Archive for gruesome

Horror Flick of the Week: Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

Posted in Media, Trailers, Uncategorized, Videos and Clips with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2016 by ranranami

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The 70s. Glamour and glitz, a decade with perhaps the most experimentation in materials, colors, and style fashion has ever really seen. Drugs, discos, sequins, furs, scandals, decadence…yes, the 70s had it all in a way the burning-out 80s didn’t quite recapture in quite the same way. Perhaps that was why this movie worked so well.

It’s easy to overlook this movie with a glance, a quick perusal of the description, just a story about a glamorous photographer and a murderer who seems to be copying pose-for-pose every single element of her almost gruesome works. If I had to pick an American movie that really nailed the essence of giallo’s style, it would be this one. Please, do yourself a favor and watch this movie as soon as possible. It will stick with you forever. Plus, there’s a very young Brad Dourif making an appearance in it as well, and who doesn’t love Brad Dourif? Did I mention John Carpenter wrote the initial story-line and early script?

Grim History: Gilles de Rais

Posted in People with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2016 by ranranami

Blood was flowing – in Bluebeard’s house, in the abattoirs, in the circuses where God had set his seal to whiten the windows. Blood and Milk flowed together.” – Arthur Rimbaud

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It is said that you can divide fairy tales into two categories, stories based on general fears and thoughts at the time, or apocryphal adaptations of historic fact. What can one say about the story of Bluebeard? A rich man who took many wives, locked them in his house when he left, and left them with a key and an egg just to make sure he could trust them not to discover all of the dead wives he’d slaughtered countless times before. Frankly, I don’t see why people Bluebeard could be associates with Gilles de Rais, but that’s what many people believe. Odd, considering a vast majority of the children he was purported to have slaughtered, if not all, were little boys…

Gilles was born in 1404-05, depending on your sources, precocious, titled, disgustingly rich, and destined to become orphaned at the age of 10. From then on, under the guardianship of his maternal grandfather grandfather, Jean de Craon, who was without a doubt one of the more interesting and dastardly schemers you may read about in history. The man desperately wanted to be the richest in all of France, and as any respectable person of his time would do, endeavored to earn this by wedding Gilles off to a toddler. He tried, anyway. The whole mess got immediately rejected by the Parisian Parliament, so he settled for kidnapping Gilles’ cousin, Catherine de Thouars instead.

But this isn’t Game of Craon, this is the history of Gilles himself. Ultimately, he ended up supporting the Dauphin in the Hundred Years War. He did quite well for himself, reckless, brave, just about everything you could imagine any model aristocratic soldier being. When Joan of Arc came to court, Gilles was to be her military advisor.

Following several successful battles, Gilles became Marshall of France.

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Things were looking up for our hero. Then, after a series of unfortunate events, not the least of which being the burning of Joan, and the death of his grandfather (who decided to leave the family title and respect to Gilles’ younger brother),  Gilles decided he’d had enough of being the typical good guy. Some believe the death of Joan may have been the major domino in his gruesome path later on, but really…a lost friend, or perhaps even unrequited love, does not account for psychopathic behavior. Otherwise the world would be far worse than it already is.

Gilles had one daughter with his wife, then it’s purported that he swore off women altogether. The man had spent a good deal of money investing in chapels, the church, and all things holy…suddenly decided to make a complete polar opposite shift in how he lived his life…

In 1432, the year after Joan of Arc’s death, Gilles killed his fist victim. His first documented one, anyway. A boy his cousin had sent to deliver a letter to him. Gilles, essentially went absolutely insane. He started to spend his fortune at an astonishing rate, to the point of having to sell of portions of the family lands and estate to support his activities. What’s more, his parties didn’t stop with boozing and debauchery. There are many claims that insist he raped, tortured, and cremated up to 200 small children by 1440. A majority of the murders took place in 1438-1439. These children were gathered for him by his closest servants, and there are even wild accounts Gilles himself described in his confessions at court of satanic rituals he would perform, very likely involving the remains of these children as well.

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His brother finally forbade Gilles from selling off anything else, and the family lands were kept intact by a court order, while the man practically threw money at his favored ‘magician’, an Italian man  who had once been a priest, named Antonio Prelati. Gilles’ ultimate goal was to restore the money he had squandered, and he spent it like water just to find out if he could somehow transform common elements into gold. He actually thought murdering the children would somehow aid in this, and it’s clear by the sheer number that no cost was too high for Gilles to maintain his wealth.

Arguably, what ultimately did him in, was the kidnapping of a cleric. Though many people suspected Gilles of murder, kidnapping, and all sorts of crime, his military history and standing with the king had given him a great deal of protection from any persecution…the church, however, was just a little too powerful for him to get away from (at the time.) He was finally brought to trial, and after several witnesses (his own servants who had actually aided him in many of his crimes) spilled the beans.

Gilles at first insisted he was innocent, but quickly caved, and described in detail many of the horrible rituals he committed with Prelati, to the point of even trying to summon Satan himself. Gilles was put to death, but because of his standing he was allowed to be strangled/hanged (some accounts differ) before his brief burning, and even so, given a Christian burial on church grounds.

It is said that many testimonies given by witnesses and Gilles himself of the crimes he committed against his victims were so terrible, that they were stricken from the record so people could be spared ever learning of the horrid details.

