch the timeline in the movie, it's the last week of December. The last line of the book, as Ann and Ben leave Belasco house for good is... Merry Christmas, Ann.