HIDDEN HORROR FOR VALENTINES DAY – Unmasked Part 25

tumblr_inline_nel0cyeBm51r07hioHappy Valentines day horrorfiends! and if your in the mood to watch a obscure..well very oscure little slasher movie involving love then i got one “hidden Horror” that is quite different from the rest of them and sadly very obscure even to Horrorfans. The late 80s British slasher film that takes a hard left turn called “Unmasked Part 25″…no there is no parts 1-24, The title is a spoof of slasher franchises.

on a lonely night in London a trench coat and hockey masked slasher named Jackson butchers several party goers, in the midst of all the killing he runs into a blind girl named shelly who is convinced he is her blind date, Shelly shows compassion towards Jackson and they soon start a relationship. During which Jackson begin to question the point of all his killing while Shelly shows him that life isnt all that bad. Soon Jackson is torn between his love for Shelly and wanting a normal life and his very gruesome killer nature.

Now if your a slasher movie fan and have been craving for something different and unexpected in the slasher genre then this film can be quite the breath of fresh air for you, granted your okay with how the film takes a unexpected left turn. But if your worried it will be like the (throws up in mouth) Twilight movies or the well done Warm Bodies there is no need to worry, there is still plenty of wonderfully fun and gory kills in the movie, actually right in the beginning and a few near the end. The very first death scene we are treated to involves Jackson ripping off a guys face then ripping out his heart! then afterwards we are then treated to throat slashings, heads beat in with shovels, bodies skewered with spikes, and broken light bulbs shoved in mouths coming out the back of the head and this is all in the first 10 minutes of the movie!

But as i mentioned before the movie takes that left turn and we are then treated to how Jackson deals with all his killing and the inner torment of a monster trying to fight against his very nature to have a life with the woman he loves. Not only is there wonderful death scenes and refreshing change of pace for a slasher plot formula but there is even some “Meta” moments to the film with Shelly talking about a slasher film franchise called “Hand of Death” and Jackson telling her that “he is those movies” not to mention a quite funny scene involving shelly trying to get Jackson into some BDSM sex and Jackson just not really getting into it.

Near the ending of the film we are treated to a few more death scenes involving pitchforks to the chest, axes to the chest, necks ripped open, screwdrivers to the forehead, cleavers to the face and a particularly nasty head crushing scene with brains oozing out of one of the eye sockets. But the ending is a bit depressing as Jackson realizes that he cannot fight his nature and is doomed to always kill with Jackson looking upon a movie theater showing the newest film “Hand of Death part 26 Jacksons return”.

So if you want a slasher film involving love and the pursuit of happiness and something a fresh change of pace to the tired old formulas of the slasher genre then seek out the very obscure little British Slasher film “Unmasked part 25”. Youll enjoy how much of a different animal is it, though sadly it is a hard to find movie – James J. Coker

TERROR TV: Tales from the Crypt – ‘Til Death

04 'Till Death.avi_001502968Back when Tales from the Crypt was airing on television, its second season took the ghoulishness, rotting zombies, gore and makeup effects to the tenth degree, compared to the first season. One second season episode that really took advantage of the Crypt‘s signature brand of darkly comic yet ghoulish and gruesome tone was the episode “Til Death.”

Logan, a real estate developer looking to build a hotel on a Caribbean island, is an unscrupulous gold digger who would do anything to catch the right woman with lots of money, including dabbling in voodoo. When he meets Margaret, a beautiful and prudish rich widow on vacation, he immediately asks his partner, a voodoo priestess, to conjure up a love potion for him. He secretly slips Margaret the potion and she falls in love with him, but finds out too late that he gave her too much love potion and now she will love him even after death.

If you see only one typical “rotting corpse” episode of Tales from the Crypt, then it should be “Til Death.” Not only does the episode showcase the show’s typically dark comic, macabre, and ghoulish sense of style, but there’s also some fun to be had with the episode’s Voodoo atmosphere with it and seeing poor Logan run from Margaret who gets progressively more rotten with each shot thanks to the director Chris Wallace’s superb makeup effects. Finally in Crypt fashion our poor Logan gets what is coming to him, but this time it’s not death, but much worse. So if you’re in the mood to watch an episode of Tales from the Crypt that has that “rotting corpse that wont go away” trope, there’s no better one then the second season episode “Til Death.”

