Continuing the horror: Gore, Snuff, The Findlays.

First of all, I am watching way too much cable TV. I am beginning to think of myself as an Escape Artist. Thank God for my dear friend Paul who always sends me books in the mail (and who just mailed me some more.)

That said… I’d like to talk about Hostel.

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My jaw slowly dropped and I thought, “Why on earth am I doing this to myself? I should turn it off already…”

But the truth is I had already watched 40 minutes of the thing and just had to see the end. Yes, it was gross and gorey… But I’ve watched gore before (never willingly), I even like Peter Jackson’s Brain Dead (but then again, who doesn’t love Jackson?) I also love Bruce Campbell and his Evil Dead, though that cannot be considered Gore per se.

So, back to Hostel. As a movie, it was good. Catches you from the very start. Even the way you are led to believe Derek Richardson (Josh) is the main character (Roth allows for a connection between Josh and the audience, making him extremely likable) but just like what Hitchcock once did to Janet Leigh in Psycho – which made the movie such a masterpiece, who could ever have envisioned what would happen to the lovable star – Josh gets it and the audience (me in this case) is extremely surprised. This death of Josh made me nod my head and think of it as a good cinematic resource (probably to get past the nausea I had begun to already feel…)

Anyway, the movie is worth a watch if you can stomach it. Especially the way karmic vendettas are performed on the evil characters, or even the way you shake your head at the sickness of some people and wonder if things like this can actually happen. A truly memorable moment is Rick Hoffman playing a sicko and giving an amazing monologue.

Believable, fast-paced. Worth a watch (and a heave).

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Hostel got me thinking about the Findlays.

Michael and Roberta Findlay. It has always been interesting for me to think about this married couple who together, produced some of the most disturbing movies of the grindhouse era. Especially the Flesh trilogy (starting in 1967 – which I really don’t want to watch like ever, there are just some things that you cannot watch in this life.) . “Flesh” is supposed to showcase a mysoginst killer who, out of spite for his adulteress wife, goes on a killing rampage, mercilessly torturing his victims with all kinds of gadgets. Awful. Yet in the opinion of some, it achieves moments of lucidity and brilliance from a cinematic point of view (camera angles, psychotic monologues…) I wouldn’t know, as I said before some things are better left unwatched. And not because I’m Christian…

The funny thing is picturing them working on their films:

“Darling, don’t you think he should use the acid this time… for effect?”

“Yes, we’ve already done too much dismemberment… Aww… that’s my girl, always the brilliant one… Hey, hon, could you pass me the bucket of blood over there, I think Nancy needs more…”

There is another notorious Findlay movie, from the 70’s, the one that unleashed the urban legend, a small argentinian production which the Findlays bought, shot a new end for and promoted as “a film that could only be shot in Argentina, where life is cheap…”

Under the title “Snuff“.

(Just for the record, life is not cheap in Argentina. Out of all the countries of Latin America, Argentina has always been the most cosmopolitan… a haven for the wealthy and educated, especially during the 40-70’s… a Latin American Paris.)

Ok, back to topic, it created panic (and big bucks for the Findlays). And spawned an urban legend that is still alive to this very day. The movie is horrible, not so much the gore, but as a whole… Or so I’ve heard.
Oh and in 1977, a helicopter that was chartering Michael Findlay plus 3 other passengers collapsed and the rotor blades decapitated (yes, decapitated) Michael Findlay. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

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The other horrible movie I watched, but couldn’t stomach it and just changed the channel after the first 15 minutes was “The Devil’s Rejects” a movie by Rob Zombie and a continuation of “House of 1000 corpses”…

These movies were done in the tradition of grindhouse.

In terms of aesthetics, Rejects looks amazingly well-defined and sharp on a TV screen, the colors just come at you, somehow emphasizing heat, dust and the nightmare that is about to begin. The acting is very good, the camera angles rock and there is no gore during the first 15 minutes, there is however, the insinuation of humiliation and pointless murder of a family and that is when I stopped watching.

For some reason I could finish Hostel (which in terms of cinematography was way beneath what Rob Zombie accomplished even if Tarantino was behind it), but with the Devil’s Rejects (in spite of being well-put together, at least what I saw) I just couldn’t stomach it.

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So is there a point to all this horror rambling? Nope… I’m just wondering why people like Grindhouse, Gore and what not… I mean I’ve had my share of “watches” because most everything on planet Earth interests me… but to collect, pursue and delight in these kinds of films is… hmm… I don’t know… we’ll just leave it at that.

Until next Halloween when cable TV will show all sorts of nightmares.

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This reminds me of a time, last year, that Juanele, my filmmaker friend came to my house with the complete set of David Cronenberg’s movies he had bought for his thesis (it was super hard to find them overseas he said) and told me to watch them since I was sick and had to stay home for a week. Juanele is sweet like that.

I took one look at the DVD covers and sensed that I’d feel worse if I saw them. The Brood, Rabies, Shiver… Umm, wasn’t really feeling up to it that time.

(Cronenberg’s movies I usually dislike: Crash – another movie I couldn’t stomach. Videodrome I watched when I was a kid and thought it was the most disturbing thing I’d ever seen. Although James Woods rocks (as usual). Existenze and The Dead Zone are the only Cronenberg movies I actually enjoyed and watched more than once each. Cronenberg’s obsession with “the new flesh” and “flesh” in general, odd appendages and what not really revolts me, no matter how talented he is).

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