Nosferatu in Venize

The movie opens with a group of duck hunters who happens to shoot down a bat. “It’s bad luck to kill a bat” one of them says, before one of their dogs eats it. And no, it wasn’t Nosferatu the dog ate, just a random bat. Then we jump to Venice where Professor Paris Catalano (Christopher Plummer) arrives to meet a young lady after getting a vague letter about Nosferatu. According to the letter, Nosferatu was last seen in Venice during a carnival in 1786, and legend has it that he’s still hiding in the city. Paris Catalano has dedicated his life to study Nosferatu, and is more or less the equivalent of Van Helsing. I assume they had to add a different name due to copyright, who knows. He eats dinner with the same people we saw in the duck hunting-scene in the beginning, where he gives a quick and half-hearted lecture about vampires, before he gets escorted down into a crypt under the tunnels of the city where a casket from Transylvania is located. The legend says that Nosferatu is the one who’s buried in that casket. So why not just open it, put the stake through his chest, and just be done with it? You tell me…

However, Professor Paris is certain that Nosferatu isn’t located in that coffin, and that he is shipwrecked somewhere. He won’t even dare to open it, in order to check if he’s right. So what’s he gonna do next? He gets a medium to summon the vampire. Nosferatu (Klaus Kinski) then stands up from a coffin somewhere on a random, obscure location and starts his journey. He stumbles into a gypsy camp where a fortune teller tells him that he’s been summoned by a young lady. He bites the fortune teller’s neck before he heads for Venice, for some more necks to put his teeth in… I guess…

And as you may have figured out, this movie has no relation to neither Nosferatu from 1922 nor the Werner Herzog’s remake from 1979 in any shape or form. Who knows what this movie really tries to be, but what it definitely is, is a completely incoherent mess. Christopher Plummer looks really confused here, and you can tell he has some difficulty with delivering his lines. That’s probably because there were five directors who came and left, after the first one got fired, so you can try to imagine the chaos and turmoil behind the scenes. It’s a miracle that the movie exists at all. And when even Klaus Kinski ended up directing himself in some of the scenes, then you know that everyone have seriously jumped the ship.

So yeah, this is one of those cases where a two-hour making of-documentary had been far more entertaining and interesting than the movie itself…

Nosferatu in Venize

Klaus Kinski was perfect as Nosferatu in the 1979-remake and is probably one of his finest roles. Here, its the polar opposite. He refused to wear the same makeup and shave his long, blonde hair and approached the role with only some simple eyeshadow and puts on the iconic two front teeth when he feels like it. All the characteristics and known trademarks are gone; the hand gestures, the long fingers/nails, as if the guy refused to play the character altogether, and rather just not give a fuck and play himself instead. “Kinski in Venice”, yeah why not.. There’s zero Nosferatu about him. He acts more like a disturbed lunatic, high on whatever he can snort and who likes to hunt down and rape young women in Venice’s narrow alleys, than a fragile vampire who needs blood to survive. It’s almost comical…

Just to put it in a nutshell how extremely “off” Nosferatu is in this film: he’s asked if the daylight doesn’t frighten him. He answers: “It’s the night who frighten me.” So, there you have it. “Nosferatu in Hawaii” next? Despite all the retardedness, the film has its share of gothic and gloomy atmosphere and Venice looks really chilling and sinister, and seems like an unique place to shoot a vampire flick. At least, some of the five directors who tried to sail this shipwreck of a movie to the projection screen managed to add some really fine and moody imagery. And the fitting soundtrack by Vangelis isn’t bad, either. So, I’ll have to give some props in that regard.

IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091651/

Love Object (2003)

Kenneth Winslow (Desmond Harrington) is a socially insecure young man whose life is mostly centered around work, work, and more work. That is, until he one day sees “Nikki” – an anatomically correct sex doll. It starts as a harmless joke from hos co-workers, but evolves into something far more serious as Kenneth decides to check out the website for the producers of the “Nikki” doll. For the stiff (no pun intended) price of 10.000 dollars he orders one of the sex dolls, and while feeling awkward with his own “Nikki” at first, he soon becomes obsessed with roleplaying. Things take a dramatic turn when he becomes interested in his new female co-worker, a real woman of flesh and blood…it’s almost as if Nikki becomes jealous and vengeful…

“Love Object” is a psycho-thriller with a rather interesting concept, where a person has been so separated from a social life that the roleplaying with his sex doll drives him into a state of mind where he can no longer differentiate between what’s real and what’s not. Desmon Harrington’s performance as the socially unstable bachelor is also brilliant.

The movie keeps the suspense up and have a kind of David Lynch-feeling. Udo Kier also has a funny little role as a curious landlord. While it is a low-budget movie that was filmed in only 18 days (!) it sure doesn’t feel like it. And it is a little creepy that sex dolls like “Nikki” actually exists, and for the same amount of money, too. You kind of have to conclude that a person who orders a sex doll for 10.000 dollars must be at least a little bit off their rockers…

IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0328077/

The Changeling (1980)

John Russel is on vacation with his wife and daughter when their car gets some serious engine trouble. John gets to a phone booth and calls for help, while his wife and daughter are playing in the snow nearby the car. Suddenly, a trailer comes speeding towards them and the tragic outcome is unavoidable. Half a year later, John tries patching his life together by moving to Seattle and continue his great passion: composing music and teach piano lessons. He rents a huge newly refurbished house from the early 1900s. But the huge empty house may not be as empty as he first thought. Every morning he hears a rhytmic knocking sound from the walls, and a child’s voice. Instead of being scared away, John becomes determined to solve the mystery. Is it all in his own mind – or is the house haunted?