Horror Flick of the Week: Don’t Torture a Duckling

Posted in Media, Movies and shows, Trailers, Videos and Clips with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2016 by ranranami

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If you’re unfamiliar with Giallo (regular readers should be, I love them.) This one may be one of the easier films to foray into if you aren’t, as the plot is more structured than you’d expect from a Giallo. As usual, it’s got some absolutely stunning cinematography. Since this is one of those ‘must sees’ in the genre, I’d expect nothing less. In fact, if you’re interested in Giallo at all…make this one of your top 5 to watch before the end of the year.

Voodoo. Paranoia. Religion. Gratuitous nudity. It’s gruesome. Mean-spirited in the style only Fulci seems to nail so well. A mystery about some serial killer offing little boys should be, shouldn’t it? Not for the faint of heart, and I’d advise those who are more sensitive in their horror tastes to not even watch the trailer below. For the rest of you, definitely check it out this October. This week. Tonight. As soon as you can.

Horror Flick of the Week: Company of Wolves (1984)

Posted in Media, Movies and shows, Trailers, Videos and Clips with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2014 by ranranami

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Little Red Riding Hood. A story told in a dozen different ways, exploring everything from the loss of innocence to the dangers of trusting strange man-wolves. ‘Company of Wolves’ is the single best film adaptation of this story that I have ever seen, and likely will ever see. It can not be remade, because it is one of those few magical reels of celluloid which captures the true darkness of fairy tales in the most incredible way.

Starring Sarah Patterson in one of her few roles, this is a magnificent movie. It’s beautiful. Dark. Disturbing. Intriguing. It is an incredible movie, and that is why it is this week’s selection.

Vintage Comics – Beware, Issue. 1: Rebirth, The Horrible Offering (Cover – 15)

Posted in Comics, Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2014 by ranranami

Starting an an extra cartoonish horror comic this week, I rather enjoy the little stories in Beware. Much less wordy than your traditional fare, and quite simple. Rather like little urban legends being put to paper. The first story seems to have a bit of everything in it, making it a surprisingly entertaining jaunt. You’ve got to feel a little sorry for the poor old man though, being converted to a weird marshmallow sea creature by his own relatives. With family like this, who needs enemies?

 

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Horror Flick of the Week: Suspiria (1977)

Posted in Media, Movies and shows, Trailers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2014 by ranranami

Back in the 60s, there was an intriguing artist who had come into the world of directing. Inspired by Mario Bava in his art, Dario Argento created some very interesting…and very striking films. Three films of his focused on witched, the ‘Three Mothers’ trilogy. Suspiria is my favorite of these movies, if not my favorite Argento picture in general….with The Bird With the Crystal Plumage as a close second.

 

 

It takes place in a bizarre (and prestigious) dance academy where some of the more curious students seem to be dying in very strange and mysterious ways, by the hands of something living…or perhaps dead? It’s an absolute visual feast, a movie that demands full attention if it is to be appreciated. I had put off watching Suspiria for a long time because of the hype, and that generally kills a movie for me. I really wish I hadn’t, but I’m also glad I did, because seeing this as an adult really helped me to appreciate the brilliant cinematic qualities of this movie.

If you like witches. If you like magic. If you like horror. Faerie tales. Creative murder scenes. Creepy children. Weird tall men with ugly teeth. Intriguing camera techniques. Beautiful architecture. Intense lighting design. Any of this…you need to watch Suspiria as soon as possible.

Censorship and Horror Comics

Posted in Comics, Media with tags , , , , , , on October 6, 2014 by ranranami

A lot of people do not like censorship. In fact, I’ve often heard arguments against even having ratings to designate whether movies are appropriate for children or adults (G, PG, R, etc.) But censorship doesn’t just stop with movies.

 

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Back in the mid-50s, horror comics had reached an incredible height of gruesomeness the silver screen had yet to even dream of. There were images in these comic pages of terror and fright that at the time could only be summoned by the pens of the truly depraved (and awesome) artists.

Unfortunately, as is common with all forms of art, there were people who didn’t really…appreciate these comics as they deserved. Some people treated inked pages of zombies and screaming blondes as if they were akin to fluoridating our water supply. Which is apparently bad if you’re absolutely insane and uninformed about proper dental health.

At the time concern began to arise, there were an awful lot of unregulated comics on the market from both minor and major publishers, and it was a goldmine of the good and the bad. Then ‘Seduction of the Innocent’ came about, and because people didn’t think they had enough to complain about, they decided to read it. This was a book written by Fredric Wertham, a psychiatrist too lazy to properly investigate the neuroses of his patients…so he just blamed it all on comics with their dirty words and pictures. One thing led to another as the panic train snowballed, and that’s how we got the ‘Comics Code Authority’, which ultimately decimated the field of horror comics.

 

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But any horror addict knows there’s no scratching that itch you get when you really want something to scream at. Artists continued to work, oftentimes even working without putting their names on their comics. Horror comics didn’t die completely, they were just giving way to the more family-friendly resurgence of super heroes and fantasy.

Thankfully today nobody really pays attention to the dangers of the written word if there’s no political message. They’d rather focus all of that fear on video games and television. The golden age of our beloved horror comics may have passed on into the realms of the beyond, but as I’m sure all of my readers know…you can’t keep a good ghoul down. Horror comics have returned, and they’re ‘worse’ than ever.

 

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