I was aware of this 2009 movie REYKJAVIK WHALE WATCHING MASSACRE (retitled HARPOON: WHALE WATCHING MASSACRE for us ignorant Americans) because it’s an Icelandic movie that has that title and then Leatherface himself, Gunnar Hansen is in it. Sounded like a spoof, I thought, but it’s not. It certainly has humor in it, but so does that other movie Hansen is most famous for. This is a solid, legit horror movie, with an extra layer of meaning if you’re a TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE obsessive like me.
I finally watched it for a different reason: the screenplay is by the Icelandic writer Sjón, a.k.a. Sjón Sigurdsson. He grew up with Björk and wrote some songs with her (including the Oscar-nominated “I’ve Seen it All” from DANCER IN THE DARK), and sometimes performed with the Sugarcubes under the name Johnny Triumph. But also he’s a poet, novelist and screenwriter, and after decades of all that he finally caught my attention this year by co-writing THE NORTHMAN with Robert Eggers. That’s still my #2 movie of 2022 so I figured shit, I oughta watch his horror movie. (read the rest of this shit…)
CAMPFIRE TALES is a very low budget horror anthology released in 1991. After directors William Cooke and Paul Talbot graduated from college in 1987 they decided to build a film around “The Hook,” a short they’d made in their senior year 16mm class. The stories are very simplistic – unusually light on gimmicks and ironic twists for this type of material – and the filmmaking is not what would traditionally be considered “good.” But being made by beginners with no money gives it that scrappy underdog charm where you’re excited for anything they kind of pull off, and since it was made by young people in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s there’s some relatability and nostalgia for somebody like me who may or may not have come of age around that time.
Happy Halloween, everybody! As is sometimes my tradition, I have managed to do a write-up of one of my all time favorite movies that I haven’t done an official piece on. In 2016 I finally got the balls to do THE THING, and in 2017 I did INFERNO. I guess when I did DAWN OF THE DEAD it was a month after Halloween, but that’s the type of review I’m going for here.
These reviews of the classics are intimidating because there’s such a risk of saying the same shit that’s already been said, but I’m tired of linking to my Ain’t It Cool News review of a DVD release every time I mention it, which is inconvenient when I seem to compare half the movies I watch to THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. I remember I even compared the Kathryn Bigelow racism drama DETROIT to it. Incidentally, even though I’ve been thinking about HALLOWEEN movies all month the world is feeling more TEXAS CHAIN SAW to me these days.
In other words, be warned: this is one of the ones where I relate the movie to the politics of today, so if you hate that, please don’t read, and go have a happy Halloween. If not, please do read, then have a happy Halloween.
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THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. One of the greatest horror movies since they started makin’ ’em. Not sure if I’ve mentioned that before, but it’s true.
It’s a movie that has grown on me and with me. When I first saw it I was probly 13 and I thought it was dumb. Just some crappy footage of a dude chasing people around in the dark. I was a Freddy guy. Saw it again in my twenties and it became pretty much my favorite movie. Back then it was VHS (not sure if it was even letterboxed) and I really believed that the raw quality of the footage was part of its magic. That it felt like a documentary, one made by crazy people.
After believing that for years I got that remastered edition that Dark Sky Films released, the one in the steel case (which I took these screengrabs from). It looked so much cleaner I wasn’t sure if I should accept it at first. Now I watch the way-more-pristine-than-that Blu-Ray and I love the movie even more as the controlled, artful craftsmanship it had always secretly been. For the moment, forget “drive-in” or “grindhouse” and think “great American film of the ’70s,” even if it’s all of those things. (read the rest of this shit…)
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