One thing is certain; a weelchair hasn’t looked more creepier than in this film..

“The Changeling” has everything a good and suspenseful ghost movie should have. The movie has a serious tone throughout and there are no over-the-top special effects to be seen. Instead the focus is on the most important parts in the “haunted house” recipe: suspense and atmosphere. If you enjoy horror movies about ghosts and haunted houses, especially of the “good old kind”, this one is a must-have in the collection. In fact, this movie is what made me interested in the genre back then. It’s now been released on blu-ray with a CD of the soundtrack.

IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080516/

Buio Omega

Frank Wyler is a three-year-old boy living with his housekeeper Iris in a millionaire-villa in the country. Iris has taken care of Frank since his parents died in a car accident when he was young, and since then, the relationship between Iris and Frank has developed into something… rather bizarre and toxic, to say the least. After growing up living isolated with Iris, she is now using him as a sextoy by giving him a handjob while he sucks her tits like an infant… he’s gotten pretty messed up in his head. But when he finds the great love of his life in the much more beautiful Anna, Iris becomes mad with envy and goes to a voodoo witch/doctor to throw a curse over Anna in order to get rid of her. The curse works perfectly where she ends up in a hospital and dies, and Iris finally gets Frank for herself again.

However, this doesn’t last long since Frank drives straight to the cemetery the night after Anna’s funeral to dig up her body and take her back home. On the way back he gives a random young lady a lift, who falls asleep in his car. He brings his “corpse bride” down in the basement where a pretty graphic embalming scene takes place. The young lady wakes up and sees a glimpse of what’s going on before Frank tortures her by ripping out her nails, then he gets help from Iris who chops her body up in pieces and throws her remains in the bathub with corrosive acid. Iris saves some of the flesh which she and Frank eats for breakfast. Then, Frank goes jogging and meets a another young lady whom he takes home and have sex with. While having sex with her, he imagines he’s having sex with Anna, who lies in the double bed right beside them, covered in sheets. And then, the woman he brought home with him notices his dark secret…

Those who are familiar with sleazy, underground italian horror from the 70’s that were banned left and right around the world, will probably know the name Joe D’Amato, the man with as many pseudonyms as there is gender options on facebook. Buio Omega, or “Beyond the Darkness” as it’s called internationally, is one of his most known works. The film is a remake of “The Third Eye” from 1966, an other italian horror film which I haven’t seen, so I can’t come with any comparisons. But I doubt it is as sick, dark, raw and unfiltered as Buio Omega, which really tests the boundaries on what’s allowed to be shown on screen. Correct me if I’m wrong, though. Mutilation, necrophilia, cannibalism, detailed torture scenes and other taboo stuff with higly convincing gore effects that punches you in the nose.

The film takes itself dead seriously where there’s no room for imagination, which in this case could have turned it into a spectacular turkey, but despite its narrow budget it’s so well constructed that it works fine the way it is. It’s as gory as it is psychological, and explores the darkest corners of the human mind.

Also, great soundtrack by Goblin.

IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078916/

Hell's Ground

The movie opens with a guy who crashes his car in the woods and then gets beat to death with a shovel. Then we get to another location where a creepy, disturbed old dude in a bloody shirt looks straight into the camera and says “you’re on the road to hell, my children” (in urdu) and ends it with an evil laugh. Yikes..

Then we get introduced to some teenagers who prepare for a road trip out in the countryside of Pakistan, something their parents are not so happy with. At the same time, the government puts out a warning regarding the water, as it could be infected with some virus that turns people into zombies. After a while on the road, and smoking dope, the kids stop at Deewanas Tea Shop, a real stinky shithole of a place, run by the creepy old dude we saw in the beginning. He drools while mumbling about a place called Hells Ground, while the kids buy some potatoes and moves on. Then the phone signal disappears and the van that had a full tank is suddenly empty, and after getting lost in the woods, they find themselves surrounded by a horde of zombies. If all this was not bad enough, a serial killer wearing a burqa and a big spiked ball is on the loose. Welcome to Hell’s Ground..

Hells Ground (aka Zibahkhana) is known as Pakistan’s first slasher-flick. The film is as much a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-worship as it is a tribute to 70’s horror. The film also works as a kind of a big rebellious middle-finger to Pakistan’s strict authority and religion, so yeah, the film has some huge balls, as huge as the film’s slasher villain uses as the murder weapon.

Otherwise, there’s not much new under the sun here. It’s a straight-forward slasher-flick mixed with some zombies and the same old character tropes we have seen a thousand times. Visually, the film looks great, it’s well directed and has that raw, unpolished 70s-look. The use of dirty, disgusting locations and intense colorful lighting with the environment of Pakistan’s countryside, gives it an eerie and unique atmosphere.

And the scenes with Burqaface alone makes the movie worth a watch.

imdB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0887973/

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