What would happen if you were “reborn” as your ideal self? Ahead of its time, John Frankenheimer’s SECONDS (1966) gives a frightening answer to this question.
Shot in black-and-white for the drive-in and grindhouse circuit, this surrealistic, low-budget, independently produced horror movie became a cult classic decades later through repeated late-night showings on television. Its director, Herk Harvey, an experienced and award-winning industrial filmmaker, came up with the basic concept for the story while driving past an abandoned lakeside pavilion in Utah — the one that figures prominently in the film — on a business trip. Imagining the danse macabre at the film’s close, he convinced co-worker John Clifford to write a screenplay based on it. The result was “Carnival of Souls” (1962), Harvey’s first and only completed narrative fiction feature. Although consigned to relative obscurity for many years, this movie is now recognized as a genre antecedent and a stylistic precursor for well-known, unconventional films like George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) and David Lynch’s “Eraserhead” (1977).
In a low-down and perverse way, it’s still fun to watch.
Although Wes Craven began his career with low-budget exploitation films later seen as ‘progressive,’ by the mid-80s he seems to be hedging his thematic bets. Case in point: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984).
The monstrosity of America in early 1970s? “It’s Alive” in Larry Cohen’s classic 1974 exploitation film!
If you look beneath the relentless, miraculous onslaught of avant-garde-cranked -to-11 style, the plot of Hausu makes sense. Kind of. I think.
Hellhole is a glorious mess, albeit one rich in the currency of absurdity.
It is the imagery that makes THE IRON ROSE stand out – more than a story about a couple getting lost in a cemetery, it’s Rollin’s fever-dream version of the Garden of Eden.
Red ponchos. Red lights in the Haunted House ride. Red curtains. Red bathrobes. Red blankets. Red pants. Red chairs. Red hair. Red lamps. Red suspenders. Red… Read more “Throwback Thursday: “Eyeball” (1975)”
Perhaps it’s by providence that I loved Women’s Prison Massacre, wherein atrocity, milked for full exploitation value, is inserted into the narrative and thematic DNA like a fast-dissolving cyanide capsule.