It's a good week to be a horror fan. I’ve no doubt complained in these pages before how I rarely get to watch horror films anymore. The wife doesn’t like them; the daughter is too young for them. I only get a slight sliver of time between the family going to bed and me not knocking off myself to watch the sort of things only I want to watch. There is a long list of those things and most of them beat out horror in the desire department so it is a real rarity that I actually watch any sort of scary scenes.
I do try to keep up with what’s new and interesting, what's old and being rereleased, and what the fans are talking about. This week there are a number of things that fit those categories, and I could have chose any of them, but I decided to go with something new and strange and fascinating.
What We Do In The Shadows is a mockumentary about four vampires living in Wellington, New Zealand. It was written and directed by Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement. The latter is of Flight of the Concords fame, which likely gives us all an indication of the comedic content of the film. Which is to say I’ll likely find it hilarious.
From the trailers, it looks a bit like any season of The Real World, but with more comedy and a little less violence. The critical response has been good; it's got a 96% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I love the concept of putting the rockumentary style into the horror genre. Lord knows it could use some fresh takes about now.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Barbed Wire Dolls: Jess Franco’s notorious women-in-prison exploitation flick gets another DVD release. It's hard to tell with these sort of things how many other previous releases are still in print, but if you don’t have it yet and you like this sort of thing, now's your chance.
Black Sabbath: Italian Horror pioneer Mario Bava’s most well-known and often considered his greatest film gets a high-definition upgrade. I’ve never seen it, but it's been on my list for a long time. It might just be classic enough to talk my wife into watching it with me sometime soon.
Madhouse: Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, and Robert Quarry star in this 1974 British horror film. Price stars as a successful horror actor who finds himself experiencing a series a murders much like the ones that occurred in his films. Another classic I’ve not gotten around to seeing. Yet.
American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore: The original Guinea Pig series consists of seven Japanese gore flicks made notorious in the U.S. after Charlie Sheen reported the second film, Flower of Flesh & Blood, to the FBI thinking it was an actual snuff film. From what I can tell this American film has no real association with those Japanese films but is using the "Guinea Pig" title for name recognition. There was a time in my life when I was interested in the special effects needed to create hard core gore, but that time has passed.
Scooby-Doo! & KISS: Rock & Roll Mystery: Not only does this week bring forth multiple adult horror films, but it's got something for the kids, too. Scooby-Doo has a long tradition of bringing celebrity guests into their mysteries and KISS seems like a perfect fit for them.
Wild Horses: Just in case you don’t like horror this week also has a few other interesting titles that aren’t designed to scare or disgust you. This western crime drama stars Robert Duvall, James Franco, and Josh Hartnett as a family who carry a lot of secrets with them and who might have been responsible for the kidnapping and murder of a boy some 15 years prior.
Set Fire to the Stars: Elijah Wood stars in this "very loosely based on true facts" story about poet John Malcolm Brining meeting Dylan Thomas and finding that meeting your heroes isn’t always what it's cracked out to be.
My Beautiful Laundrette (Criterion Collection): Stephen Frears directed Daniel Day Lewis in his break-out role as a gay, punk, neo-fascist. I’ve always heard great things about this, but like so many other films this week, have never gotten around to seeing it. No doubt Criterion is giving us the best means in which to remedy this.