– James J. Coker

HIDDEN HORROR – Pontypool

Pontypool‘60s experimentalist Andy Warhol garnered his fame by utilizing the repetition of an image or idea until it had lost all meaning. This technique is still used today, though to a lesser extent, and its ideology can still be found in many contemporary forms of media. The film currently under the spotlight being a prime example of such. Based on the novel “Pontypool Changes Everything”, Bruce McDonald’s 2008 film “Pontypool” is the minimalist story, and a unique take on one of the most popular sub genre’s in horror, of a talk radio show staff’s gruesome experience as they live through their last day on the air.

Grant Mazzy (Stephan McHattie) is a much, much less sociopathic version of Alex Jones, with a philosophy that pissing off the listeners of his art form is the quickest route to building the strong following such a personality needs to thrive on. This could easily double as the filmmakers own voice being spoken through his on-screen surrogate. His semi-conservative producer Sydney (Lisa Houle) is not too fond of his brutal honesty and fear mongering tangents as he exaggerates every tidbit of information, from gridlock traffic to missing animals in the community. It’s February 14th, Valentine’s Day, and while being fed material to speak about through the news wire by in-studio air receptionist Laurel-Ann (Georgina Reilly), a dark series of events begins to play out, leading up to what “sounds” to be the start of a zombie apocalypse. However the film takes the extra step as to hold itself back from becoming the regular outbreak film, as only the auditorial sense is given the gift of viral pleasure.

The thing that makes life so interesting is the mystery that engulfs every aspect of it. Therefore, hearing the overwhelmingly detailed step by step descriptions of a zombie apocalypse without seeing the catastrophe dead on (pun intenDEAD) will always add a greater effect. As the radio crew listens in on the events as they play out in real time, we see not only the purest, most recognizable form of fear, but the on-screen representation of a terrified horror movie audience as they attempt to make it through the experience first hand.

As the narrative moves forward the viewer soon learns the cause of this new form of viral outbreak is not spread through the blood or the air, but through the English language. With each person (or at least each person residing in Pontypool) equipped with their own “host word,”  and each world revolving around the aspect of love and affection, the very mention of this unique word will soon send the victim into a jumbled mess of hysteria, eventually leading them to eat your face, Florida style. By being a radio host that everyone in the town listens to it’s quickly understood that Grant could be a major reason for everyone dying. The only successful alternative to this being the silent treatment.

Now this film, like many others before and after it, shares and owes quite a bit of its meaning to the undead films of George A. Romero, due to the fact of it being shrouded in metaphor (and I mean drowning in it!). On the topic of double meanings, trust me, this film has it all; People as slaves to the radio, dependency on the opinion and view of others, the influence people have on each other through powerful language, the positive aspects of a society embracing unfamiliar cultures, the mass acceptance of killing and death in modern civilization, it’s all here folks! Above all however, the film really likes to focus on the meaninglessness of words, that when repeated so often, have no real value underneath their exterior. Or, words that should mean something, but are only shared in the most shallow of ways.

By taking place on the most superficially emotional day of the year this last hidden ideology gains the most drastically powerful representation of them all. However the film does a great job at finding clever ways to disguise its key plot beats that reveal its metaphoric connections to the corporate dollar store novelty that is Valentine’s Day. Thus making it oh so appreciated when one with a questioning or negative view towards the tradition comes in tune with it. Moreover if the existential reinterpretation of vocal meaninglessness is the true star here, then that pay-off of “curing” people of their “zombified” state is next in line. By actually kissing and loving someone as opposed to showing the act of love through a card or box of generic chocolates, the world can be cured of the real problem – That this yearly dogma makes no fucking sense. After all, people only love each other one day out of the year. It’s just science. Much like how you only donate to the poor on Christmas, otherwise, they’re not poor today. Right, bro?

 – Sterling “The Spork Guy” Anno